A streak of madness

22 03 2008

You are only given a little spark of madness
You mustn’t lose it

-Robbie Williams

[continued from the previous post]I turned and took the road which led me out of the city. I didn’t look back; Just kept looking down [and in the way I very nearly killed myself by a bullock cart]

On the entire way down I kept walking, contemplating whats the issue with myself. 🙂 Trust me! I didn’t find anything wrong. I let out a muted scream in my frustration and managed to scare the school kids away. Frustrations as they say! For a moment, I was almost close to breaking down, the next smiling and then the next talking animatedly with myself. 🙂 It was crazy, I tell you. 🙂

I kept on walking and I dont-know-when reached VGP Golden Beach. The lawns were well maintained, you know? Visited a chapel in between.It was SughJivam Holy Mother Church.Took a seat on one of the chairs, but how long could I stay silent?Unfortunately the Padre felt I was talking more to myself than the fellow up in the heavens, he saw towards me and gave a disapproving look. I grinned at him.

My next stop was half an hour later. I came cross a road which led itself to the sea shore. It was called the Sparkling Sands Avenue. Trust me for one moment, I forgot, that I was supposed to be frustrated. The pink flowers on the trees, the trees laden with beige leaves, the road ahead and the roaring, inviting sea ahead. I, for a moment felt, this is life.

I didn’t think twice. Took the road and walked down in the cool shades of the trees. The air was laden in a heady aroma of the spring flowers and the leaves rustled in the mischievous winds of the sea. For the next half an hour I spent drenching myself in the blue waters alongside the street urchins and the kids of the fishermen.

It was around 11.20, I guess… I kept on walking. I don’t know what all happened around me. Milestones came and went. Buses stopped and left. People kept on gesturing that the next bus will be soon, but I kept on walking. I don’t know. Lost in the thoughts of mine.
“Whats the problem with you dude?”
“I dont know”
“Tell me, what do you want?”
“I want… I … ”

Sholinganallur [dont try to read it even] was left long back. VGP was far behind. I walked around 11 kilometers from the last place I knew. I was still wondering.Uthandi [u-tan-di]. I was staring myself at an entire troop of policemen, searching for the god-knows-what-contraband.There I was, nonchalantly walked right under the very nose of all those SUV owners and salon drivers.

Uthandi Toll Plaza was half a kilometer away, and trust me, when I crossed the toll booth, the journey just got shorter. The road turned itself from a lifeless entity to a joyful merry life, tempting me to keep walking. The East Coast Road just got a life.

Image courtesy TNRDC

Image courtesy TNRDC

I kept walking and around 12.15 reached Muttukadu [mu-ttu-ka-du]. I sat on the bus stop and had a swig of the bottle. My first swig of water in the last three hours. The milestone said Chennai, 26 kilometers. I thought and then walked up and down the length of the shade, then thought again and for sometime I didnt think at all.
Then it came!
It was here, that I found my answer. It came as a dim ray of light and came flooding in when the realization dropped upon me. I understood what was the reason for my unease. I smiled, thinking it was so easy that it was right in front of me. I felt foolish and then grateful. I smiled, and the old man sitting beside me, flashed a toothy grin. I smiled even brighter, appreciating the beauty of the moment. Here I was 26 kilometers from Chennai, 17 kilometers of walk, tired, drenching my parched tongue with some water, a stranger sitting beside me flashing a toothy grin. It was surreal, let me tell you. I extended my right hand, the bottle in it-
“Tanni?” Water?
“Kurunge” Give.

I soaked in the nature around me. The wind was light. Breeze. Leaves rustled and birds cooed. I took the bottle, emptied it and carried onwards. The ECR got increasingly desolate with only two or three cars rush away at a time. The road ahead felt like curving away to entice me,tease me, with its beauty. Life couldn’t have been better. My legs had started to ache long back. But this was turning out to be a dominating mistress. And then a moment came, when I was all alone, not a single car, not a single life present. I looked back, looked ahead. Zilch. It was so lonely that I could hear my own footsteps, the calling of the birds and the roaring of the seas. I wondered if they can hear all these sitting inside their SUVs and Sedans.

Taj Fishermans Cove, Dakshina Chitra, Green Coconut Resorts…

Image courtesy dream chaser

and then Covelong , 29 kilometers from Chennai, 20 kms on foot. All left behind.

