Sunday, November 18, 2018


A series of setbacks leading to every action of yours trouly being misinterpreted and every word uttered being misunderstood led to a situation wherein silence was to be considered golden. As the debacles came to a downpour, the words uttered often by a well wisher "This too will pass" came to mind.

What do these words do? It just makes one realise that as the good times come to an end so do the bad times. 

It makes one realise that success was due to many others and as rightly said has many fathers. So will someone own up your debacles. No these are precious treasures which you need to adopt so as to be able to grow. It also teaches us to empathise and attempt understanding the reason behind the actions and words of others, however, unreasonable they may seem. Thus, this orphan for the world is your own creation and you are its father. Reflect on the day of fatherhood. Was it not a day you rejoiced? A day when a man tells the world that he has created a legacy. A day when the world admires the man who has convinced a woman to consummate, conceive and deliver. A day when the male rejoices his manhood with a babe in his arms. A day when a man relives his own childhood. A day he cherishes all his life with no measurable comparison and only second to that of the pleasure of motherhood. So the day you own up this orphan as a child of your own transforms the perceived sorrows into joys which in turn results in the world admiring you. Thus, this too will pass.

Let us in this background delve into the epic of epics, the Mahabharata where the worst of tragedies perceived comes to an end. So are the best of times. May it be the birth of the Pandavas and Kauravas or their weddings or the Rajasuya Yagna on one hand or the exile, the loss in the game of dice, the battle, the losses of lives of near and dear ones or the exile of the incumbent King with his consort. All did pass.

There is another fable that comes to one's mind. 

A devotee asks God "Why did you leave me at the time of distress?"

God answers "See the footprints on the sands of time"

Devotee: "In my good times, I see your footprints along mine but in times of distress there are only one set of footprints, My Lord"

God: " Those footprints are mine as I was carrying you since you could not walk through those times"

This parable also shows to mankind that one should not dwell on the present state but look to reason for moving forward.

Therefore, this too will pass is not only for bad times and hence cannot be a consolation. As this is the reality irrespective of good or bad times, it cannot be escapist. This is the real philosophy that everything has to pass.

To make this a bit more comprehensible, we can draw up two tales

A child is being taught the meaning of several words. It comes across a person named "Pichai" which means alms. But he is a rich man. Then comes across a beggar by name "Lakshmi" the Goddess of Wealth and so on. The knowledge that rose by any name shall remain fragrant hits the child when it comes across a corpse being carried only to know the name of the dead person is "Amar" meaning immortal.

The other tale is from the Mahabharata where Yudhishthira is to undergo the test of questions to quench his thirst and later revive his brothers. One of the questions posed to him is 

"What is the most surprising thing in the world?"

Yudhishthira replies

" The feeling of mortals that they are immortal"

This too will pass!!!!

Sunday, August 19, 2018


"An end of an era" has been a headline the frontpage has screamed through this month of August. Towering titans Karunanidhi, Somnath Chatterjee, Ajit Wadekar, Atal Behari Vajpayee, Kofi Annan have doffed their hats and bid adieu leaving millions baffled as to whether the spheres they once dominated would be able to survive their absence.

The Hindi doyen and the Tamil scriptwriter shared a single year of birth. Their poems shone through and paved paths for a new party to take root. The Jan Sangh, DMK, BJP owe a lot to them as the oratorial skills of these two doyens ensured a steady building of the parties. While the Tamilian's script could spur four Chief Ministers, the Hindi doyen was a master groomer of talent leaving a large second rung leadership who unabashedly wore him on their sleeve. If one could claim success even in his rival's success, the other could admire a Durga as well as castigate her. One chose to fight a battle through his life and even after death while the other built consensus through life and after death. One held Tamil against Hindi while the other held Hindi against English on the world stage. One became a Tamil icon while the other became a Pan India icon. Both shared a bond of being shrewd strategists and tacticians mastering the political landscape that the sun set as thousands walked behind even their cortege.

