Saturday, August 29, 2015

The year that went by!

I am looking back as I gain one more year in age! Wow! What an year! "Retrospectives" is an interesting and useful technique! Sure, sooner we do retro better the results; but it is better to do yearly retro too for getting a bigger picture :-)

When I think of things that went well in the last one year, I find a real long list!  To cut the long story short, I understood how strong a person I am, what is important in life for me, what defines my core system. I am thankful for the great opportunities for thinking through all these aspects. I am thankful for all the great problem solving techniques I was exposed to, to all those who asked me right questions to make me think in the right direction and all the great support I got in making me stronger, gentler and more human :-) I wrote more in the last one year! 30 to 33 articles (depending on the calendar followed - Tamil month and star or English month and date) out of the 100 came in last one year -  30% output in 14% of the time! Number of follow up articles increased! That can be taken as an indicator of increased audience :-) At least five people told me that I should consider writing as a serious business!

When I think of things that need improvement, I realise that this is a longer list :-) I found it difficult to group them as they are in various aspects of life!  I violated a few of my principles, went back on commitments given, stood just as an observer instead of acting and let things fail for a few people, took a big "U" turn on a decision just before  initiating  (you can even say halfway thru) action - a very unlikely act for the person I am! I have a huge pile of books I did not read! None of the books I bought / got after Jan 2015 are read fully; some of them are not even open from the pack! (hmmm… getting a book and not reading it is violence on those books, I read somewhere!!) I have a long list of people who I have not talked to since March this year! Violence of different sort! Many of them are upset with me! Good news is, they are still not giving up on me and a few of them stated it explicitly! I have a long list of articles running in my mind but not even drafted leave alone being published! Some of the articles will even loose the relevance if not written soon!

But, when I weigh both sides, I am happy with the "went well" category. In fact I have started maintaining a journal for capturing things going right as they go right :-) and another journal for capturing important lessons! I am getting a feeling that, if I have to leave now, I will leave with peace and if I have to live, I will live with enthusiasm! I am thankful for this!

You may not consider this post as an article! It is a thank you note to all of you for standing with me so long!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Thinking in mother tongue - is it a myth?

I was awestruck when I wrote my previous article. It was a forceful experiment I did. The triggers of the article were all in English; I was filling the Visa application form in English, I was talking to my visa consultant in English, I was talking to inviters in English and so on. In compliance with my earlier observation, the article was running in English in my mind. But I decided to write in Tamil. How can I not write in Tamil, Tamil being my mother tongue, a language I am used to think in, comfortable writing articles in, converse and debate very well in and a language I deeply admire & proud of! How can I let my brain not listen to me was the question I had!  So, I decided to write in Tamil!

Hmm…. An article, that would have taken just 30 mins took more than 1.5 hours. I was thinking in English and translating to Tamil. I could not convey my emotions and thoughts that very accurately! The article was not shaping up well; readability and continuity suffered! I did not even know how to express certain things! I am sure, at other times, I would have conveyed the same in Tamil with ease! For example, "patriotism may appear to be an overrated virtue at the age of global village" was the hardest. I could have represented it differently in Tamil but finally I ended up translating and it did not give that strong feeling! I could not believe that I can struggle to write in my language!

I went back and read a few of my Tamil blogs to see if my language is that bad or if I struggled so much to convey my ideas. I realised that I did not have any difficulty in writing those articles in Tamil. In fact, I would not have been able to write them in any other language! Even the translations (that I moved to draft) were not that bad or difficult to write! Though I knew that the trigger of the article decided the language I write in, this discovery is a huge shock to me! I will have to check if there is any research done on this subject! Maybe I should write the same article in English too and ask people rate both of them!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

உலகெங்கும் அணில்கள்!

