Saturday, June 24, 2006

Dream Catchers.....

Of late i'v been seeing really eerie dreams...i find it hard to comprehend what my subconsious is trying to imply... my consious mind is at its best trying to fathom the versatility of my subconsiousness and falling far short of its expectations. a far cry from the vibrance that it was able to bring forth.

thats what made me think about......Dream catchers

Dream Catchers are an ancient spiritual tool used by the red indians to help assure good dreams to those that sleep under them. its usually placed over a place you would sleep where the morning light can hit it. As you sleep all dreams from the spirit world have to pass through the dream catcher. Only good dreams can pass through the hole in the center while the bad dreams are caught in the webbing and are destroyed by the morning light.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A journey into the past

Nine long years it has been.
It was in the summer of 1997 that we left Surathkal and its premises, to settle in Thiruvananthapuram.So much has happened in the years that followed , each one of us growing older , me and brother crossing classes , switching schools and colleges, surviving the mishap called professional entrance exam as well as we could and landing up in CET one after the other.My engineering tenure was a disappointing one with me underperforming and all my introvertism playing the villain , i frankly didnt gather much good at CET , which i have come to regret greatly at this later mode of life.

All through this course of time, i always had this feeling that something was greatly amiss in my life , something which i couldnt put my fingers on and say with wasnt exactly nostalgia , but all the same it was very much there...

We jumped at the chance when father made a suggestion that maybe we could make a trip to Mookambika via Mangalore for the Vishu + Easter hols this time.I knew very well that almost all of my classmates have moved out of the place , either married or got jobs or gone for higher studies...with everyone scattered all over the globe , the place will never be the same , yet i wanted to see it very much, perhaps I wanted to remind myself of the better times of my life...
We boarded the Malabar express at 12 pm , midnight from Ernakulam.All the world might have changed but not our dear Malabar express:) , tugging and pulling it got us there at 11 am the next day , an hour and a half later than its scheduled time.

Peeping out of the taxi as it sped along to Surathkal , i found little had changed about the place.It was very hot and dusty as it would be in summer in coastal Karnataka.Thats when we are grateful for the intermittent rains ,that have rendered us green all through the year.The funny thing was that i had expected great changes with the place and people ,and i felt a bit odd on discovering that was not so...nothing much had changed.As our car turned into the left side road to the lighthouse, opposite the men's hostel for Karnataka Regional Engineering College students (now its KNIT , Surathkal), our mouths opened wide to find the 'goodangadis'(kannada for a temporary thatched shop ) which sold sugarcane juice , omlette , noodles and such quick snacks , intact :) . The gate for Sadashiva devasthana(a temple of Lord Siva overlooking the beach ) had been repainted. Again at the staff quarters , new gates were put up , some trees were missing , (guess there had been some tyrant who specialised in cutting down trees ) i felt really downcast when i saw the empty space where our huge Badam tree had stood with its large branches offering a cool shade .....also i was disheartened to see two emaciated black she-dogs which came barking at us and ran away when brother bend down to pick up a stone, we used to to have two robust lovely dogs named blacky and browny both of which were reared right from when they were pups .The place had somewhat deteriorated ....plenty of overgrowth at the backyard of the quarters where we had lived for eight years....

The LightHouse and its office and controls room are a bit away from the staff quarters , about 2-3 minutes walk . There is the temple on the way , high up on a rock, the road which runs beside it goes to the LightHouse compound.Here there was good news.Some good renovation had happened , again new gates :) , freshly painted Inspection quarters(IQ) which appeared to have had a good maintanence (thats where we planned to stay until we left for Mookambika the next day) brought back our spirits.The IQ looks on to the beach below , it has all the positioning that a tourist beach resort should have.All those familiar rocks and boulders , sea breeze wafting in all the time and suddenely summer seemed no longer a threat .After a quick bath we hurried to have lunch at the Station Engineer's quarters, they were malayalees and were too eager to meet us, i thought that they were generously kind to have taken all the trouble , anyway the 'fish biriyani' tasted delicious ;) , and again we dined on the the same table we had used all the time when we were there :) . I ran around inpsecting what had once been my room , TV room , office room etc etc to us , they all seemed alien in new settings ....

