No light at the end of the tunnel

There is this subtle trick,
That the master magician plays,
You think that the darkness,
Of the days gone by,
Is a thing of the past.

You attempt at putting,
Every wound, every teardrop,
Every bit of anger and anguish,
Behind you, to start afresh!

But no, the constant reminder,
That the joke is on me,
Shows up in the strangest of ways!
Try as much as I can,
The darkness never gives way to light.

Perhaps some of us,
Are meant to only,
Stay behind in shadows,
Waiting for the Grim Reaper,
To call us out, to fulfill our duties.

Waiting…

“Songs of the Mist” by Shashi

These are trying times wherein everyone is being questioned about roles, designations, rules and ‘conflict of interest’.  I had the chance to beta-read end edit a manuscript by fellow CBC-member and India’s leading spiritual blogger – Shashi – “Songs of the Mist”.

I was captivated by the manuscript. No two thoughts about it – it was good. The challenge was to structure and rephrase words in a way that would appeal to the younger generation for whom the book is primarily written. I am happy to say that to a fair extent amidst various contributors, we have done an extremely good job!

The contributors include Nandhitha Hariharan and Rajesh Venugopalan.

The book is a love story cum spiritual journey. Ashutosh, Ayan, Calliope, Anishka, and the elusive monk are the key characters.The tale goes back and forth and in time and the description of the Himalayas transports you to the snow-capped peaks. I do not wish to reveal a lot about the plot

The book incorporates the essence of the Song Divine – the Bhagvat Gita and is the first in the “Monk Key” series. It is one man’s search for his true identity and his quest to sort out for once and for all the purpose of his creation in the bigger scheme of things! All the people whom he meets in this journey, their conversations and their intertwined lives get featured in the book.

You can buy the book here –

http://www.amazon.in/Songs-Mist-Monk-Key-1/dp/935206562X

I also attended a reading of the book last Friday at the Leela Palace in Chennai it was graced by Timeri Murari renowned novelist and playwright. There was a Carnatic Music performance and display of paintings as well. It was a wonderful event.

Lovely pics from the event can be seen here- shot by the legendary fine arts enthusiast Jothivel Moorthi – http://www.jovemac.in/songs-of-the-mist-book-reading/

 

 

Thoughts on Mother’s Day

My timeline on Facebook is flooded with sentimental posts, pictures and quotes all celebrating motherhood. How does one define one’s relationship with one’s biological mother, or the mother who adopts us, or teachers who become mothers and guide us? It is very difficult to define this bond.

When a lady bears you in her womb, goes through hell to deliver you bearing a whole lot of pain; a part of her dies to bring you into this world. That umbilical cord that binds you to your mother is a special bond! In times gone by when adventures on the high seas and travelling by ship was the only way to discover new lands, umbilical cords were coveted among sailors as a lucky charm to keep them safe. Sailors believed that the cord would keep them safe, the cord was fashioned into a charm or amulet and worn by sailors!

There are some close people whom I know who share an angry relationship with their respective mothers, it is out of distrust and misunderstandings that snowballed into a rift boosted by the egos of the parties involved! I have had the task of setting alight the funeral pyres of distant cousins and family friends as the son/daughter in question was stuck abroad and could not make it to India in time for the last rites. I have had people breaking down to me over Skype and on the phone; cursing the very moment they chose to go abroad! I had a friend who said, “Mahesh amma oda pavizha-kallu padicha mookuthi irukkum da, adha mattum yaenakki anuppi vei da! I want it to keep reminding me that I let her down!” Incidents like these are many! There was the best friend of a time gone by who completely ended up a “penn-koandhan” toeing every line his wife said and ditched his mother in an old-age home; she died broken-hearted! The idiot just came and completed the last rites; when he lit her pyre that’s when he broke down completely! “Matchaan, thappu panitaen da, paeriya thappu panitaen, Meena pinnadi sithi ipidi vitutatenae yaen Amma va! Paava manippaey illai da yaenakku!”

