A Verbal Graphic

or ‘A Graphic Verb’ if you will? 

I have often been dumbfounded by the almost palpable animosity between writers and graphic designers. Each insists that his own craft is supreme. Why so, I ask.

Would your body tell you to disregard words when it sees pictures? Or would it refuse to smell because seeing is believing?

Reminds me of the great C.P. Snow, and his work, ‘The Two Cultures‘. I am just as amazed as Mr. Snow to come across

C. P. Snow

C.P. Snow – author of ‘The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution’

‘…people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists…’

I see a similar animosity creeping up between writers and graphic designers.

I am a bit of both an artist and a writer. Actually, I am also an ‘artiste’ in my part of the world. I love performing onstage, whether as a singer or an actor. Friends, colleagues and family have often told me I sing well, or that that sculpture I made was like a whiff of fresh air. Or that the harmonica tune I played on WhatsApp was simply awesome.

I am glad when I see my work doing something (it’s usually a ‘good something’, heh! :P) to someone’s senses. I feel happy enough to be able to leave everything else to God’s own devices, once I have done my bit in creating it.

At school, I wanted to learn Math and Science and the Languages with equal curiosity. That I ended up on the Languages’ side is just what providence decided.

I haven’t ever quarrelled with the Arts – or the Sciences, for that matter – EVER.

I am sad to see people squabbling over whose craft is superior. I see great works of each kind, each fully capable of outdoing the other. That’s healthy competition to me. But when people forget that each medium is a message, I am well and truly upset.

I am inclined to ask at this point as to what kind of an education or exposure will reveal to us our own folly in disregarding entire spheres of human enquiry? What institution, books, visionaries can possibly inspire us to try and see human brilliance in all of its glory? What will make us better able to size up human endeavour in all of its manifestations?

If you, my reader, have an idea or two, please do tell me. On second thought, tell me even if you have none.

Can we learn to be more appreciative of each other?

Well, can we just?

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A Princess Grows Up!

When a child does well, the high experienced by parents is quite simply indescribable. To see one’s child do well is a million-dollar privilege. And blessed are the parents that enjoy such bliss.

Madhura, our beloved daughter, did exceedingly well in terms of performance at the Viva Nova Personality Contest held by Vibgyor High School in December last year.

This contest was a first for Madhura. It comprised a ramp walk, talent show, and question-answer session with the judges.

Madhura walked the ramp with aplomb that amazed even us, her parents. She was a picture of style and grace as she walked and paused and smiled!

Over the past few months, she has also perfected her mono act based on the subject of the power of women. The mono act decries the ill-treatment of women through the ages and vividly depicts various women who have done India proud with their incomparable achievements – including Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi and Indira Gandhi.

Kiran Patil deserves special mention here as the author of the script of Madhura’s mono act. He has taken painstaking efforts to achieve great effect within the space of the limited time available to Madhura at the competition.

Special reference is also due to Meghana Khandekar-Solanki of Mumbai, Madhura’s aunt, who fine-tuned Madhura’s performance. My li’l sis worked wonders on the junior actress!

Smita, our Meghu’s bosom friend and a very talented make-up artist, provided the grooming grace and utterly transformed our little daughter, so that even we were in awe for quite a while, wondering if we were attending a Bollywood star’s event at Mumbai!

Madhura won the 3rd award and rave reviews at the Akhil Bhartiya Sanskrutik Sangh’s national-level competition earlier last year at Pune as well. Since then, she has performed at various events and venues, always drawing spontaneous applause for her fantastic performance. She has been invited to umpteen such events to perform, inform and entertain.

It is Madhura’s birthday today, and she is all of 14 years. She’s already raring to strike out on her own as a theatre artiste. She wants to go all the way up, as far up as possible in life. But she is mature enough to know that she wants to WORK her way up.

