Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Appa in my memories

Appa. Oct 27th '46 to May 27th, 2019

A man like no other. 
Your sensitivity & thoughtfulness.
Your tolerance & patience.
Your smile. Your intelligence.
Your active lifestyle, until destiny struck a nasty blow.
I hope to have silent conversations with you until I meet you again.

💕💕 You'll remain in my thoughts forever. There are hundreds of things and situations that'll remind me of you and your uniqueness. Maybe that's why I still believe you are around despite your physical absence. 

When our doggie fell ill and it almost looked like things would turn fatal, it was you who made the impossible, possible. It was your dedicated efforts for over 4 months that brought him back to normal and gave him 8 more years on Earth.

Your ability to scan several things in no more than a few minutes and note a hundred - obvious and subtle - aspects in the process, such as the colours of objects, numbers and IDs, positions and what not used to leave me flummoxed. You were the real life Sherlock Holmes for me

Your gardening skills & the # of hours you spent with plants cannot be matched by many. I only knew how to gaze at the flowers that bloomed because of the magic in your hands. When the Neem tree you planted 3 decades ago fell, we were heart-broken, but it's coming alive again!

Your colleagues, friends and farmers who visited you after you departed from this world invariably referred to you as a "Great and talented scientist". I wish you'd written that book your best friend believes you should have.
You were perhaps the only one at home who could fully relate to my sense of humour. Your ability to laugh at yourself, at life, at circumstances and when being ridiculed is what idealistic movies are made of. Every single person in your circle speaks of your humility and an absent ego.

I believe the most AMAZING & UNIQUE thing about you which I'm convinced that very few folks possess was your ability to engage children in an inimitable & brilliant manner. You could teach, entertain, and tease them, all at the same time, whilst making them feel equal to you!

Appa, I love you


You were my first inspiration; my first hero. I was always in awe of your intelligence, power of observation and incisive analytical skills. Not to forget, your stylish handwriting and signature. When I learned how to sketch and make portraits, I knew there were two people I desperately wanted to capture on paper, because I was confident that I could muster all the patience it called for. Grandma and you. I was delighted that my attempt was worthwhile if not brilliant. 

You were a man very different from any other I have known. A man who did not shy away from breaking stereotypes and displaying emotion or shedding tears. Soft-spoken, immensely patient, unassuming, humble, strong, and introspective. Always helpful around the house; in fact, you'd be a part of the miniscule 1% of the population that has the capacity and large-heartedness to run several errands every day without a single murmur. 

How you carried me, when I was a terrified 6yo, on your shoulders all the way to the hospital where I was to be operated on to remove my tonsils is etched in my memory. The simple surprise gifts you occasionally got for me would warm the cockles of my heart. The morning walks on which you accompanied me for several months to help me become healthier, when in my twenties, will always be a fond part of my memories. How you held my hand on several occasions when I felt weak was something I took for granted, until now. Not to forget, I wonder if there's anyone else, in the family, who gets my sense of humour as much as you did.

You deserve all the credit for introducing me to books when I was a receptive 10-year-old. I remember those exciting weekend trips to the City Central library in Rajajinagar and the anticipation of finding a good Enid Blyton book involving Noddy or Famous Five. Left to myself, as I stepped into my teens, I'd not have graduated to Wodehouse if not for your concerted efforts to take me to a well-stocked private library and recommend new authors. It was because of you that I got introduced to Plum's delightful and divine humour and the reason why I've derived pure joy and happiness from his books to overcome so many bad days and low phases. 

Your ability to be an ideal playmate for toddlers and children is worth a hundred stories. I've often admired and been amazed by your ability to engage children for hours at a stretch, make them laugh, baffle them, help them learn and yet give them the feeling that they're with an "equal". 

You've not particularly shared stories of your accomplishments at work. So it was moving and an example of your humility when your colleagues and friends raved about how great a scientist you were. Your popularity amongst farmers, colleagues and novices alike is something we are in awe of and proud of. You'd, however, occasionally come to wrong conclusions on family matters despite that immensely scientific brain of yours. This is something I've playfully teased you about - and very few people would have laughed in response and been the absolute sport that you were.

I know I've hurt you on many occasions, inadvertently and otherwise. I'm not going to ask you to forgive me because I know you already did, as is your nature. I can only hope my genuine love for you overshadowed my ignorance, impatience and other character flaws. 

The single most unanswerable question on the minds of every single person who knows you is "Despite being the gentle, affectionate and humble soul that he was, why did destiny give him such a deadly disease and keep him on pins and needles for 7 months?" We don't know. We might never discover the answer but we can bring ourselves to believe that there was a reason. There's one thing we can do - Invest in research projects that aim to find the causes of and solutions for ALS/MND.

