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Monday, September 17, 2012

Rain- (Un)Forgotten love


          And there she came.. Disturbing the silence of midnight, sneaking slowly into the gardens, tickling the tree tops, she settled strong with her Marylin Monroe skirt spread over korea by a radius of 400 km. Sanba is too sweet a name by Japan Meteorological Agency for a shrewd typhoon like her. Reports said that she entered our campus by around 2:00 AM when everyone including the dogs, except taxis was fast asleep. I woke up by the hysteric whistle blowing through the crevices of my bedroom. Struggling with my sleep laden eyelids, I realized that samba overtook my alarm by half hour. The following lazy 10 minutes of sleepless hither thither cuddle within the width of single cot gave better satisfaction than the full night’s sleep. I finally hatched out of my laziness and lurched over the cold tiles to refresh myself. I looked at the mirror, sign of ageing is slowly creeping into the face, and there I stood within the bathroom of an alien land (yes, they have given me an Alien card), far away from the soil that hold my roots firm.
          I came out to the balcony, infinite nozzles of cold air puckering into the sudden gooseflesh hairs wiped away the residual sleep I was carrying within. The rain was strong, slender transparent needles descended down causing small pools of water near the front door. Lost in time, I kept watching, surrendering myself to the past, remembering the june-july monsoons of nagercoil, I continued watching. The images of rain I saw just stopped in front of my eyes and automatically got translated to a different vision of past. I was the same, though compressed in size to fit the skeleton of an over grown 10 year old boy. Warming my palms over the thick tumbler with half-drunk light coffee, I was sitting on the cold cement verandah, watching the same transparent water threads falling down from heavens. Waiting for my dad’s hug, the damp news paper laid there still unread. I was looking at the clouds with infinite questions when my sister squeezed close disturbing the tranquil moments of higher thoughts investigating what lay above those chameleon clouds. And we fought for the millimeters of space she had invaded into my invisible territory on the cement verandah. Soon we were bored of the fight and fell silent, again started to fight on who will take the coffee tumblers back to kitchen. Dad’s appearance and his bulky spread with the news paper straightened us; we became timidly silent, then got up and walked slowly with our respective coffee tumblers to kitchen.
           “The rain will be severe, don’t let the children out”, dad’s strong voice travelled across crashing our hopes, the hopes of enjoying the holiday, hopes of renting a bicycle for an hour and the hopes of drenching in the rain and a secret view of the river, which we were never allowed without an adult’s accompaniment. Our rainy day, a lazy local holiday for schools to save the kids from cyclone began with our dad’s departure. I just stayed in the sofa, gazing outside enjoying the chill breeze brought by the rain. The television was pleasant, with no sulking from switching channels as we had only one doordarshan, the black and white Raj kapoor miming for the magnetic voice of Rafi in R.D.Burman’s music entered the picture tube, the details unknown then, hardly interested in hindi movies or music, yet watched them without choice. “Why don’t you do something, why are you wasting time?”, mother’s voice came out of the kitchen mixing with R.D.Burman. ‘Do something, aint i? am watching TV’, the response held within the throat, I just switched off the TV and cuddled with a blanket and children’s magazine. Soon, I lost interest in the magazine and there came my sister with paper boats. The waste papers were made to better use. Every time I went out to lay the paper boat, the rain bent and teased me with her swift sprinkles. She purposely sunk my paper boats, just to draw me out. She might have been upset with my mom’s hot bajjis as we left her, ofcourse bajjis can’t last longer and we returned back. By that time, she was tired of showering and took some rest. We came out, dug channels to let the clogged water stream out to tributaries; soon our tributaries joined that of our neighbour’s. By the end of the rainy day, I was always happy with the cold wind, the mud laid trousers and the hot snacks of mother. The rain was also very cheerful; I had heard her giggles when she came down, the merriness and joy she is accompanied with.
             Today I watched her again, she hasn’t aged, she is still the same, and I stood in my balcony longing for a hot cup of tea, R.D.Burman music and a blanket with no work ahead. Startled at the pace of my watch needles, I quickly packed to office. She was waiting for me to come out and she wanted to hug me tight with her wet hands. This time, I avoided her with an umbrella, protecting my formal shirt, hiding my cellphone and wallet from her, I walked. She might have been upset, I no more hear her merry laughs, but her moans, a feeble cry within her forceful typhoon whistle. I walked straight pretending not to hear, testing my new umbrella against her. She hugged me from behind, may be to hide her tears; I was wet, yet I didn’t look at her. I carefully watched my steps over the streams, not remembering the childhood tributaries, not remembering the joy the same streams gave me in splashing them, I walked straight to my office. As I settled with a hot tea, she kept banging my windows “what harm did I to you? Why did you stop loving me? “.
          With the buried love, I continued pretending not to hear her, like most of the world………

