Katha kettutha…

Katha kettutha.. – the words echoing in my ears for a month now. Did you hear the story? That’s the literal meaning of it. But the depth and profoundness of those words are unfathomable to me. Every time he asks if I ‘heard the story’ , there is a great deal of wisdom, love and thrill in his words. The undying spirit of a man eager to live life to its fullest. The man who’s only a memory now. But his words and his stories are etched forever in my thoughts.

So he died. Big deal. People die. Hundreds of thousands of people do. A hundred lives passed as I typed this sentence, all over the world. But when it’s close home, that’s when it halts the world. It was unexpected now. He was doing good, going by his life and taking care of ammammai, and watching over all of us. But I wouldn’t say it’s out of nowhere. He was old. And I thought he was dying a decade ago when he was hospitalised. Somehow with a certain age, you think people are ‘die-able’. And he was in that category. More than anyone else, he was the one who made peace with it the most. He wrote down his obituary, funeral arrangements, last wishes, and namesake will of all his and his wife’s belongings to the last detail. Neatly folded the document and entrusted with my dad for safekeeping, only to be presented when the ‘time’ comes. Without exaggeration, I literally wrote down his exact words with some fillers for his own obituary in the newspapers. I couldn’t believe I was doing so but did that without a thought anyway. Thatha never stops to awe you, never ever. He was a meticulous man, even in death.

It’s been exactly a month now. Am I seeking closure? A week ago when I started writing this, closure is what I sought. From the time of hearing the news, until this moment, I can’t stop hearing he asking me ‘katha kettutha’. Through the rites, I hardly cried. I was in a trance, shocked by this voice in my head. It felt like there are more stories he wanted to say, more memories he had to share and more about him that we all had to know. With time, of course the voice is fading. And that’s when I realized what I seek is not closure. What I seek is for his memory to stay with me. Not once a year during thavasham. Not when I taste a food he liked, or when I hear his name, or see ammammai. I want to bear him in my thoughts as a constant. A random story he once said, his mannerisms, his appearance, the ring he never let me have but always let me try steal..

I thought seeing ammammai without pottu would be the most heartbreaking thing after. It is the empty arm chair and the missing ring to steal that kill me though. It’s not what he was to others, it is who he was. S. Narayanan.

No News

Around a century before, on an April 18th, there was no news to publish and the media just played music. That’s what Uber Facts told me. Not sure if that’s true, but I wish it were. What a blissful day na! Like today, so blank, so routine, so normal. Just another day filled with no thoughts but plain moribund existence. So yes, it is a no blog day.

*Slow Doordarshan music playing in the background *

Life is but not an empty dream!

I was often caught off guard with this line! Tell me not in mournful numbers, life is but an empty dream! More often than less, I preferred the predicate than the subject itself! And today, a very dear one gave me an eye opener by making me read the complete verse. I see the subject now, with much clarity and bliss.

To my soul and my soulmate, for making me relate to this, and giving me those silent smiles of understanding, over the long long seven-eight or nine-ten years!

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the worlds broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howeer pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God oerhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing oer lifes solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

– H W Longfellow (Long sighted and large hearted indeed!)

Learning and unlearning!

EntSo is the definition of the New Age success mantra, according to career guidance experts and professionals from the field. You learn things, aka the academia, and then you join the company and unlearn all that you learnt. From the Company’s point of view, it may so happen that everything that you have acquired as ‘seamless’ ken, may seem outdated and statistically irrelevant to your hirer! Now, that’s the twist in the story. Your ‘x’ number of years of ‘intense’ and ‘dedicated’ education unfold as a pile of futile acquisition of multitudes of ‘knowledge’! And this is when the key roles enter the drama. The trainers, come boosting you up, cheering you up, and finally ‘groom’ you into what the companies always wanted of the ‘Human Resources’! You now turn into ‘resources’, that can yield a huge market share of profit and fortune for the company.

