Tuesday, December 25, 2007

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Christmas is but a reminder of the extent God is willing to go so that He can restore us unto Himself!!

"If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us?" (Romans 8: 32, The Message)

Have a blessed Christmas, everybody!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Confession #1

Well, I am about to confess…


You know, one of those women drivers? The ones who usually block traffic at the most obscure spots on the roads? The ones who wouldn't be able to take a proper u-turn and get stuck half way through?


I have been stuck behind them a number of times. [I am pretty good with my biking (riding my scooter, that is) skills. I am good enough to teach a lesson or two to the guys who treat me like one of those women riders.] And I have nothing but absolute disdain for those women drivers.


Well, that is not my confession really.


When I sit behind the wheel of a car, I turn into one of those women drivers… *GAK*

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A sparrow in the mirror

Apologies to all my blogger friends who kept checking and found nothing new for a long time. I wonder how you either have the idea or the time and not both together. Anyways, this is a long overdue one. Although I am not feeling as philosophical as I did when this thought occurred to me I will put it here.


There used to be this sparrow that visited my granddad's house. There was a mirror above the front door and this sparrow used to perch itself in front of the mirror and peck. Peck at its image... at its reflection. Peck and peck and peck. We children (my cousins and I) used to watch it in awe. And with some sort of expectation. We used to have theories about how the sparrow will go on pecking till it broke its beak. (I don't remember seeing a sparrow break its beak. Probably it got tired and flew away.)


I sometimes wonder if we are like that sparrow. We look at ourselves, we try to understand us and to reach out to the person in the mirror. So close, yet so far. What separates us is but a thin layer of glass, but oh, how we think. Day after day, we seek, we search and we try to understand.


I imagine that the sparrow was happier when it flew away. Just flitting about, collecting food and twigs, building a nest, loving its mate and taking care of its baby. It must have been happier when it was just being what it was.


It is not difficult for us to know, to understand and even to behold, but so very difficult just to be…

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Life is like...

…a game of Scrabble. You are stuck with seven tiles. You either complain about what you don't have and longingly ache for that one tile which would make all the difference or plan your move based on what you got.

At the moment, I am longing to swap a couple of tiles and pass my turn. *sigh*

Saturday, December 01, 2007

7 Things About Me

Sandy at Writing in Faith rescued me by tagging me for the 7 Things About Me meme. This shouldn't be difficult at all.


Here are the rules:

*Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.

*Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.

*Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.

*Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.


1. I don't care much for ice-cream. Whereas chocolate is a whole different story.

2. Only recently did I start reading Tamil fiction. Prior to this, most of my Tamil reading was done in school - only as part of my lessons. I started to read Tamil again because I was losing reading speed and my vocabulary was shrinking.

3. I don't mostly step out on Saturdays. It is my day in. I usually get out only in the evenings.

4. I've been in India all my life and I still haven't seen the Taj Mahal. However, that is not unusual. And I am not longing to see it either. I am more eager to see the Himalayas.

5. I'm more a mountain person than beach/sea person.

6. I do NOT like shopping. The only kinda shopping that I enjoy is book shopping.

7. I love riding the Chennai suburban trains. From what I hear of it, I don't think I would enjoy the Mumbai suburb though.


I am sticking to 7 points this time and not doing my usual 11.


The 7 people I tag are:

Kiki

Sandhya

Gomathy

Compassion Unlimited

Krithi at Grass Grows

Zip at Hmmm

Ruki at Year 26 is here!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A post

I sit at my computer, not quite sure what I want to write about. There are a lot of thoughts that have gone through my head, but none have stayed and transformed itself into a blog post. Nonetheless, let me try.


Even memes aren't around to rescue me now. So what do I write about? Seems like I have written about everything that I am concerned about. And all or most of my thinking energy has been diverted to work thinking. Oh, work is going great by the way. New ideas, new plans, more exciting stuff. I am waiting to see them transform into something that will bear fruit.


Actually, I have taken a break from thinking. You know, one of those seasons where you just take a break because thinking a lot ends up in confusion and sometimes even in pain? Yeah. So I am taking a break from thinking anything too serious. I am keeping my reading to just fiction and lighter reading than the stuff that makes my brain whirr at 10000 rpm. It is almost like I didn't let very many thoughts stay in my head long enough that it took root and became an idea (which would have then been transformed into a blog post). And thus, I have been diverting my thinking energy and causing it to stay mostly on work related ideas.


Hopefully, I will get to thinking other things sometime. I am trying to read The World is Flat. I wouldn't say that it is the best read that I have had in my life. I find it a little too dry and little too one-sided. I am pushing myself to read that though. I have decided to reward myself with The Argumentative Indian if I finish reading the World is Flat.


Besides that I am reading a Tamil fiction (Yavana Rani by Sandilyan). The story is split in two volumes. I will hopefully finish it by the end of this week or so. I may be quoting something from that book too. It is interesting, the gems of thoughts that you find these books.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Shout it out

Cleaner kumar server aanaru

Modha moonu table in-chargu


Appavum solvaaru ammavum solvaanga

Naan romba nalla pullainnu

Palli koodam pogannumnu attha ittha vaanganumnu

Thondharavu seiya mattaennu


Nethiku cleaneru inaakku serveru

Pannendu vayasula chinoondu sayizula


[Translation:

Cleaner Kumar has become a server (waiter)

He is in-charge of the first three tables


Both my father and mother

Say that I am very good child

I don't bother them asking to be put in school or to buy me this and that


Cleaner yesterday, server (waiter) today

At 12 years of age, when he is small in size]


Taken from the song Cleaner Kumar (album: Shout it out)


I had the opportunity to attend an event on 14th Nov. An event celebrating the children of our country. A reminder that all is not well for the next generation. A voice demanding that the world pay attention to what they have to say. A ray of hope that all is not lost yet.