Monday, September 10, 2012

Wolves ate our goats, but we blame Lions


            I don’t know whether I hold a view of less popularity when I condemn Aseem’s cartoon displaying the lions of our emblem as blood thirsty wolves symbolizing the corrupted politicians. It’s true beyond trial, that the country is drenched in corruption when we have lost fastidious honest politicians in history. It still remains a mystery and a topic of debate whether corruption can be uprooted completely from the country where we start bribing as early as we are born, with a tip to the nurse for the good news of birth. The answer to the debate can be understood only in the future, like time answered Swami Vivekananda’s thoughts of economic liberation to abolish castes or Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violence for complete ‘Swaraj’ or Martin Luther’s dream of racist free USA, when they always had critics to advise that their goals are too lofty to achieve.
         There occurs no second thought on the status quo of nation’s corruption and there is no refusal to the sincere yearning by every fellow Indian for a corrupt free state, though they don’t demonstrate austere commitment to the cause. But, the intensity of the problem is never an excuse to sacrifice the self dignity. The demonstration, even for a social evil, if done without poise, fails fundamentally and without purpose. It is sacrificing one ideal to gain another.
         Now, the caricature of the national symbol portraying the Lions as wolves, no doubt nails the message quite hard: - no doubt about it. The intention is unquestionably pure to shame the shamming politicians. By fighting against corruption, are we not fighting for the truth? Are we not fighting for the ‘dharma’? And look at the tool Aseem has chosen, the national identity symbolizing ‘dharma’ which quotes ‘Satyameva Jayate’- ‘Truth alone Triumphs’, one of the greatest philosophical symbols which every Indian needs to be proud of, an iconic representation to the world that we had always believed in virtuous ideals even at a time when most part of the world were still in barbaric state. Disrespect to such a noble emblem for the problem we are still a cause is like killing ourselves to feed us. In one of the debates in a website on Aseem’s arrest someone has sarcastically commented “Yes, screw the nation, but protect the emblem”.  Unfortunately, emblem has its root so deepened in the nation and an insult to the emblem is definitely an insult to the country. If the emblem is not that sacred, why we have one? People may change and their problems too, but not the ideals of a nation, which is hardened and synchronized with its identity. How many of us will be comfortable if Aseem portrays ‘mother India’ as a prostitute to create awareness on the social problem of prostitution?
        What are we teaching the children? We teach them to be virtuous in kindergarten and we fail to carry the values, worse we demonstrate and patronize the massacre of virtues by supporting such open shame of national symbol under the pretext of noble intention against corruption. And what are we conveying to the people of the world? We, as a nation have failed to establish a corruption free country, have poisoned ourselves in corruption and exhibit least constructive actions against the cause, but try to abuse the holy constitution, holy national symbol because we wanted to convey a message. Forget corruption for an instant, can any of us atleast comprehend the message we have conveyed?
         I don’t support corruption, like I don’t support other social evils like reservation or child labour or forced prostitution, and above all I also don’t support mad irresponsible actions and demonstrations hiding under the sheep skin of noble cause. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

alaigal - oru kavidai

கரைவரும் அலைகளே, கலங்கி நிற்பதேனோ ?
கரைவந்த எந்தன் கால்களை
கட்டி அணைத்த போதும், மெதுவாய்
கிச்சுகிச்சு மூட்டிய போதும்,
தெளியாது தவித்தேன்
கவலை உன்னுடைய தென்னென்று?
முகவரி மறந்து வந்தாயோ?
முகங்கள் தேடி நின்றாயோ?

உன் நீல உடல் உமிழும்
வெள்ளை வியர்வை நுரையில்
ஒளிந்துள்ள கொள்ளைக் காதல்
இன்னதெனப் புரியவில்லையே !

வானோர் தம் செவியில் உன்
ஈனச்சுரம் விழவில்லையோ !
இறைவா,
உன்னவள் மடியில்புழுவென இழையும்
அலைகளின் குறைகள் நீ அறிகிலையோ !
ஒருக்கால்,
விழ விழ, தளராது எழும்
அலைகளின் பண்பை, உலகம் உணர
இறையும் செவிடன் ஆனானோ?

Monday, August 6, 2012

விதவை

விதையாய் விழுந்து,
மண்ணில் வேரூன்றி
தளிர்த்து
மலர்ந்து
காய்த்து
கனியும் முன்பு
கொய்தெறிந்த கொடுமை

