Monday, December 31, 2018

Ready to Fire by Nambi Narayanan

Nambi Narayanan is an ISRO scientist who got accused of sharing few blueprints to Pakistan at1990s. He was one of the victims of the famous ISRO Spy case. 

This book gave out a lot on how ISRO works and how indifferent it is from other organisations where jealousy, passion, leadership and everything is seen.  

Being a mechanical engineer helped me to enjoy this book to an extent. Nambi's life was more of a battle for the work he wanted to do throughout his term at ISRO. He was passionate about "Liquid Propulsion Systems" all the time. ( Don't ask me to explain it now)

Alternating between the spy case and his life journey, the book is a page-turner.

 Nambi, son of a businessman finished Engineering from a college at Coimbatore. Worked as Engineer at Sugar Cane Industry and due to his mother's ailments, he couldn't pursue higher studies and had to quit the job as well. By chance, he found the ISRO's advertisement for mechanical engineers. And he landed there through an interview by APJ Abdul Kalam. 

Nambi then shared his journey at ISRO. How they were testing a lot on the rocketry field. His anecdote on Dart rocket was adventurous as well as funny. Got to know a little bit more about Vikram Sarabhai, APJ Abdul Kalam and Satish Dhawan. 

He also shared a few bloopers where his people's forgetfulness caused heavy failures. His journey to France was a quite a turning point to him as well as the nation.  He shared how he bent rules to get few shipments. He had his tactics to make things done. He wrote how bureaucracy worked during his times. 

Anecdotes relating to his decisions at few instances in France were quite nerving wracking. Can't judge anyone except to empathise for the concerned. Balakrishna's son's death and Solomon Raj's job offer.

Nambi is the pioneer in making the Viking- Vikas engine which is used to launch PSLV. His journey at ISRO is inspiring. He discussed how few played an important role to bring India into the limelight in Space field. Kanwal Grover is one unsung hero who's the reason to pull out the deal with France.

It's clear that the US tried a lot to halt India's progress in space exploration. It created a lot of troubles when Russia agreed to sell their cryogenic engines. The US offered their deal at a higher price and when Russia offered the same at a reasonable amount, US comes up with Missile Technology Control Regime pressurising Russia to cancel the deal. 

Nambi once went rebel & collected the shipments which the US embargoed after shipping it to India.

Nambi had his success at making Liquid propulsion engine and was dreaming to venture into cryogenics and that's when he got arrested. 

The Spy Case

Nambi narrated his arrest, Kerala's political drama & IB's torture. His experiences with IB officials were gruesome. They used 3rd-degree torture to fix him in a false case. The motives were better known to all the heads who had their own motives.  His ISRO experiences and his learnings were good enough to understand how silly IB & other Malayalam Newspapers were churning out rumours. They claimed that Nambi carried out drawings and sold to Pakistan.  It's silly to conclude that through drawings one can build a rocket. Nambi tried his best explaining this to everyone then but, in vain. I'm glad he explained it well in the book. He narrated how organisations collaborate to learn. 

Ready to Fire by Nambi Narayanan
The whole drama started with an Inspector's fault and all the right things fell in place at the wrong time. Soon after, the ISRO name was dragged the (US)masters got into the dirty game and played cheap tricks. 

It's astonishing how countries play at this level. The government of India suspended Sehgal after discovering his unconventional meets with CIA during this period. When confronted, both the countries played safe excusing themselves by saying, "In the National Interest, we take a back step."

Nambi fought this journey alone. He was supported by his family and a lot of friends. I'm glad I found this book. Got to know ISRO's story as well as Nambi's.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Gratitude Tales-2018

I have the small greeting card given by Tale Tellers troupe back in 2017 Gratitude Tales session. And here I'm grateful to attend the 2018 session.
I attended during the middle of the session and Santosh gave them the exercise of thanking one person whom you're grateful to.
Everyone shared their story.
Arunima took over the session inviting everyone to share their gratitude stories.
I shared how small word changed my perspective and helped me to be grateful throughout the time.
Others shared their stories. 3 of 9 shared how they fought depression. How they took it in a positive way about going through that phase.  Others had terrific stories where one person is 51and has done a lot in his life. Good and bad. Mostly bad and how he's optimistic about making a living from now on. There was a story of how a dietician feels responsible and works beyond the call to see the smiles of children. There's one musician who shared his story as well.
One person shared how he made friendship with a schoolmate over Chakde India DVD.
Thanks, Arunima & Santosh for hosting it.
Except for these two names, I don't know their names but,  their stories.

