Monday, December 17, 2012

Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa

With Guruswamy(2nd from left)
Sabarimala, this was the pilgrimage that always fancied me. I was unsure of the force that makes everyone wear those black robes, stay away from all worldly desires and devote the time praying Lord Ayyappa (Son of Vishnu and Shiva) for over a month. Devotees form a group- irrespective of the cast or the status in the society- and set off carrying Irrumudi under the guidance of Guruswamy (head of group),

First timers are called Kanniswamy and are under special observance, being taught about the rituals by the seniors. They mark their arrival in Sabarimala by throwing a dart like structure on the special wall where Lord Ayyappa is supposed to come and check. Belief is that the Lord will marry Mahishi once he finds that wall is empty. I was a Kanniswamy and had incredible experience with this group of 13.

We set off from Bangalore to Sabarimala, barefooted and carried Irrumudi. Irrumudi has a special significance- consists of rice, Kobbari filled with ghee, dry fruits, rose water, Karpoor, Arshina Kumkum and it is tied in a special way in a special bag. All of the things carried has it's own story to tell. For example- rice is carried as a token of prayer from the ladies in the home (as they are not allowed if they are in between age of 12 and age of 50), ghee represents the soul and the Kobbari represnts our body- ghee is offered to God, signifying that all souls will go back to God ,and Kobbari that is carried is put into the pyre, signifying our body that goes to pyre. Irrumudi is tied and handed over- big ritual in itself- marks the beginning of journey.

Train arrived in Chenaganur where special buses to Pamba ply frequently during this season. Yes, temple is open during Decemeber and January ( Jyothi of Makara Sankranthi), and first 5 days of every month. Rest of the while, 2 tigers are believed to take guard of the temple. No surprises, these are in dense forest of western ghats. We got lucky to see the lion tailed macaque, listed in endangered species.

After the holy bath at Pampa river, we set foot for a trek of 8 kms following Guruswamy, around 5 pm  Incidently, our Guruswamy was visiting Sabarimala for 18th time and he had to carry a sprouted coconut plant as the token. Next time he will be treated as Kanniswamy- as 18 marks a cycle- representing the holy 18 steps of the temple which everyone desires to step with their irrumudi is the biggest motive behind this holy pilgrimage. Also, temple is situated midst of 18 hills!

This trek was worth remembering- chants of Lord everywhere. We had a memorable darshan of Lord and offered the ghee we carried. We saw the time- it was showing 11 pm! This was surprising! 11.30 pm marks end of day in Sabarimala with a song- "HariHaraVasam" sung by K J Yesudas. Over lakh of devotees maintain silence and pray. Temple opens at 4 am with the "Suprabhata" sung by again, Yesudas. True testimony to this legendary singer, isn't it?!

We din't sleep. Went around the temple where shops/people never slept. Life was still on. Early morning we visited temple again for ghee abhishekam. Those glimpse of Lord gave us that immense happiness that we could never think of. Devotion was at peak.

On the way back, we visited Guruvayur temple of Krishna. Colourful city. But long waiting hours for glimpse of Lord. Kerala is God's own country and every stretch looked more beautiful. We came to Trissur to catch the train back to Bangalore.
God's own country

This pilgrimage was well powered by the home cooked eatables as eating outside is restricted. We carried a big bag with food that could last for 3 days. On the way, sister of one of the member in our group offered us more food. Commitment of these ladies to make this holy pilgrimage a grand success deserves nothing less than a big heartfelt thank you!

This is a special place as every devotee is considered as Swamy. No discrimination. There is a place of worship for friend of Lord, Vavaraswami, a Muslim saint. Every devotee trekking down helps the devotee who is climbing the tiresome uphill- may be with the bit of water or with the glucose powder or by just blowing some air of relief on him. We made friends with couple of people- from a different region, different linguistic origin- but one thing in common- devotion to God.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hulli Makki, Oppa HorseGram Style ..

After fond memories of Agani, I knew Sakaleshpur, known as Scotland of east, had more in store. My cousins had a long email discussion to decide on this place to stay, a home stay, Hulli Makki, where hulli is derived from huruli, horse gram and Makki, field that is irrigated for half a year. We were 13 of us and youngest was my cousin's one year old daughter!