Organized by NalandaWay, the event was the celebration of the release of 'Shout it Out,' a music album researched, conceptualized and rendered by children. The event told stories of children. Stories of abuse, child labour, courage, dreams and hopes. It was one of the evening where you go out and participate in a celebration or where you enjoy some artsy performances. However, it was more than that. Stories were told through mimes, dances, songs and short films.


Being involved in development work one tends to be aware of these issues. It wasn't like I did not know that child sexual abuse did happen, or that domestic violence existed, or that child labour was prevalent. However, it hit me hard to hear it from children. It was reminder. It was a spark. I cannot exactly call it a wake up call, but it was something like the snooze going off again. I don't know what shape or form this is going to take. But I do hope that it remains with me, egging me on to persist in my quest for that elusive thing I am seeking to know and possess.


You can download the songs from here. There are many short films you can watch in their East Side Story project website. You can also support by becoming a part of their mentoring program for children who are from underprivileged communities.


Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ANJU!!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

House meme

I'm one of the Indians who got tagged in Choconet's blog.
1. What kind of SOAP is in your bathtub right now? No bathtub. My bathroom cannot hold one.
2. Do you have any watermelon in your refrigerator? No. :-(
3. What would you change about your living room? More sunlight. More comfy furniture. Ummm… Some flowers may be…
4. Are the dishes in your dishwasher clean or dirty? No dish washer. But not dirty dishes piled up in the sink. :-)
5. What is in your fridge? Eggs, milk, ice cubes, some oranges, some apples, veggies, dal, ummm…
6. White or wheat bread? Wheat.
7. What is on top of your refrigerator? Lotsa junk. Bills, receipts, planner, tissue box…
8. What colour or design is on your shower curtain? No shower curtain.
9. How many plants are in your home? Ummm. Zero.
10. Is your bed made right now? Just made it so that I can answer this with a ‘yes’!
11. Comet or Soft Scrub? uh?
12. Is your closet organized? Hmmm… Sorta sorted.
13. Can you describe your flashlight? Darn. I am yet to buy one…
14. Do you drink out of glass or plastic most of the time at home? Plastic and stainless steel.
15. Do you have iced tea made in a pitcher right now? Nope. Don’t like tea in any form.
16. If you have a garage, is it cluttered? No garage. Darn. I feel so poor now. No tub. No this. No that… Sheesh.
17. Curtains or blinds? Curtains.
18. How many pillows do you sleep with? Zero to one.
19. Do you sleep with any lights on at night? Nope.
20. How often do you vacuum? No vacuuming here. It’s mostly sweeping. That’s done five days a week.
21. Standard toothbrush or electric? Standard.
22. What colour is your toothbrush? Blue.
23. Do you have a welcome mat on your front porch? No front porch… *rolling my eyes*

24. What is in your oven right now? No oven. *still rolling my eyes*
25. Is there anything under your bed? Some sheet of paper from my study table that flew under my bed.
26. Chore you hate doing the most? Dusting. It is never ending!

27. What retro items are in your home? A folding chair made of rosewood.
28. Do you have a separate room that you use as an office? Nope
29. How many mirrors are in your home? Two.
30. Do you have any hidden emergency money around your home? Not hidden really. And not much really…
31. What color are your walls? Whitish.
32. Do you keep any kind of protection weapons in your home? Does kitchen knife count?
33. What does your home smell like right now? No smell…
34. Favorite candle scent? Nah.
35. What kind of pickles (if any) are in your refrigerator right now? Not in my refrigerator, but I have garlic pickle and tomato pickle (the Indian ones).
36. What color is your favorite Bible? At the moment, the one I am using is maroon.
37. Ever been on your roof? Does the terrace count?
38. Do you own a stereo? Ummm. It doesn’t work though.
39. How many TVs do you have? None. And bro is threatening to buy one. *gak*
40. How many house phones? 1
41. Do you have a housekeeper? Hmmm… Nope. But I do have a helper who comes in the mornings.
42. What style do you decorate in? No particular style really.
43. Do you like solid colours in furniture or prints? Solid colours.
44. Is there a smoke detector in your home? Nope.
45. In case of fire, what are the items in your house which you’d grab if you only could make one quick trip? Passport and certificates. And some important papers. Oh, my computer too… Oh no. There are so many books that I love… Guess they’d have to perish if there is no time…

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

How cool is this?!

You can also read more about them here.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Wisdom and the lack of it...

If there is one thing that really stood out for me when I read the book ஆகாச வீடுகள் (A Home in the Sky) it was the insight into wisdom or the lack of it…

When someone does something hurtful or selfish or any of that, lack of wisdom is the reason. This person could be you or I. I have been trying to put this into practice in my life, especially on the roads. When someone one cuts across, they are lacking in wisdom. When I say to myself, "Hmph, that person is unwise," I leave the path of wisdom.