Ending on a positive note, I'm grateful to life for giving us opportunities to jointly build memories in the last few years; before you fell irrecoverably ill. Our trips to Kerala, Chikmaglur, Nainital, Kokkare Belur and even the neighbourhood restaurants are things I want to go back to and relive in my mind often. I hope you will appear in my dreams and continue to be a source of kindness, love and light. 


May 27th. 2019 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Version 234.2

Yo there!

Nostalgia. I used to find the practice of blogging delightful and delicious a few years ago. To conceptualize something, start writing around it and then edit it into a full-fledged post was like baking a cake. The icing on the cake was to have someone read and leave a friendly or appreciative comment on the post. Sigh. Gone are those days. I know I made a lot of friends idea where they all are now. Except perhaps a few who then connected on Facebook/Twitter and are still around somewhere in my circle.

I've stopped using Facebook too, though I have written tons and tons of stuff there in the last 5-6 years (which I did not copy into my blog). Now, it's only Twitter....for the world has a huge deficit of attention and will not read anything more than 200+ characters ;-)

Meanwhile, I actually came here to say that I've let go of some people that I used to like a lot & have made my peace with it. Not that I've totally forgotten them but they appear on the radar only once in a while. Life prioritizes things on your behalf while you continue believing you're the one setting the agenda. :-) 

Monday, March 07, 2016

Principles. Practicality. Pride

I am, um, committing the crime of generalizing things and bucketing them. Wait! You can't warn me because I've warned myself.  But the fact is that I normally think about such things, write down whatever occurs to me and then leave it to my subconscious mind (which is apparently more in tune with the Universe) to apply it only in situations wherein it ought to be . And, note that I don't hang them - my generalizations, I mean - around my neck and make it my primary instrument of perception and interpretation. You'd better believe me ;-)

Righto! All the nonsensical prelude aside, here is what I cooked up as I inhaled what must have been carbon monoxide and watched riders/drivers break rules and jeopardize the lives of many innocent people on the roads at ~8.32 am. There are broadly three kinds of thinking that people engage in while going about their daily decisions. Thoughts that are driven by Principles, Practicality or Pride. (My mind keeps discovering words that alliterate or rhyme when I set out to explain - unnecessarily, of course - various phenomena in the world and I pretend to play along by expanding them into lengthy and meandering paragraphs.)

Coming back to our - ok, my - three categories of thoughts that in turn dictate to decision making, a lot depends on both, people's inherent nature and how they've been nurtured. Parenting (apart from one's individuality), methinks, has a Major (M in caps) impact on whether we are driven predominantly by principles, practicality or pride.

If your Parents thought they were at the far right of the chart of human evolution, gave you less or no room for making mistakes, sermonized at the drop of a hat, did not allow you to break any of the so-called rules, were rarely lenient, were attached to their value-system, culturally sensitive and so on, *and* you lent yourself to all of this or succumbed to it (depending on the way you see it ;-)), you are likely to now be an adult largely driven by principles; mostly those that were conditioned into you by your parents. In certain cases, you may have, of course, added a few self-discovered principles to the list that was thrust down your throat.

The point to note, however, is that if you were a rebel despite your Parents being obsessed with idealistic and rigid rules and approaches, then you may now be an adult driven by pride.

If you were subjected to so-called "smart" and in-touch-with-reality parenting, you are probably an adult driven by practicality. If your Parents' focus was almost always on survival, people-handling tactics and techniques, financial security, materialistic prosperity and the like, you surely grew up seeing yourself as a self-serving cog in the world's chaotic wheel. If you watched your parents sacrifice a few or several ideals and principles in order to obtain results and get to the finishing point in the various races run by society, you are likely to be a person who values practical thinking. You may very well be one of those street-smart adults who rarely gets bogged down by the world's evil ways and, in fact, knows how to get what he wants without creating much of a flutter. You undoubtedly have earned a lot of naive and clueless people's admiration. Sweet-talking, subtle wins in psychological or emotional battles and a certain type of ruthlessness are perhaps your forte.

Brings me to, unarguably, the most meaningless kind of parenting. That which results in children who grow up to pat and pamper their pride every day of their miserable lives. They lose track of logic and have no idea what values are all about. The most important thing happens to be empty egoism and vanity. They are so focused on fulfilling their ego's needs that they neither let the people with principles propose the vision nor let the ones who are practical get things moving or done. Come to think of it, they may not even know why they are doing what they are doing and are so narcissistic that they believe the world exists to serve them. Good luck to them because they must be careful not to kill people on their way to nowhere. O_o

Principle-based thinking more often than not results in condescending curmudgeons. Practical thinking results in ruthless rascals. Pride, ewww, delivers repulsive reptiles. That, my dear friends, is what we, the human race, are all about. Tada. Om Shanti.

