Monday, 28 May 2012

In Pursuit of Happiness : Blog # 28

       In Pursuit of Happiness                   

         I was trying hard to get some semblance of why I was moving back and forth from happiness to melancholy. These are some of the thoughts and reasoning that emerged.

 At times, we just lose the streak of happiness. We try hard to deliberate about the cause, but in vain. Then out of the blue, the smile returns to our face. We feel light and liberated. I guess we just need to understand we go through emotional highs and lows and accept them as transient phases and not waste much time around them. It is easier said than done. Lost happiness is a highly irksome bother.

              I think all we can do is to maintain a well balanced emotional portfolio. For instance, if you set the onus of all your happiness on a certain person, you end up being obsessed with that person. Also, when you invest too much in one habit seeking happiness, it becomes an addiction. Having said that, it doesn’t mean one shouldn’t have a passion in life.  Addiction and passion are two entirely different ends of a spectrum.     

            And then there is the classic living in the past syndrome. I have heard people saying quite often “Those were the days”. What they forget is the fact that today will also become a good old day, a good old memory.

           We should ensure that our life doesn’t become monochromatic. It should have various shades to it. For instance, there are people who are workaholics. The only source of joy they have is work. They miss out on a lot in Life and burns out along with their work. 

         Where many of us go wrong is in not acknowledging the happiness. Whenever we feel happy deep within, register those happenings. They will act as a fountainhead of joy later on.

         While filling up your basket of happiness, do not forget to include your soul in it. One grows as a person when one understands how to derive happiness from within and it is the one which is the most lasting and the most blissful.          
                                                                                                                       Arun Babu

Saturday, 26 May 2012

What a weekend! : Blog # 27

What a weekend!

            The ecc (employee care centre) at Infosys was giving me all sorts of blues. I stayed there for two whole weeks just because of Raja sir, Gokul and Raj. I just wanted to get back home and meet my folks. The moment I came to know that Friday is off, I called up my brother in law. I got the very last seat in the bus. But the call of home was getting too loud to ignore. After the Thursday’s training session and an elaborate dinner, I took an auto to BMTC bus depot at electronic city. I reached a bit too early and the bus was to get late. Thankfully, Vivek called. We chatted for a while. All through the call, I was thinking whether or not to tell him that I am coming home. I didn’t tell him J  and anyone else at home. An elderly couple humoured me till their bus came. Then I turned to my senior Anup’s blog. Just as I was reading fourth blog on my cell (me using a cell for purposes other than calling and messaging might come as a shock to my friends, the technologically challenged person that I am  J ), the bus came.

       I took an auto from the KSRTC stand to home. The roads and lanes of which, I knew every turn. There is something about familiarity. It’s so comforting. As the auto reached home, Cleo my pet dog got up from beneath the car wondering who it is so early in the morning. She was the first one to get surprised seeing me. As soon as I opened the gate, she was up on my shoulder talking to me in a language we both understand. It’s one of a bit of sulking and a lot of love. Romila aunty (our neighbour) says she knows that either I or my sister has come home when Cleo barks in that certain way. I pressed the door bell and Akhila, my sister opened the door. She said “I had a hunch you were coming.” Amma in her usual Palakkad Malayalam exclaimed “Oh Vannuoooo J… lemme make tea”. Dad had already left for pump. I called him up and he said “Ha! what a surprise. I shall come soon for lunch J

     The whole day I lazed around and had a lot of catching up to do on FB as I could not use internet at eec! I and sis made a short trip to visit grandma and she also had a pleasant surprise J . I think the defining word this weekend is Surpriiiiise J .In the evening, I went to meet my friend from engineering. It had been some 5 months since we met last. He had some cancellation to do and we met at the railway station. We reminisced about our Bombay/Pune days, our college days and all things good and old. Then we threw a surprise visit to another friend of ours from college. He was delighted J .  We talked nonstop and had many a hearty laugh over some steaming cup of tea. I was back home by 9 and we ordered some domino’s – what a treat for the taste buds! We chatted about Bangalore, Infy , training and many other things over dinner. I also learned dad had taken a serious liking towards pizza and has been ordering home delivery quite often J.

