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Padma Subrahmanyam


P is for Padma Subrahmanyam in #atozchallenge

Almost every year in my junior and middle school, i have witnessed minimum of one Bharatha natyam performance by Padma Subrahmanyam –  it is like part of my growing up memories – watching her dance gracefully on the stage, listening to her intelligent sessions about the history of Bharatha natyam, hanging around the green room to see that lovely glimpses of her laughter with her group, following her closely on the way in and way out to the stage –  wow!!!

Dr. Padma is one such accomplished women who made a little ignorant girl in me appreciate how rich a culture and heritage is bestowed in the temple town of Chidambaram –  she was the one who introduced the 108 karanas (karanas are synchronized movement of hands and feet –  the basis of Bharatha natyam)  and their relevance.  Even now when i get to the temple in Chidambarm, i have to think of Dr.Padma when i see those sculptures on the temple walls.  I owe much to her  –  just now for her great dance performances, but also for the knowledge she shared during her demonstration sessions.

Read more about Bharatha natyam and karanas here  –  http://bharatanatyam.voila.net/natya_karanas.html

Indira Gandhi


I is for Indira Gandhi in AtoZ challenge.  Anyone who lived in India during the period of Indira Gandhi  will agree to the fact that she is one of the most charismatic political leader ever in the subcontinent!

If I have to pick up one quality of her, then it is her courage which impresses me  –  the courage with which she went ahead and made those major decisions in Indian politics, Indian Government and in turn in the lives of Indians.   While I am neutral politically, it goes without saying that she comes on top of my list if i look at all the prime minsters who held post in India in the past.

There are multiple views on how the Nehru family and especially Indira patronized the monarchy model in the so-called democratic India –  her dad Jawaharlal Nehru, she and her son Rajiv Gandhi all held the post of prime ministers of India.

Still, when it comes to looking at that one women political leader across the world in all these years, Indira still is as impressive as she can get.  If you need to read the life of an individual, who conquered her own demons and reached the pinnacle of power in politics in a developing country like India, INDIRA it is!!! For starters, to know more about Indira Gandhi Wiki is a good place  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indira_Gandhi !!

Check out the few sample pictures if you want to find out what it means to be a Charismatic leader….i was tough to stop adding more pictures to this post!!   Indira  =  Charisma !!!!

Xenophobia in Film – Madrasapattinam (#atozapril 2013 challenge)


Letter X was for Xenophobia by Tossing in out for the AtoZ April 2013 challenge

While I was looking for sci-fi film, i went ahead and reconfirmed my understanding of the word Xenophobia in Wiki  – “Xenophobia is an irrational or unreasoned fear of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange. It comes from the Greek words ξένος (xenos), meaning “stranger,” “foreigner,” and φόβος (phobos), meaning “fear.”   With this definition reconfirmed, I can put the entire load of movies with Indian freedom struggle as the theme

Over the course of 17th and 18th century, the East India company from Britain completely colonized India  –  while it brought in various challenges to the Indian community, this also brought in an irrational fear about the British among the population of India.

Madrasa Pattinam is a tamil 2010 period film, which very nicely portrays the feeling of people towards the British.  While the storyline has a romantic theme and the challenges the Indian public faced during the British rule, this movie will stand a long time in depicting the transformation of Madrasapattinam of the 1940s to modern-day Chennai.

Rain movies – Mazhai (#atozapirl 2013 challenge)


Easy peasey selection of film topic with alphabet R by Tossing it out for the AtoZ challenge.

While there were many movies with rain, the one movie with the name Mazhai (meaning RAIN) has to be mentioned for name sake!  🙂 Mazhai is 2005 regional Tamil movie, which had rains almost through every scene of the movie.  Whenever the hero and heroine meets, there is rain in the background which makes them think it is a divine direction.  Then follows the regular Indian mix masala (song and dance sequence included!)-  villain falling in love with the same girl, enticing the girl’s father to give his girl to him,  creating a rift between hero and heroine and finally a big huge stunt sequence between villain and hero and then the hero and heroine are happily married every after  –  EVIL PERISHES, GOOD PREVAILS.  🙂

Rain brings in lot of lovely memories (ok –  i am ignoring the fact about bad roads after rain, sudden storms from the Bay of Bengal, and sometimes even loss of lives, which is very sad).   Who can resist the piping hot ginger tea along with the Bajji and Pakoras (Indian spicy snack) when it is raining.  Also, all of us have those memories of the childhood days in the rain –  where we were out on the rains with our friends  –   playing, laughing and running around and finally getting those scoldings from parents and sometimes even falling sick with cold and flu!