I was thinking about wisdom and trying to make it more understandable to me. I have read and know that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And the fruit of wisdom, I suppose, is revealed in the way I treat another. Which is why when I cut across or when I cause hurt or when I am selfish or when I ridicule another I am acting out my lack of wisdom. And when I love and bless another in my thoughts and actions, it flows out of wisdom.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A home in the sky - Excerpts from the book.

ஆகாச வீடுகள் (A Home in the Sky is the Title of the English translation) by Vaasanthi was one of the books I was reading in the past week. It is a story that is set in a village amidst a community of people. It is almost like a microcosm. The author has explored the problems, human action and counter action that crop up in this microcosm, albeit from a feminist point of view.

At the two ends of the spectrum are Lalitha and Meenu who approach the same problems differently. Lalitha, Meenu's aunt, is a very patient, loving, forgiving person who smiles even at those who hurt her. Even when she weeps she weeps not for herself but for the other person.

Meenu is the reactive person among the two. She believes that something must be done when injustice happens. At 17 years of age she has a highly developed sense of justice and injustice. And she is not one to quietly watch when injustice occurs. She stands up and speaks against it.

Another fact that came to me through the story is, despite the failings and ill-feelings and gossip among the people in the community, when tragedy occurs they come together as one large family and support one another. Selfishness may seem very rampant. But in times of crisis, they think beyond self and look at the other. It is almost like these times of tragedy are moments when their heart soars in to a higher realm of existence.

This being said, I will explore or simply quote snippets from the book. And I will do my best to translate those for non-Tamil reading folks.

இந்த மனசு ஏன் உயரப் பறக்கமாட்டேன் என்கிறது?

ஓ, பெரிய சுவரல்லவா குறுக்கே நிற்கிறது?

நான்.

இதுதான் கண்ணை மறைக்கிறது, வெட்கத்தையும் மானத்தையும் மறைக்கும் சுவர். அன்பை மறைக்கும் சுவர்.

Why isn't the heart able to fly high?

O, isn't there this big wall that is blocking it?

I.

This is what is blinding the eyes. This is the wall that screens self-respect and dignity. The wall that blocks love.

"இத்தனை சின்ன வயசுக்கு நீ ரொம்ப யோசனை பண்றே, மீனு! ரொம்ப யோசனை பண்ற மனசு ரொம்ப துக்கமும் அனுபவிக்கும்."

"You think a lot for your age, Meenu! A mind that thinks a lot will experience a lot of pain."

I could relate to that!

"எங்கப்பா அடிக்கடி சொல்வார் மீனு, இந்த உலகத்திலே எதைக் கண்டும் நாம வருத்தப்பட வேண்டியதில்லே, மனுஷனுடைய அஞ்ஞானத்தைக் கண்டுதான் வருத்தப்படணும்பார்!"

"My dad used to say often, Meenu. We shouldn't be sad looking at anything in this world. Only man's lack of wisdom should sadden us."

There were many other things that appealed to me in the book. However, I don't want to get in to all the snippets in this post. Besides, it will take me a long time to search for those in the book.

Click here to read the blurb of the English Translation and possibly purchase it.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bono on Bono #4

"Michka Assayas: Don't you believe in united Ireland?

"Bono: Only by consensus. The border was drawn by threat of war, but we have to accept that it won't be removed by force. Real division, as the great John Hume says, it is in the people's hearts and minds."

Need I say more?

Let me just repeat. The real division is in people's hearts and minds - yours and mine.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Thoughts and sights from the weekend

Thoughts:

The whole Sethu Samuthiram project sparked off a discussion on development and the impact it has on the environment. (Yes. There is also the environment side to the Sethu Samuthiram argument. Not just faith.) The argument went like this:


If we need development, it will impact the environment. For that matter any action will have an environmental implication. But my question was is this the only way or model for development? The development as we see it today is merely aping that which is happening in the 'developed' countries. Who wrote that down as the protocol for development? Is consumer driven economy the only way to prosperity? Isn't that something that is driven by greed and want and not really by need?


Well, I have no answers. Only questions. And these questions and statements are not made after having learnt development and economics. These are questions that came out the mind of a by-stander.


There may be many methods, strategies, modus operandi, yada yada yada. But all this mean nothing if the thing is not done. This thought specifically occurred to me about my bakthi. If all I am thinking about is how I study the Holy Scriptures, dream of how I relate to my Guru and keep talking about it, and even write about it in my blog but do not have the bakthi, my bakthi is nothing.


There is an inherent fear of the wild in man's heart. A few conquer it. Nonetheless, it is there. One either wants to subdue it or run away from it or shut it out. But it is in the wild man is really at home.


It is weird how we destroy all the wild around us to make 'civilization' and run to the wild during weekends to escape from civilization. In doing this we invade another person's habitat and slowly begin to take over that as well. one would not have needed to do that if they had retained at least part of the wild where they were. (Ah well, this is hypocrisy. It is coming from the mouth of a migrant.)


What am I leaving behind for the future generation?


Sights:


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Musings on Bono on Bono - Part 3

"How did this person who set fire to my imagination end up with no new ideas, and actually, even incapable of their old ones? Here's my theory: When people are absorbed in the culture, and they're going out, they're listening to music, they're in the clubs, music is part of their every waking moment, and as a result part of their sleeping times, in their dreams. The life is empty of other lovers. Unless you are in love with the music, or you stop struggling with it in your unconscious when you're asleep, you've other dreams. You're dreaming about moving houses, about whatever other ventures you're involved in. but that's where you did all your great work: You did when you were… …unconscious." - Bono (Quoted from the book 'Bono on Bono - Conversations with Michka Assayas)


I think there is something here. Not just a musician's love for music. But a worker's passion for their work. When other passions start crowding in and clamouring for attention, the worker gets distracted from her primary passion.