Good time spent.

Friday, December 28, 2018

You're gonna live- Poetry


It's mighty

Do not fight

Fret not in flight
GO with it
Be with it
You're gonna live!

Stories on Wheels- The Blue and White

Couldn't be more grateful to Saravanan  who  dropped me straight in front of A.R.Rahman's house.

Blue and white. Whole dream of looking at the person's home that witnessed his growing, highs, lows. If only places can purge out the memories it witnessed, this place would have a lot of interesting things to say. 

You & I

Earth takes care of itself
It's you and I who has to take care of ourselves.

Stories on Wheels

Communication beyond the words. I seek out for a ride. I wave my hand for a ride while the sun settled in to see my place after 12 hours. 

The place is lit with meagre lights and being in the city, I bent my own rule 'No hitchhiking at night'

Though it's dark, it's an evening. A hefty big man stops his bike looking at me. I got onto the bike and didn't utter a word to say where I want to go. 

10 km to reach my place, he got off the familiar route I know. I wanted to know where he was going. wanted to tell where I wanna go. 

Fell silent for a minute and decided to see where he'll drop me. He takes a new route and that seems a shortcut to my home. 

Thanks, stranger for the ride, and the new route. I know nothing of him but remember his face being concerned when he looked and stopped at me when I waved my hand. 

That concern seems small but I'm grateful for the ride he gave. I'm thankful to receive such goodness in life. 

Classics are classics

Classics are classics as they pass by the standard of the time. Time and again we can watch them anytime. 

One time wonders are what we're looking at, in this internet age. Views, numbers and what not!  Classics forsake all these and remain classic for its fine craft. 

Gratitude Tales

Simple conversations. Inconsistent smiles. Our own kind of jokes, our own kind of interesting stories.

We make them all. All of those makes us. 

To sit and talk in person cannot substitute any other good past time

Walk with a friend, sharing everything that's happening in life. 
Talk with a senior, sharing what we love the most in life. 

Meeting a teammate, to reminisce memories. 

Simple conversations. Inconsistent smiles. Our own kind of happiness.
We make them all. All of us make us.


Blessed be the day
Grateful to meet and greet

Grateful to have everyone around me. Thank you. 

Let me be this mess.

Let me be this mess
Let me be this fuss

The idea of success in this world asphyxiates me

Let me be myself 
Bit mad. Bit dumb.
Trudging day by day
Making up myself
To learn and unlearn 
All the things I wish to be. 

O Sea!

You seem to be eternal 
Borderless. Unfathomable.

The touch of you tinges my soul.

For, I crave to have you
All of you
O! Sea! 

Sail upon me 

For I'm seeking you


The Silence he creates

 The silence he creates is what pulls me into a trance. 

To pendown the emotion he evokes in me is never easy

Amidst darkness, he seems to be the light. Amidst cacaphonies, he seems to be the diving current

TO listen to him is to  listen

Listening him pushes me to listen the higher self

Seeing him pushes me to seek myself

He seems to be the shepherd

I wanna have faith in. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Unstoppable by Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova a.k.a "Masha" as her dad called was a 6 year old kid when she flew to US in crucial circumstances.  And then she started her life to become a champion.

There's always a person behind one's glory. There's one who sacrificed their life to cater everything to become a champion. In Maria's story, it was her Dad, Yuri. 

Yuri had this dream of making her daughter a champion and he believed in it. 

His interview with the visa officer. His conversation with Maria during her first Wimbledon win is full of conviction. His words with such belief impacted people around him. I assume the way just Maria assumes in her writing, revealing the key incidents. Her childhood was a struggle. Strangers helped Yuri & Maria throughout their first days at US and it's inspiring.

The way Yuri talk to people, making a way for her daughter is astonishing. Such determination. such confidence. It's equal and supreme when Yuri and Robert Lancedorp have a conversation. His belief and conviction is something that reminds me of Andre Agassi's father. Maybe, to create such legends, you need such fathers who showcase an immense belief. 

