Tuesday, November 24, 2009

After all it is their life

Getting married is one experience in your life during which you feel all possible emotions overflowing unlike anything before. You prepare yourself for the mental, emotional and physical presence of a new person in your life. The games played by your mind during this period is nothing but diabolic! At times you feel elated, at times totally question your decision and yet other times you are driven nuts by a variety of thoughts and concerns that run through your mind like in a sprint.

Invariably you turn to your friends and relatives for solace and many will offer a lot. Some will have the traditional wisdom and some the craziest and most bizarre of all ideas you would ever get in this world! This is a boon and a curse at the same time. You'll get so much of information about almost every other aspect of life, some you may not even utilize ever! Yet, you look forward to listen to them and see if it helps in any possible way.

Invitations will duly be sent to all these relatives and friends who had always told you that they are dying to attend your wedding. You prepare yourself to tie the knot in the presence of all these people who will be dressed up for the occasion and you happily await their wishes. These will be the same people to whom you would've cribbed over the last few years of not able to find the right girl. These will be the same people who would've advised you that everything has its own time and when that comes we'll be right beside you to see you tie the knot. These will be the same people who had promised to be part of the biggest day of your life!

As the countdown progresses, you start to see a strange phenomenon. You call up people to remind them about the date and confirm their presence. All advises and promises suddenly seem to take a back seat. All the intense emotions of dying-to-attend-your-wedding seem to be passé. Life seems to take its own course of action and priorities get redefined for many. Reasons that were insignificant till the day before suddenly take the front row of life and the rest all gets pushed to the oblivion.

The most important thought that runs in the mind will be, after all he is sensible and he will understand!

Understand I will, about the changing preferences, but not before inflicting a pain deeper in the heart that has been seasoned enough to have been conditioned to expect. What these very same people who mean the world to you don't realize is a simple fact. The presence and presence alone of these dearest ones, is what makes the biggest ever day in my life complete!

I believe I've the right to feel the pain, else my heart which is the store house of all the emotions will feel dejected with the feeling of injustice. The only saving grace perhaps is the thought that my mind keeps telling me, ' After all it is their life'…

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Love as much as you can cos…

She is one of the most loved among the cousins in my family and I distinctly remember mom being greatly affectionate about her and almost gave her the title of daughter of the family. An elder sister she was, in all respects. The one who had no qualms about giving you a whack when you were wrong and then hold you close to her and wipe off your tears that roll down your cheeks all the while telling you how much she loves you!

There was an instance when I literally walked out of her home for being scolded for some silly matter. To my surprise she didn't call me back though I was expecting her to do so. Nevertheless I did walk back and all she had to do was look at me and I broke down. I cried till my tear glands seem to have dried up, but she was the one who made me realize that day, the value of togetherness.

All this and more were destined to be part of someone else's life when she married a man whom I thought was the simplest of the guys I've ever met. My brother-in-law [BIL] was truly an uncomplicated person and I even wondered how he will ever survive with my sister! I was really young; perhaps around 12 or so when she got married. A few days after the wedding she came visiting us and I was surprised to see her almost ordering my BIL to give some money to us, cousins! Of course, I didn't even have a clue of what love means between a woman and her man.

I loved visiting our relatives and till date I'm pretty regular with that whenever I'm at my hometown. During the earlier times when I was put up there, one house which I loved to go was her 'new home'. I always felt wanted there and that made me feel even closer to them. I shared birthday with my BIL and that made it even more special. Time flew by and they were blessed with two little angels! My adorable nieces loved me just the way their mom and dad did. It was so obvious to know and to feel how to love and being loved when you are in a family that knows nothing but to love each other!

My sister, with her characteristic personality was the dominating self between them. Many a times I'd felt that he was practically insignificant; little did I know the depth of their relationship and the love for each other. She was dominant yet so practical. She was chirpy, bubbly and filled with life yet the one who completed him. He just loved her! I realize it today that the love they shared was a good lesson in its true spirit for young brats like me who needed to know what the chemistry of love is between a couple.

