Tuesday, December 24, 2013

கல்லான அகலிகை!

ஏன் யாரோ செய்த தவற்றிற்காக கல்லாக மாற சபிக்கப்பட்டாள் என்ற 
கேள்வியும் இந்தக்கதை என்ன சொல்ல விழைகிறது என்ற தேடலும் 
ராமாயணத்தை நினைக்கும்போதெல்லாம் எழாமலிருப்பதில்லை
பெண்கள் மீதான அடக்குமுறைக்கான ஏற்பாடு மட்டும்தானா  
இந்தக்கதைராமாயணம் மனைவியரின் மேல் ஆணுக்குள்ள உரிமையைஆளுமையை வெவ்வேறு வடிவங்களில் வெளிப்படுத்தியிருந்தாலும் 
இந்தக்கதை அதையும் மீறிய ஒன்றாகவே எனக்குத் தோன்றுகிறது.

மிகவும் நம்பப்பட்ட ஒருவரால்அல்லது ஒரு விஷயத்தில் ஏமாற்றப்படும்போது மனதின் அடி ஆழத்தில் ஏதோ ஒன்று முறிந்துபோகிறதுவாழ்வின் இனியவிஷயங்களை ரசிப்பது - ரசிப்பது என்ன - உணர்வது கூட 
இயலாமல் போகிறதுவழக்கமாக பாடலொன்றை முணுமுணுத்துக்-கொண்டு ரசனையுடன் செய்யப்படும் வேலைகள் கூடசெய்யவேண்டிய 
கடமைகளில் ஒன்றாகிப்போகிறதுகைகளும் கால்களும் இயந்திரம் போல வேலை பார்க்க மனமோ வேறெங்கோ சஞ்சரிக்கும் நிலை ஏற்படுகிறது.
எனக்கென்னவோ கல்லாதல் என்பது இதுதான் என்றே தோன்றுகிறது
அகலிகை இந்திரனால் கல்லானாளா அல்லது தன்னை நம்பமுடியாத 
கௌதமரைத் தான் நம்பிய வேதனையால் கல்லானாளா என்பது அவள் 
மட்டுமே அறிந்திருப்பாள்வாழ்வின் அனைத்து தளங்களிலும் 
கல்லாயிருந்தாளா அல்லது கௌதமருக்கு மட்டும் கல்லாயிருந்தாளா 
என்பதும் அவள் மட்டுமே அறிந்திருப்பாள்!

நிகழ்காலத்தில் வாழமுடியாமல் கடந்த காலத்தின் சுமையால் உணர்வைத் தொலைத்த அனைவரும் கல்லாய்ப்போனவர்களேநேற்று நம்மில் 
விட்டுச்சென்ற குப்பையைஏமாற்றப்பட்ட வலியைநியாயமான 
கோபத்தின் காரணமாக நமக்கு நாமே இட்டுக்கொண்ட விலங்கைக்  களையும் வலிமைஏதோ ஒரு அற்புததருணத்தில் நமக்குக்கிடைக்கிறதுபிறர் வலியை உணரும்போதோநல்லாசிரியர் வழிகாட்டுதலின்பேரிலோ கல் 
உடைந்துமறைந்திருந்த மனிதம் வெளிவருகிறதுஅகலிகைக்கும் 
அதுதான் நிகழ்ந்திருக்கக்கூடும்தன் வலியை விட ராமனின் வலி அதிகமாகத் தெரிந்திருக்கலாம்அல்லது ராமன் தன்  வலியை மறப்பதற்கு உபயோகித்த உத்திகளைக் கற்றுக்கொடுத்திருக்கலாம்தாய்க்குச்சமமாகக் கருதிய கைகேயியால் ராமன் ஏமாற்றப்படுவான் என்று அவள் உணர்ந்திருக்கலாம்அல்லது ராமன் சீதையை நம்பாமல் விளைவிக்கவிருக்கும் துயரைவிட கௌதமர் தன்னை நம்பாமல் போன வலி குறைவாய்த்தெரிந்திருக்கலாம்!


நம்மைச் சுற்றி எத்தனை அகலிகைகள்நம்முள் எத்தனை அகலிகைகள்
கல்லுடைக்க ராமன் வரும் நாள் எந்நாளோ!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Right to express

I travel every day by call taxi. I generally use my travel time to catch up with my friends and family, so do not interact with the drivers mostly;  they send a different driver every day and hence there is no rapport built. Moreover in India, women generally do not speak to strangers so drivers also do not attempt to talk to a lone woman passenger. But today is one of those rare days that the driver started conversing with me. I too did not have the will to talk to anyone close to me, so started listening to this person. He just spoke about how he ate his breakfast in a government run restaurant, how he dropped a person in a neighboring state and made considerable money unlike the other days and so on & so forth.

