Thursday, December 30, 2010

Why do we don’t step into others shoes?

Every person in life has his own perspective on everything.  Be it the way one should arch his tooth brush in the morning to clean his teeth perfectly or the way one should hold the steering wheel steady while driving on a freezing night when the car heater is not working, the ability to have an opinion on how such things should be done is self inherited by each one of us since birth. The problem occurs when such opinions become so strong that we start advising others on the way it should be done – there by advocating our own opinion. The lines get blurred between offering unsolicited advice and showing genuine concern, which at times is misinterpreted by the receiver, thereby leaving both sides – the adviser and the advised nursing unwanted bruises after a battery of arguments. But had we stepped into the shoes of the other person, we may perhaps be able to look more pragmatically at our own free sermons that we offer to this world, which then can fall like a pack of cards, leaving us surprised.

In life’s journey where an average human spends 80 years per human life on planet earth, we come at intersections, crossroads where there are situations when we are tempted to offer unsolicited advises / opinions to other person. In a lot of these situations though we may not have practically sounded these advises internally in our self talks,  we still go ahead and blurt out the uncooked advise with the bubbling enthusiasm of an adolescent kid.  Even if we are able to experience 10-15 occasions per year of our life where we commit ourselves to put ourselves in others shoes before sermonizing unsolicited opinion / advise, we can be rest assured that they would create lesser mental bruises amongst ourselves and our beloved companions on earth. This would also ensure that our message/ sermon is now more practical and massaged well so that the receiving end embraces it openly, thereby creating a win-win for both the adviser and the receiver.

This ability to step into others shoes will not only help us to remove stink from our own shoes, but also spread new fragrance to others shoes, which will be pollinated elsewhere, thereby bringing in greater peace, tranquility, tolerance and creating a new circle of loved ones around us. This will intangibly be inherited by the rest of fellow humans in the chain and increase peace in relationships on earth.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Tough to be back from vacation

It’s indeed amazing how the world changes in a span of few weeks. It’s a little over four weeks that I had left this town to go to India on a vacation. It’s not that I was fed up with the scenic beauty or the quietness that nearly makes me go crazy at times. It’s just that I had a wish to be back and visit my people, place and country for a short break. When I left Stavanger, I had left it as a warmer place in October, where I did not need my jacket or 3 layers of clothing to escape the chilling breeze. I had left a place which welcomed people, to walk out in shorts and a t-shirt. 

However it has changed so dramatically that I am unable to accept it the way it is. As soon as I landed in the Sola Airport in Stavanger last Sunday, I see a different town than the one I left about a month ago. As I alighted the aircraft and climbed down the stairs onto the tarmac, the chilling breeze of the city gushed down the miles of open land to embrace me with excitement.  Though I appreciate the excitement in retrospect, at the heat of the moment, I felt my head splitting on a thousand ends, my nose refusing to inhale the chill air at -10 degrees Celsius and my chest complaining as if an avalanche had descended upon it. I finally set my afoot outside the airport after collecting my baggage and waited out in the cold for the bus to take me home. From a land of familiarity (India) – in 15 hours flat, I was back in Stranger Land (Norway).  The worsening weather further added to the already existing woes of lacking the sense of belonging to Stranger Land.  The bus didn’t disappoint me for too long and soon rescued me from the breezy deserted stretch outside the airport. As the bus wound around the roads of Stavanger to take me home, my mind was silently observing the changing landscapes outside.

The lakes had nearly frozen and also frozen were the shores where the waves of the sea once used to lash tirelessly. The waves now looked like small pieces of ice that used to stick out from the freezer of my Godrej refrigerator when I was growing up.  There was no visible indication of fresh snow, but yes it had snowed some days back as I could see some powdery snow, which had yet been reluctant to melt down despite the warmth of the Gulf Stream.  Could things change so much in a month?  My mind internally switched from the changing landscapes outside to the memories from the past month in India.  Be it the immediate excitement of meeting folks back home as soon as i landed on October 22nd , the times we spent travelling, eating, cooking, watching movie together or the time spent celebrating wife’s birthday, diwali, mom dad’s anniversary, kartikeya, meeting Anu, Mahesh and Sanju in India, those times-places-moments spent in driving 1500 kms of my Swift with family, or the trip to our native place in southern india and to Tirupati, it all came back as a flash. It was as if only yesterday, me and wifey were riding down the bike in South Goa to those exotic places and suddenly as I was caught celebrating the memories of the past one month with open eyes – there announced the bus drive “Clarion Hotel”. I was suddenly woken out of my day dreaming and softly egged by the bus driver to get down at my stop.  I got down the bus and dragged the two pieces of luggage on a quiet road with Christmas decorations donning the streets and no visible signs of life. 

As I fumbled into my bag searching for the apartment keys, I realized, it’s time to let go off the good memories in India and time to accept and live the chosen path of self-exile.   I turned the key, opened the door and walked into the loneliness and warmth of my house to find my room as I had left it – the towel donning the armchair, the jeans covering the door in the hall as if it was a decorative artifact and the kitchen platform – spic and span as I had left it. The motivation to cook is no longer there. Guess one month of vacation has turned me lazy. Time to gear up and get adjusted to this life @ Bachelorhood 2.0!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

@ Frankfurt Airport - Enroute Vacation!

Yippee....its vacation time! Going back home to Mumbai!

Waiting here in the Frankfurt Airport for my next connecting flight to Mumbai. The stopover is close to 4 hours and the initial rituals of wandering through the Duty Free shops - Liquor, Electronic Goods are over. My heart again skipped a beat when i saw some of these devices that i wanted or the golden liquid that tastes so heavenly down the throat. My mind was playing games "Pls buy Pls buy". The other part of my mind was saying "Golden Liquid in Mumbai - its less expensive. Electronic items - expensive in Europe and you already paid through your nose when you last gave in to your impulsive binge and ended up buying the Nokia E72 the last time you travelled international @ Amsterdam. Control!!"