I walked on, 21 kilometers and counting till I reached a bend on the East Coast Road where the road ran parallel to the shore. And I mean dead parallel. From the grey tarmac you could see the horizon vanishing away, the catamarans drifting and at the midst of all, a guy sitting all alone on the scenic ECR facing the blue seas. Heaven!
Time 3:00 p.m 11th March 2008, 24 kilometers on foot, 28 kilometers from Chennai.

I reached home that evening and contemplated on the past two weeks. It was time to act. It was time to prove.
Today, I have joined office again, and doing things which I do the best. I am back doing things which I love doing , sort of back in my elements. Solve challenges, crack problems and reignite my desires . And in this entire process, I understood what I desire and I what I aspire.

Someday, inshallah, I will make this journey once again, only to relive these exciting times, those exciting days… that exciting moment, when I walked 24 kilometers from my office just on a bare whim.

The entire jouney can be found in my google map : here


Two weeks and the walk back to life

11 03 2008

I don’t know, how to start this. I don’t know do I even need to do this. Zilch. Nada. Sifar… I really don’t know.

Many of my friends, almost everybody were offended. I didn’t take up their calls, didn’t reply their mails. When they came in knocking, well they didn’t find anybody inside. Its not just with my friends, it was with my family too. Poor fellas. I didn’t take up the newspaper, no mails, no news, no sms, no nothing…. Nothing which I consume[non food of course]. No corporate mails too. I don’t know from where did the idea germinate. I really don’t know. I was lying on my bed, half-sleepy half-contemplating [ okay don’t ask me, how do I do this, I intend to scare my gfs away with this], then that idea came to me. It was more of a realisation.

“What am  I doing? God! what the hell am I doing”
[trying to sleep? one tiny voice said almost as if asking me]
[Shut up!]

“This sucks! This sucks man!Something is wrong!  I am…. I am..err… yeah… I am not happy, something is wrong! I got to fix this”
[yeah right!]
“Yeah.. I need to fix this”
[but whats wrong?]
[I dont know!, gotto figure it out]

And I don’t know how did the solution come to me, but it was weird. I looked at my cell to check out the time[the revelation hour], and I got pissed off.
No time. No contacts. No news. Nothing…. From now onwards, I don’t know till when maybe days/weeks/months, till I feel like coming back.I switched off my mobile.

The next day I got up[ imagine, if we didn’t have bio clocks] and set onwards to my office. The same slumping thoughts. F*** I hate them. As if all my life force was taken out from me. I thought, okay lets give it some time. In office, once I reached, I pulled out the jack to the server. Pfoof* . Kiss the broadband connectivity goodbye, baby… But wait!! I had to update my files to the common server. What about that… okay, I connected it back, but resolved, No Outlook, no Thunderbird, no Rediff, no Mozilla either. 😦 No news, no sneek peak at newspapers too, no blogs[yeah that included the WordPress one too.] and I didnt carry my mobile at all.

Honestly for the first half an hour it felt awful. But you know what? I survived. In fact I started enjoying the solitude. Honestly [no doubt cave men were very satisfied fellas]

It went on. Till today. And honestly I didn’t find an end to the gnawing corrosive thoughts inside me. I was getting stagnant, almost devoid of any life force[ a la Calvin].

I got up pretty early today in the morning. Was good. Felt good[at last!] I dressed up and reached the road that leads to the office. Its where the auto wala leaves me, and I make the last two minutes of my walk.

Two minutes thats it! Just two minutes. Its such a small time. But still thoughts. The same thoughts came to me. I was getting stagnated. I had to solve it. Now and I mean right now!

I slowed down. The sea straight ahead was visible. I looked back.
“Chuck it! I am not going to office today”

I turned back, and was standing on the ECR road[read the wiki slug]which connects Chennai to Pondicherry along the Bay of Bengal coast.

I had the option. One side lead me to the city, the other out of it.

Authors note: Trust me, my family is still spooked out when I told them what I did today.

[Continued in the next part]

Proto.in Day II

20 01 2008

This post is a continuation of this post, on BonchiBuji, Proto.in on Day 1


“Startups are the center of this universe”

-Vijay Anand

It had been a phenomenal weekend in Chennai, where two extraordinarily buzzing event took place simultaneously. TiE-CON and Proto.in . And looking by the way it all turned up yesterday had been a befitting finale to an extraordinary event.

