Sunday, 30 July 2017



What an exciting weekend it must have been for all those living in Hyderabad and especially if you are nearby Gachibowli Stadium. A chance to click selfies with Rana, Sachin Tendulkar, Ronnie Screwwala and the Bacchans. And of course, hours of most spectacular performance by the home team Telugu Titans and the others. For them the season started with not so easy to win match with the Tamil Thalaivas. Rahul Chaudhary, the captain and star raider of the Titans, found it a little difficult taking Panga with their defenders. They succeeded in making him sit on the bench for good amount of time in the first half itself. Still, you need to admire his guts and decisions. Still we could see his experience count in decisive moments when he made Nilesh Salunke (raider) and young Vishal (defender) play their natural game. They did win but that pressure was visible in their eyes till the second half. Although the Tamil Thalaivas lost their first match, they deserve applause too. They played as a team and did not buckle down under pressure even in do-or-die raids. They have announced their arrival and Sachin Tendulkar will be happy to see his chosen ones playing well in their very first.

However, the match that was a real struggle for our Champ, Rahul Chaudhary was the one on the next day against the defending champions- Patna Pirates led by Pardeep Narwal. A word about this team before we discuss yesterday’s match. You might have observed there are practically no star performers in this team. If you try to recollect any players from last season, you may recall Pardeep and Mondal. This time it’s just Pardeep Narwal and others are all youngsters- strugglers, unknown names but extremely strong as a team.
Yesterday’s match was a fine example to prove that TEAMS ALWAYS WIN OVER INDIVIDUALS. Rahul Chaudhary was all set to make a new record of being the first to score 500 points in PKL. But, that golden moment was not to come, at least yesterday. Every time, he came to raid, the crowd got up and started chanting his name. But the Pirates stood confidently waiting to drag him back and shatter his dream. They managed to send him on the bench twice in the first half and twice in the second half. He was lucky once when the Pirates defenders unintentionally pulled his shirt and were given a foul. But that did not stop them from scoring. It was sad to see him err. On the other hand, Pardeep Narwal displayed the same cool mature attitude throughout the game. Even when his team was left to two players in the first half, they managed to avoid getting an All-Out. Instead he got them three points in a smart Super Raid. It was a joy to see him emerge like a tiger in the second half. He controlled the pace and moves of the game. His efforts were perfectly timed with the coach’s smart interventions. When Rahul Chaudhary was struggling to score the last point for his record, the coach took a strategic Time-Out. His instruction to the team: POINT NAHI DENA HAI. He knew they were winning, but he ensured the other team doesn’t get even a single point for their defeat with a margin of more than 8 points. Also, he knew what a Confidence breaking measure it would be for the players if Rahul Chaudhary got his one last point. The Home ground advantage surely turned sour for the spectators with this smart professional’s coaching skills.

But the whole limelight of yesterday’s performances was stolen by the smiling Irani MEERAJ SHEYKH. What sportsmanship he displayed on the ground during his match with Jaipur Pink Panthers. Manjeet Chillar and his star studded team were so sulky throughout the match that I am sure they didn’t enjoy a single raid themselves. They couldn’t score points. Not a single super tackle or super raid. While Meeraj with his defenders and raiders again proved the importance of team spirit. Manjeet with all his strategic know-how of techniques and with his capable players like Jaiveer too couldn’t add to the score as their opponents did.  Dabangg Delhi lovers will have a lot to talk about their cute ever smiling captain. 


One thing that Kabaddi lovers are going to miss this season is the KABADDI EVES. But more about them next time. Let’s hope Rahul Chaudhary crosses over 499 and achieves that one last point tonight.


Friday, 28 July 2017

Relevance of BaLA at Air Force Schools


"A picture can convey thousands of thoughts, feelings and emotions what no other means of communication can do." 
 All of us associated with the Education sector in any capacity would have visited such colourful, vibrant and lively classrooms at some point of time in our lives. I had this opportunity when I used to visit the Air Force School at AFA, Hyderabad. It was a Play school with many sections of Lower and Upper Kinder Garten. Till then I had never thanked Madame Montessori as I realised the play schools to be the best and easiest to prepare for visits of dignitaries and officials from higher formations. No questions about financial viability or performance of students in  Board exams to worry about. Clean the classrooms, get some fancy, colourful furniture, paint the walls with cartoons and make some equally colourful presentations and the work is done. Students could be themselves, their mistakes and clumsiness made them adorable. You could breathe a sigh of relief as the dignitaries wrote their remarks in the Visitors' Books. I had never taken the classroom walls more seriously than this.As a matter of fact, with minimum support from the MES, the walls of the school building and all of its fittings seemed nothing more than a liability.