A cricketer par excellence and a great samaritan also in their demise shone through the grieving thousands. Wadekar and Chatterjee towered amidst these two icons in their exits showing that their place amongst the titans was very much in place. Even as the above sportsman and genial and sombretadministrator found their epitaphs being written the international diplomat Kofi Annan also bid an adieu. 

It would be common to say when we refer to them that in their august presence a deed was done but they have conjured an August Absence that is hard to fill. Though difficult to emulate would we be able to do so?

Sunday, August 5, 2018


"A friend is not a person who need not ask you to do only what you like to do. U can also do something to please ur friend.  Friendship is mutual.  You need not hold on to ur opinions as always being right" was one of the comments that a post had elicited and as yours truly caught up with some posts on Facebook one of them had posted the need for a friend who would like Krishna not participate in the war but guide as well as another like Karna who would stand by the friend while pointing out his follies and try winning a war for him!!!

Lo and behold the need to blog surfaced instantly. Mythological friendships have always fascinated one and all. The honesty in the friendship between Krishna and Sudama bereft of the arrogance of post student hood achievements to lustily grab at the small pack of beaten rice or the straight forward approach of Suyodhana and Karna in the implicit trust they hold for each other. The interactions between these two characters from the time the former confers the title of AngaRaja on the latter to the day the former mourns the demise of the latter is a bonding which will make even the staunchest supporter of good v evil take a bow!

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Another friendship that Suyodhana covets is the one with the son of his Acharya Drona - Aswathama who casts his dharma aside to fulfil a death wish of his friend. These in fact put the following saying to a severe test

Friendship cannot never subsist 
between a poor man and a rich man, 
between a man of letters and an unlettered mind, 
between a hero and a coward.

At least with these tantalising tales, yours truly has the fortune of being part of friendships which can be summed as

Understanding not agreement, 
Forgiving not Forgetting, 
Memories Last even if contact is lost
Ones who stay by your side
When the heart falls apart
Take pride in the 
Happiness from afar

While many think that friendship is about gossiping, chatting, sharing or caring for the problems they bring true friendship means while walking in opposite directions when they can stay side by side and reward each other with an abuse with a smile.

The coveted trophy of being referred to as "useless fellow" by the choicest of friends which brings a smile cannot be traded for a felicitation of tributes a la ones at a farewell. But none of us still have made the mark these mythical characters have made is a fact to be conceded while we unknowingly traverse to achieve the very same standards. 

Long live the relationship called friendship which Draupadi and Krishna showed can be between the opposite sexes too!


The day had come to a close for the family and preparations were being made for retirement. The television anchor was at the highest decibel with a combination of his voice, the channel's volume and our own set's volume being placed at the maximum to suit the aging (y)ears of the inmates. The doorbell chimed over these tones to let in my late friend's son in who had come to collect some papers regarding claims to be made. As he settled down another laady landed with two kids to invite us over for a house warming.

Pleasantries exchanged, all attention centred on the younger of the two kids and to entice her into a conversation, chocolates were fetched and handed over. A couple were also handed over to the young man in his mid twenties much to the chagrin of the young kid. Soon we needled her and sought to compete for the treats in her hands. Liplocked and clenched fists moving to her rear for cover, the facial expression conveyed an absolute no to the entreating voices. The young man offered his quota to set an example which went in vain. Determination to safeguard her treats was writ large on the face of the young one raising chuckles all around. Her guardian espoused the cause of sharing, caring and loving whilst the young one quickly tucked away her earnings into a bag which contained the invites to join in the laughter.

The guardian was insistent on inculcating values while we profusely thanked her more for the wonderful prelude to retirement and less for the heartwarming invite. Innocence, Determination, Grit, Conviction embodied in a small body with a radiating smile which also conveyed her victory bid goodbye!

The day indeed was made!!!