First a brief snapshot of TiE-CON. I had been talking to Dorai and he mentioned it to me that what a success this one day event had been. TiE was started by a group of successful Indian entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley who was driven by this crazy idea of actually giving back something to this community. And it has grown from a tiny-winy meet in Silicon Valley to a booming bustling community spread around 30+ countries. Wow! And this time TiECOn held in Chennai was an absolute clincher. I couldnt attend it but the testimonials were enough , believe me. And to think of it, the CM Karunanidhi actually changed quite a few impressions. One observer told, that because the expectations were hell-low from him, so even an average performance by him was recieved with a pleasant surprise. He he… 🙂 (I am not much of DMK fan, but for once I would like to believe it) He spoke in English(shit!I missed this moment, apparently I have never heard him talking in anything else than Tamil), spoke with a vision and did talk about how he was instrumental in setting up of the evangelical fund of Tamil Nadu for budding entrepreneurs (honestly, these people can lie a lot well than the average people, maybe it was the handicraft of some visionary IAS fella’).

Wait a minute, am I evangelising DMK, or Proto.in…?

Heck, back to Proto. So the day starts with companies , all over the country and one from even RSA coming with their 6 minutes pitch. In internet section this guy(thats me!) believes that not much of ‘wow’ zing was there. All were jumping in this ‘social networking + blogging + content” bandwagon, so not much differentiator. Antya had been something different with a human powered ‘brand’ search engine. Honestly the demo looked interesting, but have severe apprehensions of its scalability. If Sunny and Bharanidharan find a way to scale it up, I guess they have a winner. Instablogs, Viewspaper looked like twins without the tattoo( its a Bollywood euphemism). Quite a few things turned up on mobile space with Mobisy, a talk from Rajesh Jain going big time bullish on mobile space and other stuff. Mundial from RSA, presented Yambi. Philip Leonard has quite a feel-good product, looks clean and I am sure will deliver quite a punch if delivered properly.

Update 0.2 : I almost forgot to talk about Bosky and Arun’s, Hover.in . Its interesting to know that these guys, have put their money where the pulse is. They have bet big on the entire Web 2.0 phenomena and blogs, wikis and stuff like that. They are what they claim to be “customized content display with an intuitive reader engagement”

I had been talking with quite a lot of people in and around Proto. There is Milind Borate of Dhruva who talked about this new young blood in this entire ecosystem. True Milind, I noticed it for quite some time. Even interesting people like Amarinder of CoreObjects was talking about embedded and semiconductor industry. He was talking to me , how they recently acquired another firm called Jopasana.

Interesting stuff, I must say. And to top it all, India won against these Aussies, it was just a moment sweeter.

So, here are some of the snaps from Day-II.




Vijay and his baby!

Vijay and his Baby

The lull before the entrepreneurial storm

The lull before the entrepreneurial storm

Yeah!Thats me

Yeah!Thats me, yours truly… 🙂

Till the next time, good luck and good bye… Meet you in Proto next year. 🙂

Update 0.1 : Was talking with Sunny and Bharani of Antya, and it was heartening to listen to the overall response to their site over net. They had been talking along with Manav of Reliance Entertainment, and it seems that they have got a good response from the audience. At least its not following the typical ‘A’ -‘ladder’ curve..(a SoDa original :), this curve is actually the response thats shown by the audience on net towards something new, a sharp rise and a sharp fall and then the venture consolidating audiences slowly but steadily and again reaching the same viewership in 7-8 months.) They got a sharp rise and then the audience seem to hold out. Yes its increasing and decreasing but in a very limited range. So thats good to hear. Apparently VCs have burnt their fingers with Guruji.com and askLaila, so it will be interesting journey ahead for antya.

Its all about balance honey!

9 01 2008

Image by pittsinger

Uh no! You got me all wrong. I ain’t that materialistic, come on! 🙂 I am not going to talk about the bank balance (don’t have much to talk about it! ), or how to increase it by being a freelancer or something like that.

I am going to talk about something far more fundamental, enriching and holistic. I am talking about striking a balance between the different aspects of your life. Read the rest of this entry »

10 things to do before I hit 30!

7 01 2008

Image by ms4jah

Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch, which I have got hold for the moment, and I want to make it burn as bright as possible before handing it on to future generations.

