Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hey, Today is declared a holiday!

Ram silently sneaked out of his bed. It was 5 A.M. He peeked outside the window. It was raining cats and dogs outside. He put on the television and switched to sun news. His dad and mom felt so proud to watch his 10 years old kid watching news at this time of the day. They were mistaken probably. They were admiring him silently. Suddenly he started jumping in joy. He ran towards the bedroom shouting. 

"It is a holiday today due to rain! Hurray!" 

His dad was embarrassed about his thought. But he too laughed with his kid. 

"The Corporation of Chennai has declared holiday for schools and colleges in Chennai in wake of heavy rains!" 

This has been the most wanted news for every school and college student for the past few years. Everyone look forward to heavy rains in morning and a declaration of holiday following it. School kids put on TV very early and they switch to news channels. Parents of those kids feel so proud to see their kids watching news channels so early. But they are mostly mistaken. 

When heavy rains lash the city, the people suffer a lot due to the roads, transport, electricity, water, money, winds and what not. The roads in several places become so bad and damaged that they can't be used. The travel during this time of the year becomes so difficult due to the heavy rains which get us drenched completely in spite of precautions like umbrella or raincoats. Those who can afford cars can travel safely. But what about the condition of common people who can afford only a public transport or a two-wheeler? They have no other go but to get wet in rain and proceed. 

This is the reason why the Government declares holiday for the schools and colleges. It is to avoid the sufferings of the common students who travel a longer distance. But why is it they don't declare holidays when it is raining heavily or when we need it? They declare holiday when it drizzles and when we don't want.The kids see this as an enjoyment because of the holiday. 

Image: Harikrishna Raghuraman

But College students are matured enough. Can't they come in rain? I am an under grad student. I too have to travel a far distance to reach my college and I find it difficult. But I too feel very happy when I hear about a holiday. First and foremost today's exam is cancelled. So no fear, no tension, no pressure. Second, we can take rest for some hours midst the busy schedule. Then, we have a fair amount of time to prepare for tomorrow's exam. Yes, we have a fair need of holiday. We too look eagerly for rains so that a holiday may be announced. But these holidays turn deadly for us at this time of the academic year. We have our semester 15 days ahead. Our study holidays start next Tuesday after our third internals which ends on Monday. But today it seems that the heavy rainfall has decided for a declaration of holiday. Our today's exam will be postponed to next Tuesday which will cut short the study holidays by one day. So it is us those who are going to suffer though we are happy at present. The other departments have their lab semester exams scheduled today which also will get postponed to some other day. This will increase our pressure which will last till the end of the exams. 

Image: Harikrishna Raghuraman

Rain Rain rain, go away, 
Come again another day.
College students want to play;
Cyclone, cyclone, go away,
Show your face another day!

Anyways the cyclone will swiftly pass our state and cross the lands somewhere in Andhra or Orissa. We will have yet another sunny time soon. We people are so enigmatic. We pray for rains throughout the summer for the fear of the heat. But when rains lash, we curse them for making our day dull sitting at home. These rains never allow us to do our daily routine which can always do in summer. The sun makes us tired yet it never intrudes in our daily work. But the rains make us so dull and it intrudes in our daily life. Yet the feeling of eating a hot snack in home watching a heavy rainfall is eternal when compared to drinking a cold beverage under the hot sun. 

A few lines from "How Beautiful is the rain" by HW Longfellow!

From the neighbouring school
Come the boys,
With more than their wonted noise
And commotion;
And down the wet streets
Sail their mimic fleets,
Till the treacherous pool
Engulfs them in its whirling
And turbulent ocean.

In the country, on every side,
Where far and wide,
Like a leopard's tawny and spotted hide
Stretches the plain,
To the dry grass and the drier grain
How welcome is the rain! 

So I am gonna admire this rainy day with a hot snack and curse it at the same time for reducing my study holidays!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Navarathri Golu! These Nine Days!

As usual I was sitting in front of my computer visiting random pages through Wikipedia. 

"Hari, it’s time! When are you going to invite your friends to our home?" asked my mom.
"Friends? For what?" 
"Hey Navarathri begins tomorrow da! Did you forget?" 
"Oh!! Nope... Okay will discuss and tell you!" 

(Oh my God! Again the hard work! I have to disappear!) 

When the word Navarathri strikes my mind, there are several which comes alongside with it.


The exquisite idols of various Gods, divine people, sages, leaders, animals, birds, and plants certainly attract kids for this is a festival for them. Usually they are wrapped in papers and are put in a box. These boxes remain in the attic for the remaining 356 days of the year. The day before the beginning of Navarathri, we put down these boxes and we remove those papers and get excited to see the ravishing dolls thinking about their history.

“Ithu unaku 2 vayasu irukum bothu vanginathu!” ( This was bought when you were 2 years old!)
“Itha na 50 rupees ku mailapore la vanginen!” (I bought this for 50 rupees at Mailapore!) 