 Image result for air force school pathankot
And then I landed at Air Force Station Pathankot which had a perfectly well maintained senior secondary school with a permanent building. The school had most of the necessary infrastructure and it was being periodically well-maintained by the MES.I decided this was the perfect Air Force School to enroll my daughter in pre primary class. Initially my daughter loved the colourful walls but with time the walls faded in the background as she immersed herself in the textbooks and worksheets.That was the time I realised how much time a child was spending looking at sometimes too colourful or otherwise too morose classroom walls. I couldn't be happier when as part of one of the co-curricular activities in the school, the Principal suggested use of a secluded patch of the boundary wall for a Graffiti (wall- painting) competition. My daughter was once again very happy with the new colours on the wall. As a matter of fact, the students had performed so well that the same became our wall of fame during visits/inspections.
But somehow, my Fauji mind wanted to see some uniformity and discipline in the rebellious colourful strokes of the students. I mooted an idea of painting all the corridor walls in blue and white pattern based on the Air Force Blue. Since white colour and students don't go well together, the Safai Karmcharis were prompt to debate its utility. So we decided to fill the corridors with huge posters of Aircraft and other information related to IAF. This way we could create an awareness to join IAF amongst the students too. Some thoughts and paintings of cartoons and animals here and there and I felt the work was done.
One fine day, while I was going around the primary wing of the school, I realised what futile effort it was. Since the teachers were worried about the maintenance of the posters not a single child was allowed to touch them or use them. Instead all the posters were taken off the walls and well-preserved in the staff room. The thoughts and quotes were painted at such heights that no child would even notice them.
 To quote Hercule Poirot, for the first time as a Parent and an Administrator I realised how imbecile the Educator in me had been. I had simply ignored the fact that the school was meant to make the whole process of learning enjoyable. Everything else would fall in place if the administrator in me worked towards this. That was the time I started studying about : Building As A Learning Aid (BaLa) an art advocated by a couple in Gujarat- Preeti and Kabir Vajpayi who used local knowledge to create conducive and economically viable experience for students of rural schools. Their efforts started to get noticed when many parents removed their children from posh, fancy private schools and put them in the government schools.

My learning:
Image result for Building as learning aid
Image result for Building as learning aid
1.  BaLa is not equal to painting the walls with colourful pictures. It has a scientific reason and approach behind it.
2. It's use is not restricted to primary classes.
3. It can include not only the walls but also the windows, the hedges, the doors and stairs. In short, every structure that is within the child's reach in a school campus. Creativity at its best.
4. All government schools in Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, New Delhi,Chandigarh have used it to benefit their students.
5. An indirect yet impressive way of assisting the students belonging to marginalised sections of society to the mainstream.
6. Work services and funds for such building construction and other work are also looked after by the governments and school administration.
7. It's use helps the students to bridge the gap between the theories of textbooks and its application in reality.
8. It acts as an added facilitator in schools with less or untrained staff. In fact, it can actually reduce the errors caused by faulty delivery of the teachers.
9. It makes the classroom and school environment more meaningful, lively and interactive for the students.
10. It helps to inculcate certain abstract ideas and competencies in the young minds.

Its benefits are many, but it would be worthwhile to note the main challenges it poses for the administrators  as well as the educators in any institution:

1. It means an added expenditure and earmarking of funds for durable paints, other tools and painters.
2. Some structures need to be rectified to become appropriate for the students' daily use such as windows, doors and /or staircases.
3. The authenticity, relevance and validity of the content needs to checked/amended time and again.
4. The manpower to be dedicated to design, plan and execute the paintings at various places will not be available for any other work.
5. Last but not the least, trying to make the effort an everlasting one.
Image result for BaLa in  government schools

Although these challenges may deter some administrators to apply the concept in their schools, but one can find solutions to all theses problems by using the triangle constructively. By this I am referring to the triangle created by the students-teachers and parents committees of the school. I always found support from my students and teachers for all my new initiatives. Once I was able to convince them about the importance of an action, they were my mouthpiece who convinced the parents as well as other members of the society. Once in a while, some generous parents were successful in getting sponsors from societies involved in educational philanthropy.