It becomes a worry for me if my mother fails to answer the phone! Morning once I reach office, I call and confirm she is fine, evening once I step out of office I call her again. There have been times when she would be in a drug-induced sleep and would not answer the call, I would worry a hundred different things and keep calling every ten minutes till she would reply.

I have let go of many opportunities for her. There have been numerous wedding proposals that have come through! Without batting an eye-lid the girl’s parents would ask – “Amma va vittu thanni kuduthanam varanam thambi!” I would say – “Nadakaratha sollungo, ponnu ku vaera maapalai a paarungo saar!” Friendships that could have blossomed into something more concrete and and an actual love story; got cut short! Opportunities to go abroad have been sacrificed!

When an entire clan stood against us, asking us to give one more chance at redemption (after umpteen earlier chances), I firmly put my foot down and was in a way black-listed by a whole group of “well-meaning relatives”. We battle, every day, within and without, illnesses, medicines, food, cooking, choice of fruits to be offered to the Lord for prayers!

We battle every day with each other and others.. life goes on!

One wonders if it was all worth it??

All I want to tell you readers out there is – “Some battles are worth it and some battles are not worth it!” Don’t end up doing something that you will regret all your life. One day you will have to set your closest ones free! So cherish this moment with them!

Tomorrow may not come….

 

On New Starts and Memories of the Past

Not sure if a lot of you noticed but overnight, I deleted ten years of memories and posts compiled first on Blogger/Blogspot and then here by a click.

image

I felt it was time to make a new start as a lot of my writing was borderline negative with too much of negative energy emanating from the writing; it was making people worry insanely and it felt that I was craving for sympathy of sorts!

Well, I do not know how to put this! What you see here is an extension of my life. Very few people have actually met me in person or interacted directly with me. This persona is just one convenient mask that I wear. Deep down, I am as human, as good and as bad as all of you are? I have the same passion, same cravings, same guilt and anger that you feel/undergo!

I am sick and tired of being placed on a pedestal of sorts by everyone who meets me! I am immediately type-cast as the good-brother or the serious thinker/philosopher types by people who have met just once or twice or who are friends of friends. Do you know what kind of pressure that puts on me? I am automatically brother-zoned by all the lovely ladies, I am automatically placed as the serious – no-nonsense guy by the guys!

So in essence what happens is my friends are either the children who are in school or seniors who are 45 plus; I am able to converse with ease with only these two categories of people! Common age-group comrades have kind of partitioned me out of the fun, games, entertainment that they indulge in!

Damn! As always, I start with something in mind and I type out something else!

I had a back-up of the old posts, I have re-imported the file, I will be deleting a few posts and the rest of the posts will be reintegrated within the blog!

Cheers to life:)

 

Life at Ramco Blogger Meet

DInfluencer and EchovMe are setting up wonderful events for bloggers in Chennai. They started with Urban Tree, CaseNation and now Ramco Systems.

Right till the morning of the event date on Friday – April 29, I was unsure if I would be able to make it to the event. Somehow managed to make it to the event and I was truly happy that I did make it to the event. Ramco is not just about cement. Ramco Systems is a listed company and they are not a KPO or BPO but a software maker and they are the world’s second largest aviation software firm! So next time you take a flight, thank the good folks at Ramco Systems for your safe flight!

The company fell into bad times about five years back with year-on-year losses as the top-brass changed and new fresh thinkers came in – read Virender Aggarwal the CEO.

The past three years have seen a transformation of fortunes for Ramco Systems, there was a massive internal clean-up of sorts with non-performers being removed, dedicated employees being rewarded and new vibrant and go-getters being hired. The company’s image as a dull quasi-government office set-up had to be changed.

This did not happen overnight, transformation happened in phases and the results are there for all to see!

Ramco now offers a world-class work and recreation environment for its employees. From a gymnasium with fitness trainers and zumba instructors to massage therapy and the best cafe-like set-up to unwind; a lot of good things are happening! I spoke to Mr Prakash who manages the digital marketing portfolio of the firm. The focus is on happy employees, better performance with inner motivation; this translates to profits!

