Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My Favourite Goldie

The thought of growing old was always appalling to me, in my early twenties it seemed to me very much like a topic that was repugnant, a topic so contemptible of discussion as if I was never going to grow old.

Well Life is always the best book to learn from and it gave me some wonderful occasions to spend time with Goldie (that’s how I address my favorite great uncle). Though these meetings were brief but the learning curve has been steep and those moments will stay as chronicles in my mind.

I haven’t been very fortunate in sharing a deep bond with my own grandparents, as we were a typical nuclear family. It was only for festivals and family occasions we met our grandparents. As kids I hardly remember spending any quality time with them as I was more engrossed in playing with my cousins. Days passed and even before I realized that I was so strayed away from them, they were dead.

However I always felt close to this one person who happens to be my great uncle (maternal side). The bond I have felt with him was inexplicable. I had an instant liking to him the moment I saw him as a kid. He has these passionate eyes and the positivity that spreads in the atmosphere when he is around gives me immense pleasure and joy. I had a chance to occasionally meet him for every couple of years since my teens.

I happened to meet my great uncle again during a recent family occasion who is in his late eighties now. I was lucky enough to quickly catch up with him. As I recollect that beautiful encounter I felt an instant urge to lay down my thoughts of how gracefully a man can grow old .I had embraced years ago this great uncle of mine as my role model.

The innocuous smile that I see on his face through years lights up my mood instantly making me feels way younger than I am. It sends me through the reminiscent moments I spent with this Goldie as a kid; trying hopelessly to impress him singing songs that I learnt in my music class, all for those accolades he gave me at the end of my performance.

As the bus stood stranded for more than half an hour on the ghat road uphill amidst a huge downpour that seem to be pounding parts of Southern India for several weeks, I was eager to meet this Goldie who was the only reason I travelled amidst all the chaos created by the torrential rainfall.
As I walked through the passage of the hotel room to greet my favorite Goldie, I saw him sitting and the room was filled with guests. His face instantly lit seeing me and welcomed me with a warm smile.

He looked more tired and fragile than the last time I saw him, which was about 2 years back. But the positivity and warmth remained intact. Age has definitely taken a toll over this vibrant personality but my thoughts left me pondering if this is what people often refer to as ‘to age gracefully’.

With a beautiful gracious woman as his wife, grandsons, granddaughters, sons and daughters great grandkid too, adorning him all around, the life that this person has sailed through was not that easy one. Through ups and down and hard times he stood as a firm pillar of support providing the best to his family.
He stands as an epitome of the words that I have felt were a bit chauvinist when I heard it first in one of my favorite TV series ‘Breaking Bad’. …Where the lead actor Bryan Cranston says in one of the episodes ‘A Man provides’. But as I try to assimilate my thoughts about this fine gentleman I think he is definitely a Man who provided the best to his family and lent them his positivity when they were in dire need of it.

About a couple of years when I was going through a low phase in my life I got quite lucky to have got a few minutes to spend with him. And I happened to share the highly negative vibes that seem to have clouded me over. He heard intensely every word I told him and leaning forward towards me he told if I had got weakened like you have at such a young age I would have never succeeded in giving happiness to this family. Everybody goes through a low phase at some point but he asked me to remember that it was not permanent. Neither good nor bad that happens in life is permanent. And asked me to stay strong during all times and blessed me that I will jus breeze through difficulties if any in my life.
Those words I am sure were going to keep ringing in my head forever.

I had thought during my late teens that during old age one defines success in terms of career accomplishments and wealth he/she has gained but every minute I spent with this divine Goldie made me accentuate my thought process over the idea of ageing that ‘to age gracefully really means the positive attitude people develop as they go through the various stages of life’.
And I sometime feel envious that he isn’t my own grandfather all to satisfy my greed to spend some more valuable moments with him. But have been lucky to have such a great uncle who is one of the most optimistic person I have met.Goldie is going to be favourite for forever

Friday, August 14, 2015

Passionate Obligation - A Reminder

Looks like the whole of Tamil Nadu is extremely overwhelmed by the news of Sundar Pitchai being appointed as the CEO for “Google”. Being a South Indian myself it is a proud moment but there were other facts that drew my attention rather than basking in the success of the “Pitchais”.

