Monday, May 10, 2010

NEW Me

Its feels like years since I blogged, and words are failing me now. I guess the reason is not just "two semster so I am busy" saga but the fact that I found a new medium to express myself. 

Every artist goes through this stage, where he feels shy to show his work, or rather worried about being criticised. Its like showing yourself out, a part of you, that might feel personal and sacred to you.  I was dozing off in this cucoon period and thats the reason I did not share any of my work until now.  But I guess the time has come and at the end of the day an artist has to go public.  

So here it is my latest project, for all those who kept asking me whats cooking. I am hoping to share more of my work henceforth. Just go easy on me with your comments ;)

Brief: Wall painting in "Gond" art style.
Medium: Acrylic color with water.

Part of my tree. You may click to enlarge.


Snake and Badadev - tree , is very significant in Gond Art. Gond people worship these two things.
sorry for the poor lighting. Its a corner of a small alley.



Adjusted the contrats, thats why its blaring out.



Now can u see, only one person can stand here :)

As I wrote in my FB, its really painful to stand in awkward positions for hours to finish one part of the painting but its loads of fun :)

And hey almost forgot to ask, How you have been doing ?

Srivats

Saturday, March 27, 2010

When in Zen..

I didnt believe in ZEN Meditation , until recently.I was working on a illustration and the whole day went in a flash. I forgot where I was, what I did and whether I was breathing air. It was a lovely feeling, have u ever felt that ?

Srivats

Monday, March 22, 2010

Reaching out as far as I can

Have just realised the worst feeling of all is not fulfilling the commitment you made to friends.  I am yet to find sometime to finish the story I started, Gosh feel like stupid moron now!

I am doing two semesters together in the college, so multiply assignments, excercises, classes and projects by 2 and you would get a idea of where I am right now ;P But I am enjoying it. I have learnt that there aexists a different kind of love, It has nothing to do with loving another human , its about what you love to do , its so powerful that it will consumes you till the last drop of your blood, thats your destiny, thats your passion and thats what you are here for.

I have cut my hair short so I dont need to comb it everyday LOL, A tshirt and jeans and I am off to college. I also realised why artists dont look good.  For their beauty lies in thier designs and they give up theirs to make the work look best ;P  Ok I am all exhausted and going into philosiphical mode. For  now I enjoy reading your posts, one by one. Again thanks for all who left a mark in the last post and who do so in this one too :P you are awesome!

For now let me leave you with a poem, that stumped me few moments ago. Its writtern by WH Auden and used in the movie " Four Weddings and Funeral". For the records it has nothing to do with my current state of mind, I am fine and very happy doing what I am doing. This is just to share the best words that touched me ;)


Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,

Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good. - WH AUDEN

Take care
Srivats.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The green field.

While I was sitting in the train by the window, a goods train passed by. For few minutes I saw chopped images of the field on the other side. When I concentrated on the compartments I couldnt see the green field. And when I concentrated on the field I couldnt see the compartments that passed. I guess thats life, focussing on the things we want and ignoring the others.

Srivats
p.s: I am back and i promise to write regularly.  Before that lemme cath up with ur posts first ;)

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Back soon

Apologies for not catching up with you all. I have joined the college in Bangalore for Advertising and Graphic design, and have taken the fast track. This means I would be doing two semesters together. I am attending classes with second semester students and also doing first semester assignment works. Its exhausting but I am loving every bit of it. Let me re align my world and I promise to return to you all as soon as possible, until then take care :)
Srivats

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Midsummar Mysterious Dream - 1

To read the curtain raiser click here
“You are pregnant” said Marsha

“Excuse me?” replied Malini

“I said you are pregnant” She felt the energy of the new life emanating from Malini.

Malini suddenly felt dizzy, she looked around for a chair to sit, but started falling before she could take the next step. Marsha caught her just in time. Malini opened her eyes when she felt the moist hands of Marsha on her face. Marsha spoke in whisper.

“Are you feeling ok?”

“Yes I guess. How do you know I am pregnant? I am not even sure yet”

“I just know” she replied, and that’s how their friendship began. From then on they met frequently. Sometimes Malini would go to Marsha’s house for a chat over coffee, a healing session or even for a witch ritual. In the days that passed Ranbir saw a total shift in Malini’s behaviour, she was happier than ever and was very comfortable with pregnancy. Now and then Malini would talk about rituals, and meditations she does with Marsha, over breakfast or dinner to Ranbir. Although Ranbir was uncomfortable talking about them, he didn’t mind it. For it kept Malini occupied and happy.

On their 3rd Anniversary Malini was 5 months pregnant and insisted visiting the zoo. Ranbir have learnt about pregnancy and strange cravings, so he pulled few strings and arranged a private VIP tour to the London zoo. Although there was a battery operated car to take them around, Malini walked the entire park. She took enough time in each enclosure, observing the animals. She asked several questions to Greg, the guide. When they reached the Tiger’s cage, she took a long look at the white tiger lying next to the bars. It kept growling at Malini for several minutes.
Thanks to philip.greenspun.com
“I need to talk to the care taker” Malini said with a strong tone.

“I can arrange for it mam, may be after we finish the tour” said Greg.

“No, it can’t wait. I need to tell something important” she started getting impatient. Ranbir and Greg exchanged blank looks.

“Mam, if you could tell me what it is, then I can inform him right away” He pointed to his walkie talkie.

