Friday, September 05, 2008

A Fortunate Student, I am !

I am very fortunate to have been in a boarding school for 8 long years with teachers who opened up our young minds, showing them the wonders of the intellect and the miracle of being able to think for ourselves. They exercised our mental muscles, stretching and strengthening, so that we can make challenging decisions, find our way in the world, and become independent. They were our parents, guide and friend with an overflowing heart. When I woke up, I realized that, it is Teacher’s Day in India and thought I should extend my gratitude.

Nirmala Sam Babu: My first teacher was Nirmala madam. It was when I joined a pre-school and I left the school after a year. The last time I met her, she told me I was her first student. She is a highly inspiring and a friendly person. Now that she runs her own school, St.Peters at Kodaikanal, one of the prestigious institutions in Kodaikanal.

Sheela Cherian – She is the first teacher anyone who joins Sainik School, Amaravathinagar would encounter. She taught table manners to all the students, on the day of induction. Things like, How to eat using a spoon and a fork… How to spread butter and jam with the knife… How to eat boiled egg… and most importantly, how to eat with our mouth closed. These lessons will stay with any of her students till the grave. Owing to her motherly attitude and love, she preferred to teach English to the sub-juniors classes. For certain, everyone in her class will develop an excellent hand-writing skills and the flow of language.

P.T.Cherian (PTC) - P.T. Cherian and Sheela Cherian are kind of made for each other couples. They joined the school when it was started in 1962 and after a few years, fell (rose) in love and got married. He taught Physics for the senior classes. Mostly, he treated everyone as adults and that earned him reverence amongst the students of all classes. Though he is no longer with us, the majestic way he carried himself as the longest served senior master, makes him an indisputable icon in hearts of the Amaravian family.

George Joseph (GJ) – He was heavily built, tall, high energetic and full of fun. When he used to teach Gulliver in Lilliput, we would be exactly like poor Lilliputians and he like the gigantic Gulliver. Be it prose or poem, he used to perform all sorts of animation to enact the scene and make it lively. It will be hilarious, when he enacts the baby in a poem like “Trot trot the baby goes; Trot trot to town….

Devanasamy (ADS) – The delight of watching The Story of India or History Channel or the pleasure of reading historical books, I owe to him. His many ways like pinching the arm in varied degrees of excruciating pain, would put any history lesson into the core of our heads. We have always admired the way he carried himself. The gleam of his shoes and belt, the whiteness of his shirts and the perfect folding of the pants are things I get reminded of when I wear a formal.

R Sreenivasan (RSV) – We can learn sophistication from RSV. He taught us geography and he was also my house master when I was a prefect. He left the school after he was appointed as the principal of Navodya Vidhyalaya

I.L.Fernandez (ILF) – A care-free and a simple person, who never carried the book to the class room. He taught us physics when we were in senior classes. Rarely writes on the board, but he will ensure that the lessons are written on our heads. Apart from Physics, we learnt mutual respect from ILF.

P.Chandran (PC) – A rare teacher and a genius who sometimes contemplates in his own world. If I were given a chance go back to the school, I love to sit in his class. He taught us Quantum Mechanics and always emphasized relating the theories to the real-world and the relative world. He is the first person who revealed the harmony of physics and meta-physics to us. Even today, when I am stuck grasping some complex relations, I think of him. He was my house master during the last 2 years of my school and made me the house captain too. In spite all the pranks I played and the difficult situations I created for him, he was very understanding and helpful.

A.Santiago Jayaraj Kumar (ASJK) – An idealistic, versatile and dynamic teacher. He taught us English. Though he treated all the students as equals, he always knew where and how to draw the thin line. I owe him, my voracious reading habits and my appetite for books. Be it poem or prose, the books never limited him from extending to the origional text and the contemporary writings too. For example, we had a lesson which was the condensed form of the book "To Sir, With Love" by E.R. Braithwaite. He used the origional book and also ensured that the school screened the 1967 classic "To Sir, With Love". On another occassion, there was a lesson called "The Man-eating Leopard of Rudraprayag" by Jim Corbett. Apart from teaching from the original book, he introduced Kenneth Anderson, who has written similar books. Had I not been in his class, the passion to read Saki, Ruskin Bond, James Herriot, Leo Lolstoy, Anton Chekov... and a numerous authors wouldn't have occured to me.

