A Lesson In Self-Assertion

'Group of Masai warriors, Africa.' Image courtesy of africa / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
‘Group of Masai warriors, Africa.’
Image courtesy of africa / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My friend and I were walking past the main gate of our college towards Vaishali restaurant. I remarked, “Its my life…”, is such a great number and it neatly sums up the attitude of today’s youth. Even I appreciate it too and after twelve years of school when I was ordered about, I sure want a change. But then all is not well at college too.”

Continue reading “A Lesson In Self-Assertion”

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‘Made to be broken …’

'Happy New Year!' Image courtesy of gubgib / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
‘Happy New Year!’
Image courtesy of gubgib / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The tradition of New Year resolutions is a sheer delight that one needs to salute in order to pay respect to our desire to improve ourselves as we ‘journey-on’ in the eternal pursuit of happiness in life. So it is of little account when some people retort and say, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Picture this. It is a nice chilly evening and I’m all cozy and comfy, snuggled up in the razai with a cup of coffee and some snacks at hand while watching the bloke Boycott explain why the India selectors are a bunch of jokers. And then in walks my friend. Continue reading “‘Made to be broken …’”

Bun Maska and hot,hot tea!

Image courtesy of smokedsalmon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of smokedsalmon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In our country we just love to eat and I am certainly no exception – in fact I am the rule. Those who doubt the veracity of my statement will changed your mind at the first sight of me.

My favorite food is brown on the top, puffed up a bit and coarse at the bottom; with a layer of maska or cream sandwiched in between along with flakes of ‘Tutti Frutti’ and sugar. Continue reading “Bun Maska and hot,hot tea!”

A treasure that I discovered …

'Armyman!' Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
‘Army man!’
Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In the short life that I have led, there have been many an occasion for happiness and as they say, ‘congratulations and celebrations’. But there are few that are the real memorable ones.

And one of these was when I successfully passed my ‘A’ certificate exam of the Army N.C.C. I had joined the Army wing of N.C.C. when our class teacher in Eighth standard made it compulsory for the boys to join either the Scouts or the N.C.C. So many of my friends chose to join N.C.C. and I followed suit. Continue reading “A treasure that I discovered …”

But life goes on …

Friends walking at the sunset. Image courtesy of Vlado / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Friends walking at the sunset.
Image courtesy of Vlado / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Nothing lasts forever and this is one of the harsh realities of life. Change is another name for such realities. And Amit and Vijay who are fast friends realize this after they are separated. Although they say that distance makes the heart grow fonder, but many a times we find that the distance and time widens the gap in the best of the relationships. So how do you deal with this?

Amit glanced at his watch. It was half past nine on a sunny morning. He was seated at his desk in the classroom and Vijay was absent. Amit was dreadfully afraid that Ms. R would be angry.

Ms. R. was their social science teacher. She was especially fond of History. And surprisingly enough both Amit and Vijay found it an absorbing subject and they owed their interest in it to her for she was an admirable teacher. History was her passion and she took great pains to get the students involved in the events that seemed dry and lifeless in the text-book. Continue reading “But life goes on …”

Supporting Children Education!

'Supporting Child Education!' Image courtesy of jannoon028 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
‘Supporting Child Education!’
Image courtesy of jannoon028 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dear Azhar,

My name is Velu and I live in a small village near Madras. I am 12 years old. I don’t go to school. I come from a very poor family. My father works in the fields of the Zamindar. My mother works as a servant in the haveli. My father drinks and beats us. I work in a beedi factory. I work from early morning to late night. I feel tired with my work. We work in a dark, crowded and stuffy room. My fingers ache making the beedis. Our master is a hard man; he gives us very little for the work we do. Last year some ‘afsars’ came from Madras and he hid us all. For two days there was no work. We didn’t have enough food to eat. Then soon we were called back. I am not happy. I don’t like to work. I want to learn. It was a journalist who heard our call for help. He took our photos and it was there in a newspaper. You too must have seen it. After that we were rescued by a group of people. But nothing changed. Now we didn’t even have the work and there was no money. My father beat me a lot. All that changed with the arrival of Naidu Sa’ar. Naidu Sa’ar has himself suffered from this trauma in his childhood. He now works in a factory but it is his dream to help as many children as possible. We have begun our effort with our village. Now all of us go to a small school to study and learn. Naidu Sa’ar had helped us to do this. He had put in the money required for all this. Our dream is to also help other poor children in the villages. I am writing this letter to ask you for your help. You are a big man and I have often seen your photo in the newspaper. Please heed our call and send your aid in the name of ‘Mimbangal’- Images. We aim to make a difference in the lives of many youngsters. And we will succeed if you help us.

A fan of yours,

Velu Nayakar

I wrote a fictional letter addressed to a celebrity on the spur of the moment to submit as part of an assignment in ‘Social Marketing’ during my first year of MBA PG degree at NMIMS.

