Opinions have expiry dates!!!

Rahul: Mom, my close friend Anitha is getting engaged. You know who the guy is?

Sharada: Don’t make me wait. She is such a nice girl. Hope she gets a nice guy. Who is it?

Rahul: It is my college friend – Anish

Sharada: Whatttttt??? Anitha and Anish?? I pity Anitha. Anish is not a nice guy… Can I talk to Anitha’s mother so that she gets to know about Anish before engagement?

Rahul: How do you say he is not a nice guy?

Sharada: Anish is such a flirt…

Rahul: Then……

Sharada: His circle of friends isn’t good. He is very arrogant in his way of talking.

Rahul: Agreed. What you say is 100% true. You last saw him 8 years ago when we were in our final year of college. Do you know how Anish is now?

Sharada: (Keeps mum)                                      

Rahul: Post College, Anish worked for 2 years, he did his MBA from a reputed institute for 2 years, and he has post MBA work experience of 4 years. He heads an NGO and is helping the destitute. A lot of people look up to him now. The last time you saw him was 8 years back. Were you the same 8 years back? Weren’t you short tempered? Haven’t you changed now? People see you as a calm person now. Yes you did take efforts in the form of Yoga, meditation etc. But the crux is you have changed over years. Same is the case with Anish. People change with time and experience. Opinions once formed cannot be opinions for a lifetime.

We come across situations like this in our daily lives. Even we do this sometimes.

Parents create you and your environment recreates you. If you move to a different environment, that will again recreate you. Every environment around us gives us an experience from which we learn. Introspection and environment majorly contribute to the transformation of an individual.

You would have come across a person who was dumb (Might be he is really intelligent now)

You would have come across a person who wasn’t emotionally stable (Might be he has sound emotional intelligence now)

You would have come across people who are big time flirts, who are chain smokers, who aren’t confident, who have low levels of self-esteem, who rob others’ things, who play pranks at the cost of others’ happiness etc. But are you sure that those people are the same now?

Opinions formed have an expiry date. So refresh your opinions frequently and build lasting relationships 🙂

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Wonderful People In My Life

Friendship is such bliss.

On this friendship day, I would like to thank all the wonderful people who brought about a difference in my life..

8th StdEshwar, Deepak and Pradeep – I was left alone during the first day in my new school and these guys were starting to the cricket ground and I shouted “Hey guys. Can I join you?” With little hesitation, they said “yes” and our friendship began. The first set of friends from whom I learnt what being 18+ meant 😉 They love playing pranks and I have been a victim a number of times.

10th Std – The moments would alwayssss be cherished. The time when wrestling happened inside class; The time when teachers were teased and we were at the principal’s doorstep; The times when I laughed nonstop like a stupid and was sent out of the class; The times when we all cycled together to our home. Aah pleasure to think about it again and again – Arun, sankara Krishnan, Manoj, Gokul, Rathish, Krishnaraj, Christopher, Sakthivel, Sharad

Nishanth and Arun11th and 12th – Hardly there was a day where we weren’t together. Sleeping on top of the tank in terrace and gossiping; Times when group studies meant eating biryani, watching movies and playing cricket; is there a secret that is left unshared between us? 🙂

College UGKicha, Aravinth, Karthik, Deepak Sundararaj – Kicha from a forest (Just kidding!), Aravinth from hill station, Karthik from the city of summer (Chennai Of course!) and Deepak from the land of Kusumbu (Coimbatore). During my college days, I felt insecure about certain aspects of life and there was Kicha to listen to all that I cribbed, blabbered and what not. Thanks to his patience! Deepak has a big big big heart to help people around him and that attitude of his has touched me so much.