Want this to be a "no work vacation" but as you can already see - i logged in, cleared off all the office morning mails, made a couple of calls and then got onto this blog. So definitely know - whats in store for me - some work during vacation. Don't mind it really! Hope to do well!

There is a karmic connection in our lives. What goes around - comes around. Now..wait a minute..I am not talking of hot chicks one fancied during college, who come back colder in later part of your life! Just talking of "Hotel" and "Airport". Its a year since i landed in Norway and exactly in the Oct of 2009, not only hopped flights in Frankfurt on my way to Oslo (just like i am hopping flights now to Mumbai from Frankfurt), but also stayed in the same hotel (P-Hotel), where i was put up last week while in Oslo.

One good thing to be in Frankfurt Airport as compared to Stockholm/ Oslo/ Stavanger / Bonn/ Dusseldorf in Europe is - there is access to English Newspapers. Just realized how hungry my mind was to read English and now that i can get to read "The Times of India", "Mumbai Mirror" and " "Bombay Times" back to back - life is gonna be cool!

Tada..more later.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Stats: Landmark day - Crossed Pageviews of Sept 2010!

1. We crossed 3000 Pageviews on Oct 19th 2010 and
2. Touched 1546 Pageviews as of Oct 20th and already exceeded pageviews for month of Sept 2010 (the pageviews for month of Sept was 1517)

3. The no. of articles contributed in Oct is so far less than that in Sept which means, more folks are now coming to our site and discovering the site for the first time or looking into earlier posts, which they had missed.

4. Can we reach the 2000 Pageviews barrier for the month of Oct? The no. of new posts added is going to be less as i am travelling around. Lets wait and watch!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle

The title of this blog is a status update that flashed on my machine when I was wasting time classically by refreshing Facebook to see what my friends were upto. It was put by one of my most recent friends – Nitish. Man, the message has had some effect on me!  When I read it for the first time itself, it left a mark on my mind. After having ploughed through millions of non-essential tasks and inventing ways of dodging the urge to think more on this message, my brain has finally given up. It finally allowed my heart to wander again onto Facebook to Nitish’s profile and capture this message and made me blog on it.

Life , as they say is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.  Indeed it is. Life is a story written by the almighty and we are all characters in it.  We do not know the script ourselves, but by the way we are designed – we unknowingly end up acting on God’s script written for us (some of this script is deciphered by humans in the form of Horoscopes, Tarot Cards, Crystal Ball, Nadi Joshium etc.) It’s when we try to form a script of our own, when all hell breaks loose as it is against what we are pre-ordained or destined to do on earth. Hence life is now what happens to us while we were busy making other plans. This life is God’s gift to us. 

As we live this life, the Almighty has kept some challenges or battles for us to experience the breadth, width and height of our experiences in life.  It’s these challenges/ battles that make us the conqueror of unknown odds that each one of us is set out in to win over in this world, by Him.  By winning these unknown odds, we become the new ray of hope for millions of other human beings to follow us and supersede us in our good deeds. No two battles are alike. The battle of a poor wage earner in India or Sri Lanka is that of a daily minimum wage , enough food, water and access to basic health. The battle of a person like you reading this blog is to either reduce your tummy/ tone your body or to buy that 10 Million house you just saw your friend buy, but can’t afford it in your dreams.  You believe that your friend is lucky and getting what he wanted and not as unlucky as you are. But what do you know about your friend’s battles? He may be having a torrid family life or having a medical ailment in the family that required him to buy a house closer to the hospital, though the money was still out of his reach. Our thought process - “I got the wrong end of the stick, unlike rest of the world” is wrong. We may never know what others battles are. Why be unkind and think that they are having a simpler battle than us? 

Why can’t we focus on telling ourselves “I will fight my battles hard and emerge as the conqueror of all hurdles bestowed by the Almighty?  Upon seeing my efforts, if the Almighty can also relax the battles of someone else, I would appreciate it”?  Isn’t this attitude better than the earlier one? We are not only being emphatic to others problems by being kind, but also adding positive energy to our own battles. In the end it’s all a battle of the mind. We have the power to control our thoughts, fight our own battles and yet be kind and emphatic to the world. 

So in future, if you have a chance to meet someone or think about anyone, just remember that they are fighting their own battles which are just as important to them as your battles are for you.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Feed Your Mind

Since the pre-historic times, man has had an urge to satisfy his needs. Be it hunger, shelter or search for a mate, he has always manipulated the circumstances to the best of his advantages. Probably this might be the reason why we human's are the most developed of all living species on the earth, and probably also in the universe.

As we climbed the steps of evolution with giant leaps, we somehow left behind common sense and logical thinking. We forgot that we have stopped thinking ahead of times. This has caused a lot of problems, of which we never thought of. One of the most important things is communication skills.

Being in the sci-fi fiber optic age, where distances are being taken for granted and measured in the bytes per second scale, its high time that we put on our sweat shirts and start warming up to improve our approach and outlook to the outside world. 

If you are hungry, what do you do? Grab a piece of your favorite meal and stay quiet after that? Just like your stomach, even your mind is hungry. But it never lets you know, because u keep it busy thinking about your dream lover, favorite star and many such absurd things. So it silently began to heed to your needs and never let itself grow. When mind looses its freedom to grow, creativity gets a full stop. This might be the reason why we all sometimes think "What happens next?", " Why cant I think?" , " Why am I given the difficult problems always?". Well this is the aftermath of our own karma of using our brain for thinking of not-so-worthy things. Agreed that life is like that and we all tend to go above the line, but still as human's we have the capacity to harness our thoughts to get the best out of it.