“It has a plastic cover in its small intestine” she announced with firmness in her voice.

“Honey, you must be tired, can we go home?” Ranbir thought she is talking out of exhaustion.

“No I am fine, but he is not and we need to attend before it’s too late” she said pointing to the Tiger. For the next ten minutes, she kept screaming about the pain the animal is going through. The animal’s growling got louder and she became hysterical. It was hard to tell whether she was reacting to tigers sound or tiger to hers.

It was too much drama for Greg to handle, so he looked at Ranbir, hinting him to take control of the situation. Ranbir never seen Malini crying like this, he put his hands around her shoulder.

“Sweetie, Lets go home its getting colder, I am sure Greg can take care of it.”

“Yes mam, I would immediately call the keeper, I promise we would run some tests on the tiger”

Ranbir spent rest of the day with her at home, pacifying and ensuring that everything is going to be fine. Her temperature rose and she started shivering uncontrollably by mid night. Ranbir rushed her to the hospital, all the while praying for his beloved wife and unborn baby. By early morning Malini’s temperature became normal and she finally drifted off to sleep. Ranbir walked to the cafeteria of the hospital for a quick coffee.

When he flipped the daily paper, sipping coffee the headlines on the third page almost gave him a heart attack.

“WHITE TIGER DIES AT LONDON ZOO”

To be continued..
Srivats

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A peaceful warrior's Midsummer Mysterious dream

I lost a follower! Wait that’s not the worst part, I don’t know which one it is! I am a avid keeper of followers and fellow bloggers and I always try my best to keep up with them. Then comes series of “maybes”. Why did he/she stop being my follower? May be its something I wrote, May be its something I was expected to write but did not. May be I started snoring. May be I have to shave my ears! You get the drift.

I am wrapping up in Chennai; Yes I am shifting to Bangalore for as many reasons as you can count with fingers in two hands. One more challenge to my list – coping up. Although it’s few hundred kilometers away from Chennai, Bangalore is very different from it. Its ever changing landscape and vibe is shaped up by thousands of IT expats from all around India and abroad. I am excited to the point that I feel like a villager migrating to a big city.

On the love front, things have been amazingly normal, given my mood swings and our occasional confrontations. “You look so beautiful when you get angry” and “let’s work it out together” still holds good. We both could use some break and romantic time together. But honestly I like this phase better, we are learning a great deal about each other and it should only make our love stronger. It’s amazing how the definition of love changes with the seasons.

Many of my recent posts were basically my status updates and I would like to change that notion. How about a story? Ok I am never been good with writing stories (the last time was disastrous) so please bare with me on the first one, I promise to make it better along the way. Here is the curtain raiser.

Midsummer Mysterious dream
Picture curtsey weeklyreader.com

“What the hell you are doing?!” Ranbir Singh literally roared to the motorist who took a steep cut on his way. Unless provoked Ranbir is very amiable person, a romantic husband and a loving father. But tonight is not a usual one and the last call from Malini wasnt one either. Earlier during that day..

“Ranbir here”
“Mrs Ranbir here”
“Hey sweetie I am almost done here, what’s up?”
“Its little princes, she insists talking to you abt…” Malini’s voice faded in the back ground and a sweet younger version of it took over.
“Daddy, which one is good peacock or lion?” The 6 year old has picked up the British accent better than his.
“Why Ammu?” He can convince his high style client to buy his advert campaigns, but handling Ammu’s questions proved harder.
“ There is this stupid fancy dress competition and we had to dress as animals” There was strong emphasis on “Stupid”.
“Ammu can we discuss this tonight?”
“ Say promise”
“Promise”
“My daddy is the best, have a safe drive” Ammu alais Anita kept the receiver whose length was twice that of her ear to mouth.

Ranbir soaked himself into the pile of advert banners again, little did he know about the wild evening that’s waiting for him.  Ranbir is tall, handsome, dark brown eyed, fair guy. The 30 something had a fluffy dark hair and dimple on his square face, which gave away a smiling and friendly look. Ranbir is a successful advertising agent, so much that his chairman has personally asked him to move to head office in London from India. Few British colleagues who now work under him were so jealous that they even did a mock plan to kidnap and kill him in one of their drunken nights together.

While the move was very fruitful to Ranbir’s career, it did the opposite to Malini’s. Malini in her late 20s is stunnigly beautiful and from a royal family of Nagpur. Her great grandfathers ruled several small villages of that state. She even had a tiger as her pet. But Malini grew out of all that, for she believed in making history than being in one. In fact her legacy was the main problem when Ranbir and she decided to tie the knot. Malini met Ranbir in one of the sales promotion of her company .Both had a weird feeling that they were meant to be together. A quick coffee turned out to be thier first date, and after few months Ranbir proposed to her.

After moving to London Malini became paranoid over the joblessness, her obsessive cleaning and home management skills didnot keep her occupied enough. For her place belonged in marketing industry. She was one of the finest managers HLL ever had and according to her boss, she is still in “long vacation” and could come back anytime she wants. Malini started filling her time with books and mostly self help ones, for they helped her to do lot of introsepection. She read almost everything in self realisation, astrology, meditation, alternative beliefs and even past life. There were days Malini would just wait for Ranbir to go to office to finish another volume of Paulo Coelho or Brain Weiss. Exactly on her birthday at her birth time in the dark corridors of Past life section in the library, Malini met Marsha, a new age believer. There is a mystery about Marsha which Malini found interesting. It seemed to contain answers to all those questions she had about herself.