Simultaneously the stand for the golu will be arranged by someone else in the home. A dhoti will be put on this stand and various decorations also will be done by the ladies. After all this, the idols will be placed on the stand after a lengthy discussion about their position in the stand. We clean the home, decorate it and fill it with devotion. 

Image: Harikrishna Raghuraman


We usually have fast foods as our snacks in the evening which are hazardous to our health. These nine days not only give us spiritual knowledge but also various other knowledge. One of them is about health. Yes! These nine days give us nutritious snack "The sundal" which is the boiled version of the dhals or maizes. They are full of proteins and vitamins. I have seen several road side kids rushing to homes to get this sundal and other preparations and devour them. This also makes these nine days a great blessing for these hapless kids who don't get good food throughout the year. We people knowingly or unknowingly involve in the pristine and a blessed habit of donation.

Image Courtesy: Harikrishna Raghuraman 


We have become lazy creatures. This Navarathri makes us wake up early everyday and engage in our duties.

"Wake up, Hari!"
"Ma! It’s Sunday!" 
"Hey, it’s Navarathri! You should not be sleeping now! It's past six AM!" 

After this wake up ceremony, there will be devotional songs singing and devotional slokas chanting. And we must certainly engage in it. Hence I too participate in it singing the songs loudly (inviting dogs and donkeys inside). There will be poojas and prayers in my home throughout the year yet this Navarathri stands apart from all making it a grand occasion. Everywhere I turn inside my home, there will be Gods looking at me and sacred chants ringing inside my ears. There will be fragrance from the flowers decorating the Gods and the incense sticks.


There will be people visiting home during these days. And it’s a tradition to honor these people by giving them coconut, betel leaf, fruits, kungumam, turmeric and a valuable gift. That gift varies. A blouse bit for elderly ones and also for the most respected ladies, for the relatives and close friends. A household item (Plastic or Stainless steel) for young ladies. Cosmetic items for girls clip, sticker, ear-rings, bangles, chain etc. Then stationary items for kids pencil, pen, box, eraser, scale etc. 

Image Courtesy: Harikrishna Raghuraman

I hear some of you questioning me. "What for boys?" 
"Arey this is not a boys festival!"

If you are looking for the type of gifts to boys, please look under the section "Sundal"!! We, boys, prefer eatables to these earthly goods!


And if you are a girl, you are doomed during these days! The first question they ask you when you go to golu is, "Do you know to sing?" If you reply in positive, you must sing. If you reply in negative, then also you must sing. There is no way to escape.

"Ponnunga yarachum paatu padu ma!" (Any of you girls, please sing a song!)
(Everybody blinks. Then an elderly lady will point one of the girls there.) 
"Enaku paada varathu!" (I can't sing) 
"Paatu kathundrukiyo?" (Are you learning to sing?) 
"Illa mami" (No aunt) 
"Paravala, chumma oru naalu vari padu ma!" (No problem, sing at least four lines) 

Boys are safe!

And not to forget, the traditional way of dressing! Skipping jeans, kurdhi and t shirts, girls love to wear pavada dhavani or sarees and they show that they too have not forgotten the tradition! Boys?

"Arey this is not a boys festival!"

Apart from all these, there are things like travel, chatting, relationships etc which can be experienced from these days. The first three days are for Goddess Durga, the next three for Goddess Lakshmi and the last three for Goddess Saraswathi! It started with a loud bang this year nine days back. It is ending today with a smile. Now it's time for wrapping all those back and putting them in attic. I am feeling a bit bad about putting them back up. Somehow I have felt so close to "these days" every time and I find it difficult to leave them. This happens every year. Bidding them goodbye is not an easy thing. But there is no other way! My mom will beat me if I ask her to leave this throughout the year with no help from me! So let us all bid "these days" a very good bye and hope it comes back next year bringing more happiness and prosperity!

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Dirty Job

"Dad, when are we going to do this?"
"I am not sure. I need some time to plan this."
"You are not in your form. Shall I do it this time?"
"What?! You? No. I myself will do it. I can’t allow you to get your hands dirty!"
"But dad!"
"No. This is too risky. I will do it on my own!"
"If so, at least give me permission to be with you when you do your assigned task!"
"Hmmm... (Thinks) Okay. But you should do nothing without my orders. Is that clear?"
"Yes dad. So shall we execute this tomorrow morning?"
"Tomorrow morning? Are you kidding me? This is too risky and dirty job to be done in the morning. We have to do it at night."
"But why at night?"
"The place where we are going to do it is a crowded one which gives an image of the hustle and bustle of the city life. We should not disturb the common people."
"Okay dad. For God's sake when are we going to finish it? Last time when they called you to do this kind of job which involves a great risk, you told that it would be the final time. But now you are doing it again. I don't like this."
"But what could I do? There is no one else whom they can believe and who can finish this neatly!"

"Should you do this only because they don't have anyone else this time?"
"Yeah! And I have received my part of money for it. I have to do it. There is no retreat."
"But this is my request. Please don't do it again. Promise me that this is the last time that your get your hands dirty. You can't always escape. Please Promise me."

