Thursday, December 24, 2009
But I'm a happy man, for this year, much like its predecessor, has been very kind to me, by being interesting, incident free and innocuous. Having endured the storm for a while and still in one piece, I must sincerely thank the creator for being merciful, at the least for having spared me of disaster.
On the blogging front, this has been among the most enjoyable years yet, with 100 posts in my personal blog alone, the most so far in any given year since inception. Besides, my reach has now transcended many boundaries, something that surely brings a lot of cheer to me - to think of being able to be connected so far and wide! I cannot describe, in words, my delight while acknowledging 9,831 visits by 5,037 visitors from 880 cities in 90 countries over the past year! I cannot thank my readers and friends enough for being so kind and supportive of an endeavour that I hold so close to my heart!
Having lived a considerable part of the year in the lower western region of Pune in Maharashtra, India, I enjoyed a wonderfully memorable and hospitable stay there which I shall cherish at all times. And now having moved home, I understand - or rather attempt to understand the purpose or what I fondly term as the raison d'etre!
As we draw closer to the moment in time when this year departs to bring forward another one, I yearn for simple yet important things in life such as the ability to be better connected with friends, associates and family, to focus on being disciplined and be able to live a life in peace and dignity, to be able to take cognizance of the little things in life that matter most and that in doing so, be able to make my life and that of those connected to me memorable and exemplary!
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy and Prosperous New Year, one that shall bring to you and your families immense peace, good health, a sense of bonding that has withstood the test of time and most importantly happiness that is unconditional and true in its sense of purpose!
God Bless you and thank you for bringing the light in my life!
The Ramparts of 2008
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Himself a very seasoned hand in the field of Information Security, it is no surprise to see Niel innovate and create a sphere aimed at changing the way we deal with micro-computing, by which I mean hand-held computing that is limitless in mobility. This is surely one marathon effort!
So then, all of you fellow bloggers out there using blackberry and desiring to be a part of the Bubble, do send me your PIN via email and I'll be sure to pass them on to the Master Yoda himself for addition and subsequent inclusion into this world!
I've been away from your blogs for a long time now, and feel strangely disconnected. I hope to get back soon and remain connected with all of you, something that I know I cannot live without! I wish to sincerely thank those of you who visit and also observe your comments unfailingly. I want you to know that it is surely a tremendous form of support and encouragement, which is unparalleled! Love you all!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Having willfully understood it much before I came to say so, she has made a great effort, with the sheer will to put this limitation behind her. It is certainly heartening to see this stage and now hope for better with a sense of absolute reassurance!
I must thank the wonderful team of energetic and zealous medical professionals and part of my own family for aiding her recovery, that has been fast, progressive and definitely remarkable!
Recovery, like many other things, is quite dependent of belief, and good ones at that! Little wonder then that the Scorpions, in their iconic masterpiece Send me an angel, echoed, "Just believe in yourself, Hear this voice from deep inside, It's the call of your heart, Close your eyes and your will find, The passage out of the dark"
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Societies and groups are becoming dangerously exclusive, often founded and furthered on religious and caste based ideologies rather than intellectual pursuits of mutual interests! Besides, warring factions in many nations threaten the basics of livelihood, particularly in countries such as Sudan, Pakistan and Afghanistan, to name a few, that is!
It's certainly not about attaining technological and financial prowess in parts when other parts of the world are immersed in turmoil and terror.
The question remains........ where are we headed? Or, are we headed forward at all?
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
-- Charles Wadsworth
To have led us into progress, particularly me - for the kind that I am, would have required unimaginable grit and determination, and to have done so, while steering our enterprise for the past 43 years now, is a herculean effort.
Without you at the helm, no one of us associated with you could have dreamt of advancement the manner in which we live today!
Happy Birthday Pop! You are the best, the very best!
Thursday, December 03, 2009
It seems this is precisely the kind of life I'd like to lead - to be able to rise up to the Sun, watch the day pass by, in silent hues, comfortably ensconced in the recesses of a very private realm, far away from the vagaries of the maddening world and be able to pay rich tributes to the creator and his wonderful conception - least of it, by appreciating the world that I am part of, in deference, that, it is more of a privilege than a matter of right!
I'm not entirely sure if this place brings out a certain magical element that appeals to the inner me, but I'd like to believe it surely does! The pristine elements, a departure from chaotic routines, letting go of frenzied wants that are often confused for absolute needs and a deep sense of belonging, supplemented with a feeling of being in equilibrium adds immensely to an invigorated self!
So, as Spirit, Stallion of the Cimmarron, sang, I too feel quite like saying, rather yelling out loud into oblivion, that "Here I am, this is me, there's nowhere else on earth I'd rather be."
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I can't tell you how wonderful it feels, despite the biting cold that I have come to loathe!
But home is home and thats where the heart is! Perhaps, for the same reason that Kurt Cobain sang "I'm worse at what I do best, And for this gift I feel blessed, Our little group (tribe) has always been, And always will until the end," in his legendary Smells like teen spirit marvel!
Boy, this sure smells like childhood!
Monday, November 23, 2009
The time has come for me to head home to Ooty, leaving behind Pune, the wonderful place that has been my home for the past year and a half! Having lived here, although for a relatively short while, I've come to form some very close and lasting associations with remarkable people, who have time and again reassured me that good people in today's world are neither passé nor a rarity! To them I'm indebted for having made my life colourful and happy without condition.
I cannot say enough of the remarkably healthy lifestyle that I have enjoyed during the course of my stay in Pune, one that has most certainly put me into a very happy state of physical and mental being. A life of contentment and peace is what I've been blessed along with, as I said before, the wonderful people, who will hold immense significance in my life ahead.
Something else, which is an invaluable asset, that I take along with me is the improved level of spiritual connect that I have acquired, a gift that I attribute purely to the goodness of the place and its people, much less to my efforts! Here, my reading and blogging have also come to witness intensity and good routine, something I'm not sure will continue in the days to come, with the same level of vigour, although not going to be lost on passion - I assure!
I go home a renewed man, more refined, patient and blessed with a wider perspective with the privilege of having lived a stately life so far away from home. Pune will forever be very dear to my heart and will be cherished dearly for being the avenue that facilitated a personal and professional growth with no impediments whatsoever!
So, with a heavy heart, I bid goodbye to this wonderful place and the magnificent people I'm associated with, who will continue to be an integral part of my life!
On a closing note, I'm reminded of the track Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol, something that I believe is apt to be mentioned here, considering the occasion and the expression that I convey on its account.
"I need your grace, to remind me, to find my own! All that I am, All that I ever was, Is here in your perfect eyes!"
I'm praying that, during my last moments here, my emotions don't get the best of me and that I feign a happy face while leaving - an effort, I know well from past experience to be a marathon task involving great difficulty!
