[ To Express, To Reflect, To Give Back ]

Team India is the World Cup Champions!

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

It is truly a happiest moment for me as well as all the Indians across the World. May this moment be frozen in time. May the billion hearts forever be as joyous as today.

Dhoni – you are a gem of a Captian and you deserve every bit of it. Sachin – You have it now, the boys did it for you, with you.

Team India brought home the lost legacy and nailed its place as the greatest cricket team in the world! They touched the sky!

The team India that made dreams come true!

Try try touch the sky! India

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

This Saturday may be Sachin's most precious day...

Today, India stole from the hands of Pakistan a well-deserved win against a roaring crowd from great country side of Punjab. On a day like this, the people of India love their cricket team to death. (On other occasions of failure, the same players get virtually hunted and verbally beaten, getting psychologically killed!)

Indeed, today was a moment of pride and honor for players and the whole nation. Every single player in the team worked hard for this moment and they won’t go to sleep tonite until they celebrate the heck out of their souls. A world cup Semi Finals is perhaps harder than Finals – more so because it hurts so much to get this far and not make it to Finals. In some sense, the teams fought not to win but for not to lose. You will shed your last pint of blood to escape going through what went on between the ears of Afridi and Aktar in the last few balls of the match.

Reclaim lost legacy and nail it!

In the first innings, the Indian players got burned down by Pak’s impeccable bowling. Yet, the team India rose out of the ashes to stage a spectacular show under the lights.

The Team India rarely gets their act together on a consistent basis. The last two matches will likely go down in history books as great cricket leading up to a world cup finals.

What’s remaining on Saturday is for Team India to show that it can cough up fire out of ash to nail its lost legacy as the world’s best cricket team in the world. Sachin Tendulkar will bet his entire fortune to be frozen in that moment through eternity.

A billion fans will be holding up our torches so the eleven tigers can scale through the darkest, farthest part of the heaven to kill the roaring lions. Go Team India Go! Try try and touch the sky!

For the love of bullet trains and bonsai trees

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Much about the Japan’s earth quake and tsunami is being recorded and seen. Given the proliferation of cameras, this event is perhaps as close to real for rest of the world as can be experienced virtually. The tenacious Japanese will quickly recover or recreate the property damages, but nothing can compensate for the precious lives lost in one of Nature’s worst outrage.

In the middle of all the oohs, aahs and wows, there is also wide recognition of both Japan’s preparedness, as well as it’s disaster relief efforts. Anything man-made is “no more than a dust in the hands of Nature” so we may never perfectly design a building or a city or a relief operation, but the Japanese have absolutely demonstrated what superior engineering, thoughtful planning, religious preparation and most importantly, careful execution, by authorities as well as citizens, can do to minimize loss. We don’t have to make a big deal out of it at the moment, but given the scale of nature’s double whammy we must soon recognize that it is Japan’s design prowess, strict adherence to engineering codes, and earthquake drills that saved more lives than what eventually will have been lost. Obviously, the rest of world got a wake up call and has been keenly watching to learn from every second of Japan’s experience.

Calmness in Chaos

Personally, my siblings and I have long been admirers of Japanese for their culture, work ethic and determination. Growing up in southern India, we lived in a very old house with toilets detached from the house out in the backyard and so we had to walk a bit to answer nature’s calls. No offense, we actually named our toilet as, you might guess, “Japan!”. We used to yell “I am going to Japan!!!” before we ran through the back door. That was a silly-but-serious way for the siblings to keep the fascinating Japan accessible to ourselves.

Call it luck or destiny, my brother-in-law was a scientist in Japan (incidentally researching earthquake resistance of specialized concrete) and so my sister moved to Tsukuba shortly after they got married. Later, my parents too had a chance to visit Japan. All of them have nothing but admiration for this great country, its heritage and its people. No country is without shortcomings but what I heard again and again was Japanese were hallmarks for politeness, discipline, sincerity and mutual respect for fellow humans and nature.

