• Living the Dream: in the Home away from Home-II
    Team Kalamwali | 22-Jun-2019
    Living the Dream: in the Home away from Home-II  - By Gautam Govitrikar     UPDATE: In a sensational development, Ashish Bagai has agreed to a 9 month contract to help his "Home" country qualify for the World  T20 as well as the Real Deal-The ICC World Cup to be held Fown Under in 2015-probably the last chance for Associate Members like Canada to participate in the World Cups!                                                 -----------------------------------------     Last week, I covered the journey of Sushil Nadkarni from representing India U-19 to becoming the mainstay of the USA Cricket team. Today, we will talk about a dear friend and easily Canada’s best cricketer-Ashish Bagai!Ashish moved to Canada from Delhi at the age of 11 in 1993. While he had played plenty of “galli cricket”, he had never played it at a competitive leve
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  • Living the Dream: in the Home away from Home-Part I
    Team Kalamwali | 22-Jun-2019
    Living in the Dream: In the Home away from Home - Part 1  - By Gautam Govitrikar     To a casual observer, he was just another Indian kid flying to US for his Masters, leaving friends and family behind. But there was something else that Sushil Nadkarni was leaving behind:  an unfulfilled but promising cricketing career.   Little did he know what fate had in store for him.   After finishing his Masters in Austin, he moved to Houston in 2003 and was pleasantly surprised to find a strong cricketing culture.   “I did not know how many cricket clubs there are in the US. There were quite a few people who knew about my cricketing past and they approached me to play for their club,” said Sushil in an interview I conducted over Skype. “I never thought it would lead to something as special as leading the USA Cricket Team”   Sushil went from strength to strength and soon was selected for the USA team. Amid a period of turmoil, he became the
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  • Tina
    Asmita Javdekar | 20-Jun-2019
      The kids have a Walmart “junk raid” ritual in the first few days of our stay in Macon. It has to be carefully administered while my sister is at work as Cheetos, Chips Ahoy, Gold fish, Gummies and Mac n cheese don’t really qualify as snacks in my sister’s jurisdiction. At our loot check out counter, we met Tina.  Effervescent, friendly and cheerful. Tina works as the cashier at Walmart. When I told her it was really inspiring to see her, do her work and I would love to write about her, she joked that it would cost me money. Tina’s fun spirit, positive attitude and big heart taught me that no matter what storms life throws at you, when you take charge of the oars and infuse optimism in your journey then you simply have to, “Row row row your boat , gently down the stream, merrily merrily merrily merrily, Life is but a dream.”
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  • Sindhu
    Asmita Javdekar | 20-Jun-2019
      For anyone who’s a member at ABS, she is “Maushi” Today while ambling on the treadmill, I had a tête-à-tête with her about life. For starters, Maushi is Sindhu and just a few years older than me. She lost her husband fifteen years back. Ever since, she has strived to single handedly raise her son, who is now a commerce student. Maushi leaves home at 5.45am daily, after finishing her household chores. Her travel to work involves a bus ride followed by a long walk. She tells me she enjoys the morning breeze and the peaceful walk to work. She emphasises on the importance of education. Having studied till 10th grade aided her a lot in financial and legal matters, after the passing of her husband. “Life has taught me one thing, if it throws problems at us, it teaches us to solve problems as well. One must stop relying on God. You can pray to God but you have to solve the problem yourself only.”
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  • The Journey of Death
    Asmita Javdekar | 16-Jun-2019
    Memory, Remembering, Missingalways dwells on the essence.Not the becoming, not the perishingBut the spirit. Day by day, the pain begins to ebb.The debilitating images start fading,getting infused by a warm presence.An eternal companionThe body may have gone.The presence always lives through you The Journey of Death
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  • Feeling Loved
    Asmita Javdekar | 31-May-2019
    For Amit who secured admission at COEP for Mechanical Engineering, it was the first time in his life that his father, Mr.Shrirang Godbole had ever smiled and said “Good” to him.The Godbole family took immense pride in the fact that Amit would be the fourth generation of brilliant mechanical engineers from the Godbole family to graduate from such a prestigious institution.Shrirang was a disciplinarian and a pragmatic man.He was raised on a foundation that emotions take one away from focus and life should be led within the framework of rules rather than frivolousness of emotional display.Shrirang had never cried!Never even laughed out loud.He was simply a man of limited expression who led a very strict life.Amit had grown used to his father’s ways but a part of him yearned for some fatherly love and encouragement.Just any small gesture.A pat on the back, a warm handshake or even just an expression saying, “me ahe na” (I am there for you)After all these years, Amit finally managed t
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  • Are we Americanising Indian kids?
