Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Alter-Ego

Writing is a unique pleasure. It piques your grey cells, gets your adrenaline pumping in a queer way and sets your mind wandering off to distant lands. The first time I wrote I realized that it was an exercise in self actualization. It soon became a passion and today writing has become a part of me. But the irony of it all is how I felt about taking a pen when I was at school and college. I was terrified, I was afraid that I would embarrass myself and I refused to write even 100 words. One day though, I forced myself to attempt writing and the rest just fell in place.

My friends know that I am mad about water sports, adventures and the stage. But there is something that very few know till now and that’s my alter-ego! I have, always in life, been driven by insecurity! Insecurity that one day my fears will get the better of me!

There have been times when I felt so scared of water that I used to dread the swimming classes my mom took me to. I remember the days when I shivered on stage and refused to speak one word in English. And the one fear that has perhaps been the longest in my memory is the morbid fear of heights. I still find my nerves jangling and my head going off into a tizzy when I stand at the very top and look below.

But I found the right people in life and the right guidance. I kept hearing the oft repeated cliché “facing fears is the only way to be rid of them” and “Rise above fear, beyond fear is victory”. One day a switch inside of me flipped and I decided to step over the line and try! It was a huge step for me. On the one hand I was facing the risk of embarrassment in front of people and on the other hand the risk of getting hit physically. But I took a leap of faith, literally… and that’s when my love affair with the sea and water in general started. Today I absolutely love the idea of a swim or a dip in the ocean and I am not scared anymore of water.

Public speaking was very similar too and so was writing. Today I maintain a blog and I absolutely love the experience. My toastmasters journey is one I cherish the most.

Writing this article has helped me reflect on my alter ego and I thank Indigblogger for pushing me to write. I realize that I am a man of two opposites (yes even today) and most of my passions were initially my fears. When I did choose to face them head on they became my allies! The experience is electric and it is truly a fantastic journey. I am afraid still, but I see that there is an opportunity in fear and I like that challenge.

I loved this recent ad from Mountain Dew. It is a fantastic illustration of how fun life could be, if we let go of our fears and took that Leap of faith. Fear is a wall we refuse to see beyond. If only we stepped out… :)

The cliché is true after all :) Face them if you want to conquer them! Or, as the folks at Mountain Dew say, Darr kea age jeeth hain :)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

My Wish List!

I have always loved travelling and my tastes when it comes to places of stay are quite varied. I have always asked myself what kind of places would i love to stay. Every time my answer has been different. I have never outwardly expressed my tastes before, but the Indiblogger community in association with AirBnb has given me an interesting chance to do just that :) 

Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — on-line or from a mobile phone. Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 190+ countries. Check out more about AirBnb in this

So here's my Wish-List from the thousands of listings on AirBnb. How I wish I could visit all these places. That would be some vacation wouldn't it? :)

The places I have chosen in my wish list are 

1. Chile – This country is quite unusual. On a map, It looks like a long ribbon. Its geography extends linearly. The beaches in Chile are famous and are a unique pleasure. I have chosen a unique Boat stay at Chile and I wish someday I could visit here!

2. Iceland – Ever since I heard Christopher Nolan’s interstellar was shot extensively in this part of the world, I have wanted to visit Iceland. Take a look at the place on my wish list and you will fall in love too :)
Pictures from
3. CA – I have chosen this place more for the property, The Hobbit Hut. Such a fantasy it would be. To live the life of a Hobbit! Being a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings, this place is a must visit for me!

4. Indonesia – A place I am visiting shortly! The property I have selected is 2 BHK with a private pool. Located at the most happening part of Bali, this is quite an attractive place to stay in

5. Paris – The most romantic city in the world. The home of the Eiffel tower and the location to die for. This was an obvious choice on my wish list. The property I have chosen is a beautiful flat, replete with a completely intimate and romantic setting, it truly reflects the city’s spirit.

