Sunday, 20 August 2017

A letter to Vishal Sikka: Blog# 307

A letter to Vishal Sikka


Dear Vishal,

There has got to be more to life than fighting for fish heads.

Instead of drab slogging forth and back to the fishing boats, there is reason to live! We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can learn to be free! We can learn to fly!

This kind of thinking, he found, is not the way to make one’s self popular with other birds. Even his parents were dismayed as Jonathan spent whole days alone, making hundreds of low level glides, experimenting.

Why is it that the hardest thing in the world is to convince a bird that he can prove it for himself if he’d spend a little time practicing? Why should that be so hard?
His Sorrow was not solitude, it was that other gulls refused to believe the glory of flight that awaited them; they refused to open their eyes and see.
                                                                        ~~~

We are free to go where we wish and to be what we are.

You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now – and nothing can stand in your way!

The only true law is that which leads to freedom.

The gull sees farthest who flies highest.
                                                                        ~~~

AND
Keep working on Love.
                                                                        ~~~

Above are some quotes from the brilliant book, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by supremely talented author, Richard Bach. I thought these quotes will resonate with you in these trying times.


A Well-wisher & an Infoscion,

Arun. 

Monday, 26 June 2017

Best Religion in the World ~ Eid Mubarak ~ Blog #305

Best Religion in the World


Do you ever wonder which is the best religion in the world? Is it yours? Is it mine? Watch this video to see my take on it. Let us pass on a hug and spread some love :). Eid Mubarak :)

For more videos,please subscribe to the YouTube channel, #PinkLungy 





Monday, 19 June 2017

Let us Save English: Blog # 304

Let’s save English!


It is time we saved English, one word at a time! Please watch and share the below video :)



 

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

A Pretentious Letter from the Principal’s desk: Blog # 303

A Pretentious Letter from the Principal’s desk


Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication is a quote attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. Some of us writers just don’t appreciate the essence of that quote. There is a tendency for many writers to flaunt our seemingly endless vocabulary even in the smallest of articles we write. Below is the most pretentious of all letters that I have seen so far. It is from a School Principal’s desk, no less. I wonder what kind of exasperating farrago of distortions those poor kids face! ;)

Let me try to summarize the below letter in simple words:

Paragraph 1 – The world around us is changing.
Paragraph 2 – We need to teach our children good values.
Paragraph 3- Our world is in trouble.
Paragraph 4 – The generation of today need to take charge of our tomorrow.
Paragraph 5 – Our school journal ‘Beacon’ aspires to make people think, reflect and thus develop a fresh perspective towards the world. 




Arun Babu

Friday, 2 June 2017

The problem with House of Cards: Blog # 302

The problem with House of Cards


Although a little late into the ‘seasons’, I have begun watching the series, House of Cards. I am in love with the story, the plot, the drama et al. Ofcourse, it goes without saying that the cast and their acting prowess is beyond excellence. Like millions around the globe, House of cards, the sitcom has left me too, sleep deprived and addicted.

House of Cards, Series, Sitcom, Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright
Now, what in my view is the problem with this brilliant series? My issue is with the protagonists and the lead characters. They are conniving, ungrateful, materialistic, lacking in morals and human decency. I tried looking at them as characters with shades of gray. NO! Most of them all dark - beyond doubt.

I was discussing this with a friend of mine today. She said that she is happy with the emergence of this new concept in entertainment wherein the lead characters are purely negative. I agree with her. It is a bold and different move. Easier, tried and tested approach is to portray likable characters. This is giving rise to a new way of projection of characters. The difference in approach is always a delight, more so when it is in the field of creativity.

But, what about the impact this kind of portrayal causes on the audience? Is it sending out a message that being ruthless, crude, mean and throwing away values to the wind is acceptable? Does it glorify the approach of achieving one’s goals with no regard at all to the means?

One can argue that a series should be taken as just that – a work of fiction leading to entertainment. One shouldn’t expect it to serve a greater cause. But isn’t that the purpose of art- to serve a greater cause? This series is immensely popular. There are a lot of youngsters watching it. They can buy into the approaches taken by the protagonists. They might as well start approaching their lives just the way the lead characters in this series do. Are you thinking that this is similar to the argument of blaming films for all the heinous acts that people do in real life? No. There is a difference. Whatever we have seen so far doesn’t usually inspire a thinking, educated, well-read person, to turn evil. It is largely, the gullible ones who fall prey to such blind imitations. The reason why the brighter minds did not have those inclinations is because the lead characters were never completely dark. There were gray ones for sure. But I haven’t seen glorification and justification of darkness like what we see in this series.