At what stage should you approach the companies for being trained? Now that’s more like asking, “When can I sign up for my life screwing up program?” Well, technically, I am incorrect. After all, the end goal of every aspirant student is only to succumb to some fancy job offers and secure the future!(Or so presumed!) Out of the box thinking and innovations are all welcome, at every other phase of your life, but in your career choices! No matter what you learn, what you are exceptional at, by the end of the course, grab the offer letter and gloat about it. Or else, you are making a terrible mistake in your life. How are you gonna answer, ‘Ningade collegil placementin aarum vannille?’ (Nobody came to you college for placements?), ‘Ella paperum kittkyilla alle?’ (Didn’t clear your back papers yet eh!) The concerns and queries are never ending. Forget the annoyance they may cause, but the discouragement is irredeemable. If you aren’t placed by the end of your course, you are by default, deemed something well below an average potential person. Your lack of interest totally doesn’t count, as long as the fact remains that you weren’t offered big ‘corporate jobs’!
Brush up your skills and groom yourself, and there you are, right opposite your HR interviewer, the offer letter filling the space between you two! All IT giants have climbed all the way down the ladder to help groom and uplift each one of us, to escalate the overall ‘productivity’ in us!
My college had a session scheduled. Conducted by an IT giant, venturing into New Age domains of business. And the people who came down, aka the trainers, interacted with a group of 150 IT career aspirants, or so assumed. The session was an unbearable branding of the company, its achievements, pointing out why might we prefer this company over some other company and on and on. The people who came down, gloated about their unusual activity patterns and achievement scales. At the end of the session, we were asked to fill in a feedback form. Rating the experience with the trainers, the whole impression about the session etc. That was one glad moment for me, where I could break the shell, and express my detest. I spoke my mind into the paper, ticked the most negative responses for half the questions and then casually looked around. Alas! Am I the only one again? The person next to me had polar opposite answers. It so seemed that the sheerfutilityrendered by those few hours of life wererecognizableonly to me.
What I found totally unacceptable and pointless is the way they sell the company. The promotion techniques, the strategic planning etc. are all well plotted and custom designed. Their progress has been entertained and enjoyed by us, but that just wouldn’t stop them, not even for a moment of pause. The struggle continues. To be trained under the best. To be training the best. Placing the best, and finally, being the best of all. There were never any compromises. And there’s never enough room to think beyond! And may be, that could be why there exists polar opposite attitude and perceptions amongst us!

Talking to my mom casually, I mentioned how nice it’d be to have my/our own idea of a company brewing up! And guess what she has offered to say! Well, its the same that all mothers ever would have said! Go secure my career with some company, and then ‘consider’ innovations! As if!

Thanks a lot and sorry!

“People get annoyed when you thank them or apologise, at informal occasions.” I was surprised by that information! Its like, “She’s showing off too much!”, “She is so ritualistic. Doesn’t value relationships at all.”, “What does she think? That I did this for her for her thank you!” “No thank you and sorry between friends yaar!” Oh my God! Really! So much responses for one thank you or a sorry. Its like you can just never be sincerely thankful or apologising, whatever may happen, all gets questioned. But I still always thank and apologise. From the bus conductor in the morning thru the friend who drops me to the next bust stop in the evening,(its actually like I take her pillion and ‘drop’ myself!!), I thank almost everyone who does anything close to a favor to me! And I apologise, when the trouble was really not intended.

With all these, I had almost had ample confidence to be a part of an organisation or to work associating with a larger crew! After all, I had self proclaimed myself as a very ‘down to earth’ person! But there’s this thing about communication you know! Fundamentally, you are to decipher only so much from someone’s words, just as much they said. But everybody digs for deeper implications and often misunderstand the situations. At least with me, it has always been like, it’s what’s that’s said as what that’s actually! Nothing more to dig for! But a stronger theory holds. It is never about how good you’re at heart. It’s about what you communicate with them. Never what you think/feel, but about what you express! Now with the activities of the Union and so many other organisations that I am now a part of, I am to communicate more with a larger group of people, more frequently and more intensely. And there I understand, what my other friend said is so right! I should really start behaving more like my name. More ‘soumya’. Humble and polite. I need to work on it. Really so, that I don’t rupture my rapport with the population around me!

