Friday, October 6, 2017

One-Full, Two-Half



It is a hot afternoon in the ‘70s, and we are at the Chembur market. My mother had pulled my sister and me along for a round of miscellaneous shopping.

Chembur market, a very crowded place, was a one-stop area for everything you could think of – greens, veggies, school books, coffee powder… There were special South Indian stores for items not available in the general stores and South Indian magazine shops for our weekly reading. Basically, everything under the hot Bombay sun.

There were numerous eateries along our way to keep the two girls distracted. Our mother – like all mothers - had the ability to act like she hadn’t noticed our pleading looks. But when we kept persisting, and she couldn’t evade the stares any longer, she came up with questions like:

‘Do you know what kind of water it is cooked with?’
‘Do you want to get cholera?’
‘Do you see that guy’s fingers? How dirty they are! And yet you want to eat that?’

To be honest, my sister and I were willing to risk a bout of cholera to get some of those goodies into our tummies, but we had a feeling that reply wouldn’t go down too well with our mother. So we kept quiet and trudged obediently along… until we reached the sugarcane juice vendor.
My mother was too tired to argue by this point, so she decided that cholera was something she could live with. The three of us chose not to dwell on the vendor’s nails, which were blackened with dirt and almost completely dipped in the jar of juice.

‘One-full, two-half!’ my mother said to the sugarcane-wallah.

Wherever we went, whatever we bought, it was always the same – ‘one-full, two-half’. The same thing would happen when we went out with our father. He would order two Gold Spots or Mangolas – one for him and the other spilt between the sisters.

One-full-two-half was the norm in many middle-income families like ours, where parents didn’t want to disappoint their kids, yet didn’t have money to splurge on them.

Our home had a constant flow of guests and relatives, and my mother was always cooking in huge proportions. Our guests spanned various categories – relatives, family-friends, father’s Rotarian friends, sometime our uncle’s friends from Chinmaya Mission (all sanyasis but of assorted varieties, from South Indian to American to Italian…). Regardless of who it was, we would all eat sitting cross-legged on the floor in a large circle.

Maybe this trait in my parents - treating everyone equally, with no one being any less or more special in their eyes - endeared them to so many and made them all feel at home.

To this day, the one habit we sisters continue to follow is to eat everything on our plates -absolutely no wastage. Something that was drilled into us by our parents.

When my roles changed, and I became a mother, I tried to continue the same good practices –but they boomeranged L

When my elder son was 5 years old, he once refused to finish his food and was coming up with various excuses. I started telling my usual horror stories of how children in Somalia don’t have anything to eat, and that the food that he wasted could feed two kids there and so on…
He finally force-fed himself, and threw up everything. Probably, he didn’t have the courage to tell me that the food didn’t taste good that day. Needless to say, he and his father kept wailing at me that whole day. That was the end of that Somalia story.

On another occasion, I was shopping at a market in Bangalore with my friend and my second son who was then 8 months old. We stopped at a popular juice shop, Ganesh Juice, at Jayanagar 4th block. I just ordered 2 mango shakes (both ‘full’ of course 😊), not counting the little one.

But I realized it was a bad idea when my glass was three quarters empty, and I had not even started drinking it. I had misjudged the little fellow. My friend, the shopkeeper and the others there were giggling at my predicament and the burping little boy.

Food brings up a lot of memories - all of them good.

Being a family of foodies, food is always the key ingredient at every get-together.

Every wedding we go to is strictly rated by the quality of the food served. While having breakfast, we plan lunch. And at lunch, the day’s dinner is decided.

Now it is time for Diwali and sweets.
Growing up we saw our mother preparing many different types of sweets and snacks in huge boxes, over 4 or 5 days. The three of us sisters, and a few other kids from our building, would sit around in the kitchen and help her. It was indeed a lot of fun.

Now when I see her fingers weakened by arthritis, it is hard to believe that these same fingers put together all those massive Diwali feasts over the years…

My parents were made for each other- Appa liked to invite people over, and Amma enjoyed cooking for everyone. A formula for a happy, simple, content family.

Will their daughters ever be able to measure up to their generosity and open-ness? We are trying!

This Diwali, lets Waste Not, Want Not. Have lots of sweets - do not take the fun out of the festivities by counting calories. You can always compensate for the overdose of sweets post Diwali, by doing pushups, planks and crunches until it hurts!
Happy Diwali everyone, and warm wishes for safe, fun-filled and responsible celebrations!