A few days after the earth quake, I stumbled upon a personal blog written by a non-Japanese guy living somewhere in Japan. He had shared his first-hand perspectives of the post-earthquake events having experienced Japan and its culture more closely than average foreigner. Knowing that my family would better relate to this guy’s observations, I shared the article with them and my brother-in-law had this to say in response…

The preparedness of Japanese has always kept me mesmerized. Right from controlling air planes to picking up rags, these people do a perfect job. Guess, God must have put hard disks and artificial intelligence in them rather than neurons and tissues.

The other day i was talking to one of the Indians friends in Tokyo inquiring about their welfare. She told that the Japanese were simply adorable during such an havoc. It seems, they still greeted each other the same way and was ready to help this Indian friend of mine as if it was another normal day.

My dad responded with a beautiful poem written by 12-year old Rohith, who lives next door to my parents in Coimbatore…

Hit by tsunamis and earth quakes
Nuclear meltdowns and flooded lakes
Japan has suffered more than what it takes
To bring the earth down.

This is our little prayer
Its not much but it is larger
Than the ignorant layer
Of people who don’t care

Oh God! please save those people
Survival of the feeblest of the feeble
All the dead , they should be able
To reach heaven without fail.

To restore it to the ultimate peace
From the bullet trains to the bonsai trees
And to bring it all in one piece
You have to help them god, to make it through

I am not at all surprised that there has been no looting or public unrest in Japan. The Japanese hold their culture to highest levels of integrity – more so during times of disasters. I see no point in comparing them with other citizens across the world who looted their own cities amidst natural or man-made disasters. Many countries have similar values but only in Japan every citizen takes their cultural values to their heart and souls.

I join Rohit in wishing the Japanese further strength and resilience to “restore to its ultimate peace, everything from the bullet trains to the bonsai trees”

Prayers for the Speedy Recovery of Japan

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Mother nature’s ability to cause unbelievable havoc should never be underestimated. It is heart-wrenching to see the extent of the damage to Japan from today’s eartherquake. These pictures from Boston.com says it all. We offer our sincere prayers for speedy recovery of victims and the country as a whole. It’s a relief that Japan knows how to handle this situation better than anybody else on the face of the earth.

Students from Ahmedabad pray for Japan's victims via boston.com

Reflecting on Qualities of Success

Monday, February 28th, 2011

I have always been self-reflective and conscientious. Though not entirely an introvert, I enjoy time alone, that too quiet solitude, where possible. Most of my reflective time is spent on wondering what are the right things to do as a person or what makes someone a “success”. Naturally, I love philosophy for it needs extensive inward focus.

There is quite a bit of literature on the subject of what it means to be a good and successful person.  My quest has been to find the ultimate answer to the question of success – of course not in a material sense, but in a true human, soulful sense. For sure, I know I won’t find the one answer, so my discoveries continue. I have found a few so far. I write about one below and will write about others soon. [Hint: Dungy…]

John Wooden’s achievements has been unprecedented. He was the genius coach behind UCLA’s college basketball team which won more championship titles than any other college – unbeaten record even today. In his later years, he gave a lecture (and later a book) titled The Pyramid of Success. The pyramid is made of qualities/attributes we must have for winning in life. I love analyzing models, so this pyramid has been a sweet pudding savoring my appetite for a while!

Pyramid of Success

John Wooden's Pyramid of Success

While searching for the graphic, I stumbled upon this article about John Wooden written for a local newspaper in Tennessee by Barbara Gunn. She quotes John Wooden from a Toasmaster article she had read:

“When I was an English teacher, I found out some parents made their youngsters feel they had failed if they didn’t get an A or B. I never liked that definition of success,” he told the Toastmaster interviewer. “I wanted to come up with something that I hoped would make me a better teacher and give those under my supervision something with which to aspire, other than high marks in the classroom or more points in athletic endeavors.”

Thus came his pyramid. The qualities in the pyramid are not about becoming a sports star or going to Harvard business school or being a math genius. They are the time-tested personal qualities everyone should cultivate – be it a pauper or king. Success (material & non-material) and satisfaction will follow wherever we go and whatever we do.