And thanks to that unknown senior! He perhaps really changed something about me. “You talk good, clear and confident.But may be you should take more care about what you communicate. You shouldn’t have said *that* in the last meeting”! Yeah I agree. When hundred people around me point a finger at me, chances are higher that they are right and I am wrong. So, its time I thought about it. And I guess I am implementing the ‘name put to action’ agenda already! Thanks to so many of you who all, in a way, answered my question from yesterday’s post. And thanks, for pointing them out so brilliantly to me. Gratitude. And apologies.

Media – the showbiz!

The other day, I had this heated argument with my brother, that ended up without any conclusion. Considering that we debated about the Delhi rape incident and the related activist-spree that’s blaring up, conclusions can’t be quite expected anyway. It all started with me re-tweeting something about how the media has taken up the news and are keen on sensationalising it and how passive the country is, as ever. It’s always a show biz if you ask me. You get a new sensational news item, the media brews it for you in a newspaper, along with the morning tea, and a crunchy snack for the evening news. And a whole day pack, if its a weekend at home, with live coverage and headlines, played in loop. Its a season, a fiesta; a grand fiesta for the media and for all the good for nothing organisations. To enjoy and eat out of any of these sensational and sensitive incident. Now, its the rape season. One girl got raped, and that became THE news. And the subsequent days have nothing but gang rapes and child abuse to report about. Like the entire world just stopped everything else and resorted into some rape mania. The woman got raped, mutilated and brutally killed. Its a really unfortunate thing to happen and a huge shame to the whole of the country. Now what about it?

As ever, nothing about it. They talked a looooooot. They are still talking a looot. Will talk a lot more and then finally stop when it gets boring. And obviously, yet another sensational tem has to show up! So that they can repeat the whole media stunt! My point is too clear here. There’s no action ever taken on anything here. But that’s a totally bearable fact in a democracy as big as India. I don’t expect demands to tansform into protests, protests into amicable discussions, discussions to bills, and bills to rules, overnight. Its a lengthy tedious infinite-parameters involved execution. And everyone CAN wait so long, if they could wait this long, in the first place.

I wrote so much so very long before, but waited for something to happen. Like somebody would really make a difference and things would really change for better! Duh! Like I’m in Utopia. Now don’t ask me if that ‘somebody’ couldn’t have been in you or me. Or that, how insensitive I am about life issues. C’mon folks! The showtime is over, switch back to practicality. Like my bro, like so many other fellow idiots, I too hoped, things might actually turn out different atleast this time. And may be, I’d have to discard my this draft and compile a new token of acknowledgement to the miracle that could have materialised. *silent grin* The draft didn’t go in vain!

P.S. Many of you might find this post too narrow minded and written out of sheer ignorance. Well, possibilities are either way, you might be right or you could as well go wrong. For the record, I have totally nothing against media, but sensationalistion.

The NRI evil!

Without mention, it’s beyond just obvious that this has gotta do nothing at all with the movie, “Resdient evil”. I know the first sentence is totally irrelevant and out of place. But it was placed with the post inside my head! So, bear with me. 🙂 So the non resident evil, the typical NRI thing is what’s bothering me so much. As any other usual middle class, our family too has a couple of NRI relatives. And with most of them, I am in a fairly decent contact. All thanks to facebook and gmail! They definitely keep relations away from rotting and dying, if not fresh and lively. And one of those NRI cousins of mine is definitely getting to read this. So just be known. Its not me pointing a finger at you people, but a very genuine grievance, that most of us, your resident relatives always wanted to share. Rather write it down here and act like nothing ever happened than say it in person, and spoil the fewest times we see eachother!