Monday, June 15, 2015


Signs of worldly wisdom: (Disclaimer: I'm the type that will score big on all of these when pigs begin to fly. Let me know if you are the type that only needs crows to fly, for you to conduct correspondence courses on any of the topics below) 

1. Not being sure of anything (as in, knowing that any damn thing is possible and nothing is certain) 
2. Accepting inevitable change with a nonchalant flick of a speck of dust from one's attire (just pretend to flick a speck of dust if there is no speck of dust) 
3. Having zero expectations from loved ones and people in general (inner peace)   
4. Being able to stay calm amidst clutter and chaos (if you are a top scorer in this area, please send me a selfie with your signature) 

5. Being able to juggle social situations and solitude with equal ease (gawk)    

Words are all I have

A hundred unwritten poems in the heart
A hundred incomplete ones that will never see the light of the day
Some that came alive
A few that made it big
A few that destroyed what was
Words are all you sometimes have
Good, bad or ugly

A Life of Purpose

I delve into one of my favorite topics - life, purpose and happiness - and hope it strikes a few chords. 

All of us need something that we can focus and spend our energies on, in life. We need our lives to revolve around something or the other, just like how the Earth needs the Sun; simply because we do not feel truly alive if we don't have something to focus on. To use a cliché, we only exist. 

One of the most positive and yet fragile emotions that we can expend our energies on is love. The subject or object of love may be one (or more) of the following: 

(This list is in no particular order and is open for debate. There may be some unavoidable overlaps between a few areas) 

Love for: 

- Conventional work
- Sport & Physical activity 
- God
- Life (Probably through science, art or service) 
- An idea or a concept
- A cause
- Another human being or family or other entities such as animals/plants 
- Mankind as a whole or a specific community or one's country
- Food
- Power or Fame or Money & Luxuries 

There is no right or wrong.

Meera Bai chose to focus on God. Gandhi chose a cause and a country. Steve Jobs chose an idea. Romeo chose another human being. Einstein chose God and life through science.

Disney chose to focus on life through art. Wodehouse chose life through art. 
Victor Frankl chose life through service and himself (in an indomitable way). Watterson chose life through art and himself (in an unconventional way). 
Jane Goodall chose a specific community of animals. Aung San Suu Kyi chose a country. Sachin chose a sport.
 The Dalai Lama chose mankind and a cause. A lot of politicians and businessmen may start with a cause but digress and go into power or money. A lot of actors and movie-makers may start with an idea or life through art but digress into money or fame and so on.   

Each of us gravitates towards one or more items in the list based on our nature, upbringing, influences, circumstances, challenges, skills, early experiences in life and so on. The intensity with which we pursue what we choose varies from person to person. If we focus on a category that we have some control over (with exceptions such as God and Mankind) and one for which we have the necessary skills and wherewithal, we're going to be happy and busy...or happily busy. Simply because we are doing what we love, are good at and have the resources for. The caveat, however, is that if we are excessively obsessed with our chosen 'Sun' and lose our grip over it, we may fall out of our orbit and into a potential catastrophe unless we have the skills to jump on to another appropriate orbit (think lone genius scientists/geeks etc)   

On the other hand, if we don't gravitate towards at least one item in the list, life looks empty and void of any meaning. I suspect no one can exist this way unless (s)he is in a vegetative state. In related news, the common and widely accepted solution to engage ourselves with life and have something to focus on is Marriage. We are, more often than not, guaranteed to have a spouse and/or child(ren) that we will feel motivated to place at the center of our world.     

Let's take a closer look at some of the items in the list.

- Conventional work: This is adrenalin, accomplishment and intelligence based love. An extreme form of "work love"is perhaps entrepreneurship. 

- God: Inexplicable to many and enchanting to those submerged in it because you need to live in the spiritual realm and see what most people can't or choose not to see. Tricky because everything is based on our own interpretation of events, dreams and otherwise indecipherable miracles.

- Idea or Concept: One of the more fulfilling items because people who pursue ideas are generally the ones who do not wait for it to be approved by others. A great manifestation of end to end creativity. Take one idea and chase it all your life because it is one meteor of an idea or take up a series of smaller ideas one after another and jump from one fascinating world to another. Bliss of creation, accomplishment, intelligence, life and more. You might forget yourself as you transform the idea from its abstract form into tangible reality. 