KR M Karuppaiah (KRMK) – He was my guardian angel :) He taught us Organic Chemistry. Though many guys scored well in the subject, for some reason, I could never understand it except for one formula C2H5OH.

V Govid Samy (VGS): A jovial and a carefree person, who always go by the books. He always bridges the student-teacher relationship to ensure comfort and was like a friend to us. He taught us Chemistry and was also our NCC master for the Naval Wing. I still remember my first day at the Naval Wing, when a guy banged his foot to make a halt while marching, he shouted “ Hey.. what happened and why are you getting tensed man? You will be standing on a ship and if you bang like this, the ship will sink”. He ordered that no one should behave over-smart and do fast actions during the drill. From that day, every drill will be fun-filled slow-motion gestures. He was also our ship modelling instructor.

King Kristo Kumar (KKK): A highly energetic and a loving person. He taught us Math with such an ease that, it would be like learning some poem.

D Mariarajan (DMR): A bold, rebellious and aggressive teacher. He was more than a friend to me. We had similar taste for songs and I got the habit of collecting sings from him. He taught us Math in junior classes.

S Saradhamani (SSM) - She was a very loving and a next generation teacher. She taught us english in junior classes and my passion for English as a language can be attributed to her. I still remember how we were almost in tears during her last class, when she left the school. To this day, I have not seen a hand-writing that is as beautiful as hers. It's perfect calligraphy. The 5 page autograph she wrote to me is a treasured possession. She is a singer too :)

M N Santhanakrishnan (MNSK): A perfectionist and the keeper of the morality. MNSK taught us Tamil and he had a peculiar way of blending humor and complex grammatical theories. Recently, he was awarded the best teacher award by the President of India.

V Charles (VC): An always smiling personality, who replaced CSG as the Biology Master when we were in 9th . Though I was not comfortable with biology as a subject, I loved attending his classes. It will be one class where we can sleep on the desk without being bothered or skip and go to the library without being questioned. We had enough freedom while he is in the class. We were supposed to do a project in 12th class and I planned to do “Fermentation of grapes by yeast”. When I told this with apprehension, he was genuinely happy for coming up with a novel idea. I was brewing black and white wines under the cot, one day he surprised me with the jamoon wine. He always taught us in our own way.

After the school, though life taught me all things, great and small, the lessons I learnt from these revered souls during the formative years laid the foundation for all that is good in me. All my good deeds I owe to them; all the short-comings are mine.

Monday, September 01, 2008

All in the name of Mahatma

Recently, I had been to a pub in Chennai with a friend. After a couple Jacks on the rocks, we decided to leave and the waiter produced the bill. My friend took his wallet and pulled out a couple of 500 rupees notes and I saw Gandhiji staring into my eyes. Swiftly, I took out my credit card and asked my friend to take his wallet off my sight. Since then, I have been wondering, in a country envisioned to be built on the principle of Mahatma, we do every forbidden act using the currency printed with his face on it. Isn't there a be better way to remember and pay our respects to the Mahatma?

Now, the government has invented yet another way to pay its respects to the father of our nation. Smoking in public will be strictly banned from 02-Oct-08, the birth anniversary of Mahatma. Don’t these guys have better things to associate Mahatma with? The act also empowers school principals, Postmen, Railway Stationmasters, even your boss to book you, if you're caught smoking in a public place. How ridiculous!

