Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I awoke to the morning light
with hope and progress in my sight
In life, I was told to believe
with all the strength that I could conceive
The first many steps that I decided to take
came with a lot of apprehension to make
even the very best to pause many a rung
before the soiled clothes were hung
Experience maketh a man they said
and whoever said so meant what he said
for no man ever went a long way ahead
without the much needed toil and stead
Wanderous roads and uneven bends
cast many dark shadows and lost heads
Victory was not by any means an option
I had to seize life with all conviction
Many nights and many days came to pass
with no results but all toil, alas
Yet neither the mind nor the heart
lost to tire in the journey so fraught
The journey will amble as the days come
even to make a rock more and more supple
It is for eternity in my hands, Oh Supreme
for it is You who made me to endure what I need be
Image: Face detail of God, Creation of the Sun and Moon by Michelangelo
Inspired by The Main Theme - The Last Samurai by Hans Zimmer
Monday, January 26, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
(Excerpts from the Inaugural address)
Inputs from The White House, Washington
Image Courtesy: Office of the President-Elect
Monday, January 19, 2009
The Sixth broke ranks from the clench,
Haughty as he was, and for want of more
blood, this was the spell of abhor
Dazed by the corrupt minds of his friends
The lone warrior sought a path of no amends
Slaughter was indeed why he came
With all the fury to play what he knew was the game
Time will elapse into eons and ages
As he twisted and spurned all adages
Only to know that the fist of God
Was all but a thoughtful odd
In cometh forever, every action that turned doubt
The white shadows cast a long and painful bout
When the soul is eternally numb
And the body is a woeful crumb
Answer now, I can hear no longer, feel no better
As I seek to know the past, present and the future!
Over the weekend, I bought the book, Massacre in Munich: The Manhunt for the Killers Behind the 1972 Olympics, written by Michael Bar Bar-Zohar and Eitan Haber. It is word by word, day by day account of the run up to the Munich Massacre and the aftermath of the event.
India too has been a victim of extreme terrorism for many decades and continues to be so, losing its people every now and then. Much has been debated about this topic and I do not wish to add any more to an already simmering cauldron. But don't we have quite a number of lessons to learn from Israel? Their will to track down the perpetrators of terror, their never-say-die spirit, their ability to swiftly exercise retribution....... I wonder if anyone is listening at the South Block?
Friday, January 16, 2009
US President, George W. Bush, 14:04 EST, February 1, 2003
At 10:39 EST, on 16 January 2003, 6 years ago, Space Shuttle Columbia was launched from Launch Complex 39A of the Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island, Florida.
Designated STS107 and comprising 7 astronauts including Kalpana Chawla, Columbia embarked on what was a 16 day multi-disciplinary microgravity and Earth science research mission with a multitude of international scientific investigation programs on-board. Tragically, the Columbia and its passengers never returned, disintegrating upon re-entry on February 1, 2003.
Commander Rick Husband, Pilot William McCool, Mission Specialist David Brown, Mission Specialist Kalpana Chawla, Payload Commander & Mission Specialist Michael Anderson, Mission Specialist Laurel Clark and Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon lost their lives in the tragedy.
February 1, 2003, I remember was an unusually cold day in Ooty. I had returned from an evening walk at about 8pm and lost no time cuddling up in a warm blanket in front of the television when BBC brought up the story and the video showing the burning space shuttle over Texas. I was in shock and yelled for my folks to come to the television. Today, 6 years later I remember these souls along with the track that was used to pay tributes to them, sung in 2001 by Josh Groban, titled To Where you are!
Who can say for certain, Maybe you're still here, I feel you all around me, Your memory, so clear
Josh Groban - To Where you are
Image Courtesy: NASA, STS-107 Shuttle Mission Imagery
Spaceflight now: Re-entry Conversation Transcripts
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Say hello to Simbha! She became part of our family sometime in April 2001 after having spent a few months at her maternal home in Kannur, Kerala! She celebrates Her 8th birthday on 26th January 2009. Presently, Her Dogregal Excellency is spending time at Her home in Ooty, quite bothered by the biting winter chill that makes her sleep close to 15 hours a day.