Friday, July 27, 2012

First salary- a short story


First salary
-A short story -
It was a fine Friday evening; the bare earth cooked in july rain spread its fragrance fresh into the humid air and diffuse itself with the aroma of fried ‘pakoda’ in almost all the snack stalls overlooking the gutter of the narrow street. Sun had already set when Gopal crossed the street, took a right turn and hurried to reach his apartment. All the way home from office, he was unusually swift, unmindful of the mud splashing over his trousers punishing his old, torn and mended shoes. Chennai is not the right city for rain, it just gives away; the conglomeration of rotten vegetables, mud, gutter, overflowing drainage, mosquitoes, filth, flooded slums, epidemics, quite a nightmare month for the corporation officials. Few suffer, and many enjoy the rain. Gopal almost slipped near the market stamping upon the rotten tomatoes and plantain leaves. Unmindful of the difficulties, he rushed home. As he ascended the stairs, his heart beat rose, he noticed the pathetic condition of his shoes when he removed it, thought that he should buy a new set, but immediately postponed the idea ‘it can go for two more months, I shall buy after rainy season’. Before he dwelled further on the thoughts, he was joined by his parents and sister beckoning him inside. The joy of the cute small family was ineffable, for it was the first salary day of Gopal and it definitely deserved the joy and celebration joined by the heavy rain outside. The celebration included a special sweet from Kaveri (Gopal’s mother) and an additional hour of prayer in front of the deities for his long life and health. Gopal washed his hands, changed to ‘dhoti’, prostrated before the gods caged in wooden frames and then before his late grandparents adoring the weathering plaster of the wall in a black and white portrait and finally before his parents. All the while, he was feverishly holding his salary slip, a mark of achievement, an entry to take the baton later from his father in a never ending relay race. Kaveri looked at her son with delight, a series of past events since his birth ran before her eyes and she prayed god again with closed eyes for the everlasting happiness. Subramoniam, quite accustomed to his accountant profession for the past three decades, adjusted his rims and carefully went through the numbers of his salary slip “they haven’t mentioned the P.F account no. in the slip”, Gayathri interrupted with two bowls of sweet prepared by Kaveri, “Appa, you carry out your research with the salary slip later. I can’t stand the sight of kesari (sweet) anymore, common Gopal, this is for you”. The room filled with laughter and the china clay bowls reserved for VIP guests and special occasions went into the sink after repeated fillings. Gayathri took a spoon and started scratching the edges of the vessel for the left over kesari.
                When all of them assembled in the hall, with joy choking their words, Subramoniam said, “I still remember my first salary, Rs.400 in an envelope. I never took my hands out of the envelope fearing pick pockets till I reached home. It was quite a ceremony then. Ah! I forgot something” , he took a parcel with a cheap polythene wrapper excavating his office bag, which is a safe deposit of almost everything from stationeries to medicine, few marriage invitation cards etc .  “This book on investments is a must read for anyone before his first salary; no one gave me such advices. I learnt it myself. But the author..”
                “Oh! Common, why do you want to bother my son on the very first day? You are anyway there to guide him in these matters and cant you spare him to enjoy now?”, Kaveri intervened Subramoni. Gopal received the book with great respect, like he respected his father, whom he believed knows everything about life, culture, savings and investments. When Subramoniam started his career thirty years back, all he had was a single salary, aged parents, two unmarried sisters and a huge debt due to his five married sisters. From those humble beginnings, he had fought his way out and now proudly owns a single bedroom apartment, one of his life time dream and achievement. However meager his economic achievements may be, to Gopal, his father is better than Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. He would like to continue his father’s legacy of planned living with frugality and contentment.
“We should not touch his salary except for the repayment of his education loan, we should save everything. Bhgavathy mami has taken a gold chit in G.R.T Jewelers. I went through the brochure; it’s a monthly chit of two thousand rupees and lot of benefits. Similarly, opposite house Sridhar family regularly invests in ‘Shriram chits’. They say that we will get 2 lakhs in two years for a payment of approximately 1.6 lakhs. Both will be useful for Gayathri’s marriage. What about a plot near Guduvanchery? Can you ask our friends for suggestions? Your salary is hardly sufficient for home loan and other expenses. Ah ! I forgot, I have to send Rs.101/- money order to ‘namakkal anjaneyar’ temple tomorrow”, Kaveri spoke uninterruptedly with excitement. During dinner, she submitted another proposal of finishing the home loan supplementing Gopal’s salary and then start savings after a year. She had her fifth revision of financial plan for Gopal’s salary when they went to bed.
Sunday morning it was Krishnamurthy at the bell. “Namaskaram, I was expecting you, Kaveri, two coffees“, Subramoniam welcomed  him in. Krishnamurthy, an LIC (insurance) agent lived in the same apartment and is known to Subramoniam’s family for quite some time. “You may know Krishna; Gopal has started earning, so I thought its time to take an insurance policy for him. We need to guide him for savings, for till last year he only knew about school and studies”.
                “Yes, yes , the right decision, I would say. How many children are blessed with a father like you ?? !”, Krishnamurthy continued after a small pause, “These days, youngsters get lot of salary, their parents don’t care what they do with that and they spend every penny in movies, bikes and other unnecessary luxuries. They realize their mistakes often late in their life. Subramoni, you are doing a wise thing and I should congratulate you for an astute son like Gopal who listens to his parents. Obedient kids are rare these days, you know”, Krisnamurthy smiled and pleased Gopal, his client and Subramoni, his client’s controller both simultaneously. He knows his ways of business and his skills are anything but talking, but he survived and met his ends in this insurance agent commission. Kaveri’s filter coffee diverted Krishnamurthy’s conversation to her “Kaveri amma, its as if yesterday Gopal was playing cricket in his shorts and today he’s a big man and I’m only his humble servant”. Kaveri was definitely flabbergasted at this dialogue, which he might have recited 1000 times to his new young clients, with the same emotion and not once did it fail to make an impact. A visibly pleased Kaveri, proud of her son, offered an additional plate of snacks and told “Please, advise him properly, he’s but just a boy”.
                “Do you need to tell this to me amma? You know me very well. I don’t do this as a business. I do this as a service. To me, the welfare of my clients is the first priority. I would say its only god’s mercy that whoever took a policy with me prosper very soon in front of my own eyes; you know the Saravanan of Canara bank isn’t? He took a policy and within three years he bought a new house. I’m a staunch devotee of goddess Lakshmi and I pray everyday for my clients in front of the deity. Don’t worry Gopal has a bright future. His face says that he is a blessed one”.