What is unique for a country like India is that the HOPE rains bring in  –  hope that we will have enough water for a good harvest in the coming season, hope the dry interior villages will have enough water to sustain their livelihood.  It has been a long dream for the Indian farmers that the Ganga-Cauvery river plans really take off –  that will enable the entire country –  use the excess waters from the norther plains to feed the dry seasonal rivers in the south –  it is still a vision and lot of work need to go in to make it a reality.  Hope it happens in the coming days.

This song from the famous Lagaan (2001 Hindi movie)  shows how much the rain mean for us in Indian villages. 

The theme of Thanneer Thanneer (1981 Tamil movie) highlights the challenges faced by villages –  this is another song in that movie which again reinforces about what rain means for us in India –  a single drop of water and look at how much joy it brings to the village folks! http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xlfoku_megam-thiraluthadi-thaneer-thaneer_music

Rain is GOD!!

Quiet films (#atozapril 2013 challenge) – Uthiripookal


Quiet films are not silent films as defined by Tossing it out  –  they are films where there is less dialogue and more introspection.  Letter Q in AtoZ challenge.

In general, Indian movies have lot of dance sequences,stunt scenes and loud arguments and lots of dialogues (are Indians the most expressive community among the world !!).  It was in the late seventies and early eighties, there were new experiments in the movie making industry  –   one of them is using lesser dialogues.

Uthiripookal  is one of the movies which made an impact on me –  It is a 1979 movie, directed by Mahendran, who is considered as one of the pioneering directors of south Indian cinema.   I like more of easy romcoms  –   so, i will not add this movie into my favorite movies.   This movie left me disturbed, left me thinking on the need for a society which acknowledges that mental state of balance is equally important as physical health  and to be treated.  Many of the folks who influx terror on others, hurt others are those who need that support. 

The hero of uthiripookal is a sadist who gives a hard time to his immediate family (wife & Children) and also to his colleagues.  AFter losing his wife and going through a traumatic experience by himself, he realizes his faults  –  by the time the damage is done and his children are orphaned. This movie had minimal dialogues and left people with lot of introspections!  Maniratnam, one of the successful regional directors always has less dialogues in his movies.  He considers Mahendran as a role model and a

Being Quiet is a virtue  –  While I am in general a quiet person, there are aberrations in my style when I have that right company (aliens under cover) at the right place.!

Life Story Movies – Sri Raghavendra (#atozchallenge 2013)


The word is L and Tossing it out uses Life Story movies for the atozapril challenge 2013.

India is one of the world’s oldest living civilizations  –   many great leaders, philosophers, saints, scientists, mathematicians (Aryabatta gave zero to the world) have been helping the world (beyond India) and making it a better place to live for all of us.  While there are many movies across India depicting the life stories of many, what came to mind as a first movie (I believe that probably is the best movie in my view) is the life story of a Hindu saint Sri Raghavendra who lived in late 1500 and early 1600.   While he is a hindu religious saint, he is also a philosopher (like most of the religious saints across the world) and supported the humanity at large with his supernatural powers –  people believed that he was the reason behind many miracles which helped them!

While Sri Raghavendra was a well known saint across the south of India, this 1985 regional movie Sri Raghavendra definitely made its mark  –   when Rajnikanth played the main role, people were stumped!  He had been an action hero till then and in his 100th movie, he played the saint which was a surprise to many of his fans  –  apparently, he did well and even today, when I think of Raghavendra, this movie and his good acting fills my memory. 

While it is a lot to talk about any saint across the world among various religions, the common factor tying all of them is their extreme devotion in making this society and world a better place to live for many generations to come!    They did it through religion, god, philosophy, music, literature, etc.   I salute all those saints across the world  –   reminds me of the song Endaro Mahanubhavulu from Indian Carnatic music written by saint Thiyagaraja  –  which means “salutations to all those great men of the world!!”

ps-I was humbled that tossing it out author Arlee Bird http://www.blogger.com/profile/11663942782929929334 feels that my postings are counter to his posts and likes the regional flavor.  Thank you, Arlee.

Indians – Veerapandiakattabomman (#atozchallenge 2013)


Tossing it Out    has used  Indians to refer to the micro genre of cowboys and Indian, and I am using it to highlight the freedom struggle India went through with the British monopoly for years together  –  this is letter “I” for the A to Z April Challenge.

Anyone tracing Indian freedom struggle will also be equally surprised on the number of Indian kings and queens who joined the struggle  –  as kids, while we learnt more about what our country went through in the past, there are few leaders who stand out  –  While M.K.Gandhi led the freedom struggle, I am sure at each regional levels there were those unsung heroes across Indian states who played a major role in influencing the people of that area.

