Saturday, October 31, 2020

Movie- Kapurush

 Satyajit Ray's movie. A tea manager's vehicle gets break down. A host offers him to stay at his place. The host wife turns out to be his ex. Their conversations is what cinema is about. 

Poem- Desk Work

Chiku and Ankita discovered the Desk Work Book, used to design mock tests for their practice. At the end of the term, I wanted them to get habituated to the pattern. I assumed, they're not familiar with these kinda workbooks. I was wrong. They're over-familiar with it. They rely on these workbooks only. 

Chiku got all workbooks except English. Other teachers have suggested them to get one. No one asked them in English. These kids are punctual and honest about their studies. Discussing with them, I realized that they want to study but, they cannot visualize themselves studying beyond the 10th.

Sketch of the day


Thoughts- Death

Death. Death seemed to be a serious and important part of our life. Everyone pushes it aside not discussing it yet, it stares into us, if doubted shows us the possibilities of being dead. 

Thoughts flick in the night and the light. In dreams, in dreading reality, before I realize, my thoughts loosened beyond my control and race to the wildest imaginations. I'm thinking about a particular thought. Train of thought is on a ride that seemed to take it's own track. I think of all the highs in my life, in a flick, the thought changes and I think of the sorrows of my life.  My thought process is given the shape of web takes a messy path unable to understand where it all started. 

It all started at Death. What would you do if someone kills you? Without thinking further on logic, the fear takes over and fogs the mind with it's wild imagination. 

We maintain a distance from death. We do not want to talk about it. We do not want to see the possibilities for we are scared of us losing control and be dead. 

Life is all you make it. never know who influences you who inspires you who asks you the most. You seem 

Let the darkness glitter the light. 

Movie- Comedy Couple

A stand-up comedian couple sorts out their relation while performing their life on stage. Shweta Basu acted well. 

Friday, October 30, 2020

Thoughts- Poetry to be understood or felt?

I want to understand and appreciate poetry better! I told Pallavi. 

You don't need to understand poetry. It's not written for comprehension!

Maybe, I thought. 

Today, I read Rabindranath's Tagore, Life in my Words. 

Talking about Poetry and understanding,  Rabindranath writes, 

But does one write poetry to explain something? Something felt within the heart tries to find outside shape as a poem. So when, after listening to a poem, anyone says he has not understood, I am nonplussed. If someone smells a flower and says he does not understand, the reply to him is there is nothing to understand, it is only a scent. If he persists, saying that I know, but what does it all mean?" Then one either has to change the subject or make it more abstruse by telling him that the scent is the shape which the universal joy takes in the flower... 

That words have meanings is just the difficulty. That is why the poet has to turn and twist them in metre and verse, so that the meaning may be held somewhat in check, and the feeling allowed a chance to express itself.

This utterance of feeling is not the statement of fundamental truth, or a scientific fact, or a useful moral precept. Like a tear or a smile, a poem is but a picture of what is taking place within. If Science or Philosophy may gain anything from it they are welcome, but that is not the reason of its being.

Eight KM Cycle Ride

Got my knees hurt in a small road accident, I stayed at home resting for 9 days. The knee was healed and off I went for a cycle ride in the morning, after a long time. 

Consciously, I dropped the phone at home and carried only a mask and a few rupees with me. Cycling after one and a half year, I enjoyed it.  

The morning bluish sky teemed with green paddy fields. Spacious deserted roads. People walking out of their homes that are laid next to the road. I rode 8 km without much struggle. I assumed I would pant after a few km but, I felt refreshed and enjoyed the ride.

On returning to home, I spotted a bunch of joggers and walkers on road. Everyone glued up to the phones.  A couple of lads hung out early morning, with their phones out and glued to their screens. How do they wake up so early, only to use phones in open spaces? I thought. 

Am I being too conscious of phone-free mornings? I don't know. 


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Book- Behave by Robert Sapolsky

“Avoid categorical thinking!” advises Robert before beginning the book. This book is to be in the question of ‘why do we do what we do?’ We got the answers, the reader may celebrate but, in a twist, the author clarifies how complicated is it to obtain an answer.

Rather than finding the answers, it is fun to be in the question and explore various opportunities/ explanations.

Organizing in a timeline style, at first, we explore seconds before action, hours to day before , days to a month before, and millennia before.

Seconds before:  Nervous system

Hours to days before: Environment and Stimuli

Days to Months before: Endocrinological (Hormones) (heard it after 10th standard bio classes only!)

Thousands of years ago: Genetics

Going back further, there’s a lot about adolescence, childhood, gestation period and we even go further millennia before, a study on gene, gene/environment interaction.