While other interests crowding in demanding one's attention is one reason for passion being snuffed out, I believe there are other reasons too.


There are times when a new passion replaces the old passion. It could simply mean that it is time for a change. It could be time for growing up. For maturing. For exploring.


There are also times when one's passion has consumed and possessed and drove a person for too long, one just wants to be rid of it. At least for sometime… And who can say whether the passion will take possession of the person again… Only time…


p.s. - Sometimes one is plain bored out of their wits...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It's here!!!

Here is my new phone! Finally!!

I'm very sorry about being irregular with my posts. It's just that i've been out of brain juice... There is something brewing though... Hopefully in a couple of days...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Tagged

Chriz tagged me intentionally and Jollyroger sort of sneak tagged me. So here goes.

1. Pick out a scar you have, and explain how you got it.
I have this scar on my left heel. It sort of runs from one side to the other. I put my leg in between cycle spokes. And the rest is an indelible identification mark.

2.What does your phone look like?
(Disclaimer: Not for the weak hearted.)

Errr… Do you really want to know?

Don't tell me I didn't warn you…

This is a four-year old antique piece. Priceless. I have also added pictures of all the major scars that my mobile incurred during its four year existence.


However, within a week or so my phone could look like this.


3. What is on the walls of your bedroom?
A hair-line crack.

4. What is your current desktop picture?
A picture of my best buddy and i.

5. Do you believe in gay marriage?
No

6. What do you want more than anything right now?
Sleep! No, wait… I want to travel. I'm itching to travel.

7 . What time were you born?
6.24 am

8. Are your parents still together?
Nope. Dad died long ago.

9. Last person who made you cry?
Myself

10. What is your favorite perfume / cologne?
Tommy Girl and Tommy Girl 10.

11. What kind of hair/eye color do you like in the opposite sex?
Never really thought about it really.

12. What are you listening to?
Some generator running somewhere, masons working in the next building, our front office person on the phone…

13. Do you get scared of the dark?
Nope.

14. Do you like pain killers?
Don't believe in them except when in extreme pain. Refer answer to Q. 1

15. Are you too shy to ask someone out?
Ummm… I believe that the guy should do the asking…

16. If you could eat anything right now, what would it be?
Chocolate mousse cake. The one that Anju talks about...

17. Who was the last person you made you mad?
Must be those crazy guys on the road. Don't know which one, but definitely someone who wouldn't give me way…

18. Who was the last person who made you smile?
My friend... The one whose picture is my desktop wallpaper...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Reality check

On the way to work
The usual route
Unusual traffic pile up
Bumper to bumper traffic
Four-road junction
A car stopped in the middle of the road
A fallen bike
Crowd of people
Pool of blood clotting on the road

Not a question of whose fault it was
But a matter of a life potentially lost...

Please wear a helmet...

(This is a reminder to me as well)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

*Smiles*

Some of the things that made me smile/laugh/happy in the last 24 hours... (If it's an image, click to enlarge.)

I went grocery shopping. Took my bike (bicycle). Was caught in a downpour on the way back. It was nice riding in the rain. *smile*

A friend drew this graffiti for me. *laugh*




I got this in the mail today. I have printed it and put up on desk. *ROFLOL*




Another work mail that i received... *LOLOL*

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

8 + 4 random stuff...

Jollyroger tagged me ages ago. And since I haven't written in a long time I thought I will do this meme. However, I don't think I will be tagging anyone. Well, let's just say consider yourself tagged when you do comment to this post, but then again not if you don't want to be tagged. So, here goes my 8 (+ 3… + 1)

I am supposed to write 8 random facts about myself. And I have chosen to write about things I have been currently (pre)occupied with… In other words, the reasons why I haven't been regular with my blog.

1. Work - Yes. I know it sounds lame, but the slow days seem to be kind of over. It happens in seasons for me. So, may be more during the next slow season.

2. I have started getting my life back in order. With a few 'goodbyes' and fewer 'welcome backs' all one after the other, my life had gone haywire. Now I am slowly building back my schedules. And I will learn to fit in blogging into that as well. Until then please be gracious.

3. Brain drain - Did mention that I am working hard? A lot of my work over the last month involved racking my brain real hard. And that had drained all my brain juices. Hence, I wasn't able to think up any new stuff. I still am not able to think about any new stuff. I don't even want to try. I am THAT tired.

4. Swimming has been going on regularly. I wanted to be disciplined about that. This was part of putting the schedule back in order. Also, I have been trying to go to bed earlier than usual. All this has affected my blogging.

5. I have been hooked to Scrabbles on Facebook. Oops. I have let the cat out of the bag…

6. I have started reading the newpaper! I know, I know… Once upon a time, I was going to write a whole post on why I don't read the newspaper.

7. I am trying to get a lot more reading done. And I have been pretty good with that. I am currently in the middle of three books. One fiction. One non fiction. One faith-related.

8. Talking about faith, I am also trying to be disciplined about my time spent alone with God.

9. The city traffic! It has been getting worse. And I kid not. It is not an illusion… Added to this is the increased amount of travel within the city (work-related travel that is).