Saturday, July 7, 2018


"Do not turn green with envy" was an admonishing tone overheard. Green and envy appeared to be distant in every manner. The remark took me to the kitchen garden of Dr Kadur and his display of the produce therefrom


The greenery on the towel alone is soothing. Imagine having a small stretch of garden from wherein you get your own vegetables and fruits. The garden patch on the first floor house was a small receptacle constructed by bricks and filled with mud to grow a beautiful jasmine creeper. Moving to a new place, the soil was treated to a host of plants from tomatos, potatos to the various greens and flowering creepers. Into our own dwelling meant that the rich rustic background of my parents would help nurture coconut trees, guava, gooseberry, plantain with the betel leaves creeper, jasmine creeper, and ornamental plants co habiting with each other. The lithe figure of yours truly was used to harvest the broad beans and guavas while the richness of the green tracts were guarded zealously by my parents.

It is true that green brings in freshness not only to the produce but also to the mind. Nurturing a garden helps one appreciate the wonders of nature's creativity. The high school days saw us stroll these wondrous paths of Cubbon Park

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These trees dot the landscape till date and provide much needed succour to the fatigued souls. It is also said that the view of the greenery exercises the eye muscles unconsciously resulting in preservation of vision.

These gardens also help us understand the tilling of one's own mind, nurturing the greenery as well as promoting freshness in the mind and body. This invigorating feast of gardening can never foster envy but only help in marvelling at  nature's play. A good day's labour will turn the garden into a pride for the entire neighbourhood too.

Friday, June 8, 2018


A camera rolls with the photographer saying "Smile please" or "Say cheese". Today we have the era of selfies but the photographer within still says "Smile Please". The common refrain of judges of musical reality shows is " Sing with a Smile" and it would be much better. There are sayings which speaks of the number of muscles used for a smile and a frown.But what makes a smile so important?

Let us turn to one of the fabled tale of Akbar and Birbal. On one occasion, Akbar tells his courtiers about how Salim is the most beautiful child and none except Birbal dared to differ from the Jahanpanah. Birbal told Akbar that he would take him into the town to show the most beautiful child. He takes him to a slum where a child is in the arms of its mother with not as much as a loincloth but beaming at the mother who exclaims " Oh the moon of my life". Akbar understands that every child is most beautiful to its parents. But the most important portion of this tale is that the child was beaming and was wearing nothing. Thus, its lustrous toothless cherubic smile gets it the best of compliments from its own mother.

Moving to more recent times, we find that the Mahatma disarmed his adversaries with his smile whether toothless or otherwise. The Saint of the Gutters Mother Teresa could win the world to the plight of lepers and homeless with a smile. While the former was termed a "half naked fakir" the latter was in a white sari in a nation where the much despised widows drape themselves in white saris. The iconic Tendulkar's smile spoke much more than his willow and definitely more emphatically than his words. 

Turning to cartoon characters, the smile of Donald Duck makes him more affable than his Unca Scrooge. The smile on the face of Mickey Mouse or of the chipmunks Chip and Dale can crack any irate nut's frown. The impish smiles of Huey, Dewey and Louis remain with us even after we age. Would someone match the irrascible smiles of Tom and Jerry? The goof ups of Goofy gets pardoned only because of the smile on his face and the ones on the readers' faces. Even a ghost becomes affable because of the smile as Casper has proven beyond imagination.

First hand yours truly wore a smile as an answer for most queries in the younger days inviting attention of most people. In the name of evolution the smile became a conscious effort in the late teens and early twenties. Thereafter, when public relations was the portfolio to be handled, the disarming smile was turned on to meet the most challenging of grievances. Yours truly can now vouch that the smile is not an ornament to bedeck or embellish but the main attire to be worn to move miles ahead!!!

Can therefore be anything more important than a smile which relieves oneself and the people around of a whole lot of stress and move people towards a bonding? Tomichan Chetan, you have nailed it!!!

Friday, June 1, 2018


The Indian freedom movement had many stalwarts whose intentions were single- achieving political freedom. The dawn of the twentieth century saw the entry of a new star on the horizon - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. His biggest virtue was he approached complex issues by identifying the simplest of all routes. His encounter with a bare breasted woman led him to choose the role of a half naked fakir. He understood that the backbone of the occupation was economic gain. He struck at it with a call for boycott of foreign goods. Easy for millions to adhere to considering the costs involved. The intelligentsia with a nudge understood the import of the move. Similarly, his travels gave him the insight to the power of passivity resulting in the birth of non cooperation movement. A chat by the seaside led him to confront the salt tax with salt pans. The complexity did not deter him to look into the simple solution.


