Friday, December 22, 2006

Late December Early January.......

There's a picture on the wall in our room--that of a kid with chubby cheeks. We stared and stared at the picture for nearly 8 months before Tejas was born --- without much of those chubby cheeks. Now after nearly a month, he's slowly gaining them. Pinching his cheeks red is our pastime now.

Your success or failure in job depends on your relation with your immediate boss. Appears crude but yeah, as far as I know it's true. And also what's success or failure is decided by him, not what you think they are.
And a gem from 'Saving private ryan'-- A platoon commander says this to a young rookie''s simple in the army son. You grab me, I grab someone up there, he grabs someone else, and it goes on in a long line.'

End of project. A break expected before a new one begins. Planning to laze a lot. And comeback fresh after eating 'A Course in Miracles'.

Two friends-- Anand and Sudarshan-- get Baptised into the blogworld.

Watching a lotta movies, sleeping late, waking late, working hard, contemplating a bit, meditating sparsely, getting tired and shivering silly all along.

Christmas arrives. Archana's close friend who had a series of abortions is gifted with twin boys, maybe as a christmas gift. Planning to visit a church this time. Wanna meditate long on that day, provided I'm not working overtime. Christmas evokes bittersweet memories. And archana never fails to recount how she was almost converted to christianity by her overzealous friends.

My son will get a cradle ceremony this weekend. All friends and family will be arriving for the event. Making preparations for the event, arranging for the dinner, sending out invitations, planning ahead and above any eventuality---it's nice to take responsibility and get involved into something that's out of the routine.

Late august Early september is a simple yet sublime movie about love-loss, individuality-togetherness, rebellion-conformity.... all captured beautifully through the gestures and nuances of everyday lives. You don't feel as if you're watching a movie, it's like you're witnessing life directly, and sometimes it's your own life.... those characters are you. The magic of
cinema wows you when you come across such movies.

A year passes by and we're at the threshold of a new beginning, a new year. Amidst all the visible changes, there's also a kind of dissatisfaction with myself. There are regrets at missed opportunities, remaining weaknesses and the continuing staticness of life. It's a routine to begin every new year with resolutions, and a few weeks later these resolutions are all but forgotten.
Never have I bothered to follow up on my goals and find out if any of them have been fulfilled. It looks silly to start another new year with a new set of resolutions, so I'll keep out of that exercise this time.

It was around this time last year that Mouli departed. We remember him now when a few friends have left behind their careers and routine life and decided to pursue Spiritual research and sadhana. How would he have responded to this situation, we wonder. Inspite of his jovial nature and apparent carefreeness, he was a determined character--one who was single-minded
in his pursuits and honest in his acts. He too would've probably left his job and taken up spirituality completely. Amidst those who come and go, he'd have stood like a pillar of integrity and capability, making things happen silently without trying to hog the limelight, without taking things to his head. He would've definetly become an example for others to follow.

Just as we remember people for what they've done and what they shouldn't have done, we also remember someone like mouli for what he could have done had he been with us.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Varied hues

This isn't a fair comparison but still the similarities hold water to some extent.

In an article in outlook by Arundhati roy on why Mohammed afzal shouldn't be hanged, we're informed that in Kashmir, things aren't as they appear or are made out to be. There's pressure on the army units to give 'figures' of the terrorists killed. This sometimes leads them to bump off innocents and pass them as insurgents-just to toe the official line.

This could be the case in other fields as well where you're expected to 'show' results. But with us, it's definetly so. Although there are no written rules as such, we are expected to show how many bugs we've discovered in the module we're working on. If there are less bugs, or bugs of moderate intensity, it doesn't mean that the product is robust and bug-free; it only means that our testing process isn't accurate, our efforts aren't enough.

The document I'm testing is well written and technically sound. So I pretty much know the remarks that awaits at the end of this testing cycle.

Nor do I like the 'Hurray' feeling I get whenever there's a bug or mistake discovered.


Sometimes things are so funny and commonplace that you don't pay attention at the right moment. Only in hindsight do they become obvious. You call it serendipity, divine will or pure luck but certain things defy rational explainations, logic, resoning(although you can manufacture one, if you're obstinate).

When I was reading a mail from a friend, a quote caught my eye-- 'Don't expect life to be fair.'No, it isn't. This is obvious more so during times of loss and failure. But sometimes life gives you more than you deserve, more than you expected and all of this without any reason or logic. Maybe life isn't fair and reasonable in such situations also.