Friend in need is a friend indeed!! There was one phase in my life where I felt the real heat. I was protecting my friend against a womanizer and to help me out, there were two people – Rajeev Nambiar and Mahesh Selvaraj. Any help I asked for, they just came forward. I salute you guys. Thanks for being with me 🙂 I just got introduced to Mahesh 8 months back but the bond I share with him is beyond anything. Not sure why. May be a divine intervention 🙂

Through Mahesh, I got to know Karthik and Venkat. The number of breaks we took in Infosys each day would have outnumbered the number of good looking girls we looked at.. Might be the good looking girls were less in number. Just kidding. There were lots of them. 🙂

I have not experienced the love of a brother or sister. I haven’t had a brother or sister to share my feelings, express my emotions, ask anything when I wanted it, etc. But I experience all of these through them – Saravanan and Deivanai

Chidu – Never would have I joined Toastmasters (My Passion now) if he had not told me to try it out a 100 times. I feel it is important to interact with people who are positive. He is one among them. He makes me feel positive about the things I do.

Sriram RajaramanTCS – Saravana Bhavan (Vendor) literally thanked us for improving their business. Once in 3 hrs we would be there in the food court to try out the different menus the vendor had. When foodies join hands, eating becomes heaven and weight becomes a concern 🙂

Toastmasters:

My mentor Deepak Pandian – The first time I stepped into toastmasters (Public Speaking Forum), I saw a guy named Ananth Dharmasthala giving a brilliant speech. I wanted him as my mentor but Ananth said “Deepak is very talented. Take him as your mentor”. Thanks to his words. Else, I wouldn’t have got a mentor like him. Whatever I did, he motivated me and he had full confidence in me that I would pull it off with full vigor. This helped me improve my levels of self-esteem and self-confidence. Thanks a ton Deepak.

Karthickraja – Techie guy. IT companies will need him badly. I would stay in his room with access to his cooking. Awesome dishes they make (Karthick and Deepak – Roomies). He has been another source of encouragement for me. He was the very first person to whom I rehearsed a contest speech. Remember those moments….

Krishnan Chidambaram –The long talks about anything and everything (Big time mokkais – If you overheard us speak, you would have hanged yourself) and especially his cribbing that he didn’t get through a reputed MBA institute. There he is now in a very good role in cognizant post his MBA.. Prolific writer.. He has been there for me in times of joy and distress.

Ramprasad Sir – Every time he told me “Your speech was awesome, You are very talented”, I felt on top of the world. I haven’t heard these from my parents as well. I felt as if angels came down and blessed me whenever he praised me. Haaaa that gave me so much confidence. Thank you sir 🙂

Lalitha Giridhar – Fondly called as maami.. She was one of the reasons why I started loving toastmasters from liking it. I looked up to her. When you look up to someone and when that person appreciates your speeches and talks to you for your betterment, it gives you an amazing feeling. Thanks maami.. I have tried my best to incorporate each of your comments

Sabapathy – Very unique in whatever he does. His thoughts on many topics have left me thinking for a while. Best part about him is you cannot identify if he is poking fun at you or complimenting you. Aah a confusing personality 😉

My mentees Gopi and Pankaj – Gopi is out there making people laugh and Pankaj is out there in Wipro trying to figure out a figure who would fit in his life. You guys are great individuals.

Bharath Kumar, Arun Sridhar, Rohit, Yuvaraju, Divya, Karthik, the whole of wordsmiths family is so lovable for each one of them have instilled something in me to make me a better individual. 🙂

Great Lakes:

Ahalya – The first time you start something be it a business, a small club, or anything for that matter, you need someone to be with you throughout and support you once you start it. When I started a public speaking club in Great Lakes, Ahalya was the first one to come forward running with full of enthusiasm. Thanks Ahalya. Your interest and enthusiasm towards it made me feel special that day.

Sathya Anand – One person who understood me really really well during my MBA days. A friend who gives awesome company for bird watching, for trying to catch birds and for saying “Aiyooo vada pochaeeee”

Shyam – Owner of a swift who swiftly drives me home every time he comes to Chennai from college. So sweet of him 😉 He has this uncanny way of talking that makes one get addicted to him and his way of talking. To say in short about Shyam – “Machi enaku unmaela heavy image available”

Sathya Narayanan – We both don’t talk so much to each other but we trust in each of our abilities so much.