Image result for Building as learning aid
 As a result, the boring water coolers in the corridor became interesting points for tiny tots to check their height. The long corridors where students of higher classes left their dirty footprints earlier, now taught them about the dimensions of various sports fields. The doors which they were eager to bang earlier were kept open while calculating various angles and diameters.
It also turned out to be a way to lead the students to learn themselves. The brighter students used it to further to educate their buddies in the classroom while the teachers could give their throats some relief as the students enjoyed themselves in the corridors and open spaces.I found BaLa a very effective tool to standardise learning outcomes in a heterogeneous classrooms of Air Force Schools, especially in the primary and middle sections.
My association with Air Force School Pathankot was too short-lived and so were my experiments with using BaLa at the school. But as a Resource Person at RIE for the In service courses for teachers, I got further opportunity to train the JBT teachers of government schools of Chandigarh in implementing BaLa in their schools. And during a recent visit to Pathankot after the much dreaded Terrorist attack, I was once again reminded of the relevancy of this concept. As a result of the present Geo-political situation and increasing use of unconventional methods of assault, Air Force Schools in such sectors are losing their clientele day by day. This drop in number of admissions is directly related to the drop in its income, recruitment of capable staff members and performances  in higher classes too. Use of BaLa in Air Force Schools could lead to creation of student friendly, educative and interactive environment in otherwise morose residential areas. The fear factor and the anxiety of younger minds in such situations could be easily diverted and channelised to ignite the young minds.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Woman- Wife- Lady-Who Are You?

If a dog bites a man, it’s no news. But if a man bites a dog, it’s front-page breaking news.

Image result for princess diana and prince charles weddingEvery organisation must have had incidents where cases of conflicts between wives of influential colleagues stirred the otherwise routine office work. For a few days, the infamous couples would have been the reason for agony, anger and sarcasm in public circles and then everything passes into oblivion. Such news never hits the mainstream media as who bothers over some in house fights of an organisation.

It’s not the same with the Armed Forces and the affairs of their Wives Welfare Associations. This recent news report about the squabbling of wives of army officers at an AWWA event must have made a juicy report for The Indian Express and other social media platforms. Many ladies might have been reminded of their experiences with senior and junior ladies during their stays at Army units.

My journey with AFWWA started as an outsider. As Honorary Joint Secretary AFWWA, I was like a link between the First Lady (i.e. the President AFWWA who also happens to be the wife of the Commander or the senior most officer of the unit) and the administration. I was lucky I had other officers assisting me in carrying out major responsibilities and being an unmarried woman officer, I was pampered as a baby darling by the ladies. Mornings used to be spent shopping around the town for the charity thrift shops and planning welfare activities while evenings used to be spent at married ladies’ houses discussing all the gossip of the unit over delicious dinners. I wondered what a lovely life these ladies were leading: they were respected and looked after at all times, they were part of an organisation which looked after them while their husbands were in service and afterwards too. They used to meet during monthly regular meetings, showcase their talents, win prizes and gifts and interact amongst themselves over a cup of tea and refreshments. Their children were getting scholarships. They were getting other facilities at concessional rates.  During any mishap, AFWWA was at their doorstep with emotional and financial assistance. And most importantly, each of them had an identity as a Sangini- a member of AFWWA from day one when they got married to their husbands.

Image result for AWWA function
Life was perfect till I got married to a gentleman officer from IAF and was made aware that I was also a member of the AFWWA as well as Officers’ Wives Club. I was expected to not only attend all the activities and contribute actively but also ensure the availability of wives of my husband’s subordinates!  And then the glossy picture started fading. I could see ladies influencing the decision-making process, whims and fancies stretching over self-esteems of others and rationality giving way to eccentricities. Hundreds of articles would be less if one had to pen down the experiences of AFWWA events at even a single unit. They would surely make a juicy article for many. But discussing people would never help us find solutions to improve the situation. Whenever this came up as a topic of discussion with my male colleagues, I was surprised that they always had two extreme ways of handling it: those who ignored it completely saying AFWWA was a completely ladies thing and those others who dictated the behaviour of their wives. When I went back and saw the ladies, it made sense. Here we had some ladies who chose to remain silent and were too diplomatic when they had to give their opinions. Their husbands were doing well in service. The others whose husbands just didn’t care were the ones who either faltered and got branded as troublemakers or not-so-important ones; or became the mouthpiece of the senior ladies.