As we are through half of the book, the narrative style is changed from timeline to theme wise. A lot of topics were discussed. Evolution of behaviour, US vs Them, Hierarchy, Obedience and Resistance and a lot more. In these chapters, there’s a lot of references of all the first half of the book that includes the foundations of the book.

Author point out various studies and arguments that convince you of one position, only to pull the carpet out from underneath your feet with an equal compelling counterargument.

Author emphasises that reason and emotion (“cognition and affect”) always interact, and that there are advantages to “combining reason with intuition”.

These places influence these actions accordingly:  

- ventromedial prefrontal cortex/vmPFC (emotion); and

- dorsolateral prefrontal cortex/dlPFC (logic)

They are always in a battle for domination.

The frontal cortex isn’t totally formed until someone is in their mid-20s!

Caution: Everywhere when the author mentioned this kind of statements, he intends of average. 

The most interesting part of the book was the Us vs Them. 

Fifty-millisecond exposure to the face of someone of another race activates the amygdala while failing to activate the fusiform face area as much as same-race faces do- all within a few hundred milliseconds. 

"There are two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who don't."

There are more of the first kind says, the Author. Explaining Us vs Them, the author explains how we implicitly think in this manner. "Implicit Association Test" helps us to check where do we stand with our implicit biases. 

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Interesting reads- Active listening

These days, I discovered the joy of listening. The more I listen, the more I am able to reflect and understand the other person's thoughts. I am still learning it. 

Perks of active listening. 

1. We get to understand what the person is saying

2. We can reflect 

3. Practice the art of being patient and responsive rather than impatient and reactive. 

Stories on Wheels- The Morning Poha

Every time, I take a morning flight from Ahmedabad, I reach Ahmedabad by 4-5 AM. I head to airport. One early morning, on my way to the airport in an auto,  the auto guy suggested, "Eat Poha here. It's good." From then on, I continued eating Poha there whenever I visit Ahmedabad. 

Today,I got three packs of Poha, to eat all by myself throughout my journey. Even at 4 am, the stall is open and got a lot of options to eat and begin our day. 


Memories- Souvenirs

Tickets, scribbled notes, newspaper cuttings. I discover a lot of articles that remind me of days, events, experiences, and conversations. I was clearing the shelves and going through a few books. Look what I found. 

These are the tickets, we purchased when Vikas and I traveled to Vijayawada. Later, Vikas to Bhuvaneshwar and I to Hyderabad. 10.Oct.2013. I remember the day and the vivid memories still flash in my mind. We traveled during the Sakala Janula Samme, no buses were running to the Andhra region. We lost the CVSR tournament by four points. We met Prudvi for the first time. We were confident of our game but, we lost it by 4 points. Sandy Bhai was also at the court. Vikas had to get on to the train. He chose to play for the team. I do not know what was running in his mind. Later, the journey we took was an exhilarating one changing our lives in one way or the other. 

In dialogue with Aman

 "Elizabeth Poor law was put in 1601. There's a separate law to serve the poor and we do not have any of those sorts to serve the poor now." shared Aman, discussing the social work.  

Aware of Elizabeth's story through a few movies and anecdotes, I shared about Anne Boleyn and the way, Elizabeth turned to the queen. 

Our conversation went on including history, politics, and various other streams. 

I shared about my current read, "Behave" by Robert Sapolsky. I shared the mindsets of left and right-wing people. Aman shared why the left is called left and right is called right in politcal context. "During the french revolution, the working class used to sit on the left side and was called Left-wing. The aristocrats sat on the right-wing of the assembly and that's how the ideologies got their names as left and right." Interesting. 

Travel Diaries - Flying during the pandemic situation.

Flying during the pandemic situation, we entered the airport sanitizing the luggage prior. Thermal gun screening.  And a self-check-in. 

The CISF police got a huge screen through which they look at our pass through the screen. Easy breeze. To my surprise, I could see a huge queue with no physical distancing for bag tags. 

I was relieved as indigo got several counters and there's only one person at each and every counter waiting. 

"Do you have an E-Pass to travel?" asked the person. "I don't have it," I replied. "We'll do it for you through the backend." She suggested. An easy solution. 

I walked into the security check-in.  There were so many people at this place that it seemed impossible to maintain 2-feet-physical-distancing. The security got a head mask, frisking us with metal detectors without any contact. 

We were offered a plastic shield and a white gown to wear. It seemed to be the new normal. The pilots, hostesses, every crew got on them. 

We took off at 8.40, right on time, and landed before the arrival time at 10.10. We were served only water on the plane. The hostesses were helpful and often reminded of the mandatory task. 'wear the masks and the face shield.' 