The whole of KG gang – For they are awesome, awesome, awesome (Read in Naeram Naasar’s style) in terms of fun and pun

Wifyyy:

Last but not the least – My wifyyy Ramyaa.. While reading this, my wife was searching for her name and she thought “How can he miss my name? andha pakki varatum.. vechukuraen”.. 🙂

I see her as a true friend and the society sees her as my wife,

Whatever crap they call it, all that matters is she adds life to my life!

HAPPY FRIENDSHIP DAY ALL!!

PS: There are so many other important people in my life. It is impossible to mention all. 🙂

Deteriorating Pitch

The pitch looks very different. It is quite hard with very less grass and no cracks in it. Grasses are very weak that they are dying quickly. The pitch has deteriorated very badly that in another 5 years we will not be able to see even a trace of grass. I am not talking about cricket pitch but about my pitch, my scalp. My hair line is receding or rather my scalp is advancing.

Hair loss was bothering me to the maximum possible extent. Whichever place I went or whatever I did, embarrassments or tough times followed. Even my friend’s little daughter Anuja makes fun of me. She saw my FB profile pic (shown below) and she sang,

Anand FB Profile Pic

“Johny Johny yes papa..

Using Cap No papa

Show your hair, Ha ha ha..”

At Salon:

With the hair that was left in my head, I walked to a beauty salon “Naturals”

Without any hesitation, I asked the stylist “I wish to get some hair styling done. Do whatever is possible with my hair.” He replied “Am sorry sir. Styling is not possible for this hair”

Grrrrrrrr… I was irritated. I wanted something on my head and I decided to visit a doctor.

At doctor’s place:

Doctor asked for my problem and with a pitiful face, I told her “I have less hair but I don’t have any dandruff”

“Dandruff comes only if hair is there”, she replied

There cannot be a better way to kick start a conversation 🙂 😦

The doctor examined my hair.. Ouchhh! She suddenly pulled out a bunch of hair from the front portion of head. I was shocked on seeing that bunch. That seemed like Gold to me. That was the first time I valued my hair so much when I saw it going out of my head as a BUNCH.. A BUNCH!!!

“I took this bunch to check the pattern of your baldness” she said

“If you could have asked me, I would have told you” was my inner voice.

She calmed me down and she prescribed some medications after doing some tests on the sample bunch.

She gave me a hair cleaner.  After applying the hair cleaner, my hair fell so badly that I needed a vacuum cleaner to clean the place. Never trust the doctors who say “We will help you grow your hair”. In the end, it is we who end up helping them grow their business.

My thought process before visiting a doctor was “Money would go and Hair would come in the empty spaces”

But after visiting, I realized “Hair would go and nice air would come in the spaces”

I lost my hope on doctors after that.

At home:

I went home. My parents were discussing about my marriage and they asked me “Do you have a girlfriend?”

Ask bald guys about girlfriends/relationships and they will stare at you like they are going to kill you. At least most of them will. You will uncover at least 100 different stories from them.

I said ‘No’ and I went to my bedroom. I have heard some parents say to their sons “You must compromise on the beauty of the girl as you are bald headed”. How demotivating? Thank god I had some hair.

The brilliant dream:

Thoughts about all these were fluctuating in my mind at the speed of light and to get rid of those I decided to doze off. I had the dream of my life – Dating my girlfriend. Usually dreams come based on something that we see or think about. But what is this totally unrelated? Read further to know if it is related or not.

Usually men take 2mins to get ready but I take 10mins to get ready – 1min to dress up and 9mins to comb my hair. It is a tough job..

Gap analysis has to be done.

Long hair analysis has to be done..

Pulling long hairs to the gaps has to be done.

Since it was dating my girlfriend, I took 20mins to get ready with extra tinkering done here and there

After I got dressed up, my girlfriend and I started walking. Some dust particle fell in my eyes. She opened my eyes widely and blew with full force to remove that dust particle. When she blew, my long hair flew showing that extravagant space. My girlfriend looked at me bizarrely. And I woke up. A dream had just told me the fact of life.