I am not naïve to hope for only characters with divine qualities in series and films. I understand that people aren’t black and white. All of us have elements of gray in us. But we all make a conscious effort to fight the darkness within. We try to avoid entering the dark zone, however grave the need for realizing our ambitions may be. Stories like House of Cards weaken such efforts and intentions. That is where my concern lies.

Arun Babu 

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Pictories #4 ~ Of Pictures & their Stories : Blog #301

Pictories #4 ~ Of Pictures & their Stories



I feel photographs were way ahead of their times, a bit like some people. Photos were around since we were kids. But they are getting their due only now. Earlier, we used to take pictures, look at them, admire them and then lock them away in plastic albums. They never got their due. But now, they are liked, commented on and reacted to at multiple platforms. This is the era of Photography! Here are a few of my clicks and the crazy thoughts that were passing through my mind when I was clicking those pics. 

Chocolates, Candy, Childhood, Fun, Food, Sugar

I don’t know what is with me and chocolates/candies. I LOVE them, so much so that any friend/relative returning from abroad know what to get me (I keep reminding them shamelessly ;) ). But this one was from Namma Bengaluru. My friends Partha, John and I were hanging out at a mall and happened to see this candy store. We bought these. I was delighted, to say the least, to have them. I think it is some happy memory from childhood that I associate with them which makes me want to have them again, again and again!


Thrissur, Thrissur Pooram, Kerala, Gods own country, Festival


There is a 200-year-old temple festival called “Thrissur Pooram” in my hometown, Thrissur in Kerala. This moment captured here is when the Lord comes out of the temple to participate in one of the most significant ceremonies of the festival. What you see here are the symbols of the Lord announcing his arrival. I was drenched in the Kerala summer surrounded by the cacophony of thousands of people. Yet, I distinctly remember that there was a solace about this moment. 

Lillies, White Lillies, Flowers, Nature, Garden


Those little things that look like tiny little stars in a galaxy are lilies. I was walking through my office from one building to another and there they were, bright, beautiful and buoyant. It’s wonderful as to how a sight can lift your spirits, isn’t it? These flowers were such a sight to behold. I just wanted to sit there and wait for them to bloom. But then, life comes in the way of such beautiful things J


Anklets, Accessories, Kerala

I was home for Vishu, the Kerala Newyear. My little cousin was wearing those anklets. How so beautiful, arent they? I made her remove them and then help me make this pattern. It isn’t as easy as you think. We easily spend about 20 minutes to make them stay like that. But then, look at that color! Who wouldn’t want to click a picture?

Chairs, Power, Corporate, Games


I was at my B-school for alumni meet. A bunch of spirited juniors made us play this little game wherein we had to stack one chair over the other. I couldn’t stop wondering about how these little things – Chairs, have become symbols of power. People fight for them everywhere – Offices, Governments, Kingdoms and everywhere else. Symbols do matter!

Water, Vodka, Kerala, Fun, Life, Cafe


Nope, that’s not what you think. I was at the Dyu art café in Bangalore along with my friends from work. That bottle and glasses were used to serve water at the café. I knew if I put up a pic like this, everyone would want to think of it as anything but water. It was that mischief about it that made me click this J

Festival, Kerala, Thrissur, Thrissur Pooram


Look at that picture! It has all the colors in the world – well almost! It is a common sighting in the festival grounds of Kerala. We call it ‘Kattadi’ in Malayalam. It is an ornate toy fan. This stood like a bright spot of childhood in the crowded festival ground that is life. How beautifully creative is the human mind, isn’t it?

Like the above pics? Want to be bombarded with such images on a regular basis? ;). Please follow me on Instagram. My Insta handle is roamdworld .

Check out the earlier Pictories:

Find Pictory#1 here
Find Pictory#2 here
Find Pictory#3 here

Friday, 19 May 2017

Indian National Anthem: Blog # 300

Indian National Anthem


Every single time I hear our national anthem, I get goose bumps. It reminds me ever so gently, the greatness of our fascinating country.  There was an ongoing debate if we should play the national anthem at the movie theaters or not. I saw some merit in those arguments. Where I did not see a merit was when some people were wondering if we should stand up for the national anthem at all. What is there to debate in respecting one’s national anthem? Do we debate if we should respect our elders? Anyway, the decision of playing the national anthem is already made. So there is no point going back to that debate again. The reason I am writing this blog is the way in which the National Anthem is played in the theaters these days.