Veerapandia Katta Bomman is one such hero from the southern region of Tamilnadu who lived in 18th century  –   every kid who grew up in the Tamil nadu was influenced by these inspiring stories of him.   While the Government of India recognized him (there was even a postal stamp released by them), I felt the regionalVeerapandiya_Kattabomman_postage_stamp movie by his name really brought in the impact on many  –  I still remember the dialogues of this movie Veerapandiya Kattabomman, a movie from 1959 –  this movie had Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan playing the lead role.  Sivaji did such a great job on this that for me, it is still his face which comes across when I think of Kattabomman. This movie was also notable for being the second Tamil film to be shot in Technicolor and which was printed in London. This movie ran 100 days in 28 theatres in those days, which is a record breaker.

ps-I never knew it was a 1959 movie, this essentially means i have watched this movie almost 20+ years after its release ; and I still continue to think this is one movie which brought in more patriotic feeling into me than the stories of many  leaders who worked for Indian freedom struggle!  wow!!

How to get RICH and RETIRE early


I do realize the importance of managing personal finance– drawing the financial wall in my life model is a result of this appreciation.

At the same time, in the recent past, I hardly could keep my attention on any self-help books – call it getting impatient with preaching pals!  And I still go with the view that RICH is a very relative term – Being Happy and at Peace with one-self is Being Rich for me (do people under the same sun sign think this way? I was stumped when I heard a similar definition from the same fellow disguised alien who told me about Moneyball)

Nevertheless, I picked this book with lot of enthusiasm and pride – the author, Rajasekharan had been my colleague in his past corporate avatar and is one of the key enabler of the monthly early morning long walking sessions for a bunch of walking enthusiast like me. And this is the second time one of my friends have published his writing – It was Anitha just last year!

What I like in this book

  1. Caters to a large audience reference book – If you are 20+ and starting your career, you just start your financial planning with this book. If you are middle aged and still have another 15-20 years of salaried service, you still can get inputs to get rich.  If you over the middle age hump-this can still be a quick ready reference in matters of India financial markethow-to-get-rich-and-retire-early-275x275-imadhfd5hbt69ujz
  2. Weaving general leadership principles – “Inaction is costly”, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”, “planning is like painting, the more valuable it becomes with more finer details you put in”,  “ financial planning is like going to gym –  got to be regular and long term” (knowing Raj and his love for Stephen Covey, this is not a surprise!)
  3. Excellent clarity
    1. Definition of rich – if your passive income equals your expenses
    2. Focus on basics  –  Long term financial planning is the basis of getting RICH
    3. Simple and easy language
  4. Super simple control diagram charts  –  which says what is RICH and sticks on to your head
  5. Good content flow   –
    1. Part one: makes the reader appreciate and define what RICH means at that individual’s level,
    2. Part two covers the why and how of long term financial planning followed by
    3. Part three which explains the various investment options in India and how to choose them to get an ROI of 15-20%
  6. Though it sounds like a self-help book, Raj has clearly established that each individual’s needs are very different based on their perspective of life – unique is the way he puts it candidly that it is all his views based on his experience
  7. The thorough details on various investment options –Debt, equities, mutual funds, insurance policies, gold, real estate.   The case of Asian Paints is well handled to enable even the beginners to understand and appreciate the intricacies of equities market

What I look for in the next edition

  1. Soft version of all the reference tables (a CD with the book)
  2. Consolidation of all questions at the end of each chapter
  3. A followup workshop based on this book –  I had the opportunity to be present in Raj’s book promotion session and I felt he can build a workshop based on this which will help many
  4. Hard bound cover  –  this is a book which can stay in the reference section for years to come
  5. Some more proof reading

Wall of Cricket – Humble and being Rahul Dravid


When I found that many are cutting short the three-day conference to two days and getting back home earlier, I was upset  ..  Upset because I prioritized the third day at the conference over my little one’s annual music day at school.   I still could have done a replanning  –   aversion to last-minute replanning,  late nights at airports and to some extent my laziness overtook (I also had an iota of sincerity quotient towards participating in the conference) –  I decided to continue on the thrid day.

It was still haunting to remember that expectant voice and little face  “amma, can you come on Friday morning atleast for the music day?”.  I decided I need to give my little one something which will to some extent compensate my absence. It struck me then that I can take something which is unique  –  an autography from his favorite cricketer Rahul Dravid –  it is almost two years since the little one got Dravid’s autograph on a two-inch paper and I was impressed by this cricketer.  Rahul exhibited that he is a true hero  –  read the detail here.