Sunday, March 27, 2016

T 5

T-5

Cricket has always been the favourite game of Indians. When I was in school, in Bombay, I remember how every other person would have a transistor stuck on one ear, listening keenly to the commentary. A sudden yelp of “Out!! Out!!”, or breaking into an impromptu dance, was considered perfectly normal behaviour when a person with a transistor on one ear did it.

Or there would be a crowd sitting huddled around a table with a transistor blaring cricket commentary.
Pocket transistors would invariably be on the wish list of many youngsters when an uncle or aunt was visiting from Singapore or Dubai. Young wannabe heroes of the neighbourhood flaunted their pocket transistors when there were girls around. Pocket transistors then had the status that an iPhone has now.

In class rooms, the usually noisy boy would appear to be intently concentrating on the teacher’s boring lectures with his head close to the desk. Even before the teacher could wonder if finally all her disciplining had worked, we would hear him scream out “Gavaskar century!!”  He would slowly realise where he was, and not waiting for the teacher to throw him out of the class, would walk out voluntarily. With the transistor, of course. All his friends who were left behind in the classroom would look at their pal with envy.

Those were the pre-TV days. Then TV made its entry into the big cities, and things started to change. Everyone was thrilled at being able to finally see their favourite cricketers in action. We could enjoy each and every ball on all the 5 days glued to the TV.
But there were a couple of small issues here.

Issue 1: not all homes had TV sets. So we would all rush to a TV-owning neighbour’s home, provided they were gracious enough to allow a bunch of unruly kids to sit in for the whole day, shouting and screaming with every ball played. During lunch time enticing aromas would waft gently in from the kitchen.  Before we could complete wondering about whether this aunty will be nice enough to offer us some food, we would all be promptly hauled out of the living room, and asked to return after having lunch at our respective homes.

People didn’t crowd around a transistor anymore, but crowded outside a TV appliance store where cricket was shown. The shopkeepers’ not-so-subtle way of enticing people to purchase a TV, probably.

Issue 2: we had school to attend. So the day after the final day of the test match - if it was an important match - teachers would see many leave-letters on their tables.
“As I was not feeling well…. could not come to class”
“As my grandmother was admitted to the hospital…”
“As my uncle got married…”
 And the most popular of all excuses-
“As my grandmother died yesterday…”

