Dec 21, 2013

The missing dot

Image courtesy : fauxto_digit

There lived an optimistic little blue bird.
Some call it ambitious.
A few brand it pompous, even.
It was just optimistic
and incorrigible at that!
All it ever dreamed of was
to fly.

Oct 13, 2013

"Me too"

Have you ever played with a rain drop at the window seat of a train? Moisture will embrace the window bars as a thin coat. A pristine tiny drop takes the initiative and starts to move a horizontal path along the bar. On its way it accumulates more wetness and grows in weight till it reaches a tipping point. And you observe all this drama unfolding with an outstretched palm waiting for the drop to gently bless you with a touch. The trick is in judging where the drop decides to fall and being there just at the right time and the right spot to receive it. Just like love! The iron bar of the window is time. Love, like the rain drop, gathers momentum as it travels along time and at some tipping point it decides to burst and reach out. If there is an outstretched palm waiting for the fall just at the right time, magic happens!

It's been a while and it is about time this happens. They simply did not know who should play the role of the drop and who should wait at the window seat. Somehow they both preferred the window seat. Enough signs were exchanged often that the palm is outstretched and waiting. May be they were just waiting for the rain. 

Oct 2, 2013

Under the stars with the homeless and the pseudo-homeless

Photo courtesy: Fountain_Head
I stayed at the Chennai Light house MRTS railway station last night with a bunch of about 50 volunteers who chose to participate in the India - Under the stars event and about the same number of truly homeless people, for whom it is the regular bunking place. I chose to join this event, majorly driven by a curiosity to understand what it feels like to be homeless and to witness in person a few interesting stories. The experience gave me several interesting insights. Hence, I share.

Aug 31, 2013

Being single

Have you ever felt that you want to change your relationship status from ‘single’ to another type of ‘single’? Have you ever felt that ‘single’ is too ambiguous for a relationship status? Have you wished for more clarity in being ‘single’? This article will tell you about the seven different categories of being single. Identify which type you are!

Aug 22, 2013

Strange Love

It had been a particularly long and mundane day that called for some unwinding in style. As dusk fell, I went to the terrace of my home to meet them. Darkness had blanketed the street and the neighbours were too busy to notice. The home is not a luxurious high-rise apartment. It is a normal second floor residence that gets rented out to a normal bachelor living a normal life. But the terrace is just the right height for this. Tall enough to escape the street light’s glare but just low enough to see them in the eye. In fact, this was one of the prime attractions for me to rent this house. I come here often to see them up close and talk to them.

It was humid even in the night. I waved them a warm greeting. They stood in silence. They were all around me but none moved an inch. I knew. It had been a fair interval since our last lengthy conversation. They would take their time to come into the groove and connect with me. But I waited. I threw random questions at them all, one by one, in all directions, hoping that someone would break the ice. Then the tallest of them all waved in response. A gentle waft of breeze caressed my face. The conversation had begun. How I love these conversations with the trees neighbouring my terrace!

Aug 7, 2013

Help ! - An appeal

Image courtesy: L.C. Nottaasen

I am going to ask you for help in this post. Quite specifically, money. Even more specifically, for a dear friend whose mother is now under intensive medical care at CMC, Vellore, awaiting surgery for treating a condition called Aortoiliac thrombus. 

The condition, as I understand is an internal blood clot in the artery of her left leg which hinders the supply of blood to the limb and thereby gradually making it a dead organ. She was at a prominent hospital in Chennai till yesterday and has been moved to CMC, Vellore recently. Several efforts to negate a surgery involving attempts to dilute the clot have been tried in vain so far. As indicated by the doctors, a surgery seems imminent and to quote the doctor, "During this hospitalisation the risk of losing the limb is 30 to 40% as there are two level occlusions, and life risk of upto 10% ". 

As we are hoping and praying for her recovery, let me tell you a little bit more about her. This is not the first time she is facing this problem. A similar condition affected her around a year back and she had to let go of her left hand, amputated for exactly the same reason. 