Being a firm believer, I felt there was an immediate need to include awareness of AFWWA and life after marriage in our training academies. In fact, the same should be one of the primary duties of an organisation like AFWWA which could impart life skill training to newly married couples to reduce the increasing attrition rates in Armed Forces. As a young officer, I was trained to respect and consider all wives as ladies. Be it a junior’s wife or the First Lady of the unit. But as George Orwell had said and I quote “All animals are equal but some are more equal”, life teaches you to look at things as they are. A senior lady demands more respect due to her age or experience than a young, newly wed lady. Fine, acceptable till then. But with her age comes a maturity which teaches her to assist the young lady to become part of the family and take her position in the family tomorrow.

Education they say is the result of your genes as well as your environment. Similarly, a lady’s behaviour is the result of her own personality, upbringing and exposure in service. What the husband’s tell or decide not to tell the lady about the organisation, its ethos decides how she battles out the journey of her existence in the social circles. As a lady when she lands up in the shoes of a leader as the first lady of her unit, her identity and actions become prominent. This is where all that unconscious learning, individual aspirations and husband’s advice comes into play. 

 Many of us are blamed to take our husband’s jobs too seriously and think that we wear the rank too. Many are branded to be the curious, over-active ones and at times the least interested ones by our senior ladies while we struggle with our roles as a wife, mother or a daughter-in-law. And then we wonder why the senior ladies forget their old days when they too had to juggle roles. We get scolded for being late, for not dressing appropriately or for not contributing to the welfare of unit’s families. The way we handle such situations decides and speaks a lot about how we see the organisation.
These days, everyone is more verbal and we all know our rights.  So we say stand up and give back. Nobody needs to tolerate such non sense. I agree completely. Also when we know the ladies don’t come under the Army Act.  But is confrontation always the best option to manage conflicts? Especially in organisations like the Armed forces, where we all know the golden rule: A senior is always right. And when in such cases the consequences are going to be: immediate posting out of the concerned officer and administrative action against the concerned officer for breaking the protocol for Redressal of grievances.

Image result for AWWA function
The newspapers and media persons would be adding to the brouhaha by using words such as physical assault, molestation and so on to condemn the act of the senior lady. Some of us would enjoy tragic pleasure remembering the times when she was rude to them in past similar experiences as some others would condemn the act. In my opinion, it is the time to get the true lady to the limelight and refuse the media to doubt the organisation. Yes I don’t support the wrong. But once done, it can’t be undone. 

 Ladies, let’s understand that there is a difference between being a lady and a woman. The term was used to address a woman with a royal blood in olden days. In today’s times, the word would refer to an equally well groomed, mature woman. Being a gentleman’s wife, the term would be automatically extended to us. 
 In these demanding times when our husbands are already busy doing their bit for the nation; let us support the cause by proving all these reports wrong. Let us recall the most important fact that we are all a family. We celebrate, enjoy, cry, complain but keep all our family secrets within the family. Let’s not wash our dirty linen publicly and let the media and bureaucracy make fun of us. Let’s be generous and apologise for our mistakes. Also, let’s keep the family in mind before we rebel. The AWWA/ AFWWA are our organisations and our predecessors have done a lot to bring it where it stands today. With our education, experience and enthusiasm we can make it more meaningful. Let’s learn to command before we demand respect. Also, let’s learn to follow before we lead the movement. When we can survive through births and deaths with more √©lan, why do we show such lack of manners and etiquettes in public spaces?
 Let’s awaken the force within and fight it out together as two sensible women and ladies, of course.

Friday, 21 July 2017


“I also wanted to join the Army, but you know I don’t remember the ranks properly, you see.” Says Boman Irani, playing the character of Principal of a college in Bollywood movie “Main Hoon Na”

Being an Education Officer in the Indian Air Force, one of the tricky jobs that I had to do year after year was briefing the Air force School and KV Principals and Press Reporters about the right way of addressing the Chairman/ senior commanders during public functions and press conferences. Still after every such function, I would prepare myself to apologise and get a taste of the commander’s mind after they faltered again and again. I wondered why it was so difficult for these highly qualified and experienced civilian officials to remember the ranks and just say them right! At times, I thought they did it intentionally to show their ignorance about the rank structure. At other times, I felt their ignorance baffled them. And maybe they were in so much awe of the uniformed superior’s demeanour, they couldn’t get it straight. 