Did I build up so much that now it feels like some unforgivable offence against humanity? Well, judging it so ain’t so wrong. Coz I definitely am offended by it. All these foreign returned people, you know, are so much deserving our heartfelt sympathy and understanding. They carry with them with a heavy load of expectations of their own as they fly back to their homeland. And upon that already heavy load, a bigger weight of obligation to meet their relatives’, friends’, neighbours’, friends’ of friends and oddly random people’s demands! Coupled with errands to unknown people with huge gift packets. Its such a huge commitment. And almost impossible to keep everyone happy and stay happy yourself. We just want to you people to know that we totally get that helplessness in you and hence really don’t care about the hapless greeting that we get. We fully get the situation and offer you all our understanding. Most genuinely. The one thing that we just can’t stand is your feeling of obligation to us! You know what folks? Its absolutely okay you don’t gift us anything. We are really cool with the idea that you don’t shower us with the best-est goodies from abroad! Come on people! Who doesn’t know that now Mars and Bounty are now chocolates kids demand down here too, along with all the Cadburies we get them! An iPhone or the latest tech release isn’t not much far from us, as long as eBay and Flipkart offers service! May be we don’t get to ‘feel’ the product with our bare hands. But never mind. We don’t trust your technical knowledge anyway! 😛

Did I sound too offensive? I’m slightly worried on that, coz that’s not my intention at all. I lovethe chocolates you people bring from there. May be its available here, but I like them anyway coz they are delicious. I love those tiny petite perfume bottles and their awesome fragrance. I even love this awesome thing that someone got me from abroad, which let’s me blog on the move. Its never about the worth of the things that you bring us, nor the availability. Its just that, gifts are NOT the reason why we come to see you. You can leave us empty handed and we still won’t grit our teeth behind you!

May be you NRIs would have never thought of things this way. The global exposure may have changed your wordl view and understanding of lives. But everytime you come down here, we are all back at the constraint thoughts of ‘engathu panku vere, ungathu panku vere’. (our home’s share and your home’s share ARE separate). Its not just about what you think of us and what you feel giving things away. Do look at your home-mates and what they feel. And then tell me if I hold a point or not! 🙂 You know what’s the worst thing that can happen to a person, in this context? Its getting caught up at a home where a NRI landing is expected! If you end up staying there, you’ll have to witness ‘unbelievable’ and unbearable levels of self digust! 😀 At the end of my post, I am sad about one thing. That not all my NRI cousins are getting to read this. I really wanted them to see things through our view point! Sincerely, we.

P.S. All through out, I has been replaced with ‘we’ coz its a collective grievance shared by too many of us. I still remember how somebody told me that the person was so happy about somebody else’s homecoming until the moment, a leftover gift was forcefully given, to make the person not feel bad. Ironic. 🙂

The money business

If there’s one thing that I shouldn’t be talking about at all, it is money and business. And here I am, talking about those forbidden topics as well. Mostly coz I’ve practically nothing else to write about and partially coz I’ve gained enough confidence to write and think free, even on topics beyond my reach. As a matter of fact, I’m not talking about big business and big money. Its all about these petty reality shows on TV.

What with them? Ever since India had private channels, there always was some game show or interactive discussion forums. And people always won gift hampers, for all the right answers, and even for the not so right answers, they were consoled with the hefty consolation. What changed now? The idea remains the same. They ask. You answer. You win. But instead of gifts, now you win money. Abundant money! So much so, the greed and gluttony is on public display!

To be honest, I dont feel confident enough to write further. For I dont quite well understand the background information about these shows. I also understand that I should have ample knowledge to authoritatively and authentically comment on such things. From all that I grasp, there’s a lot of business. A lot of hidden agendas. A lot of intricate money is involved. But that’s not sufficient information. You need facts and figures to trust such accusations. Without proof, they, forever, remain allegations. And I’ve none. But I’m waiting. For something to stir up a commotion. This is point blank cheating. People are fooled. And all I do is curse every telecast and yell at everyone who supports such insanities. For so much less is my reach! So much cramped is my space. And so much less is my will!