Hunger of the mind can be satiated only through extensive reading. Now you may wonder as to why only by reading and not by watching TV? Because reading has been the most educative tool used by us right from the childhood. Before exams we go through thousands of lines of educative information. Just like that to develop other aspects of our life, we have to take help of reading. You have innumerable number of books in this world which will answer all your "How to?" questions. Once you read a book, u just don't run your eyes through the lines , but even your mind decodes it and explains it to you. The interesting part of the book is stored in your mind as a seed. Now this seed is unknowingly used by you in your future to develop new ideas. The same seed if used many times, can help u link and relate a lot of things, of which you would have never thought of in your wildest dreams! This is nothing but creativity. Greater the number of books you read, more the mind will open up like never before. Reading voraciously also improves your oratory skills to a large extent and also makes a significant contribution to your vocabulary. Within no time you start speaking English or any language fluently with your friends or other people and you never seem to run out of the right words at the right time.

Actually to be frank I had a problem in speaking English fluently, but as I read, I could improve significantly. I am still on the path of improvement to quench my thirst for satisfaction. So guys do join me and give food for your thoughts by reading, reading and more reading. Now what are you waiting for? Go, grab a book, and let me know!

Post Comments:

The above was again taken from my column on "Individuality" on at link (click on the link). This article above was written on 5th April 2001, a time close to my last semester of Third Year Engineering. Its 9.5 years hence, and as they say time flies!

A Mumbai ite’s Ode to the Local Trains

“Platform kramank do par aanewaali local nau bajkar ek tees minut kee Mumbai Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus jaane waali dheemi local hai. Yaha local sabhee sthanakon par rukegi”. 

The above is a very common announcement made in Hindi, that one would have heard if he has ever traveled using the lifeline of Mumbai – the local trains. The announcement above is immediately followed by its English translation from the public address system in the platform as “The local train arriving at Platform No. 2 is 9.31 slow local for Mumbai Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus. This train will stop at all stations”.

A city is known by the various landmarks it has and also by its cultural fiber. This cultural fiber of the city is the way it behaves day in and day out with its own residents and also with city outsiders. One of the best places to experience this interaction is in the local trains, which form the lifeline of Mumbai. One ought to have this unique experience of travelling in Mumbai’s local trains. Here are some experiences listed out over my years of commuting in the, getting deeply ingrained in the city’s cultural fiber:

1)      Deal with the Mystic Smell using Yoga and Nirvana:
When you travel in Mumbai’s trains for the first time, your nose knows that it has to sense too many of the scents and send them to your brain quickly for you to decide to continue inhaling or get into a forceful trance of controlling inhaling.
The mystic smell is a strange concoction of sweat of thousands of blue collared and brown collared workers (The brown collared are the coloration of a white shirt’s collar by brown color polka dots due to the mix of sweat and dust in Mumbai which no washing powder can easily ward off!), different varieties of scented oils from the hair of various travelers that mixes with sweat over time, the odor and foul at times emanating from the landscapes that the railway passes through and also a product of a million tummies grumbling together and sending shivers down the ass of hassled passengers.
When your nose gets its first hint of the mystic smell, the decision is simple - to either practice “Yoga” by not breathing any further till the mystic smell to goes away or to achieve a greater state of being – Nirvana by having an attitude of “This too shall pass” and breathing the mystic smell in.
Over a period of time, silently our mind stops protesting the smell and gets used to it. After months / years of travel – the mystic smell is a part of your experience and it is taken for granted. You can no longer treat it with skepticism, but you may well already be on the path of tolerating it and silently enjoying it without being aware of it!

2)      Enjoy the “Video Coach”:
This concept used to be there early days. Between the gent’s and ladies compartments in some trains, there is a small partition separating the two with a see-through window on top. Through this window, one can enjoy  a direct view of the ladies in the ladies compartments. This was termed as “Video Coach” in local Mumbai slang referring to a privileged coach in the men’s compartments where you can hit on the ladies in the women’s compartment. I am not sure if this coach still exists, but this compartment in men’s was the most difficult one to get into of all the other compartments! There were too many Romeo’s who had swore upon themselves to find their Juliet through the “Video Coach”! The “Video Coach” could well have triggered a lot of real life love stories or marriages, but for some reason the Bollywood movies have not done enough justice to it!

3)      Salute the “Footboarders”:
They are the unwritten Rajanikanth’s and stuntmen whose contribution to Mumbai city and to passengers in local train has not been rewarded or acknowledged yet. They are the underdogs, who will never pass on their “Sweat” to the mystic smell as all that they stink off, is carried away immediately by the strong breeze gushing past them. They are the “Footboarders”. Their principle in life while commuting in trains is simple – occupy as little space inside the compartment, as possible so that the train can accommodate more people  and this principle is governed by a few rules as mentioned below

“Thou shalt stand right at the edge of the compartment, standing on the railings of the door of the compartment, with your foot criss crossed right on the edge of the footboard and enjoy life as it moves with the train, with an arm holding the roof of the train for support” 

“Thought shalt get down at each station”: Like a gentleman from an old movie bowing down his head and taking out his hat as a mark of respect for the lady. Only difference is that the gentlemanly footboarders treat each station as a lady! This is where the gentlemanly gesture ends. As soon as enough passengers have got inside the compartment, the footboarders push them further in and get back to their stances of standing on the footboard.

“We are the guardians of our fellow travelers”: At each second of their journey on the train – they are dangling between life and death.  The internal forces in the compartment at peak hours can literally throw out anything and everything from inside the compartment through these doors and these doors are precisely guarded by the footboarders. Apart from this, the footboarders also are prone to getting stones / balloons filled with water pelted at them from the external world. They take such risks on them, without bothering to wear a helmet or a space suit to protect themselves.

If US President Mr. Barrack Obama can get a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 which he self-admittedly feels he didn’t deserve, the footboarders have yet not even been considered for any award -  like the “Red and White Bravery Award”  which is usually awarded to folks achieving brave feats in India. The Footboarders truly deserve an award.

Rest in next…

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Stats:Crossed 2500 all time pageviews!