                This is Krishnamurthy’s trademark dialogue and everyone including Kaveri at the present moment bought his spiritual sincerity for his clients. Never once anyone bothered to think why the goddess who has granted everything to krishnamurthy’s clients hasn’t given him anything but to own an old bicycle. Sure, he has an explanation, but no one has asked him and he never had an opportunity to unveil the mystery.
                Subramoni,  a man of details justified his accountant profession by scrupulously going through all the policy details, their benefits, bonus, minimum guaranteed returns, risk analysis and other details. By the end of coffee, he filtered three policies and discussed the technical nuances with Krishnamoorthy to choose one. Gopal was in wonder watching his father effortlessly analyzing the financial aspects of a policy and made a mental note that he too will learn those soon and keep up his father’s hard work. Its true that some of his father’s friends call subramoni an idiot hard worker, who with but professional smartness could’ve gained much more than his cocoon single bedroom apartment. However dumb a man is, he is always the first hero of his son and any son’s first ambition is to grow up like his father.
                Gopal was asked to sign the papers by sitting cross- legged in front of the deities; of course Kaveri, an adept in hindu customs, believes in ‘holy time’ for any activity had already checked the calendar and ensured that the time is marked suitable for such positive endeavours. With every signature, Gopal felt important and after a few signatures on the aged yellowed policy form, Gopal became the owner of an insurance policy, like the infinite paranoids swarming around. The weekend passed gleefully with more varieties of plans on savings, deposits and Gayathri’s marriage.
                The only purchase Gopal made with his first month salary was a new lunch bag, which is now hanging along with Gopal in the morning electric train. As the train crossed ‘St.Thomas Mount’, he hardly had a space to stand, yet he noticed an advertisement outside about some gold chit between the cracks of  human crowd and made a mental note to tell his mother that night, which would only complicate her calculations. After the usual morning struggle, tactfully escaping the mud splash from dashing auto rickshaws, filth flying from the brooms of corporation workers, smoke vomited by the city buses, he finally settled down in his cubicle allowing the air-condition to adsorb his sweat into the  humid air when a senior colleague Kumar stopped by. Kumar has been nice to Gopal since his joining. Kumar, having begun his life from humble background like Gopal, felt a responsibility to take care of the new kid and Gopal too has a great respect for him. There is nothing like having a partner with mutual respect and trust in a corporate environment, filled with ugly politics and opportunities to pull each other down out of impetus to camouflage their insecurity. Such gentle relations make the beautiful looking decorated corporate hell a family and this is one such small family who caught up on a Monday morning empathizing the raindrop tears trickling down the weeping windows *.
“So,  Gopal, did you had a party over first salary? Is everyone happy at home?”.
“Oh yes sir, we had loads of fun”, Gopal was referring his extra cup of sweet and his insurance policy.
“Hmm good to hear that, Money is always good, but that always comes with a responsibility, spend wisely kid”, despite being conscious that advices are detested, people never stop advising even on trivial things.
Gopal smiled understandingly and with lot of vanity explained his financial debut of insurance policy.
“Whatt ?? You took an insurance policy ?? “
“Yes sir, Krishnamurthy mama told that in 10 years we will get double the money and my father is not a novice to be convinced on financial terms, he chose the right policy and I am glad that I’ve taken the best investment option in my first salary.”
“You could‘ve discussed with me. Which century are you living in? Insurance policies are not investment tools and young men like you shall not depend on conventional instruments like policies and fixed deposits. Your growth will be much faster than your money ever does. There are stock market and mutual funds to take advantage of the growing economy. ‘You should not work for money, your money should work for you’”, Kumar ended his sagely advise with a quote from ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’, which a beginner believes a technical bible for financial investments.
“But shares and all are too much for me, I’m not into such gambling…”, before he finished Kumar snapped him shut, “What a fool are you Gopal !! “ and the next one hour Gopal got a free lesson from Kumar on the investments and equity market. Gopal was mesmerized by Kumar’s eloquence in equity market, thrilled by his home page of ICICI Direct, trading shares on a daily basis, and Gopal didn’t fail to acknowledge uncomfortably that there are many things in personal finance which are beyond the reach of his father. That evening was a difficult evening for Gopal at home.
At dinner Gopal opened, “Appa, Kumar sir was talking to me today, he advised me to invest in equity shares and mutual funds”
“What?? Lets not get into gambling of hard earned money, its not for us”
Well, even Gopal responded the same to Kumar that day morning and Gopal was then confident to convince his father, fresh from the tons of advice and case studies from Kumar.
“No appa, its not gambling, it’s only a calculated risk, Kumar sir taught me how to read economic times, understand indicators, of course it’s difficult, but he guides well.. you know, I was stunned when he showed how to transact shares and.. “, as Gopal continued, Subramoni’s face shadowed gloomily, Kaveri recognized it in time to interrupt, “Gopal, we will discuss later, now eat before the curry gets cold”.
When did a son took his mother’s cue !!!
Gopal continued, “No amma, even a pessimistic estimate of mutual funds is approximately 15% returns, which he says double than most fixed deposits”.
Subramoni this time got really irritated, “Gopal, you have just started earning, trust the experience of the elders, the money gambling is not good for our family”.
“No appa, am not talking about day trading, which may be called as gambling, we shall invest in the top 30 companies and in long term will pay lot of returns”, Subramoni completely uncomfortable stopped him “Gopal, we should try to create something ourselves, on our own, from the very money we earned hard, however tiny the value of the penny is!. There lies a satisfaction of building it our own, free from the curse of numerous people who lost their money in that stupid game. However humble the achievement of mine may be, it’s self made and not riding on the success of few business men. Equity shares are like cheap game, paying money for someone whom you don’t even know and relies on his business acumen; celebrate when the market booms believing that you have made the right choice and lament when the market collapses, I don’t want you to get into that nonsense”.
This time it was Gopal’s turn, especially then he had a reply for the same from Kumar, “Appa, even our fixed deposit is actually similar to that of shares. In fixed deposits, we give the money to government, who in turn loan it to other business men and agriculturists and the interest accumulated in nothing but the profits earned from those business ventures which we have invested with government banks as mediator. In this case, we analyze and invest directly into the right companies. It’s more like fixed deposit in particular companies with dynamic interest.”
Gopal lurched out exact words Kumar shared with him that day. Even Kaveri was astonished with Gopal’s instantaneous financial intelligence.
Gopal continued “Appa, there is a fidelity mutual fund NFO closing this Friday. Kumar sir recommends…”
“Rascal, its one day since you touched money and you have started advicing me, do you know the hardships I had gone through? Do you ever respect your father’s experience and wisdom? Go get lost, you want to believe in some idiot Kumar, who may be as novice as you”.