A change in perspective. The British looked at his attire and laughed him away. The diversity of India had laid the foundations for simplistic methods of divide and rule but the simple methods to unite the millions in a non violent movement was beyond comprehension. The underestimation of the simple chess moves by this barrister put the British chess machine into a turmoil as these were not configured moves. The stop clock ticked and pointed to a disadvantage.

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The moral: Gandhi sought simplicity while the British failed to distrust it in time.

Let us go further back in time. 

In the outrage of being scorned King Shahryar decides to marry everyday to kill the new wife. The daughter of his advisor named Scheherazade walks into wedlock despite being aware of the conditions. She then opens a story which leads to many other stories which remain untold over a night. The simple task of crossing a few nights without any knights in shining armour spinning tale after tale gives us not only the fabled Arabian Nights but also the simple cue that to overcome an issue "Keep it simple" and also that "Killing being a king is also not that simple".

Not just that may be it was the inspiration for the famed Canterbury Tales too!!!

Though the venerable Alfred North Whitehead told to seek simplicity but to distrust it in the context mathematical and scientific problems, it is equally applicable to all as the above examples with that of the challenge between Ved Vyasa and Lord Ganesha or the Panchatantra being examples to lead more light!!!

Simple but complex eh!!!

Sunday, May 27, 2018


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Children play a vital role in our evolution. They help us in refreshing our values and are probably the best teachers. Yours truly was visiting a good friend who had nieces at home for their vacation. The younger tot was a bundle of joy but held to her uncle and aunt with a wary eye on the newcomer. In the evening when she inquired as to whether it was time for mangoes, her aunt i told her that it would only be after supper. Overwhelmed by the little one's desire, yours truly intervened and offered to slice the mangoes for her.

The little tot with alacrity told " Aunt is right. The king of fruits will take the royal route if the stomach is full but the food cannot." Silenced by her logic, yours truly awaited the supper time. The supper done. She challenged all for a feast of mangoes. There will be no prizes for guessing the winner. Aftouer this contest she warmed up. As preparations to leave were being made, the tiny tot cuddled up and told "What is the hurry to leave? Stay on till vacations are over". The quality of a true hostess which we lose as we age stared in our faces as we joined in laughter.

Life had sent yours truly to  a predominantly Marathi speaking area. The need to pick up the local language was acute but the first few attempts led to embarassing situations wherein the wrong words had been chosen resulting in some friends chiding the effort at displaying stupidity in the name of being an ardent learner. Thereafter, a friend's young child started tutoring and its chuckles at the mistakes committed was not in the least distressing. Soon, Marathi was a part of the portfolio. Several years later when Marathi was again a forgotten language, the need to master Telugu arose. This time around a young tea vendor played the Acharya though he knew no other language.

It had been the practice at home to send yours truly to bed first when guests would stay overnight. The reason being once fast asleep yours truly required no pillow nor would be aware of the loss of the pillow. Over years it had turned into a grouse that yours truly was being cheated. The arrival of new incumbents to the flat nearby brought a small kid who endeared himself to the family. Soon some guests descended on his home and the kid rushed to us. The grievous look on his face was accentuated when he queried whether he could sleep overnight. We were delighted by this offer but wished to know the reason. The young lad all of less than 3 ft tall said, " When I ask for Poori it is not there but today some people have come home so pooris are made. They will stay and I am told to  sleep with my parents". Chuckling at the replica of yours truly we chimed in that he could stay over but should be charitable to people at home. Yours truly was truly humbled at the turn of events.

Life had come full circle as the little lad mirthfully agreed little knowing that he had taught a lesson of life.

Sunday, May 13, 2018


Mother's day is a special day inythe west whilst everyday is mother's day for the east. Musing over this aspect, yours truly reflected on the mothers in Mahabharata, the famed epic.