           I woke up late and had a small chat with amma while she made the morning tea. I plunged in to the easy chair with the day’s Times leaving the TV on. I just love that time in the morning. I called up all my uncles, aunts and grandma. One of my aunts, Jaya ammayi asked “You felt suffocated there, didn’t you?”. That was exactly why I came home. She asks all the right things at the right time and I love her for that. I got a call from Vivek telling he is coming to town. We met by noon and we felt like I never went to Blore and it’s been ages since we met, all at the same time. We are updated by the second about each other, still it felt like a lot of catch up J to do . When it comes to people like him, I understand Friendship is truly a blessing. He left with a promise to come to Chennai soon.

        Back home, I and amma came to the balcony. This is our favourite place in home. We chatted for a while, amma updating me on the latest happenings in our colony. Lying on the balcony swing, I texted and called up some of my dear friends whom I hold close.I got a message from Kris and I knew exactly why I was gonna feel at home in chennai. God has been kind to me when it comes to friends :) .

        I had to attend a function at a relative’s home in Ottapalam. It had been a while since I met many of them. Although we had a tough time figuring out where the house was, It was good fun. You feel a sense of security when you meet many of your relatives, of course when it comes to the good ones. The high point was that I got to meet Raghu. He came to my relative’s home and then began the uninterrupted tete-a-tete. We went on and on about things that mattered and the trivial ones. I shared, asked, sought advice and confirmed many a things as it is always with him. (My dad says I keep on saying “Raghubhai” when I talk to him over phone. Even Jai told the same once). We went to Raghubhai’s home after that. That home has such a soothing effect. Uncle will always be there in the easy chair with a welcoming smile calling out to me as he sees me walking towards the door. It is one of those rare places where I go around like it’s my own home.   

     On the way back home, Akhila and I decided we will have food from outside. Dropping dad home, we went to our usual place but we did not order the usual things. (my friends who think I keep on ordering the same stuff, I ordered fuyong, kallummakai and schezuan style chicken! ) It had been a while with us being busy with our own colleges. We chatted about people only both of us knew and of things we grew fond of as we grew up. We talked about how much we miss our colleges and friends and how happy we were to be home. We discussed which all our cousins got married and who all are yet to take the plunge. We had a great time discussing how many of our friends took to ‘newer things’ in life and how much close we went to doing the same.

                  It is just Saturday night and I have one more day to go .Can’t wait to know what tomorrow has in store for me J .  
Arun Babu.


Sunday, 20 May 2012

To Sir, With Love: A Potpourri of Memories #14

**An ode to my Alma mater, Amrita School of Business(ASB)...The time when every day was a celebration, our college days...Here is an attempt to revisit those fond memories...

To Sir, With Love        

The greatest learning I have had from ASB is to be comfortable in the company of greatness. For this and many other learning that happened over the two years, we are all thankful to our beloved Professors.
Amrita School of Business, Amrita School of Engineering, Mentor
Right from day one, our professors were a class apart. Neither did they have the haughtiness of their premier degrees nor the arrogance of the industry knowledge. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if I say these are a class of teachers who have been the most loving and caring among all teachers I had all through my student Life.

We could always walk in to their offices. Even after office hours, they were just a call away and many a time, a sms away.   

It is from them that we learned what it really meant to go beyond the call of duty. The placement time was the most critical of all. Many of us poured our hearts out to them. Not even once did they turn us away. In spite of their hectic schedules, they always lent an ear.

Our peers found it strange when we said we will miss our professors. They almost got a stroke when we said we include our professors when we send out a group message for celebrations.

We will always remember the “Chullu bhar paani...” the “Let’s talk... (With the Berkley accent ;) )”, the “Beautiful Ma”, the  "People aaare rational" and all those one liners etched in our memories.

They inspired us; they constantly pushed us, all to help us fulfil our own dreams. Now, they are among those people we look for, both when we feel all down and when we have the heartiest laughs. You have given us the learning for a lifetime.

We thank you for giving us the courage to pursue our dreams, the conviction to face life standing by our values and the audacity to hope for the best in career and in Life.

Earlier blogs on ASB :                                                                                                                                        

Arun Babu.