To be continued…
Srivats
p.s: Peaceful warrior in the title is inspired by this.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Come home to Commercials

“Why advertising?”, If I earn a dollar every time someone asks me that question, I’d be millionaire now. The answer is “I don’t know, it vibes with me, it just feels right”. Each one of us have a destiny to work to, a purpose to fulfill in this world. The more we deviate from it, the more we would feel the stress and pain of life. But if we let, the universe would effortlessly lead us to it. And when we take up that job, it would seem as if the whole world is giving us a standing ovation to welcome us into it. Suddenly we will be dawned with realization about everything in our life that shaped us for it.

Brand/product campaigns do make a big impact on what we wear, eat and think about a product. Every advertisement we see literally shapes our lifestyle. A 5 year old pestering her mother to buy a particular washing powder (may be because the cover has a Dora or Power puff girl’s picture or something) is not a joke. A 20 seconds commercial goes through hours of research, planning and production. And like every other powerful medium it can be misused too. It would take several posts if I went about listing all those lovely advertisements that awed me. So for now, let me share few of them.

The very reason I brought the bike of “Bajaj” is because of the slogan “Hamara Bajaj” (our Bajaj). The slogan not only personalized the brand, it also gave the sense of being Indian and supporting the Indian brand. The soulful music, simple visuals and the powerful slogan has gone deep into the memories of my generation.


When Genelia walked those corridors of stadium she literally walked every Indian girl out of their cocoons. A cricket game is a Man’s field and a women commentator has to have real confidence to be there doing that. That’s exactly the message “Fair and Lovely” wanted to put to its audience.


Love, celebration and enjoying simple pleasures of life like a child, is all that comes to our mind when we watch Cadbury’s commercials. Wasn’t that enough to make any adult buy a chocolate?



Ar rehman literally blew us with his music in these adverts. Even non Airtel consumers had this as their ring tone. This must be one of the most popular Indian advertisement music. Connectivity and need to expression is the message that’s powerfully put across.

Amazing isn’t? All those commercials we watch during our breakfast, dinner or between the game show are tactically created and placed to give us key message required to buy the product. Hence the need, of being informed customers and smart buyers. Its all there for us to see, ok lets review the below advert. Watch it from sales person point of view and let me know your thoughts, in the comment section.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A CSI Wedding and 13 ghosts

Have you seen the promos of CSI Miami? They often show 360 degree, slow motion clips of action sequence (like travelling bullets) which are impossible to witness in real. It’s interesting to see how the virtual eye dissects every detail of the frame in question. I finally got to catch an episode of it, after the long and exhausting celebrations of my brother’s marriage.
A bride groom gift - dolls dressed in traditional south Indian brahmin marriage dress
Months of planning, endless shopping spree and unstoppable need to please everyone are finally over. My home is filled with bouquet, gift boxes and sweets of several kinds. The much welcomed order and quietness has prevailed again. Here are some “unusual/strange/weird/ one in million/ or call whatever you wish “moments of it.

1. I baby proofed my entire apartment for the marriage – No surprise.

2. I shaved my dad’s head (don’t get me started on the reasons. It’s my first time but it proved to be fun and kind of dad-son bonding event.) – Surprise.

3. My garden is ransacked and my fishes are stressed from all the banging- No sweat.

4. I don’t seem to find my body spray and tongue cleaner – Sweat
Reception decoration, flowers made out of vegetables.
5. I said “Sowkiyama (how are you?) Veetla sowkiyama (how is everyone at home?) to hundreds of people who I swore I don’t remember seeing, even in my dreams – No regrets.

6. I was asked to hide the costly things in home and in function hall from these relatives – Regrets.

7. Dad, mom and few elders were running around like atoms in excited state, in an emotional rollercoaster, ready to cry any moment due to happiness, anger or sadness. And sometimes it’s really hard to tell the difference. Funny.

8. Suddenly the unmarried me have become the topic of discussion for some to advice, to pity and to play very creative rumors (according to an Aunt I am married twice and have 3 kids) – Very funny.

9. A cousin kept harassing me in front of everyone because I did not grant money/permission to a short trip which he and his family wanted to take in the bus arranged for marriage transportation – Not so funny.
10. Specially made meals were home delivered to Julie by his favourite cheffuer. - Very Happy.

11. No matter how much difference you share, people would smile when you have a camera in hand and say cheese – Quite happy.

12. Every relative would like to claim their share of respect, importance and gifts that they receive in the marriage – That’s ok.

13. After seeing the amount of the food that’s wasted, the money that has been spent I feel sorry for those who don’t even have a piece of bread for dinner. – Exactly opposite to being happy.
A vegetable zoo
All said and done I am very happy for my brother and his wife. I just wish it were a family affair. I bet both families spent loads of money, energy and time to please everybody except the bride and the groom. Don’t you think it’s high time we put our Indian marriages under 360 frozen shot like that of CSI Miami for a better look?

Sunday, February 07, 2010

3 Bloggers and a Granny story

I got this crazy idea that I had to pen err, keyboard it down immediately. So I am writing this post at 12:50 am, talk about peak of joblessness ;) Most of the Indians might know this story told by our grandma/mom when we were kids “Patti vadai sutta kadhai”(Granny, crow and the fox story) . What if some of our beloved bloggers had written their version of it?

