Wisdom from the past

This is one Tamil poem that most who have learnt Tamil in schools would have come across. Part of the Purananuru (Puram + Nanuru = external + 400), a collection of 400 songs belonging to the Sangam period of Tamil literature (600 BC to 300 AD) that provides wisdom on external aspects of human life. While the powerful thought of the opening lines that considers the entire world as one family has always stayed on top of mind recall, I was surprised to rediscover the depth of  the message in the entire poem today when I happened to read it again.  

யாதும் ஊரே ; யாவரும் கேளிர் ;
தீதும் நன்றும் பிறர்தர வாரா ;
நோதலும் தணிதலும் அவற்றோ ரன்ன ;
சாதலும் புதுவது அன்றே ; வாழ்தல்
இனிதுஎன மகிழ்ந்தன்றும் இலமே; முனிவின்,
இன்னா தென்றலும் இலமே; ‘மின்னொடு
வானம் தண்துளி தலைஇ, ஆனாது
கல்பொருது இரங்கும் மல்லற் பேர்யாற்று
நீர்வழிப் படூஉம் புணைபோல, ஆருயிர்
முறைவழிப் படூஉம்’ என்பது திறவோர்
காட்சியின் தெளிந்தனம் ஆகலின், மாட்சியின்
பெரியோரை வியத்தலும் இலமே;
சிறியோரை இகழ்தல் அதனினும் இலமே

– கணியன் பூங்குன்றனார், புறநானுறு

The English translation by G U Pope

 To us all towns are one, all men our kin.

Life’s good comes not from others’ gift, nor ill.
Man’s pains and pains’ relief are from within.
Death’s no new thing, nor do our blossoms thrill
When joyous life seems like a luscious draught.
When grieved, we patient suffer; for, we deem
This much-praised life of ours a fragile raft
Borne down the waters of some mountain stream
That o’er huge boulders roaring seeks the plain
Tho’ storms with lightning’s flash from darkened skies.
Descend, the raft goes on as fates ordain.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !
We marvel not at the greatness of the great;
Still less despise we men of low estate.
 
– Kaṇiyaṉ Pūṅkuṉṛaṉār; Part of ‘Purananuru’ – a collection of 400 songs belonging to the Sangam period (3rd century BC to 3rd century AD)
 
(Source of English translation: www.beautywelove.blogspot.com)
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ஜகத்தினை அழிக்காமலேயே!

“தனி ஒருவனுக்கு உணவில்லையெனில் ஜகத்தினை அழித்திடுவோம்!” பெரிய பெரிய உணவகங்களுக்கு  சென்று உண்ணும் பொது சில சமயம் முண்டாசுக் கவிஞனின் இந்த கூவல் நினைவுக்கு வருவதுண்டு. நான் ஒருவன் சாப்பிடும் காசுக்கு பலரின் பசியை போக்கலாமே என்று. ஆனால் என்னை மாற்றிக்கொள்ளும் பக்குவம் இன்னமும் வரவில்லை.

இன்று காலை வேலை செய்ய மனமில்லாமல் இணையத்தில் சஞ்சரித்துக்கொண்டிருந்த போது இந்த பதிவுகளை வாசிக்க நேரிட்டது. மிகவும் சாதாரணமான மனிதர்கள். ஆனால் தாங்கள் செய்யும் உணவுத் தொழிலை வியாபார நோக்குடனே அணுகாமல் பல எளியவரின் பசியையும் போக்குகிறார்கள். இவர்களின் கதைகள் வாழ்கையில் நம்பிக்கை கொள்ள வைக்கிறது.

ஈரோடு – ஒரு வேளை சாப்பாடு 1 ரூபாய்http://www.erodekathir.com/2010/10/blog-post.html

மதுரை – மதிய உணவு 6 ரூபாய்http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecD94vTmizw&NR=1 ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uKIpqBgTHE&feature=related

 சென்னை – சாப்பாடு 15 ரூபாய், கலவை சாதம் 6 ரூபாய்http://www.luckylookonline.com/2010/04/blog-post.html

ஜகத்தினை அழிக்கவில்லை. பசியை போக்குகிறார்கள் இவர்கள்!