It’s Good to be Good! : Blog # 25

It’s Good to be Good!

Being good comes naturally to us. Then, we grow up! Corrupted by the ways of the society, we tend to tweak our perspective which is more suited to our convenience. We look for what we stand to gain from each and every action of ours.

Is there really anything for us in being good natured? Yes there is. It is said as we grow old; an unaccounted guilt grows in us, for the various deeds of ours – small or big. Being selflessly good wipes out a great deal of this guilt. This might be the reason why people who have scaled great heights in life turn to philanthropy in the twilight of their lives.

No favour goes unreturned. It might not fit in to our frame work of instant gratification, but it definitely comes around. Moreover, our small deeds do make the world a better place. Pass around a smile, you get a smile back. Put on a smirk and u will be smirked at. The choice is always yours.

A selfless action gives as much joy to the doer as to the person who experiences it. It gives us the luxury of feeling good about ourselves without putting in a great deal of effort. It can be chipping in for a friend in time of need or as simple as giving away a bus seat for an elderly person. In our busy- to- breath lives, these little deeds of heart will make us feel alive.

Let’s do our bit and make the world a better place to live...for you and for me and for every one J .

Arun Babu

Saturday, 12 May 2012

For my Love... : Blog # 24

For my Love...

            Manu was sitting on the windowsill of the french window, his favorite place in the home. Outside, he saw a cycle vendor selling cotton chocolates. It always reminds him of his vacations at his ancestral home. He couldn’t wait to meet his Grandmother after exams. He used to pester his mother to take him there. But as he grew older, his visits became less often. He always talked to his Grandma over the phone but then got too busy with his friends to go and meet her. 

            Whenever his mother called him, he made some excuse or the other. It has been over 3 years now since his last visit. For two years, he was tied up with college and a year before that, he was busy with the preparation. ”Manu, I do not want to hear anything. You are going to meet your Grandmother this weekend” said his father without giving him a hearing. When his father was gone, Manu told “Ma, tell dad this is not his college and neither am I his student”. If you want to tell anything, you tell him directly, told his mother. “If I had the courage, will I ask you?” Manu’s mother laughed.

            The road was flanked by lush green paddy fields on either side. He stopped the car near the village pond and dipped his feet. The water was just as cold as it used to be. The lone rock in the middle where Kingfishers wait for their prey was still there. Nothing has changed here.

            Manu honked at the gate. Kaka came and opened the door. With his usual grin, he said “Memsaab will be really happy. You have not come here in a long time”. His grandmother came out to the sit out adjusting her spectacles. “Nannyyyy....” called out Manu. Don’t talk to me. Do you remember when you came here last time? But all it took was a hug for Nanny to forgive. Nanny had a visitor – a middle aged lady. She was leaving as Manu came in. “Who is she Nanny”, asked Manu. “She is the leader of a self help group here. She wanted some advice on certain things.” Ask Kaka to get your luggage. I have made your favourite sweet. Let’s have lunch.

            “Have some more rice. See how thin you have become. Do you remember? You used to ask me to prepare this sweet every day.”  “And we used to lie to mom that I am not having too much of sweet” added Manu laughing along with Nanny.

            Nanny served sweet in the living room and switched on the TV. Manu jumped on to the remote. Tuning in to MTV, he lied down with head resting on Nanny’s lap.”Nanny, why don’t you come and stay with us ?”. “In the city ? Then who will look after the things here?”, she asked.

            Manu woke up to Nanny’s call. He did not realize when he had slipped in to a slumber. “Here, have this tea and let’s go for a walk.” They went to a nearby temple where Manu used to visit when he was a child. The priest smiled at Nanny and said “This must be your Manu. Your nanny comes here only for you.”

            On the way back, they met Nanny’s friend. Manu remembers her face but couldn’t recollect her name. “Manu, when did you come?”. He came today morning, answered Nanny. “I never thought Aiswarya will do like this”. “Is it? what happened?”. It took a while for Manu to understand they were talking about a TV serial and also that he switched to MTV when Nanny was going to watch her daily serial.