 Related image

As the Executive Director of Air Force Schools I looked after and as the Nominee Chairman in Vidyalaya Management Committees in adjoining KVs, whenever I got an opportunity I tried to create awareness about the rank structure amongst the principals and the teachers of the schools at the cost of sounding rude, arrogant and egoistic while subtly stressing on the rank of specific officials they would come across in their tenures. But I always felt awareness would help reduce their awe, bitterness or indifference towards the rank structures. Many of them conveyed to me that when they addressed the officers as Shri/Smt________ instead of their ranks they actually showed their respect. I always replied asking them the very purpose of creating the ranks if they could be replaced by other words.
The Rank Structure of Armed Forces can be traced back to conventional armies and fleets of kings. In all such armies, identities of the commanders depended upon how many men and land holdings one could rule over. So soldiers got promoted to become Barons, Lords and Knights until they finally became the Commanders and council members. In India too we had such a rank structure in various kingdoms where we had Sardars, Balutedars, Nawabs or the Peshwas who would head a certain number of fleets and land holdings.
In modern Armed forces all over the world, there are two ways to address a person: one being a service number and another being the rank. The service number helps to individually identify u even in times of hostilities while your rank talks about your experience and stature in the organisation. This is a unique practice in Human Resource Management where the organisation gives you an individual identity and at the same time places you with others in a fleet. It tells you that you are individually responsible for your actions while you enjoy all the privileges of victory with your fleet. At the same time it also makes you aware that the organisation comes first.
As if this is not enough for confusing an outsider, one also has a designation for every person in the armed forces, so, for example: I am Service no___________, Rank______ and I hold the post of _____________. So what does a layman learn from this? That I joined forces in approximately ____ year, I have _____ years/kind of experience as an officer and my work area is related to ___________ profession of the armed forces. So much for the identity of each and every member of the force.
 This was all about rank structure helping you to place yourself in an armed organisation. Now take a look at what it does to make you feel part of the organisation. A rank structure tells you from day one: The team comes before everything else in life. It tells you that you will always be a step in the ladder. Today you might be a junior in the organisation; tomorrow a leader heading a team of the organisation and after a few decades; you might be at the helm of affairs as the chief. But still, remember there will always be somebody above you and somebody below you.
And that’s where they teach you about prioritizing your goals in life. They say the more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war. One has to decide what is important: the country’s interests, your men’s well-being or your own life. If you can’t save your own life, you are no good to your men or your country. So you have to make a choice; whatever it is and you train yourself to prepare for a combat in that way.
Many studies have been conducted to find similarities between managers and leaders. Also, there are various theories and styles governing leadership. Some support the equality of each and every member of an organisation while others demand categories of workers. The rank structure in a combat force like the Armed Forces is the only example where each and every man works on one principle: All for One and One for All.
The rank structure ensures each and every member is taken care of as far as food, clothing, pay and allowances and career progression are concerned. It earmarks each and every person with an appropriate appointment and assigns a unique set of duty and responsibility.  And at the same time makes it very clear that you are always part of a team and a family.
As human beings, we do bring a little subjectivity to this rank structure as it happens with any organisation dealing with human beings. So you find some leaders taking interest in their superior’s interests while neglecting the subordinates or vice-versa. Some may have their own selfish goals to work for. Often you might have hears that veterans being criticized for carrying their ranks out of their uniforms into the civil streets. Sometimes, the ladies married to the officers are also blamed for showing off the husband’s ranks as if they were theirs by virtue of the wedlock!
Yes that might just happen when your faith is your passion; when your passion is your obsession. When you firmly believe in an organisation which respects your individuality and still nourishes you to be part of a team, it becomes a way of life.  Probably that is why there was lot of in-house criticism in giving honorary ranks to sports persons in armed forces which never got printed in the newspapers. Courtesy our faith in the Rank Structure which taught us to respect the superiors in public and discuss the differences in private. Otherwise, have you ever wondered why every soldier is so ready to die whenever the country demands?
Because the priorities are always ranked for him from day one:Related image

Wednesday, 19 July 2017



“Did you like watching Jagga Jasoos?” my husband asked my 8 year old daughter and her response made us both roll in laughter.
“Elementary papa. Jagga was not as stiff and grownup like your Poirot or Sherlock. He is a school boy who solves mysteries while he sings. And he has such a smart friend with my name, not boring old men like Watson or Hastings who are always caught unaware by the villain.” says Shruti, my daughter.
Oh and we spent the whole day telling her about our favourite detectives. As a schoolgirl my elder sister introduced me to the teenage sleuth most popular among girls as Nancy Drew. This character created by Carolyn Keene was a fearless girl who would go around solving mysteries in her neighbourhood or at school or when she was on a holiday. She seemed so independent, logical and fearless. We all loved her. But the boys loved the Hardy boys more and every time tried to tell us how easy Nancy’s mysteries were as compared to the Boys.