PS: I've not been able to visit your blogs lately as a result of some hectic last minutes, which I'm sure you understand! Nevertheless, do please accept my sincere apologies! This is to continue for a few weeks to come during which time I shall be travelling.
Monday, November 16, 2009
And so we decided to do just that on Saturday last, over well recommended and consequently enjoyed mughlai fare, which was truly appealing to the foodie in me, or rather - the foodie me, if I have to state facts correctly, that is! I had the pleasure of meeting up along with Shahid, Chandni and Sumedha, the wonderful ladies, one of whom I've spoken about in a previous post!
What a wonderful meeting, rather occasion, it turned out to be! Guarded, with the best foot forward in disposition, something that I believe I still need a great deal of polishing upon, I was quick to return to my informally normal self having been made to feel extremely comfortable by the awesome trio who I was meeting for the very first time!
It took no time for Shahid and I to get along like fuel and fire, engrossed in conversations on Eminem, the corporate world, blogs, food, culture, politics, religion and of course soccer, much to the discontent of the ladies, who were, unwillingly distanced, due to the teen-boy tech talk!
Shahid is very passionate about interacting with people and thus is high on interpersonal skills, something he hopes to capitalize on while kick starting his professional career shortly. He also has a distinct other facet, a more serious one that is maturely cognizant of the philosophical and metaphysical aspects of life – the astute thinker that he is!
Terribly brief yet enriching, and exceedingly congenial, I left with a feeling akin to having met with an old friend, and revisited bygone times!
Remember Louis Armstrong and his marvel What a Wonderful World? To all the good times that I have always associated this masterpiece with, I'm reiterated in the belief that the world is indeed a wonderful place, down below 'the skies of blue, and clouds of white, the bright blessed day and the dark sacred night', more so for the brilliant people that make this, truly, as 'I think to myself.... a wonderful world!'
But Shahid.......... surely Chelsea rules!!! ;)
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Worse still, is the trail of destruction it has left behind in my home town Ooty, in the southern India state of Tamil Nadu, over the past few days! It has been reported that over 70 people have perished in the ensuing squalls of rain in Tamil Nadu, of who over 40 are from Ooty.
My Father, who at the moment is in Ooty, talks about a scale of destruction that has not been witnessed ever before. Even as I gather momentum to write this post, I'm told that access to Ooty has been completely cut off, with all transportation systems coming to a grinding halt!
While I hope that the District Administration, assisted by sections of the Indian Paramilitary Forces, is able to execute relief and rescue operations smoothly, I cannot refrain from thinking about my impending trip to Ooty, scheduled in less than 2 weeks from today!
I know not how to express my condolences to all the bereaved families whose lives have been rudely affected due to this calamity - an indelible mark that will stay on forever, with many bitter memories associated with it!
And, here in Pune, the mayhem appears to have only begun now!
An update - The BBC has reported that Ooty has recorded rainfall of 600 cms over the last three days and that 250 houses have been damaged as a result thereof!
Monday, November 09, 2009
-- Wind of Change, Scorpions, 1990
It has been 20 years to the day that the Berlin wall has ceased to exist. There perhaps isn't an instance in history where so much cheer has marked the bringing down of a wall, particularly due to the bitterness that it brought up in dividing people of the same region, race, nationality and flock!
Coincidentally, I'm reading 'The Berlin Wall,' by Frederick Taylor, which is a word by word account of how the wall went up and came down, and to those of you interested in history, I recommend it highly!
Today, as the Germans celebrate the "Festival of Freedom" on the anniversary of the fall of the wall, it is important that we as world citizens take cognizance of the numerous walls that have sprouted up dividing us more than ever before in baseless discrimination and senseless ideology, and direct our concerted efforts to tear them down!
But the question remains, do we have the will to tear down these walls?
Finally, in case you didn't know........ here's a tidbit. Remember the famous track Wind of Change by Scorpions? It was sung in celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the many political events that Europe came to witness during the time!
And, as far as Ich bin 'ein' Berliner goes, I'm not too sure if JFK wanted to showcase himself as a jelly doughnut than the Berliner that he wanted very much to be, at that time!
Friday, November 06, 2009
So when Shahid decided to showcase her creation, I decided to do my bit by making a mention of it here and thereby invite all of you to take a look and write a thought or two of what you feel about it!
Please visit Shahid's post titled A poem by Chandni Bahl, written on what is perhaps one of the most addressable issue on people - distances between them!
As a courteous gesture, I have disabled comments for this post and request that you leave your thoughts in the place I take pleasure in directing you to, via this post!
I wish you all a very happy and safe weekend!
Thursday, November 05, 2009
I've flouted all rules of engagement here, but don't blame me for your imagination! ;-)
Asked someone to marry you? Innocent
You think I ain't got better things to do than to ruin my peace?
Ever kissed someone of the same sex? Guilty
Maybe this question should have been directed to a certain someone in Chennai who sings and forgets his clothes in the washing machine
Danced on a table in a bar? Innocent
What makes you think I might act like Jim Carrey?
Ever told a lie? Guilty
Isn't life itself one big lie?
Had feelings for someone whom you can’t have back? Guilty
Plenty - There seems to be a thin line of difference between love & lust!
Kissed a picture? Guilty
Desperation it seems, knows no limits
Slept in until 5 PM? Guilty
Ask me about it!
Fallen asleep at work/school? Guilty
U bet! If I don't dozed off on my desk, folks would be surprised, rather I'd be surprised myself!
Held a snake? Innocent
Been suspended from school? Innocent
Worked at a fast food restaurant? Innocent
I wish I did, actually own one!
Stolen from a store? Innocent
Been fired from a job? Innocent
Done something you regret? Guilty
Plenty - They say it's important to learn from others' mistakes, coz you may not live long enough to make them all! But, I'm trying!
Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? Guilty
Caught a snowflake on your tongue? Innocent
Is snowflake the name of a girl?
Kissed in the rain? Innocent
Sat on a roof top? Guilty
Kissed someone you shouldn’t? Guilty
Many times - haven't you heard that variety is the spice of life?
Sang in the shower? Guilty
Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on? Innocent
Shaved your head? Innocent
Had a boxing membership? Innocent
Sometimes I wish I had! Considering the people ...................................!
Made a girlfriend cry? Innocent
Been in a band? Innocent
Shot a gun? Guilty
Err..... what kind? ;-)
Donated Blood? Guilty
Yeah - and hoped the guy who got it survived!
Eaten alligator meat? Innocent
Eaten cheesecake? Innocent
How sick can that be?
Still love someone you shouldn’t? Guilty
Have/had a tattoo? Innocent
Somebody once told me that tattoos are a permanent mark of temporary insanity! I disgree!
Liked someone, but will never tell who? Guilty
Too many people, much less time and too much of an ego!