2 Important Stats Crossed as of 9.33 pm CET on Oct 14th 2010.

1.       This blog has crossed the 2500 Mark in “Pageviews all time History”. The current count is at 2662
2.       The “Pageviews” for month of October is at 1110. That is 73% of the Pageviews of month of September (Pageviews of Sept = 1517), which was achieved in 14 days itself!
Thanks for all who regularly visit this blog and give your feedback through comments. Appreciate the same!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Pattern Matching conundrum

The nature has a strange sense of pattern in anything that happens in this world. This pattern is at times observed by people and sometimes it is not. All these patterns may not be found in the same part of the world, but may indeed be lying far and wide in places like Chile and India or for example Norway and India. For one to identify a pattern or draw parallels to something that he has seen before in life requires a strong memory and an ability to instantly match the current structure that you see with a structure you have stored in your memory for some strong reason. This coincidence in similar patterns may either be a figment of the observer's imagination or indeed may be a coincidence or an inspiration in real life.We usually do pattern matching subconsciously at all times, without even realizing it.

While on a trip to Bergen, Norway on a summer vacation with my wife, we took around in the lake
in the city center - Byparken Smalungeren. I was suddenly mesmerized by the doors to one of the museums there. I don't know what caught my attention and kept it lingering. While i just started to walk away, something in my mind told me to go back and observe what i was seeing and that demanded a re-look from my mind. It was a door to one of the museums in here. I tried to think what is it that is so peculiar about this door that my mind is wanting to match another image from my past?  Then my eyes slowly scanned the door and were steady on the top portion of the door. A pattern match was found in my mind!

The top portion of the door to the museum

If you observe the top of the door above, it bears a striking resemblance to the small piece of "Lord Venkateswara" or "Lord Balaji"s vigraham (idol) with only the Lord's face, which is commonly seen in Tirupati - the abode of Lord Balaji or in various places. The image of the same is as attached below. If you look at the crown of Lord Balaji, that can be literally matched with the center of the roof of the door above.

Lord Balaji of Tirupati, India (Pics courtesy: TTD Website)

Though the shapes and the relative size of the conch shell (to the right of the crown of Lord Balaji in pic above) and chakra (to the left of the crown of Lord Balaji in the pic above) DO NOT bear any direct resemblance to the left and right portions of the door above, still the rounded shapes to the extreme corners of the door's top (very near to the small mushroom like structures) make you believe that it would be a closer match in the first look.

In real world some questions still remain unanswered:

1) Do these two structures really have any resemblance or i am trying to force fit a pattern here?

2) If there is a resemblance, was there any inspiration taken from Indian culture (Lord Balaji's mini version of idol as shown above) by the architect who designed the door and its top in Bergen ?

3) If there is a resemblance, is there a possibility that its a very common human habit of drawing symmetry which makes us balance the two sides of a central structure and coincidentally this principle forming the basis of a pattern common between these two images?

Maybe we may never have the right answers to these questions ever, but nevertheless pattern matching is a deep thinking exercise that you can get addicted to and never be aware of it!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Stats: 54% of Pageviews of September achieved in just under 11 days!

And while we await Sachin Tendulkar to create more records on the fourth and fifth days of the final test between India and Australia, the statistics for this blog have kept me busy and here they are:
As of 5:50 pm CET on Oct 11th,
  1. All time page views for this blog are at 2376, which is 319 more than the last stats posted on Oct 7th. This means, the average Page Views per day is now roughly around 75-80
  2. Pageviews for month of October alone are 824. This is roughly 54% of the Pageviews for the month of September (1517). This feat was achieved in a little over 10.5 days in this month! This month we may well cross the 1517 barrier, from the current scheme of things.
  3. The blog “An Experience:Enthiran:The Robot” posted on Oct 10th at 11.00 pm CET is now amongst the Top 10 most viewed articles on my blog. The feat was achieved in a little over 16 hours where 44 folks have already read the same!
  4. This week we also added continuation to our Short Stories series, by adding Part 3. It still has to pick up the same levels of Pageviews, as Part 2 and Part 1 have picked up, for me to gauge user interest and write next part.

    Neways, no bar graphs for this time and that’s it for now!

    More later!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

An Experience:Enthiran:The Robot

Screened in one of the "forgettable" places on earth:

The most awaited movie of Superstar “Thaliavar” – Rajanikanth was finally screened in one of the most remote locations of the world – Stavanger, Norway. One wouldn’t dream of having an Indian movie, and that too Tamil movie for two shows (a Sunday morning and afternoon) , and both shows running to packed houses. The seating capacity of the hall is roughly 150 – so in effect 300 Tamilians( includes non-Tamilians, but fans of Tamil movies and Rajani movies)  sacrificed all their Sunday rituals and travelled from far and wide in Stavanger to the Sandnes Kino Movie theater in Sandnes. The bus in which me and my friends were travelling was chock a block with Indians.  No wonders the Norwegians were  appearing to be puzzled and surprised to see so many Indians as a group on a quiet Sunday morning, a time when you could count not more than 25 non – Asians (including the bus, streets, bus stops) in the 30 minute bus journey from Stavanger Sentrum to Sandnes.

The Ultimate Rajanikanth Fan's preparation to watch the movie:

I myself was not in the best of shape to watch a movie. Having caught the wrong virus in the air, have been struggling to keep my two feet up firmly on ground since Friday night. My body had consumed  enough of Paracetamols, Antibiotics,  “gharelu nuske”( household medicinal fixes) like Cumin seed water, inhalation of steam scented with Vicks Vapourub, mouth rinse with salt water, milk with pepper and turmeric since Saturday on top of a layer of gel like Tiger Balm on my forehead and Vicks on my nose, throat and chest. In effect this is the same preparation i made to go to the movie – come what may. I did not have a Rajani T-shirt or a tattoo on my cheek to contribute to the spirit and enthusiasm of watching the movie, but the shining forehead (thanks to tiger balm) and nose (thanks to Viks) and loads of Vicks on my shoulder more than made up for showing my determination to watch his movie at any cost. In fact, just like Lord Hanuman tore his chest apart and showed a photo of Lord Ram, Laksman and Seeta residing in his heart in the Indian mythology Ramayana – today if my chest was tore open,  one could easily find a photograph of Thalaivar just being covered by the clouds of “Vicks Vapourub” on my chest! What began as a anxious doubt if I could last the entire movie without the body giving away, became a worry of the past. I lasted the entire movie inspite of the paracetamol trying to have its way, and that too without sleeping ! My wife would especially be proud of the latter as I have been notorious in sleeping through some movies earlier.