She was a teacher by profession and she taught in the same school where we all studied. She taught the kinder-garten sections. I studied in that school for 2 years but that short phase gave me some good friends whom I still hold close to heart. Warren Gerard Jude Michael is one among them. He is the first Anglo-Indian I have met in my life from close quarters. He had an interesting manner of talking an English mixed Tamil heavily tilted with the slang of Madurai. Everybody in our school know him irrespective of the class or age group. He was a dancer, he was an athlete, he played football, he was mischievous and got many punishments often (sometimes officially from his mother) and he was always a very good friend. His mother, Ms. Olivia is the reason why I am writing this now. 

Warren had no siblings. FYI he had lost his father too at a young age. His mother is one of the most steely women I have met in my life. She has done enough to feel proud about raising her only son now. But the path would not have been smooth for her ever. 

The estimated expense for the surgery and post-op recovery is INR 12 lac. Warren works at an IT company and has already managed to scrape together more than INR 8 lac through insurance, company support and a few friends and family. He is now exploring other avenues to raise funds to support his mother. We friends are trying to collect at least INR 1 lac as a small but vital contribution to the cause. 

Another close friend, Saravanamurthy, is spearheading this effort and I humbly request you to contribute to help our friend by donating whatever sum you can. The transfer of money can be made online to the account of Saravanamurthy and the bank account details are as follows. 

Acc. name. : Saravanamurthy
Acc. no. : 105010100191678
Bank: Axis Bank
Branch: Tuticorin
IFSC Code: UTIB0000105

Immediately as you make the transfer, please fill this form - - so that we will know who you are. It is vital for us to have this information to inform you about the progress later. A few kind friends ping me to tell that they have made a transfer but they feel hesitant to fill this form. Though their intentions are noble about helping anonymously, it is my sincere request to all donors to fill this form. Transparency is of utmost importance in this cause. We are involved in this as a group of friends. The information you fill will be shared with all of them by default. Please do not be shy about being generous. We will not disclose your names to anybody in the public forum. But my friend Warren and his mother will be really glad to write a thank you note to all of you once she recovers back to normalcy.

Having said all this, I can't help but recall a bad experience another friend of mine had recently with a fake NGO. Different people call him from different numbers often and describe the story of an ailing child in a prominent hospital in Chennai and ask for money to help the child. On a little background check made by my friend, we found that it is a fake racket and I can only feel great disgust and anger towards rogues who take advantage of the soft emotions of people. 

I sincerely recommend you to do a background check on this case before making a donation to this cause. You can check with the hospital or with me - my mobile number is 98940 14412. Gomathi Shankar is my name. I live in Chennai. 

With hopes on humanity, 

PS 1 - I am adding this footnote after about 15 hours from posting this blog. We have raised INR 39,100/- so far. What to say? I am touched! Gives me goosebumps just to think of this act of kindness. Indebted to all of you who are standing by our friend. We are confidently moving towards the INR 1 lac mark with all your support.

PS 2 - Citing high blood sugar and BP, the doctors have advised to postpone the surgery by a week. But a surgery has become mandatory now. As Warren said, the cost of treatment is also more economical as compared to the Chennai hospital.

Jul 29, 2013

The third eye that hears - about Neil Harbisson

I live with a few friends in a bachelor bunk and we had a small screen TV at our home. One fine thunderous night, it lost its ability to show colour and typically impeded by the bachelor negligence, none of us cared to get it repaired or replaced. Every time when India plays a cricket match, we assemble in front of the TV and make a resolution to do something about the TV within a week. And thus we spent almost a year! We were so used to watching TV in black and white that when we finally replaced the TV with another one, we were collectively amazed by the phenomenon of color. It almost brought tears of wonder to my eyes to see a familiar movie song in TV but in colour for the first time. That one year taught me what magic colour can do to your senses.

My grandfather witnessed the magic when black and white movies were replaced by colour movies. My father witnessed the magic when black and white television sets were replaced by colour TVs. It was a magical experience for me to see colour display in a mobile phone after being used to the black and white displays of the early phones. What I witnessed in Neil Harbisson's speech recently took the magical experience of color to the next level.  This is stuff taken straight from the sci-fi stories! But in reality!

Neil Harbisson delivered this speech at the TEDxGateway Mumbai in 2012 and Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the event. 

