Monday, August 19, 2013

A collections of pieces written over the last month or so......

Shyam  -  a testimonial

It has been an honor and a deep pleasure to have known and seen Shyam grow, evolve, mature over the last decade. I remember meeting him for the first time in the office of NIIT Rajajinagar : a lean , unsure, friendly, gullible, genuinely brilliant young boy who was going through the motions of college rather effortlessly and had enough time to attend to pursue his varied interests in life. Between him and me: It was kind of bonding that happens naturally when two like minded individuals gravitate towards each other, and I have ever since counted him as a part of very close inner circle of friends. I still remember the difficult choice that he had to make after his graduation when he had two good offers in his hand, and then decided to join the electronics industry . He has not looked backed ever since, and that is his great quality; the ability to take life as it comes and give it every ounce of energy, attention and intellect that he can be given to it. It is a symbol of supreme confidence in oneself and a genuine need,urge to succeed.

Yes, it has been eight years shyam. Several milestones have been passed along the way and you have enjoyed every moment of it. Many more will be pass by before you are done.
Your wonderful nature will win more friends, spread more joy around and will lighten the company that you have happen be in. That is an even better quality to possess and cherish.

So my friend, keep moving. I am so proud of you. If my prayers and blessings count in any way, it shall be there for you at every step.

Cheers young man and keep spreading your charm around........



Written in Nashville, US on July 4th 2013

Franklin, Nashville has this really huge movie hall called the Carmike Thoroughbred, hosting about fifteen screens with decent amount of seating capacity in each of them. I was pleasantly surprised to find a South Indian Tamil Movie being screened there . The film is called "Singam II". The first part of this movie,released a couple of years ago, was one of the biggest commercial hits; that showcased the travails of an honest, upright Police officer in rural south India, who takes the corrupt mafia in the city. In fact , My North Indian Friends should note that this film was remade in Hindi as well with the Hunky Ajay devgan and the Sultry Sonakshi Sinha in it. However, This is a story that has been told a Zillion times on the Indian screen. But frankly, I enjoyed the first film. It is zippy, well paced, entertaining, sensual and a good way to spend a rainy evening with some popcorn in hand. I knew that the producers were filming part 2 of his movie and I was really happy to find that I had an opportunity to see it here in Nashville, of all places.

So, on a really rainy July 4th, I hired a limousine (the hotel had organized it, thankfully:)) and drove through lashing rains, with nobody on the roads, to this Mall, where this theater complex is situated. I asked the cab to wait for a few minutes while I went inside to get a ticket. What transpired next came as a rude and surprsing shock to me. The Movie "Singam II" had been sold out for the next one week. Phew!!. For a minute, I thought I heard the young lady at the counter wrong. She answered me politely by turning around the monitor to show me the status of the tickets for all upcoming coming shows, only to assuage the look of disbelief on my face. Here in Nashville, a south Indian movie was sold out, and other movies like "man of steel","The lone ranger", "despicable Me 2", "World war Z" had tickets available, and plenty of them at that...

I walked out to the waiting car with a dazed look and and requested the driver to take me to a nearby Indian restaurant called "the Bombay Bistro". The food was alright. I came back to my hotel suite and did some research into the Demographics of Nashville. I looked at their latest census to find that there were approximately twenty thousand Indian living in this small county of five hundred odd square miles. I may be fair in assuming that at three fourths of this number would be from the southern part of India working in IT as software engineers. No wonder, the Movie was a sell out.

Well, at the end of it, I didn't regret or feel bad about my wasteful trip. It set me thinking. The number of Indians who have emigrated to this country over the last fifty years is quite a staggering number . From 56,000 thousand Indians in 1970, the number has grown to 1.6 Million by 2010, making Indians the third largest immigrant group in the United states. The forecast is that we shall quickly overshadow the Chinese. However, One interesting Study pointed out that Indians prefer to have a small nuclear family with a couple of children at the most, in contrast to the Latinos who believe in big family sizes. But what will distinguish the Indian community is the strong educational base, well formed family values, and a tendency to adopt native customs very quickly and effectively. Interesting.......