It was rather hilarious to read that the Schools in Chennai were running back in time to search their records to prove that He is their Alumnus indeed.
Nobody even seems to remember that a student of this sort existed amidst them except for a few anecdotes from very few classmates of his. The anecdotes mostly were faint reminisces describing him as a quiet student and one of the usual “Verians”(as I call them) who are obsessed about scoring 100% in their board exams, with Science being his personal favorite.
And the irony lies in the fact that Pitchai’s Nationality is American on Wikipedia and not Indian where he rightly belongs to.

And of course the never ending saga about the 2 room apartment in Chennai in which Pitchai’s family lived and how his father spent all his savings to send his son to the prestigious Stanford, a distant dream of every engineer who graduates.

This sure would have struck chords ringing in almost every engineer graduating in India especially the Southern India where most of the parents are superficially obsessed about high scores. Sending their kids abroad for higher studies even if they have to lose the only savings they have ever managed to save their entire lives is almost like an obligation that every South Indian parent is deemed to do.

As I always believe Success is very subjective, for an average South Indian household success is having their Son/daughter working abroad than saying that he/she works in India and we all live together. But as days pass the only thing that these parents crave secretly is to have their sons/daughters beside them.

It’s a reminiscence of almost every professional graduate in southern Indian of having passed their happy childhood in a two room apartment and both the parents struggling hard to give a Convent education to their children, Saving for their future, marriages costs and the list goes on. They see happiness only in the success of their children no matter how far their kids stray in their venture to reap gains.

Well I have just one question in mind ‘Why is there an increase in old age homes in South India’?
With no one to look after them these elderly sought old age homes as their last resort.
In some cases I wouldn’t blame only the Sons/daughters because it was a matter of prestige for the innocent parent too to have their son working abroad and earning in Dollars.

As Late APJ Abdul Kalam rightly said ‘Children need to take care of their parents. It is sad that sometimes this is not happening’.

I feel that its time we also start treating it as a passionate obligation to take care of our parents for they have thought/worked/ lived for nothing but their children and their dreams for all their lives.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Healthy Urban Living - Made simple

Alarming increase in the serious physical and psychological conditions such as Diabetes, depression, Stress, Cancer and Respiratory disorders that seem to have plagued the well being of humans in the present scenario is rather a disturbing phenomena which has to be addressed as soon as possible to prevent further deterioration of the quality of the life that we are all yearning for.

But how to address these physical and psychological disturbances lays on how far we understand the root causes that have a laid a strong foundation with deep roots that have started to deplete the soil of healthy life of its quality.
And I consider it, my responsibility to enlighten some of those trapped in this maze of physical and psychological disturbances.
Some of the root causes that contribute to many of the illnesses are: 
1) Low levels of physical activity
2) Poor eating habits especially with the palate we have developed for   
    foods laden with extra fat and sugars.
3) Polluted and unsafe environments

No major disease develops overnight; it is an outburst of the accumulation of wrong events that have been practiced by an individual over a longer period of time, which depletes the body of producing the required antibodies to fight the disease and thus succumbing to it.

The farthest of feasible simple solutions for these root causes are: 
  • ·      Making a physical activity a part of our daily lives at least for a minimum of 30 minutes. 
  • ·      Having a food journal and observing the kind of food you consume on a daily Basis. For those having a smart phone there are a lot of applications, which make it easier for you. 
  • ·      Rather than hogging on high carb snacks slouching on a couch and watching endless thoughtless TV soaps over the weekend, maybe its time to revisit your backyard where your bicycle is buried and start planning a weekend of biking trips.      
  • ·      Development of Community gardens where a single piece of land is gardened collectively by a group of people. Though it might not provide us with a wide range of needed vegetables or fruits, it will definitely give us the basic fruits and vegetables that we use in our kitchen daily. The large terraces on the multi storeyed apartments that stand tall cluttering our city is also an ideal place to develop community gardens.

After years of fighting obesity since my college days Life has taught me two valuable lessons that have gifted a ‘Fit Life’

1)    No cosmetic treatments can help you maintain health or weight or beauty.
2)    Simple active changes to your lifestyle are enough to keep yourselves healthy.

“Rome was not built in a day “. Building a healthy environment is not possible overnight but the small changes we do in our lives and environment we live in, will definitely gift a better healthy environment for a visionary India.

As Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu famously said, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

So lets take our first step!!!

It costs you nothing to take a break - Its absolutely fine

It is quite important to comprehend how overwhelming and freezing is the power of negativity. Once that sets in it makes us almost incapacitated to handle anything thereafter. It makes you completely apprehensive about your strengths that you have once upon a time boasted highly off and makes you completely demeaning about yourselves.

‘I stood there cold and shivering facing a group of people in a small room. I was supposed to deliver a lecture and I just felt I had stood there for ages feeling my body go numb and my words struck in my throat.
What had happened to all my speaking skills that I once possessed and was proud of? What had happened to my vivid narrating style that captivated my audiences with awe?’

This is just one anecdote of a person who is victim to the power of negativity that creeped into his life when he went through stages of depression due to illness, relationship failures and that which further aggravated with people around him pointing out his failures.

Years of hard work we put into to establish the goals we set in our lives goes unspoken of when we just do just one thing wrong. These goals necessarily need not have to related to career but also time, effort, sacrifices we invest in making relationships with friends, family and loved ones to work. It hurts, not when people don’t recognize your efforts but spot on the small mistakes that you make.
Well the reason behind this is the Charles Darwin theory ‘struggle for existence’.

Keep Running and if you limp somewhere your out of the race because we have no time to appreciate the efforts you have put so far in keeping the pace. That’s exactly the kind of world we live in. And its made explicit to the person about his failures, though not permanent in nature, casts him into those dark shadows that loom him for ever about his abilities to return back to the race.

How much ever we try to convince ourselves to ignore the society and stay focused about our goals most of us succumb to the temptations of acquired needs of achievement, affiliation and power and to our failures to acquire it.
So none of these words ‘Stay focused, ignore them and keep going’ will really help.

But it might help if we could do our little in not contributing to this society by not labeling anyone as a failure. Because nobody fails in reality. We have set the goals we have the set the boundaries and we are running trying to achieve them. None of it is mandatory. Everybody can take sometime off and be right back when they want to. And as Humans we should try make it easy for people who need a break because we might all get there at some point in our race too.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Lets Take a Selfie Pulla!!!

I was deeply engrossed in capturing the festive beauty of the old city in Heidelberg,Germany
With the Heidelberg castle on the backdrop and River Neckar beaming right beneath us in the Sommer Sun and the old stone Bridge we stood upon was just too perfect for a couple to light up their romantic fervour
With my hands clasped tight embracing my husband , i wished if the moment could hold on for a wee bit..

Like a stone that disrupts the serene waters forming series of disturbing circular waves ,
our moment was perturbed by a group of noisy teens shouting out to their friends to take a Selfie.
It was then i noticed to my dismay that infact the entire old bridge was filled with tourists busy capturing a Selfie before every possible historic setting of the city as a Backdrop.
It striked me hard then of how viral has this ‘Selfie Syndrome’ struck people down.

There are certain moments in our life that are meant to be captured more with our hearts and memories that our eyes never fail to click and store in our hard disk forever.
And all we need to do, to relive those moments is ‘just close your eyes and access your Hard disk chipped inside our brain’

This hard disk is more robust for you can never erase even if you want to..
I have been a victim of this trend too but i have tried not to let it dominate my natural potential to relive my fondest memories.

When i was a kid and went out for a family outing i remember my dad asking another person who was also on a holiday with his family to take a snap of us.And my dad in turn took some photos fof him with his 3 year old daughter.And there were smiles around and some handshakes and if i m not wrong both our families ended up having hearty lunch in a nearby restaurant.

Is this generation heading towards a more Selfie (Selfis) phenomenon in every aspect of our lives?

With a Selfie stick in our hand are we actually taking picture perfect photos or just driving away a real human-human bond and exchange that otherwise might exist.
Lets take a Selfie , post it on Instagram or Facebook and check how many Likes i get!!!!
Those likes may cross 100 but do the real friends and family you confide on during bad times cross this 100?

Selfies might get all the hype but closing your eyes to relive those moments you captured with your heart might be a much fresher and cheaper option too :-) 
And maybe you will feel lighter not dragging your Camera bag , tripod stand and Selfie stick wherever you go!

Note : Lets Take a Selfie Pulla (The title) is the opening lines of a famous local song in my country.