A layover at Hyderabad airport for a couple of hours. I spent some time at the bookshop. Checked out a few attractive book covers. Tishani Doshi's new book seemed interesting. Read a couple of poems and hung out at the place.  The masks are the new normal. People were on a buying spree. From necessary to the luxurious stuff. They got everything open. Chumbak reminded me of Pragjna. 

We took off at 2.30, a five-minute delay but, we hit the destination 40 minutes earlier. Woah. Landed at decent Tirupati airport. 

Flying during the pandemic situation caused me anxious but, adaptable to the new situation. 

Friday, October 23, 2020

Sketch of the day

I drew the lines and Dad colored them. It's interesting to see how he interprets my lines.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Happy Birthday Ridheiy! :D

Last three months of the year got a flavour that brings peace, happiness and hope in life.

Friends' birthdays is one more reason to celebrate the time of this year. October 19th is Ridheiy's birthday. 

I cherish all our banter, hang outs and the most, the heartful laughs we had over anything and everything. 

I celebrate your birthday with a joy and love. Love the way you colour your life with all the positive vibes. Happy birthday Ridheiy! God bless you!.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Poetry- Kabir- River Sutra

 My heart is tangled in the locks of your hair. 

I swoon in the gaze of your narcissus eyes. 

My whole being circles you. 

To decorate the soles of your feet? 

Sight was only a halftone away

Do not turn in loathing from me. 

O Beloved, can you not see

Only Love disfigures me?

I quoted these lines from the book, River Sutra. 

Language learnings- Once upon a time....

 Whenever we communicate, we try to speak in the language we are familiar with. Here, in Rajasthan, Sirohi, I try to speak Hindi whereas, my work demands are to help others learn English. Most of the time, people do not get out of their comfort zone to make mistakes and learn English. Shankar is an exception. He always tries to speak English. People mock him, make fun of him. He doesn't give a damn to all the trolls. He enjoys being himself and lets himself to be wrong at times. 

Over time, his English has improved in commendable ways. Apparently, he is in love with the word, 'apparently.' One of his frequent words. Jokes apart, whenever he wants to share a memory or his life experiences, he shares it in English without many efforts. Great progress indeed. 

Nevertheless, we are fortunate to listen to his liners, 'once upon a time, there's a tree.'  Sometimes, he coined words as well. "Mastripolation." "Opundefacation" are a few to mention.

The way Shankar learns the language inspires me to dabble with Hindi. Thanks, Shankar. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Music Memories- Classics and a few gems

 Like the words of air hostesses, if there’s an expressionless voice all over the place. How do we live a life without a tune?

Pallavi and I spent the evening, listening to different genres of music. Play some music,” suggested Pallavi, "Play Shubha Mudgal."

For the first time, I heard Shubha Mudgal's songs. 

Baire Chain. 

Seekho Na, Dere Dere. Pallavi explained the lyrics of all the songs. She took immense pleasure in listening to the words that can be interpreted as food for thought in life. 

The way Pallavi loves words, language heartens me. It's exhilarating to see the person loving the language and life. Listening to every line, she recites it and sighs. A sight to see.

All my life, I have listened to Yesudas in all the south Indian languages. His heart-melting voice touches all the souls.

I got to know him during 2007. In my 7th class, my Dad lived in Tamil Nadu. We were traveling on a bus for Vellore. I listened to the song, 'Gaali Vaanalo,' a Telugu song. I was too young to listen to the words of the song. I was touched by the voice. The driver seemed to be a fan of Yesudas. I spent 5 hours, listening to only Yesudas songs. That’s how I could match the voice to the name, “Yesudas.”

 Pallavi played a Hindi song sung by Yesudas. It reminded me of "Tere Mere Milan ki Ye Rehna."

Later, we listened to a few classics. Dil Ki Nazar

Pallavi shared the times when she watched the movie, 1942, a Love Story. "Appealing visuals," she mentioned. 

Monday, October 12, 2020

Stories with Navnit

I went and sat near him wondering what he is up to. He was working on a event, designing on ‘Disaster Reduction.’

He gets a basic idea on anything and everything. He evaluates it, thinks of it’s purpose and acts on it. Tomorrow is disaster reduction day. Contextual and needed. He got the event ready. He made a poster, created an event, worked on the content. Now he is working on PPT. ‘How do you get ideas Navnit?’

He continued his work as if he did not hear it or felt unnecessary to explain his thought process.

How did you get the idea to work on this Navnit ji? No answer. “Chalo, I am leaving. I’ll walk into library.” I mentioned. “Rukhiye na ji. I will finish the PPT, and show you for the feedback.” He said.