For those who don’t know the story, here is the short version. A granny was making delicious Indian fritters and a crow stole one of them. While the crow was on the tree about to eat the snack, a fox came along. Being clever self, the fox planned to steal that fritter from the crow. It said to the crow “you look beautiful and I really wonder how sweet your voice would be, could you sing for me please? “ The foolish crow did what’s been asked and lost the fritter. The story was said to promote the values of not stealing, being clever blah blah, you get the idea.

Now to “I-have-gone-nuts-on-Saturday-night” versions of it.
Disclaimer 1:
All characters appearing in this work are real. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely intentional.
Disclaimer 2:
I choose these three bloggers because (they paid me for publicity), I see distinct style of them that I think, I can imitate.
Disclaimer 3:
It would make very little sense if you haven’t read their blogs (yeah right, otherwise all my posts are very sensible)

Chotu’s world – AJCL: My close friend and my favorite writer, she writes touchy incidents of motherhood in lovable way. AJCL I love you so much ;)

Chotu has started asking numerous questions, a sure sign he is growing up. Soon he would be independent and I am going to miss pampering him. Today we went to the park (same old one which we visit twice a day) and a granny was making aromatic fritters. While I was excited to try the fritter , Chotu was maha excited to see a new bird sitting on the nearby tree. He pointed at it and asked “ amma teela enna birdie erukku” (what bird is there in the tree) and I said “ its crow” . Apparently he wanted to know about its origin, life span and its genetic code. While I went into the animated discussion with him, the granny also joined us. At the same time the crow took one of the fritter and there was a big hungama about it. Chotu after seeing this declared to everyone around that fritters in the pan are having “clow bateria” (Crow bacteria) and no one should eat it. And suddenly he started screaming, I could see the people in the park starring, not at the unstoppable chotu, but the helpless me (being mommy has its own embarrassing moments I tell you). After several questions he pointed out to a dog in the park and yelled “focssss” . It was then time for his dinner so I rushed home with groceries in one hand and crying chotu in another.

Business Musings - Ramesh , My god father and very professional writer. If you want to know about the business world, look no further, for his easy going posts on latest affairs would make you well informed.

Its safe to say that businessmen from developing nations are as good as the ones in the US of A , UK and Europe. While the whole economy is recovering from the big R, our favorite Granny is making profits in fritters industry. In the last six months she has made whopping 2 million - profit! Can you believe? SHE MADE PROFIT, in what wall street journal has called – the toughest business hours of the decade. Rumors are going around that the mighty crow corporation would make cheap offer, practically day time stealing to the granny fritters, but fox Inc isn’t keeping quite either. Today’s fox Inc’s media release about Crow Corporation, calling it “beauty of the century” clearly hints its tactical plans. I say “if it’s too good to be real, then it’s too good to be real”. I guess unethical business like Crow Corporation surely deserves what’s coming next. But I am more worried about our favorite granny fritters. It was not just a profit making machine but a beloved company and dear one to million patrons like me. We need to wait and watch the developements, its sure going to be the corporate drama of the millennium.

Mybittersweetkoreanlife – Emma is like a fresh air from the well bloomed garden and we share loads of common interests. Her picturesque travelogue posts literally take readers to anywhere she goes.
I just unpacked my luggage from last vacation this Saturday morning. I had this throbbing head ach, that’s probably the sea food we had or sojo. While Chris was busy dealing with his troublesome boss, I took a good two hour nap. Later we decided to have a romantic dinner at Osaka Park. The ride through the nature trail was memorable experience by itself. It gives visitors a new appreciation for life and don’t miss the hiking while you are there.

(Picture of a muddy trail with a stream by the side)
Later we walked to the empty streets of Osaka village and saw two ajummas making Korean fritters. It was very similar to the pancakes, except these are deep fried.

(Picture of fritters)
We rested in one of the gazebo eating the tasty dishes; Chris spotted this dark healthy blue eyed crow in the nearby tree. Crow took off with one of our fritters and suddenly we decided to follow it. The mid afternoon sun was so hot, and the long walk was very tiring. But he encouraged me to walk and right then we saw country fox in the nearby bush.

(picture of fox starring)
(picture of fox with fritter in the mouth)
(picture of Emma with V shape in fingers with her cool t-shirt, and her favourite colourful shoes)
At the end of the day we were exhausted sweaty and tired beyond Imaginable, but it was amazing to watch crow and the sunset, standing at the cliff.

(Picture of crow, sunset background)
(Picture of Emma and Chris, Emma shows V sign, sunset at the background)
-----------------
I would probably write my version of it in the next post ;) now off to sleep.
Srivats
Ps1: If you know my address dont give it to AJCL, Ramesh or Emma.
ps2: You are free to write my version of it ;)

Friday, February 05, 2010

Nobody said it was easy

I swing everyday, every hour, and every minute.
Remember the craziness of Madagascar buddies when they are left free in the forest? Free (yet scared) and happy (yet confused), the only hope is being together with friends. With few days left in my notice period, I am going through exactly that. My mood swings from temporary euphoria to sudden depression and I feel like shuttling between North Pole to Sahara. I am just preparing myself for long days of my life

Music keeps me going
In movies, (defn not the Hollywood ones), when the hero goes through a career dip, they would show how he suffers at first. And then bang! A song sequence with many short clips of his hard work and perseverance is enough to make him millionaire. That hardly ever happens in real. But I firmly believe I am going to see some interesting developments in forthcoming days. Needless to say I would post every detail of this journey, and you guys would be the first ones to know.