Now, take some time tonight to reflect on the pyramid.

Mr. Wooden lived exactly 100 years (1910-2010) to attest for the truthfulness of the pyramid. Is that good enough to convince us to take his words seriously?

Randy Pausch legacy

Friday, July 25th, 2008

A few months ago I was browsing through a ReadersDigest at the OBGYN’s office and stumbled up on an article about Randy Pausch and his “Last Lecture” and his book, under same title. Stuck with pancreatic cancer since September 2006, Randy braved through the last two years like a true hero. An accomplished engineer, professor and a humble man with many dreams and wishes, Randy delivered the “Last Lecture” not so much for the namesake or even for the thousands of people who showed up to see it live and the millions who are still watching it in YouTube, but just for his three kids! I can now relate to why he would have done better than I would have 7 weeks ago (our son was born on June 2nd). The hardest thing in life is to be upbeat when you know you are dying. I remember reading a small and wonderful book called “Tuesdays with Morrie” and felt the exact same emotions for Randy as well. I am sure hundreds of others like Randy and Morrie pass everyday without much fun fare, leaving their legacy with people near and dear to them. Randy was in a place and position from where he could make a difference in the world by giving back whatever he could, with the little time he had. And he did!

Time magazine declared him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world! If you watch the lecture (knowing his background), you will be influenced as well.

He died last night. May his soul rest in peace! May his legacy live forever!

right infront of our eyes

Sunday, September 4th, 2005

Watching the terrible scenes from New Orleans and other cities hit by Katrina would make anyone painfully sad. Since the Tsunami that hit south asia, the media has gone overboard in showcasing the aftermath of such calamities to the minutest details. I have only read in fiction but to see a city submerged in water right infront of my eyes is horrific. Poor citizens of New Orleans unable to escape and who lie beneath the waters, may God give them the power to hang in there somewhere until rescuers find them soon. Lets pray for the hundreds who have already lost their lives; may their souls rest in enternal peace.

Put under similar life threatening and hostile situation, we see that humans will behave the same way (looting, shooting, stampede), let be Americans or Iraqis. That said, I still wonder they shoot back at rescuers and loot TVs and clothing! (Food is understandable). I guess, put in such state, one cannot rationalize such human behaviour.

The suicide bombings in Iraq, voilences in Palestine, blasts in India, Typhoon in China, Hurricanes in US…perhaps, man is becoming to much for the world to bear with.

Devastating quake hits Tamilnadu

Sunday, December 26th, 2004

Hit with freezing cold in the last few days, we switched on the weather channel early in the morning wondering if there is going to be snow today. The news of powerful earth quake in south east asia shocked us. Soon we realized that what started as a tremor in west coast of Indonesia apparently has also reached the south east coast of India.

There wasnt much details on US national TVs yet, switching to Sun TV was even worse. They were enjoying the comedy time with Senthil. we rushed online and thanks to my mother-in-law, she was thoughtful and dropped as a short email explaining that they are safe but things are worse all over chennai. Her exact words –

“we had a tremor in the morning and it was for a fairly long duration we could see the cot shaking and the window panes vibrating immediately we went downstairs andstayed there for some time it was around 6.45 in the morning after that i got busy with my work and when around 10.30 in the morning when i switched on the tv set i came to know about the turbulent sea water coming into the interiors of the city i dont know as to how correct the inofrmation is about the human loss. the death toll is more in the interiors of tamilnadu”

The internet websites are only now catching up with latest news on damages. But the damages and loss of lives is already devastating. I think its an extremely unfortunate event on this time of end of year. Nobody to blame but God on this one. The countries hit were not the best in emergency response and so the damages is lot worse than it should be. It took four hours for the tsuanami to reach chennai from indonesia, something could have been done if we had the best system, but we dont. We are sitting here reading more and more news and praying for all our families, relatives, friends and everyone else who may be hit. When telephone lines arent reachable, prayers will.

Words cannot express our sorrow. May the same Lord give the strength and power to people in the affected areas for a speedy recovery from this terrible event. May all the souls who left us today for no reason rest in peace.

