June 22, 2009

Dad - I Miss you

SUNDAY was Father’s Day and for the first time in my life I missed my father. I never knew how much important he was to me. What all I could achieve in my life was due to him. He never questioned he never asked he just showed path. My dad I miss you.
Two months have passed
I’ll never forget the day
Someone rang to tell me
That you’d gone away

The hurt is the same
Like an open wound
There are days
I don’t utter a sound

Some days the pain is stronger
It makes me sick and weak
I can’t stand this much longer
I just sit here and weep

I’ve shut my private door
And let no one in
Locking myself in a box
They try, but I won’t give in

You were like a rock
Strong, faithful and true
What worth has my life
Now I don’t have you

I always loved you
My dad, my star
Now my pain is
To worship you from afar

I love you now
As I did back then
I just hope... one day
I will see you again

I am so proud of you
Brave and strong to the end
Now when asked “how are you?”
There is no need to pretend

We all love and miss you so much, sleep well
and take care of all who went before you

Forever in my heart x

June 9, 2009


ON WHAT’S going down under - INDIANS are divided in Australia on the issue and particularly on the word ‘RACISM’. Students are labeling it as racist attacks. Students want to label it as racism and so do the media but those permanent residents and citizens categorically deny it.
I was in Melbourne for around two weeks covering the story of attacks on Indian students in Australia. Baring couple of incidents – I would definitely raise my voice that it is not racism but a deliberate attempt to scare the Indian students. Who are those involved in the attack? That’s a question – police and even the Ozzie government has to answer to pacify the issue.

Here I am reproducing a story, which I penned for a local newspaper in India last week:

GURLEEN GULATI was flying high when she was selected for a master’s course in Swinburne University in Melbourne eight months back. She had plans to bring her younger brother to Australia for further education. But now everything has changed. “I will never allow my brother to come here, this place is no safer for Indian students a,” she stressed.
Over seven students all from India were attacked in Melbourne in last 10 days. And attacks are still on. Racism is the tag word being used while the Australian government refuses it stating that Indians are soft target.
There are 90,000 Indians studying in Australia. Education of foreign students has become big business in Australia, generating 15.5 billion Australian dollars (US$12.54 billion) in 2008. And Indians now make up 25% of students, up from just fewer than 10% in 1997. The tertiary-education sector is now the nation's third-largest export earner behind coal and iron ore. In Victoria state, education is the biggest export earner. The number of Indian students has doubled in the past three years, with two-thirds studying at private colleges.
Gautam Gupta, spokesman for the Federation of Indian Students of Australia said that violence against the foreign students has been escalating over the past four years. In Victoria state, police said 1,447 people of Indian origin were victims of crimes such as robberies and assaults in the year ending June 30, 2008, an increase from 1,082 in the previous year.
Now Indian students studying in Melbourne and Sydney are getting phone calls from families concerned for their safety in the wake of recent attacks against Indian student. “ I do not want to stay here. I came here last September and now I want to go back,” Anil Kumar, a student from Hyderabad informed. He said attacks on Indians are widespread and they are fearful to travel, especially at night.
Meanwhile, a sense of uneasiness is gripping Indian community, with suggestions and rumours flowing thick and fast. In absence of any common platform to share information or to give suggestions, SMS service has emerged as a major source of communication among Indian community in Victoria.
A SMS which was making round on the night of rally asked Indians to join the protest. “Guys show ur support and come to Fed Sqr, there’s been one more attack on an Indian student in Hoppers Crossing today and there this evening they entered in Gurudwara n beat one lady and her husband. Our 3 guys have been arrested, but the offenders are still free. It is time to raise our voice, plz forward this to all.” Another, which started circulating early Tuesday morning, asked Indians to sit in one carriage. “To travel safely all Indians are to travel in the first compartment known as Desi Dabba of the train. That way we can be in numbers and help each other at any time day or night. Plus introduce yourself to other Indians that travel with you everyday at same time and going to same place, Plz forward to all Indian community.”
It is difficult to ascertain source of these SMSes, and thus the validity of the claims they make. However, such messages are adding fuel to already panicked Indian population. In India, Australia is being labeled a racist nation in media reports, a claim made a number of times in recent years around Asia. "There is a definite risk that this violence will affect the flow of students," said Andrew Smith, national executive officer of the Australian Council for Private Education and Training, which represents private vocational colleges. He added that "the majority of students have a safe and enjoyable time" while studying in Australia and those one in five students seek to settle here after graduation. Still, he said, the reports of the attacks hurt the nation's reputation. Now not only the students’ community but also those who have got permanent residents are also worried. Srilakshmi is married to Chandrasekhar in Melbourne is also worried. “When I came here two years back things were normal but now suddenly these attacks have created an atmosphere of fear,” she said. Australia Government has asserted that hate crimes would be considered offensive and a task force would look into the cases of attacks on Indian students.