Yes, one blow or one soft breeze will make that long hair stand up showing that extravagant space. This is one of the reasons why people don’t keep table fan during their wedding reception.

Root Cause Analysis:

Because of my hair loss, tough times were part of my life. I contemplated for the reasons for hair loss and I found 1 major reason..

My Mother’s father, my mother’s younger brother, my mother’s elder brother, my father’s father, my father, his younger brother, his elder brother – none of them have anything on their head. I mean the hair. They are so bald that even a wig will slide and fall.

I kept pondering over what can be done. Remember, A hair a day keeps my marriage away..

Solution:

I decided to get married as soon as possible…

Rigorous Bride search was on,

After hopes on my hair were gone

Days passed, months passed….

Now that I am married, I find my life bright and sunny,

Looking back, I laugh at those instances for they seem funny

This was a different attempt using self-deprecating humor. Need your comments to know about my attempt 🙂

PS: We need moments in life to look back and laugh at… 🙂

Rigidity – Not a Recipe for Happy Living

How many of us are rigid in our lives? Not sure about it? Read further..

Rigidity comes because we believe that doing a thing in one particular way is right while there is ‘N’ number of ways to do things. It is just that people aren’t able to get out of their beliefs and be open to accepting certain other behaviors around. There is nothing called RIGHT and WRONG. What is right and what is wrong is relative.

Examples of rigidity:

  • This is how you should keep your house. Keep these things in this place, that place.
  • I am beautiful is also a rigid way of thinking.. Be ok with accepting when someone says you aren’t beautiful.
  • Instructing your kid to study daily and asking him/her to be more planned in life – Haven’t you seen your kid getting frustrated when you do this? (Will you study for your office related things or your business related things every day in a planned manner? Why don’t you do that? Oh might be you are tired after coming from office. Yes the kid is as well tired after going to school and playing for some time after that. Understand the kid’s expectations and strike a deal with the kid as to when it can study and help it out rather than posing a rigid constraint “you have to study daily”. You would love to read but the RIGID factor of doing it every day would make you feel irritated to do it. Anything when done in a rigid way bears no fruit. If there is flexibility and if you tell your kid “You haven’t studied today. It is ok. Have fun today but do study tomorrow..” This way kid will feel motivated to do things.)
  • Not willing to try/experience something because we THINK it wouldn’t be useful. (Here thought process is rigid because it isn’t being flexible to try out different things in life)
  • If something is said, you should do it immediately (Why so? Are your priorities and my priorities the same? Rigid beliefs/thinking will only strain relationships. This happens especially when elders say something. They are the ones to point out immediately “When elders say, you have to do it immediately”)
  • Rigidity on money aspects – you might be well planned financially and every rupee might count to you. But if your son or daughter loses some money say Rs.5000 or even Rs.5,00,000, be flexible enough to accept it. Don’t be rigid saying “you have done a sin. Money is hard earned. Money is earned out of much struggle in life”. Some situation might have triggered them to lose it. Be it their mind that was preoccupied, or be it their carelessness, or be it their memory that would have failed them at that moment. It was all unintentional. It is just because of the beliefs you have about money, you react like this.
  • ‘N’ number of societal rigidities
    • Woman expects her man to be very informative. (Knowing something is again interest based. One might be too much inclined towards technology that he will not care about politics. Other might be inclined towards something else. Other might be inclined towards knowing everything that is happening in this world.)
    • Living together is a sin (The society in which we are brought up considers it to be a sin. Hence we think that way. If in case our kids end up that way, we have two options – either to be flexible and accept or to be rigid and suffer.)
    • Caste –> Traditions –>Firm Believers or Believers in some traditions (They wouldn’t be able to accept any deviations from the norms defined in the traditions)
    • You shouldn’t sit cross legged in front of elders (It is purely ones comfort to sit that way)
    • The horoscope says this and so you must follow it. Eg: Horoscope says that you must avoid driving for next 6 months. (Many of us don’t understand that our mind is more powerful than the planetary motions. Even if the planetary motions decide certain things in life, our mind is more powerful to overcome it. By believing in the horoscope, I feel that the capabilities of our mind are restricted to a larger extent)
    • I will have to make my Kid study hard so that it can compete in today’s world. (The flaw is in the education system. Why do you really want to screw your kid’s life by doing that?)
    • Buy something while visiting a relative’s home (In many places, what you buy is directly proportional to the lasting of your good relationship)
    • Buy Horlicks while someone is in hospital irrespective of whatever their illness is. (Horlicks gives strength is what they say. Fine. It is useful when someone is dehydrated or is lacking energy. But why do you buy Horlicks when someone has a fractured hand or when someone has an asthma attack or when someone has an injured shoulder)
    • Buying/Wearing gold is a sign of prestige             

