Saturday, 31 December 2011

A Year Remembered

One more page in the book of my life, the page of 2011, is being turned over. It has been a year of mixed feelings. If I say it was a page all written in golden letters I would be fooling myself. The page had a lot of black patches too. The page, as it turns by, takes me through a summary of what I learnt.

The learnings I have had have been tremendous and I believe the creator made this year or at least waited all these years to give me a learning of a life time. As per mythology Arjuna learnt so many things from The Lord in a very crucial part of his life. So I am sure HE has destined me to learn all what I learnt in the 2011 chapter this year only. Many have come in this life of mine and many have left.  The ones who came to stay are with me supporting me through thick and thin and the ones who decided to leave me and go have surely left a deep imprint on my life and gone. As it is said, life moves on and I still feel all this will bring the better out of me.

This post is a thanksgiving to my parents, my sister, my brother in law, aunts, uncles, cousins, colleagues and above all my good dear friends who stood by me through thick and thin telling me and mentoring me in the best and the right direction.  I know the learning of 2011 will be taken with me to the later parts of my life.

The best learning I got this year was that not everything which glitters is gold. Though we learnt it long long ago, we never get it to seep down in us and we tend to believe that calm waters are safe but, calm waters can also be very rough below.  People who have been known for years seem to fade away by character and you really feel that it’s your fault but later on in your solitude you realize that they were always that way and we only saw the better of them, thanks to the good in us.

Another important learning I had this year was not to take anything and everything as it comes. Check it and if it doesn’t match you and if it is unbecoming throw it back at the people who flung it at you. I am a person who does not react much, chip of the old block my Dad. But this year has taught me that where a word has to rule a word rules and where silence speaks volumes silence speaks it all.

My dear friends it’s been a pleasure and a great time we had together this year called 2011. Let’s all join together to welcome 2012. May all our hopes, aspirations and dreams be fulfilled. May the poor and the rich, the unhealthy and the healthy, the down trodden, the animals and all of us have a very beautiful 2012 which brings love, joy and peace to the world and to mankind.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Tribute to Our Culture

A year has passed since I went to the temple festival in my hometown, Kannur in Kerala. The festival happens every year on the last weekend. The temple is called Poothatta Tharavad Kavu. This happens to be my paternal great grandfather’s Tharavad (Ancestral House.) The basic art form performed in the Kavu (Temple) is called as Theyyam or Theyyattam.
Theyyam is a Hindu folk dance ritual of worship exclusive to Northern Malabar region, i.e., Kannur, Kasargod, Kozhikode (formerly Calicut), and Wynad belts. People in the olden times believed that any obstacle that nature brought in front of them was caused by a certain power, which human intelligence could not comprehend. Thus, man started idolizing the various entities in nature like wind, air, water and so on. One person among the group was made to empower himself with these unseen powers and was considered to be a form of God.  The word Theyyam is derived the Sanskrit word Daivam which means God. The origin of this ritual is unknown or rather it is better to say that there is no one theory that explains the birth of Theyyam. 

The ritual dance is exclusively performed by male members of certain caste communities namely Vannan, Malayan, Velan, Mavilan, Pulayan and Koppalan. Most of these communities are indigenous tribes of Kerala and this tradition of folk dance has been kept alive by them. During the Theyyam season (which spans from November till April), these dancers transcend into Gods. They paint themselves with sandalwood paste, turmeric paste, red sandalwood paste and wear very large crowns all with prominence to red.

Each Theyyam has a character of his own and they bless the members who go to meet them. At our Tharavad Kavu we had Theyyams by the name of Karanavar Theyyam, Gulikan Theyyam, Wayanad Kulavan Theyyam, Bhagavathy Theyyam, Vellattom Theyyam, etc. to mention a few. I was asked to meet the Wayanad Kulavan Theyyam and he looked into my eyes and began telling me about things which were in my mind. I was standing in front of him with all due respect and he tells me “you told someone what’s the point of praying because God does not heed to all what we plead to him.” My eyes widened in surprise. A few weeks ago I was telling my flat mate the same thing. I said a big NO to him but he held on to it. I don’t know how he knew it. Men and women who came there, some of them were seen crying and he was consoling them too.
It is indeed a worth watch. Leave alone the religious aspect of it, but the general dress up and the vigor of the dance and the traditions followed are unique in all respects. Forgot to tell you these Theyyams usually drink the local toddy tapped from coconut trees. That is the offering there.  For anyone who really wants to come to see this, January to April of every year is the best time to do this.
Some Information taken from the Wikipedia Link on Google.
Picture of Wayanad Kulavan Theyyam 