She has been training since a very early age under Shubhangi Marathe of Vadodara, who has been educating her in Music. Madhura is learning to play the harmonium, the flute and the tabla. She is also training in Kathak under the expert guidance of a renowned Kathak exponent, Preeti Sathe.

We, her parents – Pradnya and I – wish her all the very best in her quest and hope she lives it up!

Here’s a photo-memoir of Madhura at Vibgyor’s Viva Nova Contest in Mumbai:

Madhura Khandekar at Viva Nova, Mumbai, 23 December, 2014

Madhura Khandekar at Viva Nova, Mumbai, 23 December, 2014

DSC_0229 DSC_0249 DSC_0230

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Dr. Ganesh Devy – A Fount of Perennial Inspiration

A man who teaches in better ways than experience can, writes seminally, speaks with democratic authority, and feels profoundly for the downtrodden and underprivileged, comes once in a few centuries. A man who is capable of maintaining perfect poise while balancing all these – and still has room left in his schedule for lesser mortals – is rarer still.

The Value of a Teacher


It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. — Albert Einstein

My teacher, mentor, guide, and literary guru, Dr. Ganesh Devy, is all of that and more. To me, he is a man of the rarest substance ever, period.

One of the many best things he has bestowed on me is easy access to him!

I couldn’t sing paeans to him for want of the authority to do as much; this post is meant only to introduce my friends, online followers, and students to the most eminent constituent of my being.

His influence and parallel reluctance to exert such influence have gone a long way toward making most of what I am. My beloved parents are responsible for the rest.

When I studied there, Dr. Devy was the only professor at the English department, M.S. University, Baroda, whose lectures were full house – each time, every time. His lectures went way beyond any attempts at emulation by employees of the department.

The Master’s Voice

I retain and treasure fond memories of his lectures on W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, the Renaissance, and the rest of the history of English literature. At a later time, he would speak so vividly on issues concerning the de-notified tribal populations of India, the listener could have been watching a movie on the subject, though such a movie would not quite be the same thing.

A linguist with a more precise understanding of the dynamics of language and its society never taught a course in India.

This sage among teachers gave to his life and his noble profession the best that anyone possibly could. To speak of his generosity at it would be akin to talking of the light that the Sun showers.

His visitors could easily listen to him for hours, spellbound, and yet leave his presence in a euphoria of the kind the Buddha would have experienced on discovering Nirvana.

But even when I went to his office at the department of English, or later to his office at the Bhasha Research and Publication Centre, it was always an indescribable pleasure. I have always experienced breathtaking elation and anticipation at the prospect of meeting Dr. Ganesh Devy.

A Living Ganesh

In an era of dire poverty in comprehension of the dynamics of the English language and perpetual indifference toward all matters pertaining to culture and education, Dr. Devy provided unprecedented insight into language, Literature, society, and their collective fabric. That, I believe, is a very elementary description of the man and his work.

I am a man of humble means and neither deserve nor desire any better. But for sending Dr. Devy my way, I shall remain eternally grateful – to the One responsible. Such gratitude may not repay in the smallest measure my debt to this teacher of teachers.

As George Carlin has famously said:

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life, not life to years. … life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by those moments that take our breath away.

Suffice it to say that Dr. G.N. Devy gave me a treasure trove of those moments.

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Meeting Marla Davis

It was a series of interactions over Google Plus that led to my online acquaintance with Marla Davis. Over time, as we shared our trials, experiences, and stories, the online acquaintance grew into an appreciation of and for each other’s qualities. Marla has penned a blog post that captures the essence of the bond we share. This post is meant to share the link to that post.


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On Starting from Scratch – III

Taking the Plunge

Perhaps it IS important to live well – have enough resources to feed the family.

What is more important in my opinion, however, is to teach the family and others around you to live proud lives. That pride should stem from the stature of the value it can provide to the society in return for all the conveniences the society provides them.

Fortunately for me, I did not need to teach my family anything at all. They are all so well-versed in the best ways to live, I discovered they were invaluable sources of inspiration, encouragement, and support of every kind to me.