Insider Info on MS Subbulakshmi

Saturday, December 18th, 2004

Shylaja has written a nice insider informative article, in Tamil, about MS Subbulakshi and her accolades. I am sure you will gain even more respect and love for MSS after this. You can read it here.

MS Subbulakshmi – An eternal singer

Monday, December 13th, 2004

It was a shock. But soon our hearts went into tears for this soulful singer ever to have lived. My memories of Her are not from seeing Her but listening to Her even before I knew what and who I was listening to. Waking up to Suprabhadham was a customary in our family ( as in most ). Early in my life, “Suprabhadham” has become synonymous with MS Subbulakshmi. Her voice is eternal that it touches and lightens the toughest of the souls.


Though we have been listening to Her “Vishnu Sahasranama Namam’ every morning, two weeks ago, I bought a book to really understand the meanings of the words and to also to correct my Pronunciation. I have been wanting to do this for months, but somehow, I pulled myself into it two weeks ago and finally started it. Every day in the last two weeks, around twilight, I sat with Her cassette and the book with me, trying to hear it close and read the words exactly as She sings it. I have been spending an hour on just 5 verses, to learn exact pronunciation key and tonal pauses. I listened to each verse a dozen times repeating rewind/play with ears stuck to the speakers; I wanted to capture even Her breathing stops to make mine as close to perfect as I possibly can. On occasions, I got so engrossed in trying to find how in world She pronounced a certain word, while I couldnt even count the letters with that speed of thought! All along this experience, I was marvelled at the way She seamlessly renders the verses with God-like perfection. At dinner every day, I was telling harini about how difficult it was even to read them slowly with correct pronunciation, pause and the right emphasis much less sing them with a Godly rythm. I was telling her how unbelievably MSS has made these hymns look so easy to the listner hiding the numerous subtelities. Most of the emphasis and pauses are not coded into these hymns; besides these emphasis are extremely important without which your tongue will not be ready to say the next word in the right way at the right time. Every time I screwed up and corrected my pronunciation and emphasis, She was already way into the next verse. I kept wonderning how close to Her heart these must have been to have rendered them with extreme perfection.

In the middle of this eye-opening experience when I heard the news of Her demise, I was blown away. I kept questioning why God has dragged me so close to Her now than any other time. I probably listened to Her more than anyone else in the last few weeks, why? I couldnt find. But now I feel good that I did. I am a staunch believer that there is a reason behind everything so there will be, its just I dont know. I will continue this exercise of mine for weeks to come, but I already learnt that I am overambitious in attempting to master a perfection that was born, lived and gone with Her. Reading the meanings of the verses from the book I learnt that ‘he who recites these verses every day will be the blessed one to reach Lord Vishnu’. Perhaps, MSS will be the only one ever to recite it every single day, in past, in future, somewhere in someone’s ears.

May Her precious soul rest in peace in the holiest corner of the heaven.

Many in this lazygeek’s post share their memories of Her.

I was also pissed off when Sun TV read this news second in the headlines. Soon I was glad to see Mr.President flying down to give his salutations. Thats respect Sun TV.

Pooja for Goddess of Knowledge

Friday, October 22nd, 2004

We had almost missed [rather forgot] the Saraswathi[Goddess of Knowledge & Wisdom] pooja today if not for Harini’s mom who promptly reminded us with a call. As such harini was inventing ways to keep herself busy around the house [besides walking up and down the floors a dozen times and log-in/log-out of yahoo messager a hundred times], this came as blessing. She charged up and in a span of two hours had prepared and offered the pooja to Lord Saraswathi. Since moving to this new townhouse, we now have our own concrete yard at the front door. So harini has done a pretty nice and big kolam too[hand-drawn decor on the floor].

As soon as I was back, I offered my prayers to Goddess. Harini had all our favourite books and our sruthi box lined up infront of the Goddess. As I was chanting the slogas, I was wondering does it still make sense to place and give tribute to just those books alone anymore to Saraswathi? Do you understand where I am eluding to?