 பி.கு.: தங்களின் CSR செயல்கள் பற்றி மார்தட்டிக் கொள்ளும் சில பெரிய பெரிய நிறுவனங்கள் இவர்களிடம் பாடம் கற்கலாம்!

Nostalgia…

Saw this new ad of Indian railways through a link from Facebook..

This reminded me of the Indian Railways Ad that we made as part of our Marketing Management Course in Term 2.

Here’s the Print Ad:

Here’s the AV Ad:

The source video and audio for the AV Ad is the movie Gandhi. Graphic Design of the Print Ad and Editing of the AV Ad by the one and only Suri 🙂

Darshit, Deepa, Nalini, Rashmi, Suri – Working with you on all those projects made some of my best days at IIM..

@Darshit – I know you would not like to be associated with this particular project 🙂

Seven random? truths

I am tagged by Shreya and Deepa to reveal ‘seven random truths’ about myself that others may not be aware of.  So here I go,

1. I love food. I eat when I am hungry, happy, sad or bored and nothing else to do. And since patience is not one of the virtues that I have, I eat fast!! Some of my friends have pointed out that I do not chew my food and swallow it directly. Some have complained that I finish my share fast and start digging into their plates. But there is one advantage though, whenever we go out, my friends do not worry if we would order too much. “Mani is there to take care of that!!” I love my mom’s food the best. For all my love for good food, I have not experimented much different cusine, though I am now beginning to.

2. I tend to reread books that I have read already and watch movies/TV series that I have watched already. One of my wise friend says that I love to do things that I am certain of/ or in control of. That explains why I practiced some questions mutliple times over for QM quizzes and left some unprepared. That also explains why I stayed away from data analysis part of my dissertation for a long while and was content with theory 🙂 Thanks to my colleagues who keep reminding me that I won’t earn a dissertation without doing data stuff, I have started data analysis now

3. So I lack patience. I love things to be in control. And I love to work in teams. So what am I doing in a doctoral programme! Maybe trying to unlearn all these things. Partly successful so far 🙂 Talking of dissertation, the most frequently posed question these days to me is “When are you finishing your studies?”. My standard answer: “In a years time”. Yes definitely in a years time.

4. I am an emotional person and gets attached to persons and places quite strongly, if at all I manage to get attached to. I left home for the first time for my first job with TVS Motors at Hosur. I was so homesick for the first few months. To get over this, I used to stay in company after work and spend time in their library till the last available bus left. At the end of the first quarter I revcieved an award for the best user of the library!! The day I left TVS after an year, I was almost on the verge of tears. The same with people. I get attached to some close friends so much so that sometimes it causes problems. The awareness of this has helped me but I don’t think I have changed. This is how I am and it works for me. I don’t want to change.

5.  I tend to think that I know best of what is good for me. And for most times, others too! And I dont hesitate in giving unsolicited advice/inputs/suggestions whatever you may call it. Most of my friends understand this is some genetic thing and are forgiving. Thanks for all of you for bearing with me on this. 

6. The best days of my life so far were my schooldays. I belonged to the first batch of the school where I did my VI standard onwards. We grew up together with the school actually. The teachers were really good and took extra attention to see that we performed well. The class was also small. So we got to be friends with all. And we enjoyed every moment of it.

7. Since, this is supposed to be a random list. The first time I told ‘I love you’ to a girl is when I was in my III standard. Yes 🙂 I had seen some tamil movie the previous day, picked up some dialogure from it and went and said I love you to some girl the next day. Only thing that I remember is that I got reprimanded by the teacher and a group of friends scared me that they would let my parents know of this. Somehow I survived 🙂 No, I don’t remember who the girl was.

And to keep this tradition of search for truths going, I tag the following people:

Nalini: You seem to have a connection with online platforms. Why not try blogging too? If not, you can use FB.