-George Bernard Shaw

No, 30 is not the beginning of the end. No, no, you got me all wrong, 30 is not when you start settling for less… 30 is just a milestone, is another year. For me, it just marks my end of recklessness and start of something more anchoring. I have often in past talked about overcoming fears and oft harangued mindsets to make a better you. Thought about applying the same for me. I took the pen and started jotting down things which actually excites me and makes me feel insecure/afraid. Read the rest of this entry »

Jeff Keller and The Japanese Red Crowned Cranes

6 01 2008

Image by wildphotons

Its an amazing thing how humans imitate their surroundings. Some behavioral scientists say, this dates back to prehistoric ages. Humans were natural mimics so that they fend off any extra attention on them when in groups. In simple terms, being with the crowd helped them to leverage on the advantage of numbers. Interesting, isn’t it!

Scott Adams, the famous cartoon strip Dilbert writer, illustrates this point further in his book The Religion War .As for me, it never had been more right. Right from my childhood I found myself, imitating the best handwriting around. When I was in Grade 6, I subconsciously imitated by Mathematics instructor’s flowery handwriting. When in Grade 8, again another switch came. I started imitating one of friends bold stroke filled handwriting. A switch in Grade 10 and Grade 12, subsequently proved this point. Handwriting is one point, but who knows subconsciously we are affecting, changing,evolving every moment of our living day imitating somebody. Maybe the best, maybe the most loved one, maybe….whatever. This is good in one very different way, we conform to standards, we conform to the crowd and everything is hunky-dory. But have you ever wondered, if it can ever backfire us. Didn’t get it yet? Wait, let me explain. If I am imitating my environment, then I am imitating its good things as well as bad things. When I imitate my friends’ vocabulary, then I unwittingly draw myself a bit more similar to them. But when the people around me are not exactly what they say, as positive, doesn’t it hamper my own survival to a huge extent?

I believe it is. So the essential point was, if we imitate the people around us, which we always do, then why don’t we make it sure, that our company is a positive, booming, healthy, creative one. After all, like attracts like, so when we try to stick around with them, we will have no choice than being a far different positive image, a shining example of the power of company. It’s amazing what people around can do to us.

The title image, demonstrates a very important thing. These are the Japanese Red Crowned cranes, flying in a flock for migration, I believe. But the interesting thing is, when they fly together, in absolute sync, which they always do, the entire flock creates such a huge lift for themselves that they even pull the loose snow out of the ground, brewing up a small storm. Its even interesting to know that the personal effort they apply in a flock, is around 30-40% lesser when they are flying alone. Powerful stuff, this positivity eh?

Jeff Keller has an interesting thing to mention about the company you keep. For the uninitiated, let me say a word a two for Jeff. Jeff is a highly successful motivational and life success speaker. He has written a million copy selling motivational book, Attitude is Everything. In this article of his, he rehashes the previous point in a far more exacting detail. Read on!

Associate With Positive People
By Jeff Keller, Author of the best-seller Attitude is Everything

Have you ever heard the phrase, “We become part of what we are around?.” Have you given much thought to how this principle has been molding and shaping your life? It’s worth thinking about. The people you associate with have a profound affect on how you feel and what you’ll ultimately achieve.I’m sure most of you have heard this principle before. Some of you have heard it a hundred times. But this is one of those areas where there is a large gap between theory and practice. In other words, you know it’s important to limit involvement with negative people, yet you continue to hang around with them.By the way, I’m not talking about your relationship with your spouse or significant other. I’m referring to discretionary relationships, both at work and in your leisure hours

In today’s literature, we frequently see the terms toxic people and nourishing people. As you might expect, toxic people are the ones who always dwell on the negative. The dictionary defines toxic as “poisonous” toxic people continually spew their verbal poison. In contrast, the dictionary definition of nourishing is “to nurture or promote the growth of.” Nourishing people are positive and supportive. They lift your spirits and are a joy to be around.Negative people will always drag you down to their level. They hammer away at you with all of the things you can’t do and all of the things that are impossible. They barrage you with gloomy statements about the lousy economy, the problems in their lives, the problems soon to be in your life, and the terrible prospects for the future. If you’re lucky, they might even throw in a few words about their aches and pains and recent illnesses