After 15 mins of conversation - rather talking about various disconnected items (the only connection was they were all the driver's experiences with something) , he just stopped and said, "Madam, thank you". I could not understand why he is thanking me! After pausing and leaving me in complete silence for a few minutes, he said, "after 10 days, I talked to someone about something other than my work and you listened intensely. Thank you for that". I did not know how to respond! I just smiled but was curious to know why is he saying so.

Without me prompting further he explained how he is always on the move, how his wife and sons are managing his absence, how his customers are requesting for his services, how he responds to them, how customers distance themselves from him, how his family is keen only on the money he brings in (surprisingly, he did not blame them; instead he said it is natural for anyone who is hard pressed for money!) and how he does not have a chance to talk to anyone on most of the days. When I met him, he was away from his family also for more than a week. So literally, he had not talked to any one about anything other than pickup place, drop place, bill and cash! While he accepted the realities of life with a chuckle, he was longing inside to share with 'someone'! By the time he was done explaining his reasons for thanking me for listening to him, we had reached my house. I got off the cab thanking him for the service, giving money and thinking deeply about this experience.

I am thinking about my cook - who generally has a lot of stories to share. When she is at my kitchen fixing our breakfast and lunch, I am busy doing my yoga, meditation and getting ready to go to work. Generally I do not have the time to talk to her about anything else other than deciding the next day's menu and giving feedback on that day's food (that too only because she asks for the feedback!). I was thinking so far, that I am treating her like myself by giving her the freedom to eat whatever & whenever she feels like and drink coffee/tea/milk any number of times she likes… Now I am thinking, really? Of course in many houses, the maids do not get to choose what do they eat, when do they eat etc.. But it does not mean that I am treating her like how I would like to be treated myself.


Don’t you think all of us need someone who can listen to the stories we have to share and don’t you think that we all have the right to express! Do we really give this to those around us and do we really have it ourselves?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

சுத்தபடுத்த வழி என்ன?

பஞ்ச பூதங்களும் பல  பொருட்களைச்சுத்தம் செய்ய உதவுகின்றன! தூசி நீக்க காற்று உதவும்! துணியின் அழுக்கு நீக்க நீர் உதவும்! விளக்கின் அழுக்கு நீக்க மண் உதவும்! தங்கத்தின் அழுக்கு நீக்க தீ உதவும்!

மனதின் அழுக்கை நீக்க வழி என்ன? ஆகாயமா?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Status of Karma clearing Program - After two years!

In September 2011, I tried following the Karma clearing program. In October, after 9 days of practice - rather attempt - I realized that it is not just a 9 day affair and unless I practice everyday, I will not succeed in one of the programs started on a new-moon day. It has been two years since the realization! Hmmm… two long years… when I review the progress made so far, sure, there is improvement!!! But I am skeptical if I would ever succeed in the 9 days- 9 rules program! 

Toughest were the first two! At quite a number of instances, I was able to hold my criticism back and expressing dissatisfaction back. But there was no single day that went by without criticizing something or someone in the past two years! The person got criticized worst was myself. I tore myself apart mentally on many days - for various reasons. And because of that, I expressed my dissatisfaction to almost everyone I interacted with - to some people, expression was polite and on others, it was rude out-pour! I think these two are and will be the hardest considering my INTJ personality - "J" being the vital root cause!

Out of the rest, one major meal a day was not hard at all- except on those days I had official dinners and personal parties to attend, I was able to stick to this. I am not a heavy eater anyway! So I wont even say that I started practicing it for the Karma clearing program.

Rising earlier was also not very tough. It only tested the will power and also there was no specification for "earlier" - there was only a definition - one hour before your usual time. But there were days on which I woke up very late because I did not sleep on time the previous night

The next two were the tougher category as they tested my ego. "Do something you dislike" sounds very simple; but the catch point is, your survival should not depend on the disliked activity - for example, I do not like to initiate conversation with a total stranger but my job expects me to do that; as a process coach I would have to initiate conversations with any new project team member irrespective of whether they approach me or not. This means that I can't consider  this activity for fulfilling the rule! There were many other tasks like sewing etc. but my ego could not accept that I had some tasks I disliked :-) Shocking and interesting realization! Till today, I am not able to break my ego down with this rule.