Been too honest? Guilty
How do I change? Any tips?
Ruined a surprise? Guilty
Plenty - think about that pleasure you get doing that! Remember Calvin & Hobbes?
Ate in a restaurant and got really bloated that you couldn’t walk afterwards? Guilty
Erased someone in your friends list? Guilty
Even Bob Marley said "Good friends we lose along the way!"
Dressed in a woman’s clothes (if you’re a guy) or man’s clothes (if you’re a girl)? Innocent
Joined a pageant? Innocent
Been told that you’re handsome or beautiful by someone who totally meant what they said? Innocent
Had communication with your ex? Innocent
What a waste of time that can be!
Got totally drunk on the night before exam? Guilty
Thank God for that! Hic!
Got totally angry that you cried so hard? Guilty
Monday, November 02, 2009
I spent a small part of the weekend reading In Spite of the Gods by Edward Luce, a book which is said to contain some of the finest analyses of India's strange economic and socio-political growth and tipped to be an insightful read by India's former Chief Executive - Dr. Abdul Kalam, among many others that is!
But that was momentary! As I sat trying to fixate my focus on the book, in the same park which is the venue of my once-in-a-while-solitary-walks, my eyes wandered in observation of people who had gathered there at sunset to either spend the remainder of the weekend in solace or as in the case of little ones - to be engulfed in the blissful togetherness of recreation! It seemed each one of them had a definite agenda in place for the evening to conduct!
Calm and composed, to me, each of them seemed to be engrossed in a journey of sorts - of comprehension, perception and anticipation, such as in wait for something that was to come and that no amount of preparation could help them face that seemingly oncoming blight, if one ever existed, that is!
I was then reminded of a quote, by Chuck Palahniuk that The Times of India carried yesterday morning, which read that "If death meant just leaving the stage long enough to change costume and come back as a new character...... Would you slow down or speed up?"
Thursday, October 29, 2009
That evening, on my once-in-a-while-solitary-walk-in-the-park, often the moment in time for deep reflection, I noticed a different hue in the night sky, layered in shades, rather gradients of gray and black, dotted with pulsating twinkles of stars, several light years away, yet powerful enough to make themselves visible to the eye - one of the many paradoxes of life itself, in the connotation that what one sees is not always where one arrives at!
If you have listened to A Change of Seasons by Dream Theater, the musical marvel where one remembers "a time when the frail, virgin mind watches the crimson sunrise and imagines what it might find", you know that "life is filled with wonder and the feeling of the warm wind blowing, with an inherent need to explore the boundaries and transcend the depth of winter's snow!"
That "I'm much wiser now, a lifetime of memories that run though my head, those that taught me how for better or worse, alive or dead, I realize there's no turning back and that life goes on the offbeaten track!"
I'm forever in awe of how intricately woven life is, changing with times and seasons, maturing the living with every single passing moment, constantly adherent of its purpose!
And I'm wondering, "Where am I going today?"
Monday, October 26, 2009
-- Srimad Bhagavad Gita
The road to self-realization is laced with some of the most effective deterrents, I believe, often playing it hard on the people who choose to traverse it! It is an ongoing process, quite like living life every day anew until the end, and hence should not be confused with a destination one arrives at, after a length of travel.
I had the good fortune to visit The Ramakrishna and Sharada Math, last weekend and thoroughly enjoyed the call, trying to understand at first hand the people who were part of these illustrious associations and their austere lives engaged in a perpetual and undeterred quest for self-realization!
Perhaps the most difficult thing, for someone such as me, is to renounce material possessions and worldly comforts in the pursuit of spiritual excellence. Therefore, to see people younger than me, having already done so and embarked on such a fruitful journey was unsettling yet promising!
If anything, it is the mind, which is the chief constituent of any decision making exercise, that needs to be reigned in, in order to make free will differentiable from acts as a result of cause and effect - or so I believe!
Leaving these splendid places and returning to the humdrum of my routinated life, having savoured moments of unequaled comfort and solace, the lesson was certainly not lost on me that the knowledge of the self and its realization are known to the one who thinks of them as the unknowable and not to the one who thinks he knows!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
By Toutatis! The sky hasn't fallen yet, and, along with your friends in Gaul, you continue to fascinate me. I first read your adventures while in class IV, 1988 to be precise, the first of them being The Magic Carpet, a marvelous account of your travel to my country - India!
What a way to begin, eh?
Now, having known and absolutely loved you for 21 years, which is a sizeable portion of my lifetime, I wish you a very happy birthday.
May you find a lot more of those greeny legions to paf away! Many more scrunchy-muchy mouthwatering boars to eat and many wonderful places to go to!
And in the words of your creators - nothing less than excellence… and fits of laughter! That's what you truly are!
My tribute to the late René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, whose vivid imaginations created an iconic character who continues to be idolized and adored by young and old!
Biographies of the authors as stated by the official website.
Image Courtesy - The Official Asterix Website
Image Description - The evolution of Asterix, titled Evolution, from the evolution series
Asterix - The wikipedia entry
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
This time around, I was witness to his usual exuberance in expression of warmth and bonding that comes so easily to him and his family, always forthcoming and readily able to come together with people, even at first meeting!
A little after I arrived, some of his friends, hitherto unknown to me, aficionados and experts in music and matters of the world, presented themselves! Usually taking sometime to break the ice, I found myself amidst a group of friends with an instant sense of connect - one like never before!
After a round of introductions and talk about each others' lives, fellow-guests, and the host, many a passionate pursuant of music in one venue, broke into momentum enthralling the rest of us with verses of Tagore in the voices of Kishore, to mention a few that is!
Not many of us feel happy in the pursuit of something that is non material, but it is imperative to understand that true happiness can and will be a result of intangible quantifications! Also important it is, to know that to connect with people, one requires an open mind, the ability to establish relationships - worthy in themselves, and the good sense to appreciate the other in a measure that is of true recognition!
As for my expression to summarize the evening, I feel appropriate to render it in the words of the famous American humorist, Will Rogers, that "A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people."
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Quite similar has been my predicament over the past couple of weeks! Torn between two rights, I have come to crossroads and remained to make an inevitable choice, one that will forever change the course of my life, the ramifications of which I cannot comprehend at this point in time!
Some of you are aware of my Mom's ailment, which continues to be in milder measure, thankfully. However, her inability has taken her away from home in Ooty and thus rendering Dad all by himself for the past several months, alone to conduct the proceedings of his business!
As this situation furthers, I feel it is my solemn duty to offer an unconditional and responsible hand of support and relieve him of his strenuous and demanding schedules. Now, this means my relinquishment of a position that I currently hold in an organization that has employed me over the past year and a half, something that I will be grateful for all my life!
