Thursday, December 21, 2006

Season`s Greetings.!

Pic Couresy :

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas, and a heartwarming Prosperous New Year.! It has been an eventful year 2006. I have felt jubilant, have felt sad at times, have even felt funny or alone, but thanks for being with me to keep my spirits up. Thanks for keeping me waiting for that one single beautiful comment, which made my day every day of the year. As I prepare to take a short vacation, from work, from the world of blogs, I wish you all a great colourful time, with plentiful season`s cheers.!


Let us celebrate the birth of a new dawn, a new day, with a prayer that all may be happy, all may enjoy this glorious new year 2007 throughout this world.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Discovered Alone.

Tall are the trees, they whistle and sway
Long lies the path, lonely and grey
Painful is the thirst, “Will I walk today ?”
Life keeps you strong, let us pray

The peak lies high, upon the brown cliff
Grown, I have just a foothill tall
Hungry and Tired, “Will my hands remain stiff ?”
Look at the peak, love it and forget all.

Lonely, I stand as the world moves afar
I was loved, in those days, happy and warm
Forgotten and untouched, “Will I blend again as par?”
Sleep to the tunes of time, as the world regains calm

Reached, I have far, yet struggles remain dark
Dreams uncared, elusive horizon is my fate
Hope springs alive yet, “Who are you?”, I ask.
I am your inner voice, your soul my dear mate

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Scripted in Stone

It was one January morning in Chennai while I was going home, that I noticed this tall statue on the side of the road. I was really impressed by the power the statue seemed to emanate from it`s body language, it`s mere stance which seemed to speak volumes, and yet, I was not knowledgeable then as to who the lady was and what she represented.

It was months later that I came to know and read 'Silappadhikaram', the brilliant epic, by Ilango Adigal. In India, everywhere we see a lot of statues everywhere, be it of old British Viceroys or be it of gallant freedom fighters or poets, but it is not often that we come across a mythological figure or rather a historically unconfirmed figure who has been honoured with a statue. In that respect the Kannagi statue is something deeply symbolic and central to Tamil culture.
The chastity of a woman, her purity, her complete devotion to her husband, these things might sound utterly meaningless today to the modern world but this story and this statue shall remain greatly representative of the ideological and social strength and regard our older society had for the fabric of a family and it`s important contribution to the society. Kannagi was a woman who fought against injustice to her husband, merely with the power of her devotion and her chastity as per the epic.
Like many may claim, I truly find it hard to see this great lady as a symbol of female oppression. Mainly because, she was not always the submissive or the oppressed victim. She stood against the whole Kingdom of Madurai with her courage and fiery eyes, and made the highest sacrifice. She forgave an adulterous husband and stood beside him, until the end. To me, she is the ultimate symbol of feminine strength. Endurance is a great virtue and woman has been bestowed with loads of it. That again does not mean that I am advocating oppression against women, but I am simply awed by it, and who better to represent it than Kannagi.
She is still worshipped as a goddess in many places, but she was no goddess, according to the epic, but an ordinary lady who showed extraordinary strength. In December 2001, she was removed from her pedestal by the beach, by the J.Jayalalitha Government, citing astrological reasons. What a sad plight!, or perhaps it was indicative that times were changing and will remain changed, but the government toppled as expected and this evergreen symbol of Tamil culture, art, poetry and tradition was reinstated by the successive government. Governments do a lot of things and they might not be representative of the people`s aspirations always, but yet whether there is an inherent meaning to this whole exercise, only time will tell.
Meanwhile I shall simply be most elated to stand, admire and feel powerless in front of that magnificent statue, a great history scripted in stone.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Rational Analysis.

It was a small room, with sunlight streaking in. There was a small table by the window and some fresh flowers in a white vase upon it. The bed looked cosy and comfortable. It was with some nervousness that Sanjana had entered the room. It was going to be her first real work of professional journalism after all the grunt work, she had been toiling with. But after absorbing the freshness of the room, she seemed to regain some confidence.

“Good Morning!”, announced sanjana with great enthusiasm in her eyes.
The dark lean girl, sitting by the window turned back and looked at her with surprise and a slight irritation evident in her eyes.

“Are you the lady from the papers, here to interview me ?”, questioned the girl, with keen eyes through her spectacles.

“Yes, I am the lady, but we are also going to be good friends... aren`t we ?”, replied Sanjana smiling at her first ever interviewee.

The girl remained quiet. She did not seem very earnest to have a great conversation. Sanjana seated herself on a chair opposite the girl with her file in hand. She took out her small notepad and her lucky hero pen , her father had gifted her, when she first filled the application form for a degree in journalism. Her father would have been proud of this moment of hers. She could almost see him blessing her.

“So Anupama, tell me how do you feel here, in this lovely…”
“Have you ever been molested before ?”, interrupted anupama, with seething anger. Sanjana was immediately at a loss of words. She no more felt confident. She was twenty seven years old and right now she had no answers to give this fourteen year old girl who had confronted her. She felt dumb and speechless, unable to collect her thoughts and words.

“Anupama, I was …”,
“Have you ever gone hungry for three days at a stretch ?”, she interrupted again. And Sanjana was done. She suddenly felt like a child who had been robbed of her ice cream. She had completed her degree in journalism and had worked hard with a local newspaper doing proof reading and the like and had at last, got this opportunity to make a report on the children picked up from the streets and rehabilitated, especially this child, Anupama, for the paper. She had gathered most of the details about the rehabilitation center, which had picked up Anupama from the streets, about many other children with similar plight.

She realized that this small lean frame of a girl had perhaps seen more of the world than she herself had, in her career and more importantly in her whole life. She could not continue and she just blurted a good bye and ran away from the place. As she reached home , she looked at the mirror. She looked haggard, with all the tears. She noticed that her arms were trembling. She threw away her file and collapsed on the bed.

The next day she woke up to the smell of coffee, her father, was boiling in the kitchen. She felt fresh and light, but the shock was still there. The night`s rest, however had done good and there was this steely resolve building up in her mind, to get over the initial obstacles come what may.