Don’t know how many grandparents found their names in obituary columns during cricket matches.
That was the frenzy of cricket in India then.
Cricket still holds our countrymen and families together - not religion, not language, not politics.
If Dhoni has young aspiring cricket lovers as his fans on one side, he has an 80 year old person like my mother- a hard-core cricket lover - as his die-hard fan as well.
Be it a community get together, wedding or family meetup, cricket always adds the required bonhomie to the gathering.
And so it was with ‘T-5’, played on Republic Day this year, when the family got together to celebrate the silver jubilee wedding anniversary of my sister and brother-in-law.
~~~
It was a match of 5 overs.
There were 5 players in each team. Players’ ages ranged from 13 years to 53 years. And the fitness levels ranged equally erratically.
Knowledge of the game varied from ‘very good’ to ‘completely confused’. Playing experience?  Less said the better.
This had all the ingredients that go into the making an interesting match.
Team selection, 2 umpires, fielders, runners for injured players… You may ask - all this in a team of 5?
I guess a little explanation is in order -
The two captains chose their teams with no particular calculation, haphazardly. The 92-year old senior-most member of the family was elected as the third umpire. A person from the batting side who did not have fielding or batting to perform automatically became the umpire on the pitch.

A few trees doubled up as non-complaining dormant fielders, and served as boundary markers as well.
Every run was decided not on its merit, but on the shouting and bullying capacity of the teams. Occasionally ‘run-outs’ happened, or a few extra runs were scored, thanks to people forgetting which team they were playing for.
At the end of all this pandemonium, a very exciting match was played, that had all the elements the best cricket matches have seen -
Runs, cheering, injuries, umpiring mistakes (and the heated arguments that go along with it), and a little match-fixing too.
Lessons learnt from this match:
You don’t need to have the strongest players in your team to win. You just need to know the weak points of key decision makers, and know how to use it.
In this match I knew that our senior respectable third umpire had a weakness for chocolates. All I had to do was bribe him with promises of Lindt chocolates, and promptly decision began to turn in our favour.

Needless to say, our team won. In Lagaan style!














Friday, March 25, 2016

A Tale of Three cities

A tale of three cities
I am on the wrong side of 50 now, but this is the right time to look at my life so far in retrospect, in particular on the influence my parents have had on me. The most important lessons in life are those that are learnt as you grow up watching your parents.

As amma turns 80 this month, I am off on a flashback trip, with my mind racing from the 1960s and 1970s in Bombay to the 80s and 90s in Coimbatore and later in Bangalore.

Sangam, Bombay:
The name Sangam for the building in Bombay that we grew up and spent all our childhood years in, could not have been more appropriate. Sangam, meaning confluence, was indeed a place where you could see a perfect blend of Indian culture.

Nowadays, people renting or buying apartments in metros make their choice based on the profile of people in the neighbourhood, and their culture, religion…  But when my parents started looking for a flat in Bombay, there were only two considerations - availability and affordability.

A simple Tamil Brahmin couple from a conservative orthodox family - father being a native of Trissur in Kerala, and mother from Madras, came to the big bad city of Bombay to start their life together. They purchased the flat No. 10 in Sangam building in Chembur, and found that their neighbours were a Muslim family in No. 9 and  a Sikh family in No. 11.

The men and children went to work or schools and that left the three ladies to amuse themselves. My mother’s best friend till date remains Hanifa aunty. They used to talk for hours together, on topics ranging from each other’s religious practices, customs, politics, gossip about the other neighbours, worries about their children, cribs and complaints about their husbands and, needless to say, their mothers in law too. 

Those were the days of Indira Gandhi’s glory. The three ladies were her fans – Indira’s saris and grace also being a topic for detailed discussion, I’m sure. The sardharji aunty, like we called her (we don’t know her name to this day), distributed pedas to the whole building when Indira Gandhi won for the second term.

During the month of Roza, we would eagerly wait for the evening, for Hanifa aunty’s family to break their fast, because we would then get delicious sherbet and mithais. Diwali or Gokulashtami saw their kids sitting with us and helping amma in the laborious preparations.
That was the spirit of togetherness, harmony.

But not once a big deal was made by our parents, or by them, as to how all people are equal or that differences were to be accepted and respected. Our parents just a lived a normal life with neighbours, revelling in each other’s’ joys, being supportive during each other’s tough times.
They taught us through their actions, and not so much by words.

Memories of life in Bombay are filled with us playing a lot, watching Ramayana, Chitrahar and, not to forget, cricket in our neighbour’s TV. Until we got our own Bharat TV! Bombay also showed its ugly side once, when Shiv Sena was targeting and humiliating “Madrasi” women.
Once we were taunted and teased for being “uncultured madrasis” by a Maharashtrian girl of our age in the building. When we complained to amma about it she just brushed it off saying, “Its ok, you just score marks in exams and show her who is better”!

That was a masterstroke from my mother. This was her way of handling these small skirmishes and using them to motivate us to do better, even if it was just to score a point with our bully!