அயல்நாடுகளுக்குச் செல்ல வீசா எடுப்பதற்கான விண்ணப்பங்கள் என்னுள் ஏற்படுத்தும் சிந்தனைகள் பெரும்பாலும் இனியவையாய் இருப்பதில்லை! ஏதோ நம் நாட்டில் ஒன்றுக்கும் வழியில்லாமல் அவர்கள் தேசத்துக்குச் செல்வது போன்ற மாயை ஏற்படுத்தும் கேள்விகள் பல்வேறு உணர்வுகளைத்தூண்டும்!

எப்போதும் பூக்கள் பூக்கும் தேசத்தை விட்டுவிட்டு, எப்போதும் பனிபெய்யும் உறைந்த பூமியை நாம் விரும்புவோம் என்று தானாகவே கற்பனைசெய்துகொள்ளும் தேசங்கள் சிரிப்பை வரவழைக்கின்றன சிலசமயம்விசா கேள்விகளில் தெரியும் ஆணவம் கோபத்தை ஏற்படுத்துகிறது சிலசமயம்! குடியேறிகளின் தேசங்கள் மற்றவர்கள் குடியேறிவிடக்கூடாது என்று நினைப்பது கேலிக்குரியது; இந்தியா சில ஆயிரம் ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன் இப்படி முன்னெச்சரிக்கையாக இருந்திருந்தால் எப்படி இருந்திருக்கும் என்ற கேள்விஎழும் சிலசமயம்! யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் கேளிர் என்ற நினைத்த தேசம், அதிதி தேவோ பவ என்று நினைத்த தேசம், முகம் திரிந்து நோக்கினாலே குழையும் விருந்தினரை சோதிக்க நினைக்காத தேசம் இப்படி, தன்னை மூடிவைத்துக் கொள்ளாததில் வியப்பென்ன என்ற அலட்டல் மனதுக்குள் எழும் சிலசமயம்!

என் தேசம் என்பது எனக்கு வெறும் மண்ணல்ல, நிலமல்ல, என் பெயரிலிருக்கும் அசையும் அசையா சொத்துகளல்ல! நான் இந்த தேசத்துக்குத் திரும்புவேன் என்பதற்கு இவையா காரணம்என் தேசம் என்பது என் மக்கள்எத்தனை பெரிய செல்வமும், இயற்கை அழகும், எளிதான வாழ்க்கை முறையும், அவை ஏதும் இல்லாமல் சுரண்டப்பட்டுவிட்ட இந்த தேசத்தைவிட்டு என் மனதைப் பிரித்துவிடும் என நான் நம்பவில்லை! உலகம் முழுவதும் ஒரே ஊராக மாறிவிட்ட இந்த யுகத்தில் தேசப்பற்று என்பது சற்று மிகைப்படுத்தப்பட்ட கொள்கையென்று தோன்றக்கூடும்! ஆனால் என்னால் அப்படி இருக்க முடிந்ததில்லை! பிற தேசங்களை அவர்களது கலாசாரத்தை மதிக்கிறேன் ஆனால் என் தேசத்தை நேசிக்கிறேன் - அதன் நிறைகுறைகளோடு!

எத்தனை ஊருக்குப் போனாலும், அந்த ஊரில் வேரூன்றும் நாற்றல்ல நான், என்வேர்கள் எப்போதும் இந்தியாவில்தான் என்றும், என் மண்ணின்மணம் மாறாமல் வளப்படுத்துவது எப்படி, மற்ற தேசங்களிடமிருந்து என்ன பாடம் படிக்கவேண்டும் என்ற கேள்விகள்மட்டும் என் மனதில் ஓடிக்கொண்டிருக்கும் என்றும், இவர்களுக்கு எப்படிப் புரியவைப்பது!