She is part of the most coveted Executive Bracket, a grade which is much above that of the children of the household. So, technically, my brother and I are Her pets. I guess its quite a privilege to have a Banker and a Research Analyst for pets! Have you watched Stuart Little? A mouse with a pet cat? Well, do I need to say more?
As one of the many executive (non-resident) Ministres Chargé d'affaires attached to Her staff, it is and will be my most imperative sense of duty to ensure, at all times, above all else, that all Her wrongs are legitimized into absolute rights within the least possible time, despite whatever effort that might take, failing which I stand to incur the severest wrath of Command Central.
She has to Herself a suite of rooms (you know whose) which She lavishly uses to Her comfort. While early mornings are almost always spent in Her little room, mid mornings are on the carpet in the drawing room, afternoons in Mom's room and evenings on my bed! After a lot of pleading, the following photograph, shot on October 14, 2004 was 'cleared' for publishing on my blog!
Her calls for food better be answered before She begins the asking and her place on the portico better not be taken by anyone else, even if that be a visiting dignitary! All birds, cats and dogs better stay out of Her sight and never ever make the mistake of trudging into Her territory!
Jokes apart, our love for Her is one that is far more than imaginable, one that is reciprocated ten times what is given! I miss Her more than anyone else and all my tele-conversations home query her. She is without doubt, my best buddy!
Now, seriously, have I capitalized all the Hers & Shes!
Important business over, let me wish my brother a very happy birthday! He turns 26 today!
Deepu, my brother, it is not surprising that I could not open the post by wishing you a very Happy Birthday! Hope you understand ;) Anyhow, may the coming year bring you good health, prosperity and above all else a great deal of satisfaction and peace!
Simbha on my photoblog
Monday, January 12, 2009
He needs no introduction. I'd rather say that I'm not qualified to introduce an eminence such as him!
In commemoration of the birth of Swami Vivekananda, India observes the National Youth Day, today. A renowned thinker, social reformer, educator and philosopher, Swami Vivekananda greatly influenced people from all sections of the society alike, not only in India but across many countries where he travelled during his lifetime.
His visit to Chicago to participate in the Parliament of World's Religions was particularly significant. On September 11, 1893, during the opening of the parliament he began his speech with "Sisters and brothers of America!" He immediately got a standing ovation from a crowd of seven thousand people which lasted for two minutes. The photograph below, shows Swami Vivekananda on the Platform of the Parliament
Subsequently, he met Professor John Henry Wright of Harvard University who invited him to speak at Harvard, to which the Swami replied that he had no credentials from any bona fide organization! Professor Wright is then reported to have said "To ask for your credentials is like asking the sun to state its right to shine in the heavens." Wright then wrote a letter to the Chairman in charge of delegates, writing, "Here is a man who is more learned than all of our learned professors put together."
During the course of his lecturing tours in the United States and England, he received two academic offers, the chair of Eastern Philosophy at Harvard University and a similar position at Columbia University. He politely declined both and continued his lecturing tours, stating that he was wandering monk, he could not settle down to work of this kind!
Back home in India, his lectures greatly influenced a posse of Indian leaders including Mahatma Gandhi, Bipin Chandra Pal, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari and Balgangadhar Tilak. Upon returning to India in 1897, he founded the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, which continues to promote his ideologue and works for the promotion of social service. He also impressed upon Sir Jamshetji Tata to set up a research and educational institution which resulted in the formation of the Research Institute of Science (now, Indian Institute of Science, IISc). Tata then invited the Swami to head the insitution, an offer that was politely declined stating a conflict with spiritual interests.
Of all the rich tributes and accolades that His Eminence received, perhaps the words of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose comes closest to describing the person that Swami Vivekananda was.
About the Swami, Netaji Bose once remarked, "I cannot write about Vivekananda without going into raptures. Few indeed could comprehend or fathom him even among those who had the privilege of becoming intimate with him. His personality was rich, profound and complex... Reckless in his sacrifice, unceasing in his activity, boundless in his love, profound and versatile in his wisdom, exuberant in his emotions, merciless in his attacks but yet simple as a child, he was a rare personality in this world of ours."
