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Family, Friends and Life

Life


Everything is oxymoron, from every perspective

‘Absolutely unsure’ and in a ‘calm storm’

A ‘real dream’ which is ‘attractively distractive’

And a ‘true illusion’ which is ‘out of norm’

 

Still, is an interesting journey to a ‘definite mystery’ destination,

‘Focussing to defocus’ on the ‘perfect imperfection’

‘Consistently changing’ to ‘connect the disconnect’ with the cosmic soul

‘Experiencing inexperience’ and living the ‘illogical logic’ which is in ‘chaotic control’!

 

Knowledge and Practice


It had been a long-standing challenge -   practising the knowledge.  It is an established documented fact (come on, I documented in this blog here….) that the outcome of any event depends on the response to that event.  I am yet to put that knowledge to use 100%.

I had two such events in the last 24 hours….making me introspect on how long it is going to take to get ourselves practice what we know….

The first incident made me realize the need to strongly emphasize in my communications on how much I value my ideals. While I have my ideals, I also believe that it is an individual’s prerogative of having their own ideals (rights and wrongs) which will vary with every individual. Oxymoron belief!

In this context, it becomes very important to react to someone’s thoughts in the right way – communicating the intent is extremely critical -   needs excellent clarity of thoughts and the choice of right words.   “my ideals are different. while what you say/do are different from mine, I appreciate it is your prerogative to do/what you think as long as it is beyond my boundary”.

The second incident made me realize that in the fit of the moment, you lose your knowledge and just react to a situation in a wrong way – your anxiety kills your knowledge and just after that few minutes you kick yourself for reacting to a situation without applying your knowledge …… phew!

In both the incidents, a particular value or reaction of an individual is not in alignment with my thoughts/values. While I can still look at the big picture and appreciate how much value each individual carry, I am still a long way in ensuring my confident reaction to the specific incidents.

This challenge is really dodging me…..knowledge and practice!!

My Place – Always the best!!


Couple of days back, I happened to listen to my relative who said that they plan to settle down in Bangalore (that is a ten year plan from now!).    As always, I was rambling and listing down the good things about Bangalore  -  ofcourse, the recent post I did was on top my mind  -  http://ireach.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/bangalore-the-best/

When I finished my ramblings, I saw my cousin giving me a condescending funny look….I felt it meant ” so, what happened to the morning ramblings about the place you spent your childhood ……..you seem to be liking all places….”….

That made me think…..looks like  MY PLACE  – whichever corner of the world it is in -  IS ALWAYS  THE BEST!   -  It definitely is a wise saying  “East or West, Home is Best!”

Here is a list of what all I relished about my place where I spent my initial years of life  (If you have lived or visited interior TamilNadu in India, you will nod in agreement!)

1. Early morning aroma of filter coffee with the background of MS Subbulakshmi’s “Suprapatham”  -  (Narsus coffee, it was always!!)
2.  When you come out , the blasting sounds of Madurai Somu /LR  Eshwari’s devotional songs from a neighbourhood temple’s conical speaker  -  if it is the month of Margazhi, you will hear the audio of movies like “Thiruvilayadal”  -  especially Nagesh‘s Dharumi/Nakeeran dialogues
3. “The Hindu” newspaper -  If it is Friday, then you wait for “Ananda Vikatan
4. Saroj narayanaswamy’s news in All India radio  (” aal indhiya radio, dhilli vanoli nilayam, cheithigal vasipathu, saroj narayana swamy”)
5. Rajnikanth’s  movie posters  (“Udal mannuku, Uyir Thalaivanukku”)
6. Milkman milking the cow  at the doorstep
7.  The ringing bell from the temple  (“koil mani osai”)
8. Idly and chutney breakfast
9. Mom’s continuous tracking about being on time (“Time aachu -  kilambu, kilambu”)
10. Bicycle’s  bell and the loud screaming of classmate calling your name from the road
11. Mom’s consistent advice to be careful on the road and to come back home straight (‘Jaggrathaiya patthu po, school vitta neera inga vaa’ )
12. Had your breakfast?(“Saapaddu aacha?” ) enquiries from neighbours
13.  Smells of  jasmine and mixed flowers (Malligai, kadambathin manam)
14. Lovely girls with turmeric glitter on their face and the traditional half saree (“Manjal poosiya thavani mugangal”)
15.  Climbing the mango tree in neighbours house and  eating fresh raw mangoes sitting on the tree (got to keep a watch for elders!!)
16. Cattle on the roads  (need to balance the bicycle between them!)
17.  Taking the neighbour’s kid in the bicycle  doubles (“Supera irrundhu indha cycle roundu’ )
18.  Friendly postman who makes a conversation while delivering the post and knows who has sent the letter - ” this letter is from grandmom? how is she?” (letter enna pattiammava? Nalla irukangagala?’)
19.  temple diety’s procession on the road and the nice “maakolam” on everyone’s house
20. temple elephant