That evening we climbed up the stairs to the top of the lighthouse . Standing out there with just the parabolic reflecting lens higher than us, feeling the strong gush of sea wind against our faces and the magnificient view of landscape merging into the sea ,one never really feels like dismounting those steps back down. Managed to get down to the beach before sunset and brother got busy with his camera .

Then the most unexpected thing happened . Me and brother had no plan to go meeting our old classmates , one reason being we had no idea where each of them would be , and if any where left at Surathkal at all , brother even suspected that they may not recognise him after all these years and he should be long forgotten to them. We were walking back from the beach as time passed from twilight to night , there were many people moving to and fro , lot of them being students of the nearby engineering college. It was getting really dark and we could hardly see each other's faces , suddenely i saw that brother was missing from the lot.I looked back to see him chatting with two guys , one a really tall and big one :) , laughing gleefully and hurrying to us , for a moment i was confused , any of his friends from trivandrum?? , his voice cut my train of thoughts , those two are Vikas and Nikhil !! , we had seen them as kids from LKG to 6th std .I went to talk with them with a slight hesitation thinking they may not remember me , only to learn that they had recognised me first and brother through me!! :) . From that moment my brother left us to join his long lost buddies , could understand his excitement, i wouldnt have been any less happy if this was to happen to me.Soon the rest of the pack joined them(all informed on cellphones by the other two) and we could hear all the noise they made at the beaches from where we stayed.....

Later he told me the whole thing was incredible bcoz it was on April 12 , 1997 that they parted , at the same spot with the uncertainty if they would ever meet again .Then they had just passed into 7th std and now all of them in 6th sem in different engineering colleges , one in medical college.And on April 12, 2006 they meet at the same place by pure coincidence!! Brother said even Stephen King couldnt account for so much of coincidence :)

Because of this unexpected meeting , the way to meet Shahin ma'am , the teacher we loved most and influenced us the most in school , became clear.Otherwise i had forgotten the way to her home in KREC campus.We went to meet her , me laden with half a kilo of 'burfi' from 'Costa bakery' :). Her eyes bulged with surprise and face quivered with happiness to see four of her students at her door step.She welcomed me with a big hug saying repeatedly "So happy to see you dear" . She talked enthusiastically for the next 1 hour or so , we were amazed about how much of an encyclopeadia she was as far as her students were concerned.She knew every specific detail about everyone she taught in the last 14 years.She for herself had grown older , but there was no holiday to her energy.We can never categorize her as an efficient and dedicated teacher .She simply had to be the most efficient and dedicated teacher that ever was :) . Took snaps of her but unfortunately they didnt come out well...She gave us all hugs and blessings when we said goodbyes .Passes our school on the way back , it had more buildings now and a new compound wall, except for that everything was the same, the same trees at the back , the same throwball courts and cricket ground .It was closed for summer vacation.We had to hurry back so that we could leave to Mookambika that afternoon.

The trip to Mookambika was quite uneventful , except for the mad rush at the temple for 'Vishu Kani' which i detested very much .If at all we go there again we should choose a better time of the year , the extreme summer heat made it worse.By the time we got into Malabar express to return home , i was sick with food poisioning...

All in all it was a memorable trip , one which we never believed would materialize , because our individual availabilities never seemed to coincide .....

To get a feeling of being in the past is really something.....

Friday, March 17, 2006

Humans & Emotions

I have always been a fan of Star Trek. Even though it was created by Gene Roddenberry, most of the stunning Logs were written by Alan Dean Foster. His climaxes were absolutely superb.
There is one in which Voyager returns to earth after some 300 years to finish its mission. That novel was a real classic and later on was made on to a Star Trek Movie

Some things in life had made me remember Mr Spock, thats how i decided to put up something about one of my all time love...anything to do with science fiction.
well.. if i remember clearly, the vulcan's thought process was purely logical, they were devoid of emotions like humans. All conflicts are caused by emotions , when they are hurt we do often find ways to hurt the others also. so by getting rid of these stupid emotions they were able to live in peace and harmony.
If only we could block those unwanted emotions which comes at the wrong time and lends u more trouble than happiness....
The recepie for all of life's miseries.

If only time travel was possible, we could have gone back and undone the wrongs we had committed.