Friday morning, we set off in 3 cars at 8 am from Bangalore and it was over 260 km drive. Our first stop was in Hotel Mayura, in BM (Bangalore- Mangalore) road, NH 4, near Bellur cross, for breakfast. It lived up to the hype that we had created referring our past visit. We had to stop twice further ahead as baby had its terrible first road journey. We managed to reach around 1.30 pm and we were greeted with Musumbi juice!

Food served was excellent throughout and the lunch was a perfect start. Lot of new delicious veg recipes made me proud of being vegetarian for a change! I particularly remember a sweet- chandrahara, that acted like a medicine for my cousin who was down with stomach upset. Hulli Makki, had a vast coffee estate with black pepper and citrus plants like orange. It was blessed with plenty of water and could see the vegetables like pumpkins being grown. Even the fruits were plenty- guvava to Sakkare kanchu and Chakkota.

We spent our Friday evening in the water fall, beautiful and serene surrounding. I saved my jaw even after having an epic fall from the rock I climbed. Reasons for the fall were more than to do with the slippery rocks which cannot be revealed! On Saturday afternoon we made a point to teach one our cousin how to swim in the lake beside. We formed pyramids and took a leap to jump into water. Later in the evening we enjoyed the sun setting behind the sky kissing hills.

Both the nights we had camp fires. Playing antakshri, Chinese dumb charades, lot of ant- elephant questions, witty jungle book story QA's, Gangnam style dance, ghost, camp fires was the best part in the perfect weather of this place. There were no fans in the room and it was not required also.

Sun was intense in the day and early morning tea tasted very different in this climate. Saturday morning we left early for an trek which started at the base of Betta Bhairaveshwara temple, built around 700 years ago near Hanbal . It was a trek of 4 uphill. Wind was blowing at it's highest speed and the mist was just fantastic. The temple looked more beautiful as we attained higher altitudes. 6 of us decided to trek down in the unconventional forest way, temple was our reference point and we had make our way as we climbed down. 5 Min walk in the valley where there was literally nothing down the feet and we had to crawl with the help of ferns and grass over there was the most adventurous moment. Overall it was a refreshing 4 hours of fun!

2 days spent were extremely rejuvenating.  As we rode back I was just pondering over the attributes that made our mother Earth so beautiful. Life is indeed a Poem- Without internet, without laptop, without television, without telephone, without traffic, with greenery, with paddy fields and coffee estates, with lakes, with waterfall, with tasty food and more importantly, with amazing people!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Virtually There: V9

Annual day. It’s the day when we celebrate the spirit that kept us going all through the past year and an introspection day when we sing to rejoice and reframe the goals for the upcoming year. Our school annual days are still afresh in our memory. You may think a corporate annual day might be boring. Let’s clear it out!

Welcome to Virtually There (VT) – V9, version nine, one behind the double digit!

Last year when I attended my first office annual day, I was expecting a lot of figures to bounce over my head. But fortunately, that didn't really happen. Instead I was bowled over by the performance of talented colleagues around, and for my surprise, our Managing Director (MD) lead from the front with his Dabangg cameo. Visions, achievements and goals were sneaked in a way that reached everyone without a single dull moment.

This year promised more excitement and it took no time before we got into groove. I made a choice this time. I wanted to give a shot for drama. Auditions took place when 3 weeks were remaining. God knows how my director (who played the lead, amazing actor!) selected the cast. Raw script with dialogues was handed over. That was first and last day when we practiced with that sheet of paper!

Theatre was one which I always wanted to try. I remember doing small skits in schools. But, I got the actual taste of it when I worked for couple of months for Dramanon Manipal in production. Although it was a small stint, I got an insight on what goes around and naturally my respect for stage artists doubled!

This annual day, it was competition between 4 large teams. Concept was based on super hero and 4 fields of evaluation- 4D’s- Dance, Drama, Decibel (Singing) and Design (Fashion show). Every team got 20min to perform and win over judges (I vaguely remember- Richard David Tholoor was one of them) and audience. I was part of drama team. Lot of promotions went on when there was a week left to go. Flash mobs, publicity, banners, teasers, gimmicks, surprise chocolates and cakes, ahh, intensity was at its peak. Meanwhile all team were training hard for the show. And our script got changed at least 20 times!