6. London – The city of my dreams. I would vote London as my most favorite city. I love the culture, the people and the language they speak. They are the founders of Cricket, home to the Premier League of football and the home of Sherlock Holmes. That it is my favorite city is so elementary, isn’t it Watson? ;)

7. India – Maybe the last but by no means the least. My home. The land of palaces and beauty. I have chosen the Charming Bungalow in UP. It is my utmost desire to stay in a huge place someday. The wish gets fulfilled in the wish list first ;)

Oh before I forget, there is an amazing referral program on this too :) Here's my referral Use this link to get free credits :) Remember, you multiply joy, when you share :) So go ahead, use you credits and share them with your friends :) 

PS - If you need free credits, post your email on the comments here and I will send you some credits ;)

Yes or No

So much has been talked/debated/written about pre-marital sex. Those who stand for it vow that it is their right to decide what they must or must not do, and those against it use the “Moral” code perhaps too generously. What amuses me though, is how the question bypassed several other levels and directly came into the “Right” or “Wrong” category. How did the debate transcend many other points of contention before it came to ask people “Are you for or against it?”.

For example, say I eat Noodles for dinner… people don’t immediately start debating on if they are for or against following the same eating pattern. It ultimately stops one step before and the verdict is “It may not be a healthy practice, but it’s the individual’s wish”. Same goes for the colors someone prefers, the homes people build, the jobs they work in or even the partners they choose for life! So why then did the question of pre-marital sex get classified in the “Right or Wrong”, “For or Against, “Stand by it or Swear against it scenario”?. Well, the reason I can think of it is because our country holds the institution of marriage as the highest social yardstick, and with good reason I must add.

Evolution has always started with chaos. The Universe evolved from Chaos but over a period of time it survived because some form of Order seeped into its existence. Mankind is no different. When marriage was not yet as prevalent the social evils against women were uncontrollable. Marriage brought in a sense of order. In India it is practically very difficult to be socially safe without marriage. Unfortunately into all our lives corruption has seeped in. Punishments are never fair, justice is very rarely served. The moral fear of committing a mistake has practically been washed away. And hence, the need for the institution of marriage assumed strength. It became necessary before you got the “LICENSE”. Evolution is a continuous process and once order set in, man started questioning why it is there. So here we are again, questioning why marriage should be a factor in determining whether I am allowed to do something or not.

Personally my views are completely away from the Yes or No question. From how I see it, before we ask the “right or wrong” question, we must think and answer the questions: “Is it necessary or not”, “Is it worth it or not”. Most of us debate on whether the indulgence is right or wrong, but are we actually debating/discussing on the consequences of the act? Are we considering the emotional and physical changes we might undergo after? We live in a society where getting pregnant before marriage is considered a Taboo, we cannot change it overnight. So, are we ready to tackle that scenario in a sensitive way wherein no one involved is hurt? Emotionally and physically? Are the precautions we might undertake fail-proof? Are we ready to face the consequences?

If the two people involved are sure of what they are doing and have planned it all out to face whatever may happen after the indulgence, then there is no question at all. But if they aren’t.. and the only reason to even do it is social pressure or incapacity to control overflowing hormones or just to experience the short thrill… then it is completely not fair to do it.

Is it Right or Wrong? Ask yourself. Is it necessary or not? Ask each other.

I am hopeful that more insights and opinions would be discussed in the new book by Poonam Uppal - A Passionate Gospel of True Love : A Mystical True Love Story

But no matter what, just be prepared to face the consequences. Our short-sightedness prevents us from looking at anything beyond the few minutes/hours of pleasure. It is in this trait of mankind though, that the universe moves onward… albeit in circles!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Banega Swachh India!

India is a country of multiple faiths, religions and languages. Very few initiatives have transcended the multiple boundaries and reached people effectively. Either the spirit is lost in translation or it reaches people so late that the very campaign becomes irrelevant. But here is one campaign that has the power to be relevant over a few years if not generations. This, by the way is nothing to proud of; yet this is something we can actually use to our advantage.

The Swachh india is the vision of our PM. But the truth is, he has echoed out loud the voices that keep running inside everyone of our heads. Two of the biggest terms used as foundation for this campaign are sanitation and hygiene. Nothing would be worse on our part, than overlooking these two biggies. Swachh India has drawn our attention to the importance of hygiene and sanitation and quite a few commendable activities have flooded the social media already. The question is, “Is one day’s worth of action enough?”

Take a walk on your streets; whether it is the main road or a sub lane or a tiny alleyway. The roads are strewn with plastics, the corners carry the disgusting stench of urea, the bins are surrounded by trash, food particles, spit and wastes have spoiled so much of our roads. Everyday the roads are being swept, the trash is being taken away by the civic authorities, the plastics are picked by rag-pickers. Yet, in a matter of hours the roads get back to the sorry state they were… WHY? Why does this happen? Where is the hole in the system?