We've never felt the need for a car all these years. I was blissfully content with my two wheeler. But out of the blue, one day, my elder sister bought a new car and gifted me her Matiz. Left to ourselves, it would've taken another 5-6 years before I'd have thought of buying a car. It was only after a few months that we could appreciate its value in a city like bangalore which is burgeoning day by day. We ended up in situations wherein the car lessened our burden and made things really smooth and comfortable. Looking back, it appears as though we foresaw the situations and bought a car, knowing very well the necessity. But no, it isn't so.

When Archana was pregnant I thought of changing my mobile handset and get a good one with all advanced features, including a camera and sound recorder. The intention was to capture as much as possible the valuable moments and soundbytes of our kid's childhood. Again it was financial considerations that made us postpone this idea. And when we almost stopped thinking about it, my brother-in-law gifts me a handset with all the advanced features I'd dreamt of.

I can quote many more such examples from my experience, some trivial and some life-changing, some good and some threatening. For me it boils down to the quote in my friend's mail. Life isn't fair--in both good and bad ways. You don't get things that you thought you deserved,and sometimes you get in abundance and start wondering what had you done to deserve all this. Logic, reasoning, our small boundaries--they look absurd and stupid at such times.

It's as if you're sitting inside a small room from ages, and once in a way you look through the window at the brilliance outside. And the door was never closed. It's wide open. You only need a will, a bit of courage and a small effort to get up and step out towards the unknown dimensions of life. When you open up, nothing is serendipitious, nothing is a chance or luck. You understand Life with all it's dimensions of fairness and unfairness.

Meditation is the first step towards this opening up. You don't just meditate for concentration or stress relief. That's kindergarten stuff! You meditate to remember who you are in reality. You meditate to experience directly that you aren't a tiny insignificant speck in this huge universe. Meditation is a tool that wakes us up from our eons long sleep. It opens our eyes to the divine that we truly are.

This passage is more of a reminder for myself--To meditate more and often and get out of the rut soon. To stop wasting time in insignificant pursuits, to stop brooding on the pointlessness of life. To reclaim my tremendous, multi-dimensional personality that's hidden within all along.

Midnight's children...

I'm sleepy to death so is she but there ain't any choice. The kid's crying and you have to wake up and attend to him. Nappy's wet. Need to change it. Get a new one. Wrap it around and within 5 minutes he wets it. You look at him and he stops crying for a few seconds, stares at you, yawns leisurely and begins to wail again.

'Bring him here,' Her voice is heavy. She's tired; obviously since she couldn't catch a wink during the day and slept only sparingly last night. It's 12 midnight--he slept at 10 and is up again. Maybe he'll go back to sleep only at 3. Or maybe 4.

He senses her touch. The moment she wraps her arms around him and says a few soothing words, he calms down.

'Put him on the bed,' I suggest. 'Let him sleep with us tonight, not in the cradle. Let him feed and you too can sleep along with him.'

We've done that before. Both of them sleep together, but after a while he wets the nappy, feels the chills and wakes up. Starts wailing. We put a large plastic sheet so that he doesn't wet the bed. Wrap him in warm soft clothes. Switch off the lights. And soon we both are asleep, probably before he's slept.

Early morning. He's wriggled out of the warm clothes, twisted and turned out of the plastic sheet and soiled the new bedsheet along with the bed! And blissfully looking around, gurgling once in a while.

First few months are going to be tough--for her. However much I wish to help her and try, she has to bear the brunt. Not that she's complaining but she too is human. Patience wears thin at times.

Add to this the unsolicited advices from all and sundry about what not to do, what to do, what we're doing wrong. Insistence from elders to follow a few stupid rituals. Nerves are on fire. Need to take care not to hurt others and also not hurt oneself. Delicate balancing acts.

And once in a while he smiles, as if laughing at our predicament!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Little things matter...always!

Hectic work. Weekends and Sundays are threatening to get blown away. Amidst the repetitive chore that's almost getting on my nerves, I listen to Bruce springsteen's 'Streets of Philadelphia' at least 20 times.

The rythme of this fantastic song continues to reverberate within me even now. As my legs tap the floor in sync with the beats, I allow my mind to wander all over, anywhere away from the 500 page document I'm supposed to finish reviewing by today evening.

Two fantastic mails from friends.

Don't let success go to your head and failure go to your heart

Reading it sets off a chain of thoughts........