Our MD had different plans this time; to give his key note he made a literally flying entry on stage in his red Spiderman attire. We did skip a heartbeat! We were ready for the show. Battle was fought with true sportsman spirit. As a team, we came 2nd. Drama we bagged first place.

In the end, organizers were the true winners. They knew how to get out the innovations from the employees. They knew how to make us feel at home. They knew how to create that feeling of belonging. You only perform only if you belong there, right?!

[This article was originally posted here in ManipalBlog.]

Monday, September 24, 2012

Virtually There- V8

I was amazed to learn that the planet Venus follows a pentacle path. It takes 8 years for it to do so. Pentacle is nothing but collection of 5 lines that intersect. Isn’t it wonderful? But wait, most amazing wonderful part is yet to be told, i.e., this fact was discovered by our ancestors at least 4000 years before the Christ!

Welcome to Virtually There (VT) – V8, version eight, I am here with a story of a night!

Being nocturnal is the youth trend. This version may go wrong with the some of you, but I am going with a disclaimer now itself. Yes, I am going to talk about night outs. Hence here is this disclaimer- Dear reader, if I give you a stone- you can either put it down or break it or you can use it to build the next beautiful structure. Control was with you, waste it or shape it!

If man can discover the path of Venus by just observations, we need to salute the human intelligence. 8 years is really long, and to tell it precisely is very challenging. If those nights can lead to these wonderful discoveries, than why are we least bothered about our nature, ignorant about the changes around us, and portray night out as one that was meant to booze and smoke up!

Night outs are best if you are in a mood of introspection. Surrounding is calm. Zero noise. Climate cooling down. And no college/office to go the next day. You are bound to feel happy. Problem with the modern age is that we have all the time for world and not for ourselves! Our worries keep multiplying and instead of addressing it, we keep building on it, we switch on to our “Adjust Kar lo yaar” attitude!

Numerous night outs that I have had have given me different perspective every time. The ones in the beach are still fresh in my mind. Those waves under the moon light have inspired my poems. Twinkling of the stars has light up my writings. Midnight Chai’s have added flavors to my taste buds. Early morning snacks have redefined hunger for me. That watchful drive in the streets of crazy dogs has tossed my heart out frequently. Yes, every night out was an experience, is an experience and hopefully, will be an experience!

One point I have missed to mention, yeah, I learnt to observe, I started seeing the transformation, from dark to light, from void to knowledge!

In V8, I really didn’t have a story to tell, but I had a message to give. Learning and exploring oneself is the hardest thing to do, and a night out makes it easy for you. This is not the only means, but for surely, one of the many. Happy exploring!

[This article was originally posted here in ManipalBlog.]

Monday, September 17, 2012

Virtually There- V7

Experiments can either be a massive hit or if it fails, will be a lesson that can stay with you for a life time. Those who try and succeed leave a lasting legacy for generations to come. Some say, it’s in their blood. Some say, they are gifted. Some say, they worked hard. As I mentioned in VT-V5, I can just be thankful for the appreciation I get each time I experiment, here is the excerpt of my new beginning!

Welcome to Virtually There (VT) – V7, version seven, time to explore the legacy, time to meet a rising star!

I feel it’s not easy to be a star. Plus, to live/continue the legacy that’s been influencing art since four generations is a herculean task. You almost think it is difficult to find an individual who can do all this, but then you meet a lady who is down to earth, willing to improve, already performing wonders, recognized for who she is and not for whom she's following, counting awards, eager to give back to her much loved art, still young and with lots of dreams!

Presenting an interview with “Nalanda Nritya Nipuna” Prateeksha Kashi, danseuse par excellence and woman who defines Virtually there - V7.

Me: Well, before I start, I will say what I know, that you hail from an artistic family of the legendary Dr Gubbi Veeranna and were initiated to dance at a tender age of five. Both your parents are well known actors/artists; mother in particular, has achieved cult status in Kuchipudi- a classical dance form.