The answer is simple, WE are the problem. We are the hole in the system. Our callous attitude is the sole reason. We write pages and talk for hours but when it comes to execution a lot of us fail miserably. We don’t think twice before spitting on the ground. We casually throw away chocolate wrappers, junk food boxes, excess food, water bottles, paper cups and many more on the road; even when the trash cans are a few meters away.

Urinating on the streets is an act of shame but we never stop do we? We let our kids relieve themselves, because WE say they can’t hold on. Drunken men just don’t care about the place. Educated people are worse. They pick corners where no one can see and people just follow their lead. Soon that neat corner becomes the foulest place on the street. When we throw trash on the roads when the bins are few meters away, does it really make sense to say if we build 1000 toilets on that stretch people won’t urinate in public? The most common excuses would be, 1. I didn’t know there was a toilet nearby. 2. The toilets are not clean (WTH? Ya I get you). 3. The toilets are not safe for children. 4. <Think of anything you might say and fill it here>

No, none of the efforts can actually give you a complete solution. One part will always be missing! And that part is HOME! Sanitation and hygiene begin at Home. When you teach the kids to not give excuses and develop intrinsic discipline they will change; when you as parents/guardians/siblings lead by example the family will follow. The biggest challenge in life is living by your principles. Tell yourself to be disciplined and at home make it a habit to be disciplined. Think of Sachin Tendulkar, his discipline is what made him what he is, his self control stopped him from endorsing a tobacco product even though it would have given him 7 Crores more. Look up at your role model and hero. Their good habits started at home.

Sanitation and hygiene starts at home too. Let’s develop the habit of throwing trash into the bin and nowhere else. Let’s make a promise not to dirty the roads. Appreciate the many endeavors of people around us. Here is a sample, NDTV’s swachh india campaign -

Let’s do our bit to the society and our own selves. Let’s start the revolution at home and together let’s make a Swachh India!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Festival of Lights - A Reminiscence

Diwali is not just a festival, it’s an emotion. The very mention of Diwali draws out a plethora of emotions and memories… Every single one of them a happy one :) While growing up the injuries caused by the crackers were something of an amusement to us, we used to go to school and sport the marks of a burnt cracker to our friends with pride. Much like how a warrior would show his battle scars! Diwali is the biggest festival of the year and its appeal transcends all boundaries. We say sport unites people universally; Diwali in India does a better and more efficient job. The glamour and the freshness of the festival of lamps are more powerful than any sport ever has been. Religions, caste, economic divide, gender… none of these boundaries stop this festival from being celebrated in gay abandon.

I live In Triplicane, in one of the prime streets as far as Diwali is concerned! I live on one of the mada veedis around the Parthasarathy Temple. Diwali on this part of Chennai is perhaps the biggest guilty pleasure for its habitants. My day has three parts and has continued to be this way for 15 years now. The first part involves the early morning rush… to be the first person on the street to burst the 100 wala crackers! The crazy waking up time (2am) , pestering mom for the oil ritual and then waiting restlessly for 15 minutes to let the oil soak in.. then getting ready and eating the sweets and savories and putting on new clothes… Ah! The mad excitement! You get ready hurriedly and just as you are about to rush down, you hear the first sound of crackers that simply break your heart!

Your spirit though builds up greatly and with all happiness we rush down as a family and burst the first round of crackers. The morning is spent with crackers and phone calls and the debate shows on TV (my mom keeps saying, we could as well watch on mute, we hear nothing anyway). The smile spreads bigger and the day starts to get lit up :)

The second part is the travel to our grandparents’ places. Both paternal and maternal. The travel itself is a roller coaster, much like walking on a minefield J Crackers light up and burst with ferocity on the left, right and center. By the time we cross the multiple theatres with mad crowds, the kids with frightening courage throwing crackers from their hands, the restaurants that have sparse crowds and the signals that are mostly unmanned and out of control, we would have had the most happening drive. When we reached our destination though our smiles widened. This is when we lived the spirit of Diwali. Every minute of the next 5 hours was a gala that is unique to this festival. A grand lunch, some delightful conversations, delectable meetings with our crush in the family, the scared infants crying louder than the crackers, our beloved pet that seeks some assurance that the world is not ending, and that nosy aunt looming around listening for topics to gossip about till the next Diwali… J We used to love it all and lap it up with fervour!