She took bath and spent some moments in front of her mother`s photograph, which seemed to give her more strength and sat down for breakfast with her father. Her father was a retired army colonel and was usually earlier than her to rise in the morning. It had always been like that, especially after his wife`s untimely death, his routine had only become stricter. She told him all that she had gone through and how she was shocked and
had returned without resuming with her carefully built questionnaire.

“Pretty evidently, you have not done enough homework, Sanjana. You have to find out about the girl. What problem she is facing and how she landed up there.”, replied her father who always spoke in a straightforward manner. “Thanks..!”, she replied and hugged her father before leaving.

She went directly to her office and met Mr. Rohit, her mentor and guide, and told him all about what had happened. “Sanjana, before you go for interviewing someone you need to do a background check, find out about them completely. Almost ninety percent of the facts for your article is ready before you do the interview. The actual interview in itself is only for that personal touch you give to your final draft. Also meet up with the coordinator of the rehabilitation center, talk to a child psychologist and try to understand how the child thinks.”

“But I don`t know any child psychologist”, replied Sanjana.
“Well!, I guess then you will have to find out.!”, replied Rohit with his trademark chuckle and left to pursue on another assignment.

She was about to leave the office, when she bumped into Mr. Dhavan, the editor and her boss. “How`s your article shaping up, Sanjana”, he queried. “Coming up fine, Sir. I was just off to find some child psychologist to gather more material.”, she replied.
“Oh!, you could meet Dr.Shantha Vasudevan, of Sunshine Hospitals. I`ll give her a call. You go meet her.”
“That would be great, Sir. Thanks a Lot!”, she answered with the happiness of a great burden having been lifted from her heart.
“Don`t thank me, just give me a good writeup with some rational analysis from your side”.

She then went and met the doctor and learnt all about the emotional trauma, children have, when they hit the streets, the angst and the desperation of having been orphaned, the things they look for, from a helping hand. The ways in which their lives could go the wrong way and how much they yearn for the happiness they see in other children`s eyes when they go to school with their parents. She also came to know how their innocent outlook of life is drastically changed when they face the harsh reality of the streets and how they are prematurely toughened up, most often spoiling their life in the process, ending up in jails or brothels or how they get hurt and end up as beggars.

Sanjana, was each minute learning that she was actually on her job, learning more and more and pursued more. She collected as much details about the girl, anupama as possible. It turned out that Anupama, had been a normal child like anyone else, went to school, had loving parents, but during some caste riots had lost both her parents and had been thrown to the streets, in a cruel moment of fate. With hunger and fear as she moved around, she was thrown against all the harsher conditions of the city. She eventually found herself in a brothel from where she was rescued and brought to the rehabilitation centre. Anupama`s story had been hugely representative of the cruelty meted out to child by an indifferent society.

Sanjana, through the course of her research realized that a newer perspective was required to the whole situation. She realized that she was not responsible for only telling the child`s story, but also telling the world that this victim is actually a child. She needed to bring out the child in Anupama and show to the world that here was a little girl who has suffered but deep down her heart, unmindful of the external picture of misery and injustice, she still was a child.

It was a week afterward that Sanjana, felt compelled again to visit Anupama. It was in the evening that she finally reached that very room from which she had run away. Anupama was sitting on her bed in silence with dreamy eyes. Sanjana today noticed how beautiful this little girl was. Sanjana smiled at her and sat opposite the girl. She did not speak. They sat in silence for a few minutes. It was a moment of peace, a moment of reconciliation, a moment of understanding.

After some time, as Sanjana got up to leave, Anupama suddenly spoke, “Can you take me to the garden outside?”. Sanjana was happy. Here was that first moment of selfless conversation between the two. They walked outside in the garden for sometime and sanjana looked on as the girl caressed the yellow flowers.

“Anupama, I am writing for the paper, a story about the beautiful child that you are.”, announced Sanjana. Anupama was silent as they walked back to the room. As Sanjana started to leave, the little girl asked shyly, “Can we write it together ?”. This was what Sanjana had all along hoped for. She laughed and said, “Yes, we must write it together. That is why I am here.”

In the days afterward, Sanjana was a regular visitor at the center and Anupama, a great companion. They explored different worlds in each other`s thoughts and words. Sanjana had started looking upon the girl as her own little sister by now.

A week later, Sanjana submitted her final draft to Mr.Dhavan with great pride. He was very happy to see a jubilant Sanjana and congratulated her on completeing her first assignment. “I hope you have put in a rational analysis as I said, Sanjana”, he remarked.

Sanjana, beamed similingly and replied, “Rational Sir!, Very much Rational!”.

Illustration courtesy –
Dick Heimbold, Vincent Van Gogh and Vern Hippensteal.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Looking back, as a child...

Children are the faces of the next generation. In their shining eyes and innocent thoughts, lies intertwined, the future, our tomorrow and the world`s history. Now that I realize this, I often wonder whether what I thought and did as a child has ever been a testament to this statement. Perhaps not. I have been tagged by Alex, yet again to write about the things I liked and disliked about my childhood. After knowing what it was about and reading his post, I could not help feeling obliged to do the same.

Things, I liked about my childhood

* The bird`s eye view from the apartment window – Strange isn`t it.? But yes, much of my childhood I spent in an apartment on the second floor. I did not have many friends other than those at school and life was at times lonely too. What really used to bring colour into those dull days were the panoramic view of the world below from that window through which I looked at the slums below, the children flying kites, in a ground opposite the house, the temple festivities, the bullocks which were cleaned and bathed daily. At times there used to come a street circus group or a catfight used to erupt between the women for the water from the tap. The papers or plastic covers I used to tie to a string and let fly through the window, my own version of a poor man`s kite. I can never forget those days and that long window.

* The frequent trips to nearby temples with my family. The sheer joy in running around those dark deities, praying for nothing in particular and yet feeling entirely purified of soul. The few minutes spent in the park near the temple upon a swing, or a see-saw, the anxious wait to grab the prasadam or offering and race back home on the roads with my sister.