Even Subramoni was bit shocked later at his sudden outburst. It was not the subject or the content of conversation, but a feeling that the young lad, whom he had carefully adorned within his protective wings so far, have started to act smart under the advice of someone who is outside the family. He felt betrayed that his son decided to chose Kumar’s words over his one. Often and mostly always, a father’s anger has no rationale on the subject, but only such soft emotions troubles them. They feel out of place, odd, small, dejected at the thought of negligence, realization that their sons have grown up suddenly ahead of them and guilty in their failure to recognize their son’s ability.  But the sons, too young to acknowledge these sentiments, on the other hand feel disdained by their own father even for their true, good intended requests. It’s the poor mother of the family who gets caught in such trauma sharing both her shoulders to these two grown up kids, for both the father and son needs her to truly open up and yet she cannot divulge the truth to either, for it affects the balance of the relation. No one except a woman in the family can handle such trauma and all the male chauvinists of the world should think about the shoulders they relied on before they contemptuously bark at the faintest appeals of feminists.
Kaveri was surprised at the unanticipated tumult which arose out of noble intentions from two responsible pillars of the family; she didn’t speak much till night,
“Kaveri, I know how upset you might be, even I was, but think about this, within one day where did he get the guts to speak against the elders. I was sad whether I failed to teach him discipline, have I missed to teach him manners? Today I felt disastrous and an utter failure, failed to mould a son’s character, believed his innocence ruthlessly…”
“No, please don’t hold such deep sentiments, I don’t think he criticized you or opposed you. He was just attracted to the new information he got and even when he told you, he wanted to consult your opinion. But your outburst just wounded him. Who knows what thoughts the poor boy was having? You could have patiently explained. Even I was sad the way you treated him. I know him more than anyone and I swear his innocence. I’m worried how he feels now. Do you know that you haven’t scolded him for the past two years”, no one can beat a woman in chronological memory and cross referencing at the right moment. Even at this moment of despair, Kaveri did not fail to mention when and where Subramoni had shouted at Gopal and how she felt insulted when he had shouted at him in front of her cousin. Subramoni, like all the short tempered men, yielded quicker than wax “kaveri, go and have a word with him, give him some milk, let him sleep properly”, no father ever had the guts to apologize to his son and it’s in a way, good, for every son respects his father even for their mistakes and the equilibrium of relation gets affected with such transparency in attitude.
Kaveri went to her next job, to attend Gopal, who was silently weeping then. He had been rehearsing the evening dialogue several times and failed to reconcile his father’s outburst. Kaveri went to him and her maternal fragrance was just what he needed to wipe his tears, “Gopal, shame on adults to cry.”
“You know amma, I came with lot of anticipation that appa will appreciate my efforts. I really respect Kumar sir. He wants me to succeed and gives me good advice. I didn’t want to let go of an opportunity due to our ignorance. Was I disrespectful to him? Why does he feel insulted? Didn’t I come to him for his approval, after all, am anxious of Gayathri’s marriage expenses and our home loan”, Gopals words melted with his sorrow, expression unclear from the jutting tears and all Kaveri had to do was patiently comb his hairs and the miraculous strokes soothed Gopal, a satisfaction that all is not lost and the assurance that here she is for me, the one who lives for me, the one who is more desperate than me for my success. She offered him a glass of milk, “Gopal, who shouted at you? its your father only isn’t.  Believe me, he is the noble soul who cares for you than anyone in the world, he’s afraid that his son shouldn’t take even a single wrong step. Do you think he had doubts in your intention? I know him more than anyone do and I can promise that he trusts you. You have to respect his experience and he may not be able to explain several things as you are too young to comprehend, but he is always worried about you. Kumar may be a nice man, I doubt not, and even your father doesn’t disapprove of his friendship, he might only be worried that personal finances should be not be influenced by others”,
                “but amma..”
“Listen Gopal, am not questioning you, you may be right, I think father will understand that soon. Now be a good boy, the noble soul of your father is troubled at your rash behavior of talking against him. Go and apologize.”
Gopal was not reluctant to get up and apologize, for he is more troubled and guilty that he had disturbed the peace and felt sorry that he had spoken against his loving father. He went to him, stopped near the bedroom, “appa, sorry, I didn’t intend to upset you”.
“No, don’t weep now, be a good boy and sleep well, we will talk all these later. Go to the deity and smear the sacred ash on your fore head to get a good sleep”, actually Subramoni needed a good sleep.
The next day, Gopal got up and everything was normal, kitchen spread noise and flavor of kaveri’s daily fight with vegetables and spices, Subramoni finishing his newspaper and Gayathri getting ready for her college, running around looking for lost hair pins, missing assignment notebook and cursing that student life is the worst only to realize later that it was the heaven unrecognized. That’s the beauty of the family, the hatred, discomfort or any negative feelings just get wiped away in the first tide. Everything was normal, no sign of previous day’s sentiments except that both Gopal and Subramoni vowed internally to correct them. And that’s why friends are there, to tell you what exactly to do then.
                Subramoni reached his office and read “IF” poem of Kipling, a habit he imbibed under difficult situations, much helpful at the time of annual appraisals. His friend came in “What Subramoni, looks tensed?”. Subramoni was waiting for this, and he just vomited the previous days incident.
“Ha, you are a stupid Subramoni, I think you should have appreciated your son’s responsibility. How quick are kids these days. I promise you know nothing of share markets. Encourage him to do some mutual funds, its harmless. If you are anxious, advise him to invest less and understand the economics. The fundamental thing in equity is you need to invest both money and time for it. You cannot sit in office and wait for an external enlightenment. Just stop behaving like an old brat and go get him that fidelity mutual fund. Gopal seems wise, I wish we too were like him when we were young, we could have made more”.
The response was crisp and short, but it pained Subramoni’s self-ego. He once again went through the ‘IF’ poem. He was still not satisfied. He then went through some websites, read dummies for mutual funds, though not convinced, decided to trust his son’s wisdom and was simultaneously afraid in doing so. Finally, he gave up and downloaded the NFO form of fidelity mutual fund and filled his son’s details. He came home early and placed the filled form within an envelope in front of the puja shelf, hoping to give Gopal a pleasant surprise.
That evening, when Gopal went to Puja shelf to place an envelope he brought, he was surprised to see another envelope. He opened the envelope and saw the NFO form filled on his name by his father except the signature. He smiled and kept another envelope which had a form filled on his father’s name for a fixed deposit in Indian bank.