This has added to my stress levels and preoccupation levels.

10. I have been watching a lot of movies lately. At least, a lot more than usual.

11. Been spending more time with people face-to-face than during the last two months.

12. Guess I am tired of thinking and troubling my poor little head. So, I just took a break from thinking. Now that I have started reading the newspaper, guess I will begin to stir up the gray matter more and more. So hopefully…

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ten Commandments of riding/driving in Chennai

1. You shall have no other goal other than travelling from point a to point b. Well, riding for pleasure is ok. But your goal shall not be, I repeat, shall not be racing to win some unsuspecting person who doesn't even know that a race is on!
2. You shall start early so as to avoid cussing, rash-driving, killing others to make it on time.
3. You shall love a fellow traveller as yourself. Well, just imagine this. You cut across or be nasty to this person and you realise that this person is none other than your good friend or relative or boss…
4. You shall not envy another person's bike or car or lorry or bus… Whichever is applicable.
5. You shall not act like you are the king of the road just because you blew up a lot of money in buying your fancy-pansy bike/car.
6. Show mercy and you will be shown mercy. Well, actually you may not be shown any mercy even if you show mercy. But be merciful to the ones with lesser vehicles and pedestrians.
7. Patience is a virtue. Trust me, it won't kill you.
8. You shall not honk unnecessarily. Remember, honkers are not movers. It shows that you cannot drive. It is like you are announcing "EVERYBODY! OUTTA MY WAY! DON"T KNOW HOW TO STOP THIS THING!"
9. If you are a bike guy, don't fix a car horn. And the other kind of horn that needs to be avoided are those annoying many pitch ones… And those with those nerve-racking tunes… Or that irritating… Oh never mind…
10. If you can't go but you can let a smaller guy go, let him go. Don't be a dog in the manger.

And because I don't like to stop with 10…
11. Be nice. Smile when people let you pass or let you cross. Try and say or signal thank you when you can.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Battlefield

"Evil encroaches in tiny footsteps on every great idea. And evil can outrun most great ideas, but finally, in the end, there is light in the world."


"The jungle is never far from the surface of our skin. No, I'm never surprised by evil, but I'm much more excited about what people are capable of."


"Well, as you get older, your idea of good guys and bad guys changes. As we moved from the eighties to the nineties, I stopped throwing rocks at the obvious symbols of power and the abuse of it. I started throwing rocks at my own hypocrisy."


Taken from 'Bono on Bono'


The picture that we often have of the poor is 'victims'. They are victims, no doubt. They are victims of the injustice in the society, the systems that have been worked out to keep them in their place, and of the rich and powerful using these systems to oppress them.


The nagging question in my head was what if the tables were turned? If the poor were made rich and powerful? My guess is that the same struggle will continue - between the powerful and the oppressed. Only the players will be different. What I am trying to say here is that the rich aren't all evil and the poor aren't all good. This is not a comic book where the evil persons are at war with the good persons.


When this one person with the good and the evil residing in him/her has the power, they have the choice to wield the power however they choose. And it seems like there is more evil than good. The choices are more selfish. In his post on morality, JollyRoger has explored 'collateral damage'. Oftentimes, those doing the damage don't look back to see the trail of disaster they leave behind - simply because of their selfish ways.


We work to put systems in place for either of the two purposes - to keep the evil from invading and imprisoning the 'victims' or to retain the power. Again, there are two sides to this. When the systems are established with great ideals of goodness and justice, they can still be infiltrated by evil. The converse is also true. When systems are put in place to retain power and to continue the oppression, the goodness of human nature does shine through.


In the end, the hero and the villain is the same person and the real battlefield is the heart.


Note: Some of what I read in Bono on Bono prodded me along this line of thought. It gave more form and structure to proceed with this thought-wrestling process. A chat with Jude and today's message at church helped me give structure and form to it. Thanks to Roger too. I was surprised to see that he had wrestled with similar thoughts and his thoughts on this subject further provided fodder for my post.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

That heaven of freedom

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action -
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
- Rabindranath Tagore
This has been one of favorite poems ever since I was a kid.
And this is my prayer as we celebrate 60 years of independence...

Friday, August 10, 2007

The burden of the ideal: The dreamer

The dreamer dreams of the perfect world. She wonders at why it cannot be. She works towards the ideal. She strives. She struggle.
Alas, she is but one. What can she do?

The dreamer laments the imperfection without. Would running away from the imperfect world help? No. The imperfection is truly from within.
Alas, even she is one. What has she done?

The burden of the ideal: The quest

Dreams come easy to dreamers. To wonder at what could be, to see the potential in things and people, to hope for the best, to look for the silver lining, and to see the light at the end of the tunnel… All this only till the dream has a head-on collision with reality. Nothing can confuse the dreamer like reality. Questions and doubts invade the terrain which was once inhabited by dreams of possibilities.

Even in the midst of growing cynicism and increasing doubts and questions, the dreamer carries on the quest for the ideal. This incongruity between the ideal and the real remains a thorn in the flesh of the dreamer refusing to go away. The strife between what could be and why it cannot be disillusions. The bubble bursts.

The bursting bubble doesn't keep the dreamer from dreaming.
The bursting bubble doesn't keep the dreamer from being disillusioned.
Dreams and disillusionments. They co-exist. They feed on one another.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Bits and pieces

After losing the one decent thought i had over the weekend, all i can share with you are the bits and pieces of the last two days... There is no particular logical order to these. They are as random as random could get.