* The occasional outing, with our father to the Beasant Nagar Beach in chennai to wade in those waters, collect shells and come home proudly and proclaim that I had a new hobby, Shell Collection!. However those shells took only a few days to lose. The packet of Maggi Noodles on the way back home, was another treat which was greatly desired.

* Those days when it rained heavily in the morning and the school closed due to rains. Those were moments of sheer ecstasy, the eagerness to look at the rain, to drink hot tea and read some stories looking at the rain used to be at it`s heights. However rain used to stop quickly and days were usual in a very short while.

* Those wonderful summer vacations and the journey to Kerala, the “pazhampori”, from the railway station, the magnificent sights outside the window, the mere presence of being on a train, where we slept and ate together. Those moments of going out with my grandfather, meeting my uncles, cousins, all have been and will remain the most vibrant and colourful memories of my life.

* Again I guess people of my age are among the most fortunate, because we are of a generation where we learnt the brilliant Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharatha, on television every Sunday. Sunday Television was considered a god-given gift. Today however I am surprised at myself how quickly each television channel can bore me.

* Those days in school, when we drowsily listened to the english teacher reading out from those beautiful lessons, which took me to another world. A world I was not aware of, a world I had not seen yet.

Things, I disliked about my childhood.

It is not easy to compile such a list, because looking back now every single moment of my childhood seems priceless to me. They seem to be much simpler, and a much easier life, now when I look back. However as a child there were the sadder moments, things which I did not like then.

* Our school used to start at 7:50 am in the morning and go on till 2 pm in the afternoon. Therefore we always had to wake up early at 6 `o clock, something I really detested. Every day used to be a struggle, every day there used to be complaining and whining. I remember looking on jealously, while my sister acted like she`s sick and took a day off from school.

* The trips back to home, back to school after the summer vacations. These were mostly sad forlorn journeys. There used to be the sadness of parting from everyone at my native place. Added to that there was this fear of getting the exam paper results when schools reopened. I never got good marks.

* The wait until evening on the day, I receive my report card, to get it signed from my father. A most agonizing period of time, when everytime, I used to make resolutions to get better marks next time. It never worked..

* Those experiences of being ignored or neglected just because I was a child. I have had trouble getting change from a shopkeeper. Fights with bus conductors and what not. It has been a tough life even back then.

Those are all, I can think of as of now, but I am overall more than satisfied with my childhood and also today understand that many children have not had even these little happy moments, which I have most happily cherished and enjoyed.

I end this post, now with a prayer on my lips that all children should always have a smile on their faces. May they never go hungry, orphaned or sad.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Rivers, where are thou..?

Realization is a great gift, but in the case of mankind, it sadly often comes late. Recently there has been much of hype and hoopla about the Ganga Action Plan, to clean the ganges river, to help rescue the species of dolphins in this mighty river and so on. As the activity progressed, and the media digged further, there started appearing stories of how funds have been misappropriated, rampant tales of corruption and more stories we are used to, daily.

The sadness of the whole situation lies in the fact that in this case we are actually talking about one of the most important resources, any country needs. The water, the rivers, they are the elixir of life and life revolves around this element of nature with shameless dependence. Yet, here we are at crossroads, at a juncture in history, when there is no proper usable water, in spite of having numerous rivers all over the country. The Ganga, Yamuna, Cauvery, Indus, Brahmaputra, all mighty rivers have their own stories of disputes, pollution to tell. These mighty rivers which we likened to Godesses, are today slowly dying, they are slowly fading away.

When we travel across the country, one very common sight we would come across, is the lack of water in the rivers. One factor, could be the population, another could be misuse, but the fact remains that unless stringent steps are taken we will lose our rivers one day. It is a known fact that all civilizations in history grew up around a river, be it the Nile, or the Indus, or any water source for that matter. An Ecosystem is created basically from a water source and that is the law of nature. So when we indifferently allow industries to throw off their toxic waste into the rivers, we can rest assured that the next generation will not have a long lifeline.

Today, I have to spend thirty rupees to buy myself twenty litres of clean drinking water. I languish often about the fact that when I visit my native place in Kerala, which is yet very remote, I drink freely from the big well, and that water is much sweeter. The Ganges is one beautiful river which in it`s origin is crystal clear and admirably pure, at the Gangotri Glacier. Yet as this amazing river continues it`s journey to the sea, providing life and fertility to the millions and the country`s soil, it is being subjected to great humiliation in the form of pollution, unreasonable obstacles and pure filth. When Ganga Devi, meets the King of the Ocean, it is a tear filled embrace, one of great anguish and trauma.

Then of course there is the Narmada over which there has been so much of controversy, that today the common Indian citizen is at a dilemma as to which side to take. Is it the water for one hungry group of people which is important or is it the plight of those rendered homeless, if the water is provided.

Then again we have the Cauvery dispute between the states of TamilNadu, Karnataka and Kerala, where all need water. We have spent decades fighting over our water and river resources and in all this time, we never bothered to actually look at the rivers, and sympathize with it`s condition. By the time, we resolve our issues, and settle, the water in these once pure, beautiful rivers, would either have dried up or would have become untouchable poison.

In the Malabar area of Kerala, there is this great Bharathapuzha river, which is fondly remembered for it`s scenic beauty and pristine water. Today in the summer season, there is no water at all, it is a long stretch of soft sand with small pools here and there, where water has got collected after the trucks came, pulled away the sand and sped away. It shockingly reminds me, that the future of the country is similarly on a road which is potholed thus.

It is time to awaken to do good, than to ignore because then centuries later our parched throats would struggle to ask "Oh!, Mighty Rivers, Where are thou ?"

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Lazy Railway Musings.