I am guessing you have a family like that as well.

My family were far less addicted to my salary than I was myself. They genuinely wanted me back home. I had travelled all over the country in my quest for that perfect job, when all I needed to do was find it within.

If I had started out on my own when I was 30, I may well have been a proud owner of an industry-leading business today. I would also have been earning significantly more than any business could ever afford to pay me. But the best thing about it is being in charge of my own destiny. And that is what it feels like now that I have given up my job.

It’s your choices that make you, so it is important to choose wisely and well. I think I have done exactly that, for now, but only time can tell. I am confident that I will not be having any regrets, at the very least.

I earn next to nothing at this time. I believe I have maybe another 15-20 odd years before I am done with the whole business of earning.

In India, my country, we have regularly had people who gave up their jobs, life’s savings, and even ancestral property to be able to serve their nation – its ethos, people, and future:

  • A certain Rajput royal maid sacrificed her own child’s life to save the baby crown prince. As assassins murdered the king,they searched for the king’s son. The nurse in charge of the prince bundled him off to safety and put her own son on the royal bed. When the assassins came and asked for the prince, she pointed at the bed. You know what happened next. She is popularly known by the name Panna Dai.
  • Gandhi dedicated a lucrative law practice and life’s savings to the service of the nation. Even after independence, he did not crave a position in the government – perhaps because he had become too big to be a part of the government, by then.
  • One of my teachers spent all his savings to promote the cause of the tribals in my country. He was a professor at the university and probably made a tidy sum. But his thinking and feeling for the underprivileged and uneducated tribals led him to initiate several educational and reformative steps for their upliftment. I am referring to Dr. Ganesh Devy.

This background is indeed a great source of inspiration for achieving great things. Every other person makes a certain amount of money one way or the other. What is important, however, is how he or she lives.

If you are going to break free of the 9-to-8 schedule, go ahead and do it. Choose to live free, independent lives in the truest senses possible.

Doing your own thing and doing it well is more important than anything else.

I have started a business called Webwrit, a website content writing, editing, and translation service. I intend to provide the best possible service to business and other organizations. I will be helping them articulate their messages to their audiences. I will be helping them create their own identity on the Internet.

I will be scripting authority for them.

Have a look at my website: www.webwrit.com. On the other hand, I also have my other website, http://khandekarsacademy.in to look after.

Khandekar’s Academy is a coaching center for students in grades 8, 9, and 10. We provide coaching in all subjects to students from both the state and the central boards of education in India. We aim to provide the very best coaching possible, nothing less.

The content writing and coaching businesses are complementary to each other in a way. The one keeps us on our toes to do justice to the other.

I have already worked with some of the best minds in India, as my LinkedIn profile will tell you. I have a national award, a few publications, and a couple decades of experience under my belt.

I am all set to take on the future.

Are you?

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On Starting from Scratch – II

Dreaming Big

It does help to have a large vision for the future.

True, you may not become the next Google, Twitter, Starbucks, or Apple. Chances are, you’ll be nothing more than just another entrepreneur. And yes, the world is teeming with them. Competition will likely be tough.

Things can and probably will get really bad once you embark.

History is witness to the fact, however, that those who once embarked on downright crazy voyages and put themselves in clear and present danger have often discovered new lands, expanded the vistas of human thinking, and generally done what wasn’t even conceivably possible before.

This thought alone should give you enough firepower to steer your way through the choppiest of waters.

entrepreneur, spirit, taking risk, starting your own business,

What’s Life Without its Odds?

Do remember that your own reluctance to venture out into the open is the most difficult of challenges you will ever come across. Once that is done and out of the way, you are well and truly on your own. Still, however, there will be other daunting challenges.

Face them square on and every little victory, even defeat, will power your way to a most complete independence.

One of the chief attractions for me when I made up my mind to go it alone was the sheer prospect of becoming independent – financially yes, but also in countless other joyous ways. That in itself was such a big deal, I didn’t have to think twice about taking the plunge.