and many more…………………   How does your list look??

Cricket lessons – for leadership


I am so close to be qualified as an atheist if you consider cricket as an Indian religion.  I watch cricket for the sake of news because every other Indian guy follows cricket  -  after the IPL era, cricketers have become equal to movie stars  -  figuring in page 3 gossip columns and endorsing all possible FMCG products.

I should say I showed a little more interest in cricket (still continuing to be an atheist, though) in the past few years, especially after my little one’s initiative to induct me into the cricket religion -  I even witnessed IPL matches in the Chinnaswamy stadium (more of a family outing?!  I also wore a red dress to support the RCB!) and started following the schedules  – more to ensure the little one’s morning schedules to school are protected from watching late night matches!  Often spotting Kumble and Dravid at school was another dimension.

I think this background is enough to establish my level of interest in cricket…………..

Couple of weeks back, on one of those occasional thinking aloud sessions (sometimes i just talk what is going in my mind), I said that to compensate for my missed walking sessions, I should be doing some alternate physical activity………listening to this, my little one suggested that I play cricket with him  at home  -   oh, the home cricket is more of a batting practice session where he keeps hitting a ball which is tied on a rope from the roof…. -  when I said I do not know cricket, he also very enthusiastically offered to teach me.  the only condition is that I will be assessed regularly on my cricketing skills.   I agreed.

My first class was couple of days back -  I was in  for a surprise on the technical stuff which an 8-year-old can churn out  about cricket -  it started with a lesson to me that cricket first needs INTEREST .   Then came the importance to AIM,  POWER with which to hit the ball, PLACEMENT, TIMING, CONCENTRATION, how to STRATEGIZE (I could only gape!!), REACTION, SHOTS LEG SIDE, SHOTS OFF SIDE.  And there were tips  -  to remember leg side is your left side, think that both starts with “L”, and the off side is other side and they both start with “O”.  I was given all types of balls and all types of instructions  -   “spin, googly……”  ” hit on the leg side, assume there are three fielders in the slip, etc………etc……..”.   After half an hour of intense coaching, we finished the class.

Being a long weekend, we were at home yesterday enjoying the lazy Bangalore weather………..and suddenly the little one announces the test   -   first sem first exam -  on what i was coached in cricket.   It was a 15 minute session and I was tested in what I was taught and then graded…………see the grading paper (ignore the spelling mistakes!).   I was thrilled that I got a lot of As in my grade sheet………..but my little one responded……..”You have to improve.  this is a preliminary test and you should get all A+”…….

I was mulling over this and was surprised that these exactly are the leadership qualities which are required in any individual!!!  My scores in the sheet here replicated below for clarity

SEM 1, EX 1  (read as semester 1, exam 1)

Interest B , Aim A+, Power A+, Placement A, Timing A, concentration A, leaving balls A, reaction A, shots leg side A, shots offside C.

So, how do you think i fared??!!!!    :) :) :)

Congratulations


Anitha’s short story got the first prize in Unisun Reliance Timeout writing competition 2011  -   I was very happy happy !!……Can’t stop posting this……….check her interesting blogposts  here.   One more women who multitasks, manages work and family and still keeps her passion for life, and continues to strive for the best  keeping her feet firm on the ground!!   :) :)

Congratulations, Anitha!!!  God bless!!

