Sunday, April 29, 2007

Calvin on Cheating

Found this piece of comic-dialogue extremely amusing! Reproducing from Calvin & Hobbes:

Calvin: "Today at school, I tried to decide whether to cheat on my test or not.

"I wondered, is it better to do the right thing and fail...or is it better to do the wrong thing and succeed?

"On the one hand, undeserved success gives no satisfaction...but on the other hand, well-deserved failure gives no satisfaction either.

"Of course, most everybody cheats some time or the other. People always bend the rules if they think they can get away with it...Then again, that doesnt justify my cheating.

"Then I thought, look, cheating on one little test isn't such a big deal. It doesnt hurt anyone....but then I wondered if I was just rationalizing my unwillingness to accept the consequence of not studying.

"Still, in the real world, people care about success. Not principles....Then again, maybe thats why the world is in such a mess. What a dilemma!"

Hobbes: "So what did you decide?"

Calvin: "Nothing. I ran out of time and I had to turn in a blank paper."

Hobbes: "Anymore, simply acknowledging the issue is a moral victory."

Calvin: "Well, it just seemed wrong to cheat on an ethics test."

April 2007

April of 2007 for me has been one of the most eventful months in recent times. There were lots of weddings but alas! lots of sad news too.

The very first day of April, while I was enjoying a nice bath in Iruppu falls near Nagarhole after a small trek amidst the Brahmagiri Mountain Range near Wayanad, Kerala, my grandparents met with an accident and passed away. The next few weeks involved active participation in the sad performance of the religious rites. This entailed my absence to my good friends Abhishek and Archana’s wedding on April 5th.

However, I was able to attend the weddings of my other good friends Ceby on April 12th and Mani on 25th. But April 26th being a very auspicious day (5 weddings on that day including Mani’s!), I managed to spend more time only at my cousin Jyotsna’s wedding and just flashed a smile at the grooms in two (Manjunathan & Jayant) other weddings. Thankfully the last one was away from Bangalore, although the telepathic wishes remain all the same!

On April 21st-22nd weekend, enjoyed a great deal with office colleagues in the small quaint little village of Kullanjawadi (perhaps misspelt) near Cuddalore and Pondicherry. A memorable trip which mainly involved multiple baths at farm pump set! The beach at Mahabalipuram and the Pondicherry Ashram also were "sites of nice time"!

But apart from all the joy in April, there were lot of deaths that touched the soul. And sad part being most were by way of accidents. Apart from my grands, nine people died on Bangalore-Mysore road when the vehicle tried to avoid a dog and went over the median. 3 professors waiting in a bus-stop died when a vehicle jumped the signal, lost control and rammed into them. A kid fell down an unused well and was found dead when it was pulled out after 56 hours. A massive shoot-out at Virginia Tech University killed 32 people including a celebrated professor who had carved out a success story, coming from a remote village in India, and 26-year old Mumbai girl.

Apart from the few days of celebration of the union of the blessed couples and the two trips, April of 2007 has been a sad, sad month.

I sincerely hope that the days to come embrace peace and tranquility, and makes the World a happy and joyful place to live…


The silence of the night sky
The silence of the dawn

The silence of the Ocean
The silence of the Universe

The silence at the Lotus Temple
The silence at the Aurobindo Ashram
The silence at the Grand Canyon

The purity of silence
The innocence of silence
The sweetness of silence

The silence of the Idols
The silence of the dead

Silence speaks more than words
Silence is more divine

At the end of it all…
…we all become one with silence.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Turned 27 today.

Matter of fact, its just another day.
Yet, its somehow special.
Everyone giving attention.
Feeling somehow important.

New hopes; new aspirations; new year.

As one of my good friends reminded:
“We turn not older with years but newer every day”

Monday, April 09, 2007

A tribute to Ajji & Thatha

On April 1st 2007, both my mother’s parents passed away in a car accident. After the darshan at Tirumala, the car was on its way from Tirupati to Srikalahasthi when it hit a stationary truck on the side, toppled due to the quick swerve and the impact threw my grandmother out of the car. She died on the spot. My grandfather passed away a few moments later due to shock. It is the first time I am seeing Death in such close quarters. I guess as we all grow older, we get used to it.

Ajji had a high impact on me since my birth. Strictly religious and utterly devoted to God, she has visited many famous shrines throughout India, and many a time, me being a kid, tagging me along with her. I have lost count how many times I have gone to Tirumala with her, equipped with rave-unde and kodbale and mixture being main source of food! I owe to her for having taken me to Brahmotsava. I owe to her for having taken me to Srisaila, where she gave me a green-hued glass Shiva linga, which I still pray to daily. I owe to her for having taken me to Udupi where she gifted me a cute little idol of Lord Krishna with flute, which I still pray to daily. And of course, each trip also resulted in either a plastic-strap watch or a finger-ring or a plastic motor car!