So, after battling emotions for long, and having arrived at a decision, I walked up, two weeks ago, in a somber mood, to my boss and discussed the subject and tendered my resignation! It was perhaps one of the most difficult things that I've come to do, for severing an association, however short or insignificant, isn't by any means, an easy act!
I find myself swiftly reminded of Robert Frost's lines in The Road Not Taken!
That "I shall be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."
Friday, October 16, 2009
We meditate on the glory of the Creator; Who has created the universe; Who is worthy of worship; Who is the embodiment of knowledge and light; Who is the remover of all sin and ignorance;
May He enlighten our intellect!
-- The Gayatri Mantra (chant)
Wishing you a very happy Diwali, one that, I pray, will usher into your lives unending prosperity, immeasurable peace, true happiness and a state of togetherness and belonging that shall never come apart!
Image courtesy - Google Images
Monday, October 12, 2009
I trust this note of mine finds Adam and yourself doing well.
I'm not sure if I should ascribe my reading A Mighty Heart on Danny's birthday to an act of coincidence!
Every once a while, there come people, who call upon themselves, mustering unseen courage, to show the world the elements of truth and choose to be the exponents of this powerful virtue! One can gather in such an illustrious league the names of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, who lost their lives while relentlessly pursuing the Godly mission of upholding the values of truth and educating the world about it.
I believe Danny is part of this list of people-extraordinaire, someone who saw it as his job, not any extraordinary mission, to bridge a gap between fiercely opposing cultures and their people.
Your day by day account moved me a great deal while making me recall the early days of 2002 when I relied on the BBC to bring me the news of Danny’s release, which I believed was imminent. Extremely pained by this senseless killing, I comforted myself in the belief that heaven is certainly a better place, now that he’s gone up there!
Above all, he was himself, doing what he did best and martyred himself in the tedious and painful process of constantly demonstrating unity and togetherness to a world that calls itself civilized yet remains glaringly devoid of peace or the very understanding of it!
Like the millions of those who have read and understood the courage and sacrifice of A Mighty Heart, I want you to know how grateful I am to you for bringing this chilling account for me to read, which under ordinary circumstances would have been safely cast away in a mourning mind!
Today, we continue to celebrate Danny's life as an epic moment in history, one that has had many good associations and causes attached to it, and in doing so emphatically tell the perpetrators of terror that while good people and their bodies can be destroyed by their meaningless massacres in the name of religion - not once, ever, can they destroy the will of the spirit which is higher than any cause or effect!
Nothing will give me more pleasure than to see Adam grow up to fulfill his father's prophecy of being able to change the world!
I pray that you, Adam, Danny's family, friends and colleagues find renewed courage and strength to further your lives in living the legacy Danny left behind.
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
The Daniel Pearl Foundation
Thursday, October 08, 2009
News from the southern Indian states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh has been depressing! Incessant rains over the past several days have resulted in a number of regions being inundated and the loss of lives has been enormous and tragic!
It is estimated that over 200 people have lost their lives in the calamity and close to a million people stand displaced. The state of Andhra Pradesh has estimated damages due to heavy rains and floods at a staggering Rs. 12,225 crore!
One can only hope and pray that the prolonged suffering, which has reached unbearable proportions, will come to an end!
Image Courtesy - NDTV
Image Description - A woman cries after failing to enter her submerged house at Garlapadu village, about 180 kilometers (112 miles) away from Hyderabad, India.
NDTV's photo account of the floods in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh
Monday, October 05, 2009
Already having planned the merriment, I hurriedly watched the much talked about produces of Quentin Tarantino and Ayan Mukerji, back to back, and lost little time in hastening to Crossword next door!
The comforting quiet, enthusiasts milling about and soft instrumental melody playing ceaselessly through overhead speakers made a welcome and relaxing ambience - one I chose to settle down in the cozy confines of, beginning a long and enjoyable hunt for what I'd soon make mine with a joyous, rather elated sensation combined with the immense sense of pride and privilege of being able to own them!
About two odd hours, a dozen books and a sizeable sum later, I walked out of Crossword a very happy man and with good reason to be!
Was it not Oscar Wilde who said that "It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it?"
Friday, October 02, 2009
An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it
-- Mahatma Gandhi (October 2, 1869 - January 30, 1948)
Image Courtesy - Wikipedia
Image Description - Mahatma Gandhi on Juhu Beach, Mumbai, May 1944
Thursday, October 01, 2009
With over 1.3 lakh road accidents India tops the world accidents list! Here are some ominous facts pertinent to two-wheeler accidents in India:
Head injury due to two-wheeler accidents is the sixth leading cause of death in India (one death every 4 minutes).
120,000 head injury deaths occur annually in India, from two-wheeler accidents alone.
5 to 10 million of the population have had head injuries.
70% of head injuries are preventable, and occur due to negligence and ignorance.
Statistics never reflect the agony and misery faced by the individual family when the breadwinner is critically injured or dies.
Studies have shown that when helmet use is voluntary, it is used by 40-50 %; when compulsory, it is almost 100 %. Only 8% really have objection to using helmets - others don't use it because it is "not compulsory."
Two-wheeler riders are five times more likely to be killed in an accident than car or bus passengers. This probability goes up by 100% if one is not wearing a helmet.
Rs. 2,500 crore (1% of Indian GDP) is the annual loss due to road accidents.
So, any of that is enough reason to wear a helmet, if you are riding a two-wheeler! Nothing precedes the importance and value of your life!
And to lighten the tension, me being a non-rider, will rather wear one to prevent the thundering blows of my wifey! So much for the poor, meek husband! :)
Road Accidents in India - A database
Image Courtesy - Asia Injury Prevention Foundation
Monday, September 28, 2009
I began at a time when blogging in India was yet to catch up and in very nascent stages! Intended primarily to record happenings and places visited during my treks, I created Oblivion Redefined on Wednesday, July 21, 2004!
My first post, on the same date, wasn't very different to what I continue to echo here!
Titled 'All that is Human', it contained a thought of mine, rather a series of thoughts, that read, "I've always been a simple man, except for the fact of having been robbed of the idea of being simple. It is then that I understood that life is more to do with living and living well. And that is all that matters. The rest follows suit with natural precision and in a timely orchestrated fashion.
Why do we always seem to want another chance? Is it because of our gross inability to coordinate our own actions and their sometimes perilous outcomes, or is it because that we have taken for granted the gazillion human limitations thrust upon us?
Life is once, and once is enough if we can figure out how to go about it."
I'm sure you understand the unparalleled sense of pleasure involved in creating an online journal and even more of it when acknowledged by co-bloggers and other folks!
Today, a little more than 5 years and 4 blogs later, I look back on a wonderful and rewarding journey, one that has helped me see places, far and wide, understand people and communities, communicate within and across borders and realize the true spirit and value of cultural interchange - all at the instance of a technological marvel!