Ganga, the mother for redemption of the cursed Vasus and to the illustrious Bhishma topped the list as she continues to be mother to millions. Close on heels was her co-wife Satyavati who dictated the course of the epic by her beauty and laws while ensuring the  throne for her heirs. The princess of Gandhara and adopted daughter of Kuntibhoja match each other in devotion and wits to lead the way for their respective progenies. Draupadi, Hidimbi, Ulupi, Subhadra, Chitrangada set the tone for the mother of all battles which is equally contested by Bhanumati and Uruvi.

These eleven women epitomise maternal traits in their inimitable style. The reference to the epic mothers would be incomplete without the famed Devaki and Yashoda the mothers of Krishna who leave the door open till date as to the debate on the biological mother vs foster mother. Similarly, Kripi, the mother of Ashwathama and consort of Guru Drona also extols the virtues of an affectionate mother in economically trying circumstances would undoubtedly bring up another facet of motherhood. Urvashi, the adopted mother of Arjuna follows suit with her transformation from a suitor to a mother. 

The founder of the dynasty Bharata was himself born to one of the much celebrated mothers named Shakuntala. Queen Sudeshna who was the mother of Uttara who married Abhimanyu as well as Uttara Kumara of Virata kingdom is another memorable mother in the epic. The above seventeen mothers of the epic in addition to the "mother" of this epic Ved Vyasa epitomise maternal instincts in its entirety.

However, for those who feel this is not adequate, it is said that the Ramayana was recited 64 times in the epic and thus, Sita would also be one of the epic mothers who despite her traumas reunites her sons with their father.

But who does not see the best of all these mothers in their respective mothers? That alone is a fitting tribute to the mothers of this world. After all the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world!!!


Indian mythology is replete with tales of separation. These place the separation of a parent from their offspring as the ultimate loss one could suffer. King Dasharatha is portrayed to have suffered this for a mere separation for 14 years resulting in his own demise. But imagine the separation throes of Sravana Kumar's parents who lost their young devoted son on whom they were dependent. Three years ago, yours truly had rushed to a friend's place on a similar traumatic occasion. The friendship, thereafter, could not find its  resonance as no was complete without a reference to the young one or a chat with her. The three year gap had soothed the wound but was it sufficient to meet each other was a question that troubled one's mind.

Gingerly stepping out of the trauma, yours truly placed a call to announce the intention to visit to be greeted with warmth and affection. The night of travel to the destination was not pleasant as memories troubled and interfered with sleep. On reaching the destination, the distraught father greeted his friend and ushered him home. The mother showered the affection and gently told that yoga helped in mastering one's senses. After glasses of water, refreshment and a breakfast while they spent their time at yoga, yours truly was introduced to a young child all of three years old. A daughter of my friend's sister-in-law, the family chose to call her their daughter. The little one helped the couple to move through many chores. She also taught yours truly that melancholy is not a cure for any situation. The proverbial drawing of a bigger line to make the present one smaller was also not a solution. The apparent solution was acceptance of efactual position and reaching out to the world on the best foot. As games were played and joys exchanged, a lesson was imparted that sorrow needs to be shown the door in every situation with grit and determination.

There were no hard feelings. Instead of yours truly consoling anyone, here was a couple which showed the way to art of living. No guru dakshina, no enrolment fees, no courses but a lesson imparted by living. The hat remains doffed as the bereavement continues to be shared!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


It is said that farewells are tough times for the near and dear ones. Here is one such for a friendship which had its foundations in contradictions. One loved to live life kingstyle. He adored every material wealth and aspired to acquire them. He also stood by anyone in the time of need and his weakness was an ego which refused to deflate under any circumstance and of course its handmaiden the liquor. The other was a teetotaller who believed that he could be a better influence than alcohol. The battle royale was fought over years. Acrimonious arguments laced with wit and humour formed the foundation of this strange relationship.

In the interim period, the alcoholic taught the values of visiting hospitals and attending funerals. He taught him the value of cultivating friendships. He demonstrated that goodwill was the only thing that lasted beyond one's lifetime by taking the teetotaller to funerals. On all occasions he justified his intake but not even in jest did he offer him a drink. Time passed and the habit turned him into a compulsive one followed by addiction. Desperation set in as doctors roped in the services of the teetotaller for extending his lifetime. 