The event was well managed by Ramco volunteers, we got a tour of the facility, got to try our luck with cross-fit training, some zumba, boxing (the punching bag) and a massage!

The evening ended with sandwiches, dhoklas and samosas and lots of iced tea. We were all given a box of homemade chocolates and a metallic water bottle as a souvenir!

All participants have been promised a Rs 500 Amazon voucher and all those who write a blog post about their experience have been promised an additional Rs 500 voucher. That’s truly generous of Ramco! Thanks for a lovely evening!

Follow Ramco Systems on their social channels:

Twitter

Facebook

YouTube

India Grid for Learning Launch by Ingegno

 

It all started over a chat on Facebook, that led to a meeting at a cafe and then a discussion on how one man and his team of committed comrades developed a brilliant product and suite of services.

Before going into the product description and my experience of the launch event, I want readers to view this video to get an understanding of what I am writing!

 

Have you wondered why despite producing engineering graduates in thousands every year; all leading firms are forced to invest heavily in training new recruits to make them job-ready? Or how the educational system continues to be built on rote-learning and writing pages and pages to secure the top-rank; and how your lessons in Trigonometry and Calculus are not life-skills that are going to help you grow vegetables, or file your tax-papers, or let you design your personal website!

Roughly 10 days back, I had the honour and pleasure to be invited to attend the India launch of IGfL- The India Grid for Learning. It may be a surprise to many of you; but I started my career as an Instructional Designer and I follow the E-Learning industry with great interest. This is for one simple reason; learning should never stop and one should always be open to acquire knowledge.

There were wonderful videos that were played after a traditional lighting of the kuthu-vilakku – lamp, to signify an auspicious start and light that would dispel the darkness of ignorance. This was followed by short presentations made by Mr Venu Prasad Menon the CEO and Mr Mahesh Subramanian the CTO of Ingegno.

These are exciting times and mark my words, the coming months will see a massive change in the way schools and colleges will educate their students. Ingengno is building a strong product/service base and is sure to be a game-changer in the education sector in India.

I leave you with some more videos of the product suite on offer:

 

 

I am quite excited about the launch and am definitely going to sign up for some courses offered via Codestars!

Happy Learning! Visit – http://ingegno.in/ for more information!

Shivan – A Friend

 

My sister and I are separated by a gap of 12 years. I was born to my mother after a lot of prayers. My parents completed a pilgrimage to Kashi and that is when an aghori stopped my parents near the ghats one evening and said to my mother – “Maai, bholenath aayenge!”

A month after this incident my mother discovered that she was pregnant. I was born after a long complicated surgery and the doctors at Portland Hospital Calcutta were sure that I was a gone case as I showed no big signs of life. It is joked that the doctor on duty gently pinched my butt and I wailed away to glory announcing my presence to the world!

This post is about my deep connect with Shivan, he is a friend to me. Be it as Kabali Mama at Mylapore or the mountain of enlightenment in the form of Arunachaleshwarar at Tiruvanamalai; he is an integral part of my life. When I was younger, I used to go into trances and my mother was scared about these incidents. I would chatter incoherently, babbling in a strange tongue. At a point in time, I was deemed to be possessed, rituals and ceremonies were conducted and in their own strange way they calmed me down.

To this day there are people in the extended family, who shy away from meeting me, because inadvertently I blurt out who is going to pop away next, the elders are all dead scared to see me!

The point of this post is that religion and spirituality are two different things. Rituals and ceremonies have their own role and significance. Doing them or not doing them is left to the individual. What matters is a kind and understanding heart and the ability and will to help.

Feeding one poor and hungry soul with one meal or a biscuit packet is far better than spending money on one litre of milk, flowers and fruits for an idol of stone. Shivan knows best, he loves those who help others unconditionally.

Don’t confuse religion and spirituality. All paths lead to the Supreme Force – these names, these religions, these books, scriptures, rules and rituals are all defined by humans only. In the process of traditions and emotional blackmail by family-members one ends up doing a lot of things! Stick to what you are comfortable with!

Life goes on!!!