We Blog, Web Blog and therefore the blog!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Utterly poor in manners and etiquettes, I have come to experience this malady in person during my stay there for an extended period of 3 years!
It is a shame, a national one at that, to be known for the manner in which a people collectively behave so offensively, particularly at a time when race, nationalities, international borders and such nuances matter very little!
So, where lies the problem? Lack of education and civility? Faulty upbringing? Boorishness equated to manliness, as a result of a deep rooted sense of inferiority?
Or is it as a result of what most Delhiites are best at being - a recalcitrant hoi polloi?
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
It is a work of art like never before that I have ever encountered and is constantly helping me understand the deepest nuances of my life better than before with a singular view of how much life is a part of the whole exercise of evolving into a higher state of being and realm, which most of us ardently seek and yet fail to attain owing to focus on intellectual appeal and sensory judgements alone!
What strikes me most, even as I border close to just a half of the book, are the striking similarities that this book elucidates in it, also largely mentioned in the works of Dr. Brian Weiss, with respect to life itself and those of Carl Sagan with respect to his thoughts and deductions of the ever intriguing cosmos!
As if that wasn't already enough to stir my ordinary mind, beyond words and expression, the magical experiences detailed as a result of the author's process of attaining self-realization shook me off, challenging the earthly concepts of time, gravity, instances, all of which are a certainly delightful treat to any reader, food for thought, in the clichéd sense to say!
And as for my new-found realization that I have been toying for quite sometime now, I'd better best describe it with the aide of the famous words of the Greek philosopher Socrates which read that "True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing!"
The Self Realization Fellowship - The Website
The online version of Yogananda's autobiography and the e-book on Project Gutenberg (under copyright)
Fellow bloggers Shravan Raghunath and Rahul Sharma have given me the Awesome Blogger and Blog Buddies awards respectively, for which I express my sincere thanks! As always, I dedicate these awards to all of my fellow-bloggers, in my belief that this world, the virtual world of blogging, is one of instant intellectual connect, bridging gaps of culture, race, religion, borders and time. Therefore in celebration of a togetherness that I experience here in the blog-world, I extend these awards to all of you, the wonderful people who make this world happen!
Friday, September 18, 2009
Rather, I'm attempting to understand what is it that is each of our most sought connect, the feeling that renders a sense of joy, togetherness, or oneness, that is experienced when the mind engages with that avenue, person or passion!
For instance, I experience a strong yet unspeakable and indescribable connection while looking up at the night sky, something that I can be sure of spending a few hours doing, comfortably away from the maddening chatter of daily chores and the constant hum of cell phones, which I have slowly but steadily and clearly come to detest!
So then, purely for the sake of understanding, what really is your connect? Do write to me about it!
Monday, upcoming, is the festival of Eid and is also the International Day of Peace! I take this opportunity to wish all my Muslim brethren a very happy Eid, one that furthers the common ideology of peace and brotherhood above all else!
Most importantly, for me, it is a day off work! You can imagine my state of bliss already! :)
Have a good weekend all.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
-- Patrick Swayze (August 18, 1952 - September 14, 2009)
Now I've had the time of my life
No I never felt like this before
Yes I swear it's the truth
and I owe it all to you
-- Time of my Life (Dirty Dancing), 1987
As a child, I first saw him in the movie Dirty Dancing, which took the world by a storm! Years later, his equally magnificient performance in the movie Ghost, with co-starrer Demi Moore, was among the finest I'd come to see!
The iconic Swayze attained his heavenly abode yesterday, after a long drawn, painful battle with pancreatic cancer! This post pays tribute to a wonderful soul, who immortalized himself in the minds of millions by his performances and charm!
Rest in peace sailor!
Image Courtesy - Google
Monday, September 14, 2009
A silent breeze swishes the leaves of a peach tree parting them to reveal the fruits that are now intensely yellow. Birds begin their roosting call, chirping in plentiful monotones, while moths seek the last vestiges of light, unknown to themselves, if they'd last another day!
The cold melancholic air has a certain charm and brings forth dusk with its golden hued twilight. With it comes a sense of calm that has to be savoured in all its elements, slow and steady - pretty much a feeling that has to be invited to slowly sink in.
The elegance of nature is truly unparalleled and the mind is racing in exuberant bliss while the body is composed and still. Some contradictions, it seems can never be comprehended.
Gone too soon, I'm left with the feeling that dusky twilights are akin to eclipses, arriving in much fanfare and departing in obscured quiet - unannounced! Dotted twinkles of a few stars in the horizon assure more scenic demonstrations in the offing. Pleasant aromas of freshly brewed tea fill the air, in random staccato bouts, leaving the mind to decide upon the wanton cravings of the tongue.
But silence is even more addictive and impresses upon me to stand by, and relish the proceeding of time to savour some of the finest moments in life - those, if once lost, would never heed a call to turn back in time!
Some of the most blissful things in life, I've realized, are elementary!
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Tintin, Campco, Rock Shock, Caran D'Ache, Calvin & Hobbes, Dollops, Shinkows, Misha, Superman, National Panasonic, Asterix, Big Fun, Milk Bikis, Leo, Glo Friends, Fusen, GW Basic, Kites, Macmillan, Hercule Poirot, Crazy Balls, Great Expectations, Marbles, Soccer, Ludo, Marshmallows, Carrom, MTV, Nimmy, Danny & Tinku (RIP), Kipling, 5 1/4" floppies, Tennyson, Duckback, Frost, Peppermint, Blake, Phantom Sweet Cigarettes, O'Henry ..................
All of this in 10950 days!
I feel I've lived over a hundred years now! Exciting, eventful and exhilarating! I'd like to thank my family, the most wonderful people I've ever known, for the unconditional support that they have given me, at all times, along with my friends and associates for being the magnificent people that they are!
And heres a lil tid-bit from the birthday boi! Remember my post titled What will you do? Yes, the same write-up that sought to understand what ticks us to go forward in life? Now, here's something that will perhaps be an answer to some of us! Do check out Kickstarter and be sure to read its blog!
Thank you folks! I love you all!
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
This city now doth, like a garment wear
Ships, towers, domes, theatres and temples lie
Open unto the fields and to the sky,
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
In his first splendor, valley, rock or hill;
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
And all that mighty heart is lying still!
William Wordsworth's sonnet, "Composed upon Westminster Bridge" was written, a little over two hundred years ago, on this day!
