Monday, 17 September 2012

Thank you.... the most paying word...

I went to a wedding two days ago. It was raining and parking my car was a big issue. I somehow managed to get my car into the basement of the wedding hall and was desperately trying to park it when I find this nice man in a security guards attire run upto my vehicle to direct me.

I combed my hair and got of my car and as I was walking up I saw the security guard standing at the entrance. I said “Chetta, Thank You!” which means brother, thank you.  Caught unawares by my impromptu gesture of thanks and sporting a rather weird look on his face, this gentleman, came forward, patted my shoulder and said “It’s a pleasure, mone!” And mone means son in Malayalam. I was so touched. He was so happy.

Why is it that all of us being from the country known for love and benevolence forget that by being a little considerate to the next man who helps us, we make a big difference in their lives. We are happy and they are happy too. Friends why don’t we start saying a thank you with a smile to all those who make a difference in our lives …. no matter however small that maybe

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A Mind to Give.....

Onam is a state festival of Kerala. Every Keralite across the globe celebrates Onam in great spirit and zealous enthusiasm. Onam is an occasion celebrated in honour of  Mahabali the erstwhile king of Kerala. He was an asura king but very just and honest. Power and politics are not limited to human being and also find place among Gods…. It so happened that the Gods became jealous of King Mahabali and approachede lord Vishnu asking him for help…  which  is how Lord Vishnu assumed his fifit avatar from among his ten called the Vamana.. Vamana avatar  was that of a tiny man. Having assumed the guise, Vamaa then goes to King Mahabali in his priestly form and asks for three measures of his land, each to be measured by a step he would take. The benevolent king being as good as he is gives the right to the little Vamana to take the three steps. He takes his first step and covers the earth and with the second he covers the sky and for the third he asked the king where and the king bows down and shows his head. Vamana puts his feet on the king and pushes him into the earth. Just before pushing him in he gives his a boon to come and meet his people once every year. We Keralites celebrate Onam in memory of this great king.

Onam is a festival of harvest as well and new clothes don the occasion during which the elders give gifts and money to the younger ones and vice versa.

I was home for Onam this year. My sister delivered a baby boy and I am acting the big uncle very well. There was this old lady, named Shanthamma, who was good at the postnatal care.. A very chirpy and vibrant lady, laughing always  - one would be much energized on seeing her. But tke a look at her household and it wouldn’t take long to realize that her life was in misery. This poor 65 year old lady needs to earn to feed her daughter, son-in-law and 2 children. As if that wasn’t aleady enough, she is ill treated.

So this Onam we decided to give her some extra money so that she could have some nice food with it. My mom and sister gave her some money. I felt that it was a great gesture to give her that extra bit for all the  help she was for my little nephew and sister. Deciding impromptu, I went down with some money to give her… when she walked upto me and told me “Aviii (she calls me Avi instead of Naveen) ninakku enikku ithraye tharaaan pattooo….” Which means “I can only afford to give you this token for Onam...” She squeezed a 100 rupees note into my hand.. God it was such a touching moment… I could have cried. A poor lady like her wanted me to be happy and she was forgoing her happiness only for me which I couldn’t imagine. 

Yet my dear friend you should have seen how happy she was… we have all the luxuries of life and do we ever think about another person..? I felt ashamed of myself.. I was trying to add and subtract in my mind of what to give her but she was far beyond in her thoughts. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Happy Days!

I was watching a Malayalam movie yesterday and the story ran around college and the fun, love, teachers, friends and the great feeling of being in a vibrant campus. I felt as if I was reliving it all. I was so touched by the feel of love and care and was all that was there in those days.

I was taken down memory lane, where I found myself running around the campus in school, getting wet in the rains to get a holiday, bunking classes and sitting near the phone so that the teachers don’t call and inform Dad, he being the retd. principal of the same college. It used to be fun. When it came to the PG days the quantum of fun went a little high up in standards. It was fun and only fun.

The friendships, the fights, the making ups, the love failures, the love letters, I presume all of us remember the first love letter we wrote and how embarrassed we were and what not. I don’t think today’s kids would have the same kind of fun of writing a love letter because the information age of today has done away with the good old pen and paper. I remember the first one I tried my hand at. I wrote it so well that I myself had a doubt if I was the author, given that my grammar and handwriting were so nearly perfect. The canteen, the round sitting areas, the lawns and all were our loved spots. The summer camps and the work we did -there were just so nice.

When I was watching that movie I was thinking all the generations go through it the same way we did. There were some fights in the movie which I could associate very well with. I was wondering was it required to fight then. Why did we fight for stupid reasons? There were no good reasons for any fights whatsoever. But we still fought. Perhaps we came back to bond better and deeper after those altercations.

All I was thinking was if we did not have all those misunderstandings and fights would we have been closer? No, never, perhaps. I feel we still cherish all those good days as good days because we had a mixture of all these incidents – both good and the not so good ones. Likewise, life is also so beautiful. And my dear friends, I just realized, if I was only happy always I wouldn’t have ever felt this way. I would never have been able to appreciate the value of happiness and good. A good life is like a curry which has a lot of ‘masalas’ mixed and it also has a bit of sugar which acts as the base of the curry and yet we enjoy it with all the hot and sour and sweet mixed in it.