When you want to ban something, why do you allow its root cause to exist? Fear of loosing revenue? You give something and set the rules exactly opposite to it for your own amusement and pride. You allow production and selling of cigarettes and set a rule not to smoke in the public. It’s like Adam’s apple. Look! But don’t touch. Touch! But don’t taste. Taste! But don’t swallow
Statutory Warning: Smoking Cigarettes and Drinking Alcohol is injurious to health

Thursday, August 28, 2008


There is so much lusting for loftiness. There are so many convulsions of the ambitions. There are numerous ways to be crooked, deceptive, corrupt, treacherous, perfidious and all this and more for a menial living. Alas! This coarsely malignant greed is misunderstood as courage in this corporate world. The true courage really is, to be out of this rabble, from all those bawlers and scribe-blowflies, from the trader-stench, the ambition-fidgeting, the bad breath. It doesn’t take courage to be successful. It takes courage to be ourselves, to be unambitious, to smile at our defeat, to accept ourselves, to appreciate and acknowledge others, to commit mistakes, to surrender and to move on with an indifference to success and failure. It is fear that creates ambition, success, strength, power, aggression etc.

I am reminded of a beautiful parable.

A sannyasin by the name of Dandani existed in the days when Alexander was invading India. Alexander had be requested by his friends to bring a sannyasin when he returned from India..

They said, “Bring a sannyasin. You will bring many things but don't forget to bring a sannyasin; we would like to see the phenomenon of sannyas, what it is, what exactly a sannyasin is”

Alexander was so engaged in war and struggle and fight that he almost forgot about it, but when he was going back, just on the boundary of India, he suddenly remembered. He was leaving the last village so he asked his soldiers to go into the village and inquire if there was a Sannyasin around there somewhere. By accident Dandani was there in the village, by the riverside.

The villagers told, “You have asked at the right time and you have come at the right time. There are many sannyasins but a real sannyasin is always rare, but he is here now. You can have darshan, you can go and visit him.”

Alexander laughed and said, “I'm not here to have darshan, my soldiers will go and fetch him. I will take him back to my capital, to my country.”

The villagers said, “It won't be so easy.”

Alexander could not believe it -- what difficulty could there be? He had conquered emperors, great kings, so with a beggar, a sannyasin, what difficulty could there be? His soldiers went to see Dandani who was standing naked on the bank of the river.

They said, “Alexander, the Great, invites you to accompany him to his country. All comforts will be provided, whatsoever you need, will be provided. You will be a royal guest.”

The naked fakir laughed and said, “You go and tell your master that a man who calls himself great cannot be great. And nobody can take me anywhere -- a sannyasin moves like a cloud, in total freedom. I am not enslaved to anybody.”

They said. “You must have heard about Alexander, he is a dangerous man. If you say no to him, he won’t listen, he will simply cut your head off.”

The sannyasin said, “You had better bring your master here, maybe he can understand what I am saying”

The soldiers went back and told Alexander, “He is a rare man, luminous; there is something of the unknown around him. He is naked, but you don't feel in his presence that he is naked -- later on you remember. He is so powerful that in his presence you simply forget the whole world. He is magnetic, and a great silence surrounds him and the whole area feels as if it is delighting in the man. He is worth seeing, but there seems to be trouble ahead for him, the poor man, because he says that nobody can take him anywhere, that he is nobody's slave”

Alexander came to see him with a naked sword in his hand.

The sannyasin laughed and said, “Put down your sword, it is useless here. Put it back in the sheath, it is useless here because you can cut only my body, and that I left long ago. Your sword cannot cut me, so put it back, don't be childish.”

And it is said that that was the first time that Alexander followed somebody else's order; just because of the very presence of the man he couldn't remember who he was.

Dandani had actually said, “This is my head, you can cut it off. When the head falls, you will see it falling on the sand and I will also see it falling on the sand, because I am not my body. I am a witness.”

He put his sword back in the sheath and said, “I have never come across such a beautiful man.”

Alexander had to report to his friends saying, “There were sannyasins that I could have brought but they were not sannyasins. Then, I came across a man who was really something rare, and you have heard rightly, this flower is rare, but nobody can force him, because he is not afraid of death. When a person is not afraid of death how can you force him to do anything?”

“It is difficult to kill a man who is ready to die, it is meaningless to kill him. You can kill a person who fights, then there is some meaning in killing, but you can't kill a man who is ready and who is saying: This is my head, you can cut it off.”