Image Courtesy - Wikipedia
Image Description - A view of the River Thames drawn by Augustus Pugin and Thomas Rowlandson for Ackermann's Microcosm of London (1808-11). Somerset House, St. Paul's Cathedral and London Bridge are shown.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
(In Satyayuga, you sported the incarnation of the dwarf, and fooled Bali)
-- Excerpts from the Guru Granth Sahib wherein Vamana is mentioned as the "enticer" of Mahabali
I received a dinner invite from a very unexpected quarter last week! When the matriarch of a very poor family, that stays in my landlord's property and watches over it, asked me if I would honour them by having dinner with their family, I readily and wholeheartedly agreed with an immense sense of happiness, a kind that had not prevailed on me even while wining and dining in the finest of bistros.
Amidst hot and sumptuous Bhakris, Subji and Modak, I made efforts to understand the suffering these wonderful people endured in their daily lives, while yet remaining resolute and cheerful in carrying themselves forward in the battle to win another day!
Their gesture to invite me to dinner touched me a great deal, and also served as a crude reminder, once again, of how fortunate I have been, being me! Humane gestures know no human divisions, don't you agree?
It is Onam now, the festival of harvest, in Kerala, a time of the year when the golden era of prosperity during the reign of King Mahabali is fondly remembered and celebrated in awe, happiness and oneness!
I'd like to wish my country-cousins, folks and all my friends a very happy and prosperous Onam and more importantly, urge every one of you to envision a sense of prosperity in your lives, in all that you do and reaffirm your commitment towards the spirit of solidarity and oneness, which is all that matters in the end!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Here, unlike before, I'm seeking your opinion, rather your ideas which will be invaluable to me as I attempt to shape my future, some kind of a gauging the pulse activity! So, considering the nature of this post, it is my request that you spend sometime in thought and be sure to give me your thoughts, no matter what.
Take a good look at your résumé, which I'm sure elucidates your accolades and testimonials of the number of years that you've been working. Now, take a good look at yourself.
Does ambition drive you? What is that you truly want to do? I'm asking this question in consideration of your jobs, those that help you sustain a livelihood, more importantly, those which appeal to your intellect and further it a great deal.
What would you want to do? Be a visionary entrepreneur and lay the foundations for a world class organization that is highly process oriented? For instance Indiblogger, which was founded by Renie?
Or, do you aspire to be a highly successful leader in a corporate entity and equal the ranks of prominences such as Sushim Mukul Dutta, Jack Welsh, Larry Page and the likes?
Maybe some of you are driven and motivated by eminent people in politics and bureaucracy, such as Dr. Manmohan Singh, Hillary Clinton, Edward Kennedy, Angela Merkel and so on, and would like to see yourselves in similar positions in the coming times.
For some others, musicians, sports persons, artists or actors may serve as a guiding light in inspiring themselves to be what they want to!
Tell me, every single one of you, what is it that you want to be? What is the vision that drives you forward?
Cliched still, but relevant, I ask, where do you see yourselves in the coming years?
And as they say, no idea or suggestion is bad, so do not hold yourself back due to an assumption that what you intend to say is trivial and thus worthless. I can assure you that it will not be so!
Please ensure that you leave me with your thoughts, no matter however inconsequential they may seem to you. Should you feel uncomfortable leaving an opinion in the comments section, do send me an email and I'll be sure to respond!
Monday, August 24, 2009
Thank God for India being a practicing democracy, else I'd be bitterly clobbered for my seemingly spiteful vocals about co-existing with a Black-tailed, wide-eyed Racoon, a pink Polar Bear, a thoroughly perverted Jerry Mouse, a quick flashy Blue Fox, a photochromatic-eyed Crocodile, a lousy Crow, two Rabbits and a Bush Baby!
Point made for a Monday morning, it seems! Now, can you even remotely imagine how difficult it is to be me?
I'm sure a number of you, being good natured, fun loving comrades, will appreciate me for my wry sense of comparison and humorous spontaneity here. For those of you who may not, I suggest empathy! Condolences are welcome too! ;)
Jokes apart, I'm not sure if I told you how stressed I am lately! It is not often, after all, that your folks make you a marketable product for advertisement on a matrimonial site, is it? Has anyone of you been on display lately?
Never mind the state of stressfulness, I made sure that my worst picture (ever) was sent out to the webmaster for display on the site! And, I've made a mental note to send the same picture to many more, webmasters and compatible products - both!
Now, that doesn't end the story there, especially if Lion King (call sign for His Excellency the Pop) calls up with a few dozen folio numbers, (IDs of prospective suitors; pardon the poor man, whose life has been submerged in business for over 4 decades now, as a result of which he may not appear to articulate much distinction between products and people), and calmly insists that I 'check them out and report back!'
Mumsical (meaning Mother's whimsical) murmurs of me 'not-being-up-to-it to find someone', is an apparent contradiction of parent hood, for if I were to oddly surprise her with an emphatic yes, I'd be sure of meeting up with more oohs and aahs in a single conversation, than what I've been subjected to in a lifetime, collectively! So, avoiding misadventures is prudence!
And, as if all that wasn't already enough, my team - the most wonderful people that I've ever known, (that's a gross exaggeration people, the worst ever, I can assure), suggested an epitaph phrase for me (when occasion comes) to read "Thank You Dear God," to which, Nimmu, my other brother, was quick to add "At last."
If not for good natured humor, our lives would've been hideously dreary and uninteresting, don't you agree?
Now, as we embark upon a journey of sorts (that's precisely what a working week is, right?), I'll leave you some interesting information that, I'm sure, will bring cheer and insight. Firstly, its been ten years since the first Blogger blogs appeared. Read more about it here and also here. Secondly, fellow-blogger Sumit Singla has made perhaps one of the most interesting presentations that I've seen lately! Do take a look here and make sure you vote for it too!
Have a great week ahead, all of you!
Blogger Buzz - The Official Buzz from Blogger
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
So here we go.........
A – Available/Single?
Unavailable, Available, Unavailable, Available, Single ........... Currently Available, Single and ready to mingle ;)
B – Best friend?
A handful to count, by the grace of God!
C – Cake or Pie?
Neither! Not the sweet guy, errr, I meant the sweets guy!
D – Drink of choice?
Single malt scotch, mild beer and sometimes (rarely) Stolichnaya.
E – Essential item you use every day?
My PC and net enabled phone! A lot of my day is spent with the PC and the phone helps me catch up with a few dozen RSS feeds, emails and news feeds, while on the move. Can't imagine a life without technology!
F – Favorite colour?
G – Gummy Bears or Worms?
How about worms cooked in black sauce and served with peppered mayo? ;)
H – Hometown(s)
Ooty, Tamil Nadu and Kannur, Kerala.
I – Indulgence?
Of what kind? ;)
J – Jealous or Benign?
Benign, most certainly!
K – Kids & their names?
No kids, yet! Am scared when Mum repeatedly says "May you have kids just like you." Not sure if that's a blessing or a curse, though its reasonable to assume the latter, given my doings!
L – Life is incomplete without?
Folks, books, buddies and blogs!
M – Marriage date?
