Monday, May 31, 2010

One for the friend

To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.

-- Brandi Snyder

There is perhaps nothing like catching up with old friends and talking about bygone times, relishing moments of life that have long been buried deep - as the vestiges of time, and be able to heartily laugh over incidents that are cherished and remembered as those great unifying factors!

It is certainly a matter of pure strength to be able to visualize and make a sense of togetherness woven over a fabric of love, respect and fondness that are not associated with any material underlying but purely based on the coming together of minds and hearts!

To be able to stay in sync despite adversities from many worlds, professional and personal, added with the brutalities of time and events - ah pure joie de vivre!

And, the finest of all pleasures, apart from of course living the moment, is to be able to envision togetherness in the days to come, uncorrupted by attitudes, selfish motives and a whole lot of more damaging dynamics!

God bless us all and keep us together!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Happy birthday RO

Redefining Oblivion turns 4 today!

Originally cast under a different space and name on July 21, 2004, this space is the result of an underdog's desire to reach out to the world in an effort to learn and experience the many wonders that are!

Today, after close to 6 years of having begun blogging, and 4 years of having experienced the joy of this wonderful medium known to us as Blogger, I am an extremely happy man, fortunate for being able to interact with wonderful people such as you, through who I see and know different worlds, rich in culture, well-being, happiness and above all else - a sense of togetherness like no other!

At this juncture, I'd like to whole heartedly thank my 5500+ readers and fellow bloggers from across 1043 individual locations in 99 countries for their 12000+ visits, tracked since the incorporation of the Google Analytics tracking system in December 2008 within this space! Your visits mean a whole lot to me and are a constant source of unparalleled pleasure and medium of interaction, something which I dearly look forward to!

I cannot say enough to express my love, sense of happiness and gratitude!

Love you all!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Timelessness experienced!

In a sense, all of us are travelling constantly, to destinations far and wide, within and outside!

There is always a sense of urgency combined with enthusiasm and hope, or despair, as the case may be, something that inexplicably knots the stomach of every traveller, experienced and otherwise. Travel has indeed become a very integral part of our lives, as a massive exercise of being able to deliver us from one destination to another, quite often one realm to another, it may seem!

We seek to move and change as often as we are, in the quest for something that we assume is within our grasp yet unknown to our minds, only defined as a certain place to arrive at, associated with memories, bygones or anticipations, to connect ourselves with time, past, present or future!

Then, in mechanically aided configurations, set in motion, while at travel, we cast away our anxieties momentarily in the hope that our lives will be better for the purpose that we have embarked upon, in the quest of! Our disposition, powers and limitations seem to bear uncanny similarities, fused together in waiting for time to pass. The only difference lies perhaps in our minds, burdened with differences of sorts many others will never come to know, much less understand!

But fate will most cruelly decree another course and turbulence will come without warning, although some of us will have had a sense of premonition! But then, it is too late and the inconceivable is set in motion to enact something that will change our lives forever, by bringing an end to it, in the manner and form that we know of existence in this realm. Time will cease to exist, and so will us, to be hence remembered as statistic and spoken about in memoirs!


Redefining Oblivion mourns the tragic deaths of 158 passengers who lost their lives on-board flight IX812, that crash landed in Mangalore during the early hours of 22nd May. This post extends it's heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and friends and also thanks providence and the good Samaritan souls in vicinity for saving the lives of 8 others who would have otherwise succumbed as a result of the accident!

Friday, May 21, 2010

À la Culture

I will forgive you for assuming that I made a mess of culture and cuisine, or rather a mash of the two! Oh, just in case you didn't, I'd like you to know I was referring to the title of this post in a rather benign manner considering the mighty malignancies that have plagued diversity, culture, development and perhaps the most abused of them all - dialogue! No sarcasms, honestly! Only hopes!

According to the United Nations, today is the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, adopted in the aftermath of the 9/11 incident, aimed at facilitating culturally diverse communities to understand the values of coming together with the objective of achieving harmonious working relationships, or better still - partnerships. Sounds certainly more creative, promising and diplomatic, I gather!