Why one should watch this movie?

Ok enough on the backdrop. About the movie, I don’t wish to re-quote the same reviews that are available in millions of website or on Wikipedia on the movie. I will give my reasons why one should watch this movie:

1.       Fantabulous combination of Robots, Human Beings, Comedy, Conflicts:
Director -  S Shankar gets it right. The movie does not let down on this aspect throughout the 3 odd hours. The comedy though is done better by Rajani  than his 2 side kick assistants. The three different characters or shades Rajani plays -  as Vaseegaran – The scientist, the innocent version as Chitti the good robot and finally as Chitti the bad robot in the second half is very impressive. It’s a perfect combination of human touch to machines through emotions.

2.       Tribute to Indian Filmmaking experimenting with Animations:
When we can pay hundreds of rupees or a few dollars to watch the Sci-Fi movies from Hollywood (ex: Avatar, ET, Jurassic Park etc.) , why cant we pay the same to watch Indian movies? The graphics of this Rajani movie are in fact on par if not better than any of these Hollywood blockbusters one would have seen in the recent past. Most of the graphics work is outsourced and done by China, Hong Kong and US (the accreditations are pretty interesting and long at the end of the movie). Still the familiar background of India, for these graphics and scenes with emotional and behavioral pattern of people like us puts the acceptability of this movie a notch higher than the Hollywood movies. 40% (INR 64 Crores or INR 64 Million) of the cost of the movie is spent on these special effects and it is indeed breathtaking. The second half in general is indeed very thrilling and mind boggling for the sheer display of imagination from the filmmakers on the ways the Robot can manifest and take humane and dragonian forms.

3.       The Director:
Shankar once again shows the class that he is. After all the wonderful movies he has made – including Indian, Anniyan etc. This one is a league apart. The amount of thought put into the movie is indeed unbelievable. Collaborating with so many stakeholders – for the graphics and inter weaving it with the Indian masala and making it successful is an art, not many can master. Though at times the movie could have had some cuttings here and there – like some of the unnecessary songs and comedy from sidekicks – nevertheless those are just small cons of the movie. It is Shankar’s movie throughout. He is the real Hero.

4.       The Actors:
Thalaivar – Rajanikanth

A different kind of actor
Rajani – what can one say about him? Absolutely mind boggling and entertaining! Being a die-hard Rajani fan, I unabashedly admit that he may not be amongst the best in terms of acting skills in the Tamil / Indian Film Industry (Kamalhassan (Tamil), Atul Kulkarni (Marathi), Aamir Khan (Hindi) score much better here) . But he has created a genre of his own. A genre defined by screen presence, persona, mannerisms and carrying himself so coolly. No one can beat him in that genre. He is second to none.  

Challenging Role:
The best part about this Rajani movie is that he has taken a challenging role earlier shunned by Shah Rukh, Kamalhassan and other actors. He has played literally “god like” roles in most of his movies (Ex: Muthu, Basha, Padayappa, Sivaji etc) which promise his cult following from shores as distant as Japan, Germany apart from the rest of India (apart from Tamil Nadu). Still at the age of 61, this man seeks to challenge himself and break conventions on his own kind of movies. The creative satisfaction he may have carved for while signing this film, would definitely be his for now for sure – be it his comical flair, humorous touch or the negative shades in the form of the chitti the bad robot (he was famous early in his career only due to the negative shades he potrayed in his films like Moonrum Mudichu).

Space for others:
He has been the director’s dream by downplaying himself and going with the story. The screen presence of Aishwarya Rai is also there for as much time as Rajani and he carries the movie without being bothered by all that.

Man with a message:
Of course a Rajani movie without messages is impossible – so the last few scenes when Chitti the Robot is dismantling itself – he passes on the messages of importance of education and removal of all evil from mankind’s heart. The beginning of the movie also indirectly carries his message. Just before the title of the movie roll over, you see “Cigarette Smoking is injurious to health”, the message that has a background.  (The background is that of a controversy created by the movie “Baba” in 2002, in which he had smoked and drunk in the movie in some of the scenes and the same were also reflected in movie posters. This had become a political issue then and Rajani announced that henceforth he won’t propagate drinking and smoking on screen)

 Aishwarya Rai Bachhan:
 I am not an Aishwarya fan. But after this movie, my heart has melted for the better, and is a step  closer to being her fan, which is a paradigm shift in my perceptions on Aishwarya. My perceptions were always marred by the thought that “she is too artificial”. But the fact is she appears “too artificial” because she is so natural. She has matched her breathtaking beauty very nicely to the feminine grace and danced, acted and carried herself very well throughout the movie. Thoroughly professional. She carves out as much strength for her character as did Ramya Krishnan as Neelambari in Padayappa.

Danny Denzongpa:
Sauve, Intelligent and fit the bill in his role as a scientist and as a bad man. His role could have been made much longer, but nevertheless, refreshing to see Danny back again.

5.       The perfect example of India as a cosmopolitically plural society and a “Pro-Outsourcing” country:
Can you beat this?