I love Pakistan
I am sure many cricket fans and those with strong “patriotism” would judge the forbidden statement written by this Indian. How can I even think of loving someone, a fellow human being who is born few thousand kilometers away? How can I share the special feeling with people who are victims of bad politicians, hypocrite media and terrorism? But if patriotism means these things then sorry don’t count me in. Love, support and understanding are all we need to bridge this gap, to cut the poison tree that was created by few corrupted minds for their own benefits.


I roar for Tiger
Our national animal is close to extinction! From 40 thousands to mere 1400 and declining the very minute I am writing about it. I used to think such campaigns are mere donation mongers or attention seekers. Albeit, it still helps to create the awareness about the issue. Every word written or spoken about it would definitely make a difference.

Be it mood swing, peace with nation or conservation of wild life, we can always do something about it. Its not easy but its definitely worth our effort.
Srivats

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Lets play IN to U 'tion

It has been very serious here lately and I wanted to write a positive topic with a fun twist. One of the few things I ask myself when I wake up everyday is “How can I be more of myself today?” While many of us see preserving our identity as a challenging job. Being outrageously our self is the most natural thing to do. The more we are in tune with what we are and do what we really like; we would experience a state of bliss, happiness and perfect health in Mind and body.

By listening more to our hearts, Intuition to be precise, we can understand more about our likeness and being. Most of the time, we do listen to our intuition but we find hard to trust it, drawing up many logical conclusions that might ask us to do otherwise. But remember when we were infants no one asked us to drink when being fed.

We all evolved(and evolving) from a single celled organism. Plants grow to sunlight, animals know how to find food and raise babies, all just by instinct, the natural intuitive power. If we learn to trust that higher knowledge that’s available to us, we would be able to make better choices in life. The choices that would truely vibrate with who we are.

So let’s play a game to exercise this connection, let’s see how much we are willing to listen to our intuition. Before we begin please do the following.

1. Sit comfortably
2. Close your eyes (duh after reading the steps fully ;P )
3. Take 10 deep breaths, fill your lungs as much as you can and exhale slowly.
4. Say “Relax” mentally 10 times to yourself, in slow regular intervals.
5. Say this” I am willing to listen to my intuition now”
6. Open your eyes

Now the game is to see who is preceding you in the comment section. We are NOT going to Guess, we are going to SEE mentally using our Intuition.

1. Close your eyes.
2. Visualize yourself as a Kid in your school.
3. Slowly walk to your class room, taking in the sights, sounds and smell of the place.
4. See the black board, no one is around you. You take a seat in the chair in front of the black board.
5. Now say “ I want to see who proceeds me in the comment section, Show me a feature or likings of that person”
6. Just observe what comes next
7. Open your eyes.

Now visit the comment section. Write your comment like below

1. How true the description of yourself by the above person.
2. What’s your forecast of the next person
3. Your thoughts/ feel while doing this exercise.

I have put my comments to start with, go on have fun ;)
Srivats
p.s:
There is no right or wrong answer here. It only says how much we are in tune with the intuition, so this awareness would help us to build that connection. You may wish to redo this, in that case please do it after an hour or two; this is just to dial down the anxiety factor. If you wish, I shall write more about this exercise in my next post

Friday, January 29, 2010

Change starts with Me

My schedule for Republic days (after graduation) is waking up late followed by hogging heavy breakfast watching special programs on the TV. Then I would probably do a hair cut, clean house or visit a friend. So my mother had every reason to be surprised when I got all cleaned up to go at 7:00 am on 26th Jan. Her expression got better or rather close to shock when I told her that I am visiting a school. Going by the recent events she might have thought I am up to taking a teacher job, or worse one with no pay.
A flag hoisted by a proud yet very questionable Indian
After assuring my intensions very clearly (that means sitting next to her and talking for a long time) I set to visit the school I have been associated for the last five years ran by my friend cum ex-colleague Sangeetha. She is talented, well educated software professional with fine ideals towards humanity. Under the guidance of her retired father Mr.Rajappa, Sangeetha and 5 other (software professional) friends started the charitable trust called “Sai Sankalp” in 2002.

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. - Nelson Mandela"

The main project of this trust is “Sai Sankalp Nursery & Primary School “located at a village named Arasankazhani near Medavakkam, Chennai. The school provides FREE, yet quality English medium education to children from economically weaker section in the nearby villages. When she told me about the project years back, I was so inspired and became a part of it since then.