Now, I know this is very difficult to get across to a politician, but perhaps the esteemed body of diplomats at the General Assembly thought it better to create a little something for the occasion nevertheless, in the belief that figurative gestures of goodwill need only to be lettered in print while clearly being devoid of any purposeful understanding or an ability to function, or both; something that you and I would choose to call a matter of convenience, I suppose?

Now, before some of you jump up to accuse me of disregard, let me assure you that I do know the 'supposed' significance of this 'illustrious' occasion, which is to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to “live together” better. (No, those quotes surrounding live together were not inserted by me!)

Meanwhile the IAEA can have it's every-so-often tête-à-tête with Iran while the IMF can continue to use Apac as a drawing board for implementing it's macroeconomic policies heavily riddled with conditionalities! How very cultural and diverse, or both!

Did anyone notice; that following these rough times in the corporate world, even the United Nations has evolved, for starters, adopting it's very own punch line, which reads that "It's your world."



This post is by no means an attempt to deride a world body! Any suggestive notions are to be regarded as misleading and dismissed immediately! For the same reason, I ought to have titled this little note as 'Disclaimer' rather than 'Footnotes.'

Once again, honestly, no sarcasms! Only hopes!

Monday, May 17, 2010

In the world of the absolute

It was a matter of great privilege to have been invited for the 87th founding anniversary of the Narayana Gurukula in Ooty. What better then, I thought, than to spend the time reflecting upon the teachings of His Holiness Sri Narayana Guru, foremost among social reformers, thinkers, erudite scholars and saints that India has been home to.

The following are my thoughts gathered in deeply introspective moments during the occasion

What is the purpose of our lives? Is it to acquire fame and recognition? Does it lie in amassing a great deal of wealth and material comforts? Or is it meant to get our hands on superior positions that yield power, prominence and money? For most of us, that is the very and only purpose of our lives!

In truth, the real purpose of life is to be able to live in happiness and peace of mind and pass away to another realm that awaits us in continuation of the great cycle of existence, and pass away from here to another place, we all will, in a span of time. That is the absolute and whole truth!

So then, why is it that we spend a great deal of time and energy to acquire those things that will not be a part of us for all time to come? The answer lies in our unending desires and a gross inability to categorize and differentiate our wants and needs, the former of which is almost always mistaken for the latter!

I’m not here to sermonize on how good or bad the world is today, unfortunately it has become a matter of extreme relativity and certain debate to which no agreement can be elicited upon! Neither am I here to tell you how you must lead your lives, for that is certainly your prerogative and I am no authority!

I’m here, merely wondering how important it is to reflect upon our thoughts, words and deeds. I'm also thinking aloud on how peaceful it must be to be able to delink the self from the constant pursuit of desires and wants! None of us is superior or otherwise for what we possess or don’t in a material form. If some of us really are, it is because of our attitude, the ability to reason well, and most importantly the ability to live our lives in a peaceful manner. There is no higher purpose than to be able to live without hatred, prejudice, dishonesty and doubt.

Today, there is a lot of talk on how to change the world, on how to normalize it, on how to harmonize it and so on. I say, there is no need for any of that. And, why so? That is simply because, the world is made of us, people like you and I, and when we make a concerted effort to effect a change from within ourselves, the world will automatically witness the change that we envision! So technically, it is us who need to change as opposed to the belief that change has to come from and be effected by an external entity!

Life is what you make of it. Always has been, always will be.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tribute to Motherhood

It is perhaps quite like being showy to highlight dates to commemorate Motherhood and the many wonders associated with it. Truly, and in earnestness, one should pay respectful tribute on a very continually personal basis, through every thought, word and deed, or so I believe!

Nevertheless, I couldn't stop myself from summing up a few quotes of tribute on the occasion. Apt and full of meaning, yet simple and clear, these are, I believe, elegant masterpieces uttered by the wise over time in admiration of what is perhaps the most beautiful, loving and supportive of creations, to say the least that is!