And many more societal rigidities……………………

By being rigid, you lose your flexibility and thereby your peace of mind. Rigidity in any form is not a recipe for happy living

Have we really introspected on what we are rigid about? When someone says we are rigid, we immediately say “I am not rigid”. By saying that immediately, we safeguard our image from getting spoilt and our mind from thinking deeply. Instead, when we listen when people say that we are rigid and when we tell them “I will introspect on this”, it gives us a better realization.

Steps to overcome rigidity:

1)      The first most important thing in changing ones behavioral traits is ACCEPTANCE of what you have already. Accept that you are being rigid towards certain things

2)      Have a conscious check on whenever you do your rigid activities or whenever you stress upon others to follow the activities in the same rigid way

3)      Have a small board at home or black chart or diary and note down all the things you are rigid about

4)      See that diary or board and tell yourself “It’s ok if these activities are done in a different way or if these activities are done a little later.” If you see someone doing a set of activities in a different way, just ignore them and tell yourself “What if they do it that way. It doesn’t matter”

By doing these, you are just conditioning your mind. By conditioning your mind, you can change the way you live.

Reiterating the crux of this post – Being Rigid in any form is definitely not a Recipe for Happy living

Society Suppresses our Expressions

Few years back I traveled by train from Chennai to Coimbatore. I was seated in a coupe where there were 2 families each of them with a 3yr old kid. The kids were playing so happily with their toys/dolls. When the train started, one of the families got down with their child. The child in the train started crying so badly for having taken away from him his little cute friend. His heart was heavy and he expressed his emotions right there. It didn’t matter for him if it was public or private. He tells the world the love he had for his little friend. I felt so sad for him. Children are so open and expressive.

We are so conscious to express ourselves. The environment matters more. Crying is viewed as negative in the society. Loud laughter is negative. What is this society if it even deprives a human of his basic right to cry when he is in deep sorrow or to laugh out loud when his heart is rejoicing?

Our intention is to express but our actual action ends up in impressing the society.

As children we expressed our interests in everything but now we suppress it as we project ourselves to be more strong and dignified.

While looking for a bride, there are instances when we look at the right match and talk to the girls’ parents regarding our interest in her. There would be instances wherein we might not get a reply in a day or two. But we would genuinely be interested to ask their views again but we suppress it. Reason being our thought process which goes like this “We are from the boy’s side and so we shouldn’t be leaning forward so much to know their interest. Let them get back. I should maintain a strong image.”

We don’t even express our basic interests. Unlike children, we kill our intentions basing it upon the undefined, meaningless societal norms.

Our intention is to express but our actual action ends up in impressing the society.

As children, we loved to watch cartoons, read comics, watch animated movies etc.

A 25yr old feels shy to read Champak or to read Tintin in a public library as people look at him/her in a bizarre way. Usual immediate response being “Those are childish books”. But who writes it? A child is it? The 25yr old wishes to express his/her interest in those books but stumbles by what others would say..

Our intention is to express but our actual action ends up in impressing the society.

This society views the word “childish” as a derogatory term but by being childish, it will help us in a lot of ways to express our intentions. Follow your intentions and express your intentions as actions.