People say, a marriage without trials is not worth it and God made no exception in their lives too. They did come, big time! My simple & loveable BIL fell sick one day and had to be hospitalized immediately. He was diagnosed with a rare form of meningitis and the doctors broke the news without much delay. They said the case was almost closed and my sister with her two little girls, the younger one being just 6 years old, was destined to be a widow at an age of 35! We were taken by surprise seeing the courage with which she accepted the fact. But what even more astounding were, the faith which she had and the belief with which she said, "I'm not going to let him leave me, at least not so soon"!

And the least we could say was God didn't have a choice. The trial period did extend for a few more days, my BIL started showing signs of recovery and eventually he did make the medical practitioners believe in the power of Super Natural. He came back home, much to the respite and happiness of an entire family that was praying for him. He folded his hands in front of his better half who dared God himself with a steely determination of not letting her sweet heart go all the while reminding herself of the words, "To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part".

Life did change for them after that incident. Their love knew no limits. They were so much more a complete couple and knew that they were given a second life. They thanked Him, appreciated and respected His will. Years passed by and the happy family they were, continued to live their life in all its glory. Just before one of the Onam [State festival of Kerala] holidays, the family of four had an awesome vacation trip to Goa. The sun and the sand was just perfect and they evidently had one of the best times of their life till date! Little did they know that life was going to change again, but this time for ever…

They returned from Goa to a grand Onam celebration with the extended family and that was one of the all time best family reunions ever. My otherwise calm and composed BIL was unbelievably cheerful that day and the pictures turned out to be the most jovial of all what were taken till date. They returned home that evening and the very next day proved to be the one that can be termed life-changing for my sister & the two girls.

He was home and felt a pain close to his left shoulder and asked my sister to get some hot water. She stepped away to get it from kitchen and returned to see him lying on his chest. The hand that held hers when they exchanged the wedding vows were almost frozen and all what she could do was let go an almost inaudible cry that would've been carried along with his soul to the Heavenly Father who decided it is time that the term for second life reached its end. A life filled with love and respect to each other did end there. The physical presence gave way to an eternal bonding with a spiritual existence.

I truly believe it is better to have some questions left unanswered. The one who created us with all His love and tender care is the same person who tells us, it is enough and get back to me. Parents who kill their own child! This could be one of the biggest ironies of life. Something perhaps we'll never comprehend.

All what I could think is, love as much as you can cos you'll never know when you'll be called…

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Garden of Gods

Ever wondered what the connection is between leadership and a mythological, wish-fulfilling divine tree which finds a mentioning in the Rig Veda? Along with the Kamadhenu, or 'wish-giving cow', the Kalpavriksha originated during the Samudra manthan or "churning of the milk ocean", and the King of the gods, Indra returned with it to his paradise. While there is no attested Sanskrit source conclusively identifying this mythological tree with any real, known tree, Kalpavriksha can figuratively refer to a source of bounty because of its ability to amply provide for human needs. [Source: Wikipedia]

Let me take you to a beautiful garden in the Himalayas where the Gods have made a comfortable abode among the snow-clad peaks. Though there are no organized tours, people from across the world do flock-in and appreciate the lush green garden which by itself is a contrast among the white snow seen all around. The tourists tread across the vast expanse of the garden amidst the mighty Himalayas, taking in to their hearts everything that sustains there as a true epitome of eternal beauty! They come across a wide variety of flora which even their dreams were not capable of churning out.

All the winding paths that adorn the garden lead the visitors to one specifically marked out area. The place radiates with a magnificently divine energy which has got no parallels to any experience the universe could ever offer! There amidst all the attention from the heavenly folks, stand the tree that is known over generations as the one which fulfills all possible wishes, The Kalpavriksha. People could literally feel the existence of life around the tree and it seems to enjoy an eternal bliss laced with a surrounding halo.

One question seems to be common in the minds of all the visitors which they promptly ask the Kalpavriksha. What makes you so special among the rest of the trees around you? The reply takes the shape of an elegant discourse and is always prompt. The leaves flutter, the branches straighten themselves, the trunk holds itself high, the ground reverberates with the roots reaching deeper into the earth & the bark of the tree fills itself with the much needed purest form of air for the treat that awaits the crowd!