    Diyaa | 25-May-2019
      It was a lazy weekend and we had no out of the ordinary plans. We generally reserve the weekends for our kids and do stuff they like or they would want to. Since there was not much on the list that day, we thought of catching up on some masala bollywood movie. I knew by the reviews that it was good enough for the kids to watch. So we went for it and had a hilarious time. He loved it so much that, he even mentioned about it to his group of friends the next day. There it started, what I knew was going to pop up very soon, a storm of questions. I heard all sorts of statements like 'we still don't take them for movies’, 'how can you show them bolly movies?’, 'these aren't kiddy activities!’ and so on. I was constantly being judged for that two hours of entertainment I took my kid to. My point was simple. They enjoyed and had a wholesome laugh, what more could I have asked for. With just giving them an additional box of popcorn I too got my peace of time there.I felt like saying, ‘I
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  • Give me a break please!
    Diyaa | 25-May-2019
             "Don't shout please and get away from each other!", "Is this really how you treat your own brother?” were the 'not-so-soothing' words that came out of my mouth that night. I was a witness to my boys’ fight, compulsively playing a role of a referee while my husband lay on the bed watching Netflix and simultaneously checking his whatsapp messages on his phone. I thought I was the only one who could multi-task around kids but he was way better when he came to it. I quickly settled the two little ones in their own space and a called it a night. I finally lay down on my warm bed and sank deep in my fantasy world. In my head, I couldn’t wait to go away from home to spend time on a holiday. My hubby had planned an exotic one for us later this summer. Knowing I would be travelling with my boys and my in-laws and being the lady of the house, I would be at duty more there than here. So what I was looking at was loosening up from my hectic routine. My day comprised of
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  • It's a small small world!
    Jyoti | 22-May-2019
    I was in Bhutan a couple of years back and trekking the Taktsang monastery. The ascending trek takes about 3 to 4 hours through dense pine trees and rhododenron shrubs. While trekking it is very common to smile and make small talk with the people you meet on the way. So there was this local person in a traditional Buddhist attire coming down and the following interaction took place between the two of us: Me (smiling) : hello He (smiles back) : hi Me: how was your trek? He: very good Me: how much more distance remaining? He: still a trek of about an hour. Me: Ok thanks He: where are you from? Me: India He: where in India? Me: Gujarat (thinking he must never have heard of it) He (smiling) : Kem cho? Me (surprised): how do you even know Gujarati? He: my brother runs a travel agency and we get many tourists from Gujarat Me: majama He: keep going and enjoy your trek Me: Bye He: Bye Imagine my surprise when I met that local speaking Gujarati in a foreign land!     
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  • Kadak Laxmi
    Asmita Javdekar | 18-May-2019
     Kadak Laxmi The reason a lot of kids in my generation grew up decently behaved is thanks to the “Kadak Laxmi” phenomenon. The fear for this community was embedded into us since childhood.Kadak Laxmi as we referred to them were often queer, with heavy vermilion, turmeric and kajal smeared across their faces. They would lash themselves with thick whips made up of woven coir.The resonance which erupted from the belligerent face off between the whip and air, still evokes a certain degree of nervousness witness me.Today, I walked into my childhood fear, head on.This Kadak Laxmi gave me an insight into how this tradition is passed down over generations. Being nomads, he wandered with his family seeking alms and watching them perform their gruelling routine. For him, this was normal and this profession, a natural progression. When I questioned him about his family, his eyes softened. He had two children, studying at school.They disapproved of this profession and were deeply embarrassed of the
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  • We are far from shallow
    Asmita Javdekar | 10-May-2019
    Through my headphones, straight into my heart, Lady Gaga explodes, “In the shallow, shallow In the shallow, shallow In the shallow, shallow We're far from the shallow now” Her voice resonates across my emotions, leaving them carelessly strewn. I see a haggard dog with a worn out collar, sniffing through a pile of trash. Perhaps abandoned, perhaps escaped. My mind tugs by it’s untold story. I keep walking and just around the corner of the road, I see this elderly gentleman!! Ashok Kadam feeds the strays in his neighbourhood everyday. He has names for each one of them and refers to them as his children. When I turn back, I see abandoned love. But something assures me that if it keeps going, it’s walking straight into the land of love and light. “We’re far from the shallow now.” Plays on loop. I believe it and keep walking. 
