Dreams….

30 07 2008

Haunted by my dreams, this post is a result of midnight musings, after I soothed my frayed nerves by a short chat with my papa. These days I realized that dreams are my deepest desires which I have never acknowledged. Its like those persistant voices which never got a chance, and hence they manifest in the eerie visions of the dreamland when our resistance to logically refute is at all time low. Most of the things I dream are either about things that I heard of, or things that I want to happen or stories that I read somewhere. Those some of these often take me by surprise, they would laos make me believe that I am what I dream. But dreaming alone won’t achieve what I long for, right? May be I don’t live my dreams because I live my fears. May be, I magnify my fears with the thinking mind and lull the heart’s desire with cold reason.

My experience of dreams goes a long way back.. Most of my dreams weave those ‘what if’ sequences about the opportunities that life presents. Some of them could be about me visualizing how would it look if I try bungee jumping or about how would life be in a different career, or about how is an ordinary day in a new environment. Yet, these are what make me come to terms with my anxieties and facts of lifewhile making me comfortable with the fear from the unknown.

And there are those creative dreams either about the stories I heard, movies I partly saw or books that I read somewhere. One of those vivid childhood dreams that stayed with me, is this dream of Ramayana, that started from where the Hanuman brings the sanjeevani to the end of war. I distinctly remember this, for I stayed long in bed so that this dream finds its end. Well, there are dreams where I played wild roles, like a daredevil detective, or a super woman, but let me assure you, these are quite rare. Its been long time since I played the batwoman. 🙂 Yet, the kick of these dreams lies in the way I could manipulate those sequences, or even create them to my satisfaction.

And then there are those dreams that helped me overcome my fears. In childhood, I have always been afraid of things like loosing family members or snakes. I am not sure if I overcome any of those fears. But I remember those dreams which made me run till I made a choice to pick a stick and fight or those that portrayed loss of loved ones and taught me to appreciate their value in life.

But of all these dreams that I had, I never felt as if I am an inactive participant. I have always, (ok, I concede) most of the times, been able to direct my dream to my desired end or end it before it turns wild. May be that’s why I never had such a predominant nightmare which became a permanent memory.

Somehow I believe that dreamland is the space where we touch the threshold of our potential and visualize the realization of our deepest desires. Some stop there, reveling in the beauty of their dreams and basking in vicarious satisfaction; while some hold on and make it a reality in this material world.

I don’t think I have a theory about what I dream, but somehow writing about them did lighten my thought at this late hour. If you are reading this, tell me about your dreams. Would love to hear about the extent and expanse of your imagined universe. Even if you don’t want to talk about it in public space, it’s ok. At least acknowledge them to yourself in solitude, else you would end up being haunted by dreams, just the way I was.

P.S. Whenever I think of dreams, I couldn’t help but muse on here, for in vague sense, it gives me hope.





Antargange Trek..

23 06 2008

Pure Exhiliaration is the word of the day. Thanks for the insistence of a sweet pal, which made me head for this trek instead of watching ‘Dasavatharam’ or indulging in window shopping.

This is the first time that I tried ‘Bangalore Mountaineering Club’ and I must say that I am pleasantly surprised by the experience. We boarded the bus at 8 AM at K.R. Puram busstop and I was surprised to see 50 plus people in the bus, given the short notice. I guess the quality of the companionship in the group made all the difference to this trekking experience.

The trip started with around 90 minutes of bus journey from Bangalore to reach Kolar. We caught up with the breakfast at ShanthiSagar in Kolar which is around 3 km from the ‘Antargange’ location. We reached the place in no time and there was a pack of stairs leading up to the temple. We were welcomed by loads of monkeys, and the pleasant sunny breeze warmed us for the trek ahead.

We reached the Antargange temple after a little climb of stairs, and I already had doubts forming in my mind, if the trek actually is over before it even began. The temple is filled with serene silence and the group is abuzz with action for the impending climb. Making the temple as our base camp, we started the trek with Janak playing the lead trekker and Neeraj trailing to support the cozy climbers.