Should saraswathi pooja’s in the 21 century add Internet in addition to the books? I mean, It sounds ridculous but seems logical? How much time do i spend really learning and acquiring knowledge from books? On an average, about 30 minutes a day. How much from the internet? Atleast few hours a day. What is a better source of knowledge? Whether Lord Saraswathi likes it or not Internet has become the latest carrier of the world knowledge. And so I suggested to Harini that we should definitely pay our tributes to Internet in addition to those wonderful books. She had no objections whatsoever…she is more interested in hearing how the sundal and murukku that she made tasted[I will never put our love in jeopardy by not saying the obvious!]. We added our laptop to stack of books infront of Saraswathi and I continued with my slogas. Back from the stack, this laptop now stares bright and religious infront of me with a big round sandhanam/kumkum pottu on its forehead.

So on this day of Saraswathi Pooja, may we all offer our tributes and appreciation to the world of Internet too. Long live Internet [ I can hear google sneaking in saying – ‘What is Internet without Google?’] in its mission to spread knowledge.

Mourning for Reeve

Monday, October 11th, 2004

I knew him only as a SuperMan. I will not forget that statue-like figure he had given to the character SuperMan. His face, hair style, shoulders and the physique was close what the supermans creater would have expected from a real human.


Only a few years ago, I knew his name was Christopher Reeve. And when I knew that, he had already lost 90% of what I, and possibly the whole world, admired in him. His entire body from right below his neck has gotten paralysed and one would least expect that to happen from a slippage on a horse ride. He could not feel or act on a single cell in his entire body down from his face. As pathetic as it may look, the blessing in disguise was he could perfectly see, hear and speak. He could take his food from his lips to his upper neck and thats all, he couldn’t take it further down. His breathing and speech were very much distorted since he couldn’t control the air past his throat.

Reeve at Forum
[Reeve at Spinal Cord Injury Forum in Australia. Ever since his accident, he had to be bound to a chair with his spinal cord pinned to it coz niether could he hold it himself nor did it have the life to stay straight up ]

In the past few years, I have seen some great video footages of how hard he is trying everyday to beat his fate. He looked such a happy and healthy man inspite of this acute condition. I even saw him speaking at the US Congress pressing needs for stem cell research, which might cure such paralytic conditions. A few months ago, only becoz of his sheer gut and will, he was able to move his index finger, all by himself. An amazing feat according to medical treatments, when all his body cells are technically dead! Infact, I saw him walk comfortably under-water with very little support. Not a moment, I expected he would die without getting up and walking someday. But this today, not him but the Almighty must have given up on him. May his soul rest in peace.

He sure was an inspiration in me everytime I saw him. It reminds us how lucky we are to have had everything we have. We dont have lose anything to realize their values. Lets learn to be happy with and appreciate every small thing around us.

I am sure there are thousands out there who are like him, and Chris Reeve knew it. He did everything possible so every benefit/inspiration he got from medicine and training goes to everyone suffering. He founded the Chris Reeve Foundation and the paralysis resource center. He used his star status to funnel millions of money and influence the goverment to make policies favouring the paralysed. He even wrote a book, Still Me which must be truly an inspiring read for anyone.

What he has gone through is a herculean task. Perhaps, God knew only a SuperMan would stand this test. We can give up everything except : hope. I will remember him for ever.

Heartfelt Condolences for those Tender Victims

Friday, July 16th, 2004

80 children killed in school fire in TN

God showed how brutally cruel he can be sometimes. 80 Children aged 8 to 10, charred to death? Feels like someone hit my heart with a 1000 pound hammer. An oversight and mistake, for which the management, society, politicians and the goverment can all be blamed to various levels, but young buds have paid the ultimate iirevocable price. Even more pathetic, teachers and adult children(6th to 12th std) were able to escape when they saw the fire, but poor kinter garden and primary school children must have had no clue of what was going on.

Our heartfelt condolences to those parents and relatives of all the victims. Let us pray for those tender souls to rest in peace.