Prateeksha: I just feel blessed for the atmosphere at my home. Truly God’s grace. In fact, my mother Vyjayanthi Kashi is my role model, guru, and friend. Being an ace choreographer herself, she never forced me to take up dance; she treats me equal to any other students when we are in the Shambhavi school of Dance, this is the best thing I like about her, when it comes to dance, I am always a student!

Me: I see a hunger to learn in your eyes, that’s good, but, I need to clarify something, we both are sitting at this coffee table of our office, a Tech firm, I wonder, why you are here!

She smiles!

Prateeksha: A lot of people ask me the same question. I have kept doing two things simultaneously. I believe that they'll complement each other, mutually add value, yielding better results in both fields. I was interested in science, so I am a techie today, no matter what, I sneak in time for my evergreen love, Kuchipudi, as long as I can manage both, I am happy doing them together.

Me: Fair enough, as you are already doing things in style, keep rocking! Do you train hard?

Prateeksha: I’ll elaborate. I have a lot of interaction with giants in my field of art, and I have kept improving. I believe in the Guru-Shishya parampara. Knowledge has no money, it only has value. Giving is everything and it’ll make your life more vibrant. You know, all of us are equally talented. Just that, we need to identify the field that drives us. Like I did for dance and you did for literature. Then with passion, one can scale the zenith.

Me: I am honored! I am shooting the last question, what does it take to be on the stage and how does it feel, say at an international level (she has given stage shows worldwide), performing live?

Prateeksha: It takes lot of determination, grit, practice and confidence. Kuchipudi is an amalgam of both drama and dance. Expectations or responsibilities, both just help me come out better. For me performance is like a prayer. When I perform, I thank the art for making me what I am today, I feel at peace with my soul, I give my best, I want my organizers and more importantly, the audience to take home something, worth remembering, true taste of art and lot of joy!

The Conversation continued.

I knew what to give back. I wanted to tell you that even you are equally talented. I knew how people worship art. I wanted you to join the prayer. I knew how to remain grounded and shoot at stars. I wanted you to take the aim and achieve the dream.

Thank you Prateeksha, zenith is not far, may you achieve all your dreams. I can just be thankful!

[This article was originally posted here in ManipalBlog.]

Monday, September 10, 2012

Virtually There- V6

This article was originally posted here in ManipalBlog.

I set off on a quest of finding the purpose of life. My writing speed slowed down. I started thinking of every word that I was using. I knew I was running into bad waters, I am not an Aristotle or Buddha, but yes, I had the courage to sail it over!

Welcome to Virtually There (VT) – V6, version six, let’s ponder why we live!

Writing about love in VT- V5 was far easy than writing about life today. Is it because I think that I am in love? Is it because I have found a lot of love? Is it because I don’t enjoy life? Is it because even I wonder of my existence like many of you?

Scholars said- have a dream. Work towards it. Rest not till you achieve it. We read- “A goal without a plan is just a wish”. Make plan, work it out. Work is worship, etc., etc. Did we miss something? Why didn’t anyone say to enjoy the life however it comes!

Mission of life is not to ponder over it. Mission of life is not to define it. Mission of life is not to be a frog in the well. Mission of life is not to cheat people. Mission of life is not to kill humanity. Mission of life is not to complain. Mission of life is to live!

To live the life, I correct, to live the life of your wish, I correct, to live the life that your heart guides, I correct, to live the life that God gives, I correct, to live the life with no regrets, I correct, to live the life in the present!

I was unable to finish the previous line; I started with the bang, and kept correcting. So is the LIFE!

The moment I find logical end to this version, I am bound to be enlightened. Hence, instead of defining V6, version six, I was trying to find the logical end this time. Like life, I can’t get perfectly right. I thought of coming up with my own poetry, but Robert Frost’s six lines seemed to be perfectly written for this version. It had love, it had promises, it had snow, it had a flow, it had a goal, and it had LIFE!

He will not see me stopping here 
To watch his woods fill up with snow. 
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, 
But I have promises to keep, 
And miles to go before I sleep, 
And miles to go before I sleep.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Virtually There- V5

This article was originally posted here in ManipalBlog.