Stephen Speilberg's Back to the Future Trilogy was one of those kinda movies which was based on Time Travel.
Einstein had theorised that time travel was possible if only we could travel faster than light. We all know the universe as 3 dimensional, he had come up with the 4th dimension , the one of time and space. he said they were warpped together. But according to him Time travel into the past was not possible, but now Stephen Hawkings is of the opinion that even that is possible. if only we could bend time and space in opposite directions. Hawkings Lectured that there were 10 dimensions to this universe. Even though he himself has changed some of the ground breaking theories he had published in his masterpiece "A Brief History of Time" most of them do hold good even now.

He has given many lectures about the plausibility of Time Travel. He then goes on to say there might be some unknown Chronology Protection Law that stops people from coming back to the past from the future, ie if in the future some one had discovered time travel. That explains why we have not seen any body coming back to our current period from future.

Now i'm back to my normal self again, my emotions have been replaced by Logic. No point in wasting money by writing Blogs from Browsing centres.

and as Hawkings concludes
Since we haven’t cracked time travel yet, I have run out of my prepaid browsing time.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Near Death Experience

everyone comes face to face with death , atleast once in their life time.
mine was... when i was in 5th std. i suppose i cud say the same applies to my cousin preeth too...

Different people have different ways of spending holidays. we were always on the outlook for the more outrageous ones.
and one of these escapades nearly brought the curtains down on us.
beaches always hold a fascination for almost everyone and even more so when you are on the younger side.

eventhough i had spent most of my childhood in coastal areas, that doesnt make it any less.
in kannur the beach was just a couple of kms away from the place where we dwelled.

we were in 5th std when we got our first cycles (preeth& me) BSA SLR ,that was the only type available in the market for the childrens section at that time.
i had a blue one and preeth had a red one.. we always preferred the off roads...the beaten tracks, so to speak.

as one side is sea and the other side was too hilly for us to navigate, we invertedly ended up on the beaches more often than not.
we were obviously banned from going to the beaches. they always found it to be too risky for us, especially since both of us didnt know swimming at all but we thought otherwise.

and on one of these trips we ended up on a really deserted stretch of beach. as we didnt kno swimming we never ventured out too deep. we always just ran around the edge, just wetting our feet and trying to splash each other and get drenched in the process.
this time around, while doing so preeth accidently lost his chappal.he came to know about it after some time only. by then it was totally lost. we had no idea where he had lost it.we ran around trying in vain to spot it.

then i came up with this rather stupid idea(back then i considered it on par with sherlock holmes) to throw the other chappal also, so that we can watch where it ends up.....hopefully , it wud float ashore at the same clave.
so he threw it and we waited eagerly with our breaths held...well..... nothing much happened staright away got washed ashore at the same place where we threw it. we gave it a couple of more tries , but the incompetent chappal was unable to locate its partner:-)

with broken hearts(not cus of loosing the chappals, but at the failure of my idea) we decided to call it quits. as we were turning , preeth suddenly spotted the chappal floating near the edge.

so we ran towards it without thinking much, there was some rocks that ran into the sea, some of them were on the shore and sum trailing on to the water. so we had to run around it, and as we were crossing the rocks, a huge waved suddenly came out of nowhere and swept us off.

it was made worse as our attention was completely diverted looking at the chappal that both of us didnt see it coming.. and there we were...... tumbling and rolling in water, swallowing water mixed with mud.

i was shouting at the top of my voice to help me but ironically he was also doing the same. i could feel the water receding back and it was taking me along with it...i was trying to get up on my feet but i just couldnt balance myself. the sand receding from underneath me made it impossible to have any control on my movements...

the one good thing when u r fighting for ur life is that u dont have time for any negatives thoughts to enter ur mind cus u r always engrossed in staying alive.. so i never gave between when my head wud pop above the water i cud see the shore getting farther and farther . the distance was increasing.

i somehow finally managed to get back on my feet, but the bobbling water was now neck high. and as i was looking frantically for any signs of preeth another wave crashed into the back of my head and i fell face first in to the water. again i was now completely under water, the muddy water made it impossible for me to open my eyes .i was again being dragged back.