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Innocence Lost

A teacher in my mother’s school narrated this. One day she saw a rat in the house and she ran behind it and killed it. The 4 year old son was terribly taken aback that the mother did such a cruel thing. He went up to the mother and said “Mom you are so cruel you killed the rat. Now wait and see God is going to punish you. “The 4 year old was so sad and he went on around the place talking about this cruelty and how God would punish her for the act.

The rat was thrown out of the compound and the little boy was looking at it from the top of his compound wall. He thought it should be given a ceremonial burial. He took some sand and stooped on the boundary wall and with a lot of respect began putting it on the dead rat. The poor little boy fell off the fence and was bruised very badly.  The little boy after all the crying and sobbing late in the night asks his mom. “Mom you killed the rat but why is it that God punished me?”  What answer would you give the little child?

What made me think was all of us in our childhood were innocent and uncorrupted, compassionate and friendly. We knew that being bad was wrong.  But gradually we changed and today we have become so corrupted. Today, for many of us to be bad is no problem at all. Is it education that makes us too aware of the world that makes us what we are today, or something else? Why do we lose that love, compassion, true belief in God and unbiased love to every living being over a period of time?  

It’s a very serious question we really need to answer because if we could find an answer to this may be we could have very polished, compassionate , loving and giving, citizens for tomorrow. 

Monday, 19 December 2011

Re-living the Past

I was in my home town Kannur in Kerala. I went to a town called Telecherry to visit my Grand Mom’s sister. She is 89. It was the death anniversary of her husband and the whole family had come together. I drove into the approach and as I did, I found myself driving into the nostalgic past. The childhood which we enjoyed, the mangoes we had thrown stones at, the fishes we used to catch, the adventure cycling we used to do and so many things came running back into my mind. 

I remember us going to stay in this aunt’s house. Uncle used to build tree houses for us and we used to play in those tree houses all day. I remember us planning to stay all night in these houses but the minute the sun sets the fear in us jumped out. Food being served to us there and the whole day going on with fun. Standing under that very mango tree, I felt like I was 12 again, playing there in mud, going fishing and having a whole lot of fun. 

I spoke to one of my uncles and he too had the same things to say. He was talking of the past with a lot more deep feelings.  The whole family was talking about the beautiful times they had together. The pranks they played on each other, the fights they had and how they made up. It was awesome!!! My Sunday was a fun day and as always, being home is a pleasure.  I just sometimes wish that those days come back again with all the beauty of its past.

The legacy from the past is what takes us long in life.   We had enjoyed the best in life and I just do hope that we give all what we got from our past to the present generation. We are we only because of what we got from the past.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

A Smile Returns a Smile - Instant Return on Investment.

In a friends note to me, she said that her son’s school had a big issue. A boy from a certain community brought some temple offering from his place of worship to school. He offered it to his friends in class and none of the students from other communities touched it. Two boys from another community had the offerings and said nothing to lose. The little boy was terribly upset.

I don’t understand my dear friends why we do this. Children are the future of tomorrow and why are we instilling all this negative thoughts into them? Let them grow free from caste and religious bias.  When God evolved us from the monkeys did he ever make discrimination? He made us to live within the boundaries of the eco system and he gave us all what we wanted. Now we idiotic individuals are fighting over religion, caste and creed.

What we forget most of the time is, whoever it may be, a Muslim, Christian, Buddhist or Hindu or any religion, every one of us runs red blood within and not any other dependent on our religion. Then why do we stress our own selves with this unnecessary barrier called religion?  And to be very frank from the little I have read of the religious scriptures, I am yet to read them say that religion is to divide people.  It says live and let live and how to keep the individual in a level of peace with himself. But what do we specialize in? We are all out to break the mind into pieces and we restrict our kids from being themselves.

This post is dedicated to the parents of those two boys and all the parents who allow their kids to be free from bias and be themselves. Religion can be no bar to kindness. Good people are Godly and all you need to be Godly is to be kind to the next living being, animal or human. A smile returns a smile- instant return on investment. 

Monday, 12 December 2011

Beauty of Life -- We Forget to Enjoy.