Goodbyes

Walls high up

Fear

Hope

Lonely

Laughter and tears

Friend

Small mercies

Big mercies

Grace is sufficient

Desperate

Lost

Weakness and strength

Work and passion

Music

Memories

Joy

Sorrow

Tired

Hollow

Questions without answers

Quietness

p.s. - Apologies to Ryan, Nancy and Anna. 'Hello', 'Coffee', 'Lunch' and 'Chocolate' were supposed to make it into the list... But i was so overwhelmed by the 'goodbyes' I forgot to add those.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

$#%@#$%

Darn! I lost an idea... Grrr... @$%@#$%@#$%

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Rain Rain

Things I like about rain season

Getting wet on the way back home

Feeling cozy when I wake up in the morning

Water supply for the next one year!

Awesome weather

Riding my bike on beach road when it pours

The memories this kinda weather brings back

Staring out of the window when it is pouring cats and dogs outside and losing myself in my thoughts


Things I don't like about rain season

Getting wet on the way to work

Getting splashed by some stoopid truck/auto/whatever else

Clothes don't dry quick

The damp feeling in the air

The lethargy that sets in

Reduced road space and bad roads and bad traffic and dangerous wet roads and hidden potholes…

The way many of our clients are affected as they live in low-lying flood-prone areas… Their businesses get affected too.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A fistful...

The wonderful thing about my job is you get to see the hope. And hope comes in all shapes and sizes. The most recent sighting of hope came in fistfuls.


There are these three bunches of women, three groups of around twenty women, who decided to contribute a fistful of rice every week*. Thus, their giving began. A fistful a week. Fistfuls every month for a few months. In the end, they had 120 kilograms of rice. This rice, they decided to give it to a hostel run for girls with visual impairment. Girls who have been rejected by families. Girls who were considered a burden. Girls who are educated and wanting to contribute to the functioning of society.


It was a wonderful sight to see. A bunch of women gathered together in an asbestos shed put up on the terrace of one small neighbourhood. The givers and the receivers. It was difficult to identify who the givers and who the receivers were. Those who gave received and those who received gave.


This incident continued to resonate the truth that I am learning. One's ability to give does not depend on one's wealth. It all depends on one's willingness. Willingness to look beyond oneself. Willingness to look at others. Willingness to give. It all depends on one's heart size and not on one's wallet size.


Above all, giving empowers the giver. There is dignity in giving. It makes you rise above your situation of needs and wants. It makes you realise that even you can give.


*They called it புடி அரிசி திட்டம் ("Pudi Arisi Thittam" meaning "fistful of rice plan").

Note on pictures: One is a picture of one of the girls reading from a Braille Bible. The other is a picture of a couple of our clients holding fists full of rice.

Eleven things #3

… I am thankful for.

  1. Not turning on the fan and light as soon as I came home (like I usually do). There was a gas leak from the stove. (Made a mental note to check it before I leave home everyday.)
  2. Good chocolate.
  3. The food on the table everyday... God's provision despite the fact that I am living on an empty wallet at the moment.
  4. Sparks of inspiration which help me in my work.
  5. Friends. I don't know what I would do without them.
  6. They way friends express their love. It may not be verbal as I would like it. But they do express it in their own ways and it doesn't fail to touch me.
  7. My work. It is a real blessing to be able to love what you do.
  8. The mug full of Milo everyday. If not for that, I would go hungry in the morning everyday.
  9. Our new office! It looks great and it is awesome to finally have a decent workspace of my own.
  10. For my house. I will have to vacate it in about two months. Need to start house-hunting again.
  11. For my family.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Just a fistful...

...can make a difference.

My next post is going to be on a fistful of difference. I thought i will post this prelude lest i forget that i should write about this.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Illusion of the tangible

In life and work we constantly seek the tangible and seek to make that which is intangible tangible. There is a constant rush to fill our lives with the material, that which we can see and hold, that which we can touch and own and claim as ours. All the while, the intangible gets relegated to the background.


The intangible seems like the loser. It loses out in debates and arguments. It cannot be quantified and measured and hence it is made to seem like it doesn't exist. Also there is a constant pressure to quantify the intangible. There is a recognition that it exists, but we want proof of its existence. What better way than to make it measurable and touchable and seeable?


At times, the intangible does succumb to the pressure. But when it does, it ceases to be what it was. It is compromised. It is not entire. It is not that elusive and not quite graspable but still wholesome thing it was. It has been captured, albeit incompletely, and put in a box and neatly packaged and presented.


The intangible may suffer rejection or experience mutilation. It may just be an afterthought. But it does its work silently and quietly, nudging and edging. We don't realise it or recognize it always. The unseeable, the nonquantifyable, the immeasurable, the thing of beauty and the thing of our hearts… It does its work quietly… For it is this that really matters. It is this that makes our lives worth living.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Couple of stuff...

I don’t know what to write on now. I seem to have exhausted all my ideas for now. There are no new ideas. I do not want to think I have writer's block. Well, I don't consider myself a serious writer really. I only ramble a bit and try to get the thought out of my head and communicate it as best as I can.

My brain seems to want some rest from thinking. I have been employing mind to understand and process a lot of things work-wise and personal stuff-wise… Those are things I don't think I want to write about.


Guess I will highlight a couple of things two of my blog friends did for me which was really touching. Thank you, Choconet and Julie.