Whom do you think is courageous? Alexander or Dandani?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Forest Love

All the features make forests beautiful;
The lush green bushes and the succinct shoots;
The Luxuriant cover and the Dexterous leaves;
The diverse vegetation with its racy animals;
The meandering streams and the ornamental ponds;
The peeping sun and the veiling clouds;
The soothing moon and the whispering stars;
The source of life and the sign of fertility;
Let all this and more live to see you die,
For the generations to come shall forget,
How monstrous you were!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Awareness Ads

I recieved an interesting forward from one of my beloved friend, Yaseer Arafat Mohamed Sultan Haroon Bathusha alias Batcha- thinking.......??? This is the name of just one person and not many people.

The forward consisted of a collection of ads creating awareness on some of the social maladies haunting us. Though they speak for themselves, I have added my thoughts for each of the picture. Feel free to share your thoughts either as a comment or as a tag post in your blog.

Chewing tobacco causes mouth cancer

An impotent mind;
Knows how to start easily;
Knows not how to stop................

Drive Safely

An arrogant mind;
knows its thrshold well;
Knows not how to limit.........

Most child abuse is committed by the person a child trusts

A wicked mind;
Knows how to exploit everything;
Doesn't care even it's a bud.

Save Girl Child

An ignorant mind;
Knows only to reject its half;
Knows not, the precious is lost.

The next time you waste food, think!

A greedy mind
Knows to amass and waste;
Knows not how to share.

Children learn fast. Don't fight at home

A stupid mind;
Knows how to disrespect;
Knows not, it is suicidal.

Adopt. You never know who you'll bring home

A noble mind;
Knows to embrace all;
Knows not, how to refuse.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Bathroom Reading

It all started when I acquired the never-touch-a-book-but-for-exams attitude during the senior school days, when everything else except for studies mattered much. Who would anyway want to be bothered by text books, when more important and interesting enterprises like inter-house competitions, seniority politics, outings, escapade to the latest movie, newly published novels etc are always in the pipe-line. Text books were considered as one of those pernicious things that deserved to be punished by leaving them to rot and collect enough dust till the desk becomes a sanctuary for book mites. A week before the examination is when these books will find a way-out, the most hated ones illegibly perforated by the mites owing to the neglected stay in the abyssal corners of the desk, while the favored ones as fresh as when it was printed owing to the ample breathing space they enjoyed in the upper deck of the desk.

With just one week available to read through the favored and hated subjects with equal diligence, every second was valued, including the few minutes at the lavatory. These are the days when the books will be glued to us, be it lavatory or mess or assembly hall or roll-call or in the squad. Every possible routine like games, P.T, NCC and any activity that comes in the way of studies will be bunked to ensure we make the best use of this critical week. Sometimes, I used to wonder, why we should suffer during these exam days when we don’t really care about the exams. After one such attempt, I realized that we can play all the pranks only if we clear the exams by some means. The golden rule is "The more you exert in this period, the more space you have for yourself after the exams, of course, till the next I exam." This cycle never changes. At instances, when a book turns out to be greek and latin, we would decide on an impromptu attempt, funny enough to have Saki find his way into the history paper or renaissance replacing mutation in the biology paper. I’m digressing too much.'s find our way back to the subject

Like I mentioned before, the text books always accompanied us to the lavatory during these days. After the exams, this practice continued and the text books were replaced by Reader’s Digest, the only subscription we were allowed. The point is, like every habit formation should have a logical start, the bathroom reading or more precisely, lavatorial reading as a habit started during the exam prep marathon. This behaviour was never considered as anti-social in the dorms and irrespective of the seniority level every one were for it. A practice that has passed on from generations to generations as a legacy.

In spite of the wide acceptance, once when I came out of the bathroom carrying a book, I was caught red-handed by the duty master known for his moral preaching.

He bawled “ Were you sh***ing or reading?
I said “ Sir, I was doing both?” and I kept mum.
He was staring for a moment, of course with his mouth wide open and said, “ In the future, you will only be fit for book keeping in a public toilet” and dismissed me.

This didn’t bother me much, as this morality has already blessed most of us to become many things like nomad, cow boy, wine maker, snake charmer, eater of the dead, street vendor and what not.