She introduced me to the concept of banking. Whatever money I got as a kid (be it pocket money or Re 1 coins in Thambolas), I used to give it to ajji. Plainly because she was my bank. She gave a tremendous amount of interest, and although it didn’t make much sense to me then, I knew enough that I would get more money than what I had given her! She finally rounded it up to ten grand and gave it to me when I finished my Tenth!

But I must admit, I used to dread every summer holidays. For my mom used to send me packing to ajji mane at Yeshwantpur! I didn’t want to spend weeks altogether there although a day or two of visit was welcome! Ajji was also too much into relatives. However far they might be related and geographically located, she used to visit them without fail on a regular basis. Each visit involved a tight grip on my wrist and a strenuous bus journey accompanied by hours of chat whence I used to get bored to death.

But thatha was refreshing in his own way and made an impact on me too. He always spoke on a ‘Need-to-know’ basis and was to the point. He didn’t involve himself in idle chatter. His journey in life is remarkable in itself. A full biography can be written which can emphasise the complete life that he has led. Coming from below poverty family, having numerous siblings, some of them even cunning enough to deceive him, he almost single-handedly came up in life, often working round-the-clock in multiple jobs.

He was in film industry, red label tea, auto business, taxi business, life insurance and off late renting houses. This is what I knew but he was much much more than all this. Highly respected, for he had come up in life the hard way, he was also most sought after. Constantly there were visitors at the Yeshwantpur house.

Fiercely independent, he never left the small Yeshwantpur house even till the end although he could have afforded a bungalow, or even stayed at any of his three son’s houses. While he could have roamed about with a chauffeur-driven limousine, he preferred a battered, old Fiat for a long, long time, after which he chose auto as a better transport.

He also appreciated quality life. He made time to attend Carnatic music whenever and wherever it occurred. He had an avid knowledge of slokas and mythological stories. He taught me to chant some slokas too, which I do daily. He liked watching sports and visiting places. He was a connoisseur of movies, be it any language, and liked dance sequences very much! He enjoyed his food. Potato chips should always accompany lunch or dinner! If we complain that too much oil is bad for health, he used to justify with a smiling grin: “Body needs lubrication!

His typical retired day started off with a long morning walk, rigorous (rather funny!) exercise with body oil, multiple morning activities including meeting customers, banking, etc. followed by a sumptuous food. And then there was always a 3-hour sleeping session after which came the movie session on any of the TV channels which replaced the very-used VCR! And then the after-dinner walk, a tradition which he passed onto me.

While ajji introduced me banking concepts with my own money, thatha took me to real banks with him and showed me to how to deposit cheque, how to withdraw cash, etc. And then he used to send me to bank all by myself, giving me an all-important status.

He treated all his children with the same respect. My mom recalls that he never once scolded her. Being the only daughter, he encouraged her to learn classical music, dancing and even to have a job of her own, much to the chagrin of ajji! [A girl being independent on her own in 1970s was unheard of and was considered bordering rude!] Countless tales can be recounted with respect to his benevolence towards his children and grandchildren, whom he used to fondle with his prickly beard!

He never really stopped working. He never really retired. Infact, he started earning more after he retired. He had to his credit about 8 houses. Apart from this, many modes of business (including pawning) which the general public never came to know about. He always used to keep himself busy. He was one of the most industrious men I have ever met.

But he was prone to a lot of vehicular accidents and diseases! He has had about 3-4 minor accidents in his scooter! He had arthritis which nearly crippled him, and Chicken guinea recently when he became bed-ridden. But yet, he stood up each time, as if defying age. Such was his strength; such was his will power. “Nothing could come in his way” was the general feeling.

Same can be said about ajji. She had a near-fatal blow to her head in 1994 when she fell down the slippery stone stairs in Sonda. Even after being almost crippled with immobility, she maintained the robustness of life and ensured to attend all important family functions. In her own pace, she never stopped climbing stairs when needed. In her own pace, she kept visiting Tirumala in spite of the crowd.
I was supposed to go in that trip but I backed out as I had been to Tirumala recently. Two small cousins of mine in the same car (one aged ten and another aged one) escaped with minimal injuries. One gets the feeling that they gave their lives away for the young ones.

It is a pity she never saw any of her grandchild’s wedding, which was her main topic off-late. She fell short by about 6 months when the eldest grandchild is due to be married. Much loved by all, much teased by all, she shall henceforth remain in our memories. Their absence is palpable in every occasion. So much so that when their final rites were happening, and the whole family is there, I was looking around to see where Ajji Thatha were…Its only later I realized that it was their own final rites that was being performed.

It is only the blessed few couples who live hand-in-hand and who die hand-in-hand. It is even fewer who die in the premises of Lord Venkateshwara. It is only befitting that Ajji-Thatha happened to be this blessed couple.

As one of the admirers mentioned in the funeral, just like how a good batsman can get out only by run-out, the only way Raghavendra Rao and Ramabai could die was through unnatural death. For them, no natural death could be scripted. They would have just lived on and on and on. Hale and Healthy.

Dear Ajji & Thatha
Rest In Peace…