The third and perhaps the most defining part of my day would start by 6pm back at my residence! This is about the time that Triplicane shines in glorious light and explodes in incredible noise. Many residents in my street have kids working abroad. Everyone is home for Diwali and all their earnings are turned into crackers! The next 5 hours and sometimes even more are incredible! Crackers of every color, sound and variety are in full exhibition. Our guardian, our guiding god, the sarathy for Arjuna, Lord Parthasarathy takes to the streets by 6.30pm. On a normal day, he takes 30 minutes to cross our street, but on Diwali it takes 3 hours for him to cross us! Crackers explode relentlessly, the air is polluted to mind boggling levels (not that we are proud of it), the entire locality comes out on the streets, beautiful girls adorn the streets, kids run helter skelter, friends gather and scream In joy on the streets, cameras are out clicking non-stop and there I used to be… in the middle of it all. Enjoying, Dancing, praying to the lord and breathing in the smoke of the crackers and getting a sore throat that will last for a few days.

New friends are made, old insecurities are thrown away by some assuring conversations, love hangs in the air, parents protect us and keeping looking out for our safety, grandparents shower us with pocket money (Fall on their feet and get blessed.. with money and words) and the rain definitely shows he is around with brief drizzles and get cursed and chased away.

My Diwali has followed the same pattern over the last 15 years and yet it has been extremely fresh and new over the same time. No other festival brings in this much joy, this much love like Diwali. It’s the time when relationships renew and strengthen; it’s the time when we learn to overcome fear, when every burst of a cracker rids our heart of negative feelings. By the time the day ends in glorious fashion, our smile stays and it’s at its widest.

Writing this article has been so emotional and I would like to thank IndiBlogger and Pepsico for this amazing opportunity :)

Here is an amazing video from Pepsi that just reflects the spriti of Diwali in true colours! As I said, Diwali is not just a festival, its an emotion :) 

Happy Diwali everyone. If you feel like sending someone a wish, doing it here would be a great idea.  

May this Diwali, lighten up your life like never before! Stay safe, stay blessed, stay happy!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Let's Race!

I commute to work every day on my Bike and each day I wade through the irritating traffic under the blessing Chennai sun. Not a day goes by when I haven't wished the traffic would just vanish and the sun god would take rest behind the cool clouds when I am driving to office. But since that prayer gets answered very rarely, I resort to diverting my attention away from the traffic or the sun. I either listen to music or I engage in mock races with my fellow travelers on the road.

This morning as I was driving to office I engaged myself in one such mock race, with a guy on a TVS Apache. I chased him from behind and went ahead of him in a matter of minutes... and to my surprise the guy caught up with me and went ahead. I chased him and beat him again; he chased me and went ahead again! I realized the guy on the Apache was having fun too and so we kept racing each other for close to 10KMs. He had his moments and I had mine and we were toe to toe on the points table. Just when I was taking a turn that would lead to my office, telling myself the race was over, he made the turn too. To my surprise (and his too) we were both heading to the same building. We both realized the race wasn't over and we raced each other again till the parking lot.

Now, the building has a lot of speed breakers laid out (must be specifically to stop racers like us :D ) and going through them is a real pain. I was in the middle of a race and the thought of losing out to my competitor was something I did not like very much. As we climbed over our first speed-breaker I saw another ahead of me. I could see that the speed-breaker actually had a small gap toward the corner (See pic). I thought to myself that if I could navigate my way through the small gap at the corner, I wouldn't lose speed and I could win some precious seconds that would help me win the race.

So I began to navigate toward the small gap and I had to be careful because there was just enough room for my bike to pass through. I honked a passerby away and with immense focus and determination I drove through the gap and came out. For a second I told myself "Well done" but the next moment I realized my fellow racer had actually gone over the speed breaker casually and was going on ahead of me! I had just lost the race. In the few extra seconds I had taken to try and navigate through a tricky opening my opponent had won. I thought I could avoid the speed breaker completely, only to realize that had I faced it head on I could have actually won!

Most of the times in our life, the problems we face are like the speed-breaker. We strive hard to avoid them, we worry about how they would impede our progress, and we focus all our energies in finding out a shortcut to ESCAPE from problems... Today the speed breaker taught me something valuable; it taught me that not all speed-breakers are bad. Sometimes, you have to face them and go over them to become better and to win! Sometimes facing a problem puts us in a much better place than avoiding them. 