suddenly i felt something brush my hands and i grabbed it, it was one of those rocks in the sea. i tried to get a firm grip but it was so damn slippery , with all my might i dragged myself towards it and somehow managed to get a firm holding and then i managed to keep my head above water
and looked for preeth towards the shore, but no one was standing there it was totally deserted there was no sign of him, things were getting really scary. i looked behind me and still i couldnt find any signs of him and then with quivering voice i called out his name, for a sec no reply came and then i heard my name being called and it sounded very near to me, wud u biliv it , he was also clinging on to the same rock on the other side for his dear life. we were saved by the rocks, well atleast for the moment. now came the tough part of getting back on shore.

the water was too deep for us, actually we didnt have much idea how deep the water was there, the land looked too far off...we waited for a while to catch our breath and hoped for the water to recede. but it was not happening, that left us with no choice but to make a dash for it. and we waited for one of the big waves to recede back so that the next wave that comes will be blocked by the receding one.
and it happened just as we wished, one big wave came and was receding and as soon as it crossed us we ran for our dear lives, well u cud say, we somehow managed to bobble our way towards shore keeping our nose above water we were jumping on our toes and wading our way towards shore and then another wave came and hit us , but this time we were prepared, we just went with it and it helped us get to chest high water . from there on it was a mad rush , we both ran for our dear lifes shouting each others name to hurry up and atlast we made it ashore. totally exhausted, we lay there on the beach completely drenched and with mud all over us.

and during all this calamity both his chappal had washed ashore ,i had kept mine on higher grounds.

so we bid goodbye to our beach, we couldnt go in such state to our home, we wud hav had to spent the rest of our holiday under house arrest. so he came up with the idea to clean overselves completely b4 going home, so we went to one of his friends place,bathed then washed our clothes and ironed it dry. first time that i had done either of the last two.
and then we went home..onnum ariyaatha randu paavam poochakuttikale pole veettil keri..
little did they know what had happened, how close they came to loosing their children that day

somehow the event had a lasting impact on me. from that day onwards i never ventured out much into sea, eventhough i do know a little bit of swimming now.
after that day, i hav never gone deeper into sea than up to my waist
other than only once.......

Friday, March 03, 2006

Lost and Found

I am singularly thankful that the comparitively new Malayalam channel , Amrita TV is re-telecasting the mega-serial 'Chanakya' which was shown originally on DD years back , and also its the Malayalam translation as well.Not that Hindi wasnt good enough , that particular serial belonged to the golden era of our dear DoorDarshan . What a relief to watch something of substance in the midst of all those soap mega serials which reign all our channels irrespective of whether its a Malayalam or Hindi.And if at all they happen to show a good movie , the umpteen ad-breaks tires even the most patient person out.My favourite refuge is the "Discovery Channel" or the " Animal planet". I had kind of given up on TV programmes on the whole and achan used the television mainly to watch news on IndiaVision or CNN-IBN. Anyway i am not interested in the news the world over as he is...So I had kind of developed an allergy to TV. Thats when we chanced upon 'Chanakya' last week....a real awesome serial and to think it was created in the 90's when technology wasnt even 1/10th of what it is now....Dr.ChandraPrakash Dwiwedi who plays 'Chanakya' is simply too good at it...and all the amount of research he has put into his effort shows...'Chandragupta Maurya' and the great Maurya empire , excerpts from 'Arthashastra' and the 'Vedas' one goose bumps of our priceless heritage , 2350 years ago.....

The world of books is opening unto me again , after a long time. Achan suggested that i read Malayalam. " There are so many works which are too good and of which you are totally unaware. If you miss them , it would be a definite shame" , he said . And now i am an ardent fan of the great 'Karur' , Karur Neelakantapillai . His simplicity is astounding and his genius shows through all those simple , passionate words. What attracted me most was the absence of that unbearable 'jaada' to which most modern Malayalam writers fall prey . In simple subtle words he says so many untold stories , all so beautiful and captivating and enriching to the soul....

I find this unknown territory really fascinating and what i have just seen is only the tip of the iceberg...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

When will we change?

The President of India , DR. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam's Speech in Hyderabad.