Never once did she intervene and fight our small battles for us.

R.S. Puram, Coimbatore.
In 1976 we moved to Coimbatore, where I spent my college years.
If Bombay was a simple middle class life with a closed group of friends and neighbours, we were exposed to the elite of Coimbatore. Appa became an important Rotarian in one of the popular rotary clubs in the city, and we learnt to mingle with mostly the elite of Coimbatore. My parents hosted many parties at home and we got be part of the arrangements. My mother - who never knew cooking when she got married and came to Bombay - had sharpened her culinary skills and was now cooking and hosting dinners for huge groups with elan and ease.
We girls watched her, helped her in organising these parties, and slowly honed our skills to do the same when it was our turn to do so.

It’s in Coimbatore that we saw our father organise concerts and events through his rotary club, with us girls pitching in by selling S.P Balasubramaniam’s concert tickets to our college friends.  Social service activities mixed with fun and dinner flavoured our years in Coimbatore.
We learnt to take up social service activities as part of growing up, witnessing our father’s passion.

Bangalore:
Then from the beginning of 1991 I moved to Bangalore and saw myself playing the part my mother did, be it parenting or cooking or being a supportive wife.
That was also the time when changes were taking place in the political scene in India that sadly seemed to alter the way people chose neighbourhoods, friends etc. Many events had pushed people to become a little more suspicious, less inclusive.

How different this modern-day city was to the old Bombay we grew up in, I wondered…
I sometimes think “had we lived in the same building now, would things have been different?”
Then immediately the picture of my parents and our neighbours would come to my mind, and I would feel re-assured with a sense of hope!

As long as we have people like them, who are not judgemental, we can ride over any issue and handle it maturely. Growing up in a truly cosmopolitan society had really broadened our outlook.
All parents nurture, groom and teach values to their children – no doubt.
But what children learn watching what their parents do – and not spell out – is a lot. Parents reveal much more to their children by their actions and attitude, than by just words.
This article is a tribute to my parents, who have inspired us and a few others too, with their “simple-living-high-thinking” values and their openness. Our home was always a happy and inviting place to all, and filled only with good memories, thanks to them.  




Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Its a boy!

It’s a boy!

Diwali is still two months away and I have already started Diwali shopping! I can’t believe myself!
A typical Diwali shopping at my home would begin a week before the D-Day. Well how much time does it take to buy few boring shirts for the three men at home? Complete half an hour if we stretched our time and tried to look through the whole stock in the store. But if you had to shop for a daughter things would have been completely different.
Planning would start by doing a little research on the latest designs, silks, new shops in the neighbourhood and most importantly what the aunty next door is buying for her daughters, So we could outdo the aunty and her girls!
Once the research is done we would get into the second phase-convincing ourselves and the breadwinner of the family- the father that this certain shop was offering   a “ buy 2 get one free”  and we would only gain by actually buying two instead of one. Before the father could assimilate the statement into his system, and make some simple calculations the women in his life –his wife and the girls had already  off loaded some weight off his tattered wallet.
Phase three would be- setting aside a few days for hopping  from one  shop to another across the city, pulling out all the neatly  stacked saris  throwing them over the shoulder , looking into the long mirror provided and checking  which one  made us  resemble Aiswariya Rai or Katrina Kaif. The sales man saying, “ Oh! Yeah!That’s perfect on you….just right” for all the ones we   tried didn’t help at all.
You know what they say-‘The mirror never lies’.
We are slowly brought to the hard ground with a thud and finally settle for one…or two …or may be ??
Well I will save you all the details of Phase 4- designing the sari blouse, hunting for the perfect tailor, buying matching accessories...Phew!!!
These laborious processes are some of the best things a mother goes through with her daughters.
But this mother was deprived of that pleasure for all these years.

Time for a little flash back…..

About 28 years back lying on the delivery table waiting eagerly for the doctor to check the baby and break the surprise – the Doc asks me,” So what is it you want – a boy or a girl? And without hesitation I said –“a girl.” She shook her head from side to side and said you have a son.  I had a choice of dressing up my son in girly pinks or shopping for blue clothes reluctantly..
I always look at the brighter side of life and decided- there will be occasions to enjoy being a boy’s mother.

That day came when my son reached a marriageable age and it was time to find a nice a life partner for him.

I have seen a lot of arranged marriages to know that the prerogative of bossing, choosing, declining, scrutinizing, looking at prospective brides like a machine piece and finally magnanimously permitting my son to nod in agreement  was mine. Isn’t that the way all weddings happened so far in our families?
Well I agree that was too over dramatic. But you get the drift I guess.
  One day our son called and threw cold water on that too and put a stop to all the frenzy and announced his decision to marry and that he had found his choice.