The path is paved with sand, rock, thorns and the sun, in his blazing glory, wasn’t playing the good Samaritan. Yet, undaunted, many were climbing ahead, one step at a time, in a quiet determination to discover the terrain. I really marvelled at the energy of the crowd in climbing and cave exploring in the region. By noon, we reached the peak of a mountain(if I can call it that) and were ready to go for cave exploration after a relaxed lunch on the peak of a mountain by the side of a small brook filled with chilled water. Cold feet takes a different meaning when you get to rest by dipping feet in chilled water on the top of a mountain in sooting breeze after a hectic trek uphill.

The beauty of mingling with a group in an organized trek, is the sheer experience of encountering different people with different choices and interests. There would be some exploring the untrodden path, some who would take time around to smell the roses and savour the scenary around, while some who run ahead in childlike enthusiam of scaling the peak ahead only to discover that there is no dearth of rocks. Everyone discovering his or her own private definition of solitude and enjoyment amidst wilderness and sun.

If the climb uphill through the rocks in no definite path was a journey on its own, filled with a different thrill of navigating through the boulders that challenge your endurance, the cave exploration post lunch unleashed the childlike exuberance of discovering the unknown. Armed with a naive faith that the dark holds no terror, we all went through the natural caves, to discover our own recess for solitude amidst the mammoth rocks that are resting since centuries. Those rocks filled with small crevices are loaded with umpteen challenges. Often, finding a way ahead in the maze of boulders becomes daunting as the chances of hitting a dead end means reinventing the wheel once again. The wild flowers with their gentle fragrance, and the natural caves with their cold soothing embrace did offer some sanctury against the sultry weather. We did learn some gymnastics, prodding ourselves though the closely nested rocks to reach no definite destination in an easy pace.

The view from the top is breath taking! Enveloped by sand, rock, sky and sun, the town of Kolar looks serene and calm. All I could feel was numbing contentment. With so many people sharing the joy of experience, the thought that lingered in that moment was, ‘who said its lonely at the top?’. 🙂 I was in for a treat while getting down. We discovered a small well with pristine sweet water and I relived the fantasy of a village gal by drawing water from the well and enjoying its sweet taste in primitive fashion. With loads of memories and sated satisfaction, we headed for Bangalore playing Antakshari enroute with the new found pals. We sealed off the day with a quiet dinner at Malgudi and bid our farewell. I had my much needed break, and I confess this, even though the after effects of the trek still remain in my hoarse throat and aching muscles.





Respect For Individual..

21 06 2008

This time I started with the title first, and as soon as I keyed it in, it sounded darn preachy! Especially when I have the Accenture core values pamphlet in front of me that has features the title as one of the core values. 🙂 Yet, it has been a lingering thought since sometime, and I have some interesting anecdotes to share.

Now that I mentioned Accenture, let me start with my induction programme that happened some months back. We were allotted some 2 hours session for discussion around this particular core value. Incidentally, this was I think the last session of the day and all of the participants were tired. The faculty walks in. The first question he posed to the listless audience was: “how much time do you all give to me?”. Someone answered 30 minutes. He quietly agrees and announces that this is ‘respect for individual’. I couldn’t help but burst clapping in appreciation. Yes. Indeed, he closed the session within agreed time and I did carry the message home. 🙂

One of my favorite anecdotes in office humor has been about ‘biscuit’. Though we often kid about the incident in lighter note, it did generate a serious thought too. It all happened in one of those office treks, where we are buying food stuff for snacking en route. One of the teammates wanted to pick some biscuits for it and he was made fun by some folks of being kiddish for his food choice. It is very easy to get carried away in light hearted banter. Most often, humor generated is at the expense of someone, especially in groups. Finally, that poor chap didn’t pick his biscuits and that did leave that feeling of denial with us.

Yet, that incident did trigger a new dictum in the gang, which we call by name biscuit. A rule to abide by the respective individual choices instead of succumbing to group think. And it did offer me some interesting experiences too. Respecting somebody’s interest in Art and Theatre did take me to ‘Water Lilies’, ‘Natyalakshana’ or ‘Don Muttuswami’, some of which I throughly enjoyed. “What’s your biscuit?”, this question that often happens among us, whilst we are thinking about weekend plans, often sounds like music. The idea of group coming to individual and celebrating independent thoughts, instead of individual interests being drowned in group is charming. And Yes. No one is denied of biscuit these days. 🙂





The Fires Within..

18 05 2008

When Was The Last Time That I Did Something For the First Time?

