Today morning when I flipped through the newspaper, a government ad highlighted the prominence of the day. 12th January, the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda which is being celebrated as National Youth Day in India since 1985.

In his tweet Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi said I salute the venerable Swami Vivekananda on his birth anniversary.

Vivekananda is the youth icon that inspired millions of people not only in India but in other parts of the world through his literature.  His life demonstrates the power of human will.  When this will power has right agenda, it would create miracles.  Like in Vivekananda's case, if anybody desires anything at the bottom of heart and strives hard, no force in the universe could stop him/her.

 My connection with Vivekananda started very early in life.  In my student life, the availability of Vedanta literature from Ramakrishna Mission at a very subsidized price attracted me to read more about Swamiji whose words trigger lots of inspiration when you read.    For a rupee or two I then bought his famous Chicago lecture which laid a firm foundation for my life.

If there is any single source that transformed my life, no doubt that it is Swami Vivekananda. What I learnt from Swamiji is his ''inquisitive mind''. His ideas on ''education'' has brought sea change in my life and it kept my learning curve almost intact, even at 45.

The Prime Minister  Narendra Modi  when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat had celebrated the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda at a very grand scale on January 12, 2012 .  In his inspiring lecture followed by, Mr. Modi   highlighted that India is world's youngest nation with above 65% of population below 35 years of age.

If the energies of this youth population are properly channelized with skill development, it will become the workforce for the whole world.    

Youth, are you listening?   


Entrance of  New Delhi's World Book Fair 2016,  Hall 18 - courtesy : My Samsung smartphone E7

When I visited World Book Fair 2016 yesterday (10th Jan., 2016), my initial feeling is that I am a saturated man with regard to purchase of new books. The reason is obvious. Over the years, I purchased almost all books of my desired genres. I also felt that I should look up for new books only when I complete the reading of those books in my possession.

That may be a single big factor that pushed me to skip the Book Fairs in the last two years. My last experience says that you need to tie wheels to your feet to ensure visiting each stall in all Halls. On an average, it takes more than one-and-half hours to cover each Hall and honestly it would take the whole day to randomly cover all stalls. This time, I could visit only Hall No.18 which is near Pragati Maidan Metro station and bought a book - The Seven Mystical Laws of Self-Healing, by Sanjiv Ranjan.

Earlier, when I got down at Pragati Maidan Metro station, I found Book Fair ticket counter well within metro station. But serpentine queues at ticket counter was very disgusting and in these technological times, the organizers should have mooted the idea of e-ticketing system, instead of using paper tickets which is not environment-friendly and create paper-waste.

When pollution became a huge issue in Delhi with odd-even number of vehicle movement, the organizers must stop sale of physical tickets for any exhibitions and replace it with e-ticketing. This e-solution would save so many trees whose pulp is used for making paper.

The present Delhi Metro card must be upgraded to include other civic services like Book Fair or Exhibition tickets, fares for auto rickshaws, cabs, city buses which reduce the use of physical money in daily transactions.

Compare to earlier years, the cold in this winter is very mild, and therefore a visit to Delhi World Book Fair helps to ignite enough to read new stuff and that pleasure can't be described in words.

9th to 17th January

Time: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Venue : Pragati Maidan, New Delhi