Travelling in trains, has always been somehow so emotionally and psychologically nourishing to my mind, that I prefer to travel by a train, more than by flight or by a bus. In a bus there are several disadvantages, like it is more strenuous, and you just dont have an happy way of answering nature`s calls, and it also doesn`t help that I easily vomit. I have never travelled through air as of now, but to admit the truth, I am quite scared about it. Before you start to laugh at me, let me tell you, I am truly happy going by train, and that`s what matters, because travelling is also a pastime I like, which it wouldn`t be if I do not enjoy it.
I recently travelled on a train to my home and I couldn`t help reminiscing about all those journeys I had made as a child for the summer vacations to Kerala, and the sad journeys back home to school. Those have been prominent memories completely etched in my mind that I easily get nostalgic at the sight of a train. Perhaps I should save this part for a tag I have to complete, but the most important thing is that I like this concept of a journey and like to have a metaphorical outlook as I see Life as it is in all journeys, more so when the journey is on a train.
As the train slowly moves, I see a train going in the opposite direction, and both trains seem to be slow enough to give us a good view of the people in the other train. I look at them through the window, and they look back at me. They are different, they have a different life, and yet for those few moments, we look at each other, wondering what the other person is thinking, with genuine interest to know and learn of their stories, their struggles. There is a sudden passion, which fills my veins as I try to craft stories of their lives with my otherwise lazy imagination. This is such a common happening and yet it is so similar to Life as such. The trains are like any two people, whose paths may criss-cross, they will share and care, but they will have to eventually separate because their destinations might not be the same. The temporary glimpse at each other`s lives is filled with a happiness that resonates in both of their souls and the painful parting with a memory treasured or despised and yet with a tranquil sadness of heart.
The train keeps moving slowly and I look outside and then see lots of vehicles and people waiting at a signal, with a look of restlessness, waiting for the train to pass as soon as possible. Our lives in itself seem so free flowing to us at times, and yet we fail to realize that we may be unknowingly causing a temporary delay for many others who are following their aspirations and dreams with equal passion. They may not be visible to us, but they are there and the quicker we move on, the easier we make it for these people to continue their lives meaningfully.
I continue my journey and look at the people sitting beside me. They all have been looking at me gloomily dreaming with eyes wide open and as I look at them, they look elsewhere, while a smile crosses my lips and they relax. "Where are you going to ?", asks the person next to me, and then it continued, a long conversation starting about his married life up to American Politics. As we break for dinner, I wonder where it all started and realize that we both have a common destination, and that we therefore strike a chord unconsciously. I immediately think about friends who bond like none other, because they have common dreams, common interests, or even if they don`t have these things in common, they have a striking similarity in their mindset as to where they are headed.
The train finally pulls in to the station and I get down and walk along the platform while a few of my co-travellers get down and wait to see a familiar face. The destination seems to be the same for all, but what we expect when we reach it ultimately is different and unique for each one of us. We do not know what, but we are travelling and we will discover when we reach.
As I walk and then look back at the train, I feel i`ve learnt a lot of lessons, but they might not be right, there may be more to learn, and life is not understood from just one compartment. The journey never seems to end.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Know, Break and Rejoice.

Law is a very interesting subject, especially in the Indian Subcontinent, mainly because this is the place where one can experiment all they want, use all articles known, so many courts, so many means of dispersing justice or transfer and delay justice to some other court. The number of gimmicks we have seen in the name of Law and Justice is still growing and it`s not justice, just money and entertainment.!

I found this article the most funniest and yet the most thought provoking. It says that most of the politicians in Bihar have criminal records and almost all of them have degrees in Law!. Isn`t that just hilarious. ? You learn law, get to know all it`s loopholes, come out, break it, and rest assured because you just know to escape from it now. As simple as that.!

Then there is this famous case, where a guy shoots a girl, escapes from a court, litigation again starts due to public unrest and finally there comes this leading lawyer of the country, who tells a whole new story and claims he will bring out the truth. It may be a matter of procedure over principle as, Uma claims. But then what about the lawyer`s conscience as a human being? Are we really able to trust our lawyers and the judiciary in dispensing justice. If so, then why is there so much of unrest. Why is it that cases are taken to the Supreme courts and the decisions reversed.? What if the lower court made a mistake in the judgement and yet the case could not be taken to the supreme court, because those involved dont have the required financial capabilities or influence?.

I don`t have the answers, but really need to know.

Friday, November 03, 2006

An Interrogation - Bound and (T)agged!

It was raining and I was just strolling around the pavement, looking at all the people around me, taking in some fresh air. Night had descended and there was a sense of eeriness all around. I reached the town hall and looked at the old building. On it`s old yellow board in front of the building were scrawled in proud red letters, the words "The Town Hall of the Blogosphere".