- A cause: Arguably, the most noble pursuit and the one most approved by the social ecosystem. Otherwise more or less similar to loving an idea. But every cause has its share of critics who are hoping that it will cease to be given importance. It is, arguably, easier to ignore idea critics but not so easy to ignore people who become obstacles to causes. 

- Another human: Most tangible, natural, and popular choice for a majority of humans. Simple and popular way of leading your life as long as you are good at dealing with people, understanding others (or just that one person) and garnering the support of the rest of the people in your life. If your people skills are bad, this can turn out to be a huge and hilarious mess.

- Power/Fame/Money or Luxuries: Love that many people cry against but secretly pursue or find it hard to resist if it happens to them. 

- Oneself: All of us need at least a bit of this in order to survive with self-respect but too much in the wrong direction turns you into a megalomaniac that the world loves to hate. Hats off to the few people who have mastered the art of focusing on the self without alienating others.     

Finally, if you know how to engage yourself properly in one of the categories and learn to efficiently juggle a few more categories, you're likely to be a happy person. However, shifting frequently within the same category may be the result of inappropriate focus, flimsy thinking or lack of ethics (think politicians switching parties on the pretext of supporting a new cause every few years or movie actors confused about specializing in commercial vs art genres). 

So, what am I driving at? My undying love for exploring and analyzing life from my armchair.....God only knows. :-P  #kthxbye 

Mobile Technology - Impact

Mobile phones are going to lead to large-scale destruction. That's what's in store. Someone is going to invent an App to predict the exact date very soon. It'll be a free download. People will brag about it too.
Maybe we should all be happy for the world, as it now has an obvious opportunity to renew itself. 2012 is done.

Sample this. These days, people go around taking pictures of those in distress/jaws of death rather than putting their phones away to save them. Advertisements proudly declare that we must stop interacting with people as they may not respect us and we must instead shift our focus to mobile phones as they, however, are sure to respect us.Advertisements also unequivocally suggest that we must not think twice about taking selfies and posting them as it may inspire people in our lives.

As if it was not enough for businesses to be obsessed with numerical evidence to prove their worth, we now have toddlers, teenagers and oldies hanging on to the number of likes to measure their self-worth.


Ken Robinson - "Not far from where I live is a place called Death Valley. Death Valley is the hottest, driest place in America, and nothing grows there. Nothing grows there because it doesn't rain. Hence, Death Valley. In the winter of 2004, it rained in Death Valley. Seven inches of rain fell over a very short period. And in the spring of 2005, there was a phenomenon. The whole floor of Death Valley was carpeted in flowers for a while. What it proved is this: that Death Valley isn't dead. It's dormant. Right beneath the surface are these seeds of possibility waiting for the right conditions to come about, and with organic systems, if the conditions are right, life is inevitable. It happens all the time." via TED

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Fully Alive or Not?

There are probably only two ways to stay fully and truly alive.

To be completely engrossed in reality and merge into it; to absorb everything in the world and respond back to it so casually and efficiently that the give and take is seamless, there appears to be just one entity in all and there is no such thing as unproductive friction. be amazingly unperturbed and detach oneself thoroughly from reality, as if it were of no consequence whatsoever. To be as if nothing actually happened even whilst everything happened.....if you get my drift. To behave like there is no other entity apart from the self.

Some enlightened souls, of course, would have us believe that both these ways are exactly the same. ;) #zen #paradox

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lovely Poem by Roosevelt

It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly;
who errs and comes short again and again;
who knows great enthusiasms,
the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly
so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
                                 ---Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Driving and Life - 13 Metaphors

13 parallels between Life and Driving.
We are already familiar with almost every idea that this analogy/metaphor has to offer. But I still like it packed in the cover of a metaphor.

1. Reduce your speed
Is it really nice to be rushing around and clucking (clutching & braking?) like a mad hen all the time? We need to remember to slow down quickly (heh heh) and frequently enough

2. Don't compete or race
This is a guaranteed way to make sure we lose it or feel stupid as we go about life. By all means, let's do it if we don't mind dents in our mental-makeup

3. Don't compare
Looking at other vehicles (hey, look, a Lamborghini) instead of focusing on the road in front of us. Drooling over what others have rather than driving down our own path joyously. We are bound to crash into something and slip into permanent depression

4. Fuel up
If we're not sure about the what, where, when and how of the fuel we need in order to go about our journeys, it's quite likely we may be stranded in the middle of nowhere. Must identify and store some fuel (inspiration) to help us run

5. Focus on the drive rather than the destination
Constantly worrying about where we need to be rather than concentrating on and enjoying the drive is a pity. Can't help it at times though

6. Don't let others tell you how to drive (But allow for companionship/encouragement/warnings/wisdom)
Sheesh. Sigh. No back-seat driving. Let's claim our lives. Shall we?