Thanks to Singam II, I dug into some good research.

God bless...............


Written on a rain drenched morning in Ravinia, Atlanta (July 21st 2013)

I took a walk along the thickly wooded landscape behind the Crowne, Ravinia. Followed a little stream that gathered speed and intensity as it wound its way down the rocks and trees that crowded the moist earth. The Chinese called it the "The Watercourse way". The mesmerizing beauty of the rivulet gathering itself , gracefully eluding the stubborn boulders, caressing the green moss that waits for that intimate touch of wetness, the gurgling sounds of water rising and ebbing in rich,steady cadences, its majestic and dignified drop over a small precipices ; gathering speed and fluidity as it flows : finally merging into a pond of absolute stillness . Not a ripple there whatsoever. The dancing and ebullient journey that began a gentle rush of water has found its consummation. Sitting on a stone bench observing , one is led into a state of pure sensory perception. It is a stillness that is not an absence of noise. It includes it, yet out of it. There is no sense of fragmentary alienation. The human organism is engulfed in its totality and there is affirmation of oneness :amidst the green, lively, wet foliage, that is authentic and real. The cleansing is complete.......

God bless...



A reunion with my friends and Students -  August 8th 2013


Time becomes a burden only when the mind stops to think about it, otherwise its an evanescent, swift ,pauseless flow that cannot be divided. The last week has been one such movement for me. I was able to achieve all that I had planned without a veil of stress or strain.

I had dinner with my very close friends and their families yesterday at the Orion mall .They are doing pretty good now and seeing them with their lovely wives and kids convinced me that life has bestowed upon her choicest blessings. Personally,It was a wonderful experience for me. I know these boys as youngsters when they were students at NIIT Rajajinagar, and then moved on to work there as Teachers and Administrators for some time, before they set foot into the professional world of IT. Also, In a way, I knew they them at very personal level. Almost Each day , they would congregate in my small rented place near the office to discuss technology, books, music ,their aspirations and dreams. The future held a lot of promise, but there was always the underlying fear that things may not go as planned. Yet, during those dialogues,I would try and give them a perspective that life is a beautiful experience. no matter how it treats us. There have been nights when I have lost my temper , chided them, embarrassed them, verbally abused them as well . But our bonding so was deep and close that those moments would dissolve into a new understanding and all of us would be able to laugh about it later.

In many ways, these boys have enriched my life in more ways than they can conceive. My evolution as a teacher, a human being owes a great deal to the way they have accommodated me, despite my idiosyncrasies ,and helped me retain a psychological balance.

I am sure that their journey is just beginning and there is a lot to be done along the way. I will only pray and wish, that no matter what they do or where they reach, the closeness of their friendship between themselves and me ,will remain undiminished and ever expanding.

Keep rocking gentlemen and ladies. I am proud of all of you.

God Bless.........



Written on August 10th 2013  -  The landing in Minneapolis



During the immigration check at Minneapolis, the officer asked me a very pertinent question " What is that you have come here to do, that we cannot accomplish". I could have answered this in many different ways, and I did, but deep down I felt that the question had its modicum of validity and each country must ask this of every individual entering its borders. A country must be protective of its territorial integrity, not as means of discrimination, but to make sure that society harbored within it does not suffer from predatory economic and political influences. I like the way the US Homeland security works. They may come across as brusque, rude and arrogant sometimes ; but that according to me is a measure of their pride in their country and their concern for who chooses to enter it.

I was also very pleasantly surprised to see Indian immigration officers in Bangalore questioning people on the purpose of their departure. I was overjoyed. That is the kind of professionalism that we should have. In the queue behind me, there were young travelers (obviously IT ), who were making fun of the process of immigration check and the officers doing the questioning. I merely chuckled and wondered if these gentlemen would muster the courage to pass or even whisper such comments in US airports.

