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.