The practice continued even after I left the school and even at home. When it came to renovating the house, I instructed the carpenter to fix a book rack in one of the bathrooms and he was confused. Yes. It is highly important to ensure good lighting, closet with a comfortable seating, floor-to-wall white tiling to ensure hygiene, airflow and ventilation even when you are not one.

Reader’s Digest being a magazine with topics of varied flavors and contents of varied types like essays, short stories, jokes, cartoons, interviews with politics and gossips excluded has always been my choice for the bathroom reading. There are some criteria for a good bathroom book. Ideally the books has to be small and self-contained like, Collection of Short-stories, Poems, Anecdotes, Parables, Jokes and some magazine would make an ideal bathroom book. It should be like something you can read till the end in one-sitting, so that, you don’t need to carry the book outside. Big Volums, Serious ones, Political stuff and Gossips should be avoided.

It was tough when I visited a friend’s place where there were no books to carry. When I complained him about constipation due to the lack of a book, he gave a big smile and drew a Reader’s Digest buried under his mattress. I understood that it is forbidden practice in his house. However, this incident made me to think that, I am addicted to this silly indulgence. I decided to consult some friends before exploring the possibility of any psychological or physiological diagnosis. After a considerable survey, I was amazed to find that most carry a book; one guy carries his laptop; few carry their cell phones, some are hooked to their iPod or MP3 players and so on. It was proven beyond the fact that it is very common to be bathroom reader. Apart from saving a few significant minutes everyday, it sets the day in a good rhythm. Some habits accompany us till the grave and this is one such habit/

Happy Reading!

Warning: There is nothing wrong in being a bathroom reader, but never get indulged in the book and stay longer than needed in the bacthroom. You might end up carrying Hemorrhoids (Piles) all your life.

Images courtesy: Google

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Connections In-tact

The whole of May I was traveling and had it not been to the places I love, it would have been a tedious trip. Never stayed in a place for more than 2 days and the trip covered Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Pollachi, Palghat, Palani and Kodaikanal. So many times, I have traversed these places, but the pleasure of spending some time with the relatives, friends and their family has not diminished in anyway. It was yet another memorable trip, wishing the newly married, blessing the newly born, blessed by those awaiting death, congratulating those who have cleared their exams with flying colours, consoling those who have failed to pass through these stupid exams and most importantly fed heavily by whoever I visited. As for me, these trips fill me with love and happiness as a lamp is filled with light and warmth and is a way to cherish the past and be connected with it always. The past as majestic as the mountains, though irrelevant and obsolete, lets the present flow through it, unless we build a barrier to stagnate and stop it.

I had a view of the Coimbatore Junction from a roof-top and the all that I could see are the coarsely illuminated hoardings of all the telecom operators. A substantial evidence that, India has turned into a huge market for the mobile operators. It is no longer the city I have known and loved.

It was a very brief stay at Kodaikanal, only a couple of hours, during which time, I managed to visit Mark and Graces as I wanted wish Grace personally on her 100th birthday anniversary. I have written many posts on Mark Antrobus, because he has been and is being a great inspiration to me in certain aspects.

Outlook has published an article on Grace in its recent issue. I am sure you will enjoy reading this article - Amazing Grace

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Missing and Dreaming

Yet another pending tag. This time, from Meenu. She has done a wonderful tag and after going through it, I had my own doubts if I'll be able to do justice to the tag.

The tag was to write the 10 things I miss in my life right now , and the 10 things I want to achieve in 10 years !

I doubted because, this is the most easiest and the toughest tag I can ever do. The first part is easy. With in seconds we can list out the things we miss, not just 10, it can run to infinity. Mind always makes a deal with the greed and all that cannot be possessed forever adds up subconsciously to the list of things we miss. It is very easy to miss something too and hence to list it is almost effortless. Here is the list of 10 things I miss now and may be forever:)

1. My Dad

2. My Granny

3. First Love? May be all
the episodes of love :)

4. Everything about

5. Proximity with my friends and all those pranks, big and small

6. Days at

7. The first year of my son - I was traveling most of the time

8. Frequent travels - backpack kind:)

9. Innocence

10. Aloneness

On the other hand, things I dream of doing in the next 10 the most toughest thing I could think of. To be frank, I don't really know. I am sure that the next 10 years will definitely add more things to the list of I will be missing. But, I couldn't predict all that now and set them as my objectives. Well, I'm not doing the last part of the tag:)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Song Tag - Feel

It's been a long time:) Thought, I will do a long pending tag from Vishesh. Tag is always the easiest way to get into the grew after such a long gap. Fortunately, I have few more tags pending in the list.