            When they were about to enter home, someone called out from the gate. It was Shrikala aunty, nanny’s old colleague. “Why didn’t you come for the pension meeting?”. Manu came today. So I thought will collect the pension next week. “You know Manu, when you were in school, your Nanny used to mark days in calendar for your vacation”. Nanny smiled lovingly at Manu.

            Manu woke up late. Kaaka came with tea. “Please visit your Nanny once in a while. She spends time looking at your old photos.” Manu got dressed and hugged good bye to Nanny. “Come by more often. I always miss you here”. “Sure Nanny, I did not know you were so busy here. Still you always find time for me” said Manu. Nanny smiled and said “ Anything for you my Love”. Manu gave a hearty hug to Nanny and got in to the car.

            He stopped at the pond. He sat on the pavement with his legs touching the water. He took out the cell and kept a reminder for the second Saturday of every month: “For my Love”.
                                                                                                Arun Babu

Friday, 11 May 2012

SKH that is not Sri Krishna Hut!: A Potpourri of Memories #13

**An ode to my Alma mater, Amrita School of Business(ASB)...The time when every day was a celebration, our college days...Here is an attempt to revisit those fond memories...

SKH that is not Sri Krishna Hut!

The first memory of SKH (Shri Krishna Hall) is our interactive session with the faculty. That is when we all got to know each other. It was followed by the much more interesting fresher’s day given by the seniors. Some of us sang, some of us danced, some of us were made to give funny speeches and some of us were made to wear sarees! J .

Amrita School of Business, Amrita School of Engineering,UtsavSKH played host to UTSAV (our cultural fest), the real Ice breaker. It was then that we all became closer and it brought us close to seniors too. From writing out of the world stories to sketching ‘modern art’ to singing and dancing to the most unpopular songs, it was full on madness and fun. The short skits inspired from life at ASB had us in splits.

How can we ever forget Uday sir’s SAP – G classes (the music that announced the beginning of the class- Arum mani padme hum) and the early morning Yoga sessions. Most of the time, some of us couldn’t get the positions right and at times, some of us fell asleep. I still remember we all cracking up hearing someone snoring during the Shavasana J.

SKH also gifted us the memory of a life time that is Pragati, our Business Fest. It was sheer madness. Pragati is beyond words.

The Diwali celebration and the sweet distribution also took place in SKH. Not to forget the numerous colloquia and screenings of movies and cricket matches!!!

Then the SKH went for a makeover. The row seats, the carpet, the lighting and most of all, The AC! J. But I loved the old SKH more.

 The stage at SKH is special as this was where many of us performed anything at all for the first time in our lives!

# The SKH reminds me of Gumkaji. During our first ever batch meeting, when Gumkaji got up to introduce himself, he hit the speakers with a thud. That was the first light moment we  shared as a batch which was to follow with many many more happy moments which we are thankful for.

Continue reading @ 
To Sir, with love :

                                                                                                                               Arun Babu.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

A Good day! : Blog # 22

A Good day!

* A short story

Gaurav returned from the matinee movie show. It was nothing different from a usual light hearted bollywood movie, but had a feel good factor to it. It was his routine - a movie on Sunday evening with friends. But every time he returned from the movie, it reminded him of having to go for work next morning. According to him, whoever said “Pick something you love to do and you will never feel like you are working” has never worked in their life. He slept off reading ‘The Namesake’, a book recommended by his girlfriend Priya.
After the morning cup of tea, he rushed to the station picking up the day’s paper on the way. By now, the ‘paper wala’ knows his preference and sets it aside so as to waste not even a second. The station was not crowded by Bombay standards. Although back home, it will take the whole of his village to crowd the platforms as much. Braving an uncle and his gang of friends, he managed to hop on to the second door of the first class compartment of his usual 8:40 local.

Shekhar was waiting for him. “Hey check out this new song.” Shekhar is as crazy for music as Gaurav is of books. That’s why ‘Landmark’ eats up a large chunk of both their salary. He tried to talk about the Teach India initiative launched by a leading daily. But Shekhar never cared of any such things. It was a very novel idea which implored the youth to take up teaching for the under privileged. He wanted to be associated with this cause. But when he enquired, it became clear that it will clash with his weekend movies and workout sessions. He couldn’t cancel any of them.