When purpose is right and heart is pure, growth is inevitable. That’s what happened to this school. It started with a single thatched room with handful of students, but now it has 7 spacious class rooms, 5 teachers and 150 students (most of them are first generation learners) and teaches up to 3rd standard.
The Campus, Mr Rajappa drives his car upteen miles everyday to fetch and drop the teachers
I had a fair idea what to expect when I entered the campus which was all ready to celebrate the Republic day. Right then Mr. Rajappa, who is also the principle of the school shocked me by saying I am the chief guest of the function. It was very odd sitting on the stage in front of all those children, teachers and parents.
The March fast by 3rd standard students.
He spoke about my volunteer works and my association with the school, which made me further more uncomfortable. I was totally flabbergasted when I was asked to hoist the flag! I had no other choice but to raise to the occasion. Later I distributed prizes and also gave an informal speech to the students. It was very heartening to see those kids, eagerly greeting and accepting the prizes with polite “thank you sir”.
All set to go after the chocolate distribution
Although it felt good to be doing this, I had this huge guilty feeling about being the chief guest. The real Heroes were them, for running a free school is no cake walk. Every member of the trust is taken an area to work. Sangeetha is in charge of setting the syllabus, teachers and quality of education of the school. I also had the opportunity to meet the other members and spoke about the challenges involved. While some just complain and speak about growth of India these people work silently to strengthen its back bone – the education. I believe it’s high time for such action.
Sharing, the only way to grow together.
Out of three pre owned computers in the lab, only one is functional now. The library is accepting second hand children books and don’t have enough of them. Construction of 4th and 5th standard is awaiting funds. And I feel it can use a load of publicity. I am part of their “sponsor a teacher” program. I send my contribution equivalent to that of a teacher’s salary, every month. Considering the enormity of the project this is very small. But if every drop thinks small of itself there wouldn’t be ocean. I returned home with a fulfillment. This is my country and these are my people and I am proud to support them.
Srivats
p.s: If you like to be associated with the school please write to me at nasrivatsan@gmail.com or to Sangeetha at saisankalptrust@yahoo.com

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Don’t cry when I die

That’s some title with a forbidden word isn’t? But I promise by the end of this post you would appreciate it better. Swaram and Anu both awarded and tagged me to write 10 honest things about myself. Considering I write every post straight from heart, Please excuse me for writing only 5 points.

1. I have a strange habit of proof reading after publishing my posts. I somehow feel the urge to publish as soon as I have written down my thoughts. I am also particular about extra spaces between paragraphs. Every new post would undergo at least two to three changes after they are published.

2. I am still in touch with my ex. We were friends for a long time and I don’t want to miss my friend especially during the rough tides. My love is totally cool with it. Sometimes I wonder what I ever did to deserve such unconditional ever understanding love.

3. I firmly believe Julie never had a bath before. I want to give him one and not sure how he would react. I am just waiting to get more comfortable with him before I carry on the historic event.

Oh that look! worth a million biscuits and a lifetime pampering
4. I have literally gone numb in the last few weeks. Whether I am running around getting things done for my brother’s marriage or sitting quietly at home it does not affect me much. I am not sure whether I am in denial of my unsure career or I am accepting it just too well.

5. As much as I am brave and positive enough to leave my well paying job for my dream, I have a teeny tiny fear that I could be wrong about the whole stuff. Never mind, that’s life.

I am choosing not to tag anyone. The following lines reflect my current state of mind. I guess it’s the perfect closing note for this post.

I have taken my chance,
I look back with happy glance,
So, don’t cry when I die.
For I never lived a lie,

I have lived my life
Without regrets
I have let loose controls
Till I reached heavenly gates
A life well used
With lovely mates it’s shared
So don’t cry when I die.
For I never let out a sigh,

I embraced life’s mysterious
One that makes histories
I listened to angels,
Looked for all the signs.
If you miss me and upset
Plant a tree or get a pet
But don’t cry when I die.
Since I did not say good bye

Let the flowers bloom
Let the babies born
Let the trains keep going
Let your life carryon
Let me lay to rest
With a tombstone over my head
If you need one last request
Let it read “A life without regret”
Srivats

Friday, January 22, 2010

A bungee jump to limitlessness

Last night, I remembered the time I did the reverse bungee in Singapore. I was sitting in this open capsule, all strapped up to be shot to 700 meters up in the air. I looked at the crowed gathered around and many of them cheered me while the count down began. I asked myself why they would cheer me. It’s not like I am helping humanity or giving them a free beer. Then I realized for many it’s something they wish, but never do. They are applauding me for facing the fear, the one they too poses. They can empathise the fight within and cheering me for victory over it.

At the last minute, I heard my heart beating faster and saw a blurred image (partly owing to the fancy smoke beneath the capsule). Then I told myself “I let go”, for there is nothing I can control about it. Within seconds I was in the air, fear reached its maximum threshold and adrenaline rush took over. While the excitement can be explained in many ways, I believe it was because of the internal shift. I crossed the boundary of fear into freedom. And it’s no different than the one I felt after sending my resignation mail.

I woke up today home alone (my family has gone out for a relative wedding) .While I was fumbling to keep the day’s milk cartons into fridge, I accidently tossed a vessel that had yesterday’s milk. My plan was to feed Julie with that, and for a second I stood there starring at the pool of spilled liquid.

An idea sparked and I called for Julie. He stood at the door while I pleaded him to come inside the living room. He advanced few steps, went back, moaned but never came inside (I guess he must have learnt his lessons not to enter the house). It took me for a while (actually a biscuit) to lead him to the scene and then he happily licked his drink. If my parents were home, I would be wiping the floor with a long face (not because of scolding but because I wont be offered coffee for the day).