Seshadri – Sesh, we are waiting.

Marx a.k.a. Suri – I am sure it would be quite a list.

Darshit – Truths are there 🙂

What really matters?

“What really matters?” asked a friend of mine to our group of friends recently. Here’s my take on it.

Philosophically or in a true sense the answer according to me is “Nothing really matters”.I think of myself on the verge of my death and ask this qn “What really matters?” and the answer I finally get is “Nothing really matters”. And for all the facade of certainty that I put up, the fact is life is uncertain and I can very well die before I even finish this post . So if I were to live every minute as my last minute, then answer is ‘Nothing really matters’ ever.

But I would not be able to do that. Because the life is uncertain I may still live even after I finish this post. But if I keep thinking of death every next instant then I would become insane. So I have to live with this facade of certainty or realise “Nothing really matters” and live like Ramana Maharishi.

So, since I am not Ramana now and I have to go on with my existence, What really matters?

To me what really matters is my integrity. By integrity I mean whether I am true to myself and I am free of any conflicts in mind. The conflict can be a small one as some disagreement I had with my Prof last week and want to let him know about my disagreement, or, it can be my behavior with someone which I regretted and want to convey my regrets about, or, it can be my fear that I may die and I need to take an insurance before it so that my parents will be financially secure in case that happens or it can be some job that I had to push myself to go to every morning..the conflict can be anything..If once aware of these conflicts I have taken steps to address them then I have retained my integrity or ‘mental peace’ as my friend K may like to call it.

However, sometimes it may happen that due to some circumstances I may have to live with that conflict. That cannot be avoided because we are social and emotional beings and no man/woman is an island. But as long as I am aware I have a conflict and take some steps to reduce the conflict given my constraint it is fine. But in the end if it turns out I need to compromise because of the constraint its fine too; then it means for me the constraint is more ‘important’ , so my integrity is intact again. So the essential thing is to be conscious of the choices I make at every point in my life and living it with integrity.

But am I living my life with integrity? Though I have realized the need for it and have been trying on and off to do so the answer would be No. But I hope to do so more in the future and go to sleep with less conflicts in my mind.

P.S.: My belief is that there is no life after death. But I were to believe in life in death, then ‘Nothing really matters’ may not not hold true.

Bangalore to Chennai

Statutory Warning: It’s a rather loooooooooooooooooooong post..Read it only when you have time…but it is interesting..atleast I hope you find it interesting…

It has been an evening of interesting (and surprising) experiences.                                

I am sitting in the waiting room of Bangalore City Railway Station. I am going home for Saraswathi Puja and Vijaya Dasami..hippie…..:) The Chennai Mail starts only at 22.45 and its just 21.00 hours now…so I have a couple of hours to kill. I had to come early as my uncle left for Delhi by Rajdhani which left at 20.30. I intended to spend an hour at the internet center here but the center guy told that he would shut at 21.00 but take the full fare for an hour’s browsing from me even though only half hour is left.

“Aasai dosai appalam vadai”

I decide to try out the waiting room.  I had seen the waiting room from outside whenever I came to catch my train to Chennai which invariably starts from Platform 1. It looked ok so decide to give it a try..

The waiting room is large with sufficient number of chairs all in good condition. The room is reasonably clean and well ventilated. It does not stink as I had expected (Indian Railways has definitely improved over the years..Kudos to the team and keep it up!) I look out for a chair under a fan and luckily find one. I settle down, take out my recently bought ipod shuffle and start listening to my assortment of music from Ravishankar to Farida Khanum.