  • Rajanikanth is a Maharashtrian, who has made Tamil language and Tamil Nadu as his over the past 40 years (Ironically, i am a Tamilian with strong lineage to Maharashtra - having born in here and also by the ability to read, write and speak Marathi better than my mother tongue - Tamil).  Exactly 40 years back, a linguistically aligned political party in Maharashtra had organized “Lungi Uthao, Pungi Bajao” campaign in which lot of South Indians were made to go back to their home states as they were taking jobs of Maharashtrians. I am sure, this time around, seeing the success and love this Marathi manoos has enjoyed in Tamil Nadu, South Indians like me who have made Maharashtra our home state will no longer face “LUPB” campaigns in future. Rajani also did his bit by visiting the power centers while in Maharashtra and sending the right messages.
  • Aishwarya Rai Bachhan and Danny are again non Tamilians who are acting in Tamil movies. No ruckus created by the Tamil Film industry for this.
  •  Graphics Designing and animation outsourced to Hollywood (read US) and our South East Asian friends like Hong Kong, China etc. INR 64 Mn has gone to these pockets.  When there are backlashes against outsourcing/ offshoring (especially against India) in the whole world, India is leading the world in outsourcing things it ain't great at.
  • The names of characters too are examples of a movie that embraces multi culturalism. Ex: Dr. Bohra, Sana are not names normally used in Tamil movies.
  • Also the locations where the movie is shot - especially songs are outside India (ex: Machhu Picchu mountains in Peru). A boost to the economy of these countries.

6.     None of the above reasons appeal to you and you are still headstrong on the perceptions on tamil movies / Rajani movies/ Indian special effect movies and hence don’t want to watch this movie: In that case, I would still recommend you to watch this movie. You will leave the movie hall amazed on breaking perceptions on at least some part of your imaginations.  If  even this is not convincing enough, you will add “Boom Boom Robo da Robo da” song to your caller tune/ ring tone of your mobile phone or have a chance to see some exotic locations like Machhu Picchu in the song and dance sequences and wild imaginations portrayed through special effects in the movie in the latter half.

Seeing the high benchmarks this movie has set for most of the above reasons, the print media is abuzz that all future movies on Robots/ Artificial Intelligence in India are shelved – the ones from Mr. Shah Rukh Khan, Mr. Hrithik Roshan etc. No wonder, hats off to “Enthiran” and the entire team.

On a lighter note - me and my friends with whom i had gone to watch this movie were just joking around saying that perhaps even for an examination, i would not have prepared myself so well (with medicines, tissues, cumin seed water), as i was for a movie!

Glad I saw the movie! It is time for me to get back to Vicks, Tiger Balm, inhalation of steam and pop in antibiotics and paracetamol and play “Boom Boom Robo da”.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Mrs. Krishnan walks down memory lane (Part 3)

After one of many such discussions with the neighborhood Sheela aunty, Mrs. Krishnan stepped out of their house , headed back to her own house.  She didn’t like to really look at flashbacks as they only got pains and sorrow and memories you want to forget, but this time Sheela had needled her enough to make her think of her past in those ten minutes of walk back to her apartment. Mrs. Krishnan was a lady who had seen a lot in life.  It was only a few years back that she had got married to Siva’s dad – Mr. Krishnan and it was still fresh in her mind. 

Having been the eldest of the four daughters of a government servant, she had to heed into the pressure from her parents to cut short her education than what she desired. After her Std. XII (The twelfth year of formal education after pre-school and nursery) examination, she was asked by her parents to get involved in the household chores of cooking, cleaning, stitching and taking care of elders. They wanted to groom her as fast they could so that all the generic requirements from a prospective boy’s side could be ticked off the awfully long checklist. Mr. Krishnan’s alliance came through the marriage bureau run in the local temple ‘out of interest’ and ‘wish of welfare for unwed brides and grooms’ by nosey, gossipy, chirpy and harmless souls of Kumbakonam. 

As soon as the astrologer matched the horoscopes to the “T” and found it suitable for the next level of discussions, began the usual route of – checking family backgrounds, exchanging demands and can do’s for the wedding, the typical scene of family’s meeting and boy not talking to girl till day of marriage and finally a day of marriage with lots of commotion, fun and tensions. Mr. Krishnan had indeed not been a bad choice. She was lucky to have him and have known him for so long. When they were married, he was working as a clerk in one of the small private firms with enough money in the month for them to eat, have modest clothes, rent a modest 1 BHK and support her in-laws, who were staying with them. After a few initial tiffs, Mrs. Krishnan had realized early in life that she has to adjust per the wish of Krish (as she fondly use to call him when they were alone) and his folks and it would make life more complex if she put her wishes and way of doing things before theirs. Over the years the simple adjustments she made in her mindset and how she got along with her in laws in the first few years paved stronger ties, love and respect from them over the years. It was well worth the wait of twelve years post marriage. 

Siva was born after five years of their marriage. Though they wanted to plan a baby much earlier, certain complicacies that arrive in an arranged marriage in terms of sexual relations forced them to finally get it right the fifth year. It was a torturous five years where they had to bear the unwanted views, opinions and recommendations to go to “seers”, “Tantriks” for having a boy child of so called well-wishers. After the first two years of crying and getting affected by all these taunts, Mrs. Krishnan was finally able to console herself and get in line with her husband’s judgment. Mr. Krishnan had told her that “Chellam (Chellam means “Oh loved one” in Tamil), we will have a child definitely. It will perhaps take time and God wants it that way. The Almighty is taking our test to see how badly we want the child. So our actual test is in the form of ability to withstand such comments from people around us without losing the grace and calmness. We should not be rude to them and just think that they are all God in the form of an irritant, trying to test us.” 

The regimental and disciplined routine of regular prayers, abhishekam’s (anointing the lingam in respect and love) of milk at the local Siva temple, diet with no salt on Tuesdays and no sugar on Wednesdays to please the gods, over the next two years finally bore fruit. One day after having a checkup at her local clinic, Mrs. Krishnan got it confirmed from the doctor that she was one month pregnant.  The Krishnan’s were indeed elated. Finally all the efforts had paid off and they got it right this time! Mr. Krishnan also now was promoted in his office to the role of an “Officer” with a monthly increment of 15% of his original salary, which was a decent amount.

