September 8, 1979 - Saturday - 08:50 am IST
About 10 minutes to 09:00hrs that morning, another human life was added to the near billion strong Indian population.
Prime Minister Morarji Desai's government had crumbled and Charan Singh became the next occupant of the Prime Minister's Office.
Somewhere in Kannur, a town which is part of the Northern expanse of the south Indian state of Kerala, a family witnessed the coming of its newest entrant.
63 days later that little being was shipped off to Ooty, a hill-station amidst the pristine mountains of the Nilgiri Biosphere where he continued to live for nearly the next two and a half decades.
Since then to now, life has been source a multitude of experiences for me that have helped shape my actions, values, ideologue, attitude....................in short my entire person.
My parents decided to call me Rakesh which symbolized light that eradicated darkness and brought about peace and tranquility. Apt choice I must say, something which I have always been very proud of all along. (Except that there probably are more than 1 million Rakeshs across the globe today!)
As a child, I took immense pleasure in being addressed by my first name and responded with a firm and very definite manner pronouncing my name for those who queried.
Ooty has been a wonderful place to live, in the midst of high rise mountains studded with pine and eucalyptus plantations dotted with miles and miles of tea estates often touched by an ever lasting curtain of mist complemented with warm sunlight and chilling breeze which would make any person call it Heaven on Earth.
Kerala too played a huge role in shaping the person that I now am for it is there that I learnt the true essence and meaning of being part of a family that traced its roots back to 700 years.
The vast acres of plain land filled with coconut groves and mango trees are part of my earliest memories that I very vividly remember even to this very date.
And then all of that changed barely two years into being! I contracted a severe form of dysentry that endangered my very existence a great deal. Folks took me lengths and breadths seeking appropriate treatment to rid me of my affliction.
When all doors stood closed and it was apparent that nothing could be done, except let the 'little one' succumb to the malady, a good soul suggested the name of Fr. Muller's Hospital, Mangalore where I was promptly taken for what turned out to be a near four month long treatment following which I emerged cleansed and ready for a new beginning. It was the first of many many times that I would come close to being pulled back from the edge!
Raising me was an agonizing process as my folks recall for I was more or less the exacted yesteryear version of Calvin (Calvin & Hobbes). As a child, I was hyper-active which led me to do many a thing which was not considered normal, such as chucking live chicken into the well, metting out some attrocious treatment to cats, dogs and other known four legged creatures. My subjects of experiments were not limited to animals alone. Human beings of all sizes and shapes came as easy samples considering my schemingly cunning naughty experimental nature.
My folks were traumatized raising me during my early years and the amount of pain and embarrassment were a constant source of worry to all those near and dear. Extra measures of precaution had to be taken and enforced considering my volatile nature which meant keeping most potentially dangerous substances way beyond the area designated out of reach. It is with a great amount of regret and remorse that I sincerely apologize to all those who have been victimized my my acts of outrage. I am sorry to all you folks who have had buckets of water falling on them from the sky, those of you whose eyes were covered with turmeric powder while asleep, some of you who have lost half their moustaches while asleep, many of you who have been electrocuted in one way or the other...........................I'm extremely sorry!
I know the list goes on and on. And to the souls of the many tens and tens of animals that have been a mute testimony of my inhuman acts of savage brutality, God, please do not consign me to the vast expanses of hell. I was merely a kid who had no track of what he was doing and therefore lacked the understanding of comprehending the seriousness of the act that was being committed.
My folks were extremely concerned about one particular habit of mine which involved my piling of papers and burning them down for no apparent reason. Doubts were cast about the possibility of me turning into an Arsonist upon growing up. Thankfully with time, I shed all my unusual traits which can at best be described as the actions of a bored kid!
Schooling was a lot of fun although I was never a good student. My record of sleeping in classes dated upto days of college! Lazy as I always have been, folks at home invested a great deal of time, money and energy in stabilizing my career which failed to match the wishes of my folks for all reasons that were a cause of my actions. Later years in college past with lightning speed and no subtantial achivement. To date, I regard them as some of the darkest moments of my life. I have learnt that life is more of a circle which contains both good and bad. Actions that have shaped at one point of time do certainly have a long drawn set of consequences that extended to a deep future which in turn shapes the manner in which life develops.
"Take care of your thoughts and actions, for what you think and do, you become."
This has prehaps never been so true in any case other than mine. I say so with unflinching conviction because I have witnessed over the time how one's thoughts influences one's actions and therefore results in related consequences. It is therefore very important to think with a very positive frame of mind desiring positive results. However, due to being a critical Virgo whose elements have been related more to practicality and less of anticipation, I have forever been a little more pessimistic in my approach towards anything in life. Negative thoughts lead to negative actions, negative people, negative approach and finally negative consequences. Negativity is in itself a huge well whose depths are unfathomable and largely unknown and if trudged into one over a period of time, it becomes a latent impossibility to get out of the same.
Having lived some very dark years in Mangalore, Kannur and Ooty during the period 1996 - 2005, I set foot into Delhi and Gurgaon where life has taken a turn for the better.
I have learnt a great deal from the rich experience that I have had being part of the wonderful organization that I work at. People and inncidents have helped shape a better perspective of life and a certain focus that helps understand oneself better before embarking upon a journey of sorts.
Reactivation Confirmed! 27 years later, is my attempt to forget the past and look into a better future while more importantly, living in the present. Your greatest competition is your own view of the future and the future will be here sooner than later, so why bother?
As I step into another personal realm, having crossed a major milestone in life, I feel a sense of relief and joy for I have for the first time made an attempt to know my own person with a very genuine effort. I am extremely thankful to all those who have helped me and stood by me during my times of tribulation and testing. I have been fortunate in enjoying the company of good friends and folks who have helped me get better by the day staving off a great deal of negativity that was once a large part of my psyche.
Almighty God, thou art the creator of all matter - living and lifeless, far and beyond, small and big. I realize that you have created me with a definite purpose as you have created every other being. I realize that if I have had bad times, I will enjoy the good ones too and that life is in itself a journey of experience that comes with time and effort. I shall continue to strive to be better in what I do and will henceforth abandon my irrationality of pessimism.
As I close this post, I would like to highlight a small comment that my dear friend Adi left on my post a few days ago.
It reads "The best is yet to come.....just watch! Have gratitute towards the creator, live the moment to perfection. Have patience & perseverance. Never give up & never ever lose hope!!!"
Adi, as always, you have been a source of encouragement, goodwill, courage and vision like no one else. Today, you have redifined your role by being someone who has induced a change for the better of something that would ordinarily not matter in life. Words fail me a great deal as I thank you for your continued efforts and unflinching resolve.
Today is a new beginning, something very very new, I promise.