Let success go to your heart and fill it with joy.
Let failure go to your head and make you wise.
And somewhere down the line, let you rise above success and failure

And this one-- Life's little lessons... is marvelous.

Have a firm handshake.
Look people in the eye.
Sing in the shower.
Own a great stereo system.
If in a fight, hit first and hit hard.
Keep secrets.
Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen everyday.
Always accept an outstretched hand.
Be brave. Even if you're not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.
Avoid sarcastic remarks.
Choose your life's mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90 percent of all your happiness or misery.
Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.
Lend only those books you never care to see again.
Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all that they have.
When playing games with children, let them win.
Give people a second chance, but not a third.
Be romantic.
Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
Loosen up. Relax. Except for rare life-and-death matters,
Don't allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It's there for your convenience, not the caller's.
Be a good loser.
Be a good winner.
Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.
When someone hugs you, let them be the first to let go.
Be modest. A lot was accomplished before you were born.
Keep it simple.
Beware of the person who has nothing to lose.
Don't burn bridges. You'll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
Live your life so that your epitaph could read, No Regrets
Be bold and courageous. When you look back on life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the one's you did.
Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
Remember no one makes it alone. Have a grateful heart and be quick to acknowledge those who helped you.
Take charge of your attitude. Don't let someone else choose it for you.
Visit friends and relatives when they are in hospital, you need to only stay a few minutes.
Once in a while, take the scenic route.
Send a lot of Valentine cards. Sign them, 'Someone who thinks you're terrific.'
Answer the phone with enthusiasm and energy in your voice.
Keep a note pad and pencil on your bed-side table. Million-dollar ideas sometimes strike at 3 a.m.
Show respect for everyone who works for a living, regardless of how trivial their job.
Send your loved ones flowers. Think of a reason later.
Make someone's day by paying the toll for the person in the car behind you.
Become someone's hero.
Marry only for love.
Count your blessings.
Compliment the meal when you're a guest in someone's home.
Wave at the children on a school bus.
Remember that 80 per cent of the success in any job is based on your ability to deal with people.
Don't expect life to be fair

Gotta chew on something before I can get back to sanity....back to regular blogging.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A new life in a new season...

That's winter, my favourite part of the year. This is the period when warmth is the most sought after and soothing sensation. No doubt, the season begins with sore throats and blocked noses followed by dry skin, broken lips, a chill that tingles your spine and a longing for the Sunshine. But never does a cup of hot tea acquire an added taste. Never is the warmth of the first sunshine more enjoyable. You feel lethargic to wake up early in the morning, wishing for a few more yawns under the blanket. That's welcome! Ice-creams and cool drinks are out, chilly bondas, pakodas-- any delicacy that's hot and steamy is relished and savoured. And if you wake up early for a morning stroll, the mist and cool air are absolutely magical.

Maybe that's the reason the Himalayas are so attractive and enchanting for the peace loving and spiritual minded. Doubt if it would have been the same if the Himalayas were in a desert.

Every winter is different inspite of the similar feelings and memories it evokes. This winter added a new member to our family and suddenly the priorities of life appear different. Life is never the same, moment to moment or day by day. I understand, not just intellectually, that Life is always new, always fresh. One moment is never like anything that preceded it, nor will it be duplicated again. There's so much joy, beauty, happiness, depth and intrigue that's bundled up in the moments of life that sometimes when your awareness is clear, you feel overawed, you feel mesmerised at this wonderful creation that God has brought you into. Before you gasp for a fresh breath and wonder again, you're back to your forgetfulness, back to the mundane details, back to the trivial pursuits.

As I stand on the terrace, watching the million specks above glitter through the cold winter night, I resolve to overcome my forgetfulness and climb over the ordinariness of everyday life. I resolve to start afresh my journey and get back to the state of awe, of wonder.

We almost named our son as Hemanth or Shishir, both being names of Winter. And then there were other tempting names--Siddarth, for Lord buddha. And Abhimanyu, my favourite character from Mahabharata. Mom loves sachin tendulkar and wanted her grandson to be named Sachin( I got my name after the stylish batsman G.R. Vishwanath, whom both my parents adored). Archana wished for 'Pratham' from the day her pregnancy was confirmed. But the name we finally decided is all- encompassing, short-sweet-meaningful and an ideal we pursue all our lives.

'Tejas' means inner light.

For Jen and Edu who'd asked, we've named our son as Tejas. (No, I won't tell what we both call him at home!!)