Clouds had set. Cool breeze. Sun was sneaking out to tell me-“dude, it’s still the evening!” In no time, there was a big rainbow. Right in front of me. I wanted to pull it down, scribble your name in it, put it back in the sky, and let the world see it!

Welcome to Virtually There (VT) – V5, version five, time to fall in love!

In this sophisticated era, where the masks play wider role than the one’s face, I took no time to see your eyes. Dark brown eyes. It had the magic. Your childishness never allowed you to don the masks and enter the cruel world. You had hid it in your curious eyes. I saw the vision. Time had come to prove that the love is not blind!

You came in front, left before I could even blink. You were not like a lightning, but like mesmerizing music, hearing to it, I always wanted to get lost in this world. Hearing to it, I could be in bliss. Hearing to it, I could sing all my life. Hearing to it, I can fly off from where I am. Hearing to it, I can render colors to rainbow. Hearing to it, I can script a special place for you!

Like earlier versions, I thought of defining v5. Are you kidding me? Love has no definition, so does v5!

Those moments which you made me feel special is not the definition. Those sweet talks or petty fights also won’t define it. It’s much more than that. It’s like trying to find the origin of a river. I can never define, nor can anyone. Only versions can be provided and so goes this one!

I follow your footsteps.. 

It’s not elusive today.. 

Love is not blind anymore.. 

A rose at a distance is bright.. 

Like the vibrant sun of future.. 

My reflection in the stagnant waters.. 

Is the flavor of your flowing footsteps.. 

Feeling happy is the purpose of love. Feeling content is the purpose of love. Feeling blessed is the purpose of love. Exploring one’s soul is purpose of love. Living the life is purpose of love. I can only discuss the purpose, I can never show it to you in this version, like I always and can only feel your continuous support and love for my different experiments!

I can just be thankful. I can just look at you. I can just be in love!

Virtually There- V4

This article was originally posted here in ManipalBlog.

Four. I’ll miss those classy fours that came out from VVS Laxman’s bat. This was the first thing that came to my mind when I was thinking for ideas on V4. Ideating is always a problem, isn’t it, Mr. Baby Bachchan?

Welcome to Virtually There (VT) – V4, version four, time to start a startup!

I promise this won’t be a technical version. My technical background will merely boost the quality of this article and will help me connect with the “common man” better. Yes, Indian National Congress had a great idea under their sleeves last elections; it overshadowed the “India Shining”, way to go, “aam aadmi”!

Who hasn’t played the game- Angry Birds, very simple, intuitive and entertaining? Interesting part is to know what led for its making; back in 2009 the "swine flu" epidemic was in the news, so the designers made the pigs as enemies for birds, developers had sensed the pulse of mass. Making market analysis or money flow or preparing charts was not their priority then!

Be it politics, science, technology, medicine, art, poetry or anything which requires craftsmanship of a human being to come into existence, what is most needed is not the ideas; every second guy has an idea, a business plan and pack of dreams. Shopping for cradle before the baby is born is not the right thing to do!

Some of us are willing or have started up new ventures just to avoid our ever pissing off managers. Or some of us like to live our everyday like a king rather than as a slave. Or we have seen our friends earn extra buck after pulling their weekends to put up a website. Or some of us just hate being part of big brands and rather like to build our own. Or we are just inspired by a dream of getting listed in Wallstreet!

Here comes the need of v4- we four- our neighborhood. If you are inspired by life and not by anything I listed above, congratulations, you are our ‘best future’ entrepreneur!

Go out to the streets, explore roadside food joints, and travel in most rigorous mode of journey. When we do this, let’s empathize with whatever we encounter. I am sure “aam aadmi” will completely conquer our acumen and take us out from the darkness of our presumption. Ideas will grab us. Gold that is mined has to go through the darkness before it actually starts to glitter!

Time to mine, time to explore, time to go, time to start!

Virtually There- V3

This article was originally posted here in ManipalBlog.

This version is highly inspired by the huge debate that took place during our evening snacks. I thankfully work in a place where food is also given equal priority with the work. Occasional eating breaks have become part of our lives. We sit together and chit-chat for long hours. If some topic, like the one which I’ll discuss shortly, comes up, breaks just get longer!