Neil is a colour-blind person who had a tough time adapting to life in this colourful world before becoming a cyborg. Colour-blindness is never considered to be a very serious physical handicap by us but an affected person like Neil would know what it means to live off-stream. The world speaks in colour. We have colour codes in traffic signals, national identities, food labelling and several other areas in everyday life. Colour-blindness is like touring a foreign country without knowing its language. You are very much there but never there! The painful fact is that the colour-blind ones have to spend all their life as a mere tourist in this colour-speaking world. Neil has made the Cyborg technology his permanent visa to stay in the world and be part of the mainstream with a greatly unique identity to himself.

Jun 26, 2013

The 6-word challenge

This post has been published as a part of Chennai Bloggers Club's (CBC) 6-word memoir tag initiative. It is an interesting challenge to sum up one's life in 6 words. It also adds up as a superb relay of introductions to more interesting and exciting people around us.

I thank Somu - the erstwhile poet - for introducing me through his memoir yesterday and passing the baton to me. His blog is a collection of random thoughts and poems in a chronicle mode. Of late, he has shifted his interest from carving words to carving wood and he writes about it in his blog.

Now, to my challenge. As I think of six words to sum up myself, I can come up with this. Two of these six words are positions that I have spent a considerable part of my productive life to achieve. The rest of the four words define my character that made me achieve the first two words.

Entrepreneur. Author. An eternal incorrigible optimist.

I co-founded a creativity hotspot - Spark n' Beyond - with a bunch of equally crazy and passionate creators in 2010 and since then I am living the life of an entrepreneur. It is a life filled with its own ups and downs, joys and pressures, pride and frustrations, a sense of freedom and a standing risk of nobody willing to offer me a bride. It has been a great journey in my life so far and I have invested a lot of my life for this one word. 

The other major half of my life is invested for the second word perhaps. I am a 1-book old author now. I have released a collection of short stories in Tamil- named முதல் போணி. Books fascinate me big-time and I also developed an aspiration to become a writer. Thanks to a few lab-rats who read and reviewed my earliest writings, I can claim confidently that I am no mug with words now. 

The other four words in the memoir define me. I firmly believe that this trait has enabled to me continue in the miles-to-go-before-I-sleep journey with energy and enthusiasm. 

Thanks for expressing interest in knowing me. As is my duty, I pass on the baton to Santhosh Kumar, who is most likely scratching his head for his 6-words now!


Image courtesy: mariachily

May 24, 2013

Guest-list of the wish-list of the voice-list

Technology has developed very much!

This is the one line that loops around in my head as I sit down to prepare a guest-list for the unique party that WeChat has dared me to put together in fantasy. This new application, claiming to be a new way to connect by voice and chat through mobile, sure does open up new possibilities in being connected. Quite specifically in this post, it opens up new possibilities in putting together a wish list of voices with whom I want to chat. They throw an interesting question to me: If I could connect with 5 or more people in a WeChat group - who would they be, and why? What would we chat about? And they also give me absolute freedom in choosing from dead, alive or even fictional people. Hence this guest-list of the wish-list of the voice-list!

This list, just like the app, is all about the magic of 'voice'. So I think of the magical voices I would like to hear and I narrow down the list to possibilities which are otherwise impossible to mere mortals like me. Instinctively my mind rejects most voices that I can hear by turning on the TV or Youtube any day. This chance is not to be wasted on them. Nextinctively, my mind rejects personal friends, girl-friend(s), parents, dead forefathers etc. Though there are many interesting people in this group, I don't want to make it a personal diary. Thus, with due diligence and great care, I compile this list of people, whom I might never ever elsewhere assemble together, to set up a group voice chat.

Technology has developed very much. What else to say?

Apr 19, 2013

The bloody red thing

Hi folks, this post is about my personal experiences with a bloody red thing. It is the fluid of life... but, not water. It is that magic potion which helps us to breathe... but, not oxygen. It treats each and every one of us equally regardless of our religion, race, class, caste, sex, belief or IPL team prefrences. The world has produced hundreds and thousands of scientists and millions of new inventions have been made. There are artificial kidneys, artificial lungs, artificial legs and there is even a substitute for Mother’s milk. But till date this red bloody thing has no worthy substitute.