The stage is set and the tree speaks. "The Kalpavriksha you are awed at is a created entity. I'm a product of a lovely combination of all of these who just greeted you in their own way. And here is how they perform and make me the special one as you call it…
§ There is this perennial romance between the Sun God and the leaves which provide me with the much needed nourishment. The leaves in turn form a shade for anyone who needs it.
§ The branches are designed to reach out and they do it ever so beautifully. They stretch themselves and help me grow in the directions I would love to.
§ The trunk offers me the mightiest of the support and does a wonderful job of balancing me from top to bottom.
§ The roots, I just love them for their unique combination of care and strength with which it endows me with the much needed support systems of water and other vital elements of life.
§ The bark offers me protection from the external world and forms a layer all around me and forms my Knight in the Armor forever.
…That my dear friends, makes me special. I'm nothing without each one them! I trust them for what they are and what they do. They perform with passion and that makes the whole difference."

The crowd remains stunned with the real life drama that got unfolded right in front of their eyes. They were dumb-struck with the intricate nuances of life and the nuggets of wisdom shared by the one tree that is revered even by the Gods! They looked around and watched this positive thought of shared leadership engulfing the Garden of Gods which every other living being around, accepting and acknowledging it graciously.

Let us bid adieu to the garden with the insight received from Kalpavriksha. Leadership is about Sharing & the result is Tranquility!

When I told the Indian High Commissioner to go away!

A not so small question-mark with a bright halo formed right above my head when I got a call from Dats, my boss, one fine morning. He wanted me to come down to Phase 1 to Faculty room immediately! Though it had been two years after I passed out of college, this suddenly reminded me of the many occasions such calls came from professors in my department. Imagine my plight when Dats added the statement that Subroto wanted to meet me! My first ever personal encounter with the man who made MindTree!

It turned out to be a very interesting request from Subroto which I grabbed even before giving him an option to think again. The Indian High Commissioner to Malaysia was visiting West Campus along with his family and Subroto wanted me to give them a Campus-tour. He also told me about a leadership session he'll be involved in, till 5 PM and wanted me to bring the High Commissioner and family to him sharp at 5. I was all thrilled and made the necessary arrangements to welcome the high profile delegate and his family.

The hot afternoon sun gave way to a much pleasant weather. The High Commissioner arrived with his wife and two children. They were given a good reception and the Campus-walk plan was put into action. As it was usually done, we started at the Living Logo, proceeded to the History Wall and gave them a glimpse of what made MindTree as it stands today. They were further escorted to one of the most happening locations in the campus, The Orchard! I took them around to various other attractions in the campus all the while being conscious of the time limit which was soon approaching.
Quarter to 5 we were at the fag end of our campus-walk. With the successful completion of the visit I took them back to Kalpavriksha and reached there exactly at 5. Subroto seemed to be in his charismatic best having a bunch of top leaders as his audience. Since it didn't look like he was going to wind up the session any time soon, I decided to show up myself and informed that the High Commissioner and family was outside, waiting for him! He said something which I could not comprehend even with the remotest possible logical sense, at least at that moment! He just told me to ask them to go away! I stood there for a couple of seconds genuinely hoping that he would have an after thought. Neither did he have nor did he seem to be concerned about repeating the same words to me!

I got out and tried to mask all the embarrassment on my face and told the Indian High Commissioner to go away! I don't recollect even a single other instance in my life when I felt so weird. The feeling became all the more intense with the delegate and family taking it very lightly and thanked me for giving them a tour. We exchanged our cards and then they were gone.

While Subroto continued with his leadership-team session, I walked back with a bunch of much larger sized question-marks, minus the halo, all over my head. I met Sachin Joshi who earlier gave me some ideas on the campus-walk and told him about how it went and especially the dramatic ending. I still remember the smile he had in his face when he made a statement that made my initial embarrassment practically insignificant.

He said, "The High Commissioner is Subroto's brother-in-law"!

Planning Your Trip

It is a well-known truth that nothing is more refreshing than travelling to locations, especially new ones. Many families do this at least...