Welcome to Virtually There (VT) - V3, version three, did I say charity begins at home!

Like VT-V2, I and you are still part of the story, along with it, now, I add the society!

We see a lot of Government Offices (GOs)/Non-government Offices (NGOs) striving hard for making our society better. Lot of fund is raised. We see eminent persons launching the initiatives. We see politicians showcasing these undertaken projects in their propaganda speeches. We see celebrity run marathons. We see religious heads doing best of their efforts. We see media trying to provide “breaking news” in this cause as well!
Did the beggar whom we saw day before was in the same road yesterday? Did we hear about yet another scam? Did we see the worst dreams of riots in our neighboring state? Did the kid carrying the stone in a construction site go to school? Did we read about ban of cigarettes in public? Why do these kinds of questions never end? What have we given back to society?

This is how the debate went. One of us argued that “trusts” that claim to bring about changes should work with government. Another was quick in replying that as the government is failing to deliver, these organizations have emerged and some use it for their own benefit. Corruption involved in selection of bureaucrats was one of the allegations. Debate only got dirty. My friend stood to leave the venue. We made him sit!

It was dusk, sky was red, cool breeze, and I guess, the time was right to light the lamp.

From today, let’s think V3- we three. We both will join hands in restructuring the third, the society. Let’s not forget that, we have come up here and probably we will settle in the same dust. Let’s not disown it. We will clean it, repair it, and importantly, be for it as it has always been for us. We will make it as our home. Let’s all of us make a little silent impact. We need not hold mikes and march the roads to bring the change. Because, it’s truly said, barking dog seldom bites!

Adlai E. Stevenson once said “A free society is one where it is safe to be unpopular”!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Virtually There- V2

This article was originally posted here in ManipalBlog.

After VT-V1, I got some reviews saying that I brag a lot about Manipal. Well, I welcome healthy comments wholeheartedly, so in VT-V2, I’ll try to sneak Manipal feeling in, without mentioning Manipal anywhere( oops, did I mention Manipal again!)

Welcome to Virtually There (VT) – V2, version two, let’s try discovering our power!

Who hasn’t seen the Vodafone song video- “You and I, in this beautiful world”, little pug jumping around the boy, complimenting and playing with each other. Questions pop up; does “two” always make a perfect couple? Perfect couple are happy only when they are together? Being together make a happy couple? Does happy couple means empowering of two?

Did you get a hint that I’ll talk about old crap of love and relationships, definitely NO!

Let me tell you a story. It was a Thursday evening when I got off from the office shuttle, on the way back to my room. As usual, in the popular Bengaluru slow traffic, I managed to set my foot in the footpath. A grey innova car that was passing slowed down. Foreigner sitting in the backseat of the car immediately took out his camera and started clicking pictures. For a moment, I thought, had I become so popular with my first article in ManipalBlog!

I turned back to see what exactly he was trying to capture. It was a drunkard who had collapsed in the footpath. Foreigner looked around and started clicking in other direction. This time, group of men and woman waiting for their turn to fetch water from municipal water tap fascinated him. It literally made me look back and think, what is he trying to take back home, those stills from movie like “Slumdog Millionaire” that projected India as a poor, useless country?

It’s time that we brag about our country. When we two sit together next time, let’s talk about corruption, dirty politics, black money, violence, rape and murders, women molestation, hockey failures. Let’s not about how we have progressed, our economy’s constant GDP, our IT/industry sourcing, our military missile technology, innumerable PSLV launches, widening roads, connecting villages, Mary Kom’s bronze medal or anything that makes us proud!

We both are partner in the crime!

Because of us, today foreigner forgets to click the lady belonging to a different community dressing up a child as Krishna on an annual fancy dress competition. Because of us, he thinks that people are colourless here although we have a magnificent holi. Because of us, he thinks that we are in dark although we have diwali. Because of us, he thinks that we are in debt although we invented the zero that he counts daily!


Virtually There- V1

This article was originally posted here in ManipalBlog.

If you are in Manipal and if you have read V1 as Version one, you got it right!

For those who didn’t, welcome to Virtually There (VT). Time to move on, time to read on!