*- “raindrop tears trickling down the weeping windows “ based on the inspiration from Mrs.UshaSoman’s poem, “weeping buildings”, http://ushasoman.blogspot.kr/2008/11/weeping-buildings.html

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

குழந்தையின் புன்னகை

குழந்தையின் புன்னகை

கற்று சிறந்தோறும், கல்லா சிறியோரும்
பண்பில் பழுதோறும் பண்பற்ற மூடரும்
கள்ளமில் குழந்தாய்
நுண் குறுமுகம் நிறைந்து
மென்மையினும் மென்மை அதரம் விரித்து
ஒற்றைப் பல்லுடைப் பொக்கை வாயில்
ஒட்டியிருக்கும் மழலை புன்னகை காணின்
நா தீண்டிய சர்க்கரை பாகாய் உள்ளம் நெகிழ்வாரே
இறைவா வேண்டுமே கண்டிப்பாய் இன்னும் ஒரு பிறவி
உன்னினும் இனிய குளவி பருவம் வேண்டி

Sunday, July 15, 2012

abstract thoughts

The mark of maturity is the geriatric gestation of going back to childish innocence. So the big question is, are we wasting our life just to go back where we started? Well, the answer is as simple as the question. Innocence of the child is inherited, but that of matured is achieved. The importance of what you have, whether innocence or wealth will be understood only when you earn it and not when you inherit. It is true that we grow, mature and realize that we haven’t found anything new. But it requires tremendous amount of effort and sacrifice to understand what we already know.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Disco- the first sin