I might have lost a race today, but I won a much bigger fight inside me!

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Spinach Seller

I live in one of the busy streets of Chennai and my house is located directly opposite a temple. On most days, the space just in front of my building is packed with bikes of people who visit the temple. There is hardly any space to move about and it is an ordeal from me to get my own bike out of my house unscathed and drive away.

About a month ago, the space in front of my building was occupied by a hawker! A spinach selling woman had her business laid out on the road. Her shop was a real nuisance and instead of bikes, there was now her shop for me to contend with. If by some outward chance i park my bike temporarily on the road for a short while, the spinach seller expertly wove her shop around my bike in such a way that i wouldn't be able to move my bike an inch without running over her products.

This irritated me too much and one day I confronted her and asked her move the shop somewhere else. She didn't budge and instead pleaded in a fake voice "Just for some time.. I will move away in the evening". My irritation increased every time I encountered some discomfort because of her shop. I tried all means to send her packing; i pleaded her, I scolded her, I shouted at her... but nothing worked. One day, as a last ditch effort I threatened to call the police and it stopped her temporarily as she was not to be seen the next day. But it was more like an off day for her as she came back again and continued with her shop. I was angry and irritated and didn't know what to do. 

A couple of days ago, as I was going out, a scene played out in front of me and it grabbed my attention. A stray dog that lives around our area was idling around the shop. The lady who owns the shop tried to shoo the dog away as it was inconveniencing her sales. She tried everything she could. She spoke to the dog softly, she scolded it, shouted at it and when all went in vain she picked up a stick and chased the dog off. Now, I am a dog lover and seeing the woman chase the dog away with a stick incensed me. I wanted to blast her off but chose to move away from the place. 

But as I drove away I realized the significance of what I had just seen. I had treated the lady exactly the same way she had treated the dog. I tried to chase her off just because she was causing some inconvenience to me and she chased the dog away as it caused nuisance to her!! Whether what I did was right or wrong I do not know. Whether the lady is right or wrong I do not know. But what I do know for sure is that if we keep our senses open, life throws so many lessons at us.

It wasn't until the scene played out that I realized that sometimes we do not treat people with enough respect. Sometimes we respect animals more than we respect humans. Sometimes we behave so rude that until someone else treats us that way, we do not realize how we have been!

The spinach seller still has her shop outside my place, I still find her to be a nuisance, I still get angry... but I express my anger a lot better now! How about YOU?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Kochadaiyyaan - Music Review

Well, neither the movie, nor the hero nor its music director need any introduction. the title of this post must be really enough :) So lets jump into what i think of the album straightaway...

Enge Pogudo Vaanam

This is the typical intro song we are used to in every movie of the Superstar. The usual inspiring lines, words of wisdom for youngsters and the voice of SPB are all present in good measure. A good hear.

The Lyrical highlight -
"Ungalin Vaazhuthukalaal Uyir Køndu Èzhunthu Vittaen | Vaazhthiya Manangalukku Èn Vaazhkaiyai Vazhangi Vittaen" - In an apparent yet subtle way the lyrics tell of Rajni's comeback from illness and his gratitude for his fans. 

The Musical Crescendo - 
The best portion of the song comes in the instrumental interlude from 2:45 to 3:10. One of the best interludes in the whole album


ARR said recently that this is a song he composed specially for SPB's voice and it is indeed a beautiful melody. Replete with strains of Carnatic music and lilting voices this song is an ARR special!

PS – This song will definitely not impress you in one listen. Give it a repeat audience and it just will grow on you

The Lyrical highlight -
“ Enai Vella Yaarum Illai | Unaiyandri Disaigal Vellum Isaiyaae “ - It’s such a relief to see this line which says excepting nature, only you can win me over. The clichéd lines over glorify the hero and seldom gives the respect nature deserves. So it’s lovely to find that nature is being given her due.

The Musical Crescendo – 
The high point arrives the moment the Mridangam (percussions) enter the tune. From there the whole song is given a different color

Maattram Ondrudhaan Maaraadhadhu:

This one is for the Rajni fans. The song follows a repetitive pattern (pretty unusual from ARR) and has Rajni’s punch dialogues throughout. :) Rajni’s Tamil seems a little scratchy though. His usual clarity is lacking a little and the pronunciations of ‘ zha’ could have been done betterMy prediction is that this track will be relegated to the end credits of the movie. 