Most of us always start on a very high note, on different aspects that becomes a part of our life, either knowingly or unknowingly. Positive start is always commendable and pumps us with lot of energy. Biggest illusion of these aspects is the mysterious unknown destiny. Well, It’s said that, journey is always beautiful than the destiny. Has the word “journey” replaced the word “present” here? Give it a thought...

Tomorrow is called future, yesterday is called past and, today is called the present, indeed; life is the present and is a present!

You would have seen a retired old man in his seventies, lying down in an old wooden chair, thinking about his past and smiling. He would have spent all his life working. Rising a family, supporting them, living for them, contributing for the society, getting the necessary things done, struggling for each rupee, planning for the better future, all this would have given him a pillow full of worries. There could have been a time where he would have faced adversities and blamed the God for his life. In the process, the innocent smile, his lone processions till his twenties, given by Him, would have died. He rediscovers!

Imagine a world with one religion- the present. Where each one of us would plan and work for its empowerment. When we say one world, why not think “we one”. Now, when I look back, Manipal seeded this feeling in me. Yes, it is definitely a mini melting pot. I have made friends with my classmates from all around the country. Some of them from abroad too. I think, this is what lit the kindle, a term called “Manipal Spirit”, in all of us. We have overcome the constraints, we have overcome the barriers. We are able to connect to any human of this world. We are designed like this in our stay here. We have developed humanity. We have won. Now I have defined we one, Cheers!

1. My placing of exclamation symbols may be wrong, but whenever Manipal spirit arises, I can’t help placing them.
2. Vocabulary that will be used may be limited; my articles will not help GRE preparations.
3. I won’t promise the number of versions that I’ll write in VT, but I promise, with each new version, learning will increase.
4. I’ll let my readers to give the verdict in the end; I’ll only put my points and views.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Love Marriage ya Arranged Marriage

Wow! Writing is such an exciting art where you push yourself into a situation that you could never think of. Marriage, I enjoy those ceremonies. Great food, glitters around, women dressed up and more importantly, sweets of extra calories which we never mind!

Today, I tried standing in bridegroom’s shoe. Fantastic, I knew half the crowd in the wedding hall. If it was an arranged marriage, from now on, I will have to start loving the individual standing next to me, else, carry on with what I have done best till date. Loving finally matters. Has life ever given us choices!

Take one:

Man has always tried to formulate rules. At times, we feel our traditions are noble and well thought. Arranged marriage is one such kind of institution. This is governed by infinite rules. They match horoscopes and consider on what stars has got to say. They do background check better than our FBI/CBI. Financial and family status in the society carries equal importance. Finally, if everything goes right, boy and girl speak to each other, and they have got two minutes to make a decision!

When you were a kid, imagine your dad throwing you in the air. You were all smiles; you knew he would hold you when you fall down. The same trust is here as well. Parents can never make a mistake in choosing a write match. It’s like they’ll show the way, but ultimately it’s on the couple as they are the travellers of long journey, they can either sail smoothly in the waters or choose to walk the forest of thorns!

Take two:

Loose control, break the rules, rewrite them!

Scientific acumen has always taught us this. Centuries rolled, Indian society longed to dawn the modern gown. In the process, we forgot Aryabhatta, we called our philosophy ancient, sold our numbers and welcomed void.

Thirties were defined as new marriage age, and twenties as the age to fall in love. College were shown as the place where hero and heroine meet, bunk classes, roam around the garden, share the umbrella as the first rains took no time to kiss the earth, fight with the untidy goons, thrash them for the girl, make mid night calls as telephone vendors keep slashing their night tariff, unlimited texting all day, convince parents, threaten that only death is the alternate option, get married, movie ends, life starts!

If we go to car showroom, we take a test ride before we make a purchase. Same holds good here. One can make a right choice of vehicle after reading thousand of reviews, but if the piece delivered is faulty, company will replace it, but marriage doesn’t!

Final Verdict:

With my limited knowledge, I have tried connecting the dots. Love or arranged, prefix doesn’t matter. If the couple pledge to choose “love” as the suffix for the word- marriage, institution of marriage will be heralded. A moment spent with no love and no respect, is the life spent unworthy.