Helping someone without leaving a trace - hmm, this was another bombshell. I used to believe that I help people without the intention to take credit for the help - like my parents. Even in October 2011, I thought this rule was not very tough, it is just that I did not get time to help someone during the nine day period. But the two years observation shows very clearly that I am not as well intended person as I thought. In some instances, I left without any trace really. But there were times when, though I did not try taking credit when I helped people, I was beaming with pride when someone praised me for the help!  Of course there were times, when I was genuine in not leaving trace but got caught in action. And there were times when I tried to leave a subtle trace so that people will feel that I am a modest person! Wow!  Overall, this rule made me understand some darker side of me!

Meditating every day was one of the rules I could follow on almost all days. Effectiveness of the meditation varied on different days; my mind was wandering on some days ; I was not even able to observe my breath on some days; on other days I went deep within. I sat for meditation on almost all days except when I was traveling.

I was not regularly recalling the day in reverse at bed time - not because it was tough to recall. But I missed on many occasions - either because I was tired or irritated or was very late to bed or just that I forgot.

Like in September 2011, the only rule I was able to follow was "observe thoughts and actions". I continued observing my thoughts and actions on all days; I could clearly see the connection between my thoughts, expressions and actions. All expressions and actions were born of a thought; If the thought was negative, the outcome was devastating - however small the thought was! Even the ones that were "positive" had their bad effects at times - they affected "No criticism" rule. How can I stop thinking and judging each thought as positive and negative or good and bad or right and wrong? "TJ" part of my personality is too strong! That is why I am very skeptical if I would ever be successful in completing a 9 day program!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Untouchablity


In India, the caste system is still strong in certain villages; those who believe in caste system do not use the utensils touched by other castes - especially by those from a "lower" caste. I have always tried to figure out what would have caused this behavior. Possibly obsessive compulsion towards hygiene was the root cause. Like every other best practice, the practice of washing the hands before eating and after touching any dirt became a rule and then became a rigid non-negotiable custom. Obviously those who worked in farms, workshops and those cleaned the town etc. had dirt in their hands after work and they became untouchables.

The western world that strongly opposed this behavior is slowly getting into the "custom" mode. I recently visited Detroit. An old lady who was working as sales person in a huge retail store (one of the big retail chains) threw her water bottle into trashcan as a child from a developing nation touched the bottle. 

In another incident, an Afro-American tried helping a teenage boy who was about to drop a big pack of walnuts. The boy threw the whole pack because this person touched the pack! It was such a crude shock to me. It was not a shock to anyone else; they took it as a normal phenomenon. Probably it was a normal behavior for the medieval Indians too.


Hope western world realises this and tries correcting this behavior before it becomes so deep rooted. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Rama and Krishna

Sometime ago, I was relating Buddha to the process consultants. Possibly I did not get it right then, I feel! A coach should be like Krishna and the PM should be like Rama.

Rama was a good manager; he was able to use the right people for the right job at the right time. Of course he made mistakes too. He took charge of the situations and moved to people to work for his goals with benefits for every one along the way. He could manage humans, animals, super-humans and super natural powers! He used different techniques to nudge them to action. He was part of the army and fought his fight.

Krishna was a good coach. A coach should know the business, and should be able to keep calm during the stressful times. Like Rama, Krishna also used different techniques to make people act. But he did not get into the war directly. He was a warrior and could fight the most dangerous men in first of half of his life; so he knew the nuances of the business. But later, when he matured as a coach, he guided his team to victory. He was the most calm person during the war and hence he could get his head to act.

In my opinion, someone who did not know the business / did not deal with the business practilcaly becomes a coach, the team suffers. I want to be more like Krishna!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Inspiring People I met in the journey of my life

Mr. Manohar Devadoss the famous artist with eyesight related challenges was one of the people who inspired me as a child. During my school days I had severe gynecological issues; that used to be really painful, tiring and depressing. There was an article in the Tamil magazine 'Ananda Vikatan' about Mr. Manohar and Mrs. Mahima, how they are managing their life with positive attitude despite the physical challenges. That gave me a lot of courage and hope. I started fighting back the ailments with a smile; in fact I even forgot that I am fighting. I took it just as a constraint to be handled.