As the months for her delivery neared by, Mrs. Krishnan decided to stay at her in laws place itself then going to her mother’s place (as is usually the norm) as her mother’s house was too small. Mrs. Krishnan’s  two sisters were yet to be married and the third one was deserted after two year’s marriage and left at her parent’s house with her eight month old son.  Mr. Krishnan was indeed a fantastic husband during those few months when she couldn’t do much of the housework and he had to put in extra hours in addition to his office work to keep the house running. Finally, in about a week after the eight month, she started developing discomfort and was rushed to the hospital. The doctors were worried that the baby may arrive three weeks early and may be premature. However, all the prayers that Mrs. Krishnan had prayed to Lord Siva didn’t go waste. The baby finally decided to arrive in the world exactly after four weeks from the time Mrs. Krishnan was admitted. So the baby was late by about two weeks than other babies and did not know then that it was destined to achieve greater heights in life only slowly and not as early as its other peers.

Mr. and Mrs. Krishnan were overjoyed and they decided to name the new arrival “Mudalipuram Venkatanarayanan Siva Rama Krishnan”, fondly called as “Siva”. 

Suddenly woken out of the flashback, Mrs. Krishnan realized she is blindly staring at her door with the finger just placed on the doorbell. The ten minutes of her walk back home were over sometime back. She breathed a sigh of relief and nodded her head to as if reset her thoughts to the present and then firmly pressed the doorbell. The door was opened by the one who was born just a few seconds back in the flashback - her lovely son Siva.

To be continued…

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Stats:Yet another milestone in 7 Days!

1.     After our last set of Stats on Sept 30th 2010, this is a time to announce two major achievements –

" As of today - October 7th, this blog has got 504 views in 7 days in October (average of 72 page
views per day this month)! "

"On October 6th, 2010 – “Pageviews all time history” parameter crossed 2000 Page views, which
means that more than 2000 page views were made on the blog. Most of these 2000 were between
September 2010 and October 2010. The current pageview count is 2057 at 12.58 pm CET."

2.   The countries, from where users visit this blog are quiet diverse and cover all continents. These  countries are:
  • Americas: USA, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina
  • Asia Pacific: India, South Korea, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Malaysia, Philippines, China, Nepal, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Japan
  • Europe: Norway, UK, Germany, Malta, Sweden, Greece, Finland, Russia, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Poland, Slovenia, Estonia
  • Middle East & Africa: UAE, South Africa, Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia
3.  Shown below is the split of people visiting this blog from various parts of the world. US of course tops the chart, followed by India, Norway and UK. I have also already turned off "Don't track my page views" so the Norway numbers are from elsewhere! The below is based on a Page View count of 1818.
Countries not mentioned in the graph above, but listed in point 3 are covered in the remaining 239 page views (2057 – 1818) on my blog. Currently Google Stats show only the top 10 countries with the most page views.

4.  Writing on current affairs and issues is definitely a big draw on page views and interesting to many. A case in point is the blog on “The parallel life with Rajanikanth” which now has 80 page views in just 7 days of being published (Sept 30th).  Other example is “The tribute to Dell Inspiron….” which has had 88 page views since being published on Sept 27th.

Announcement on New Label:

There was a new label on "Personality Development" added this week. All the articles written by me
as a Creative Writer under would be posted here over the next few days. My profile in can be accessed at link (click on link).

Laxman: The new age Ram of cricket

October 5th 2010 would be a historic day in the annals of Indian cricketing history. It is a day of redemption for even the most disinterested of cricket fan’s.  When every cricket fan had give up hopes for an Indian win, after seeing the fall of wickets of Tendulkar,  Dhoni on Day 5 of the first test between India and Australia, the underdog barked the loudest. He barked the loudest not through “sledging” that one Mr. Ricky Ponting and his team of ten are notoriously famous for, but by unleashing it through his performance on the field.  

The underdog was none other than VVS Laxman.Though he has rescued Indian Test Cricket from multiple humiliating losses to improbable win’s or draws, he is still an underdog for multiple reasons 
  1. He has always been under rated as a cricketer barring Tests. In Tests he has done exceptionally well in both – the second innings and also against the Aussies.
  2. In this test, he was battling back spasms and did not bat much. So he was under condition, if I may take liberty of the English language and coin a new word. He was more like a last man for the second innings. He put all those pains behind and indeed caught everyone by surprise and kept his cool to see us through to win this test match. 
  3. He is under standing : He stands and delivers when ‘ The Wall’ crumbles,  “The God” fails or the entire pack of Indian batting line up fall like a pack of playing cards blown over by wind. The no. of runs he scores off the flick of his wrists (that reminds one of his senior, state mate and former Indian captian Azharuddin), in boundaries indeed don’t need him to run and earn the single but stand under the pressure and deliver. And for all the work he does, he is totally modest about it and  is a rich chapter of humility that newer members in the Indian cricket team – like Yuvraj Singh, Srisanth and others need to learn hard. He never tried to unabashedly praise himself by undermining the contribution of others or made light conversations of his competitors.
If cricket can be treated as Ramayana, VVS Laxman is the new age Ram. 

This Yuga in cricket – is the Kaliyuga - smeared by the domination from Australian cricket (which has almost ended) and the atrocities committed by them through sledging, racial slurs and other unruly ways on almost all cricketing teams in the world. Like an errant child who was let go off leniently by the teacher (read ICC and all the umpires), Australia have silently gotten ahead in their endeavors without being reprimanded by the ICC. It is now rather the end of this Kaliyuga as there are just too many nails in “Australia’s coffin as a winning team that could never loose”. These nails are majorly branded as “VVS Laxman”. However, it would be unfair if we don’t give the Aussies their due credit - the talent, passion and physical and mental toughness of the Aussies that has made them win games apart from their “Kaliyuga” tactics.

The Indian mythological character - Laxmana from Ramayana may have played second fiddle to Lord Ram, but in this Kaliyuga, VVS Laxman is the new age Ram.  Today, even Lord Laxman may be proud of him to have overshadowed all other Ram’s in Indian cricket on the field – “Tendulkar”, “Sehwag”, “Dravid”, “Dhoni” etc.