Cricket Crazy


I almost got used to the fact that Cricket and my 8-year-old are inseparable.   But a recent conversation between us sealed this fact.

“Do you know what I want to become when I become big?”  -  this is how the conversation started.  I continue my house chores and ask absent-mindedly “what?”.   It is not that I am not interested about my kids future plans, but being a veteran parent, I knew by this time that these plans keep changing every summer / fall  and is cyclical.  I have heard things like “I want to be an astronaut” and also something like “ I want to be just a normal father/mother”.

While I heard  “I want to be a cricket umpire!!!”,   I dropped my chores and was surprised. This is something new….given the cricket crazy kid,  I would have expected something like  “I want to become a batsman, leg spinner….”   -  “I want to become an umpire” was a googly to me!!.

So, I asked with bewilderment “ Umpire?  Why?”.

The little one recites “ See, if you are an umpire, you will never get hurt frequently like the players and you can be always be part of cricket matches.  Also, the best position to watch a match is the umpiring position”

I was floored  -  call it Cricket Crazy nation !!!!!   I can vouch that cricket gets into the system of our little ones when they are in the wombs!   :) :)

Milk!


Everyone was in a hurry!  The birthday party is at 7 pm and when it was decided to attend the birthday party, it was already 6.30 pm.  The elder kids (7&8) were all ready…….The little three-year old nephew was so excited that he was running around the house with his toy car and driving it all over!!.

Sister-in-law was busy….-  she was getting things ready for dinner for the elderly folks staying back at home, getting herself ready, packing small things (when you go with three kids on a road for half hour, you will be surprised to know what all they demand  -  especially when we are stuck in the traffic inside a car!)  Suddenly she realized that little one is not interested in finishing his milk.   Being as patient as any mom can get (I admire her for her patience when it comes to little kids!), she was cajoling the little one to finish his milk.   But the time was ticking…………after five minutes of unsuccessful cajoling, she moved to the next mode – little threatening………”See, if you do not finish your milk now,you have to stay back at home with aunty” .

The little one continued to drive his little car on the dining table and with no wink of an eye he answered ”  Why?  Aunty also did not finish her milk?”   :) :) :) :)

Ofcourse, sister-in-law was stunned !!!

Living one’s own life!!


……………my first reaction was of profound shock and disbelief.

It was a typical conversation on that day too -   as always, I have been the one talking and going on and on about the mundane things in life, without a damn about whether I am talking sense!  I think this mindless, reckless talk happens only when the other person you are with is someone who understands you inherently – not just by the words you speak, but by being your buddy for the last 20 years without any expectations!!

And suddenly, I feel that there is something my friend is waiting to share – I slow down and listen  and the story unravels itself in front of my eyes  –  and  I was shocked and could not believe what I heard!!

Coming from a small town and being brought up in a ‘oh-so-orthodox’ culture with similar social status –  me and my friend share very similar thoughts on what is right and what is wrong (call it ‘values’?). I agree that our thought process and values (rights and wrongs) are mostly shaped based on our upbringing and is a legacy.

The story is about an extra marital affair – yes !!…my shock was due to the fact that one of the close female relatives of my friend had chosen a different life ( it is with another man).  I was shocked and angry because of what this made to my friend’s family -  a teenage daughter and a tween age son lost their mother -  not to mention the fact that a ‘oh-so-orthodox’ household lost its ‘bahurani’ (master of the house) and the  aging in-laws lost their ‘bahu’ and  the rich (reasonably handsome) husband lost a wife and her parents lost their ‘pride’ in the society!

I listened intently to the whole story – impact on the family, what our little town biggies think about it, how the elders at home are taking it, how the children are taking it – I was ANGRY!!

It kept haunting me…… her daughter will be ready to be married off in another 6-7 years from now……..and this mindless lady put her life in front of her kids!! How dare she do this???

Couple of days passed and it was the weekend – I was killing time watching the movie “The perfect man”  in the television -  It was an average movie – an American romcom, a story of a teenager.