No painter's brush, nor poet's pen, in justice to her fame, has ever reached half high enough, to write a mother's name. ~Author Unknown

Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love. ~Mildred B. Vermont

She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn't take them along. ~Margaret Culkin Banning

Women are aristocrats, and it is always the mother who makes us feel that we belong to the better sort. ~John Lancaster Spalding

Now, as always, the most automated appliance in a household is the mother. ~Beverly Jones

That best academy, a mother's knee. ~James Russell Lowell

Grown don't mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What's that suppose to mean? In my heart it don't mean a thing. ~Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1987

A little girl, asked where her home was, replied, "where mother is." ~Keith L. Brooks

Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother's secret hope outlives them all. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother. ~Abraham Lincoln

A man's work is from sun to sun, but a mother's work is never done. ~Author Unknown

The best conversations with mothers always take place in silence, when only the heart speaks. ~Carrie Latet

Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother. ~Oprah Winfrey

A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. ~Irish Proverb


The 'State of the World's Mothers 2010' released yesterday has ranked India 73rd in the list of 77 nations rated for the "best place to be a mother." This clearly means that there is a lot that needs to be done for womens' emancipation in India, primary among them being the issues pertaining to education, health and socio-economic well-being!

"The report has highlighted the shortage of trained health workers, mostly in the semi-urban and rural villages that house majority of Indian population, as the main reason behind the country's sorry state of health care system. The report analysed a total of 166 countries, among which Sweden is placed at the top while Afghanistan is at the bottom."

Excerpts from the State of the World's Mothers 2010 report

An update on the commenting system on Redefining Oblivion:

After much consideration, in order to make the commenting process a more personal exercise, I have incorporated the intensedebate application which will henceforth allow, you to observe comments and me to respond to them in a more interactive and one-to-one manner. I hope you find this interesting and certainly more personal than the dreary monotonic system that came along with blogger by default!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Remembering Tagore

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action--
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

-- Rabindranath Tagore, Chitto jetha bhayashunyo (Where the mind is without fear), Gitanjali, 1910

The grand doyen of Indian literature, music and poetry, educationist, spiritualist, philosopher and Nobel Laureate, respected world over as a man whose creations have no equals, was born on this day in 1861.

Today, as Redefining Oblivion pays respectful homage to this unequivocal polymath, I have chosen to post some of his most celebrated words that have hence become iconic, timeless and supremely meaningful.

Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come

Age considers; youth ventures

Depth of friendship does not depend on length of acquaintance

Emancipation from the bondage of the soil is no freedom for the tree

Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.

Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it

Facts are many, but the truth is one

In Art, man reveals himself and not his objects

Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them

Nirvana is not the blowing out of the candle. It is the extinguishing of the flame because day is come

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough

The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence

Monday, May 03, 2010

Gone with the wind

Oh heart, if one should say to you that the soul perishes like the body, answer that the flower withers, but the seed remains!

-- Kahlil Gibran

Few people make a profound impact in your life, and to lose them is akin to losing life itself. 

This is about a man who lettered to me compassion, excellence, language, wit and nuances of life itself! As a renowned educationist whose standards often surpassed excellence, he was a visionary whose courage to embrace change remains unparalleled. His steadfastness and commitment to educate many generations and liberate them by bringing into their lives a new light has often been remarked as commendable and has been appreciated in multitudes. 

So when the news was broken to me that he passed away, my grief, although unexpressed, knew no bounds! But soon, I found comfort in Rajaji's words in his rendition of the Mahabharata, which I have recounted here before, that "It is not true wisdom to be impatient with Death or to grieve immoderately for those who die. There is no reason to pity those who pass away. We may have reason indeed to grieve for those who remain."

But what strikes me most is how he left us, like how Kenny Rogers rightly sang in the Gambler that "the best you can hope for is to die in your sleep." 


My beloved Uncle, scion of our family, guide, philosopher and friend left us at this time, and will be missed forever! He, who showed us direction and light, earnestly and selflessly, will be celebrated for all time to come! He continues to live on, in our hearts and minds and will do so for time immemorial and has thus attained immortality!