I look around the waiting room and I am reminded of the project that we did for our Marketing Management course. We had developed a plan to rebrand Indian Railways. We presented Indian Railways as a means of “Experiencing India” first hand and relived the nostalgia of our own rail experiences during the project. One of us came up with a brilliant piece of prose (or is it a poem?) as the brand proposition of Indian Railways. Our in-house graphics expert designed a brand new logo which captured the essence of the poem and even   used the train sequences in Gandhi  to come up with an AV ad sequence. As I look around me in this waiting room now, I realize how true it is to say that the railway station or train travel provides you a microcosm of India that very few other places can provide you with. I see a Rajasthani lady feeding her child..a tamil mama and mami involved in involved discussion (I bet it is about some action of a neighbor or a relative)..some young adolescents (must be on a college trip)..some guys lying and sleeping on the floor oblivious to the noise and the activity around them..the policeman comes on a beat..some workers taking a break in one corner..This is India for you (or more appropriately one slice of India for you)..

I get impatient looking around..(lest I be appear suspicious..you will get an idea of why this thought came as u read further J)..I shuffle the pages of the Frontline (actually I went to buy Outlook; but do u know that both Outlook and India Today now costs 25 bucks..I settled for a 15 buck and more intellectual Frontline J ) that I bought some time back. I read Praful Bidwai’s eloquent argument of why India should be ashamed of playing ‘crass realpolitik’ to get the Vienna waiver. I turn to the next article..a piece on terror by Raghavan..it has a photo of a policeman checking the luggage with a metal detector in Bangalore Railway station!! I had just come through the same exercise some time back..I start thinking of how terrorism has affected us..directly and indirectly..

Nowadays I don’t know whom to believe and whom to suspect when I go out..

I see a couple of bags next to my chair..they have been lying here since I came..that is  for about 20 to 30 minutes now..There is no one in the two seats next to that. I grow suspicious..

Don’t overreact” I say to myself…

But what if it’s a bomb!!” – the other me..

Security has improved..it can’t be a bomb!! And no one will keep a bomb in a school backpack

What if it is? You are sitting right next to it!! And even it blasts after you left will you be able to live with the knowledge that you suspected but did not take action?

Ya..moreover are we not supposed to be vigilant and help the police to counter terrorist threats..that’s the only effective way to fight terror

Still I am hesitant..I look around for some five minutes..I gather courage and ask the person sitting in the chair behind the one having the bags.. “Sir, is it yours”..He nods a “No”…

Leave it..don’t appear as a fool

I start reading Frontline once again..

What if?

I look around again..I find some girls sitting two chairs next to me..I gather my courage again to overcome my hesitance and ask her

Are these yours?

Yes

“Appadaa…thappichom” (Thank God! Escaped!)

I reflect upon this brief conversation that I had with myself and see how terror has impacted me.

It has made me more suspicious than normal

No..it has made me alert..and that’s the only way to prevent terror acts..We citizens should play our role as well

Having so consoled myself I sit to write this blogpost..

Gosh..i should use my laptop as a laptop and not as a desktop..Lets get cracking

And that is the genesis of this blogpost..my first realtime blogspot..(though it can’t be posted realtime as I don’t have wireless broadband connectivity here..it has to wait atleast till Friday afternoon to see the light of the day)

P.S: I had started this blogpost by talking about interesting experiences. Here are the other two:

1. We got the call taxi in front of the City Railway Station. The driver came out to open the back and helped us in downloading the luggage. As mama, mami and me were trying to gather the required chillarai (change) among us the driver got delayed by a couple of minutes. In that short time, some one had flicked the driver’s mobile which he had left on the car dashboard (he had left the window open!)..We called his number immediately.. “The Airtel number you are trying to reach is temporarily switched off!!” We were there not more than five minutes and were there only near the car and it was enough for someone to flick a mobile right under nose!! This is my second (second-hand) experience of theft at the City railway station..A couple of years back when I was visiting Mysore with my college friends, the train had stopped in Bangalore for some thirty minutes break..some one stole a couple of bags from the train..though some of our friends were still in the train and some of us were having coffee in  the platform shop..And that bag had the money that we had collected and my friend’s ATM card..We managed to get through the helpdesk of his bank within an hour but that was enough for the thief to empty his account (we still don’t know how he knew the PIN!!!)..Luckily there was not much in the account! I still remember the famous statement that my aggrieved friend made in Mysore railway station as we went to the railway police to lodge a complaint…One of us remarked something about life to which he replied..