Life gives happiness to all. But what happens is that when we go forward we end up feeling sad and miserable for small things. It is high time we realize that we have been created to enjoy life and to enjoy life we have to go through both good and the not so good parts in life. Only then does the better part of us emerge. I am sure; most of us realize that we should take good and bad in its stride. It will help us be happier and certainly better. 

Thursday, 7 June 2012

A walk back in Time

I went on a trip down memory lane to Pallakkad, a district in Kerala, sometime last week. This is the city where I spent 2 great years doing a post-graduation course. I did my MBA in Coimbatore and stayed at Palakkad. This was in the year 2001. With the exception of mobile numbers, anything to do with numbers, even today, makes me go crazy. Understandably so, Mathematics and Operations Research drove me nuts no end. Helpless and beaten down, I found refuge in well-taken tuitions at a sweet place called Tharekkattu Gramam by an even sweeter teacher. A group of us friends, we used to go for tuition classes after our full day classes back in college, and despite the drained out feeling at the end of the day, we religiously attended out tuitions primarily because our teacher was very caring and his classes were filled with endless portions of positive energy.  

A staggering 11 years went by unnoticed until I called this teacher of mine. He answered the call and I introduced myself and requested to meet him. His voice boomed “you are most welcome, I am waiting here.” I went to his house along with my cousin to find no change at all. A decade had made no difference and I found myself transported to a magical time, when learning combined with youth and adventure ruled paramount in life. I knocked the door and his wife answered and invited us inside. 40 odd pairs of slippers greeted the entrance the house with no change of the interior. 

And then entered our Guru. Time had not dared to scar him with the vagaries of age and he bore the same styles and mannerisms as before. Nothing had changed, not the warmth, nor the demeanour. I was certain he would not recognize me. He looked at me and then said “yes, I remember,  back then you were thinner and clean shaven.” I thought the easiest way of showing familiarity was that. I was moved beyond words when he effortlessly recalled even the minutest details of those times. 

We spoke for a while and I got to know that he still tutors a thousand kids during the season and he does not collect any fee from half of his lot. He says the energy he takes on 10 and 50 is the same and so believes he is serving the society his way. I marveled at the simplicity. He has been tutoring young minds from 1981 and now has a remarkable three decades to his credit. I owe my foundations of knowledge and value system to Srinivasan Sir, our dear teacher. 

He recalled, with pride, about various students who were doing well and also of a student who was not doing well. He tried calling him twice when we were there but in vain. He wanted me to talk to him and help him settle into a good opportunity. I could see the parent in him at work. As we rose to leave he brought a handful of sweets and gave it to both of us blessing us and praying that our friendship lasts forever. I had tears in my eyes.

I was overjoyed when the student he wanted me to talk called me. Only a teacher with devotion and dedication can be so kind and prompt.

Even today I remember very well as we would go for our exams he, in his typical regional accent would say“Onnu Kondum Pedikkanda Ketolin” assuring us that all would be well and urging us to be courageous. It used to be so soothing to the mind to hear that from him.

Rarely does one find a blessed soul who is many a man rolled into one, from teacher, to parent to a citizen par excellence working tirelessly to see the fruit of his labour better the lives of his protégé!

I salute him and pay my respects humbly, as would all of my friends who have, like me, been in his tutelage and become better as a result.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

How true are our beliefs?

I was attending a marriage back at my home town in Kerala a few days ago. At the venue I saw a very peculiar type of a flower. It was pink and it had a shape like an animal in the centre. Usually I don’t pluck flowers but that day I plucked a flower from that tree. The minute I plucked the flower somebody from my family ran up to me and told me “throw it away. Why do you want ill luck to come home through the curse of a snake?!!!” Apparently this particular flower is associated with the snakes and the flower attracts snakes to it and in the process all ill luck comes to the family. I am not joking I almost froze. I thought it’s all gone and now it’s going to be bad and worse was to come.

Frantic me, I went and left the flower near the tree I plucked it from and came back to my aunt who was telling me how bad it is and the amount of ill luck I carry because of this. I asked her what I could do and I was advised to go to a very famous temple here in Kannur, my home town called Peralasserri temple where predominantly snakes are worshiped.

I came home took my mother and proceeded to the temple. I was praying all way for forgiveness. I did not want any more bad to come our way because of this. I completed my prayers at the temple and my mom said let’s find out from the priest what to do so that we are out of the ill luck. We found one of the priests who looked knowledgeable and narrated it all. This was what the priest asked me “My dear son God is no one’s enemy then why do you fear of him for trivial things like this. Now if you still feel uneasy just put a small prayer and leave.”

I would only like to bring to our notice how much we stress ourselves with religion, a concept which was originally made to de-stress the human race. Why do we like taking small things to heart thereby putting us through more agony? Why is it that we associate all bad with such small mistakes we do in life?

God was probably created as a mechanism to unite people and make them oriented towards purpose and direction. The same Gods who were conceptualized to protect us now punish us and we are so scared of them. I believe that any thing we fear cannot be loved to the fullest. So do you think I really love God if I were to fear him?