I smiled, and moved on. As I turned around the corner, I was tapped on my shoulder. With a sense of fear and anticipation, I turned back, but was immediately pushed against the black brick wall. There were two of them. One I identified as the Activist and another as the Philosopher. They dragged me up to a tall black tower, and told me that they would now perform the ceremony. I was shivering with fear and cold. They then started to recite the blogger`s chant and after a gruelling hour, they turned towards me with an axe like weapon in their hands. They told me, it was now time for the interrogation. I numbly nodded my head. They said they would ask the cursed 13 questions and then I was free to go. Now there.. this sudden glimmer of hope seemed to sustain me and I sat upright.
"Ahem..", remarked the activist. He and the philosopher clapped hands. "The first question!", they jointly thundered.
1. Are you happy/satisfied with your blog, with its content and look? Does your family know about your blog?
Yes, I am, The blog has been a great source of rejuvenation and has also helped me make several friends. I am not good at designing a template, but compensate for that by posting more pictures. My family knows about my blog and they are pretty much happy about it.
"Not bad", remarked the philosopher. " Now tell me Do you feel embarrassed to let your friends know about your blog or you just consider it as a private thing?
I am not embarrassed by my blog. Lot of friends do tease me about it, but never has it really embarrassed me, atleast so far.
Did blogs cause positive changes in your thoughts?
Yes, I started concentrating more on my writing style and also in a way increased my love for nature and the world. I am very thankful for that.
Do you only open the blogs of those who comment on your blog or you love to go and discover more by yourself?
I do both. Discovering makes me very happy, I generally use blogrolls to go around. The activist, seemed to be sharpening his weapon.. I shuddered.!
What does visitors counter mean to you? Do you care about putting it in your blog?
Visitors counter is like a morale booster for me. I use it to make myself happy. I also visit my own blog a number of times, so I might be cheating there. The philosopher glared at me with menacing eyes. I bowed my head down.
Did you try to imagine your fellow bloggers and give them real pictures?
I imagine a lot! I think about all of them, whosoever do not have a profile pic of their own. I like it when there is this anonymity, leaving much to imagination.
Admit. Do you think there is a real benefit for blogging?
The activist, seemed to be getting impatient!. Yes there is, I muttered. For the many lone free thinkers out there, blogging is a kind of genuine freedom, where for once they can just allow their minds to wander and pen their thoughts, without any hindrance. That is why I also support freedom of speech for bloggers whole heartedly.
Do you think that bloggers society is isolated from real world or interacts with events?
In a way, yes it is! A blogger`s society is an idealistic society where everyone is honest, about their thoughts, deeds and actions. Everyone has genuine concern for the others in this society. There is no hardship, killing or poverty, and people without basic needs never become bloggers, so we never know. Yes the ways of the world and trials of the people cast a great influence on the blogger society and vice versa.
Does criticism annoy you or do you feel it’s a normal thing?
Criticism, is something I like. I like it when it is constructive and helps me improve my thinking and writing. I however abhor people who are not frank about it and post anonymous rude comments.
Do you fear some political blogs and avoid them?
No! I dont fear them. However i have not yet been to any political blog, anything which has remotely made me afraid or intimidated of them. Because be it whatever political outfit, I believe i have a lot of questions for them, which they will find hard to answer.
Did you get shocked by the arrest of some bloggers?
Both of them seemed to be getting angrier and I was sort of thrown back at this question. I will be shocked if they are arrested just for blogging like I do. But if they are being arrested for using blogging to bring upon harm and unrest, then NO!, please arrest them and do what is necessary. I am not going to get shocked!. The philosopher seemed to almost let out a smile. I heaved a sigh!
Did you think about what will happen to your blog after you die?
Oh! No.. Was this what he was smiling about?, I wondered. I have an understanding with my friends and family members that they should let all my blogger friends know about my death in case it happens! They were still frowning. Oh! God, please help me.
What do you like to hear? What’s the song you might like to put a link to in your blog?
"A funeral song..!", I thought to myself. "What is it!", screamed both of them.
I would like to put a link to "It`s My Life", by Bon Jovi on my blog, My favourites would be classical songs, with a lot of veena or violin thrown in. They really soothe me.
"Are you pleading for life ?", asked the activist. "Yes, I am", I replied with a pale face and cold hands.. They looked at each other and mightily laughed. Your time is done, my son. You may leave now, they said. I thanked god and clambered down the tower and ran home in the rain. At the top of the tower, I could still see two men laughing aloud!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Take me Home.

Artist : Attanur Dogan

Give me death! I pray every day
Leave me not, to sigh, in every way
Seen I have, those beautiful days
Those little red flowers in an awesome place.

Why these windows, in front of me?
And all the beauty outside, and free
Ran, I have upon the soft wet ground
I walk far no more, just safe and sound

My beloved ones, have all gone away
Laughter, I yearn to hear, to be merry and gay
Tears, I have in my heart and dreams too
Like my youth, won`t the pills vanish too?

Years and years, have I spent in glee?
To sit here and look at the old worn tree
Searched I have, for a leaf of hope,
A lover from the skies, with whom to elope

At every sunset, I cry and plead
Slow and just living, and yet I bleed
With angst, do I cry, take me home.
Please take me away from this old age home.

Friday, October 20, 2006

A Tag in festive times...

While every other blogger is wishing everyone season`s greetings with great aplomb, I am going to do this along with a tag. I am sorry for that but things have been pretty hectic recently, and therefore am being forced to do a fusion here.

My heartlfelt wishes for a very happy and prosperous Deepavali and Ramzan, to all fellow blogger friends and your families.

I have been tagged two times by both starry and scribblez to enlist six bloggers whom I would like to meet in person. These two wonderful people, I believe are already going to meet me, and so apart from them I will tell about six more blogger friends I would like to meet, but not first without a mention about them both.

Starry Nights a.k.a Lalitha - A very energetic and dynamic blogger who, is most loving and caring as an individual and also strives for noble causes, with great vigour. Her posts are completely inspiring and enchanting at the same time. She tells that I am intriguing. I am looking forward to meet her and clear that up, because "interesting", I might not be.

Scribblez to Wakeup - I do not know her real name. Somehow I so much related to her blogger name that never felt the need to ask for her real name. She has been a great source of encouragement and inspiration for me. Her posts about the daily happenings in her life, her philosophy of life and words of wisdom instantly strike a chord.

I am looking forward to meeting both of them. Now to introduce my other six blogger friends in a purely random order, who get automatically tagged to do the same. :)

Maya Cassis - One of my oldest blogger friends who has this great element of mystery around her, and her much so beautiful posts. Her poems are one of a kind and it would really be an exercise in practical philosophy to talk to her and follow her thoughts, I presume. I would like to meet her and see how she carries it off so effortlessly. How she learns to unlearn.

Gaurav Jain - He is not just a blogger, but the very example I find that would suit the word 'versatility'. A great reader and beautiful writer as well. He sketches with elan, and above all writes good software too. His blog and website is a myriad of information and colourful facets of life. I would like to meet him and find out how he pulls it off, so elegantly.

Sreejith - Apart from being my namesake in the blogosphere, he is also a friend, whom I deeply respect and adore. Not just for his beautiful blog, but also for his great initiative and spirit to fight for a noble cause, for Mission Netaji. Such inspired individuals are rare, and he is one good friend, I must meet in person.