Besides all this conviction, his intuition supplemented by few signs are crazy. There was a situation where Maria had to chose to be either left-handed player or right-handed player at the age of 12. Her father says he went on with a sign where he read in a tennis magazine's horoscope page that no.1 female tennis champion would be a right-handed player. That's strange. 

Sharapova's childhood can be put in two words. Uncertainty, Hope.

Her life at the US seemed uncertain now and then but there was hope that brought them to the place where they're right now. Every time, everywhere someone or the other helped them to stay focused on the mission, 'to become a champion'

Sharapova discussed a lot on focus, will, sacrifices and her coaches. How they landed at LA to train under Lancedorp. 

Through this book, I got to know a few more Tennis Stars. Robert Lancedorp, Hanin, Tracy Austin and few more.

I quoted a lot on her thoughts. They're more about game, purpose & attitude. 

Another Send Off

Happy to see you start a new journey
Sad to see the number shrinking

I dream of a day
To see the gang

At one place
Like it ever was!

Happy journey Raul. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Ready to Fire

Reading A.P.J Abdul Kalam's journey at ISRO, I can't wait to know more of ISRO stories. This seems to be interested since spy case is also involved. Found this book at Hyderabad airport. This time, I found two good books at the airport. Unstoppable by Maria Sharapova and this one. Can't wait to start this.

Quote of the hour

“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”
- J.K Rowling

Monday, December 24, 2018

The Book Fair Haul and the smiles i brought along

Soon after attending Lit up, I headed to Hyderabad Book Fair.  Despite being tired but I checked out a lot of book stalls hoping to get some good titles. Got intimidated by looking at the huge crowd. People and books everywhere. Happy to see many people buying a lot of books. I found a book on Handwriting Analysis. I found it interesting and bought it for 125 rupees. 

I hitchhiked from Fair to Metro station. I carried the book in the basket Lit Up people gave. And everyone noticed the basket since it was fancy and colourful. I boarded the station and an old man observed the book in the basket. He kept looking at the book and was trying to read it from a far distance. 3 stations passed and he was still attempting to get a good glance at the book. I took a moment and handed over the book.

"Merry Christmas Sir," I said and left the train rejoicing in the smiles he shared.

This is the letter I shared the experience in a better way. 

Book Launch of Viriah by Krishna Gubili

Krishna Gubili wrote a book on his great grand father. And It's  an intriguing story. 

I see an extraordinary story and a history I've never heard of. I never knew about it. It's surprising to learn about Indentured labour. After the abolishment of slavery, British took 13.3 lakh Indians for work at Sugar Cane fields at Africa. And Viriah is one of them. The great-grandfather of Krishna. He heard a lot about his grandfather and great-grandfather through his grandmother. 
Krishna sharing his writing experience to Harimohan Paruvu

Krishna's friends at the launch.

Listening to Krishna Gubili about his life story and the book reminded me of the book Roots, this book seemed to be Indian Roots. I was sceptical if this would have an impactful story until he started reading a few lines from his book. He selected few chapters from the book and read so well that he shared a lot without sharing much. He read very well. I wished to listen to his stories all day. He also shared his book writing experiences. His struggle with juggling 50 drafts. The way he found an editor who understood him well. It's a beautiful journey I could relate to. 

Great job Krishna. Would love to read the book. This is the story that's worth sharing. 

I was happy when Harry asked me to join him for the book launch he's attending.

We headed to Orion Villas which is right behind WellsFargo. Beautiful place behind the concrete Jungle. 

Movies I watched in this year- 2018 review

This year, I watched a lot more movies that I imagined. 