Deep down, our intentions are always true and pure but the outside world in a way influences a person to create a mismatch between intentions and actions. It is up to us to resolve the mismatch..

Miss you Grandmother..

It was 30th September 8.45pm when my loving Grandmother left this world. I really really cannot express how nice a human being she is. Her last word to me was my name “Anand” on September 29th night around 9pm and she kissed my palm. It felt like something.. I bent down to touch her feet and pray and I broke down as I knew her situation looked bad. I thought “Would this be my last worship??” and I said No No to myself. The next day when I entered my uncle’s house, people started crying. I knew what had happened and this was not I came there for. I couldn’t see her alive on September 30th 😦 Memories ran through my mind and tears rolled down my eyes. I was there with her till the moment she was burnt. Her body was sent into the electric furnace like thing. I just couldn’t see that. Hmmmmmmmmmm.. Let her soul rest in Peace..

I loved her innocence. I loved her love for everybody. I loved her attitude of “Do good things even for people who do bad things to you”, I loved her attitude of “Money is not life”. I love her so much.

But I feel bad for one thing. I repent for it. It pricks me. 😦

Even when I go to a shop nearby, she used to say “Careful Anand. Cross the road carefully. Ride the bike slowly.. I will go to the shop and come.. You take rest”.. Whenever she said this 5 or 6 times, I got little irritated and said “Please don’t keep repeating. I am not a little kid”.. Sometimes very softly. Sometimes I said a little harshly.

She loved me to that extent that made her tell multiple times. But why did I reply harshly to her?? Why couldn’t have I ignored those repeated statements? This pricks me.. It pricks me hard..

Why do I realize it now saying it is love and why did I say it was ‘loving and pampering’ me at that time? I am so so so sorry paati.. I loved u so much but at times I hurt you by being harsh whenever you repeatedly said things. I am very very sorry paati.. I request everyone to not be harsh to their loved ones whatever the reason might be that triggers you. It really pains later..

Now that I am feeling but

She is not there to repeatedly say things

She is not there to call me “KUTTY”

She is not there to call me “THANGAM”

She is not there to hold my hand and kiss my palm

She is not there to make me the dishes that I love, anytime I ask

Whenever my mother kept sweets in her plate, she broke it in half and fed me the rest or sometimes even gave me the whole sweet.

She showered so much love on me. I am able to see only her everywhere.. In the things that she used, in the place where she slept, in the pickle that she loved..

My mom, aunt and few others were serving us (Cousins and me) food yesterday morning. When we were eating, my cousin said a statement “Remember how she used to serve food for us?”. It just brought tears in my eyes. I remembered the rice rolls she gave us. I remembered the big banana leaf she placed in front of us and served with full heart. She seems to be everywhere now just like God..

You are GREAT grandmother. You are loved by so many people and that shows who you are. Please be with me all my life..

I love u so much and I will miss you very badly.

Unconditional Love

I am not sure how long my grandmother will be there in this world. She is ill and suffering now.. She is 93yrs old. I have never ever seen a hard worker like her but I guess god has ordered her to take rest now.. Yesterday, she couldn’t bear her heart pain and she said “I am going to die” and she wanted to see all her sons, daughters and grand children as soon as possible. Everyone arrived immediately and we were with her. Her son (My Uncle), whose house she was in, had a severe headache that day morning. We told him “Go and sleep since you have severe headache” and my grandmother somehow heard what we said. Time passed by and it was night..

Grandmother (In the bed.. Not even able to turn and see her son properly.. Suffering with pain..): Calling her son through actions .. Says come come with her hands

My uncle goes near her and bends forward

Grandmother: Did u take tablets for your headache? Are you ok now?

Inspite of her suffering, inspite of her fear of leaving the world, she asks her son this question without forgetting.

This is UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. The moment was truly emotional for me. It just conveyed one thing. “Money isn’t life and it alone cannot bring you happiness”.. People, who go behind money all the time, just give it a thought.