Priya boarded after 15 minutes. He always wonders how she stays as beautiful and perfect in spite of the crowd at the station. He loses all the freshness the moment he sets foot in the station. As usual, she was all smiles and cheer. She is the one who makes his days come alive, today and every day. The train started moving and she said “Gaurav, Listen Listen”. She gave one end of the headphone to him. It was the song of the first film they went together. It brought a smile on his face.

The TTE came in at Kurla station. Gaurav has no respect for people who travel without ticket. How rich will a person get out of saving a ticket’s worth! It is not just about money. It is about principles. The TTE asked him for ticket. He took out his wallet and showed. His is a season ticket. TTE stared at him. “Your ticket is invalid. The last date was yesterday.” The passengers started staring at him. “Sir, here is the ticket”, said Shekhar. “I knew you will forget! I reminded you after the movie also yesterday. Thank me at the Mc Donald’s today evening!” He let out a sigh of relief. Before he could say anything, Priya took over “Ohhhh that’s so sweet of you Shekhar”. Shekhar was always like this. In his own words, “A Just In Time friend.” 

He did not speak much that day although Priya and Shekhar were busy with their office politics. Yes, they both were colleagues. All of them got down at VT station (CST these days, but he liked to call it VT just like he called the city Bombay and not Mumbai). 

Was he a little late to reach office? No, it’s still 10 minutes to 9. But everyone has already reached and has started working. He looked at the corner cabin. The boss is IN. That’s why the silence. Uma is his cubicle mate in office. They are good friends so far, thanks to not being allotted the same project yet. He has heard she is a bit tough to work with. But as far as he knows, she is a good friend. After the routine work, he was about to do some prep for the upcoming project. He badly wanted to be associated with that project. It is then that Uma called, “Motu….”. That meant she has brought something from home. He turned 180 degrees, all smiles and asked “What have u brought today?” “Roshgullaaa” Uma declared in her unadulterated Bengali. Those were his favorite. He couldn’t thank Uma enough.

It was then that Boss called him to the cabin. It was a monologue like always. “Gaurav, I came to know that you are interested in the upcoming project. I have been hearing some good things about you from your peers. You will be working with Mr.Swaminathan’s team for the new project. Keep up the good work. That will be all”.  Gaurav had a wide grin on his face.

After office, he headed to McD for the treat he promised to Shekhar. As he was beginning to dip the French fries in the sauce, he heard “Pandu!!” Secretly wishing Shekhar and Priya didn’t hear that name, he turned and saw Ani, his college friend. They were roommates in UG hostel. Both of them hugged each other. It had been a long time. He was extremely happy to have met Ani. He asked Ani to join at their table. They caught up on the good old days. They cracked up over college jokes, some he wished Shekhar and especially Priya did not hear.

All three of them got in to their usual 7.45 local from the last platform. Meeting up old friends is always fun. Isn’t it? Gaurav asked. “Yes Pandu!!!” Priya and Shekhar said in chorus. He couldn’t hide his smile.

The train started moving and someone played an old song which made Gaurav nostalgic. He held Priya’s hands. “So Mr.Pandu, did you send the money order for your secret good – hearted work?” Asked Priya. It was then that Gaurav realized he forgot to send the money for Diya’s tuition, a girl whose education he was sponsoring. “How did you come to know about that, Priya?” “Hello, thank me first. Saw the post it on your table yesterday before we left for the movie. So on the way, I did it and you are welcome!” chirped away Priya. “Thank you so much shona”.  “Yea, go and try the Bengali on your Uma!” Priya said playfully. Gaurav felt lucky to have Priya in his life.

Gaurav opened his door and switched on the TV. After changing in to a t shirt and shorts, he plunged in to the bean bag. There was some TV show on air and the anchor said “It is the smaller things in Life which need to be celebrated. It is the little blessings that make your life worth it. If someone made you smile today, be thankful. If someone took care of you today, be thankful. Be thankful that you had a Good day”. Gaurav could feel his smile reaching his eyes and said “I am thankful for today  :) :) ”.
                                                                                                                    Arun Babu.