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  • Life is beautiful
    Asmita Javdekar | 24-Apr-2019
    Aai (my mother) hails from Sankeshwar, a small village in Karnataka.She travelled by an airplane for the first time in her life in 2004, when my sister delivered her first baby.CJ grew up in South Korea and moved to America in search of better opportunities for a lively hood.Aai and CJ share an inexplicable friendship.They do not spend too much time together, nor do they speak that often but every year when Aai visits my sister, the first person she packs a gift for is CJ.Recently, when CJ’s husband met with an accident, Aai packed her a lunch box with home cooked Indian food, lest she have to spend time on cooking, after a long day at work.CJ in turn, brings Aai the choicest of fruits and Korean chutneys as she knows Aai loves them.Once we learn the subtle art of sharing by opening our hearts out, we are able to transcend the imaginary boundaries and unshackle the barriers of Geography, culture, language and skin colour.Right there, dwells the power of the Human connect.With such simple, soul to soul c
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  • International Children’s Book Day
    Asmita Javdekar | 15-Apr-2019
    When Salonie asked me to write something for the International Children’s Book Day on Kalamwali (www.kalamwali.com) as their featured author of the month, instinctively I knew, to whom this write up would be dedicated to.To my introduction to the world of stories, to the creator of my imaginary wonderland, to the woman who nourished my curiosity and harnessed my emotions, Maa Aji (my grandma)My earliest childhood memory of having all my senses woven into intense focus was when our bedtime story telling session with Maa Aji unfolded.Maa Aji possessed the power to bring her characters to life.Be it the humongous Ghatotkacha with an unsatiable appetite or mischievous Krishna who revealed the entire universe in his gaping mouth to his mother, Yashodha. Her soulful recital of Shravan Baal never failed to trigger sobs, amongst us, children.Our unanimous favourite genre, however was “Bootachya gosthi"(Ghost stories)My cousins and I would huddle together, fight for the coveted place beside Maa A
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  • Books- the best gift I gave my son
    Diyaa | 15-Apr-2019
    It was my son’s seventh birthday. He was as usual super excited about getting a year older and having to celebrate his special day. The thing that actually elevates his joy is that of receiving gifts on that day. He was so confused about the list he made that he couldn’t select what he finally wanted. Ultimately he asked me for a pack of books by his favorite author. The mother in me was so pleased with his choices. There were only twenty days left to his birthday when I thought of this, why not write him a book instead of buying him one. I gathered my thoughts and put them into a story appropriate for his age. With the help of my best friend, from the US, who is amazing at making illustrations; I managed to finish the book in just ten days time, writing, drawing, and printing. In fact, we gave it a return gift to all his friends in class; wherein each one had his or her name in the story too as the second lead to the birthday boy. The creative writer in me was thrilled to have done this, but wh
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  • GOD
    GOD
    Asmita Javdekar | 12-Apr-2019
    Whenever I pass a place of worship, reflexively, my right hand swerves to touch the bridge of my nose, followed by a gentle tap, somewhere on the circumference of my heart, concluding with a light kiss on the periphery of the index finger.2014 was the first time when Chinu, Dinesh and I, walked a part of the Pandharpur Wari( An annual pilgrimage on foot)To witness this ocean of devotion was a surreal experience.Amidst the tinkling cymbals, clanging Dhols, “mauli mauli” chants, we saw a paraplegic man riding on a makeshift wooden cart. He was using his hands to push himself ahead through the procession.Chinu rushed to him and volunteered to pull his cart. Curiously, she asked him how far he was seeking to go. He said, “All the way.” A whopping 21 day journey, covering over 225km on foot, in his case by hands.How can it be even humanly possible?With a bright smile on his face, he said“I have been going for years now. Mauli (God) takes care of my journey.”Chinu helped him cove
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  • Two cups of Tea
    Asmita Javdekar | 03-Apr-2019
    I was about to put my footwear in the locker at my morning Yoga class when my attention went to a pair of senior citizens, struggling with something on the road.I could sense discomfort on the old lady’s face.The man accompanying her, stooped to check on her shoes but this was making them lose their balance. I rushed to lend some support, sat them down and realised that the cause of discomfort was a tiny splinter of wood in her shoe.Once that was taken care of, the man wished to walk the lady to the nearby temple, which was about 200m ahead.He told me this was their routine.I accompanied them to the temple. They both had Name Tags on.The man appeared to have a speech and hearing problem and the lady had Alzheimer’s.She told me that the man with her, was her brother and he had forgotten to give her tea.She almost had tears in her eyes when she told me that she was starving since morning.The man tried to pacify her, but in vain.He insisted that he was her son and had made tea for her every morning,
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