In a way we are no different than Julie. We were imposed of certain limits while we were young and we believe it all through our lives. Words like “You can never do that, you are too old, too young, you are girl/boy or you lack the talent, skill, money” and negative thoughts of our own stick to us like a cluttered chain around our legs. Let’s break the chain, cross the border and who knows our favorite thing might be lying on the floor, just for us.
Srivats

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A re-signing career

There is a time in life we would be faced with making a choice between doing what is suppose to be done or  what we always wanted to do. Today I chose the latter; I have packed up my 10 years of IT career to chase my dream in advertising. All my IT experience has been shredded out; even from resume to avoid “IT related job interview” calls.

I had a light chest pain as I typed the resignation mail, then I realised it came from right so nothing can be serious about it. Heart is in the left, right? Anyway I dreaded how it would feel to be on the other side of the door. Now that I am out, it does not feel scary, in fact I feel free and I bet I can sleep peaceful tonight.

I don’t have any leads in creative industry and don’t know how long it would take to make a decent earning. But I have two best things to get me through this period - FRIENDS and BELIEF.

If I expect something extraordinary to happen in my life, I had to be extra – ordinary.
Srivats

Monday, January 18, 2010

A dragon warrior and a thirsty dog

Trying to cut down on food while staying with mother is like the nose itch you get while you are washing  clothes. Sooner or later (actually soonest) the itch takes over and you won’t even regret for it. Even now I have eaten more and feel like pregnant women or python, actually more like a tom (from Tom and Jerry) that gobbled a melon and looks just like that. It’s been a month since I exercised, and I found the best way to stop worrying - I stopped checking my weight.

Have you ever communicated with your pet without a word? (duh!) . The dog we pet was kept by workers while constructing our home. After we moved in, mom started feeding her and she became very loyal guardian of our gate. Its name is Julie and as strange as it sounds, everyone addresses her as he. My mom started it before she read its bar code and we stuck to it. We feed him rice twice a day and crackers/rusk whenever I or dad gets home.

I feed him every time I come back home. It’s hard not to - when he greets me with so much love, jumping around, like I am his long last friend and he is so happy to see me back. Yesterday I was on my phone, wandering in the front yard and he was keeping me company. Every time I looked at him he gave me that innocent look and went about scratching his ears or licking himself. I suddenly had the strong feeling to feed him water, so I did. He was so thirsty that he finished the bowl full of water within seconds. I also get a feeling to feed my fishes, and at that moment I see them eagerly swimming at the corner of the tank, waiting for the treat. Amazing!

The real dragon warrior, taken in singapore about an year back
I happen to catch Kung fu panda in one of the channels and watched it again. I love this scene of oogway under the peach tree about believing. To be a dragon warrior, first we must believe we are one. I find such movies which are actually intended for younger audience has many things to teach us. Remember the “Just keep swimming” mantra of Finding Nemo?

“I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much.” - Mother Teresa

For now I am not worried about waistline or career. For I know I am compensating one by doing more of other. I am learning to be in the feeling of “Now” and totally giving myself to whatever I am doing at the moment. After all, the animal’s ability to get what it wants is also present in me and I should let it do the job.
Srivats

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bench mark

The thing with being on bench (term used to describe officials not assigned to any project, hence not working) is what it does to one's self esteem. It’s like a leaky bucket, the more you are in it, the less self esteem you would be left with. You would even question yourself "why would I need to press my clothes, polish my shoes and be on time, when all I do is nothing". As much as I am hopeful and positive about my situation, living through bench is quite challenging. Its like the relationship phase that makes you wonder whether its going to break up or patch up. I am not sure what's expected out of me and to be honest I rather be jobless than paid for doing nothing.

If you need a free mud face pack, all you need to do is drive without helmet in one of Chennai roads. Of all the transportation problems we face, the worst one is dust. Not only it creates eye irritation and dirty clothes, it also creates breathing issues and numerous allergy related diseases. The next one is honking. You would be honked even if you are driving perfectly fine. It means the driver is in hurry (for what is a million dollar question) and may run over you if you don’t give way. Others honk for different reason, either because they like their horn or it has become their habit to do so.

In the place I live, the ground water is polluted by nearby factory of Ponds. The effect is so much that our water heater broke due to the saline quality of it. The lake near my house has become a garbage dumping ground. I can even spot buffaloes, pigs and scavengers wandering around. The stray dogs are most troublesome though, for they chase me while I drive in the night, when the area has become their "territory". This is why I don’t suggest foreigners to visit India, for I am not convinced by its tourism. We surely have great monumental temples and sites (I am sure every country has their own stuff to show case) but we are not ready for visitors yet. What 5 star hotel tourists see is not the real India. For we live amongst slums, chased by stray dogs, honked to deaf, covered by mud pack and drink polluted water.

It’s almost a month since I landed in Chennai, but I felt nostalgic only recently. When I visited the place where we used to live (before I went to Singapore), the neighbors, store owner and even the milk maid was so happy to see me. These people really know me, to the point they can even say what I am allergic to. One ex-neighbor offered me lunch and I couldn’t say no. For the records we don’t owe each other money or anything. In India people ask you "saptacha" (have you had meals?), for we believe in feeding, even the stranger who turns up during the meal time. These are people of India and I am proud of them. Anyone who is been invited with a smile and offered a meal would feel so.