What knowledge do I have to give feedback, I thought?

It’s navnit’s style. He talks and he shares, thinks loud and improvises. It’s his style of working on any work.

I gave him a few suggestions on the format.  "Teekhe ji. Aise rakhiyenge na." He  hears my suggestions, thinks of it and sticks to his style of PPT.  How wrong was to expect others to take my suggestions seriously! It's nice he asked suggestions, he can always use it or discard it. 

Navnit showed me big fat books lying on his table. “You would have never seen the face of it also. I took all these from Govt books only,” he shared.  I could assume two situations from his words. One that he is humble about no added talent of his. He credits the sources, he acquires knowledge from. His references are always helpful and informative.

“Hojayega  ye. Bhadiya heh na.” He keeps his mouth cornered, lifts his head, stares at the screen and reads the text and went on formatting it. I walk out of the room, wondering what’s in my desk to brainstorm ideas from.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Movie- Nayakudu

 Based on the life of Varadarajan Mudaliar, Maniratnam made this movie. Classic. Loved the cinematography and the background score. Especially the wide shots. Kamal is commendable. Curious to know more about Varadarajan. 

Memories- My 8th Class at St.Joseph High School


I studied 8th in St. Joseph High School. I studied only in the 8th class there but, I made many friends there.  I turned 13 and I penned down my thoughts, feelings in a diary given by my dad. Inspired by 200 Secrets of success, I shared my perspectives on attitude towards children. Why there’s a change in the thought process, what’s good, what’s bad. I had many such questions as a teenager. Dad was working in Vellore at that time. We constructed a new house in our village. I made many friends in school.

Sister Anitha was our class teacher. I was amused by the act of touching elders’ feet. On the teacher’s day; I took the blessings of the sister. She laughed a lot as I bent to take the blessings. I was not the kind of touch-the-feet-person to seek blessings. She knew it. I knew it but, I do not remember how I gave it in. 

I had many friends. Rony, Kareem, Sudeshna, Yamini, Amulya were a bit close of all.

In the guy gang, Ibrahim, Younus, Gopal, Srikant, Rahmat, Adil, Pio, Ajay,

Madhurima, Susmitha Priya, Shirin, Zoya, Prashanti, Venezuela, and many more are the girls. There were many people in the class.

Ajay’s mom is a primary teacher. Kareema Begum was our Hindi teacher. Rani mam was our Telugu teacher. Teresa was our biology teacher. Sister Anitha was our English teacher. Srinivas was our Math teacher. I couldn’t remember who our social teacher was. Ajith taught us physics.

Ayesha was the only competition for me. I was the topper of the class. Ayesha always came second. I was never particular about marks but to my surprise, Ayesha was not even into it. We both were trying to be our best without comparing with anyone. Others were always observant of our marks and results than us. 

It was in 8th class, Sudhakar, my P.T teacher encouraged me to participate in a cricket tournament. I went with him to Arts college for the tournament. I also attended a few practices. I found it tough but, I enjoyed the whole process of hanging out with friends outside the school. Mixing with seniors. I was the keeper in the team. 


Half Lion by Vinay Sitapati

 If there’s one book that talks in detail about P.V’s thoughts, actions, traits, that’s Half Lion.

As his name says it all, Narasimha Rao is indeed a Half Lion.

P.V.Narasimha Rao is an intriguing personality. His traits are tediously interesting. Plainly displeasing. Anything but peculiar.

Usually, he is the topic elders talk when they recall India crises.

“Economic reforms, Babri Masjid, his political legacy, polyglot. These are few topics what everyone told but, the reason why he was in the way he was, was only explained in Half Lion written by Vinay Sitapati.

The kind of effort, Vinay put for this book is commendable and  immense. He reminds me of the quote, “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping the gift and not presenting it.” Vinay didn’t commit that mistake. He appreciated where there is due. He expressed his questions where it has to be raised. P.V. deserve this book. P.V. absolutely deserve the appreciation. He deserves a lot more acknowledgement for what he is and what he has done. Vinay made an attempt and did his work well. Things I learnt from this book are stunning.  More to write about P.V on another post.

Knowing the course of India through P.V’s actions is inspiring.

I suggest this book to everyone who are interested to know more about the only prime minister who envisaged great dreams for India.

Reading- Holt lessons and more

John Holt suggests students to read the parts that excite them. "When you read for knowledge. And you are humiliated. You can never pick them."

He gives an interesting analogy.  