It is a day of victory for a "Very Very Special" boy, who was from a family of Doctors (he is in fact also related to former President of India – Dr. Radhakrishnan) and was almost about to take the family business of being a doctor, when his passion for cricket made him take the unconventional step. There was indeed no looking back after that. He gave in all that he could to indeed form an equally strong quartet along with “Ganguly, Tendulkar, Dravid” who brought about the revival of Indian cricket after the match fixing allegations.

Laxman is a live case study for each one of us and indeed justifies:
  1. Why one should follow what his heart yearns for, even if it means breaking conventions
  2. Message of movie “3 Idiots": Walk out of the Rat Race and really make a difference to the world through something you are good at
  3. One need not be born talented. If you focus and have perseverance, you will be rewarded.
  4. Recognition, Fame, Money would be delayed, but not denied. 
  5. One can stay soft spoken and be a true gentleman of the game and yet make the way word  folks (read the Kaliyuga Aussies) bow down. A truly silent assasinator and graceful aggressor 

Had he been a doctor, India may have lost him treating patients (which may not necessarily have made him happy, though he may have been good at it) in the interiors of Hyderabad or in UK, US or even Australia!

As someone nastily said – the last few words of Australian cricket captian - Ricky Ponting would be “Hey Laxman”, just as Mahatma Gandhiji’s last words were “Hey Ram.”

I would say, even if Ricky’s last words are “Hey Ram” he would still be right, as Laxman is really the new age Ram of cricket who tamed the “Dasamukha” (Ten faces/ team members of Aussie cricket team) of “Ravana” (read Australian cricket) in “Kaliyuga” (the age of the Australian cricket domination through their on field and off field tactics).

Post  Comment:
This blog was written at the request from my ex-colleague and great friend Gyan bhai - fondly called "Gyan Bhai".

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Meditation: A Food for Mind

The human body is a machine, a machine that can overtake the most complex of electromechanical gadgets man has ever made, just by its sheer co-ordination, existence and by carelessly swaying to the whims of its indisputable master stuffed with grey cells – the human brain. But the human body has its own limitations. The more rigorous strain it is put to, it will need some time to recharge after that. That is why almost every person on earth sleeps. By sleeping, you are knocked off from the real world, and in that world of glossy dreams, your body finds its solace and gets recharged.

For the body, probably an hour or two hours of sleep is enough to get recharged. But what about the brain? What about the mind ? It is always working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. When we doze off, the sub-conscious mind knocks down the conscious mind and gets its act together. When we wake up, the sub-conscious mind takes a back seat. There is no state of rest for the mind. When the mind is clogged, frustrations creep in and affect the daily rhythm of each and every one of us. The clogging of the mind can be stopped and the mind can become healthy by meditation. 

Meditation is the food for mind. The mind doesn't ask for food when it is hungry, unlike your stomach, which almost roars when kept empty for a long period of time. The mind is like a silent obedient servant, always at the disposal of the master. Through mediation the mind can be made to calm down and made to vibrate only in those areas, which are viable for our mental and physical harmony. By riding the car of meditation, the mind can be made to turn away from those unwanted human emotions of anger, jealously, thoughtless pondering, fear. 

The meditation process just acts as a speed breaker for the thought process in our mind and gives us time to get in touch with the infinite, which is the ultimate source of energy. The infinite lies within self. It cannot be seen, it cannot be touched. It can be only experienced. When one reaches the ultimate core, he becomes unshakable.

Meditation is not the picture you always had in mind - a jungle full of trees, anthills and snakes. Where at the center of the jungle, seated below a banyan tree, a hermit with the longest enviable beard is chanting "OM" and sitting in an upright erect position. This is hardcore meditation, but there are simpler ways than this to log on to the spiritual world.

Just go to a place, where you won't be disturbed for some time, say at least 15 minutes or so. Let it be a place where you can feel relaxed. This is very essential. Relaxation is the ignition if you want to have a smooth drive towards meditation. Now close your eyes. Just forget about yourself. Forget what you are, how you are, who is yours or what is your problem. Forget your sex (man/ woman and not when to have it!) and even name. Now just visualize that you are walking over water in the sea. Don't worry, in imaginations you can walk on water without drowning and Newton's laws of gravity are redundant. Now when you reach the center of the sea, you sit down in the upright position, with your legs folded. Visualize that your body is  penetrating the water and going down towards the sea bed. Remember that you are in the seated pose. Imagine water around you. Now concentrate on your breathing. Follow the inhalation and exhalation very closely. Now slowly visualize that you have reached the bottom of the sea bed. Now you go further below the sea bed. You are piercing the sea bed and going further below, beneath the seabed. When you go below the abyss of sea bed, visualize that you have come out of Planet Earth. The Earth was just part of the larger Solar System around the Sun that you came out of. Now try entering the planet next to earth, per your imagination - maybe Mars/ Venus or Jupiter. Now follow your presence / body in the seated position the same way as earlier. Only this time, you would be entering the new planet from the atmosphere, come down, touch the water on this planet by being seated there and then  trace your way back to the sea bed, and then below it, to emerge out of that planet and look for the next one. If you want to end your meditation, just slowly imagine yourself to rise up from the seabed, back to the surface of water. Slowly stand up from your seated position in your imagination and start walking back to the shore. This is when you slowly open your eyes and slowly come out of meditation. Follow this for atleast 15 minutes everyday.

Meditation is the master key to piece of mind. Harness your mind through meditation because it will increase the mileage of happiness in your mind. I have started practicing it. Have you started?

After Word:
The above was again taken from my contribution to on my section on "Individuality" at link (click in link). The above article was posted in on 14th Oct 2001, about 9 years back. It was a time when i used to seriously follow meditation using one of the tactics mentioned above and others and experienced strong personal power. Look forward to bring in all my articles from Boloji to this blog.