What??

And here I was- looking forward to “seeing many girls”. What about the list of questions I had put together as part of my interrogation process?
How will she compare to all the points in the profile of my daughter in law I had created?
Now here I am shopping for Diwali- for this girl who bosses over my younger son,  demands that my husband   talk to her and give her attention first  not just his son,  calls and enquires often   about my cough  that I have been having for long…. Everything a daughter would do.

Finally, this home has a daughter.

Got to rush…I have many more shops to go to, to buy a beautiful Diwali sari for her… and then the phase 2...phase3!.Will it be ready by Diwali?? God Am I getting an anxiety attack??

Where is my husband’s credit card now??!!









Sunday, July 20, 2014

Selfies??

Selfies??

These days whenever I see ‘selfies’, I always wonder - why would one want to take a picture of themselves? Aren’t photos for the memory of an occasion - an unforgettable event, a sad send off, a happy reunion and so on?
Nowadays, I open my Facebook and see many posting pictures of them taken by themselves.
Having grown up in an age when cameras were not that commonplace, it was a novel and prestigious equipment for anyone to possess.
When we sisters were still in school (ranging in age from 5 years to10), we grew up in Bombay and our father didn’t believe in owning a camera. But he loved to pose for a picture and always knew to turn his face just a little so that he shows his best angle. We had to wait for a week to see the photographs, and once they came in he would keep admiring his profile, showing-off to all and sundry, until my mother had to politely tell him to stop making a big deal of it.
Once a close friend in the building got a camera and all of us went to the terrace for a photo session. We went with lot of powder dabbed onto our faces and perfume sprayed generously. One person had a pair of goggles, and all of us started fighting for it as we all wanted to look like Sharmila Tagore, Nanda or Mumtaz, whoever we considered ourselves closest to in appearance.
There were about 10 of us in that group and the photographer had to take 10 pictures of the group, so that each one of us was seen wearing the dark glasses in a photo.  Of course my father can be spotted with his head turned to one side a wee bit because he wanted to show his best angle!
Weddings were a good time to pose and take pictures, even then. I always found the group photos very hilarious. We would have a group of 32 or so people crowding and the photographer trying to fit everyone in frame. And each and every one of us - posing with smiles, frowns, straight glum faces, face turned at calculated angles, sometimes children open mouthed and yawning -had a story to tell when they saw the photographs years later.
Did we ever wonder if anyone from the wedding house actually cared about how we all looked? It was just another obligation they were respecting - “have to finish with the group photo routine quickly so we can go and eat” would have been their thought, I’m sure.
Sometimes we even cover and block out the groom and bride completely in our attempt to be seen in the frame. Yeah, well, they would have come in all the other pictures, right? One less wouldn’t matter now, would it?
Then a little later, when I grew up to be a teenager, came the video craze. No wedding was complete without video coverage. That became an added expense at the wedding. Video coverage was considered prestigious and one sign of a pompous wedding. Video recording soon became another vocation to be taken up by many youngsters.
And all of us who were novices in posing for videos ended up staring into the camera with extra glum faces, whether it was for the famous group photos, or when we were just eating or sitting in a group chatting. We would suddenly become quiet and peer into the camera for a second or two, trying our best to act natural, but ending up far from it. Our parents had taught us to eat everything that was served and not waste a single morsel. But when the videographer was covering us while we were eating, we did not want to look greedy, so we would leave a piece of laddoo or vada uneaten. Building a good impression for that one second of coverage was more important than the ‘right thing to do’ - not wasting food!
The worst would be standing for a group photo and not knowing if we should act natural and continue talking so it looked candid for the videographer, or pose and give our best angle for the still-photographer, as both would be taking the pictures together!
Those were the days when there was a little nervousness, novelty, pride and simplicity in getting photographed!
Some of these things are pretty much the same even these days. We still queue up during wedding receptions and wait patiently for a group photo. We still think ‘dark glasses’ or ‘shades’, as the goggles are called these days suddenly adds to our style quotient.
But one thing I still cannot comprehend is -Selfies.
Recently my son took a selfie of a bunch of us, and we all look like we are vacantly staring into the sky as he is tall and had the camera held up even higher in his outstretched hand.
I don’t think I will ever get savvy at selfies. Even now every time I go to a studio to take a passport size photo for visa applications, I have to be told to look just a little up, no right... maybe a little down…no, no, don’t close your eyes… Phew!!
After all these instructions my passport picture looks like one picked out of the “most wanted” list from the police station nearby.
If I were in the immigration counter looking at that picture on the passport before me, I know I would hit the alarm button immediately!
With such a knack for posing I would never attempt selfies!




Wednesday, May 21, 2014

My Running story