I attended a dance performance by Natyalakshana, called ‘The Fires Within’ which was sponsored by Bosch Cultural Events at Chowdaiah Memorial Hall this Friday. For those who were wondering about my new found interest in traditional art forms, I have to ascribe due credit to those unconventional inspirations that result from boredom.

And how glad I was that my whim took me there. How I thanked my friends for their exotic and audacious suggestion to take me there! The show was a beautiful symphony of music, dance and art, where flying feet gave voice to age old legends. The legendary poems represented are selected verses from Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Gitanjali’, Bharathiyar’s ‘Dikku Theriyada Katil’ and a few selection of Mirza Ghalib’s poetry in Kathak. I loved the ‘Dikku Theriyada Katil’ and Ghalib’s poetry representation, where I felt that the dancers delivered a magnificent justice to the poems.

Shama and Sanjay’s ‘Dikku Theriyada Katil’ and Hari and Chandana’s ‘Mirza Ghalib piece’ had a delicate balance of perfection and expression and they held me in rapture through out. The dance drama that followed, called Tagore’s ‘Tasher Desh’ was a little bit disappointing, but the blame rests with my expectations which reached the sky by the end of the first two performances. If I have to define the experience, words would surely fail me as I am running short of superlatives. I could never realize that poetry could be so brilliantly enticing and soul wrenching. I was swaying in a world, so out of myself and the feeling is liberating. I believe that the credit of those beautiful moments goes to those on back stage as well. A special mention for Usha Venkateshwaran, the director of Natyalakshana who choreographed and produced the dances. Simone for the wonderful sway of lights and Sri Gurumurthy and Ustad Faizal Khan for their mellifluous music.

This event did make me reflect on my opinions towards conventional art forms. For to achieve perfection in blending, a music so divine, a dance that lent life to poetry and expressions that tugged heart, it must either have been Divine’s grace or years’ practice. It did teach me a thing or two about the immense beauty that’s submerged in Indian tradition and art. Like a welcome summer rain, my heart kissed the joy and danced along enticed in the magical world of dance, music and poetry. A worthy life long memory that’s for me for keeps.

Here are the translations in English for the Ghalib’s poetry that’s recited in the Event.

“O God Thy blessings on the soul
Whose name just came to my lips.
And as I willed that it be sung,
My speech rained kisses on my tongue.

These images drawn by Thee to make
Thine grand image, this world
Stand there like supplicants bowed in prayer:
Their burden they can’t bear.

The Fire in me, it rages high,
Though I be bound in chains.
The chain rings bounce,for they are light
Like hair all curled by flame

No simile matches her playfulness
And her quick-silver, passionate ways,
For, lighting lacks, by far, her play
And her temper is hotter than a blaze.

It is the nature of love, no doubt:
A kind of freak fire, which
You cannot start just when you wish,
Nor can you put it out.

A fire is raging in my heart
On this lonely night
My own shadow doth run from me
A smoke from fire takes flight.

It is ages since my beloved’s feet
Did cross this poor threshold.
So let her, with her twinkling cups,
Light up my dark abode.

My bustling crowd of desires
Each took my breath away!
Though I could quench many, many of them,
Yet millions remain un-slaked.





A Piece of Rant Club…

15 05 2008

X: I Am Good At Management…

Me: Why Do You Think So?

X: Umm… I am good at coffee table conversations. I am good at talking to people. My communication skills are super. Top of the world actually. And, finally, I think I am good at coordination (really, any one can schedule meetings and handle logistics! ) and I enjoy doing it.

And finally as the discussion proceeds, I realize that its either the lure of flexible time, or the seemingly easy work that acts as a persistent motivator than the idea of career.

There is a lot of misconception about the so called management roles, at least in the field that I work in. Thought most of the senior people in those roles seem to be doing only talking, preparing pretty presentations, or spending most of their time in meetings, there is lot more under the hood than that meets the eye. One doesn’t account for the years of experience or the knowledge that they are equipped with to handle client demands on the feet, or the experiential insight that they bring in while addressing specific issues. Even bad communicators may have sound understanding or a strategic approach to the problem at hand. We can’t ignore the skills that they bring to the table because someone has bad presentation skills, just the way we can’t give weight for garrulous mouthing of words with little essence.

For those who are contemplating management career or decision making roles, a little bit of soul searching is crucial. List out all the reasons and hidden factors that propel you to consider this option. You can give a load of convincing answers to the world, yet please don’t deceive thyself.