  1. Udta Punjab
  2. Little Things (Series)
  3. Sacred Games(Series)
  4. Nawab
  5. Tumhari Sullu
  6. Bareily ki Barfi
  7. GeethaGovindam
  8. C/O Kancherapalem
  9. The Prestige
  10. Patience Stone (Iranian)
  11. About Elly(Iranian)
  12. Two Friends(Iranian)
  13. Paterson
  14. Goodachari
  15. Begin Again
  16. Trapped
  17. Priyuralu Pilichindi
  18. Insidious
  19. Pitch Perfect3
  20. Mersal
  21. Kaala
  22. Harmony with AR Rahman(Series)
  23. Immaikka Nodigal
  24. Aravinda Sametha
  25. Sonu Ke Titu ki Sweety
  26. The Intern
  27. Shubh Mangal Saavdhan
  28. Bridge of Spies
  29. The Extraordinary Journey of Fakir
  30. Breathe
  31. Tulip Fever
  32. Sanju
  33. Avengers Last part
  34. Robo 2.O
  35. Maheshinte Prathikaaram
  36. Angamaly Diaries
  37. 96
  38. Ratsasan
  39. Padmaavat
  40. Sometimes
  41. Karwaan
  42. Raazi
  43. October
  44. Comicstaan
  45. The Great Escape
  46. Aruvi
  47. Maryan
  48. Qarib Qarib Single

  49. This is US (Series)
  50. RX 100

Books I read in this year- 2018 review

This year, I intended to read a few classics unlike 2017.
  1. Half Lion by P.V. Narasimha Rao
  2. The Other Side of Me by Sidney Sheldon
  3. The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
  4. White Nights by  Fyodor Dostoevsky
  5. The Great Indian Treasure by Raghunandan
  6. Calling Sehmat by Harinder Sikka
  7. Kafka on the shore by Murakami
  8. Chronicle of Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  9. Notes of a Dream by Krishna Trilok
  10. The Unending Game by Vikram Sood
  11.  I take this  Woman by Rajinder Singh Bedi
  12. Unstoppable by Maria Sharapova

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Crazy Shtupid stuff.

Experiences are described in pictures
Moments are described in stories*

Can anyone articulate and describe those moments and experiences in conversations, please?.

I write these lines in response, looking at the people sharing their experiences, moments and everything through pictures and social media stories. My friend Fanta Farhan read it and asked what's my problem.

 We got to live, in real, more than we live through pictures and social media stories.

Farhad never bothered to listen to me and kept watching an Insta story,

"OK. Listen. Look at this. This shit is crazy dude!," said Fanta Farhan.

"What's crazy?" I questioned. 

"This dude jumps from a crazy shit height."

Oh. You think jumping  off from such a height is shit?"

No dude! I meant it was great. 

"Oh. Shit man, I never thought you're shitty at sharing shit stuff."

"Are you making fun of  me?"

"NO" was my answer.

"I'm talking about the way you talk shit stuff. I mean great stuff. 

God bless the shit and people who do that!"

And I kept writing. 

"The reason why we should be conscious of sharing our experiences, moments through conversations is because, you end up saying something and mean something when you hardly speak in person compared to the time you spend on social media sharing.

Shit in real is shit.  The world has far more other metaphors to use. Can you think a bit and start talking rather than sharing everything through a story! Because, in the future, you may forget what it is to talk in words since you only live through stories.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Music Notes- In the loop

Bala's choice of music is good. As we go for a ride, he says, "I'll make you listen to this song. You'll love it." And he played Sid Sriram's Undiporadhey. As it looped in, we hummed and rode around dropping in at a few places. 

We don't call it a day until we listen to a few of our evergreen favorites. It always includes A.R.Rahman songs. 

The recent one he discovered was a song from Jodi. "I've never seen such a climax in my life," he exclaims looking at the movie. Poor fellow didn't observe that all the movies end on same way or the other.

Music Notes- A great start

Starting the day with Robo.2.0 music is energising. Amidst chilling cold morning, at the sight of all the planes, I forget I'm deprived of sleep for more than 48 hours. I tap my feet, I sway my hands forgetful of my presence on the ground. While everyone is busy taking selfies at the flight, I'm smiling, breathing intensely to take it all in. The cold breeze. The thump and the rhythm. Good day to start.

Further Robo 2.0, I get reminded of Shasha's Khamaj at Ishq FM. And I listen to that song. It became a lullaby as I sit at a window seat dozing off. Such a soothing voice. Great start to my day.

Kids and their ways.

It's fun to observe kids. The way they learn, the things they do. They're hilarious. I met this 3-year-old kid, Huzair, adorably cute fellow.
Huzair checking out my headphones

He wanted to cut the tail of tiger with his new sword, the carrot.