Why is the media here so negative?
Why are we in India so embarrassed to recognize our own strengths,
our achievements? We are such a great nation.
We have so many amazing success stories but we refuse to acknowledge them. Why?
We are the first in milk production.
We are number one in Remote sensing satellites.
We are the second largest producer of wheat.
We are the second largest producer of rice.
Look at Dr. Sudarshan, he has transferred the tribal village into a self-sustaining, self-driving unit. There are millions of such achievements but our media is only obsessed in the bad news and failures and disasters.

I was in Tel Aviv once and was reading the Israeli newspaper. It was the
day after a lot of attacks and bombardments and deaths had taken place. The
Hamas had struck. But the front page of the newspaper had the picture of a
Jewish gentleman who in five years had transformed his desert into an
orchid and a granary.
It was this inspiring picture that everyone woke up to. The gory details of
killings, bombardments, deaths, were inside in the newspaper, buried among
other news.

In India we only read about death, sickness, terrorism, crime. Why are we
so NEGATIVE? Another question: Why are we, as a nation so obsessed with foreign things? We want foreign T.Vs, we want foreign shirts. We want foreign technology.

Why this obsession with everything imported. Do we not realize that self-respect comes with self-reliance? I was in Hyderabad giving this
lecture, when a 14 year old girl asked me for my autograph. I asked her
what her goal in life is. She replied: I want to live in a developed India.
For her, you and I will have to build this developed India. You must
proclaim. India is not an under-developed nation; it is a highly developed
nation. Do you have 10 minutes? Allow me to come back with a vengeance.

Got 10 minutes for your country? If yes, then read; otherwise, choice is yours.YOU say that our government is inefficient.
YOU say that our laws are too old.
YOU say that the municipality does not pick up the garbage.
YOU say that the phones don't work, the railways are a joke .The airline is the worst in the world, mails never reach their destination.
YOU say that our country has been fed to the dogs and is the absolute pits.

YOU say, say and say. What do YOU do about it?
Take a person on his way to Singapore. Give him a name - YOURS. Give him a
face - YOURS. YOU walk out of the airport and you are at your International
best. In Singapore you don't throw cigarette butts on the roads or eat in
the stores. YOU are as proud of their Underground links as they are. You
pay $5 (approx. Rs. 60) to drive through Orchard Road (equivalent of Mahim
Causeway or Pedder Road) between 5 PM and 8 PM. YOU come back to the
parking lot to punch your parking ticket if you have over stayed in a
restaurant or a shopping mall irrespective of your status identity... In
Singapore you don't say anything, DO YOU? YOU wouldn't dare to eat in
public during Ramadan, in Dubai. YOU would not dare to go out without your
head covered in Jeddah. YOU would not dare to buy an employee of the
telephone exchange in London at 10 pounds (Rs.650) a month to, 'see to it that my STD and ISD calls are billed to someone else.'YOU would not dare to
speed beyond 55 mph (88 km/h) in Washington and then tell the traffic cop,
'Jaanta hai main kaun hoon (Do you know who I am?). I am so and so's son.
Take your two bucks and get lost.' YOU wouldn't chuck an empty coconut
shell anywhere other than the garbage pail on the beaches in Australia and
New Zealand.
Why don't YOU spit Paan on the streets of Tokyo? Why don't YOU use
examination jockeys or buy fake certificates in Boston??? We are still
talking of the same YOU. YOU who can respect and conform to a foreign
system in other countries but cannot in your own. You who will throw papers
and cigarettes on the road the moment you touch Indian ground. If you can
be an involved and appreciative citizen in an alien country, why cannot you
be the same here in India?

Once in an interview, the famous Ex-municipal commissioner of Bombay, Mr.
Tinaikar, had a point to make. 'Rich people's dogs are walked on the
streets to leave their affluent droppings all over the place,' he said.
'And then the same people turn around to criticize and blame the
authorities for inefficiency and dirty pavements. What do they expect the officers to do? Go down with a broom every time their dog feels the pressure in his bowels?
In America every dog owner has to clean up after his pet has done the job.
Same in Japan. Will the Indian citizen do that here?' He's right. We go to
the polls to choose a government and after that forfeit all responsibility.
We sit back wanting to be pampered and expect the government to do
everything for us whilst our contribution is totally negative. We expect
the government to clean up but we are not going to stop chucking garbage
all over the place nor are we going to stop to pick a up a stray piece of
paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean
bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms.