Do you have it in you to face tremendous odds and come out trumps? Can you handle tremendous pressure or do you get fizzled out at the drop of a hat? Do you have the never-say-die spirit or do you give up easily and are driven by the principle of fatalism, i.e. the belief that you don’t have control over your deeds and some external force like God determines that.

After going through these discussions umpteen number of times, and talking to aspiring MBAs my mood turned nostalgic as I leafed through those memories of college days. I am blessed with a great mentor during my engineering days, and I am sharing a piece of those exchanges. These are times when I feel that the basics of these questions hasn’t changed over 5 years.

Why you want to do MBA?
1. Is it for money?
2. Is it for fame?
3. Is it for getting power?
4. Is it for getting a good job?
5. Is it for getting social recognition?
6. Is it because you want to make a career in Management?
7. Is it because you like to take challenges?
8. Is it because you want to broaden your horizons?
9. Is it because you have an academic bent of mind?
10. Is it for the sense of achievement?
11. Is it to get yourself equipped with an additional degree so that you can have an edge in this dog-eat-dog world?
12. Is it because you get turned ON by business and economy like nothing else?
13. Is it because you have nothing else to do?
14. Is it because of peer pressure?
15. Is it just for the sake of it and enjoyment?
16. Is it for making yourself more eligible in the marriage market?

It doesn’t require a great deal of analysis to figure out the secret motivator behind picking brain about management roles. For most of us in corporate field, its unavoidable. As we add on experience to the work life, most of our work or output depends on the deliverables of others. Thats when people management, communication, planning and organization skills come into play. For some, a management degree is a way to break free from the technical roles or a launchpad into different industries. For students, MBA is either a lucrative career option or a way to extend unemployment. ( Pun intended 🙂 )

But for those with mammoth goals and lofty aspirations, I am sharing this piece of advice that I received years ago from my mentor.

“A person doesn’t become a CEO just by doing MBA or just having the desire. The culmination is only due to untiring efforts and careful grooming over many years. Do bear that in mind. Although, having lofty ambitions is laudable, being nervous even before the battle has begun doesn’t behoove you. You need to have the emotional poise to handle things at ease. “

And finally, chill. We are all good at management in one way or the other. We all are managing our lives without much catastrophes. Acquiring management skills isn’t rocket science if we put our mind and heart to it. They say, vision without action is a dream and action without vision is a nightmare. Be true to the choices of life and be true to your dreams and longings. Life will sail on much more easily and happily.





Close To the Wind..

5 05 2008

There is an advantage when one subscribes to a library. One buys a chance to discover new authors and antiquated books that tell myriad stories. I was so glad that I chanced upon this book titled “Close To The Wind” written by John Harris, which I picked up as an afterthought, lured by the title. Must say I am really enticed by this beautifully penned tome.

Its a story about a debt ridden Italian Couple Joe and Rosa who prefer the capricious Pacific to surrendering their mortgaged houseboat. Aided by their daughter Frankie, a school atlas, a nonfunctional ship engine, penniless condition and derelict instruments they sail to the unknown, hoping to discover an island where they can hide their only means of livelihood, the boat Tina S to safety. Pressed by the need for money, they take an unknown stranger Willie with questionable past for passenger on this sea adventure.

What follows then, is a story of grit, emotion, belief, and love as the passengers discover themselves over the challenging voyage. Little did the older couple know that their antique old boat is no match for the journey that they set themselves ahead. To reach America and have a chance at creating life for Frankie and Willie who fall in love with each other over the wild voyage.

To make the issues worse, the old couple is haunted by the media who thought that their impossible sea adventure makes good headline story, and the police for Willie who committed a murder and is postponing the inevitable capture by discovering himself over the Pacific. Life over the sea becomes a roller coaster ride for these four members who discover love, bonding, temptation, struggle, hurricane, and loss while they struggle for survival with little food and meager money, from the vagaries of the Pacific.

The characters feel so natural that you may wonder if they are conjured from your daily life experiences. Captain Mama is a tower of strength in handling the crisis and her devil may care attitude, positivity and enthusiasm tugs a chord at heart while the evolution of Willie from a wayward ruffian to a responsible person does manage to cheer up your spirits. The ways of God are ironic they say, for Willie sacrifices himself on the face of death to save the family, just a few days after he discovers contentment, lady love and purpose of life.