Good question! I read a facebook status message that said "I remember when I got married. I remember where I got married. But for the life of me, I can't remember why I got married."
N – Name? Your real name!
Rakesh and their derivatives Raku, Rak, Rock, Rocky and Raks...... all of which are real too!
O – Oranges or Apples?
Oh, this is about eating! I thought........
P – Phobias/Fears?
None! But ask my friends and they'd be sure to tell you about Rakesh-phobia!
Q – Quote for today?
Never do something unless you are sure of yourself, but never relinquish doing something because somebody is not sure of you!
R – Reason to smile?
As elementary as a bright sunny day, a Friday, the weekend and a lot more! The same cannot be said about a monday morning though!
S – Season?
T – Tag 3 People?
I'll leave this open
U – Unknown fact about me?
My alter ego and its demented thought process!
V – Vegetable you don’t like?
Perhaps this question should have been "Vegetables you like," for it would have been easier to answer "none"
W – Worst habit?
Hmmmm.., Should I risk stating that here? ;)
X – X-rays?
On eye glasses? ;)
Y – Your favorite food?
Nothing beats Dal & Chawal!
Z – Zodiac sign?
Destiny Infinity has been very kind to give me the Addicting blog award, which I'm very thankful for! I'd like to pass this on to all of you, who are each, such wonderful sources of encouragement and support, and also sincerely thank you for being so! Without friends such as you, it would have been very easy for me to have lost steam and direction. Thank you!
Monday, August 17, 2009
The number of inhabitants, however, has drastically reduced with very few people and animals. They live in groups, at peace with one another, with a very high regard for the environment around them. They live in harmony, free from anger, hatred, confusion, disease, despair and sorrow! No traces of any negative energy exist!
People are in constant interaction with one another and live very content lives. Their focus is on intellectual development, education, arts, culture, heritage and the likes. In essence, there is a lot of emphasis on development, intellectual and spiritual. Strangely, physical attributes are not accorded much significance. This is a different realm, a higher level of consciousness altogether!
Most importantly, there is infinite peace and harmony like never before and a strong sense of contentment prevails.
This, my friends, is a vision of reality in the not so distant future of our planet and most importantly, our own lives!
It appears difficult to comprehend, but the possibility is very real! Take a few moments to envision in picture what you have read and experience the warmth that is associated with the thoughts!
Having said that, I'd like to draw your attention to the present, which is without doubt the most important aspect of our lives. How we live out our present will define the future that we desire and thus it is important to focus on the present more than the past and the future, which, in effect, have bygone and will emerge sooner in time, respectively!
This is a reference to an original vision mentioned in one of the works of Dr. Brian L. Weiss, of whom I have written in the immediately preceding post! I have deliberately not included the subjects here or for that matter, the title of the book itself! Also, this post is not a verbatim replica of that mentioned in the book. I have read the contents of the book extensively and reproduced it here with the help of my cognitive imagination, purely for the sake of representation and visualization, since it greatly comforted me to do so, and was reasonably sure it would be of the same effect to many of you!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I don't really bother, if all this has been branded as the fanciful extractions of a mad hatter psychiatrist, but for me, I seem to have found an instant connect, which is irrefutable!
Have you, not once wondered if there were something beyond the realms of proven science that cannot be quantified, yet so overwhelmingly ubiquitous?
The future is born from the past!
Don't you think so? Aren't actions done in the past, definite of consequences to come in the future?
The idea of a past, rather many pasts, may certainly sound radical and gibberish to many, but one cannot refute the wisdom of many cultures, that state with certainty, instances of a higher consciousness, multiple planes and so on, all in such striking commonness!
The ability to prove the existence of a certain phenomenon should not always be regarded as a conclusive measure for deciding its existence in the first place! For instance, the universe being such a hugely extended realm, stretching across billions of light years, makes it certainly possible for life forms far away, never to come in contact with its counterparts on Earth. Would it therefore be wise to conclude, merely as a result of non-established contact, that life does not exist outside of Earth?
Quite similarly, the duration of our lives, I believe is not entirely conclusive to a certain time, place or person, rather it is, I must say, many short windows in time before we embark into timelessness!
I recommend you read the works of Dr. Brian L. Wiess, not with the aim of acquainting yourself with a definitive understanding of the past or the future, but with an open mind that welcomes the knowledge of a certain subject and its deep intricacies, by which one can establish a certain sense of deep connect to oneself and the world around!
On an ending note, I must thank my colleague for having introduced me to a series of masterpieces, which even before conclusion in reading, are enjoyable to me and will continue to be so!
Dr. Brian L. Weiss - The Website
This post, I'm sure many of you have noticed, has been written in a very characteristic abstractness, one that does not really outline the subject as it ought to. This is intentional, and done so to let the reader's mind not form many perceptions before beginning to read books written by Dr. Weiss.
I will, in the forthcoming post, take you through an elaborate vision, of the future and how important, rather joyous, it is to be a part of it. Stand by!
Monday, August 10, 2009
My organization has issued strict travel advisories and warnings and I'm taking them very seriously, restricting my movements to a bare minimum and putting off all non-essential travel within the city!
News is just in that a doctor in Pune and a boy in Chennai are the most recent casualties to have succumbed to the epidemic. The number of critical patients is going up!
Health Minister Gulab Nabi Azad's statements over the weekend have done more harm than good. Now, with nearly 800 cases so far, across the country, the Prime Minister's Office has stepped in to take stock of the situation, amidst raging fears that the rate of contagion could be higher!
However, panic should be the last act, and people should focus on maintaining sanitation, avoiding public places and strictly effect necessary precautions to avoid contraction of the flu!
Although, it is difficult for me to say this, I must urge that all non-essential travel to Pune and other affected areas be postponed indefinitely. I also hope that this scourge subsides soon and that normalcy is returned in the lives of people, especially those who have been proximately affected by the outbreak.
For now, it is wait and watch, perhaps, the most excruciating part!
Thursday, August 06, 2009
64 years have come to pass since the devastating bombing of Hiroshima by the United States. It was today in 1945 that the "Little Boy" was dropped over the Japanese city that resulted in the instantaneous loss of 70,000 lives and the many thousands that followed as a result of radiation positioning!
Untold horrors, as a result of the nuclear attack continued for several decades and this day serves as a grim reminder to one of history's darkest moments ever.
This post pays homage to the Japanese people who suffered colossal loss of lives and unspeakable humanitarian damage that ensued as a result of the bombings of Hiroshima and subsequently Nagasaki.
I pray in sincere earnestness that such a moment shall never come to be witnessed, ever, in future and that all nations, particularly nuclear powers, understand the ill effects of nuclear engagement which has only one sure end result, that being Mutually Assured Destruction!