Image courtsy Google
I would like to accept all these things as part of my life. It’s definitely not perfect, and given the choice I would change 100 things about it. But there are 1000 things to be grateful too. For I still have job and friends who can offer a free meal, a vehicle and helmet to drive through mud and mind that’s capable of handling such challenges. I need to deal with "Now", and that’s what I should use to create a better tomorrow.
"Accept, what you resist persists"
Srivats

Thursday, January 07, 2010

An Elephant's pride

I happen to see this video of elephant giving birth and it blew me off. The mother elephant (after delivery) checked the calf which neither breathed nor moved. After several kicks and a quick blow the calf took its first breath to everyone’s relief. In next few minutes the calf stood up and looked perfectly fine. The mother seemed so happy and proud and I almost heard her say “see I have made my child and I know how to take care of it”.

Nearly million elephants are killed in africa during last two decades, that left so many orphans, think before buying Ivory stuff , photo courtesy National Geographic
This morning found me in an unusual place, a baby shower function (locally known as “Seemandham”) of my cousin’s wife. Unlike abroad it’s a family function here and I was obliged to attend. Needless to say I was surrounded by truck load of aunties and soon to be, worrying about my future love life and stuff.

On occasions like this, men get busy taking part in the rituals/ doing the transportation and stuff. Women (no gender bias here) find their own time pass well known to man kind – Talking about others (gossiping is under statement here). It would look like a reality show of who does the best parenting or whose offspring is the smartest.

One of my aunties recommended few IT companies to me because their pay scale is good. Another one had several clarifications about abroad life which I was obliged to clear to the entire group. One even managed to sit next to me during breakfast and force fed me, for she felt I am loosing weight and my charisma (!?) by not eating well. Eating well according to the mom’s of our community meant loading every square meter of the stomach with several forms of rice and high calorie/fatty milk products. No wonder my brother opted not to go.

While these are expected, what surprised me was the treatment I received. I felt like a government official inspecting the function. People offered seat, spoke nice and helped to make the formalities faster so I can go to work on time. The uncle, who used to make fun of me, not just listened to what I said but showed outmost respect to me. It’s amazing what money can do. A well earning foreign return is symbol of success, status and admiration here.

We live in one corner of city called Chrompet. And my cousin’s place is further away (a perfect sub urban) surrounded by rice fields and irrigation canals - a sight worth visiting in the morning. I saw many cattle. Few cows starred while I honked for my way.I even saw a beautiful lily pond.

Above all these fringe benefits I am glad I went. I actually did it for my aunt (my mom’s sister who lives with her husband near to our home). She doesn’t have any children and treats me like one. She asked me to take her to the venue, and literally dragged me around introducing to the relatives. At that moment I saw the pride in her eyes, one that is equivalent to that of elephant’s. Bow to the finest feeling of Motherhood!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Honking trains and a tarot fool

Have you ever seen two trains honking and waiting for the traffic to clear up in the level crossing? This is what I witnessed on my way to office today. I am pretty sure it’s weird enough to take a small space in tomorrow’s paper. Unfortunately I too was part of the stamped and had no choice but to go with the mob. Even the most safest and right thing like stopping at the red light, had me bumped last night. For some (most) yellow light means speed up, not slow down. This is what Indian traffic is and I am not proud of it. I think anyone if honked by the train and bumped at signal would feel so. We Indians are fast (crazy to the limit), furious and would even risk our lives to save couple of minutes during the drive.

After such near death ride I am sitting at office on a comfortable chair .. err I am actually on bench. Two days in a row and all I do is check mails for every 10 minutes (that include both personal and official). Due coffee and lunch breaks and serious discussion with the colleagues about all-that-is-not-part-of-work. Being at the wrong job is like being married to someone you don’t love. Imagine our fine batsman Suchin Tendulkar working as data processing analyst. But I am sure this phase has something to teach me, like virtues of patience, hope and humility.

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference"

Sometimes life would bring surprise like rainbow amidst storm. Blogadda has chosen my “Take a wish” post as their spicy Saturday picks. This is much needed event for me, especially when I am wondering about my skills and career. Thanks a lot to Blogadda for choosing my post and thanks to you all for supporting my writing. I haven’t replied to each comment separately in the last post as it would increase the “wish count”. My Grandma used to say we should be sure of what we are giving out to the world as it always comes back multifold. Let the wishes we share be manifested and bring us multifold positive change in all our lives.

I bet you would fall in love with Audrey Hepburn after watching this movie
My love made me watch classics like “Roman Holiday” and “Sound of music” during the New Year holiday. I was enchanted by both of them and could easily indentify the scenes that inspired some of the Indian movies. We also saw Avatar and 3 idiots, both very entertaining in their own ways. Avatar’s amazing creative scenes gave me jaw pain, as I watched them mouth wide open like the hippopotamus during it’s feeding time. I loved 3 idiots for the direction, screen play and also its emphasis in a heart felt career. But it’s such a shame that the author Chetan bhagat (from whose book many ideas were inspired from) hasn’t been credited duly.

Lovely songs that would keep you humming all day long
I met a tarot reader by chance on 31st December and his reading was right to the point. I have been asked to be my own light, adapt the innocence and embark on an adventure like a child. He also asked me to accept my career decisions like a fool falling off from the cliff believing his higher powers (I did not say a word about my problems to him). I liked this approach of being foolish, for it meant daring to do whatever heart said, for it meant ignoring what others thought, for it also meant being oneself at all times. I hope tomorrow would be a better day and as long as I have sun over my shoulders and ground below my feet I should be fine.
Srivats