Random Musings Over Weekend…

3 05 2008

This post is a result of a desire to list out some of those haphazard thoughts that catch you in randomness in every direction on a weekend, just when you realize you have all the time in the world to be with oneself.

The Regular Weekend Laundry List

  • Yesterday, I watched a telugu movie called ‘Parugu’, just for the heck of it. Its about time for me to admit how I am such a hopeless movie freak and how I enjoy catching any movie at any theatre (multiplex to local standalone) over weekends.
  • Just finished reading ‘Close to the Wind’ by John Harris. I was little reluctant to pick that book at start, as I couldn’t find a single review about it online. Thankfully, its a beautifully told story and I added a review about that book to my to do list.
  • Yesterday, just when my stomach is full of ‘Bobby da Dhaba’ Paratha and my eyes are really longing for a trip to dreamland, a pal of mine calls me to ask a seemingly innocuous question, “Do we really have a larger purpose in life?”. Huh! My mind really went blank. Answer, anyone please?
  • After being bulldozed by a pal for about four hours, I trotted around in BTM to discover a place called HICON which offers weekend cinematic Hiphop dance classes. I have no clue what that means, but I am planning to figure it out tomorrow. See, even I am susceptible to flashes of random inspiration.
  • Today, I discovered that I have an amalgamation of about 56 odd stocks in my portfolio. For a novice that I am, thats like placing eggs in to too many baskets. Hopefully, I will sort that mess by next week.

Some High Moments

  • Last week, I attended my cousin’s marriage. We grew up together and its sheer pleasure to see him enter into an assisted marriage. Marriages are also time for family and relatives get-together for socializing and catching up with times. My heart took me through a flashback ride of childhood, those times of playing hide and seek, mounting walls, bicycle races, flouting rules and climbing trees for mangoes and guavas. Looking at the brazen mirth of a couple of kids jumping on and off the marriage hall, my grandpa innocently remarked, “Probably childhood is the only time when we are carefree and truly happy”. Hearing his artless remark, I could only flash a blissful grin.
  • I am glad to know that the post on Tashan stopped at least a couple of folks from watching that movie. Curiously, I felt so happy to play the savior.
  • I am really glad to see Amitabh Bachan blogging. I can’t help but wonder how he answers all those thousands of comments on his own, or how does he find time to blog on a daily basis amidst his busy schedule. He almost taught me Hindi over Doordarshan during my school days and I love the way he carries himself. He holds a special place in my heart and I am happy to share a piece of his thoughts. 🙂

Some Time For Confessions

  • My weekend over the past three years stuck to a random pattern of predictability. It almost always includes a couple of movies, pals and books, long walks, a diary, some music and some restaurant. Not that I mind falling into a pattern!
  • I often write to share with others some advice, opinion or a slice of my mind. I can’t call it a hobby anymore, for this zeal for self-expression is a part of the core me.
  • These days I am worried about the acceptance that I offer to circumstances. I have become too complacent and accepting of things around me as if they are part of scenery. I have a right to feel and vent anger. And I think that justifiable and just anger shows how much one cares about any situation. May be I should try exercising my right instead of pressing that ‘Ignore’ button.
  • Sometimes I confuse potential with skill. There is a world of difference between ‘I can do it’ and ‘I have done it’.
  • I enjoy counseling and dispensing advice to myself and to anyone who naively lends an ear. Yet, I am incapable of taking the admirable advice that I get uninvited from me and the world.
  • When I wander through college campuses, I get this overwhelming urge to get back to school and classrooms. Like children, I forget those urges once I step out of those campuses.
  • My biggest weakness is my lack of self discipline. I somehow find it tough to stick to any form of schedule. Can’t say that I am working on it though!
  • I am an extremely positive person. Being positive requires continuous effort and like a petulant child, it demands constant attention. When situations subject me to unexpected lows, I retreat into a shell for sometime to compose myself enough to long for those hopeful rainbows. I hate to share those moods of moroseness and negativity. Some thoughts are not worth sharing.
  • Barely three years old into the corporate world, I already suffer from materialism,’What’s In It For Me’ Syndrome, To-Do lists and finally randomizing nonsense through bullet points.