My very first experience with this thing is the curious doubt I had when I learnt how to spell it in elementary school. My teacher wrote this word on the black board – B .. L.. O.. O.. D – and asked us all to pronounce it as ‘blood’. I was confused. With my English knowledge, I could only justify pronouncing B L O O D as ‘blued’ but it is not even blue to be named that. Of course, the bloody red thing I am talking about all this while is the blood itself and this post intends to tell how B.. L.. O.. O.. D can spell L.. I.. F.. E  to many in the world today through a process that is spelt D.. O.. N.. A.. T.. I.. O.. N!

Mar 10, 2013

A must-see place in Chennai and a must-introduce man to our kids

I am going to start this article with a little anecdote. It is about the fashionable Che Guerra t-shirt. We all have seen it and of course I met a cousin of mine who was flaunting it one fine day. Out of curiosity, I asked him, “Brother do you know who this man on your vest is?” He said , “Ya they've written his name there – Che Guerra”.. “Ok.. Who is Che Guerra?” "He is a revolutionary” "Well, what kind of revolution did he do?” That became tough for him it seemed.. “Hmm.. he fought for communism.. Against USA perhaps” Perhaps! "You know where he fought for communism?” “Well,that should be one among Russia, China or Cuba”.. O Ernesto Che Guerra, if you are up there and listening, better rest in peace! Well, I don't have any regrets with my brother's notion of Che. We live in an age where we have revolutionised the very act of revolution. True, we get involved in many revolutions against corruption, against injustice to women etc. We raise our voice vehemently and fervently against social injustices! We change our facebook profile pictures! And update status messages and say ‘I am a champion for this cause’

With this context, I am going to tell you about an old-school revolutionary whom I adore and salute. This man is a lunatic, a visionary, an outcast, and a poet – he lived amidst our forefathers in this very own city and his name is Mr. Subramanya Bharathi! I came to know that the home in which he lived has been converted to a memorial and it is still in Chennai. And I went there recently with some of my friends.

Feb 19, 2013

Beach cleanup for the olive ridley turtles - Tiruvanmiyur - with CTC and EFI

On February 10, 2013, I chose to wake up early on a Sunday morning and ended up feeling very contented for the decision eventually. Chennai Trekking Club had partnered with Environmentalist Foundation of India to organize a clean-up morning at the Tiruvanmiyur beach, Chennai. This initiative was to keep the beach in a welcome position for the olive ridley turtles that are soon to migrate in masses to these shores to lay eggs. The cause intrigued me and I signed up for the project and managed to convince 2 other friends too to wake up early that day. 

At around 7 AM, I went to the beach and there was already a lot of activity going on. Around 50 volunteers were actively picking up all sorts of garbage from the sands in a particularly ear-marked space in the vast beach and dumping them all in a common place to be collected later. All volunteers were provided with gloves and garbage was collected in many plastic buckets. There was another pile of black garbage bags filled with waste cleaned up on the earlier day. It was pleasing to see the spirit of people participating in the mission. 

Feb 9, 2013

The ultimate social game for the non-player

Thanks to Alan Cleaver for the image

Disclaimer: If you are a Mafia wars/ Glassdoor/ Farmville/ Criminal Case/ What-not enthusiast, you might find the content of this post 'hurting' your sentiments and if you can rally around with a strong army which can threaten chaos to law and order, you might even win a ban to my blog and give me great publicity. That way, I can improve my blog's followers from this meagre number to a healthy chunk. 

Every civilization starts with farming it seems. In retrospect, how fitting it seems to be ! If only people resisted to being drawn into agriculture and cattle rearing on computer screens a few years ago, we would have been living in a different planet now! Of course the Vice cities and the like would still have been around but those people would be innocuously killing and looting in solitude in their homes and at best through a LAN connection. And I would not have been receiving invitations to solve murder mysteries on social media now .... If only !

These game hosts refuse to learn even from the age-old wisdom transferred across generations. They missed their last chance when they all entered into their fancy Glassdoors. Nobody seemed to realise that those who live in glass doors should not throw stone at another. Boy! They were throwing invitations around like a storm, forget a stone. Once the glassdoor fad was gone and they emerged out of the door, there was no turning back. The latest one is the crime scene. Most people who claim to solve murders are people who can't find the glasses on the nose when they desperately search for it all around the place.

Luckily, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is not around to see everybody becoming a Sherlock Holmes now. If so, he should only be writing recipe books titled like 'How to become a detective in 30 days?' or 'Anybody can investigate' to find a living in the world today.

Point emphasized. Period.