Think about it – people without anything significant to offer to the world have exploited its loop holes and made a living, even a name for themselves, out of it. There’s hardly a doubt about it – if you have something good to offer to the world, there will be takers for it.

I feel for every brother and sister in the world who is caught up in the dreary, time-consuming, and life-sapping schedule of the 9-to-8 monster and cannot do or think any better for the want of the courage to break free.

Well, Nature did not intend any one of us to slave for any other of us. It gave us spirit, gumption, and capability not so that we could just smile agreeably at the office, then curse it all at home. We were not intended to live double standards.

We were meant to live exemplary lives that would instill hope, courage, and confidence into everyone around as well as our future generations.

But most of all, we were intended to live happy, satisfactory, and meaningful lives. The society contributed to our education, all-round growth, and sense of fulfillment. We owed it back.

Instead, we chose to fill our purses and coffers, willingly rendering hollow our conscience, intellect, and free will. We succumbed to the pressures that drove us to our 9-to-8 schedules. When overseas competition drove us to the wall, we started acting like crybabies, over spilt milk.

Why did we not have the gumption to take the opportunity when it was available for the taking? Why could we not bring ourselves to outdo the competition in every way possible? Why did we not have the courage to take the reigns of our destiny in our own hands and personally supervise the directions we took ourselves in?

I am saying just this: for making a great, new start, you need to make a great, new start. It sounds daunting, but what’s a few challenges to a spirited entrepreneur?

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On Starting from Scratch – Part I

Starting out on a small, self-owned business isn’t all that hard. 

Yes, it takes a serious lack of addiction to easy salary, high levels of commitment to what one believes in, a strong desire to live life on one’s own terms, and a small pinch of madness to be able to kick the posterior of the 9-to-8 monster of a job.

And I am nowhere close to mere preaching. Yes, I have actually done it! I have gone and started my own little gig at 42. And what follows is experience talking in person.

Webwrit Writing Services

Stand up and be counted

Life is about much more than slaving at a desk all day and being unable to do much more than what those guys would have you do. Amazingly enough, I have seen corporate environments where your motivation to do more and better does not count.

By the dint of your expertise and experience, you tried to prove to the management that you were the better person to handle your particular department. You also did it without offending anyone. But the management wanted its own old hand to manage it for reasons of their own. Well, all the very best to them all, you say, and cheerfully bid them adieu and leave them to their own devices.

It’s now time to show them the Maker’s name. So grant yourself a couple of months’ holiday, then up the ante – big time.

Get that free website or WordPress blog or the small, local outlet and give it all you have. Agreed, you may not make it big anytime soon. You may even need to subsist on bare minimum for a while. But be aware that none of it is bad, not at all. If you trust in the value of what you have to offer, rest assured that the world wants it.

The world is such a lovely, greedy place, it wants everything that’s done or made really well. Doing or making it well is important. Providing the highest value has the potential to bring roaring business and blast the competition out of the water.

For some time after I started out on my own, I met only people who wanted to take advantage of my situation. I just gave them my smiles and kept chipping away at my blog and website.

For a worryingly long amount of time, I did nothing that directly brought any money. But I was confident that one day I would make it big enough to not just pay my bills but also do more in the interests of the family, friends, and the rest of the society.

Regardless of the outcome of my decision however, I am unlikely to have any future regrets. I want to do my own thing, period. My family needs me to be physically and mentally there for them. My daughter will be in the eighth grade next year. I need to provide coaching to her to equip her for her future.

To cut a long story short, I have priorities far bigger than a job. The prospect of starting out on one’s own is very attractive.

You can easily list your own reasons. I’d love to hear of them and the chance to talk to you, dear reader!

For sure, there will be challenges galore. But what’s a fight without a worthy opponent?

The upshot of everything is that life – and your priorities in it – come first. 

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