Image Courtesy - Flickr (Under Original Copyright)
Image Description - Floating candles in Töölönlahti Bay, on the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, 2007
The Wikipedia Page
Monday, August 03, 2009
What has life come to be? Monotonous, mechanical, distasteful large shades of gray and monosyllabic instances that, it seems, are intended to leave me to to wear out in a fate unknown and unfathomable. There is a certain missing connect though all is well, which is perhaps as a result of the inhuman pace of events that have been occurring, taxing the mind to concur to everything that it comes across and assimilate happenings, a task which seems to be more of a cruel exploitation than continuance of a regular schedule!
Part of me, rather my whole self, wants to break free and head to the mountains, liberated from the evil clutches of technology and information, both of which have saturated my poor self and committed it to irreparable ruin. I want to go away, not once ever to think of returning, to what the mass calls mainstream! I wish to feel traces of comforting warmth in the cold yet scintillating expanses of large sky hugging lush green blue like mountains, walk along the broken bubbling creeks, let the slow paced afternoon brush of air swathe my face and listen intently to what the ravens are talking to themselves about the wilderness!
I want to be a child, again, and live life on my own terms......
Am I a rebel, or person who loves to take cognizance of the splendor of life and emphasize on living well rather than be part of an excruciatingly maddening rat race?
Honestly, I believe its a lot of both!
Friday, July 31, 2009
Dedicated primarily to showcase posts on inspirational quotes and snippets, this blog will be a combined effort and aims at featuring short yet powerful posts that have a meaningful takeaway for its patrons.
Kick-starting my account, yesterday, I posted 'Of Life and Hope' with an iconic picture taken, in 1969, during the People's Park Riot in Berkeley, California. Taken by Ted Streshinsky, this picture became a classic representation of the voice of the people and still evokes strong memories in those who have been witness to the incident.
I will, however, post in this space, using the identity Almost Sunday, which, I believe, is a more ideal character for this enterprise, as I have earlier titled it as "not a person, but a state of being which was chanced upon by me during my endless quest for meaning and purpose."
I wish to express my thanks to Shravan for giving me this wonderful opportunity, something that I have long contemplated doing.
On behalf of team IPhrase, I invite you to this new space, to visit it and sample its contents and hopefully relish them.
Monday, July 27, 2009
-- Daisaku Ikeda
On invitation from a friend and former colleague, Rahul Guharoy, I spent yesterday morning with a group of very dedicated and enthusiastic people whose purpose in life is to come together as a united body in combating life's uncertainties and help one another in times of need. They are collectively known as the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) which is a "Buddhist network that actively promotes peace, culture and education through personal change and social contribution." In India, they are known as the Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG), which is an affiliate of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI). Their life values are heavily based on "the humanistic life philosophy of the Japanese Buddhist sage, Nichiren Daishonin."
Among the first things I noticed on arrival was the elevated level of enthusiasm each one of them carried within themselves at all times. Cordial, warm and eager, the very presence of a member was difficult to miss! During my conversations, I realized that these were people who had taken upon themselves to train themselves to inculcate and nurture a change from within, much akin to the philosophy of their 'Sensei' which they follow in very close coordinates!
After a round of introductions, some of them came forward to narrate real life incidents, struggles and victories that ensued. They also highlighted how, as active members of the SGI movement, they have been able to, with conviction, commitment and discipline, make their lives and those of others better and continue to do so with a remarkable sense of passion and unity.
Finally, the floor was thrown open to a hearty discussion on the topic "Human Revolution - The contribution of a single individual to bring about change." Many interesting thoughts flowed through as fellow members and guests nodded as each one spoke. I gave my two cents too, speaking on the need to be cognizant of the world around oneself and to effect change from within, quoting Socrates and Plato! Rewarded with a very patient hearing, and a round of loud applause, I felt greatly appreciated, the like of which I have not felt in a very long time.
I recalled my 1998 meeting with His Holiness Guru Nitya Chaintanya Yati, the erstwhile Head of the Narayana Gurukula Foundation at Fernhill in Ooty. The connect was easy and remarkably similar, talks on oneness, encouragement, positivism and more importantly world citizenship meaning a state of being, free from race, religion and other varied discrimination.
Couldn't have had a more eventful Sunday!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
There you go.........
Lay beside me, under wicked sky
Through black of day, dark of night, we share this pair of lives
The door cracks open, but there's no sun shining through
Black heart scarring darker still, but there's no sun shining through
-- Unforgiven II, Metallica, 1998
You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom,
blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter,
come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!
-- Shine on you crazy diamond, Pink Floyd, 1975
Many times I've been a traveller, I looked for something new
In days of old, When nights were cold
I wandered without you, But those days I thought my eyes
Had seen you standing near, Though blindness is confusing
It shows that you're not here
-- Soldier of Fortune, Deep Purple, 1974
Looking beyond the embers of bridges glowing behind us
To a glimpse of how green it was on the other side
Steps taken forwards but sleepwalking back again
Dragged by the force of some inner tide
At a higher altitude with flag unfurled
We reached the dizzy heights of that dreamed up world
-- High Hopes, Pink Floyd, 1994
There's a sign on the wall, But she wants to be sure
cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.
In a tree by the brook, There's a songbird who sings,
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven.
-- Stairway to Heaven, Led Zepplin, 1971
Now the suns gone to hell, And the moons riding high
Let me bid you farewell, Every man has to die
But its written in the starlight, And every line on your palm
Were fools to make war, On our brothers in arms
-- Brothers in Arms, Dire Straits, 1985
I awake to find no peace of mind.
I said how do you live, As a fugitive?
Down here, where I cannot see so clear
I said what do I know? Show me the right way to go.
-- Spies, Coldplay, 2000
The world is closing in, Did you ever think
That we could be so close, like brothers
The future's in the air, I can feel it everywhere
Blowing with the wind of change
-- Wind of Change, Scorpions, 1990
Sometimes I need some time...on my
own Sometimes I need some time...all alone
Everybody needs some time...on their own
Don't you know you need some time...all alone
-- November Rain, Guns N Roses, 1992
Then fly away from here, Anywhere
Yeah, I don't care, We'll just fly away from here
Our hopes and dreams are out there somewhere
Won't let time pass us by, We'll just fly
-- Fly away from here, Aerosmith, 2001
I laughed and shook his hand, I made my way back home,
I searched for form and land, Years and years I roamed,
I gazed a gazely stare, We walked a million hills -- I must have died alone,
A long long time ago.
-- The Man who sold the World, Nirvana, 1993
I take a walk outside, I'm surrounded by some kids at play
I can feel their laughter, so why do I sear?
Oh, and twisted thoughts that spin round my head
I'm spinning, oh, I'm spinning, How quick the sun can drop away
-- Black, Pearl Jam, 1991
The aforesaid list is certainly not exhaustive and more inputs are welcome via comments