Image Courtesy: Vivekananda Vedanta Network
With inputs from Wikipedia
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Immediately, this new-found joy accompanied me on every trek and trip that I undertook and brought back memories crystallized in scores of images. Steadily it made me a decent amateur in photography and taught me many nuances, chief of them being the management of light sources and subject focus!
Come 2006, I migrated from Oblivion Redefined (created in 2004), to this space which has since been cyber-home to my thoughts, images and ideologue. Back in 2004, Photobucket hosted my images which I then posted onto my blog manually! Thanks to ever improving technology, Blogger has an inbuilt facility to upload images, which are hosted by Picasa. My blogs are never complete without images that I shoot from time to time and this was the case back then too. Despite carefully examining at length many templates for Blogger, I wasn't quite satisfied due to the fact that the images posted were scaled down in size and quality. And the many templates that did offer retention of image quality and size, I wasn't quite interested in! Looking for change, I moved to Wordpress which I soon realized was the Linux of Blogs, lacking the user-friendliness of Blogger. My search continued until I chanced upon the Aminus3 Photoblog Community.
So then, as I begin a new endeavor, I want to introduce to all of you, Imaging Oblivion, My Photo Blog, where I will post from time to time, images that I have taken over the years. Do please visit it and observe your comments which will matter a great deal to me by being critical, constructive, appreciative and encouraging!
Monday, January 05, 2009
Venkatesh Jalaj a.k.a. VJ, a good friend of mine, once sent me the following write-up, which proved to be an instantaneous source of immense inspiration and encouragement. He very rightly titled it "A question of Perspective." Upon reading it (something which I continue to do, every once a while), I came to learn that much of life's 'so called' hardships can be scaled down in effect by the manner in which we react! I'd like you to read this wonderful piece of work by VJ and take a look at your perspectives and alter them if need be, and most importantly feel inspired when the going gets tough. Read on..,
At times in life, one stops to re- examine if the steps one took were right or wrong. What seemed right then, may now seem wrong in hindsight. Listening to the advice of family members or people known to you may have turned out to be hideously wrong. Advice is free, but the consequences are not. The consequences are yours to pay.
You should know your interests and how to stand for them. Being a martyr to someone else’s dreams or desires is no act of greatness, merely horrendous imbecility. With the courage of conviction, and an invincible faith in yourself and God set out on your path. The trials will be daunting, opposition trenchant and incessant. At times, you will want to give up. Energy may desert you, the mind may grow feeble. Despondency, depression and loneliness will be your constant companions. Yet, you will move on. Keep your mind open to changes, in people in circumstances. Learn to utilize both to your advantage. Learn to understand people, their strengths, weaknesses and ways of thinking. Do not look for acceptance, if you succeed it will come on its own.
Don’t let the thought of the rope snapping drive you to loosen your grip and plunge to destruction. Victory and defeat aren’t in your hands but if you consider yourself beaten, you are. No one, I repeat, No one can save a person from himself. Through the hours of struggle, the longer nights of loneliness, when you have none but your miseries to warm the cockles of your soul, do not let go. Convince yourself to face your sufferings, not by avoiding them, not by seeking to flee from dream to dream, not by seeking to escape from reality, but by looking them straight in the eye. Train all your energy to work as weapons in your struggle. Do not let the maelstrom of dedicated opposition weaken your resolve. Use your creative and other energies to fashion a new persona. The crucible of pain is unforgiving, but it produces the best steel.
MultiMenon has been very kind to award me the 200% awesome web-blog award. I am very appreciative of this wonderful gesture of his which has come as tremendous encouragement and recognition. I'd like to roll-over this award to all of my fellow-bloggers for being the wonderful people that you are. Via this, I'd like to imply that each one of you has within yourself the power to motivate, innovate and excel. We may all be unique in our own right and measure, but the DNA that we carry within us is programmed to bring out the best in our thoughts and actions. We may adhere to differing schools of thought, but in the end, our purpose complies with the general good of creation and hence all of us, irrespective of our religion, caste, creed, colour, gender and other differences, are one and part of a single institution, the institution of human beings! This award is therefore a platform to celebrate who we are!