The Lyrical highlight -
“Porumai Kol Thanerrai Kooda Salladiyil Allalam | Athu Panikatti Aagum Varai Poruthirunthaal “– I chose this line because most of the other lines I have heard often. This one here is completely new and says be patient, you can gather water in a filter, if you wait long enough for it to freeze into an ice cube/snowball

The Musical Crescendo
The Konakkol at the end is a refreshing medley of Carnatic Classical and Western rhythms. Definitely provides a brilliant finish to the song.

Manappenin Sathiyam & Manamaganin Sathiyam :

Both these songs ride on the lyrical beauty and keep you hooked onto the language play. The tune, the instruments, the melody all merge as one and give you a lilting poem. Haricharan’s voice is aptly masculine and suits the song to a T and Latha Rajnikanth’s voice is fresh and adds surprisingly to the beauty of the song. These songs are the brainchild of a refreshing concept (Promises made during a marriage by the bride and the groom) and have been executed efficiently

The Lyrical highlight –
“ Kattil Araiyil Šamayal Araiyil Puthumai Šeivaen “ – When vulgarity reigns supreme in the lyrics off late this single line has brought back the subtlety that ruled in the 80s. Well writ Vairamuthu sir!


This, in my opinion has to be the best song of the album. A really difficult composition sung flawlessly by Chinmayi, this song is definitely a terrific number. This track too is surely not going to impress you with one or two listens. Brilliant singing!

The Lyrical highlight -
Senthee Vizhuntha Sempor Paaraiyil | Nandhi Uruttum Mayilini Mutayaai… idhayam nazhuvi nagarndu pogude… - Roughly translated means “Like an egg of a peacock being rolled by a monkey, on a stone scorched(burnt) by a red flame… my heart slips and moves away from me”

The Musical Crescendo
Chinmayi’s breathtaking vocals and the magnetic voice of srini teasing the listener often are works of pure genius! No one except ARR can do this magic!

Engal Kochadaiiyaan & Rana's Dream...
Both these songs bank on the technical brilliance of ARR and the former has chorus singing praise of the king Kochadaiiyaan and the latter is more like the instrumental version of Enge Pogudo vaanam. Sadly though both these numbers are average fares and there is nothing great in my opinion to write home about!

Karma veeran:
This is the crowning jewel of the album. I would rate this song on par with Idhayam. ARR’s voice is magnetic and captivates you from the start. I would be surprised though (pleasantly) if this song gets any screen space, watch out for this song in the opening/end credits

The Lyrical highlight -
Kalladi Padum Enbathaalae Maram | Kaaikaamal Povathillai – A tree doesn’t stop giving fruits just because it knows it will be stoned

Nindra Idathil Nirka Vaendumaa | Nee Odi Kondae Iru – If you want to last at one place (at the top), keep running

The Musical Crescendo
Rahman lets out a grunt when he sings the lines”… Veerargal Mannithaala Athu Varalaaru Varalaaru..” Hear it to understand why I make it the highlight of this song…

The music did impress me and I would give this album a 4 out of 5. This is my personal view and I hope you like it too J

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Satya Nadella and the INDIAN(?) Question

So, Satya Nadella is the new CEO of Microsoft! Congratulations to him. Frankly speaking I did not know anything about this man till a week back, but now, thanks to the multitude of blogs, articles and debates on the man in the last two days, I now know him a lot better. 

While I wholeheartedly appreciate his achievements I believe strongly that patronizing him and celebrating him as an Indian is not fair at all. It is like celebrating Kevin Peterson as a South African! KP was born in South Arica, but went off to England for livelihood and progress. He played for the England cricket team and achieved what no other Englishman has. His records speak for themselves. He is their best batsman ever in terms of the runs he has scored. One could even step ahead and say he is the best cricketer England has had in a long long time.

But the point is, is SA calling him their own? They congratulate him yes, but do they patronize him as their own? So then why do we proclaim Satya Nadella as our own? If KP is on the England team, then SN holds a Green Card!! Why do we Indians still call the likes of SN, Vishwanathan Anand, Sania Mirza, Kalpana Chawla and others as our own? They have stopped living in this country and moved permanently to another country citing infrastructure, growth possibilities, career and many other reasons! They are individuals who represent themselves and not this country. Yet, we hang on to them. Why so? Have we really run short of inspirational icons who live, sweat, achieve and die in this country? Why have we failed to put the people in here up on the pedestal and celebrate them more? 