I have checked into Double tree again. Across the street, there is this Italian place called "Russo". They make excellent eggplant Parmesan. The last decent meal I had was in the afternoon just before disembarking in the US; and so the Tomato bisque, Parmesan and a slice of cheesecake went into my tummy in a real hurry.

During the nineteen and odd hours of flight time, I managed to read two books. The first one is a work of Historical fiction named "New York" by Edward Rutherford. I have previously enjoyed Rutherford's "London","Sarum" and "Ruskka", but this book was not of that caliber. It recreates the history of Manhattan. but I felt that the narrative style and the characterization were a bit weak and seems rather contrived in many parts of the novel. The second volume is that of the celebrated mythologist Joseph Campbell : "Myths to Live by". This a condensation and selection of his masterly lectures delivered at the Cooper Union forum for nearly twenty years. Campbell was a gifted speaker and an equally wonderful essayist. In this work, he discusses the primordial function of myth and its relevance to modern society. This is a kind of book like Alan watts' "The taboo", that one can slip to an youngster to face life with sanity and equilibrium.

Its nearly 12:00 A.M here and there is sense of utter quietness. The sound of my fingers rattling away on the laptop seems rather sharp against this noiseless background. Time to lie down, I guess...



A Sunday in Dallas, Texas (at Half-price books) - August 11th 2013


Its a bright and warm day in Richardson, Texas. My room is on the 8th floor and I get a panoramic view of the Highway and beyond. The sumptuous breakfast in the morning has left me slightly groggy and I am curled up in bed with a heavy tome of documentation on one side and Vivaldi's "four seasons" playing in the background. I am planning to walk down to "half price books" to spend the rest of the morning. I need to pick up some disks of Chopin, Schubert and Bach. I had identified them last time when I was here and reserved it as well . The store also has an amazing collection of LP's. They had the 1972 edition of the "the doors". The sheer nostalgia of the gramophone records thrills me : the fact that finely orchestrated musical notes gets engraved as invisible spiral grooves on Vinyl plates and magically transform them into mellifluous notes when the needle circles through them in measured speed to produce different tonal sounds - is one of the crowning achievements of the eighteenth century and more specifically of prodigious scientific acumen of Thomas Alva Edison (though the first Gramophone was patented by a french bookseller, Leon Scott in 1857 with no scientific education whatsoever). So much for Historical recognition, veracity and acclaim 

Time to get dressed and walk out in the beautiful sun. Until then....

God bless....



A Post from Houston (Aug 15th 2013)

The class in Houston was an enriching experience. Personally, for me, to be able to sit down and understand from a master professional, the nuances of a product and its underlying technology; is an experience that I will never deny myself.

Over the last two days, I had the good fortune to have had a lot of fruitful discussions with one such seasoned architect , who happened to be consulting here for the last three weeks. His deep insights on the the complex subject of software virtualization has illumined many a dark corner in me. More importantly, he was passionate about what he was talking, and it was infectious. He must be around 60 years of age and has worked in IT for nearly thirty years, which showed in his intuitive understanding of the broader picture ; and to hear him talk and discuss with such intensity and energy , is something I would cherish for a long time. Suffice it to say that he has raised the bar for me,broadened my vision and deepened my knowledge of the product.

I am back in my room now. As I was coming back in the cab, I spotted a "Sweet Tomatoes" close to this place. Its been quite a while since I have dined there. It is considered one of the more healthier options in this country. The weather outside is beautiful and it is time to take a solitary walk with my headphones on. Lately, I have listening to the works of "Joseph Brahms", a German composer . His symphonies have that feeling of melancholia that fills the interstices of spasmodic bursts of ecstasy. A Single flute or a harp at the very edge of an acoustical boundary disappears ever so slowly, only to emerge with a full and heady passion of effervescent violins rising to a crescendo; only to drop an infinitesimal note to join the gentle key strokes of a Piano. Extraordinary beauty.......

I have an early morning flight to catch. So until tomorrow.......

God bless......