Passerby55 - A very strong presence in the blogosphere, her cute little blog, with beautiful verses and colourful pictures has been a must-read. Above all, her beautiful comments are a great boost, with her verses, of style and elegance. I would like to meet and discover this reclusive passerby, who first introduced to the blogosphere another important blogger like Hip Grandma

Ram - A great man, who has been travelling lots recently, who I am hoping to meet. He writes about the nation with a passion and devotion, which truly inspires many. His knowledge about the country`s economical, political and social conditions, remains unmatched. A complete reference base, I must add. He has also been a very old co-blogger and a great friend, whose words of support and appreciation, I shall treasure a lot.

Velu Nair - His blog, and template reveal a lot about his passion for life, his ability to love life and live with a great heart full of happiness. He pens like no other, mixing prose and poetry with such beauty that reading his posts, seem to transform the world around you into the beautiful garden of Eden. I would surely like to meet this teacher in his thirties and take a lesson or two.

Now, before, I finish, I would like to add, that the list has been reduced to six, because of the limitations of the tag, and because it would not be good to copy my entire blogroll onto a post and say the tag is done. I just wish everyone takes up the tag, that they tag more people and finally everyone meet together in a grand gala meeting, and that I too am there, so that I meet everyone.

Once Again, Heartfelt wishes and Season`s Greetings.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Whispers of the Wind

The wind blew strong through the desolate village, with nothing to obstruct it`s path. Though it started as a normal breeze, the emptiness of the village and the lack of obstacles, just a tree here or there, a few lone houses scattered across, seemed to be the barrier and in the absence of anything to stop it, the breeze became a strong wind and swept past the little village.

“This rotten place is haunted. It is in the middle of a summer and there you have a big wind out of nowhere”, complained Ashokan. He had retired long ago and found his days rolling by as if nothing could stop it. He found new things to complain about, every other day, and since the time the government had given all the farmland nearby to the big industries, all the friendly farmers and friends had left the place. The farmland was lost, and the industries had not come, and the matter was being debated in the courts between the industrialists and the activists. His son, Pavithran had explained to him that the land was being wrongly given out as SEZ`s, but Ashokan did not understand the ways of the new governments and found it difficult to understand what his son was explaining.

His thoughts slowly started to hover around his son. Pavithran had been a good student, right from a young age and had been a promising young man. He travelled out to the city, and had become a civil engineer, and was also responsible for building the roads and the bridge near the village. Pavithran had always been a matter of pride for Ashokan among his friends and he would lecture them on his son`s achievements every evening, how the son of a postman could go on to achieve things unheard of.

“Why do you always keep shouting and screaming?” replied Sumitra from the kitchen and in a way interrupted his thoughts. “Nothing, go back to your work and leave me alone..!” thundered Ashokan. Sumitra, just smiled. She knew this was a part of his daily exercise and let him have his way. He was after all, all she had, and a loving husband he had always been.

He stretched himself and tried to pull out some weeds from the garden in front. He worked on them for a while, and then sat down under his favourite peepul tree. It swayed to the wind and seemed to welcome him to take rest under it`s shady bosom, all ready to embrace and cuddle him to sleep.

The hazy memories of how he used to play and lie down with Pavithran under the tree came back to him, and he seemed lost again in those old times.

“Father, why do the leaves of this peepul tree, look like a water drop upside down” , ten year old Pavithran would innocently ask, leaving him speechless, and trying to answer him as he believed a responsible young father should do. Sumitra would then call them for lunch and rescue him from the tough situation; his son had put him into.

Pavithran had then had this great opportunity at the start of his career to represent India as one of it`s engineers and go and help in rebuilding war-torn Afghanistan, and had seeked his parents` blessings and they had reluctantly obliged to his wishes. Looking at his bright loving eyes and saying No had always been impossible for them.

As the days passed, life had become a big struggle. Economically, there was no trouble as Ashokan received a moderate amount as pension every month and there was some investment, Pavithran had made which kept giving returns twice every year. The way it works, his son had sat over the lamp, one evening and explained to Sumitra and him, but he never really understood the ways of saving money these days. Everything had sounded puzzling to him. All they knew was that they wouldn`t have to worry about money for a few years at least.

But life was a struggle as yet, the lonely existence, the absence of their son, the long days and the sleepless nights. Their son had struggled a lot to bring a telephone connection to their remote village and when they finally got a telephone at home, it had been a moment to rejoice. Though Ashokan or Sumitra never used it, it had always been a pleasure to see Pavithran talking over the phone with his friends.

Now the only happiness left in their lives was the sound of the telephone ringing once every week, and listening to Pavithran`s voice. They would sit beside the telephone all evening afraid that if they did not pick it up quickly, the telephone might not work and that they might not hear their son`s voice, that voice of assurance, voice of hope and warmth.

The journey of the wind is very unpredictable, it has no destination, it does not know it`s path, it loses a lot of things on it`s way, it gains a lot of things, and it may even die a sudden death.

The wind is even more harsh in the rocky deserts of Afghanistan, and the war and bloodshed around lay silent to the onslaught of man upon man. The country had lost face and was in times of great unrest, when people and friends from all over the world came visiting, some to help out, some to help themselves.

It was at a construction site, where a new school was being built that there was a sudden explosion, demolishing the newly laid bricks out of their cemented glory and casting them back to rubble. All the workers had to flee to save their lives from the onslaught of the rebels. The rebels, they had won, they had conquered some territory, or so they proclaimed. In the midst of all the commotion, four engineers were forced to take refuge in a bunker among some rocky mountains, along with a company of soldiers of the UN peace keeping force, with the limited supplies that they could gather. They had lost track of their group and had to temporarily seek shelter from the harsh sun and the harsher enemies outside.

Those were days of great struggle for the engineer friends, especially Pavithran, who missed his country more than ever, he missed his weekly phone call and he missed his parents. He knew there was no way to intimate his parents and that they would be very worried about him not calling, but he had no choice and the only other Indian friend who was capable of passing on a message was lying beside him in the bunker munching on a chocolate.