But both the girls and boys liked the smart journalist Tintin who would go around the world solving mysteries, saving lives of his friends with his dog, Snowy. His friend Captain Haddock; his admirer, the fat singer Madame Castafiore and Thompson and Thompson were also a great source of humour in any adventurous tale. Living in Maharashtra with friends speaking fluent Marathi, we couldn’t miss our local detective who named himself on the lines of James Bond as Faster Phene from the village Fursungi. He was a detective par excellence and always eager to crack mysteries. He seemed closer to heart and home because he went to real places which we knew about and could visualise him when he unearthed mysteries.  
During my schooldays I and my sister were lucky to have a Principal who wanted students to choose books for their prizes in extracurricular activities. So a week prior to our Annual Prize Distribution ceremony, he asked the city book sellers to arrange for display of all kinds of books. My sister always helped me to choose a variety of books and one such prized possession of ours happens to be The Mystery at Cooper Beaches. 

That was our introduction to the adventures of Sherlock Holmes. We got more interested and next year my sister got The Memoirs of Dr Watson. After reading this one, it took us many years to accept Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as the creator of the famous pair.  For us Sherlock Holmes and Watson were as real as you and me. We felt the various inspectors at Scotland Yard to be as dumb as the Mumbai Police in Bollywood movies which would always arrive at any crime scene after the hero had smashed half of the goons. His peculiar habits such as keeping his pipes in his socks, living in a cluttered room, his love for violin and hatred of women made him seem more than just an imaginary character. We started with: The study in the Scarlet, The Blue Carbuncle and went on to the more intriguing Sign of Four, Speckled Band and the Hound of Baskerville. Mother used to say we learn from the company we keep. We wondered why Watson didn’t learn anything. He wasn’t always as quick as Holmes in making deductions. Still Holmes always took him as an accomplice on his adventures.
One fine day, we met a friend who introduced us to another detective pair of Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings. Hercule was just the opposite of Sherlock with his immaculate appearance, his polite mannerisms and his love for the fair sex. He had his own way of discovering the truth which was not very clearly told to us by his creator: Agatha Christie. But Hastings was more or less like Dr Watson. He had also gone through the trauma of serving in the Royal Army during the War. Since he was disturbed due to his experience in the war, he too was slow to grasp the evil emotions at play whenever a tragedy struck nearby. And again, they were very close companions: Hercule and Hastings.

Then came this serial on our very own Doordarshan, the only TV channel available in pre- Facebook days in India: Byomkesh Bakshi. We started watching it for Rajat Kapoor, in the beginning. Gradually we became engrossed in his method of solving mysteries. The Bakshi household was as urban Indian as any other household in Indian cities. Bachelor men would be idly sitting on easy chairs discussing everything written in the newspapers over a cup of tea and snacks while the man servant in the house would be running around on war footage. In this
household we had Ajit the docile follower and writer friend of the sleuth and Putiram his servant to add to humour to the tales. We loved him- a detective who wore dhoti, spoke Hindi and was as sharp as any other detective.  It was confirmed: you needed to be a man, a bachelor with a dumb friend to be a successful detective. But how could such boring people attract children to be detectives? Just because of their knowledge and their peculiar habits?

We wondered why there weren’t any grown-up, livelier women pairs of investigators till we saw a movie based on Agatha Christie’s novel: A Mystery at the Vicarage. Here we had an old lady’s disappearance being investigated by another very normal looking grand mama who was initially shown to be busy sitting in a corner knitting her sweater and smiling at everyone passing by. She turns out to be a sharp mind as she logically reads the meaning between each and every character’s dialogues and actions. We had found a match for the male dominated world of detectives. But then the boys were not very happy. They said she was not a real detective. In times of peril, she may get caught herself. Once the villains knew her to be frail and weak, she could be easily kept out of way. Fair enough. And our hunt continued…..

We all wanted somebody who was young, smart and enterprising and living with equally capable friends, not some dumb ghost writers. And then we found them on the Bollywood screens: Bobby and Jagga Jassos.

Here we had somebody as vulnerable as any one of us. Still, they were trying successfully to use their powers of deduction to solve the mystery. They displayed all normal human emotions and still they stood out in a crowd. Their disguises, their songs and their restlessness to achieve their goals: everything was so real, just like us. So, finally here were two individual detectives of modern India dealing with mysteries in an Indian not-so-unfamiliar way.

Sounds Elementary, mon ami?

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