Thursday, July 14, 2011

Happy B'day Yahavi !!

Dear Yahavi,

Another year, and yet again we aren’t celebrating your birthday together. Happy Birthday Dear!! Miles apart, yet you fill our minds with your charismatic smile :-) Most of this year, we have been away from each other and I missed watching you grow. Nevertheless we have spent some precious time together and you never fail to impress me. Your mere presence at home energizes the entire space. I have enjoyed every bit of you; the mellowness I see when you stay occupied all by yourself, the restlessness I sense when your dear ones are not around, the casualness you try to flaunt immediately after you have been disapproved – and you are all of three years dear. You have indeed been born with innate qualities.

I would like to recall few special incidents that would stay engraved in memory. It was Diwali, raining and wet outside, I tried cajoling you to wear your footwear so you could stay on your own. You vehemently refused, a girl who loves to wear her footwear so that she can stay out refused. I was confused. I tried explaining to you many things and even tried to put a bolder face – you didn’t budge. Finally I left on the floor near home, stating, “You either go out with your footwear or stay here”. I quietly vividly remember how you wanted to run, yet looked at me from the corner of your eye and stayed there.

One night, when everyone at home tried to keep a stern face to let you know that we disapprove what you did, for about nearly an hour you didn’t mind us and were on your own trying to show us that you didn’t have a problem with our disapproval by being chirpy and happy, completely absorbed with your toys and your playmate – Dada. Quite a resolve lady. It was heart wrenching, when you finally came stood and looked at us expectantly, wishing we would just talk. It was indeed moving to watch you stand with tears brimming from your eyes and half willingly say ‘Sorry’. Oh dear you are the sweetest!

There are many more to the list dear. I believe you were disappointed when you returned from NewZealand and didn’t find Mama at home. I still don’t know why you refused to talk to Mama over phone in spite of me requesting you do so many times. I am not sure if it was just child pranks or you do hold an emotion associated to it. Either way, you know we love you where ever we are.
We wouldn’t be around in the coming days too; I only wish to see you and personally bid good-bye before I leave home. Let’s keep faith and believing the distance wouldn’t curb the exchange of love.

The world is an awesome place to be in, enjoy every moment of your life. Happy B’day! Wishing you abundance of Strength and resolve to explore your life, they way you intend to. Our prayers of peace and joy will linger in your space.

I only hope, writing letters to you on your Birthday doesn’t become a tradition ;) Wishing to be with you on your Fourth Birthday!


Hugs, kisses and fond B’day wishes from Aththai, Mama, Dada and all of us back home.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Does science define reality?

Can Science explain it all? Science attempts to validate certain claims by verification. Science is limited by its discoveries, and so is the process of verification. Can one dispose the idea since we haven’t yet developed a process of verification? If existing equipment cannot help gauge what is to be observed, can we say the observable doesn’t exist?

Science is indeed maturing and in the past we have been able to derive empirical equations from already established scientific theories to prove a conceptual idea which becomes a fact. A fact remains indisputable until new findings emerge. The empirical findings themselves are subject to scrutiny, they remain proven unless disproved. Does existence vacillate around Science?

Science definitely makes life easy. A basic set of facts have been established, over which we can make new discoveries, and with every discovery the base principal is reinforced. It is a good reference point, but that cannot enforce us into believing it is the ultimatum.

If anything is observable in nature, then it needs to be investigated. Nothing should be repudiated before its verification. If something cannot be proven that does not mean it does not exist, it also needs to be disproved before hailing its non-existence. It is as important to disprove something as much as it is to prove.

Would you believe the presence of certain fact only if proven by Scientists substantiated by research papers that you never get to read or would you go by the personal experience of the fact? If one could experience gravity, you don’t need scientific proof of it? Do you? Similarly what is use of scientific finding that you can never experience? In my opinion anything observable in nature can be validated by Science one day, till then Science has to wait, not the occurrence of these observable trends.

Science can only govern reality, it can't define.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Learning never ends..

What directs human beings to behave the way we do, be it the way we dress or the reason why we are passionate to attend a Toastmasters meeting? Psychologists would say much of human behavior is learned while the rest of it innate. Learning can be defined as relatively permanent change in behavior that has risen from practice or experience. Every positive experience in life makes our learning process joyful, that we tend to imbibe them in us, making it our way of life. Personally, attending the first Toastmasters meeting was such an enriching experience, that I consciously altered my behavior to attend toastmasters meeting regularly.