We want Indian Airlines and Air India to provide the best of food and
toiletries but we are not going to stop pilfering at the least opportunity.
This applies even to the staff who is known not to pass on the service to
the public. When it comes to burning social issues like those related to
women, dowry, girl child! and others, we make loud drawing room
protestations and continue to do the reverse at home. Our excuse? 'It's the
whole system which has to change, how will it matter if I alone forego my
sons' rights to a dowry.' So who's going to change the system?
What does a system consist of ? Very conveniently for us it consists of our
neighbours, other households, other cities, other communities and the
government. But definitely not me and YOU. When it comes to us actually
making a positive contribution to the system we lock ourselves along with
our families into a safe cocoon and look into the distance at countries far
away and wait for a Mr.Clean to come along & work miracles for us with a
majestic sweep of his hand or we leave the country and run away.
Like lazy cowards hounded by our fears we run to America to bask in their
glory and praise their system. When New York becomes insecure we run to
England. When England experiences unemployment, we take the next flight out
to the Gulf. When the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and
brought home by the Indian government. Everybody is out to abuse and rape
the country. Nobody thinks of feeding the system. Our conscience is
mortgaged to money.

Dear Indians, The article is highly thought inductive, calls for a great
deal of introspection and pricks one's conscience too.... I am echoing J.F. Kennedy's words to his fellow Americans to relate to Indians.....


Lets do what India needs from us.


A previous post which seems quite relevant here

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Those bonds of love

"Sarfaroshi ki thamanna ab hamare dil mein hai
Dekhna hai zor kitna baajuein qaatil mein hai"

Car stereo at full blast....have heard these lines before, in 'The Legend of Bhagat Singh'....but this is 'Rang de Basanti' thats playing....I turn to my brother who is driving the car, "whats the meaning of 'sarfaroshi'?"....prompt comes his answer "freedom". A brief pause before he continued , "When someone questioned Swami Vivekananda as to what did religion mean, he answered 'Sarfaroshi', meaning freedom, freedom from everything and anything that binds you....havent you heard of it?". I had to deliberately shut my mouth which went wide open, on hearing my dear brother quoting Swami Vivekananda with reverence! I found myself wondering , is this the same kid who used to laugh at me and amma when we discussed philosophy and spiritualism?He would always say that our theories are all quite outdated...people do turn rebels and atheists at an early age...thats one of the consequences of the spirit of youth, to oppose restraint and reject theories to go ahead and make your own paths....Whatever it is, why this sudden change in him? if reading my thoughts, he told me about a classmate of his at Engg college, who is from the Andamans...that kid seems to be a devout of Swami Vivekananda, and many others of our great heritage....and he is my brother's pet, thats the way the influence came! He had achieved in a few days what me, amma and achan had been trying since many years in make him see a point.

Thats exactly the kind of influence 'friends' have on us....

Chetana V used to be my best chum in those days,my dialect was always something like "chetana angane paranjuu..ingane paranjuu"....Chetana used to have kanjii with ghee for breakfast(and the rare ocassions when she had dosa or idlee, she would empty my water bottle, out of thirst:))...her father was an employee at KREC college......she was more mature than other girls of her age....had few intimate friends...infact till i was made to sit next to her in class, she had been somewhat friendless. We became ardent enemies at once, seemed to get irritated at each other for petty things...dont remember when hatred turned to affinity......
Chetana was very unemotional, quite unlike the majority of women, especially at that age...but she was most caring, responsible and affectionate, yet not very demonstrative......thats precisely why it wet my eyes when she looked forlornly at me at the last day of SSLC exam, i was shifting to kerala in a week....and that meant adieu to our friendship....
We did keep in touch through letters...... she is married and settled in the US since a year now....

Then there was Ajey hegde who was the naughtiest in the class, can still hear Shahin ma'am scolding him for his pranks...he has turned out to be a Chemical engineer working at Mumbai...Sharath, our school pupil leader...Seema who was so fond of talking about her family and values in life.....Jyothi with her sweet smile...Anitha and Amitha, the most diverse twins i have ever seen...and many more.....

It didnt feel good when i lost touch with many of them...and it never felt better when i got them back , thanks to the magic of internet......

'Life's finest moments are spent in the company of friends'...says an e-card received on a friendship day......indeed, very much so.....