Mark Twain once said that a cat that sat on a hot stove lid would never sit on one again-but it would never sit on a cold one either. As true of children as of cat. If they, so to speak, sit on a hot book a few times, if books cause them humiliation and pain, they are likely to decide that the safest thing to do is to leave all books alone. 

Psychology- An Interesting Experiment

An interesting experiment on 'conformity.' How do we give in to the majority. How do we distort our reality? 

It's also interesting how support from one individual punctures the trust in the majority to an extent.  There's a lot to know on how we practise conformity in our daily lives. 

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Poem- Dear Meaning

 Dear Meaning,

            Flipped Pages

                        Scrolled Screens

                                    Are you in the binary numbers one and Zero?

                                    Are you in twenty-six alphabets?     

                                                                         Or in any symbols?

                                           Where do I find you?


                                            Do I know you to find you?

                                            Do I know myself to search for you?

                                             I do.


                                                                                    Do I?

Friday, October 9, 2020

We are the Music Makers

T M Krishna talked about his book Sebastian and Sons. Informative and learning discourse on the nuances of social, cultural elements in the music field.

One interesting aspect that he touched upon, is 'knowledge.' What's regarded and celebrated as knowledge. The more physical it is, the less consideration we give it to it. We celebrate Mridangam players but, not the skill of Mridangam making. 

Another argument, he touched upon, is the problem of supply chain business. "It's the usual supply chain issue. The makers do not get the spotlight."

But, Krishna talks about the factors that hamper them to get the spotlight, even if one attempts for. 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Movie- Cycle

 An astrologer gets a cycle from his grandfather. It's his prized possession. And the story is about what happens to it. Heartwarming. Rich visuals and soothing background score. The story is enjoyable thanks to the simple plot, extraordinary cinematography, and background score. 

Thoughts- Stroop Effect & Spies

 Ridheiy and I were discussing a few events for TEDxHyderabad@Youth. "Shall we try out this game. There'll be words of colours in different colours. We ask the participants to call out the colour names but not the words."  "That's called the Stroop effect. I studied it," she said.  "Stroop effect? Whatever. That's the game." I replied. 

We bounced off with a lot of ideas but, learning that the game has a name, "Stroop effect," was with me for a long time. I was reading about attention and I read about how the Stroop effect helps people to identify spies. 

Stroop effect and Spies. I was attentive. 

Russian spies, staying in the US used to claim that they do not know the Russian language at all. They'd be asked to take the Stroop effect test. In the test, If they know the Russian language, they'd be slow in reading out the colours. If they do not know, they would blurt out the words, "Yellow. Blue." Interesting to hear how Spies were identified in the 80s

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Soliloquies- Automaticity

 I sat at my desk. I had a laptop in front of me. I held a printed article paper in my hands and read throughout. I reached the bottom line of the page. Immediately, my fingers went onto the arrow keys to scroll down. Oops, we can't scroll the physical pages. The automaticity of scrolling down the webpages!. Am I forgetting the habit of flipping pages? Yikes! Scary!

Monday, October 5, 2020

Stories in frames


Lessons others taught me- Giving space

In life,  often we take things for granted.  During my training days, I was sent to a training place( synergy park) for shadowing a few people to learn the work. I spent weeks enjoying my training. 

My four-week training got ended and a message pops up on my phone, Aravind Unnikrishnan: The new account is set up in Adibatla. Would you like to join us tomorrow?

I am obliged to follow his orders. It's obvious that I need to leave my training place to move to my workplace. Why did Aravind ask me? He could have told me, "Your training is over. Come to the new office," He could say that. 

Why did he ask me? I mulled over. 

I learnt that It's important we give out space for others to decide rather than impose our orders. Giving an option, I felt I decided to go rather than feeling that I am following the orders.  Leaving a space to decide gives us the option of owning our actions. Thanks, Aravind for giving the space and teaching me the ownership. 

Friday, October 2, 2020

Anecdotes & Realizations- Anjali's New Blog

 Anjali turned 13 this year and she started blogging. Here's the blog.   In the beginning, only, she comes up with an interesting series - That thing in my room. "History is everywhere. Each item in my room has it's own unique history." writes Anjali. I'm happy to read all her stories. Keep writing Anjali. Happy Birthday!

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Poem- The Colour Board


I walked on the terrace

at 19.04  

It's full in its place

Hung above the hills

Shining bright. 

A look at another side. 

The Sun has set

The horizon has its colours on the sleeves

A look over my heard

The orange hues, the dim blue skies

Loomed over above

Bringing the palette of colours. 

Thought- Being healthy is a commitment

Being healthy is a life long commitment we need to give to ourselves. Many a times, many friends hinted me that there's a lot that goes ...