I am supposed to “Think of the song that most inspires me to write, whether it gives you an idea for a story, script or just puts me into a better frame of mind AND/OR peek into the lyrics and find a verse that sums up the theme of whatever project I'm working on. If possible, post a video of the song to convey to readers the full context of the song and the mood it puts you into. Finally, send the assignment to five other writers to do as well.”

Music is a great source of inspiration and often I have set my mood as required by listening to the appropriate song or music. Music has always been a means to stop the mind from all the stupid thoughts. With music, my mind stops and can't really write on its implications or impact. I'm no longer there to dissect it :)

The is one of my favourite songs

Anyone interested can do this tag....

Sunday, April 06, 2008

We the living

Elevating the stature of the sidewalk,
For it is our palace and the citadel.
Bestowing pride to the ruined walls,
For it is our wardrobe and the closet.
Adding value to abandoned plastics,
For it is our warehouse, though empty.

The sun lights our day;
The moon cools our nights;
It rains to cleanse our house;
It breezes to fan out heat;
The smoky exhaust we breath;
The muddy water we bathe in;

Privacy is not our concern,
For innocence, our only strength.
Nothing to deprive our pleasures,
For ignorance, our only knowledge.

Past and future, not for us;
Living is here and now;
We, the true sons and daughters
Of life and nature,
Living here and now!

Photograph Courtesy: The snap was taken by Sujathaa, my wife while we were waiting in a traffic signal near Central station in Chennai.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Similarities shared

It’s time to do the tag from Vishesh pending for a long time. I am supposed to write:

A. List 5-10 things of commonality that I have in common with the human race and/or nature.

B. List 5-10 things that I might have in common with the human race and/or nature.

I don’t see a lot of difference between what I have and what I might have. If I might have something in similar, it just means that I already have that similarity. How else could the very thought arise? Is it not the projection of what I already possess? There might be a difference in degree, but what I think as what I might have in similar is just what I already have in similar. May be, this is how I have interpreted the questions …

This is a highly introspective exercise. Though, the greatest and the smallest of human are all too similar to each others and human all too human, it is always difficult to accept and reveal the similarities. On the hand, it’s very easy to identify the differences. If you ask me, how different I am from the human being and all the natural laws, I would have more points to quote than how I would relate myself to the similarities that exist. Finding similarities requires stripping ourselves naked of all that we have accumulated as an individual over these years while finding differences means reinforcing all that we have accumulated to be come an individual with all the uniqueness. Do you remember enjoying while identifying 6 differences between 2 pictures in some magazine? Yes. It’s easy and pleasurable to compare and differentiate things. But it is very difficult to see the similarities unless there is necessity to be under the umbrella of a group. Let me stop this here and do the tag…

Here are 10 similarities I have/might have with human race and/or nature.

1. An upright ego with its contradictions and perplexity

2. A rope stretched between animal and divine

3. An intoxicating joy in the dream and diction of God

4. All facets of love projected in varied degrees at different times

5. A poor ignorant weariness wanting to attain the ultimate in a single giant leap

6. The itch to discover – to circumnavigate every domain

7. A burning conscience

8. Can do! – Lately changed to “Can do it!”

9. Amoral when morality is questioned

10. The illusion of being the center of the universe

Let’s share our similarities and celebrate our differences – Scott Peck

Recommend reading - “The Road Less Traveled” by Scott Peck

It was fun doing this. Thanks Vishesh! Whoever wants to do it, please go ahead and do it..

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A Blessing

This is a tag called the blessing tag. I was blessed and tagged by Dawn. The idea behind this is to pray for and bless 3 blog friends and this tag propagates across the blog world taking many forms and blessing many people. Interesting and worth doing.