When Life comes to a total standstill, the mind starts to reflect upon whatever it can reflect. Pavithran was like that able to go over his life all over again; his achievements now seemed incapable of giving him peace of mind. At times, he used to sneak to the top of the bunker and spend time looking at the dunes of sand. The wind blew against his tanned face and he kept talking to the wind, telling all about his aspirations, his love for his parents and how much, he missed them. He remembered how Sumitra had persisted that he must return quickly and marry a nice young girl she had selected for him. He had smiled and nodded.

It was a few more days before which there was some reinforcement of the forces and Pavithran and his friends were found and rescued. It was a day of great relief and celebration, A celebration of life and new-found freedom. It is in such moments that one relishes life and Pavithran hugged his friends and the soldiers with tears in his eyes. In a few days he called home and talked to Ashokan and Sumitra. They cried and laughed over the telephone as the dryness of their surroundings seemed to disappear abruptly.

He later wrote a letter home as to how he had done enough with his job in Afghanistan, and how he had decided that he would return to India soon, start his journey back to home with great fanfare after a few weeks of formalities.

Almost a month later, Pavithran reached his village, his home and ran inside with the great enthusiasm and happiness, an homecoming is synonymous with. Sumitra was in the kitchen as usual and he hugged her with great warmth.

“Mother, you wouldn`t know how much I have missed you.” cried pavithran. Sumitra too was overwhelmed and had her eyes brimming with tears. “Where is father?”, he asked her. “Oh! He must as usual be dreaming under the peepul tree. Go meet him, son. He has been restless ever since your letter came. I will prepare breakfast and keep. You go and bring him in here.” she replied.

Pavithran quickly hurried up to the peepul tree, and there precisely as Sumitra had suggested, was Ashokan sitting under the old tree, a picture of peace and contentment, his eyes closed and a smile on his lips. Pavithran called out to him and touched him by the shoulder, but his body was cold and devoid of life.

“Father.. You...” he hugged Ashokan and wept inconsolably and called his mother letting out a wail. In Ashokan`s tender hands was the letter Pavithran had written lovingly a month before. The words “I will be home soon” barely visible from between Ashokan`s tight fist, which seemed to be protecting the letter unto death.

As the years passed, Pavithran`s life changed a lot and he became more busy with his work, but always managed to spend sometime with his son, under the old peepul tree as it lovingly swayed to the wind.Ashokan had left from his side only in the physical world, but he realized over the years, that he still retained him in his spirits and he saw his father in his son`s little loving eyes..

The breeze quickly gained momentum and became quite a wind. The wind travelled long and far with stories old and new, no matter happy or sad, but always filled with hope.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Handcuffs on a Train

Weary were the eyes, rolling again
In a journey alone, life begets more
Glancing around aboard the swerving train
Something unusual and spirits soar

At long last, eyes came to rest dry,
Upon a man, gray haired and stout
He could pass by and leave no one shy
And yet in his eyes, a long sad drought

And then it shone, eyes totally aware
Of the metal glint, and irrational troughs
A legendary piece, unfound in fancy ware
Eyes not failing to read, the handcuffs!

What the crime ? What treacherous task ?
The mind worked, the train swayed along
And then our eyes met, they meant to ask
“Why are you so right, and I so wrong ?”

When eyes rest, and the mind sweats
Reasons bloom say the eternal wise
Handcuffs, we all have, in our heads
To hands, they move, in a game of dice

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The weirdo that I am...!

Man, in all his spheres of life, strives to be successful. Some among humanity believe that being different from others or being abnormal shall make them stand out. There is just a narrow thin line between being different and abnormal, and that is when you understand that however different you are, you still remain an integral part of humanity, of the world and nature. But we all in our normal day to day routines of life do get strange occasionally; we become different from the people around us, by certain separate characteristic traits.

Sreejith and Gaurav have tagged me and in the process set me out on a journey to find these strange traces of my character sketch. In simpler words, they would like to know about the weirdo that I am.

There are a few rules to this tag, of course that I must tag six people, leave comments on their blogs, and also tell six weird things about myself. So here goes…

Built-In Echo System : I speak less and am the type of guy who would tend to go quiet when among a group of people. Yet when I speak something, I then keep repeating it in my mind, until I have spoken my next few words. I do not know whether this is due to my shyness or whether I am perfecting my speech, but most often this happens without my knowledge and my friends often tease me for that. Anyway so there you have it, one weird aspect of mine, which I have discovered.

Bathroom Dancer : Well!, this is a bit private, yet felt that this cannot be missed. You would have heard about bathroom singers, but I am a crazy bathroom dancer. I just love splashing water all over the walls, hopping around so much like a monkey and have a great happy time while I bath. I have always liked to dance, but I simply cannot get any steps right, when I want. So in the privacy of a bathroom, I just let go.

Green Peas Hater : I am a great lover of food. I can really eat anything except for green peas, something which I really don’t like. It`s not about the taste, it`s not about the shape, but the truth remains that I hate green peas, especially when they are fried.

Emotional Rollercoaster : In my six years of college, if there is one thing that I have enjoyed most, it is being teased, and yet at times my emotions differ from person to person. Some friends tease me like hell, and yet all I do is laugh with them, meanwhile I can easily get hurt rather irregularly when certain friends even make a passing remark. I know that this does not have anything to do with the intimacy of the relationship which I have with my friends. I believe it is yet another trace of weirdness in me. And gladly many friends understand me.

Snake Lover : I just have this great respect and admiration for these wonderful reptiles and yet I have to agree, I am awfully scared of them too. If there is one living thing on earth which has awed me with its persona, it will have to be a snake. And talking about snakes, my favourite one shall always be the King Cobra. Whenever I used to visit my ancestral house in Kerala, I always spend a couple of lonely moments near the sarpa kaavu or a small ecosystem, near the house, which is left alone and undisturbed for the snakes.