And I have been thinking of a couple of other things as well.

1. How do you know that you have been surfing the net for too long?

When you are subconsciously searching for the mouse to click on text that looks like hyper-link in the book you are reading…


2. How do you know that you have been doing a lot of riding on your bike?

When you are walking somewhere and you are subconsciously searching for the indicator before making a turn or for the horn when you want to overtake the person walking in front of you…


I have done both…


It seems like it is going to be a fully-packed weekend for me. At least, Saturday doesn't seem to the quiet and peaceful sort that I usually look forward to. *sigh*

Happy weekend, folks!I hope to be back with better stuff next week.


Good night for now...


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Lessons from Bono - Part 1

One of the books I am currently reading is Bono on Bono. I like Bono. I like his music because it is honest and he doesn't mince words. And I also like him cause I he, like me, believes that poverty can be made history and is working towards that. And he challenges convention.


There are some thoughts from the book which really hit home. Well, there are many of those really. I emailed Gina these thoughts and she thought these were blog material and that they should be shared with the wider audience. So, I will be putting up a select few of these thoughts in my blog along with my thoughts about his thoughts. Hopefully, this will be a series of posts.


“There are stories to tell that are not songs.”

This is one of the reasons he gave for working on this book project with the author. I just thought it was a cool quote.


“If you wake up in the morning with a melody in your head, as I do, it’s all about how much you compromise that melody to take it out of your head and put it into music.”

I feel this way about writing. I have sometimes compromised my ideas simply because I could not find the right words to express them. And when I wrote them, I would either end up something very different from what I started out with or I would not have expressed the idea in its entirety. I am glad I found his words to help me capture this compromise.


“It’s a very hierarchical business. What table you get in the restaurant tells how your career is doing. It’s happened to me many times, where you turn up at a restaurant or a club and they haven’t got the booking right and you have to queue or get turned away…

…But I don’t want to stray too far from the street. I’m not saying I’m not good at the penthouse life – but I’m also good at the pavement. That’s a source of pride for me, that I’m good at both. I’m good at high life, I’m good at the low life. It’s the middle where I lose it.”

I wish I could say that of myself… The bit about being good at both lives...


“…If you look to writers and painters and poets, then you’ll often find the search for the ecstatic, the trauma of religious experience.”

“All the Renaissance painters, torn between God, patronage, and the desires of the flesh.”

"Coolness might help in your negotiation with people through the world, maybe, but it is impossible to meet God with sunglasses on. It is impossible to meet God without abandon, without exposing yourself, being raw. That’s the connection with great music and great art, and that is why it’s uncomfortable, that is why cool is the enemy of it, because that’s the other reason you wanted to join a bad: you wanted to do the cool thing. Trying to capture religious experiences on tape wasn’t what you had in mind when you signed up for the job.”

I guess this is not something that only musicians and artists alone face. It is true of me and my work as well. Why do I want to do development work? Is it to please man, to earn a living or to do the Kingdom work? Like the artist I struggle with the three loyalties. The desire to be noticed, the desire to climb the rungs of career ladder, and the desire to serve – all three compete for attention.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Torn

I'm riding on my scooter. I'm dodging traffic. I'm taking the short-cuts -- the by lanes and the side lanes. Why do I feel like I'm invading somebody else's space? It is a thoroughfare after all. Why does it feel like I am riding through people's homes? Is it because some people have to bring part of their homes to the road as they cannot contain it within the walls of their actual home?

A small two-room house. One kitchen. One bed-room-cum-living-room-cum-miscellaneous-room. One family. Five members to the family. The toilet may be in the house or the family may need to share it with the rest of the community. Water collected from the tank near the house.

I ride throught the small roads and slums to arrive in a nice neighbourhood. I go in and shut the door... To the road... To the world...


One small, cozy little apartment. Four rooms. Two bathrooms with loo attached. Running water. Two people living in it. The bedroom the size of the house described above.


I love the comfort. I like the space. I work with people who live with their family of five in a house as big as my bedroom. The disparity bothers me. I'm feeling torn.


p.s. - I have gotten past the guilt stage (I hope). I am really ok. I simply wanted to highlight the disparity that i see - not just between the worlds out there, but even between my own and the one that I interact with.


p.p.s. - Pictures have been added as suggested by Ryan and Chronicwriter

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Chocolate

What better topic than chocolate to make an awesome comeback!!! Choconet, this one goes to you...

The things I like in chocolate

Just chocolate

Nuts - Almonds and Cashews especially

A little more cocoa (not so much that it is bitter chocolate)

Cake/Pastry


Things I don't mind in chocolate

Peanuts (if it is Snicker bar)

Raisins

Wafer

Biscuit

Liqueur

Nougat


Things that should not be in chocolate

Caramel

Mint (makes it taste like chocolate-toothpaste combo)

Caramel crystals

One of those strawberry/orange pasty stuffing (*gak* That's worse than mint!)

Friday, July 06, 2007

Resurfacing

Now that my friend has come and gone, and i am poorer but richer, i think it is time to get back to blogging.

Two weeks away from blogging and you have so much to catch up on! I am slowly getting there, people. I have started visiting the blogs that i usually do. All this is moving at tortoise-pace. But i will get there. I promise.