சரி போகட்டும், என்னுடனிருக்கும் அணில்போலவே மொழிபுரியாமல் மனம் புரியாமல் இருந்துவிட்டுப் போகட்டும்! எம் தேசம் வலிமையானால், வளமானால், யார் தயவையும் நாடாத திறம்பெற்றால், அப்போது எம் மொழி ஒருவேளை புரியக்கூடும்! அதுவரை ஒன்றாகவே இருந்தாலும் அணிலும் நானும் வேறுதான்! இருவர் கண்ணிலும் பயத்தின் சாயல்தான்!

Saturday, August 8, 2015


அணிலின் மொழி தெரிந்தால் நல்லது! சில காலமாக என்னோடு வசிக்கும் அணிலுக்கு என்னைக் கண்டால் பயம்! பாதி நேரம் நான் வீட்டில் இல்லையென்பதும், என் பரணில் அது கட்டிய கூட்டை நாங்கள் கலைக்கவில்லை என்பதும் அதன் பயத்தைக்குறைக்கவில்லை! இரவிலும் எட்டி எட்டிப் பார்த்து பயந்து நிற்கிறது! அதற்காக நான் வைக்கும் பழங்களை, விதைகளை நானில்லாதபோது உண்கிறது! ஆனால் அதன் கண்களில் இன்னும் பயத்தைப் பார்க்கிறேன்!அதன் மொழி தெரிந்தால் நான் விளக்கக்கூடும்! நான் பேசும் தமிழ் அதற்குப் புரியவில்லை! என் மனதின் மொழியும் தெரியவில்லை!

தனது குஞ்சுகளைப் பாதுகாக்கும் எண்ணத்தில், என்னை எதிரியாய்ப்பாவிக்குமோ, என் மேல் குதிக்குமோ என்ற பயம் எனக்கு! ஒருவேளை, என் கண்ணில் பயத்தின் சாயல் கண்டு அணில் நினைக்குமோ, தமிழ் தெரிந்தால் நன்றாயிருக்கும் என்று?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Useless Article!

WhatsApp pumps me with information that triggers new articles! I got a link to a blog post by Tamil writer Charu Nivedita with a word of caution stating no offense meant! Knowing Charu and having received the cautionary note, I was prepared to a shocking  article. While going through the article, I felt, it's not surprising to get such an outcome from someone with such a high ego! "I don't want everyone to comment on this assuming that they are equal; but I don't have other places to express this and that is the only reason for me to write here" is an expression of that ego. He will never be able to understand the principles with which someone like Dr. Kalam operated. For being a life long learner, researcher, scientist and a level five leader one needs open mind, inquisitiveness and humility. When someone thinks that they are above others, it implies their assumption of knowing it all, learning ends there! It is very easy to understand which category Charu belongs to!

Following are some points running in my mind as a response to his article:

  1. Sure there are several needs and challenges the society has today; not everyone can focus on all them. That understanding is the very fundamental building block of civilisation! Not all of  us can do farming, manufacturing, teaching, safeguarding the nation, providing health care etc. So, we exchange these services with each other. We need to work together. Kalam's services were in a domain incomprehensible by Charu. If Charu thinks the points he raises are important, he should be working on them even more seriously to make it happen. How many new thoughts has he brought into Tamil, how many of them are new translations, how many new techniques to improve Tamil usage? How about any effort to improve lives of those who speak Tamil? (BTW, I love Tamil, I want all technical knowledge to be brought into Tamil! The point of contention here is what Charu is doing to enable this that gives him the right to criticize Dr Kalam) 
  1. What does Charu know about C V Raman, S Chandrasekar J C Bose, Mahalanobis and the like? Just because someone knows these names and what they did, can we assume that they are skilful or competent in all areas of life or if they don’t know can we say they are illiterates or less competent? He does not seem to even know that the satellites are helping with agriculture and education. How does he expect a scientist to know all the writers in Tamil? Moreover, appreciation is different from recognizing someone as an expert! Appreciating Vivek for his ability to think is different from saying that he is a philosopher. We all know what Dr Kalam would have said!
  1. Similar to how problems in one industry or domain affect the others,  innovation in one will influence others positively too. Charu's understanding of impacts of  satellites seems to be very limited. Also, he underestimates the need to be a safe country. All fine arts can flourish only when there is peace in the country! I can only pity him for his ignorance! 
  1. There's only limited time and capacity available with each individual and each organisation. They prioritise based on near term and long term needs. Unless we understand the pressure of both from Dr Kalam's perspective, we will never know what trade offs he took and why; for that, we need deeper study or we should have worked closely with him. Anybody who does not have that proximity or research capability, can look at the outcomes of the chosen decision/action and comment; but not at the decision! Someone who is not exposed business world, educational institutional pressure and who is focusing only on one objective (if at all there is one!) will not be able to grasp the big picture
  2. What is Charu's views on who teach wisdom and not knowledge say the likes of Jaggi? He does not seem to have respect for them either. Looks like, only literarians and critics have a right to be appreciated or celebrated! There too, there is only a few people can be appreciated according to him!
  3. His article probably is a publicity stunt! Just to attract more visitors to his page!