I am a movie buff. I watch at least 3 movies a week. In all the theaters that I go to, all we get to hear is a usual rendition of the national anthem - nothing awe inspiring! It is a movie theater and the moments when the anthem is played can be made MAGICAL, to say the least. We have so many beautiful renditions of the anthem as below:



Have a look at another beautiful rendition of the anthem by a set of some incredibly gifted children.Watch this video from BIG Cinemas and I assure you that you will be moved. It is such a breathtakingly beautiful depiction that it will leave you a lasting memory. At a time when there is a lot of debate about the need for unity among people from different walks of our country and world at large, imagine what such a beautiful message on National integration can do!

  

Imagine watching your national anthem beautifully depicted on the vast expanse of the silver screen. What a beautiful moment that will be! This is a humble petition to the theater chains to include the depiction of our national anthem in a way that lives up to its greatness.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Mother's Love: Blog #299

Mother’s Love


From


The first breath to the last sigh… 
Mother, Motherhood, Children, Mothers love
The first cry to the last laugh…
The first step to the last stumbling…
The first word to the last verse…

Sunrise to moonshine, all day and everyday…
A mother’s love fills our lives like

A twilight ray,
A monsoon shower,
An ending tide.

Be Grateful, Be Humbled. 

Not teary eyed yet? Read this one :) ~ Amma


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Whatsapp Groups! : Blog #298

Whatsapp Groups! 


Apart from climate change, imminent nuclear war and changing leadership patterns across the world, one of the significant agonies of the modern world is Whatsapp groups! If you are part of some specific groups, you have already understood what is being talked about and is wiping a tear away.
Whatsapp, Whatsapp Groups, Groups, Social Media, Technology, Life


To begin with, there are the Big fat Indian family groups. Yes, the ones where we wake up to 127 good morning messages (with flowers and quotes in place) followed by devotional messages and fun forwards that are presented as latest which were, in fact, doing the rounds on the internet a good 10 years back. God save you if there is anyone’s birthday. 127 birthday wishes will follow with divine pictures and messages intact. Please note that all the social rules apply in this group too. The 2nd uncle who fights with the 4th uncle will not ping/talk about him in the group. Same goes with the aunties from Delhi & Mumbai. Adding to the flavor are the in-law dynamics.

Now comes the school friends’ group. There will be some friends who aren’t working. But why should they care about those who have a 9-5 job. They begin their day with pictures of their babies, food that is prepared, parenting tips, TV serial reviews and calls it a day with their baby wishing Goodnight! And dare you forget to reply/respond, you are labeled as heartless/pretentious corporate sell out.

The most vibrant are the college groups. They play by the rules. No divine/good morning/birthday forwards. But, there will be unabashed self-promotion – requests for endorsements on FB/Twitter/Instagram of their spectacular persona. It can be in the form of pictures, blogs, short films, songs and so on. If it is a B-school group, then there are the incessant surveys that are pushed your way. The interesting thing here are the subgroups. If there are 50 people in a group, there will be 50! subgroups. People who talk to each other, people who don’t talk to each other, friends, enemies, frenemies, crushes, lovers, brothers, sisters, batch mates, project mates, lab mates, we love/hate Ms./Mr. Lecturer and on and on and on.  

To name a few other groups, there are society/flat groups, PTA (Parents groups – One can no longer lie about the results not being out), College alumni groups, bikers, theater enthusiasts, pretentious intellectuals, tech gurus that exist too.

One that is worthy of mention are the work groups. It is a microcosm of the office itself. There are bosses who send the most boring jokes and there are boss’ favorites who give 5 laughter–with-tears- smiley to those jokes. There are those who maintain dead silence. Even if their life depended on pinging on this group, they will choose martyrdom instead. There are those who send inappropriate forwards. There are those who delegate work and more importantly talk about work at 11:36 PM. There are false praises, there are smart reactions (smiley with shades on) and there are forced applauses too.