As this from Dawn, the blessing has to be a quote from someone. Let me quote this poem to bless my blog friends who recently brought in new life into this mother earth.

Anand, Bharath and Kamal - their cute little ones Dishita, Arjuun and Krrish are blessed.

The next part of the tag is to eloborate our view on the following 10 points

  1. It is important to be liked by others
  2. Obedience is a virtue
  3. People are not malicious but they become so because of bad experiences or circumstances
  4. Education broadens our view and makes people more humane
  5. People who have no money troubles are happier
  6. As people get older they get wiser
  7. You can live on love and fresh air
  8. There is a celestial guardian angel looking after each one of us
  9. All living beings reincarnate
  10. Heaven and Hell are places you go to after death

Dawn has done a faboulous work eloborating these points and saved me from thinking hard on this:). If you have not read this post, please do it now. Greats quotes and insight. Good topics for a debating competition as well - make yourself a Great Debator!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Holi Hai!

A memorable weekend, as we were invited to join Holi Celebrations yesterday. It was fun with colours being splashed all over the place and the kids playing with their water guns. None was spared and no one could dodge their bullets. Here are some interesting snaps shot yesterday.

A festival of colors,
Ends the cold weather;
Brings the spring in grandeur;
For our ecstasy and delight.

A festival of colors,
Kills the demons in us;
Begets the self that’s real;
For our spirit and soul.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Grace turns 100

I and me which was once one, on the long run is no longer one, as I have been able to be a witness and watch from outside the shell. Not that, I have become an anchorite or a victim of MPD (multiple personality disorder). But, I have been indulging too much in aloneness and solitude. When I and me are too involved in a conversation and someone joins the conversation, it continues only when the person who joined substitutes the Me of me. How could it be endured, if it is otherwise? It will only be a cork which prevents the conversation sinking into the depth. Sometimes there are too many depths in these conversations. However, to be a little sociable or atleast agreeable to the society, there is much longing for a friend to make him/her as a substitute. This longing for a friend sometimes turns into a betrayal.

Mark Antrobus, has been a perfect substitute when it comes to company. I think, he is more than a substitute. My I and Me disappears in his company as it becomes a party of his conversation. In his presence, a day disappears into a millisecond and time exists not. Last month, Elango, a friend of Mark called me to tell that Mark is in Chennai for a day and gave the phone number of the hotel where he was staying. The next moment, I was knocking his door. There was no response. Then I dialled the hotel number and the call was transferred to the room. After a few rings, he picked up and immediately opened the door. A beaming smile and a hug of radiance and warmth was enough to take me in. He said, “Shiva, you have just proved the existence of ether. Moments before you called, may be as you were calling, I was just meditating and was feeling that you had entered my room and watching me meditating. And there comes a call and you are here!” The conversation continued on and on and on……

It was time for lunch. When I suggested that we should go out for lunch, he said that he has stopped eating rice, wheat or any form of carbohydrate and offered some oranges he had for lunch. I insisted that we go out for lunch where we can have his kind of food. We went to aiwo, a chain of restaurant that boasts itself as offering the food for life. As regular visitor, I always get some extra care from Napoleon, the waiter who always stares at me if I ask for chilled water, a forbidden as it reduced the metabolism rate. We thoroughly enjoyed the conveyer meal which consisted mainly of pulses, vegetables, soya and all that is health. Perfectly in sync with food combining that Mark propounds. Thanks to my friend Shankar for introducing me to aiwo.

Then we went around the city looking for some coconut buttons and it was funny to see the shop keepers attempting to speak in broken English while Mark speaking to them in fluent tamil. The day just went by and it was time to part.

Mark invited me for Grace’s (his mom) Centenary Birthday celebrations scheduled on the 23rd March 2008 at The Kodai Club. Though I said, I will make it, relocation again is the excuse for not having been in Kodaikanal to pay my respects and be blessed by Grace. I’m sure she will have many more healthy years ahead and continue doing the great things she has always been doing.

Happy Centenary Birthday Wishes Mom!