We are all born with few innate behaviors and only our existence in this world has thought us most of what we do today, behaviors as simple as walking or speaking. Every lesson in life comes after struggle; the first step you took wasn’t easy. As life goes on, as the essential and most necessitate behaviors required for human survival is learned, our learning declines or rather virtually comes to halt. When was the last time you learned an invaluable lesson? In the mad race to sustain our living, we forget to relish our experiences and fail to understand the lessons. Finally, when life throws up the test, we tend to complain as we had already missed the cue to learn. As the clichĂ© goes, learning is a continuous process. Breathing and learning should never cease, if they do, then we are extinct.

Toastmasters, is one such a platform that provided me with an opportunity to learn and learn with passion. I saw another world, a world of confident individuals who were raring to go; making a difference to their worlds with their speeches. Toastmasters helped me rediscover the speaker in me. I began to realize how I had seized to learn and look for avenues to hone my skills. Toastmasters opened doors to an alternative space, shaping my possessed traits and acquiring new skills. The ignition this spark provided gave me the go ahead to venture into other areas of my interests. I began my exploration into the world of unknown; I began to enjoy every experience that life had to offer. Not only did I garner new skills and enhanced my behavior, it gave me the courage to experiment. Learning has become a way of life for me today. The known is limited; the unknown is unlimited.

We tread through different phases in our lives, stand at the cross roads time and again, yet learning never ceases. It is in Toastmasters, I found the trigger for my learning process in more ways than one.

It is through the process of learning, we evolve.

An article written for the Toastmasters International District 82 Annual conference -Ovations 2010

The immortal soul

Gopaul, the canny young boy of 7 years was dribbling his ball in his backyard, when he heard a loud noise from the Kitchen. “Ttaaanngg”. He rushed into the kitchen and hugged around his mother’s leg. She had let a pot of boiling water slip from her hand crashing on the floor. Gopaul was in awe of his mother, who worked arduously in the kitchen, preparing meal for a family of eight and served them with unflinching love. He was eager to run errands for his mother whom he dearly admired. He adored his mother and respected his father.

Gopaul was a quick-witted, bright and intelligent boy who was the teacher’s eye candy. The family lived in the erstwhile Madras of the 19th Century and his father was a furniture merchant. The children in the neighborhood would gather in the evening to play in the narrow by-lanes of Saidapet. They were excited to spot an infrequent Horse-cart interrupt their play once in a while.

Gopaul would always ensure he completed his school work before joining play. He was very meticulous in handling on his chores. Gopaul’s father was one of the few who rode a Horse cart in his neighborhood and the sound of the hoofs of his Horse cart would send his siblings run Helter-Skelter, for the fear of the strict disciplinarian they saw in their Father, but Gopaul would continue playing Hockey, his favourite game. His father would stop by and teach him few tricks much to the dismay of the other children. Gopaul, was academically proficient and Mathematics was his forte, his father could never find a folly with his young boy and naturally encouraged his innate talents.

In 1926, when Gopaul was only 12 years old, he witnessed many communal fights in the hands of the British rule. As a young boy the sights of men running amok clad in blood soaked shirts and swords did not deter him. He aspired to be an Officer in High ranks and diligently worked in School. He was confident that India’s freedom wasn’t farfetched and he would be able to walk free on his Motherland. All the political vilification and the tense atmosphere in the country fueled Gopaul’s urge to remain transparent and uphold his integrity as he reached higher echelons. Gopaul’s father was equally understanding and wanted to give his Children Education which was hard to render in an era of Political calamity, but for a bright student that Gopaul was it wasn’t a hard feat.

He graduated in the year 1935 and was offered a job in the Southern Railways. A British Official once remarked at his senior officer, “You Indians cannot rule a country! You are poor, ignorant and dumb”. Gopaul had just completed his first year in the railways; he walked in to submit his financial report. The British official went through the report and looked up at Gopaul gave him a stern look and uttered, “You are an exception!”

His sincerity and commitment earned him respect from the Britisher’s. He never hesitated to highlight mistakes done by the British officials at work which required immense courage and was never biased towards his Indian counterparts. He always called a Spade a Spade!

He rose in ranks from a clerk to the ranks of Deputy Chief Personal Officer of the Southern Railways. He was indeed testing times for Indians working under the British Raj, but all through Gopaul was poignant, fastidious, and upright. He believed his most valuable asset would be the Personality he makes out of the Person he was. As an officer he was known for his tenacity and as a person he was the most affable man with immense love for everyone. He wouldn’t hurt even his enemy. He gave his family a strong foundation of love and preached peace. In 1939, he married a pretty young lady of 15 years.