After listening to toxic people, you feel listless, depressed and drained. Psychologist Jack Canfield describes them as “energy vampires” — they suck all the positive energy out of you. One thing is certain: these “vampires” will wear you down and kill your dreams. On the other hand, how do you feel when you are around people who are positive, enthusiastic and supportive? I’ll bet that you are encouraged and inspired. You start to pick up their attitude, and you feel as if you have added strength to vigorously pursue your own goals. If you had a choice, wouldn’t you rather hang out with nourishing people? Well, in fact, you DO have a choice. It’s up to you to determine who you spend your time with. If toxic people surround you in your daily life, you can do something about it

To begin with, develop friendships and associations with people who are positive and supportive. In addition, seek out people who are action-oriented and service-oriented. As you spend more and more time in the company of people who have these traits, you, too, will develop the same successful characteristics and put them to use in your life. Consider who you have been spending your time with. Examine your friendships and relationships at work and during your leisure hours. Those who occupy your time have a significant impact on your most priceless possession … your mind! It is your responsibility to regulate what you allow into your mind

Here are some steps you can take to be more responsible in this area:

If you regularly have lunch with toxic people at work, stop it. You should be able to find a diplomatic way of extricating yourself from this “poisonous” group

If you have a toxic relative (which could be your mother, father, son or daughter), it is important to put some limits on your involvement with them. This does not mean that you abandon this relative and never speak to him or her. However, you should not go out of your way to call that person several times each day if he or she is going to put you down or fill the conversation with negative remarks

Form your own positive group with friends or colleagues. Make a commitment to meet with these people on a regular basis ( e.g., once a week or once a month) to discuss goals, exchange ideas and offer support. These should be people who accept you as you are and yet challenge you to be the best that you can be

In case you’re wondering, I’m in favor of trying to help friends who are negative. I think we should make efforts to steer them in a more positive direction. But if we’ve been trying for the last 9 years and the person insists on being negative, maybe it’s time to severely limit the amount of time we spend with that person – or to stop spending any time with that individual

As you increase your associations with nourishing people, you will feel better about yourself and about your ability to achieve your goals. You’ll become a more positive, upbeat person – the kind of person others love to be around. I used to think that it was important to associate with positive people and to limit involvement with negative people. Now, I believe that it is essential if you want to be a high-achiever and a happy individual. By the way, as you continue to associate with positive people, the law of attraction starts to kick in. That law states that LIKE ATTRACTS LIKE. When you are positive, you’ll attract more positive people into your life. Of course, if you are NEGATIVE, you’ll attract negative people. So, surround yourself with positive, nourishing people – they will lift you up the ladder of success

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When will you stop?

29 12 2007

“A tear on the face of eternity”

Rabindranath Tagore
(Nobel Laureate,1913)
Shahjehan wanted Taj Mahal to be the most unique statement of love and beauty. He brought marbles from Rajasthan(around 400 miles away from the site), the most famous and skilled artisans from India and Persia and the gems from Middle East.Yet he was frequently worried by the distant possibility of this monument being overlooked by the tides of time, sons of the future.
So at the end of it, he took a step, a drastic one, to put rest to all his demons. So what was supposed to be a symbol of beauty, also went down as the mark of the greatest injustice. ShahJehan made it sure, the very hands which sculpted the marbels of the Taj were cut,severed and rendered useless. The artisans, all 21,000 of them, went home limbless, amputated. The architect lost his life.
For an artist, his hands bring pride to him. Each time he looks at them, he feels the power of creativity in him, which he washes alive with the energy of the Universe to bring forth the most beautiful things in life. And ShahJehan took away that singleton piece of pride. He didnt render him mean-less, he rendered the artisans meaningless.
Although this story of ShahJehan doesn’t have historic evidence. Yet a similar act is carried out everyday of our lives. And this time, we are the artisans and we are the very ShahJehans.We kill each day, the opportunity for our inner-artists to come out and be proud. We sever the inner artisan’s will with fear, razor sharp fear. We take out lives from the inner- architects, by pessimism, cold blood pessimism. We let each day pass by, dreaming and not acting on our hopes, desires and wants, we push each of our day into a void from where it will never come back. Another opportunity to sculpt ourselves is gone forever. Each day, thousands of people die, with their dreams un-lived because they chose not to. Each day, millions of people shut up their dreams and carry on doing what they are not supposed to do. And each day billions of people, dream and then kill it by pessimism.
As they say,
“Dont die with the music still in you”
So, when will you stop killing your dreams?
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