For completeness, including a point added by one of my cousins as a response to the article in WhatsApp.

  1. Charu does not seem to understand that knowledge is not acquired in exchange of money. Knowledge and skills are not only for generating money but for building a strong nation - be it in the field of medicine or agriculture or anything of that sort. In fact, the primary objective of developing knowledge is to build a stronger society in all aspects while money / wealth is a by-product.

Charu will never understand this! So, it is useless to respond to him! But I could not resist responding! It is my ego!


I never thought my "published"100th article will be a cry! I got a few banging messages for my earlier article titled "100th Article" stating that I am too harsh on myself! Writing 100 articles in seven years  is not a big deal, no improvement in writing skills were the example statements that irked my readers looks like! So, I was thinking of a positive tone for the actual 100th article! I would have continued my Sea Shells, Inky Pinky Ponky series and it would obviously be in a positive tone, I thought! Hmm… one news changed the whole thing!

In Tuesdays with Morrie, I wrote about my inability to cry and me attending a meeting in spite of hearing that my favourite professor, my role model passed away! This was very similar; but I think this is better and I was a better human being in terms of expressing myself! I came to know about Dr Kalam's demise a few mins before a critical meeting which I had to facilitate! A facilitator has to be alert all the time; may not speak a lot in the meetings but has to listen to every single word that is uttered! That too, in a project that has a potential to turn red, it is all the more important to be 100% present all the time.  I sailed thru that meeting. Wrote "நிலவும் கதிரும் உதிருமோ?" after the meeting! Tears rolled down my cheeks! Tamilnadu government helped me by giving a day off for his funeral! Thanks to technology, I attended the funeral remotely, fasted with tears as I would have for a close relative, bathed after the funeral. But then, true to my nature, I attended another long meeting as if nothing happened in my personal world!

Sure, I never attended Dr Kalam's classes personally. But I consider him as one of my role models for his ability to be curious and a learner till the last minute. How can someone be so simple & humble is one of the questions I ask myself. If someone with that level of intelligence, achievement in spite of all the other circumstances can be that humble, what am I doing, where do I stand compared to him is a big question to me!

More than crying for his demise, more than asking where do I stand, what can we learn from him and what should  we do to take this nation to the next level are important questions for each one of us! Should we do extraordinary things to achieve what he dreamt? Not necessarily. If each one of us does whatever we have chosen to do with utmost sincerity with an intention to improve things continuously, that will be a good start. As a nation, we have challenges there itself. We seem to be accepting mediocrity in ourselves and others. How do we break this habit? Sure, we should be gentle on people; but it does not mean we can accept intentional mediocrity. How do we bring in "Karma yogic" mind set in whatever we do? This thought is not new to our society! "செய்வன திருந்தச்செய்" is a short, precise, crisp message taught from KGs! It is a matter of applying what we learn(t)! That is the only thing we can pay back to a legend!

Let us gear up!