Have we turned so shallow that we need the glamour, attention and titles given by other countries to celebrate our own heroes? Do we not have so many Padma awardees in our own country to be inspired by? Is this what we are going to show the kids? To be a role model, and an inspiration, move away from this country and this system?

I have nothing against the names mentioned above; they are truly magnificent and inspiring. What these people have done i will never be able to. I will laud them for their achievements, will be inspired by them, but will never call them INDIANS! Because if I call them Indian, then I am letting my own country down; if you call them Indians, you are letting your country down. And also setting a bad example for others.

It’s up to us. Being educated and with the capacity to look at things in the proper light, we must understand what's what. Let’s not fall into the populist mentality ourselves. We need not stop others, but we sure can stop ourselves! 

Satya Nadella and the many achievers need to be saluted but not necessarily glorified as fellow countrymen. There are others who need that support now and there will be a lot more who will need it in future. Let's do right by them. 

Jai Hind 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Thank you CGI and Goodbye...

I am leaving CGI on Jan 3rd and honestly at this moment my heart is brimming with emotions that I never knew I would feel. A mix of sorrow, anxiety, fear, anticipation, hope and more than anything else a huge amount of gratitude! I have had 40 terrific months at CGI, and I thought I must record my memories in words and so, here is my recollections of a glorious phase of my life. This blog is not sorted in any order. They are just simple plain recollections.

But before I write on, a big THANK YOU to every colleague at CGI! Thank you for all the support over the years, for all the memories and the incredible love and guidance given to me!

WARNING : This blog might be longer than my previous ones, I hope you will understand why :)

The FIRST interview: 

The interview with Logica was the first one I ever attended in my life. Your first interview is always special and it becomes even more so when you actually crack it. My interview happened on June 2nd, 2010 and life has never been the same after that day. Muthalagan Shenbagaraman and Ponraj Ponnusamy handled the interview of which I remember every second. Ponraj asked me after the talk, “Raghavan, you seem to have a unique set of skills. But how do you think you will fit into this I.T atmosphere? There might be no scope for you to express all of your skills here. You sure you want this field?” the question rattled me. I was desperate for a job that day and I told Ponraj I would adapt to any atmosphere given the chance.

That day I told myself, if at all I got the job, I’d discover all avenues there are to express myself completely. I vowed to do more than just BAU! And eventually, I guess I did do what I pushed myself to. And I hope Ponraj and Raman, would agree :)

The ‘You are unfit to be in this team’ moment:

I did debate on whether to put this moment in writing but decided to go ahead because this was one of the turning points of my life.

I was put into a highly technical team immediately after joining. As a fresh grad, I did not realize the significance of knowledge and experience in deciding which team you can work in. I felt that whichever team I was in didn’t matter as long as I would learn and work. But my manager then was someone who strongly believed I must have enough experience to be a part of his team. He came to me and said ‘You are unfit to be in this team. To be here you have to come through a lot more…’ there were a few more sentences that conveyed more of the same.

That conversation made me angry and I made a decision that day. I told myself I would one day surpass the person who told me those words and I worked for it. For 25 months I carried that anger in my heart. I kept moving onwards, but the anger was too much of a burden to bear. I did do things I wanted to, I did raise my own standards but the anger was always there. It took me 2 full years and a moment of spiritual inspiration to make me realize that Letting Go was very important.

Today I do not blame the person who told me I was unfit; it was a case of him saying the right thing, but in a wrong way. The incident though taught me two things,

1. It is very important to know WHAT to say but it’s even more important to know HOW to say it.
2. One must learn to LET GO; Let go of all ego, anger and frustration. The longer you carry negative emotions, the slower your progress would be!


I wanted to learn ‘HOW to say what I wanted to say’. I was good at public speaking yes, but I had the yearning to learn to be professional speaker. My yearning led me to this club. I have had the best time of my life at CGI Chennai Toastmasters Club and today I am most proud of myself for having made the decision to submit myself to this movement. ‘Toastmasters’ has given me so much in life. Learning, practice, applause, popularity, pride and above all some really irreplaceable friends and mentors.