Our Professor shortlisted it along with another submission for it to be narrated to the class. Post the narration a vote was done by show of hands and this piece emerged as the winner. I think it helped that I wrote using very short sentences and as simple words as possible. Many people told me later that they could visualize the story as it was being narrated.

My freshman year at NMIMS!

Image courtesy of iosphere / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of iosphere / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Immediate revelation being a much easier way for men to establish their opinions and regulate their conduct than the tedious and not always successful labour of strict reasoning, it is no wonder that some have been very apt to pretend to revelation, and to persuade themselves that they are under the peculiar guidance of heaven in their actions and opinions …”

“Their minds being thus prepared, whatever groundless opinion comes to settle itself strongly upon their fancies is an illumination from the Spirit of God and presently of divine authority; and whatsoever odd action they find in themselves a strong inclination to do, that impulse is conducted to be a call or direction from heaven …”

– An essay concerning Human Understanding, John Locke

I began my life’s journey by observing my parents and near dear ones. Here I developed strong likes and dislikes, the Do’s and Don’ts in my life. I believed that I was very rational and had developed a good sense of judgement. And I was brutal and ruthless in forming my values like for instance I banished religion completely from my life so I could fit the Western ‘mold’. I often felt that my behavior was the most appropriate one for any occasion. I believed that the ‘Middle Class’ was the most ‘progressive’ of all classes and the government policies, often populist in nature, did this class a great disservice. I give these examples only to illustrate the kind of beliefs which I had accepted and I will return to these examples later on. In brief I felt that I was heads and shoulders above the common mass and no one could predict my responses. And I was twenty-one years of age! Continue reading “My freshman year at NMIMS!”

‘Penny wise, pound foolish?’

'Broken savings!' Image courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
‘Broken savings!’
Image courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Any attempts to live within one’s means are vulgar, adopted by all and sundry so I cannot be a party to it. To spend money is an art, to save it is a science; can I be blamed if I have an artistic temperament?”

My father provides me with what I like to call a ‘Monthly Allowance’. Also I keep the revenue raised from the disposal of newspaper raddi  and milk bags for recycling. At times I get legacies from my relatives, especially my elder brother. And finally I make a little from my writings too.

And as Nevil Shute has said in his novel, ‘The Ruined City’, “If you are careful and wise, and prudent, you can live on that amount of money. And you have to be intelligent and well-educated too, and rather selfish. If you were like that you’d get along all right but you wouldn’t have a penny to spare. But if you were human, well you’d be in for it.” Continue reading “‘Penny wise, pound foolish?’”

Review of ‘The Lexus and The Olive Tree’

'Olive Tree!' Image courtesy of africa / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
‘Olive Tree!’
Image courtesy of africa / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

‘The Lexus and The Olive Tree’ is a book published by The New York Times acclaimed columnist Thomas Friedman in 1999. I read the book for the first time in early 2001 and recently re-read the same. It is an interesting experiment to compare  the book that is written in a manner wherein ‘willy-nilly’ it predicts the short-term future against the actual events that have happened in the past decade. While one concedes that it is always easier to be wiser in hindsight, all the same the book turned out to be less prophetic than what I thought of it the first time I read it.

In 2001 I had just completed my MBA in Marketing and was working as a Sales Manager with an MNC managing a team selling ‘EMI’ finance options to retail customers interested in buying Consumer Durables. Freshly out of college and learning the ropes on my newly found job that allowed me financial freedom, I was tuned to accept the relentless march of consumerism as a foregone conclusion. Globalization and the challenges it faced interested me a lot.

Continue reading “Review of ‘The Lexus and The Olive Tree’”

‘Mouna Ragam’ (Silent Symphony) – my ‘all-time-favorite’ Tamil romantic movie

Youngsters seeking their soul-mates nowadays, empowered by their parents and spoilt for choice, may little appreciate the concept of a ‘Arranged Marriage’. Nonetheless to make any relationship work, the romantic overture hardly matters for the real work starts only once the honeymoon is over.

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Mohan and Revathi in Mouna Ragam                                                                                                              Image Courtesy – World News

In this context, ‘Mouna Ragam’ is worth a watch even today in order to learn some lessons on what makes the ‘modern marriage’ work. “A movie made in 1986 is still relevant in 2013?”, you may ask rather incredulously. My answer is, “Yes – aren’t Classic movies supposed to be precisely that?”

‘Mouna Ragam’ is a Tamil romantic movie that was directed by Mani Ratnam and released in 1986. Starring Mohan, Revathi and Karthik, it went on to garner much critical and commercial acclaim. It became a ‘Classic’ movie that defined an anachronistic era wherein, even in the educated ‘Middle Class’ families, marriages were ‘arranged’ by the Elders in the family and youngsters were not encouraged to choose their own life partners. We led cloistered lives dominated by the local culture and with very little idea on the kind of marriages that happened in the other parts of the world. Continue reading “‘Mouna Ragam’ (Silent Symphony) – my ‘all-time-favorite’ Tamil romantic movie”