In my college days I met Mrs. Indira Bhavani - our Tamil lecturer. She did not have children and her husband was on a job that required extensive travel that they met only a few days a month. Amidst her all the other constraints she was doing her Ph.D as well. On a fateful morning, she was paralyzed and could not move her right arm and leg. Her speech was impaired - her most critical asset! Doctors did not have much hope for her to be normal again. She proved all of their predictions wrong and revived back with even better clarity of thinking. She used her sickness period to listen to audio books, learn a language and when she got back to normalcy, she continued her research & completed her Ph.D. She wrote short stories, published poetry, helped students in all aspects.  She encouraged all the students to perform their best in fields of their choice. She gave different assignments to students that were unheard of in the past. Wow… that was inspiring… She could handle the high pressure times with such an ease, that made the problems appear much smaller than they actually were.

In work, I met Mrs. Sathya - a person who could smile at almost everything. Her husband passed away, leaving a teenage daughter and Sathya. Sathya's health was also posing a big risk for her; official life was not smooth either. Many of us were leaving the organization due to various reasons; as a result she had to handle operations with less no of people; customer-base was reacting differently; there were a lot of changes in the top management also around that time. She also had to manage serious betrayals from very close friends. Had it been any other person, he/she would have walked away from this situation. She had patience, she had the grace to forgive all those who were cruel to her. She even completed her Senior Management Program  from IIM during this hardest part of her life… I did not realize all this when I was working closely with her. I was in middle of my own set of problems both at my personal & official life and I was blind to many good things around me - including her. I was misinterpreting almost everything because of many negativities I had in my mind. After I quit that job and moved to another, I was thinking about many incidents in a totally new light. Really I am inspired with the tremendous learning I got from her. How to keep your calm in the middle of such a storm, how to be graceful despite the bad attitude of others, how to be firm while being gentle. Such an inspiring person…

In a work related travel, I met Mr. Robin B - who is cheerful in spite of the challenges he had to handle; I should say, I met Mr. Robin B and Mrs. Vanessa B, the lovely couple who have a bright outlook towards life. The way they took care of me, as their personal guest was really impressive - I was actually not their personal guest, I was just a colleague of Robin who was visiting their city on official purpose for a week. To be precise, to Vanessa, I was a total stranger from a different country, culture, with a totally different looks. Their hospitality was not the only best part though they were one of the best hosts. The more inspiring aspect was their ability to smile at life's challenges and uncertainties… They have a little son, whose brain growth was impeded by excessive fluid collection around the brain. When you meet them, you wont even see any trace of difficulties on their faces. I spent a week with them. They did not complain - not even once - about the difficulties involved though I could see the difficulties myself. They were treating both kids equally; they were giving their best to the children while enjoying their lives as much as possible; They were trying to manage their schedules in such a way that each of them will get their exclusive personal time. Wow… that was inspiring…

I am sure I would continue to meet more inspiring people on my journey. However these five are special to me. They opened new doors in my thinking. I was not looking at life like that before I met them, though I too have bounced back from many setbacks in life. Will power, determination, kindness, joyfulness and respect for others are the great lessons I learnt from them.

Though I have never met Mr. Manohar in person, I feel that I have met him and know him closely! Though Mrs. Indira Bhavani is not with us anymore, she is with me always! Though I do not work with Mrs. Sathya, I think of her almost every week and take inspiration to carry on with my life! Though I do not get to see the Bebbingtons, I connect with them mentally daily, whenever I see kids running around! They are all truly inspirational...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My school teachers

I remember my life from primary schooling - some parts are vague memories and some others are very vivid! But even today, if some one asks me who is your teacher, I would say two names - Mrs. Sarojini and Mrs. Sundarambal.

Mrs. Sarojini was my first standard and third standard teacher. Such a wonderrful teacher she was. She never scolded any of us, though many of the students were naughty.

Mrs. Sundarambal (I call her Sundarambal athai as she is my mother's close friend too) is an amazing teacher. I would remember the lessons she taught even today. She was very strict but was very fair. Strictly no favouritism at all. She was very kind too. I used to wonder how can somebody be very strict and kind at the same time; kind and fair at the same time. Many people I see today are nice but not fair; fair but not nice.... She is one of the rarest of rare people who could be kind and fair simultaneuously. She stood up against any injustice done to anyone - even if it did not affect her directly.

I read somewhere that from a teacher you learn subjects; from Guru you learn life. If that statment is correct, she definitely is one of my Gurus. She corrected many things on the fly; made me a confident person; not only me, there are quite a number of other students in this category!

Everyday I think of them. Before meditation, one is supposed to think and thank parents, gurus and god. I think of these two teachers every day; I pray that their life gives them good satisfaction that they move towards renounication; then to God and never to be born again (as per Hinduism that is the highest place one can ever get to).