I can say without hesitation that, but for ‘Toastmasters’ I’d be a lesser person today. So, join this movement. There is a club in every locality of Chennai. Search for it and you will find birds of my feather always around!

BEET, Writers Club, Syntillations, CSR, Music Team, GIS Cheers Team, Splash Team and Photologic:

Over the years I ensured that I associated myself with as many people as I possibly can. I carry with me the belief that the more people I interact with, the more I learn. I put my hands up and joined every social community there was/is in CGI. Time was never an issue to me. That was something that I learned through the journey too. If you really want to do something and you have the passion for it, you will definitely find the TIME and ENERGY.

Being a sub editor for the Global Newsletter, the Beet (formerly YELLOW) has been a life changing experience for me. Through this role I understood the corporate culture better. It was my job to understand every project in Chennai and also the functioning of it all. I also got the chance to get up close and personal with many of the leaders in Chennai and Bangalore and these interactions are priceless. Being on the writers club helped me immensely. I got to read material of my fellow writers and there was so much inspiration that I drew from them. I would surely be a lesser writer if not for them.

Syntillations was a glorious team, so was the CSR and the Red teams. The former gave me a chance to contribute to the people I was working with in this organization and the latter gave me the opportunity to serve the society. The Music team was pure pleasure. Jamming with likeminded musicians gave me freedom I had never experienced before and it gave such a high when performing on stage. Photologic is another amazing group. Freezing your best moments on cam is a fascinating experience and this group of magicians excel at it.

The Splash team helped me work closely with team mates from my vertical and organizing 2 big outings for all GIS members was a terrific experience. The cheers team is an upgraded version of the Splash team and right now monthly events are being conducted and this team has already brought smiles to everyone’s face

The ‘With hands inside your pocket you came across as an arrogant guy’ moment:

It was in October 2010 that I got my first opportunity to host a show at Logica and the show was the Oscars. I wore my dad’s blazer for the event and it was the first time I was wearing a blazer. The show went well and a few days after the event I got a ping from a female colleague. Initially I thought she was going to commend me on a job well done but she actually told me, ‘Throughout the evening you had one hand of yours in your trouser pockets. There can only be two reasons for it, either you were scared of the audience or you are an arrogant guy who doesn’t give a damn about the audience. Doesn’t matter what reason it is, it’s an alarm for you to change dude!’

Obviously her pings hurt me (actually hurt my ego). She was right of course, I was extremely scared of being the host. But after her ping I realized that I was doing the wrong thing. And since then, I have hosted 10 shows in CGI but never once has anyone found me with my hands in my pocket. You might know by now that this incident was the spark behind my first ever short story. My colleague? She is now the best friend I ever have :)

You will have your ‘hands in your pocket’ moment in life too and a friend might point it out to you. Correct it immediately, you never know, it might change your life forever

The BIKE rides :

Our Chennai office is located exactly 17KMs from my home. There is no direct bus/train from my home to office and so to commute, I bought my first bike - Unicorn Dazzler. I did fall in love with the bike when I first saw it, but every day I rode to office on my bike I realized something about myself. I discovered the world’s different dimensions. I observed so many things about life and this society that I would never ever have, but for my bike. Most of the blogs in this page of mine were written twice; Once in my head while driving and then again on this medium in print. Creativity abounds when you are alone and my bike gave me so much during the 1 hour drive every day. These 34KMs have given me a much deeper understanding of my own self than anything else ever has.

I used to listen to songs while driving (yes, I can hear you saying its dangerous :D but I guess I am too spoilt now to change), I used to race with fellow (unknown)riders, I sang, fretted to myself, cried when I failed in something, sweared at god and rejoiced about my successes too. 

If you have a bike or a car, then I would urge you to take a drive… alone! Ask yourself some personal questions and listen to what your mind answers. I learnt a lot about myself through this exercise, it may work for you too. Trust me, if it does work for you, then I am sure you will be an entirely different person altogether!


Yes, YOU! You are the one who makes my life complete. I may or may not know you, we may or may not have met, we may or may not have spoken to each other, we may or may not have worked together, but in taking time to read this blog, you have spent energy. It is through this blog that you and I are connected and without you and your time, love and energy I would be incomplete!

So you are the most special part of my life! So THANK YOU! Thank you for your continued support! I hope our lives intertwine soon but till then, Fare Well.

May this New Year be the beginning of the BEST YEARS of your life.