I know Mark was intending to write something about himself, may be an autobiography for a long time. Now that, the occasion has come. He has just started writing and hosted the website. If you want to know, what is like being the Dionysus Junior, a wandering ascetic hedonist, an autodidact and a polymath, read Mark Antrobus at

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Move

So much has changed; So much remains the same. We moved from Chennai to New Delhi for a change. Yes. Only for a change! I don’t see a better reason than this. Relocation activities have been a great weapon of excuse for all that I had failed to do in the recent months, including my absence in the blog. Though there was only little I had to personally do, mind was fully occupied with something or the other like ticketing, packing, moving, house hunting, house warming, school admission and what not. This post by itself is an indication that we have settled in.

As in any relocation, moving and packing household articles and personal things I thought, would be the biggest challenge. When we arrived at the endless list of things to take, I realized how complicated life has turned. There used to be a time when life was not more than a backpack with no sense of attachment to it. I was surprised, when I was reluctant even to leave behind some trivial things. Everything had a background, a history and somehow bandaged to me as bondage. Mind kept reminding that, this was bought in this trip and that was a gift from that friend and somehow everything found a reason to move along with us.

Recently, I happened to read worst stories about movers and packers and it panicked me more when I read Kavi’s
post about his relocation to Mumbai. To add to the fire, Anand, my school buddy sent me this IBN Live link – Couple takes on corporate. However, these information really helped us in cautiously evaluating different options. Thank You Guys!

Request for quote was sent to many Movers and Packers with the list of items to be moved. Most of them replied by email with a ballpark estimate, while Hariom Mishra from Goel Movers & Packers insisted on visiting the house and to do an evaluation of the goods to be moved. The same day he visited, scanned through the things thoroughly and gave the quote. Though it was little higher, I decided to use their service as the approach was professional, service oriented and reassuring. The decision was taken, but had to wait till we find a house in Delhi.

House hunting was more confusing and time-consuming than we had expected, as there were too many localities to choose from and too many vacant houses in each locality. The first day ended with a long list of houses seen with pros and cons. We realized that, most north Indian landlords preferred to have south Indian tenants. On one occasion, the Landlord was willing to reduce the rent significantly as we are South Indians. Moreover, the property dealers while marketing our credibility to the landlords always mentioned that we are Madrasis as key criteria for bringing in a good tenant for them. Not sure if it was a compliment:)

With too many houses to choose from, it was time organize. Then, we prepared a matrix with the key attributes in a house we are looking for with some weight assigned to each of the attribute. From then on, it took very little time to scan the house to arrive at the rating for each of the parameter. At the end of a week of searching, the matrix had 40 houses with the very first house we saw topping the list. It was decided and the same day the papers were signed.

Back in Chennai, we finalized the deal with Goel Movers & Packers. In 5 hours the house was naked and I was just sitting and watching the way the card-board was bound, the polythene films were wrapped and the huge crates were filled. I was asked not to even touch a spec. It was really effortless.

I reached Delhi, a day before the things were scheduled to arrive and did some preliminary cleaning before the things are placed. Though Hariom was giving the daily status of the vehicle, I had my own apprehensions about the safety and care in which the things would be handled. As scheduled, the things arrived on the fifth day. The unloading, unpacking and the cleaning was done in 5 hours, again with no effort from our end. I could see the transformation of my apprehensions and doubts to surprise and wonder when each item being unpacked intact. It was an excellent service offered by Goel Movers and Packers and I was exceedingly happy with the way they carried-out the entire moving and packing. Sadhique and Senthil, my school buddies helped us with setting up of things initially. The rest of the house was settled, whenever we could grab some time. With almost most of things done, we feel at home!

Everything has happened as it should have happened. We have moved for a change? May be a temporal change from a narrow perspective, on the periphery. Deep within, it’s all the same, even in the flowing river and even when the river runs through it.

Friday, March 07, 2008


However delicate and tender he kissed,

Aggressive he ended.

No matter with what softness he began,

He finished beastly.

Though she often seem to consume him;

And had more appetite than him;

Superior he pretends,

As she often forgets her worth.

But he doesn’t rejoice this illusion, for he knows;

There are worse things she can do to his soul

Than he can ever do to her whole!

Happy Womans Day!
Never forget your worth and
Rejoice in being a woman.