As Gopaul rose in ranks officially, his family also grew in number, affection, joy and love. The Britishers were ousted from India, another difficult transitionary phase in India. A time when accountability went missing from our constitution and people reveled in their new found freedom.

Once when his children were playing in his home, a vendor to the Railways had come home to visit gopaul. In few minutes what transpired at their home was shocking to his children. He kicked a basket of fruits out and commanded, “Get out of my house, Next time I see any of you coming to my home seeking for favors, I would lodge a legal complaint”. The chirping, joyous home fell silent. He never sought favours nor used his position to favor anyone.

In 1975, when his youngest son was unemployed, many associated with ulterior motives offered his son a job, he refused to mortgage his integrity and let his son fend for himself with the Education he had given him. Mr. Gopaul retired in the year in 1968 from service but he couldn’t rest. He was ready for his second stint; he joined the Dinamalar Daily as the Manager of operations. It is here; he was able to explore his oratory skills and continued his exemplary work.

At the age of 80, with the second retirement, Mr.Gopaul had a family of 25 members, children and Grandchildren nestling with love and his integrity in-tact. He was fascinated by the rapid transformation that India was under, socially, and scientifically. He was amused at the burgeoning field of Computer Science and often questioned his Grandchildren to explain the technology behind sending an E-mail. Even in his 80’s he could recall Laplace transforms, Bernoulli’s Equation and the benzene ring structure from memory. The grand children were left dumbfounded when he easily bet them at mental mathematics and quickly solved complex equations. Mr.Gopaul’s Knowledge trove and his thirst for learning never ceased to exist.
We have heard of many stories of fierce battles fought and brave warriors of the Pre-Independence movement, but the story of Gopaul is the story of a common man, who battled the hassles of everyday life in the backdrop of Pre-Independence era combating the political misfortunes. This is the story of an ordinary citizen who grew in stature. He reflects a persona that every individual would like to set as his standard of living but fail miserably to acquire. A man who lived his life simple and died grandiose with impeccable virtues.

The people whom we brush shoulders with influence ours lives. The life of this gentleman and his resolve to live undeterred and live by values has left an enormous impact on my personality. Mr. C.V, Gopaul the man of love and integrity is my inspiration. Most of my personality that I am proud of today has been borrowed from his genes. I take pride in saying; he is my beloved Grandfather who reached Heaven’s abode in 2009 and lives in our memories.

This story was written for meeting the objectives of Project 5 "Bringing history to life" - Story telling manual, Toastmasters International

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Jan Lokpal - is the Government listening?

It is heartening to see that this government is actually seeking for suggestions from the common man. Every Indian wants a Strong Lokpal bill to control the menace of corruption in our country. Corruption has become an epidemic in our country which has stalled the growth of our Nation, Please pass a bill that is strong and effective.

The Jan Lokpal proposed by the civil society is more effective and has taken many parameters into account to devise a fool proof system against corruption, yes there might be few areas that are hard to bring into effect from the Jan Lokpal bill, but that does not mean we replace it with a weak Lokpal.

Let us try and find some balance and not compromise on fighting corruption.

The reason why the common man is angry and frustrated is because till date this Government has not really been proactive in fighting corruption and hence the widespread fear that the Government is not serious about enforcing a strong bill. Please show the Nation you are as interested as the common man in fighting corruption.

The legacy of the UPA -II Government in fighting corruption has been very soft, there has many scams that have been found in this governance by cabinet ministers and yet no action was initiated when it was brought to the Government initially. All the progress and action that we see today has happened much after the Supreme Court intervened and directed the Government. With said state of affairs, it is natural for the Indians not to believe in their elected Government.
It is time to re-gain the faith of the people of India by enforcing a strong bill, any ulterior motive in passing the bill cannot be hidden from the people as today the citizens are educated and vigilant. The media and judiciary has been functioning at their optimal best and so trying to employ any kind of divisive politics would only backfire on the Government.

We need a strong Lokpal Bill and we wouldn’t accept anything less. We do not have to tell you what a Strong Lokpal means, I am sure our elected representative know it much better than us. You know the game of governance better than us. It is only the intention to implement a strong lokpal that is missing and not the ability to implement a strong bill.