Constant Speculator : I constantly bet upon things happening around me and try to make predictions for the future based upon the results, though they have no relation whatsoever. For example, I would assume that if I cross the road before the red car comes near, then I will be able to leave early from office. I place my bets safely too, because the red car is always sufficiently far away. So much, for my belief in astrology.

Now I need to tag six people, so with great pride and privilege I tag…

Ram, Marutham, Reshmi, Passerby55, Hip Grandma and Jigs.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Renaissance

Pic Courtesy -

Deep burned the forest fire
To a thin line, did the river fade.
Red hot clouds covering nature’s raid
Vanquishing all, a huge funeral pyre.

Shrieks rent the air, so warm indeed
In panic, in haste did the fauna run
Thirst to quench and stomachs to feed
No trees, no shadows, under the red hot sun.

The Lame, the old, the weak and meek
Sadly succumbed to the hot pursuit
A quick farewell, others rush, solace to seek
Mere survival at the mind’s root.

Nerves of courage and eyelids droop
From hunger and fatigue, they all fall asleep
As dark clouds appear, like the enemy’s troupe
And the rain pelts down, upon the hill so steep.

After hours and hours, open are the eyes
Happy and thankful, a surprised smile
As flowers bloom, a sparrow flies
The forest whispers, life still worthwhile.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Indian Science Catastrophe

Every child has a dream. A dream of making it big, to become something, maybe a pilot, maybe a doctor, maybe even a bus driver. One way of defining success is to gauge how much an individual works out his/her life to bring to reality the dream, he or she had as a child.

As a child, I too dreamed of becoming a great scientist, making revolutionary inventions to save the world and was truly inspired by the likes of Thomas Alva Edison, Albert Einstein or Sir Isaac Newton. I did my bachelors in Applied Sciences, and thought I might become successful, but fate had other plans for me, and in the long run, I ended up doing my masters in Computer Applications, and eventually became a Software Engineer. I might not have been successful therefore but the way my career went I have gained a number of acquaintances who are still following their dreams to become scientists. I have high regard for them and their work, and in this post, it is their sad story, that I wish to relate, a story completely interlinked with our country on the whole.

Recently we witnessed the twin failures of the GSLV satellite launch and the Agni – III missile. The scientific organizations behind these efforts reported that these were minor glitches and it would be an action of pessimism, if we were to read too much between the lines from these minor glitches and make conclusions about their work. They may be quite true, but still apprehensions are not cast away easily

My friends in several research organizations across the country have shared with me several experiences about how research in India is functioning and they are all passionate about their work, but all of them, I’m not generalizing here, but the discovery of a common pattern was too easy to be ignored, all of them have shared with me how difficult it is to work in an Indian Research organization, which is doing government funded scientific work. Their problems lie not in the lack of facilities, not in the lack of equipment, not in the lack of commendable salaries, but in the lack of a good workplace culture, a lack of teamwork, a lack of values at the workplace, a total neglect for teamwork towards a common objective and any key values and priorities to hold together these organizations.

The internal politics which is very explicit has scarred the image of a good career and achievement for many of them. One of my friends who works at a research establishment in Chennai tells me of how there, different people at different levels in the hierarchy used to assign him work and later used to admonish him for working for the other person. He used to lament about how he could not complain to anyone because he never used to know, when and how his words would get misinterpreted and used against him in a different situation elsewhere. How does one work like that?

Healthy competition is always a good thing and it may be argued that these things happen everywhere, but the main problem is that unlike other business organizations, where there is a definite business objective at the end and work has to get done ultimately and it therefore never goes unrecognized at least at the end of the day, it gets confusing, in a research organization, the outcome is not definite and depends a lot upon the dedication, commitment and the intellectual input of the people who work. There lies the biggest problem, because the workplace is not conducive to that effect.

Another of my friends who works in a research organization in Hyderabad tells me how she has to work a lot of times in projects for which she knows there will be no credit for her in the end. She worked on a project which was in existence for two years in a dormant state before she started working on it. She put in some real heart into the project and made it ready for publication. When the time came for submitting the paper, she found herself in the middle of a big controversy and was discredited from any work in the project. She tells me how she will have to take it silently, bear the brunt, the only consolation being that she learnt a good deal from the project. She laments about how she was in a situation of total helplessness, no one to complain to, no one who could be trusted.

If politics is one thing, sexual harassment is another. There have been instances of seniors in research organizations, making lewd gestures, asking for sexual favours and the like. The victims on the other hand take it silently knowing well that their work could very well be tampered with. I understand I may be guilty of painting a very vile picture of Indian research organizations, I understand that I may be knowingly or unknowingly bringing across a bad reputation for those few research organizations, where this is not the case, but this is not a mere personal rant. It is in consideration of improving the scientific contribution of India to the global society.

What these places need is a proper performance based culture, methodical approach to human resource management, proper values to go along with the work done. An open door policy, where no one has to be feared and people get the fruits they deserve for their hard work. A proper emphasis needs to be laid on teamwork and common objectives. A proper guidance structure needs to be framed to evaluate the team’s and the individual’s concerns and a stable human resource management structure put in place to build a professional working environment.

Though history is proof to the fact that India has made a lot of contributions to the scientific community, from the earlier vedas, the invention of zero etc., the fact remains that after Sir C.V.Raman, there has not been any Indian who has won the Nobel prize for any outstanding contribution to Science. I may have not got my facts right here, but at least as far as I know, it has not happened.

There are however many Indians who work abroad and gain recognition there. As my few friends also prepare to leave India to work in universities abroad, in Europe mostly, I feel happy for them, but also feel sorrier for my country because it is a national loss. This situation can obviously be remedied and is not a bottleneck scenario. Let us hope that the government brings across some stringent reforms to this sector. This has been a long post, but I hope that sometime, somehow it will help to spread awareness and bring across a much needed change. This is but a small warning bell to signal the need for a remedy.

Update : Prof. Subramanyam Chandrashekar won the nobel prize for Physics in the year 1983, fifty three years after Sir C.V.Raman. Two is still less a number I guess. My thanks to Rashmi for correcting me.