I was walking along the Besant Nagar Beach, in Chennai last Saturday evening. The waves were washing the shores and the moon was going into an eclipse, which perhaps was the longest known eclipse ever. I was at the beach enjoying the serene calm and cooling off a week’s pressure. 

Walking through the beautiful walkways I found small kids moving on wheelchairs. They were mentally and physically challenged. There was such a lot of pain in their eyes. These kids were finding it so difficult carrying themselves but still they had the best smiles to their friends at the beach. They greeted people they knew, they spoke to them on the walkway and they also took efforts to make friends with the animals on the beach. I was deeply touched. My heart felt so heavy and it was an eye opener.  I thought how thankless I was to crib about pressure which only came because of work, or something trivial like that. 

Friends, a few days ago I read Pareto’s 80-20 principle. How true it is even in life. We are the blessed who have 80% right in life. We can talk, we can see the beauty of life, we can hear the love in the air, but yet we crib about the 20% we do not have. 20% of things we don’t have eclipse the 80% we already have and then we crib. My dear friends, those people at the beach are also human and they enjoy life thanking God for the fact that they are alive. Why is it that we forget to enjoy when we have got the best in life?

Friday, 9 December 2011

Looking Back in Life

I have seen my father take great pains for the family. He has put his hard earned money and directed great efforts to see that his nephews and nieces, abandoned by their parents, were looked after well and made to become good people in life. It was sacrifice to the fullest which did involve the sacrifice of the interest of his wife and kids. More important to him were these other kids, his nephews and nieces, who had no parental care and support financially. He did not want them to become drivers or load bearers on the street. Today, thanks to his efforts, they stand upright in very important roles, and sadly, for them, associating with the one person who made their life worthwhile seems to be a bother and burden of gratitude..  Is it natural that we forget the past? Is it natural that we become so blinded by the insanity around? And, do we allow unworthy worms that are incapable to decide what is important in life?

I don’t know what is important today. But I am sure of one thing, that a good parentage is a legacy you hold for a lifetime. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if people tell you that you have the vocabulary of a thirteen year old or that you are only worth selling vegetables in the rural market, but what really matters is that it is important to be a good human being, a human being who understands another human being and a human being who doesn’t forego his or her values to the society which constantly prompts him or her to do so.  You may have a degree from a prestigious institute, a doctorate in the best subject, and a whole lot of frills and additions, but if you are not brought up in a family where love, ethics, care  and harmony are taught I think all the other laurels in life get washed away forever.

This post is a reminder to all of us who have reached places in life to look back and thank all those people who made a change in our lives. It is important not to be ungrateful beings, which even animals aren’t. It is important to preserve our great lineage and prove that we have been brought up by wonderful people not wretched devils. Let us remember that our treatment of another reflects our upbringing and lineage. 

Thursday, 1 December 2011

My Element of Life

I came home late tonight.  I stepped in at around 11.30 pm.  My mom was waiting for me with my dinner served hot at the dining table.  I was touched. I was just thinking how beautifully God gave us this life as a present which had the best goodies in it.  A Dad who is nothing less than the Lord himself, Mom who is an embodiment of patience, a sister who is the source of inspiration and a few good friends who make it worthwhile to be with, which is  beautiful.

Life as Naveen Manomohanan has been very eventful and beautiful. I realized that education alone can’t make a person a good human being. One could claim to be well-educated by virtue of trappings earned over the course of study and yet could be a psychotic wreck. One surely has to be instilled with the values of love and compassion from childhood, guided of course by good parentage. Today when I walk forward in life, I understand and value the importance of good upbringing and lineage which few are blessed with.

From our childhood our parents have always sacrificed their needs to keep us happy and even today they do so. Today was a lovely day. Back home I felt the love and the care a lot that still keep us bonded to  the institution called FAMILY, Father And Mother I (WE) Love You. It was not just about education that was told to us, it was taken for granted that we would study. But we were taught immensely about love, compassion and most importantly integrity that have proven to be invaluable assets. Today when I look back, I realize how fortunate I am and how thankful I need to be.

There couldn’t be a better or more precious gift I could be blessed with, and in many ways this post is a tribute to my family, which is so dear to me. I feel privileged more than ever to be part of a wonderful family while I know fully well that many others could never stand to benefit from this remarkable fabric of life for their own misgivings about it.