The teenager is upset of moving cities frequently as her single mom has personal meltdowns involving second-rate guys in the cities they move through. The single mom is so desperate to get the right man as she feels her lifetime is ticking away.  To distract her mother from her latest bad choice, the teenager creates an imaginary perfect man to romance the mom and boost her shaky self-esteem.  The story after multiple funny incidents ends “happily-ever-after” with the mom finding her perfect men”.

I never had any qualms about the movie -  it was very natural for me to accept it!

As an afterthought, that night I happen to wonder on why I could feel this movie was natural and why I am angry with the other lady’s action -   both women have kids and they want to live their life  – they have multiple reasons on why they want to choose a different partner in their life.  The only difference was that the movie showed the women including her kids in her plans whereas in this real life incident, the lady left the kids back with her husband – but, is it not her choice?

On further thoughts, I realized that I never felt angry when I heard about the movie stars like Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan  (latest addition is Prabhu Deva) choosing a new life partner leaving behind their kids with their former wives.  So, why is that I am angry on this incident now?

-          Is it because

  •  I can relate to this ‘oh-so-orthodox’ scenario?
  • In a ‘oh-so-orthodox’ scenario, I probably expect the mom to be glued to her kids, irrespective of whether she like living her life with her husband and in-laws.  I get angry and fume that how can a mom of a teenager look for her own life?
  • she is a women and not a man like Aamir Khan or Saif Ali Khan who did the same thing?
  • I am a hypocrite    – can take it if it happens elsewhere but not in my circle?

More and more I think of it……… Gosh!  Am I turning SYMPATHETIC??  Looked like I am suddenly feeling sympathetic with the lady  ((I got to admit that I am far from being empathetic  -  thanks to my conditioning during early years of ‘oh-so-orthodox’ family). But the thought of a teenage daughter, aging in-laws brings back the anger in me.

No, I think I am still not clear. I am honestly confused!!   Is it Anger or Sympathy?

This post is participating in a contest and you can vote for it in indiblogger. I declare that any monetary benefit(Rs.75k worth prizes) I get through this contest will be  contributed to the non profit organization - OnlySuccess Foundation.  If you have similar fire freeze moments, you can share it in the closeup  facebook page.

 Further thoughts:  This situation is a plain simple case of someone wanting to live their life. As a society, we still have a long way to even assess a case like this, but as an individual we get emotional over these.  The individuals are mostly pushed to a corner – forced to make a choice between living their life and living as per society’s norms.  In a western culture, probably there are ways where they can still live their life and also be socially accepted.  But that brings in another debate……..is our culture much sought after across the world??  More to explore………..

Smelly Socks!!


Ok, as the title says……it is actually about the smelly socks!  So, if you are one of those who is really particular about all these hygiene stuff, then probably you may want to skip this post!!

If you are still reading, I am 90% sure that you are not the finicky teenage girl and not even the touchy hygiene conscious parent!!  Probably you are one like me, who can find humor even in a smelly socks situation….what say you?

Here is the smelly story!

Living in an apartment complex has its own advantages, especially if you have kids.   My 7-year-old spends more time in the apartment complex’s common play area than at home over all weekends ……the only reason weekdays are spared is because they got to spend time at school!  Sometimes the time in the play area spans to even to the entire day with a lunch break (while entering home for lunch, the first request is ‘can I go back after lunch to play?).   Sometimes there are multiple flying visits to home accompanied by friends  – they are all default thirsty (can we get water, aunty/uncle?) and unbelievably hungry (the packets of biscuits just disappear in minutes!!).

It was  this Saturday evening  -  almost 7.30 pm.  I had been pretty much lazing around the whole day, establishing that I am relaxing  after a week at office  (actually, it was only 3 days at office  -  Wednesday was Republic day and Thursday I was out sick - bitten by the virus around the city!).  The intercom rings…….and it was the 7-year-old from the play area   “I  left my socks with Aniketh.  I got to go to his house and collect it and then come home”.   I was puzzled.

There is a rule on the house  -  considering the apartment complex is too huge with many blocks and multistoried, we always warn the kids to stick to the common play area on the ground floor  – If they have to visit someone’s house, they need their parents permission.  So, I was irritated that the rule was broken “When did you go to Aniketh’s house?  Why did you go?  You never called to say that you are going to their house?  Did you climb all the steps or you went by the elevator?  You come back home now” .  I just cut the call to show my unhappiness that the rule was broken.