About posting stuff on my blog, erm... the whole of last week i have not been able to think about anything much other than work and my friend. Don't be afraid. New thoughts have started doing the pop-corn act in my head. I will soon be writing again.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Poorer but richer

Goodbyes are never easy. And I don't think they are meant to be easy. Although I feel as if I lack something, I feel I am rich as I have gained so much more - friendship and memories. Not that there were no friendship or memories before. It is just that the heart sizes have grown larger to contain more love.

Currently feeling: Sad

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Eleven things #2

I have been doing way too many serious post. And it has been amazing to see cheeky replies even to those! I thought it is time for something light. I am not too much of a funny writer, if you haven't already noticed it. Anyways, I will attempt something simply to break the monotony.

Hmm… Probably doing a list will help. Another eleven things now post perhaps. So here goes…

Now


1. I am waiting for the clock to strike 7.30 am. This means that I can leave to the airport to pick up my friend.

2. Trying to think up of another 9 points.

3. On leave from work so that I can spend time with my friend!

4. Am happy because a colleague from down under has given birth to a baby girl and both mom and baby are doing fine!

5. I would like to finish reading a book that I started long, long ago… It is a great book. I simply lost momentum as I started reading something else before I finished that.

6. I am currently in the middle of three books that need finishing.The one mentioned above is one of them.

7. I am addicted to blogging and blog hopping. In other words, to blogosphere.

8. I am happy with the way my house is beginning to look with the new furniture in place and stuff.

9. Wondering what might happen at the airport. In the sense, how am I going to react…

10. I haven't gone swimming because I am too excited.

11. I have a half-full laundry basket...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Be stirred

Questions - when we are faced with them, we always seek answers. It may be that all questions do not have answers. Questions can be complete. They don’t need answers to make them whole. However, questions do demand answers.

Questions, even when there are no answers, are good for the soul. They drive us. They make us seekers after truth. We are pushed to the horizons. The boundaries are tested. Battles ensue. Thresholds are crossed. New knowledge is obtained. Perspectives are broadened. More questions follow… And the journey continues...

Despite the frustrating nature of questions, we should strive to embrace them and not avoid them. They should be accepted for what they are . They are not our enemies, but allies. They challenge us and cajole us. They stretch us. They push us continuously.

Without questions learning ceases. Without learning boundaries are never tested. New worlds fail to be discovered. Life becomes mere existance.

Let questions continue to stir us…

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Giving - Today's thought #8

It is more blessed to give than to receive...

The above statement is soaked, laden and oozing with the blessing that was felt.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Perception - Today's Thought #7

A person who has been able to obtain an additional perspective is indeed in a better position to judge things. However, this position should not be used to judge people who do not have the advantage of other perspectives…


One more of my random thoughts I was thinking when riding to work.

If the future comes...

I really, really loved this post by Liz Strauss.

And this was my reponse to her post...

If the future comes, i will be who i am supposed to be...

Untill then, i shall be happy with who i am becoming...
With each passing day, i am becoming me... Hopefully...

Interrupted

Who likes their smooth journey on the road interrupted? The signals and the potholes. The bikes and the autos. The nasty cabs and the cars. The trucks and the buses.

I have become a more aggressive rider*. Dodging big vehicles, tackling funnily moving cars and bikes, finding that narrow crook through which I can pass, overtaking vehicles on the wrong side, swimming… erm... riding against the tide…

It is all like one big game on the road. Just that this is not a virtual game and you have only one life. It is an obstacle race of sorts…

The other vehicles on the road are obstacles blocking my path. They interrupt my smooth and quick ride.

However, there have been moments of revelation and flashes of insight that these other vehicles are manned by people. By persons not unlike myself. The graciousness of the car guy that lets me pass, the girl I allowed to cross, the auto-rickshaw guy who gave me directions… These are people. Not obstacles.

We have choices when we journey through life. We can dodge, use, misuse and abuse people, tackle tough guys, overtake slow-runners and swim against the tide. We will get where we want to go. Or we can treat these interruptions as opportunities to be human and to allow others to be human**. We may not reach our destination quicker but we will surely get there happier.

* I am working on toning down a bit… Honest…
** The others may not always make use of the opportunity. But don't let that bother you.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pollution

While the big heads debate about pollution, what are you* and I going to do about it?

I'm hoping to use my cycle when commuting around in the neighbourhood.
I'm going to try to use the public transport to work more often.
I will not use my air-con if the weather is bearable.
I will turn off the lights and fans when not in the room.
I will try not to waste water.
I will ride my scooter in a way that I get the maximum mileage out of it.

Thanks, Joy for giving me the link to the article.

*If you are an Indian and are accessing the net, chances are you are a "first world Indian."


p.s. - While you are at this, you can also check out my new audio post - "I'm still searching, I'm still running..." - in my other blog.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Lucky, aren't you?

I have been wondering about luck and fortune. What are they anyways? Aren't they just some relative terms we use to compare ourselves with others or vice versa?

When someone says they are lucky, don't they usually mean they have all that they want and desire? But is that being lucky and fortunate really?


What we think is good for may turn out to be not so good after all. And what we consider misfortune may be a blessing in disguise.


I guess life is more than mere luck and fortune. It is the ability to be able to smile at seemingly bad circumstances and believing that all is not lost yet. And not being deceived by seemingly favourable circumstances and think you have made it.


Above all, it is knowing that the best is yet to come and keeping at it…


Me, for some reason I was thinking of you when I wrote this post. No, I did not write this based on what is happening in your life, but as I was writing it I remembered your situation. Well, the best is yet to come, me!