THANK GOD for the mute option on WhatsApp groups. Taking that away will be the most unkindest cut of all. That will be nothing less than an act of Terror against Humanity!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Was the Snapchat CEO wrong?: Blog # 297

Was the Snapchat CEO wrong?

India is the largest democracy there is. It is the seventh largest country in the world with 29 states and 7 Union territories, each with strong cultural identities. Some of our states are so big that they are larger than some of the European nations. India is one of the fastest growing economies of the world with a GDP of more than 2 Trillion US Dollars. Our population is more than 1.3 Billion, home to the world’s largest young population and an average age of just about 29. We produce more than a million engineers every year.

BUT

India is also home to largest number of people living below the World Bank’s international poverty line. One-third of our children under the age of 5 are underweight. More than 1/10th of our population is undernourished. We also have the largest number of child laborers under the age of 14.

We have made considerable progress in the last 70 years and there is much to be proud of. But there is a lot more than needs to be done. A significant population of our country still needs support and help. People who read this blog have access to all the basic needs of life and most of the ‘wants’ too. But that does not mean all is well with our country.

Snapchat, Snap, Nature, Ocean, LifeRather than getting offended by some CEO of an app that looks like a Notodoris minor, maybe we should do some soul searching.  All of us glued to our smartphones and laptops are turning a blind eye to the dual realities of India. We must take cognizance of the great divide that exists in this great nation of ours. Just because we don’t venture out of the comforts of our offices and gated community apartments, we don’t see poverty in its rawness.

Also, is poverty something to be ashamed of? Should it be brushed under the carpet? Why do we get so offended by the word ‘poor’? Had he described us as a ‘rich country’, will we all be very proud?


If we all took as much time to talk to our maid/security guard/driver/newspaper boy and found out how we could help them in as minuscule a way possible than mindlessly herding towards down rating the app, our country will be a much better place. 

Friday, 7 April 2017

Amul Cartoons: Blog #296

Amul Cartoons


Who doesn’t love Amul Cartoons and the polka dotted- blue haired girl? In 2017, this adorable girl is turning 50! All of us agree that the creativity behind these cartoons is beyond excellence. To keep a cartoon alive with the creativity and more importantly, the nation’s love for it intact is nothing short of  brilliance.

These cartoons; for most of us, is a brisk walk through childhood. For many from the yesteryears, these pictures will be a memoir of their youth.  For those who identify themselves as X and Y, it can be an enriching lesson in history.

The creators of this cartoon are much revered Sylvester da Cunha & Eustace Fernandez.  The enviably gifted, artistic minds who keep it alive and thriving are Rahul daCunhaManish Jhaveri and Jayant Rane.

I was doing some research around these cartoons. Apart from the obvious creative abundance, what surprised me was the fact that how we haven’t changed much as a society and as a country. Most of the popular cartoons were about corruption, sexism and communal tensions. They were true 50 years before and they continue to be so.

The cartoons must be lauded for the candour and bravery about them. There have been, are and will be - brands much larger and popular than Amul. But none of them ever takes a side on public issues. One of the brand consultants once said “Brands are like olden days Hindi film heroes/heroines. They do not see, hear or speak any evil.” Brands are pristine and more diplomatic than the weakest diplomat in the world when it comes to reacting to social issues. But Amul is a pleasant change. They have and continue to express a strong opinion. At the same time, not even an ounce of dignity is lost. It is indeed an art to put across one’s point of view without being brash and that’s something these cartoons have perfected.


Almost mirroring the nation, the cartoons can be divided into 3 popular segments – Movies, Cricket & World Affairs. There are issues other than these 3 which the cartoons have indeed addressed. But these 3 are a recurring theme. Here are some selected cartoons from over the years - a walk down the memory lane. 


World Affairs:






        Cinema:



        Cricket:







Saturday, 1 April 2017

Be!: Blog #295

Be... 

Poem, Be, Live , Literature, Story
Be Lost than Stranded
Be Concerned than Worried
Be Rebellious than Stubborn
Be Mysterious than Secretive
Be Expressive than Animated
Be Curious than Inquisitive
Be Responsive than Reactive
Be Alone than Lonely
Be Eloquent than Verbose
Be Willful than Adamant
Be an Explorer than a Wanderer
Be a Human than a Being
Be,than Was!
                                                                                                               Arun Babu

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Social Media & Split Personality!: Blog#294

Social Media & Split Personality!