[This article is written for Contest]

Monday, August 6, 2012

Masks of Wonderland: A Haiku

My poem entry for Illuminati 2012, annual poetry and story writing competition conducted by ManipalBlog(posted originally here). Declared winner in public choice category.

From zero
An endless journey
Quest of life

World we see
Is a wonderland
Love portrait

River runs
Royal ocean roars
Heart beats heard

Bricks delight
Every sculpture built
Cast a spell

Zestful path
Realism reckons
Thirst to dwell

Masks circle
Kid, teen, youth, adult
To zero

Enlightenment, main aim of our existence, is the dream of every soul. When we reckon the ‘realism’, wonderland builds in front of our eyes.  Thirst to live in this wonderland is the enlightenment. It involves us playing many roles at times- from zero (birth) to zero (death). Zero defines an infinite life (endless journey) – all in the big circle- where ‘the start’ and ‘the end’ is indefinite!
This is haiku written with eleven syllables count.
[Haiku is Japanese poetry form that has three meaningful lines which are complete and reflecting nature. Haiku have syllabic limitations as well. Syllables and words aren't the same thing. For e.g. the single word "traditional" would have four syllables since it's pronounced "tra-di-tio-nal". A traditional haiku has eleven or seventeen syllables, in a strict 3-5-3 or 5-7-5 format. ]

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Person of the Day: My Interview

It was my privilege to be interviewed by and first posted here) on 17 June 2012 
1. Jaideep Rao is …
a man whose punch line is “When I am here, nothing to fear”!. Highly inspired by Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam, from his immense personality and deep poetry.  Also inspired by Rajnikanth at times  . If this question was asked a year back, would have given an interview answer  , thankfully placed with a job (Indian kid’s highest dream  ) and happily(with loads of luck)  graduated now!. Living a life midst two disasters, studies just behind the back and doomsday looming in front 
Jaideep Rao 926x1024 5 Questions with Jaideep Rao: Person of the Day
2. What does Manipal and ManipalBlog bring to your mind?
Original Manipal product! Came here for 2nd standard and ended up living 16 years (geek mind tells me that is 2 power of 4!). Have seen it loose thick greenery gradually and buildings rise exponentially. As they say, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, once a Manipalite, always a Manipalite!
ManipalBlog is an ultra active blog bringing out true Manipal spirit. I realised the uniqueness of this blog when I was out of station during internship. For the days to come, I predict that it’ll simply get better. Looking forward to be a part of Illuminati 2012.
3. What can you tell us about the Philosopher’s stone?
People say love inspires poet in a person. I say Manipal makes you a poet  . We are indeed inspired by life!. Started with writing small poems, now an integral part of haiku world, where three meaningful lines from heart are used to describe love, life, emotions and everything  .  I believe that writing allows one to explore the dreams and make them come true. Message to friends who want to blog -  Experiment, fail and rise again to triumph – In life and in writing. Cheers!
To know more do visit Philosopher’s Stone. Comments, suggestions, likes, criticisms are always welcome  .
4. What has changed after Manipal?
Those 8’o clock classes, 10’o clock samosas, overly crowded canteens, gruelling afternoon labs, way2sms messages to my class (I was a CR for 3 years, hi-fi!), head football flash games with friends, instant decisions to hangout in greens or crumbz/snack shack or a movie, joyous delta bike rides, TechTatvas, Revels, I only feel that I am blessed to be a part of this dream. Dream indeed!
 Stepping into real world, I see that these dreams can turn into thoughts, thoughts into actions, and actions into success! Years down the line, I’ll be able to figure out the amount that Manipal affected my life. For now, I have just opened my eyes, again a beginner, longing for beginner’s luck  
5. Smile and the world smiles with you . . . Pontificate and??
I add world also smiles in you with the smile. Smile is best expression and when it’s from the heart can win enemies as well as non-existent self! Spreading joy is not just the tagline of coke; it’s the mission of life. I thank you for making me smile with this opportunity, first interview yaar, and little senti is must icon wink 5 Questions with Jaideep Rao: Person of the Day . To conclude, as I always say, Be good, Do good, Results- Good icon smile 5 Questions with Jaideep Rao: Person of the Day