Ennada vazhkai…idho enna paar..oru T-shirt Bermuda voda onnum illama verum kaiyya nikkaren paaru..idhaan da vaazkai!!” (“What do you mean by life? See me..Stranded with only the Tshirt and the Bermuda that I am wearing and nothing else..THIS IS LIFE”)..

It’s true that the most philosophical of statements come one finds oneself in desperate situations!

2. The second interesting experience..We fixed a porter to carry the luggage as it was too much and Rajdhani was in 8th Platform…After the regular haggling we reach a consensus and he efficiently did his job to take the luggage right till inside of the train. My uncle pays him the amount..

Thank you Sir…have a happy journey”..He darts away to catch his next customer as me and my uncle look at each other with surprise and smile at each other J

3. My ticket is RAC which got confirmed…S8 berth no 25..I only pray that it should not be the “Side Middle Berth!!!” (yet another manifestation of Lalu’s ‘Milking strategy’). But you know it has been an evening of interesting experiences…

P.S. to P.S:!!

I am sorry to extend this blog..but what can I do..the evening and now the night refuses to stop being interesting..

To ensure continuity..first let me inform you that I did not get a “Side Middle Berth” and got a Lower Berth…

Its Midnight..the train has not yet started!!! It was supposed to start at 22.45…I walk out of the train after an hour of delay..confident that the train would not start any soon J I walk up to the couple of TTs who are sitting chatting outside the compartment..

Is the train delayed?” (“What a stupid sa question?” – Me to myself J )

The annoyed TT remarks to another passenger sitting next to him

Tell him

He says some good train has derailed” – the other passenger..

There is no announcement” – to the TT justifying my question!

TT waves his hand and look at the announcement speaker with helplessness.

“the train will start after 12..it will go through Salem” – TT

“When will it reach?”

“maybe around 11 AM”

“If you had told me an hour earlier I would have taken the last bus available”

Silence….

I walk back to my seat and start blogging again J

Another interesting thing happened when I boarded the train..A north Indian couple boarded the train ahead of me..They stopped before boarding the train..and touched the steps and prayed for a moment before entering the train..in the same fashion as the artistes and the players do before entering the stage or playground..This is the first time I see someone doing it before boarding a train or bus…

Now I look back to that and think,

What’s the use of that prayer?

Maybe this train is delayed..but it is not derailed!!” (yet… J ).

I have a dilemma now..Should I walk out if the train is delayed further and take a bus to Chennai..or should I stay in train only? Interesting Qn!! J

And to think that I was waiting for the last one week to spend three full days with amma and appa!!

The battery is down to 57%…Hope my night does not become more interesting…

Wait..there is an announcement…I had never been so attentive to railway announcements as I had been over the last one hour! It is official…the train is going to go through a different route..via Salem, Dharmapuri..Erode…

Hmm…Over the last five years as I had shuttled between Bangalore and Chennai I had travelled to Chennai by all possible means (except air – that option now is anyway in the realm of stupidness).. This is one more to my numerous experiences of travelling from Bangalore to Chennai…

I had travelled to Chennai on the day Rajkumar was cremated..the day a Supreme Court judgment on the Cauvery issue came in the favor of Tamil Nadu..On both days I took a risk..travelled through empty roads and crowded trains on both occasions…Those stories though will be told in a different blogpost..I am going to spare you of those now..

Another strange thing is that I am not hassled today even though there is so much delay that I could have gone to Chennai and even come back..maybe because I am blogging this as it happens..

 Arey bhagwan..is raat ko aur interesting mat banao..bahut boring bana do” (Kareena Kapoor, JWM, 2007) J

What timing!! The train has started moving at last!!

Bhagwan hai…kadavul irukaarpa..

00.30 hours…

Peace…

P.S to P.S to P.S: I reached home at 11.30..a full six hours later than the scheduled time..Normal time to travel from Bangalore to Chennai in train/bus – six hours!!