7. Don't obsess over the scratches and dents
Hard. It happened. It will be there. Maybe we can get it tinkered at an affordable cost. If not, can we just let it be?
Dealing with nasty co-travelers on the road is more difficult than this but perhaps the same philosophy can be applied there as well

8. Switch on the stereo
Tiddly tumty tum and Tra laa la. Got to energize ourselves and listen/dance to some music. Let's not forget the controls if we happen to be listening to music while driving. Shaking a leg, of course, requires us to stop for a while

9. Master your parking skills
At times, we'd have to make do with what we get and fit our lives into available or unusual slots. In other words, be prepared to play with the cards we've been given. Psst, we can either loosen up and go for it or, sometimes, pay for valet parking

10. Drop off your vehicle for service
Before or after some journeys, drop off the vehicle at a service station. The vehicle probably needs a complete wash/new parts/paint. Relax and rejuvenate at intervals

11. Know the important road rules
Especially the ones related to dignity, courtesy and safety. Let's not jeopardize other travelers' lives

12. Get a trainer or a coach
The right ones might instill some confidence and give us the essential practice and tricks necessary for survival and success

13. Keep the emergency support numbers handy
Do we know how to sort things out and resume our journey if and when there is a break-down? If yes, there's a lot to be proud of and happy about. Else, let's keep the emergency numbers accessible at all times

I declare you free. Run now. Call emergency if you must.

Dance of the Birds

Sit in a train to some place far away. Play music on a device of your choice. Melodies; not some fast and insane numbers. Look out of the window. 

Acknowledge the greenery, cows, and other fauna. But focus on the sky. Watch out for birds (alone or in a flock) that are flying, gliding, soaring or zigzagging along. You will notice that their movements more or less coincide with the rhythm of the song or the interludes more often than not. 

The birds, however, are, mysteriously, unaware of their ability to choreograph to songs they have never heard in their lives. If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it fall, did the tree make a sound?


To knock someone's door and ask for something is an act of compassion at times.

If you trust yourself, are willing to give and enjoy collective happiness, when someone asks you for something, you might be surprised to discover how much you really have and are able to share....and that spans across many things......affection, knowledge and time.....

Communities. Coaching.

The gap between inspiration and insignificance
The gap between action and thought
The gap between perseverance and pessimism
The gap between understanding and ignorance
The gap between enjoyment and boredom
The gap between I did it and If only I had done it
May quite easily be filled by the combination of......
......a competent coach and a capable and concerned community


Truth is like a butterfly. Colourful. Fascinating. Fleeting. And there are many fluttering in the garden.

You can focus and chase one all the way but still make space for appreciating a few different others on the journey. You can simply watch all of them enchanted by the apparent diversity. You can pick up a magnifying glass to study one and dive deep into it without letting it blind you to everything else......


It ought to be fine to.....

share your contemplations; they preceded the results

share your stumblings; they led you to smartness

share your learnings; they contributed to success

share your darkness; they nudged you to your glow

share your ruminations; they were replaced by your humor

share your doubts; they were pushed away by your dreams

The temporarily lost may - thanks to you - remember how to get over something or how to take the rough with the smooth

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.” - Maya Angelou

Gotta go for it

When life gets one brooding a bit.....

One mustn't WAIT for the spark to hit.

One, first of all, ought not to sit......

But go around and check if the area is lit.

Tap into some random source of wit....

And whip up some long-lasting grit.

Hoist oneself atop the pit.....
And gather a good motivation kit.

Because one, ultimately, gotta go for it.

How to make a mess of your life

Three simple and easy steps to make a total mess of all things 
Repeat every day to stay in the cage of misery and clip your wings 

Find two things to complain and rant about
Sometimes you could murmur, sometimes you could shout 

Find two topics and appropriate people to fight or argue with
Don't pause to think if you are pursuing the truth or chasing a myth

Find some faults in people or situations around you 
Elaborate and examine till the concerned blokes turn blue 

Take as many of these aspects from the past as possible 
As the past guarantees you things that are no longer changeable 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


A child that has arrived,
Is one that has derived

the beverage of life from its mother's bosom
the warmth of affection from its mother's kisses
the courage of connection from its mother's umbilical cord
the gift of the gab from its mother's murmurings
the luxury of lazing around from its mother's lap
the depth of sensitivity from its mother's gaze 
the courtesy to contribute from its mother's hands
the confidence of doing right from its mother's advice
the bliss of being right from its mother's trust

Mother; the mother of all sources
Mother; the origin of positive forces