Have faith!

Lately, I have been thinking a lot. And hence, writing a lot less than ever. As always, thinking is tiring. Exhausting and depressing. But yet, thinking never stops. For thoughts are such loyal friends who never leave your side. In sorrow. In bliss. In exhilaration. In solitude. In crowd. They always remain. Staying close, yet distant. Such are thoughts. Those tiny little things of life that give you the abundant clarity that you search for. With the magic of turning loneliness into solitude, anger into spirit, happiness into peace, tears into acceptance. I have been through a lot. A lot of intense thoughts. Intensified occasionally, instinctively simplified as well. And finally, I reach to the same ever relaxing or rather relieving point. Trust. Or faith, as I’ d rather advocate.

Trust sounds too specific. Relativity in trust is too humungous to be hidden by mere attempts of word magic. Trust, is, was and always will be specific, oriented and particular. So lets keep it aside. Coz I am no more particular about things. So would I choose to believe atleast. Broadening my thought spectrum, I call it faith now. A very general idea. Vague, yet so much more powerful and inviting. Unlike trust, faith is never lost. (Never is trust a lost commodity. Its just a general misconception about ‘broken trust’. But I aint gonna talk about trust anyway.) Faith is irrational. Quite obviously and very ironically, I never had faith in faith. Faith is so misleading and confusing. You’d never know when to pause or when to stop. Pausing faith sounds ridiculous. But its very much a neccessity. At times, faith should be held. Withdrawn and reserved for a better decision. With faith, its very difficult to be sensible.

Ah, I deviated a lot from what I should have been writing. I had totally different things in mind. Strangely odd things came out though. But then, I guess it is okay. To be out of your mind once in a while. And blabber a little. And smirk a bit. And poke yourself. And laugh to yourself. You dont call it insanity, do you? You shouldn’t be doing it. Coz you know it for a fact that I am not insane. But yet I do a little of all of them!

Finally, I found an answer. To the million dollar question that always freaked me out. Whether to have faith in something or somebody or just rather live a life as plain and as straight as it can get. Well, I guess I should have faith. Name him God. The Big Bang. The Supreme. The Highest power. The Ultimate. Paramatma. Parashakthi. Whatever it is, (ignoring the gender), I am yearning to find more reasons to have faith. Its a relief atleast. Somethings are beyond your hands or all the other wicked hands around you. Somethings fall into place with a slight magic. A little miracle. Marvelled by life. I am a believer.

Nothing else matters!

I dont know if I could actually call myself a Metallica fan. I’m not a hardcore fanatic who goes behind everything about Metallica. I hardly know their band or the songs they made wonderful. But then, I still assume I could be considered a Metallica maniac for my inexplicable liking for their masterpiece, “Nothing else matters.” I dont know how long has it been since I developed a liking to English songs. But ever since I liked them, I’ve loved “nothing else matters”. It rings in my soul as though its MY theme music that plays in the background, everytime something substantial happens in my life. It kinda sounds funny, but true yet that I think so much about the song that I can keep essaying about the wonders this particular track does to me. To all you people who had anything at all to do with this song and me, just know I owe you a lot!

Exaggeration is too small a word to describe what I’m doing right now. But I’m liking this. Beyond measure, life attains worth when small things get cherished and valued priceless. Tiny things always fascinate people in general, not specifically me. But the fascination is too short lived that it’d have been too late when you finally accept your fantasies. They’d just never seem like anything more than exaggerations or boasting.

I’m a simple person with complex perspectives and lucid expressions. Transparent imagery and elegant exemplification flow to me peacefully. Symbolisms coexist with me, as in symbiosis. I’m incomplete without every single one of them. Nor is perfection achieved in them without the ‘my’ touch! Comment. Warn. Threaten. Plead. Do whatever in your power to leash my thoughts and seize my existence. Just be known though. Nothing changes anything about me or my ways of life. Plain and simple. Nothing matters at all!