The other teachers were also really good; it is just that I hold the above two close to my heart.

Mrs Kanthimathi was my Tamil teacher; I cried many times in her class; not because she scolded me or harassed me but because I melted down listening to her! If she teaches 'Silapathikaram', you would melt "seeing" Kannagi - crying and running through streets of Madurai; if she teaches 'Yesu kaaviam' you would cry seeing Jesus carrying the cross in front of his mother.

How can I forget Parvathi madam? She taught us maths. She was Headmistress of the school. She would have several other responsibilities also; but she used to borrow time from other teachers to teach maths for some more time (in addition to the time allocated to her as a maths teacher). She would do anything to make us learn maths. Her classes were interesting; her handwriting was so perfect that we used to feel bad to rub it off from the black board after her class.

A few of us went and asked her if she would retire before we came to 10th class! Only after she confirmed that she would teach maths in 10th standard there was a sigh of relief. Not sure how many teachers would have commanded this kind of respect from the students!!! She was too good!!!

I am what I am because of my teachers and my parents (they are teachers too)! I salute the teachers!

எது சரி?

"இன்னா செய்தாரை ஒறுத்தல் அவர் நாண நன்னயம் செய்துவிடல்" என்றொரு குறள் உண்டு. என்னுள் மிகப் பெரிய தாக்கத்தை எழுப்பிய, நான் கடைபிடிக்க முயற்சி செய்யும் குறள்களுள் இதுவும் ஒன்று; கடைபிடிப்பது மடத்தனமோ என்று குமுறும் குறளும் இதுதான்.

பல வருடங்களுக்கு முன், என்னுடன் மிகவும் அன்புடனும் அக்கறையுடனும் பழகிய சிலர் செய்த பிழையை, குறள் கூறும் கருத்தின்படி மன்னிக்க முடிந்தது. மூன்று வருடங்களுக்குப்பின் மீண்டும் அதே தவறு தொடர்வது தெரிந்தபோது ஆயுதம் எடுப்பது தவிர வேறு வழிஇருக்கவில்லை! அந்தப் பிழையின் ஆழமும் வீரியமும் அதிகரித்திருந்தது; இளைதாக முள்மரம் கொல்க களையுநர் கைகொல்லும் காழ்த்த இடத்து என்ற குறள்தான் மனதுள் ஓடியது!!

அந்த முள்மரம் கீறிய வலி இன்னும் இரணமாக நிற்கிறது...

இந்த இரண்டு குறள்களுள் எது சரி? இன்று இத்தனை வலிக்குப் பின், முள்மரம் உவமை சரியாகப்படுகிறது. ஆனால், 2009 -ல் முதல் குறள் சரியாகத் தெரிந்தது... யார் சொல்லியிருக்கக் கூடும் எது சரியென்று?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Immaculate Conceptions

I always had a great respect for Mother Mary and Devaki - the mothers of two great spiritual gurus- Jesus Christ and Krishna respectively. These two women withstood greatest pressure for their children and for the man kind!

Devaki witnessed seven of her children being killed right in front of her as soon as they were born; in spite of the killings, in spite of knowing that the next child also may be killed, she had to get ready for the next delivery... every time! I can imagine what kind of trauma she would have gone thru during this period; I wonder how much she would have been shivering inside in the last trimester of these deliveries! She must have been hoping and praying that her brother's mind changes...

It takes a lot of mental strength to handle this tragic events continuously... it must have taken a decade for all these eight deliveries to happen... how could somebody manage it for this long? After that too life was not peaceful; Krishna, the eighth child was left with another family staying far away; even then, the pressure continued by means of news about attempts to kill Krishna. I always used to think if she was crying all these years or she was a brave lady who could move on with life with a cheer!

Mary accepted the Immaculate Conception. But during pregnancy and after delivery too, she would have been wondering if her husband Joseph will accept her and the child. She would have been thinking of her fellow human beings who would ridicule her and her child. She had to give birth in a not so clean, not so comfortable place for having accepted the Conception. She could have just refused to accept the conception or she could have just thrown the child away as soon as he was born; but she did not! She went thru all the pain of being ridiculed; even after her child was grown up she had to see him crucified right in front of her! For others He is God or son of God; but for her He is her son, the one who she borne and brought up. How did she manage that pain? Was she crying all thru her life or she moved on with a cheer!

I salute both of these women for their ability to withstand the pain!