Huzair drinking at his table.
Often cries without a slight hint of being observed. Stops crying the moment he gets what he wants. Wants his mother to feed him but, wants to drink milk on his own sitting on the table. He hits his mom for some reason, and when she asks, "Sorry Bolo."

He smiles and says, "Welcome"

"Arre Sorry Bolo, main thank you Nahi Bola."
"Welcomeeeee." and he runs away.
No chucks are given about any selfie at all


Anjali & I

Anjali offered me to sit with her and watch cartoons. It's been long since I watched cartoons. I don't know what cartoons nowadays are coming. All I remember are mickey mouse, Swatcats, Uncle Donald, and later Richie Rich, Power Rangers, Pokemon. Anjali watched Mickey Mouse and offered to see the same. 

I never knew that mickey mouse shorts existed. I don't even remember for how long the episodes were back in my time. These Mickey mouse shorts are a breeze as I enjoyed watching them after a long time.
Every tale has a good story. There's a conflict but still, at the end, there's a good note. I ponder how difficult is it to write for the kids. You gotta entertain them as well write a gripping story. The animation is one tool to attract the kids yet, the stories are the key.

Later we had our stint at Badminton. All during, when I was deprived of sleep badly. 

Spared from Anjali, I took a 10-minute nap to recover while she watched 3 mickey mouse shorts. 

After a little bit of a game, it's TV time. We watched K.C.Under Cover serial. 
Thanks to Anjali, I'm introduced to all kinds of serials. This time, the serial has a spy agency backdrop, it's is new and interesting.

After all this, Harry & I had this Chai pe Charcha. Anjali joined us a few times and hinted us to do something else. Thus, we ended up trying our hand at Carroms also.

Carroms remind me of my fellas' games at Sports Complex. Satwik's commentary on all the moves and Shyam's professionalism. It was fun.

Before I take a leave, we decided to eat dinner. Anjali& I cooked Maggi together. Both of us had our own ways to cook. She decided the amount of water. I decided not to break the noodles. She wanted it to be soupy. I had no particular choice of that. I went along with her. And then we had Maggi special masala. Good fun. I headed out to my place as she went on watching Mickey mouse shorts again.  Good day.

Truffle Towers- A beautiful place

I've been searching for a place to read and write and hog at times. Truffle towers seem to be that place. This place doesn't play music which is good. It has couches where I put my bag next to me and bring all the books on the table. 

They even have few books on the shelf. A row of books. And few board games. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Stories on wheels - Talks during hitchhiking

Small talks.

I was always conscious of what I talk to strangers. I tend to stay silent if there's something that I disagree upon. At most, I deviate the conversation to talk about other things.
During my hitchhiking near Mysore, I reached Srirangapatna and was in awe at Tipi Sultan's glory. Knowing about his usage of rockets at an early age let me remember him for good reasons.

I received a ride on a bike who graciously asked my whereabouts. Realizing I'm from outside, he shared what's famous in Sri ranga Patnam and started narrating Tipu Sultan's stories. 

It'd have been nice if he stopped there but he kept on going from trump till all the religions. He spoke ill of all religions and boasted his whereabouts. 

Least interested to continue on this conversations, I neither nod nor debate about it. Simply, I got off the vehicle telling I reached the place. 

I value the small talks and I can't afford it to be bigotry talks. 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Deccan Project Diaries

Early morning, witnessed the hustle of the Deccan Project Boys, Rajeev, Dileep, and other friends. 

Everyone was waiting for the boys to settle in. Amidst perfect ambiance, I strolled around. Golden hours they call, before the sunbeam rays hit hards.  While everyone is waiting, Rajeev put the music that's of Kappa TV and a few local bands. I've never heard those songs. Thanks, Rajeev for the suggestion.

And then the photoshoot got started. Shreya was right there helping to see things fall in place. Deprived of sleep and yet, she worked whole day juggling various things. God bless her. 


Thakara's voice has the texture that's very original and raw. Good stuff.

Took a good nap and headed to Harry's place. 

Friends- Happy Birthday Aniruddha

Aniruddha called up and enquired if I'm free on 20th evening. "Yes" I responded. You are coming for a birthday dinner, he affi...