Disco- the first sin
It was his first time and was excited about it. Any first time activity, from our birth till our last breath, entrusts us with a store of excitement. The excitement masks itself in different forms, happiness, fear, etc and the mask changes based on the activity and the individual’s values. He couldn’t decide which mask of excitement had engulfed him that day, his first time to a disco club. A contemptuous frown concentrated between his eyebrows at the thought of alcohol and smoke around him in disco club. A fear chilled his spine at the imagination of encountering any of his or dad’s friends. What would he answer if they ask “hey Mohan, what are you doing here?”
            He had watched movies and had thought about disco as a cultural flaw, an exhibition of human weakness, an act of taking a step back in the hard earned civilization. Yet, he was waiting for the sun to sleep and hoping all others he knew to sleep along with the sun, leaving a set of alien anonymous crowd who don’t bother about him and themselves when they plunge together into the abyss of disco. Despite his efforts, he never could rationally analyze what’s so wrong with disco clubs. It's just an opaque rigid wall in the mind, which stops all the logical thoughts to a heavy halt in hearing the name ‘disco’ and turn back to say ‘No, it's wrong’; like it said ‘no’ for smoking and alcohols. Nobody has ever told what the cultural issue with smoking and alcohol is. No, it’s not due to health. There are several products which are not good for health, starting from the adulterated cheese to bread, chips, fruit beverages and what not? But they were not banished by the cultural purists. Yet, smoking and alcohols were banned with a ‘No’ label long back, long before they understood the effects of nicotin and even before they found nicotin in tobacco. They are essentially the symbols of man’s weakness for pleasure, a weakness which openly challenges the spiritual advancement of human beings to oneness, which is often referred as god. Disco clubs enjoys similar and even worse treatment when compared to other weaknesses; as it provides almost everything that are advised to be kept at a distance.
            So, it is natural for anyone like Mohan, born and brought up in a culturally conservative family to close his eyes and ears, and more importantly mind from several things in the society, with disco among the top few things. The present world would be a heaven if everyone follows what is known to them or taught to them as right. No mind is tougher than its weak moment and it gives up under pressure to pleasure, only to lament later 'Why I did that?'. Such weak moments are unfortunately not rare and occur every day, like we break our diet resolutions the moment we encounter a bakery. However, few weak moments are stronger and wilder like the big tides washing away the sand homes of faith built ashore. Mohan was sucked in one such weak moment, which took him for a toss in its whirlpool. How else could he have agreed to Philip when he persuaded to join him to a disco? The beauty of the weak moment is that they are momentary, yet it pushes us into a world of illusion or curse that we realize it only after our action, however long it may take. Philip brooded over the idea of disco in the first half of the day. But Mohan didn’t think whether it is right or wrong according to his moral values, until he came out of the disco that night.  The only thought that had occupied his mind was 'Disco, Disco!!' and he was desperately waiting for the evening during the first hour in the class room. Our mother earth started teasing him by revolving slowly; it seemed a second was longer than a second and it appeared as if it took several hours to cover one hour in clock. As the dusk passed, when sodium vapour lamps compensated the daylight, Mohan was doubly excited about the approaching significant event in his life. He walked out of the gent's room after a clean shave, dissatisfied, he shaved again. He was generous with the after shave lotion to ensure that he gains a dashing shiny chin as they show in commercials. He wore his favourite light blue shirt and a matching ‘John-Miller’ navy-blue trouser. The only leather shoes of his underwent a double coat of polishes and sparkled when his friend's shine-x was lavishly applied. When a thin film of 'cuticura' talc was gently spread over his coarse face and armpits, Mohan, satisfied with his rituals took extra care not to sweat and started fanning himself with whatever he got. But his tension was so fierce that his body fluids fought their way through his skin pores and his hanky was half wet. Philip entered his room, “Mohan, what happened? Are you not coming for disco?”.
“No, i'm ready, i am waiting for you.
“what?”
He couldn't appreciate his genuine shock till he entered disco.
“we are not going for a job interview”, frowned Philip and redecorated Mohan with his party wear gadgets. Philip swayed a jet of deodorant confined in a container labelled 'adidas' and exclaimed “Mohan, you still use talcum powder ?”.  
"There's a lot of restriction for disco clubs these days", Philip explained,  "so much debate going on about its impact on culture etc. I don't understand these lunatics. Disco is about smoking, drinking and dancing with women. This was there always. During historic days, only royal court and rich men had this luxury and they employed women slaves for dancing. These days, we have broken the aristocratic supremacy and have liberated the privileges for common man. Above that, instead of having slave women, we have given freedom for equal rights to women. Liberty, equality and freedom- isn't quite a revolution?. The thick heads never understand that." He didn't refer to me, but i know with utmost clarity that i belong to that group of thickheads preventing a silent revolution progressing without daylight and I felt responsible to undo it. My first step was self-liberation through participation. I walked in with confidence.
“The premium discos , which are often a part of 5 star hotels allow only pairs and costs very much. This one is suitable for college students like us; the entry fee is only Rs.500. You know what, they give two complimentary pints too and yours is for me, since you don't booze. I don't force people to booze; that's against my policy”, the good Samaritan Philip continued “I have brought lots of first-timers to disco. I keep a count and you are 63rd”.
Both of them entered the dark room, equipped to explode with deafening music. The loudest music Mohan have ever witnessed was during the annual temple function in his village where the loud speakers supposedly communicate to anyone within half a mile. This volume was at least ten times more than those loud speakers of his village. The whole body of everyone within it was vibrating ; one can easily dance without much effort. The dark room was filled with clouds of cigarette smoke, too strong to choke the lungs of a non-smoker like Mohan. There were tables arranged in two rows, all of them round in shape encircled with slim chairs for one quadrant and a crescent shaped cushion chair for two quadrants. The central pathway which branched into blossoms of round tables at its sides was dashingly lit with multi-coloured twinkling lights. The strange combination of dazzling bright path and its dark peripherals was strange, yet synchronized well with our cosmic and philosophical model that light and darkness co-exist within a same bubble.
Mohan and Philip merged with the darkness in one of the corner tables. “This is the best place, you can have a view of entire dancing floor from here”, when Philip noted, Mohan was awe stuck by Philip's knowledge on minor details. The pints arrived and Philip's broad smile consumed his large square face. As the bottles became lighter by losing alcohol, so did Philip by consuming the same. The divine liquid ceaselessly went inside Philip, however Mohan's interests was not even faintly linked with alcohol. He came there to experience the fantasy world filled with glamorous women, which, to him had always existed only behind the silver screen. He was impatient when the bar was still occupied by him, Philip and their empty bottles. As the clock stuck eleven, two men came inside, and soon more men stuffed in the dark room. More bottles moved in the thick smoke blanket. With time, the fluid had its magic effect and people started dancing. Still the bar was packed with men. Mohan grew impatient and turned to Philip, “are you sure you have brought me to disco, this looks like a gay club”. Philip laughed as if it was a great joke , nodded his head and turned to the waiter to order one more round of whisky.
It was one hour since they came and Mohan finished two plates of excessively salted peanuts, a diet Pepsi and five glasses of water with ice. It was very difficult to pass time. Mohan was disappointed to see more and more men around; ugly, dark men with protruded belly filled with chilled beer, stone faced men devoid of any emotions except contempt and men who are disappointed without any women around. Mohan was trapped within a dark cell of men and was genuinely irritated with Philip for bringing him there. But, Philip was peaceful with his bottles and its fluids. His tranquility at that moment amidst the loudest music and ugly men amazed Mohan.