So, I had updated my colleagues that I am going to manage to get Rahul Dravid’s autograph during the valedictory session on the third day  – while I was extremely aware that it is a formal forum and I may look a bit out-of-place asking for his autograph, I was encouraged by my desire to compensate my absence on my little one’s school day back at home  –  ofcourse, there were other colleagues who really were fans of Dravid’s cricket skills unlike me who were also planning to take a picture or an autograph from him

I literally grabbed the opportunity when Rahul was waiting at the first row corner to get into the stage  –  I dashed to him with a notebook and pen and showed this notebook telling in a low voice that it is for my son and his name his karthik  –  I saw a momentary shock on his face and also probably some irritation (when he is focussing to get to the stage in an official forum, sure he did not expect this!)  –  that was just momentary  –  he took the pen, wrote my son’s name and gave his autograph.  A minute and it was all done  –  true hero obliging to his fan’s request.

To Karthik - Best wishes - Rahul Dravid

To Karthik – Best wishes – Rahul Dravid

His session started and I was once again in for surprise –  his humble nature and the ability to laugh at himself were quickly taking up the audience by fire.  While you can watch the video here 

Few quotes which captured my attention are

  • Aggression is a mind thing
  • Stay at the cocoon of the moment and do it again and again and again – ability to put your mind to the moment needs skill
  • Cricket somehow brings you down to the earth – all of us are hardwired to deal with failure
  • Emotional energy which is lost due to failure is very important to deal and then get back
  • Coming  second  to Sachin or Laxman is NOT such a bad thing. Coming second to someone mediocre is something bad
  • Few things I ticked before a match – : physical fitness, technical capability, mental routines, and emotional energy
  • Great teams are built on great bowling attacks
  • If u got the bowler’s angry, then u r closer to winning – anger takes away focus

My surprise indeed continued when i saw him in the same flight back home  –  in the economy section, two seats in front of me…again being that same humble, polite, wanting to establish that feeling of “I am one among all of you!” –  still accommodating the fans who were asking for an autograph or a picture with him –  through the flight, on the ground near the baggage collection area  –  ofcourse, I was satisfied with the elaborate autograph for the little one which I got in the evening!!

Once again, it was witnessing the real hero  –  is it just being humble OR is it being Rahul Dravid  –  looks like it is Humble and being Rahul Dravid!!

Pranav Mistry – making India proud!


Almost few years back, while we were stuck in a traffic jam, the little one was getting restless.  Reason – We will miss her favorite TV show.  To keep the cool, I was telling her that how nice it will be if we have some technology where we can get to just beam the TV rays on any surface and we can watch TV anywhere.  That idea kept the conversation interesting and saved the day.  It was long still I forgot about this –  and then, one of the days I saw the details of the project by Pranav Mistry  –  Sixth Sense. You can watch the video here.  I was amazed about his innovation and felt that what I discussed with my kid may become a reality sooner than I thought.    I was very impressed by this Indian researcher’s innovation quotient.

The last 2.5 years, I have been following randomly about Pranav Mistry’s projects.   They were very interesting.  The latest one was Sparsh which he presented in the Nasscom‘s India Leadership Forum last week.  As always, Sparsh was also equally impressive  –  a technology which conceptually transfer media from one digital device to your body and pass it to the other digital device by simple touch gestures.  Watch the video here.

But this post is just beyond Pranav Mistry’s innovation quotient  –  It is about his Social Awareness and his thought about giving back to the society.  Pranav is very open in sharing his ideas and even technologies for free.  In the current world of commercialism where every company plan to make money with every new version of their gadgets (ipad 2, 3 and so on of Apple is an example!), it was very unique that he is doing this.  I was very curious about this part of Pranav   –   how is he going to get his fundings for future research if he is going to give his ideas/technology for free.   I was more than convinced when I read his response to almost same question asked by a reporter……..this is what Pranav says

Yes, many people tell me that I can make lots of money if I sell the patented  technologies I have helped create. But my goal isn’t to be the richest person in  the world. And this also has to do with the way I grew up in Palanpur, my hometown. I realised early in life that no one  remembers you post death just because you were a rich person. Do YOU remember  such a person? We now know the richest when they are alive. But do you know the  top 10 richest of 18th century? But we all do know Albert Einstein, Mother  Teresa, so we do remember those who make a change in history. We always remember  those who contribute to society. And money shall come and go, I shall have  enough to be happy but not necessarily want so much that I don’t know what to do  with it.

Read more: http://forbesindia.com/blog/technology/touch-of-genius-pranav-mistry-introduces-sparsh/#ixzz1mjwwm9BU

I was amazed by this clarity!!   Here is one Indian in the new generation who not only is a great technical wiz kid, but the one who thinks of society…………makes us proud.

Congratulations and all the best, Pranav!!

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