There were others who believed that the "king" should not be deprived of any luxuries. Another battle front emerged. This post commenced when the teetotaller had to with a heavy heart accept the inevitability and brief the family. A valediction was found to be in order. But...

the "king" had his way! He turned critical and the post was abandoned in the works. By the end of the day, he is became he was. An attempt to give him a farewell tribute during his lifetime also failed. The man who had mastered so many things had become a slave of one which led to this moment. The wait ended. 

People streamed in armed with floral tributes. The teetotaller stood empty handed. No wreath. No garland. No tears. His attention turned to the family. He apologised for failing in his endeavour to wean the man from his master. He did not wait to cast a glance at his dear friend. Admitting failure, he started his search for a new mission. His take, the battle was not won by both it was the alcohol which lifted the trophy (pun intended)!

Sunday, April 15, 2018


The art of giving has been debated topic. The print and electronic media have placed the Warren Buffets of the world against the Unca Scrooges of our nation. as yours truly was skimming through one such report, the mind skipped merrily to a conversation a few days ago. The young boss had pointed out how miserly he had appeared in comparison to his chauffeur. Quite unlike Mr. Dithers of the Blondie strip. 

The chauffeur had apparently a distant relative who had acquainted himself on his arrival in the city. The distant relative had, thereafter, succumbed along with his spouse to a cylinder blast leaving two children who were battling for life. The grandparents dismissed these grandchildren as ill omens. This fellow who was there for the last rites could not leave them and left no stone unturned for their survival. One child survived while the other continued to be critical. A TV channel which covered the story sponsored the treatment while he adopted the kids. Neither the channel nor he made a fanfare of it. Naturally, he assumed the role of the poor Brahmin who gave away the flour which was meant to feed his family of which a portion fell on a mongoose which turned gold in the Mahabharata tale. 

These tales which strictly follow the golden principle that let not one hand know what the other gives. While the West follows the principle of propagation to encourage values, we probably still give without fanfare. The recent acts wherein the act of giving is in front of cameras, thus, goes quite against our traits. Any takers???

Saturday, March 24, 2018


Pussycat, pussycat
Where have you been?

I've been up to London
To visit the Queen.

Pussycat, pussycat
What did you there?

I frightened a little mouse
nder her chair.

These lines and images from the childhood days were fascinating. The mouse continued to play a vital role in our growth through the intelligent Mickey Mouse with his romantic spouse Minnie. The inseparable couple of Tom and Jerry would not be complete without a friendship image of theirs.

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The truth is that all would have enjoyed the plight of Tom while Jerry took him through traumatic moments. Occasionally when Tom has Jerry in a fix, he is actually generous in letting go of the opportunity only to make us have a hearty laugh. 

These rodents have nurtured us including the vahana of Lord Ganesha. 

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One night as the Electricity Board decided to give the power lines some relief while emergency lights and candles came out for guiding the residents. A little rodent half the size of Jerry made its way only to be greeted by a howl. The little one who probably expected a hero's welcome, if not a gushing one felt threatened and sped to a corner.

Soon an operation rathunt was launched to evict the much revered guest. Shutting the exits and blowing out the mouse into an acrobatic act which qualified for a Guiness record. It just stretched its limbs sideways and compressed its miniscule self through the gap between the door and the floor to reach towards the main door. Soon with the opening of the door, the little one which is prayed to gain access to the Lord Ganesh left us in a relief that it was out of our haven. 

After the eviction exercise, yours truly wondered as to whether it was the Pied Piper of Hamlin who was in our psyche while we pretended to enjoy the intelligence, enterprise and resourcefulness of these rodents.

On musing over it for some time, it dawned that humans per se are hypocrites who love the underdog only till it does not affect them or their own importance is not undermined but once the self comes into play, the most revered will also see an exit. 

This thesis was established when the organisational bosses pile on their subordinates to execute tasks. However, when the same is accompanied with elan, their subordinate is viewed as a threat and operation extinction is resorted to. A new area of expertise called Human resources management had dawned!!!
The only rodents still adored are....
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