            At around 11:55 PM, when Mohan went for his eighth round of plain water, a jet of fresh air gushed in near the door as it was ajar. The fresh air sneaked through the doors had its lung full of thick perfume announcing the arrival of much awaited womenfolk. A gang of four ladies paraded into the dark sanctum where mortals transform to divinity by consuming elixir. One of them wore a black tight t-shirt and a mini-skirt, the black colour merged with the darkness of the chamber. All of them were in high pointed heels creating an illusion of floating in the smoky cloud like angels. Despite their knowing that they are being watched by lustful eyes, they carried themselves a casual charisma expressing their indifference to the rest.
            Ignoring Mohan's exposure to virtual silver screens, that was the first time he saw ladies smoking and drinking. The bartender whose cold stare intensified with his glasses of cold water showed a reverse trend with those ladies, for he conversed with animation, laughed easily and suggested new cocktails to those Barbie dolls in flesh and blood. Their presence had altered the equilibrium of the bar, with people entering the dance floor portraying their clown-like dance moves. Soon, very soon the sex-ratio got altered when few more women entered the bar. The alcohol loosened their stiffness and they soon decorated the dance floor. Their dance moves, though incoherent like the other men around, had an attraction and grace. With their dance moves, they drove away the laziness which had still then stuck with the people around like mosses on wet rocks. Along with, they also drove away the contempt and irritation of landing up there, especially a girl in a sleeveless yellow tops and black jeans attracted lot of people's attention.
            Mohan's eyes were glued to the dance floor, trying to absorb as much for future memories. He was too shy to go there and kept looking at how easily others approached the ladies, bought them drinks and took them for a dance. When he went to toilet, he accidentally bumped over the yellow topped beauty pumping his adrenalin in full power. In the next ten minutes, he visited the toilet several times placing himself in strategic locations for potential accidents, though nothing happened after that.
            When Philip called Mohan for the dance floor, he was excited; excited that his fantasies were finally coming true. Even amidst the mixed emotions, he didn't fail to thank Philip for bringing him there. Philip dragged him to the centre of the dance floor and started dancing. But Philip didn't pick any of those girls, didn't even go near them, worse than that, he didn't allow either Mohan to go near them. He started teaching Mohan how to dance. Though Mohan didn't appreciate the idea of dancing away from the crowd, with lot of ladies behind, he didn't want to disappoint Philip and complied to Philip and his movements. But he went on and on and Mohan whispered, “we shall go near the girls”. He frowned, “common Mohan, we are not here for them. We will dance”.
“What? Dance?, well , if we need to dance, we can do it in our hostel, I need not come here to learn dancing”, shouted Mohan overcoming the screaming DJ's music.  Philip started laughing at his desperation, at his weakness; when Mohan left him with irritation. He then marched to the dance floor and started dancing with fierce random body movements in front of a girl. She smiled and moved away to another guy, who bent and whispered something into her ears before they settled to a corner. He then went to the next lady; but she was already dancing with a guy. He stood near them and danced for a while.  Receiving no attention, he went to the next girl. He imagined that Philip would be laughing at his actions, but he was angry at him and didn't care to look towards his side. The girls, old & young, dark & fair, slim & plump were there in plenty, yet no one paid any attention to Mohan. As time passed by, the men around formed couples and started leaving slowly; Mohan became inert to the lack of attention he received.
He went to the bartender, asked for a glass of plain water with ice and came back to Philip's table. Philip's eyes were closed, and his face bore a divine serenity. His sweat spread over his face and glistened in the tiny flame of a lighter in the next table. They left the bar soon. When they came out, one of the couples they saw inside was returning. Mohan , visibly upset told Philip that he couldn't impress even a single girl. Philip turned calmly, exhaled the puff his lungs had temporarily borrowed from his cigarette and said, "You know Mohan, not a single girl turned here today is worth pursuing. All of them are hookers".
"What????"
"Who else do you think will come to such disco clubs? most of the clubs allow only couples, and real couples will go only there. Only hookers come here to win their customers."
"you mean, those girls with red tops, black tops , the fat girl- all of them ??? "
"Well, let me not disappoint you . Very few of them are not. Few college girls who can't afford their alcohol also come here. But the whole of today's crowd belong to the first category and they got their customers easily."
Suddenly, Mohan felt it so disgusting. It dawned to him that no wonder discos are considered bad. It's a gateway to decadence of our own moral values. The guild feeling of voluntarily jumping into abyss churned his stomach and he started sweating profusely.
"You brought me to prostitutes", Mohan's words were sharp with frustration.
Finishing his last puff, Philip replied casually "Not exactly, I brought you to disco, where they too come". His smile was intense and to Mohan, he appeared so ugly like a satan who dragged him into the quicksand of evil. Mohan's pace slowed with shock.
The night was troublesome. He couldn’t sleep well, his heart was burning constantly; two bottles of cold water was gulped in feverishly. Despite his mental restlessness, he was too tired and after a struggle between his mind and body, he somehow slept. But he couldn’t sleep well, his dreams haunted him teasing for his loss of morals by walking into the disco. He woke up startled , wept for a while and then slept again. The cultural shock he was subjected to was too intense for his gentle mind to handle.
He wept for the whole sunday, even skipped the fried rice, the only worthy food of the hostel. But, one day was too long for any information to pass through the transparent ears of his hostel mates and by sunday evening his adventure was known to all.
As he entered his classroom monday morning,  Anand, Gokul, Abhijit, yusuf and many other greeted, "hey Mohan, welcome to our disco group". But the bolt from the blue was when Raghavendra, the pious, gentle and topper of the class told him "next week, you come to my area, that’s better."
Mohan was surprised and angry; surprised to know that there are actually so many regulars and angry that no one ever told him. He just smiled and avoided the crowd. That night's sleep was again disturbing; his dream was about a debate between two Mohans arguing the positives and negatives of disco. Unlike the previous night, the new Mohan of his dream was justifying disco with new vigour. Next day, he went to Ragavendra, "isn't wrong?”
Ragavendra smiled, "Mohan, there's no absolute right or wrong. Every moral rule is defined by the standards of the then society. Our society has changed greatly and the rules you define are outdated. If you think this is wrong, then quitting dhoti to trousers, quitting 'paatshaala' to colleges and every similar occurrence is wrong. Don't confuse yourself.  The only rule is the purity of your heart. "
Mohan felt refreshed in the new age philosophy casually conceived by Ragavendra. Yet, he was still confused. Wednesday, he met Gokul who said, "If one day visit to disco can spoil you, then your mind is perverted and is already impure whether you go there or not." Mohan couldn’t accept the new accusation of perverted mind and started to yield slowly. By Thursday, he was able to justify that what he did was not a crime and there is nothing wrong in mere going to a disco. In fact, people who had never been to one, allowed lavish imaginations and unnecessarily spread irrelevant moral policing.
Seven days passed since then when Mohan stood before Anup's room, "Anup, can you spare your adidas shoes tonight?"
"No prob dude, by the way, where are you going?"
Mohan was quick to reply without hesitation, "To disco, with Philip".

P.S:  I was inspired to write this on the basis that anyone who plunges himself into practices or habits which he/ she considers unacceptable, undergoes a tumult based on the original values. However, once a weakness is exposed, the person and his environment encourage him/her to continue and often justify the new habit. Slowly the habit just sticks..

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A nice argument from a journal paper on forensic dentistry

“The first reported crime in the history of mankind was solved when bite marks were discovered in the remains of the forbidden fruits in the garden of Eden, and identified as those of Adam and Eve”.
The fat deposits suspended in fermented curd, when blended properly, transforms to pure butter. Likewise, though our brain is fermented with decadence of our culture and other materialistic elements, it indeed is embedded with some pure thoughts and its a matter of spending some solitary time to blend those thoughts to transform into a good philosophy.


does it ring a bell with lord Krishna's butter?