In two minutes, the little one is back home  – he removes his shoes and gets in! Apparently, he had been out almost the whole day - from 10 am in the morning. I can imagine how sweaty it will be by 7.30 pm -  and he has worn the socks in the morning!

I shoot the questions again  -   the entire family gathers to see what is going on …..

  • “Why did you go without telling us?”  
  • “No, I did not go to his house.  I was asking if I can go now to get the socks”
  • ” If you did not go to his house, then…….how did the socks go to their house?”
  • “Aniketh took it to his house…..”
  •  “Why will Aniketh take your socks?”
  • ” Oh, when I was playing football, the socks was troubling me (his way of saying that it was sweaty and sticking to his feet)…So, i removed it. Because my khaki trousers did not have a pocket, I gave it to Aniketh for keeping.  He kept it in his trouser pocket and after we finished our game, he forgot and went home”

By this time my teenager could not stop talking at the same time  -  “you gave the dirty socks to him and he kept it in his trouser pocket and took it home?!! Yuk!!”

The little one was completely puzzled….”If  I keep it out, it will get lost.  So, I gave it to him so that  he can keep it safely!! He is my best friend and he will keep it safely”…..

Now, I was trying to control my laughter……..on one side I have the hygiene conscious teenager and the other side is the little one who is blissfully unaware of why we are doubting his best friend’s ability to safe keep his smelly socks!!

Believe me………..MEN(Boys) are from MARS!!!   :) :) :)

Conflicts


Probably, identifying a definition to find GOD happened with little effort  -  but, here I  struggle a lot to define ME for MYSELF -  who am I?.   While I think I am figuring it out, i never realized it will take 40 long years to even understand that I am yet to find out ME!

An easy definition of SELF   can be ‘you are what you do when you know no one is watching you!’…………While this can be the easiest definition, i explored further to understand it better…

When i look at life, i have been under the constant influence of people who had typical values about the responsibilities of an individual  -  during my growing years, i have consistently been made to appreciate the importance of dispensing one’s duties of life  -  The Hindu mythology and the preaching of Gurus/Saints  -  all of them consistently reinforces these basic life values. Life as defined by theses sounds very simple……even one of the recent books which i read ( ‘FIVE PEOPLE WHO YOU MEET IN HEAVEN’) reflects similar ideas -  when i tried to consolidate those ideas and add my experiences/understanding to those ideas, this is what i got….

“Do your duties  -  KARMA YOGA  -  do your  duties with utmost care, respect –  start every day as new day  -  dispel your duties in the roles you play in this world –  as a child, spouse, sibling, parent, employee, employer and so on………….this slowly turns in as a self – discipline, synergized by family, family values  and the  influence of people around…..this in turns defines who you ARE and also lets you understand the purpose of your life”

 So, i am busy and doing my daily duties in all my roles  – then, i should be able to define ME and understand the purpose of my life!

But then, there are these crazy sides  -  the urge which develops when I watch a Romania travel documentary-  urge to go and sit in the pub with all those foreigners  -  who are laughing, losing themselves in the country music, and getting drunk, living life as though it is their only day to live, showing so much affection to fellow human beings  -  I feel like that probably is what i want to do….

when you share these thoughts, you are not sure about what you are  – are you the individual who puts duty in front of you OR you are the crazy person wanting to live your life?

it goes without saying that we have one life  and it needs to be lived well  -  but at what cost………..we as a society are all taught to be  living to others expectations and in turn performing our duties as children/spouse/parent/friend   -  so, we put others before us.

struggling to do the right things, struggling to be always right  -  putting all the efforts towards this  -  are we missing to experience our life ?  are we missing the experiential learning?

conflict is LIVING FOR SELF Vs LIVING FOR OTHERS…….

But on deeper thought, looks like LIVING FOR SELF is the best policy……….because it always ends up in LIVING FOR OTHERS!!

Gibberish, but makes sense little bit……..a reconfirmation that i have a long way to go before i understand who I am!

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