52 years old, hyper tensive, unfit, problems with knee  etc…not an ideal profile for taking up running .So when I told my family and friends that I have joined a running program  all had only words  of caution for me and discouraged me from joining this program. But I am glad I just listened to my heart.
Frankly I also didn’t expect anything miraculous to happen to me. I was hoping to lose weight-one issue I have been fighting against for long now.
So the first day when Santosh said,” Do not expect Weight loss “you can imagine how I felt then.
But once I got into the program all was forgotten. I was just enjoying the routine and slowly coping up with it.
Finally came the decision making time for me when time was nearing to sign up for  TCS Run.
I felt it was too early for me to enrol into this at this stage…my family of course agreed with me nowJ
But our RBR what’s app group didn’t give up on me. All of them kept slowly encouraging me to sign up- “We are all with you. Come on.” –They said.
This time again I am glad I listened to them and not to my fa mily and my fears.
Then again after debating whether I should sign up for Majja run or Open 10 k
(my ego did  not allow me to opt for senior citizens categoryJ) finally I  put my name down for 10 k.
The D-Day:
Just like facing board exams for the first time I felt nervousness, anxiety and jitters when the D Day was approaching.
We got up early in the morning at 4 am ( I have never done that even before my exams) and reached  UB city to see many people already there . I have never seen Bangalore so active and abuzz   with activity so early in the morning. There was no time for fear any more. We were all extremely excited. As we approached   Kanteerva stadium the thumping music and the RJ’s cheering set the mood.
Finally the actual event started. We were at the start line and celebrities like Carl Lewis and John Abraham were waving us off. By now I was feeling like a professional runner myself. I wanted to shout out to John Abraham-Johny boy with all the muscles and fitness why don’t you also run like us…You Can Do It Man!!  J
The music along the way, the volunteers cheering   and the facilities helped a lot.
And after about 1hr 40mins I  finished my first ever 10 k run.
I couldn’t believe myself …But yes I did it.
I did it without any injuries, without breaking out of the race and more importantly- in time. The electronic chip would stop registering time automatically if we went beyond a stipulated time.
Thanks to Runners'  High for giving me all the hope and encouragement throughout even during practice sessions. Once during the run I suddenly had to jump to the left and put my foot in a puddle as the Fortis ambulance was rushing. Not only did I  not  end up with twisted ankle or fall but I  managed to continue running without stopping.. Thanks  to the stretches of our feet at the end of our sessions my balance was intact I think.
What can I say about RBR friends –my co runners? They are the most encouraging and lively group I have come across.
There’s only one complain about this whole running affair-
My family and friends avoid me and my phone calls like plague. They have heard enough about Running High and TCS and my self-proclaimed achievements. They can’t take it anymore,. And I ‘m sure they have passed on the message to others too as my phone has been quiet for some time!
I am changing my profile now- 52 years young, no Hypertension problem, no knee problems fitness improving, and a running enthusiast.
My family and friends agree with me this time!




Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Let us change for a better India.............

Let us change for a better India……
Change is required and is a very important ingredient of any evolving society. When we look around us and exasperate over various issues, bad roads, traffic, politics, corrupt and/or inefficient politicians let’s take a few seconds and give a thought on whether we contribute towards the solution or add to the problems with our own actions- knowingly or inadvertently sometimes.
 Don’t we contribute to the garbage in the city by not segregating our waste at home and also not reducing/avoiding plastics?
 Don’t we not add on to the pollution by not car - pooling, not using public traffic and not switching off at signals ?
 Do we follow traffic rules –Always?
 Do we pay our taxes regularly?
 Don’t we not sometimes get carried away by our own biases for religion or region and end up casting our vote for the wrong person?
I could go on, but the point is when each one of us finds it difficult to make small changes in our ways or our attitude to various things around us how can we see a change in our country? Why complain then?
At Jwalamukhi we train school children with these simple values and develop an attitude of making small changes in themselves . When these children grow up they will definitely be part of the change that we want to see in India.
On August 11th Jwalamukhi children took a rally on New Bel road, Bangalore to spread these social messages among people .
Children carried banners that had messages like,” I am a Hindu, I speak Tamil. But I am an Indian first”, “ I will not litter the streets.”,” I will not throw chocolate wrappers or on the street”, and were picking up plastics thrown on the streets by others. There were more socially relevant messages. They stuck stickers which said:” I will follow traffic rules” on vehicles. They also gave brochures with pledges by them to do the right thing when they grow up and also few ways of how others could make a difference.Children wearing t-shirts that said-“ I stand for change”, and with their faces painted with tri - colours not only looked cute , vibrant and energetic, but I ‘m sure they carried all the messages they were spreading back with them in their hearts too.
Happy Independence Day to all!
Together we can make a difference!!
Let’s start now!!!

Link for pictures of the rally:
https://plus.google.com/photos/105085413440680811765/albums/5910881029204309313?authkey=CIHL9Z_5s8OzOA