All of us have that one friend who leads multiple lives on different social media platforms. On Facebook, s(h)e might be a constantly happy-sunny – on cloud nine – persona. On Twitter, s(h)e might be an astute observer giving his/her two cents on such varied fields as politics, business, entertainment, culture and world affairs at large. On Instagram, there is a photographer dying to be discovered by the world whereas on Linkedin, s(h)e is the best employee of the day, month and year – driven, passionate and AMBITIOUS!!! Here is a fun take on how we express ourselves on different platforms...

To begin with, the display picture on multiple platforms:

Hrithik Roshan, Bollywood, Facets, Social Media, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Now comes, how we describe ourselves - the 'About Me' on various platforms:



Consider a typical Monday morning. How do we express ourselves?










Now let us look at the all-important #Hashtags :)


Facets, Social Media, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Hashtags, hashtag

How can we end without having a look at the extremely edited, yet #nofilter pictures shared on the channels? :)

Ranveer Singh, Bollywood, Facets, Social Media, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Ranveer Singh, Bollywood, Facets, Social Media, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

p.s. Don't forget to share this with your friends on FB, Twitter & Insta - Wouldn't suggest on LinkedIn though ;)

Friday, 24 March 2017

Why kattappa killed baahubali?: Blog # 293

Why Kattappa killed Baahubali?


This is one question that keeps haunting almost all the billion bright minds of India. Here is an attempt to understand what made Kattappa kill Baahubali? Some probable conspiracy theories ~
Ramya Krishnan, Baahubali, Bahubali, Tamil movies, Indian Cinema
Sivagami, the mother: Although Sivagami anointed Amarendra Baahubali to be the king, she was overcome by the love she has for her son, Bhallala deva. To make way for her son to be the King, she orders Kattappa to kill Baahubali. But once the murder takes place, she is overcome by grief, flees the kingdom to save the little kid, Mahendra Baahubali.



Baahubali, Bahubali, Tamil movies, Indian Cinema Bijjaladeva, the envious elder brother: Bijjaladeva realizes that history will continue to repeat if he lets Amarendra Bahubali live. Bijjaladeva’s children will have no claim to the history of Mahishmati. He tricks Kattappa in to believing that Bahubali's horoscope says that the King will bring ruin to Mahishmati. He reasons that it was Baahubali’s birth that caused the death of the queen of Mahishmati, mother of Bahubali. If one's birth could cause harm to one’s own mother, what ruin will he bring to the Kingdom!Kattappa’s unwavering duty towards kingdom of Mahishmati makes him take the extreme step.


Baahubali, Bahubali, Tamil movies, Indian Cinema, Kattappa
Kattappa, the lover: Kattappa and Sivagami were deeply in love. They realized how their vision and love for the kingdom of Mahishmati were so deep and similar. They understood that it was in the best interest of the Kingdom that both of them take over the reins. They convinced themselves that it was the universe that conspired to make them fall for each other. If Bahubali was alive, they will never have a future and thus, the Kingdom will never reach the glory it deserves. Once the king was dead, they could imprison Bijjaladev (Sivagami’s husband) and live happily ever after. 


Baahubali, Bahubali, Tamil movies, Indian Cinema, Rana DaggubatiBhallaladeva, the son: Bhallalladeva is in reality, Kattappa and Sivagami’s love child. Bhallaladeva and Kattappa hid their relationship inside the 4 walls of the palace. One day, he told Kattappa " Oh father! I have never asked anything of you. You even deny me the right to address you as my beloved father when a third pair of eyes are around us. I have just one wish, to be the king of Mahishmati. Wouldn't you make your son's desire come true?". In a Dhritarashtra - esque moment, Kattappa kill sBahubali for his son. 

Baahubali, Bahubali, Tamil movies, Indian Cinema, Prabhas 
Bahubali, the noble King: Bahubali understood that Bijjaladeva had infilterated the ranks and files of his army with traitors. They were planning a coup to overthrow the king. If that happened, there will be unrest in the kingdom and a large number of his much loved people will lose their lives. There was no point trying to fight Bijjaladeva. He thought of approaching his elder brother for peace only to realize he will be imprisoned for life. Too proud to live at another person’s mercy, Bahubali order his trusted aid Kattappa to take his life. 

p.s. These are the reasons I could think of as to why Kattappa did what he did. If your imaginations run wilder, do let me know in comments :) 

                                                                                                                             Arun Babu