Image Courtesy: Harikrishna Raghuraman

(Dad thinks)
"Okay. You are turning to be a respected man in the society. This will be the last time. Promise."
"Thank you."
He embraced his dad.

The day arrived. Both went to the place. There was no sound but for the chirping of the crickets. The old guy looked around to ensure that none was watching them. He handed over his possessions to him to make sure that nothing fell there while he was engaged in his work.
"Hand me that."
His son gave him for what he asked. He was frightened to be at that place in that time.

The old guy jumped into the drainage pit. A card shone in his hand. He took it from the things given by his father. There was his father's photograph with a grim on his face. Then he went on to read it.

Government of Tamil Nadu
Department of Public Affairs

Name: K.Munisami
Designation: Sanitary Cleaner
Year: 1976 - till date

Tears welled up in his eyes again like every other time. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lord Rama shines in Ramayana so do I in Hariyana!!!

I can proudly put in my Karma book, which might lead me to heaven or hell, that I too have lived the efficacious life of Lord Ramachandra! Are you curious? Do you badly want to hit me for comparing my life to that of the greatest hero in the Hindu mythology? Do you want to pray Yama personally to give me hell for the analogy of Lord Rama’s life? I will give you one more statement to do the above more hardly! I live the life of Lord Rama everyday!

Well, I can prove it! So let’s start with the life of the lord Himself. According to the Kambar, the poet who composed the prestigious Kambaramayana, there are six chapters in the life of the lord. In Tamil language, the chapters are referred to as Kandas. There are six such Kandas. Bala Kandam, Ayodhya Kandam, Aranya Kandam, Kishkintha Kandam, Sundara Kandam, Yutha Kandam.

I hereby assume that all of you who read this know the great epic. If not please refer here. And let me start the comparison under the blessings of lord Rama.

First of all, I study at College of Engineering, Guindy which is at a distance of 15 Kms from my home. I reside at Chromepet. I use four modes of transport to reach college every day. Bike, Bus, Train and Walk/Run.

BalaKandam: (Home Chapter)

Lord Rama lived a luxurious, sorrow-free life in this chapter of Ramayana. He had the love of his mother, the protection of his father, the respect of the citizens, the trust of his brothers and the blessings of the Lord. He was indeed born with a silver spoon, in a bed of roses.

So, I am daily woken up my dad and my mother immediately offers me a cup of coffee or tea after brushing. I start getting ready for my college in a lethargic manner. My sister helps me in my preparation of the notes and books to be taken. These three do everything for me. Preparing my breakfast and lunch, Ironing my shirt, taking my bike to the gate from the parking lot. The parking lot is 5 feet from the gate! I ride my bike from home to MIT which is nearly 2Kms from my home. This isn’t a luxurious life?!

Ayodhya Kandam: (MIT Chapter)

He was trained by the family Guru Sage Vashishtar and occasionally by other sages. Once Sage Vishvamitra took him to a deep ghostly forest to watch out for demons and he started performing some kind of Tapa. He with his brother Lakshmana guarded the sage and killed the demon Tadagai using the divine astras. Then he went on to defeat other demons like Marichan and Subaghu and he married Sita after breaking the famous, powerful Shiva bow! This period of his life showed his strength as a Kshatriya and a man’s valor.

So, I was trained to ride my bike by a great sage (Myself!) during my ninth standard. I usually ride through the bumpy roads causing my spine to twist and break like a kaimurkku which my grandma usually prepares for me. And not to forget, there are always aunties and uncles who trigger me to apply brakes and pull words from my mouth. These bumpy roads and the citizens give me rigorous training for me to face the demon who awaited me at MIT. It’s the college near railway station where I usually park my vehicle. This supposed to be a great college has two gates, one near the station (Hostel Gate) and the other (Main Gate) a few hundreds of meters away from it. One needs to cross the main gate and reach the parking lot near the hostel one and hence forth reach the station easily. I am a lazy guy yet a daft person. As I near the college’s main gate, I usually peek in looking for demons (The watchmen). Actually you must have a BLUE colour sticker pasted in your vehicle to be allowed inside. If you have no sticker or a red one, you must park it near the main gate and not near the hostel gate. You got it. I have a red one. And I fight these demons using the verbal astra and trespass the road to hostel gate. Sadly sometimes I get caught. I have to answer the senior most demons yet park near the main gate and walk till the station. I usually read novels or newspapers if I get caught and have to walk. Isn't this a training period?

Aranya Kandam: (Station Chapter)

Now Lord Rama after the training goes to forest because of Kaikeyi. He walked through the forests most of the time. He lives peacefully there for some time and loses Sita to the treachery of Maricha. He searched for her impatiently asking every tree, pond, animal there. He wanted to find her somehow. He found Jatayu and learned about the kidnapping of Sita and buried him. He kept on wandering through the dense forests reaching south from north.

So I, after the successful trespassing of MIT, park my vehicle and walk slowly to the station. The road to the station from MIT also looks like a path in a forest. But I lose my train to the treachery of time. When in India do the buses and trains come in time? I run to the station and ask everyone there about the time of arrival of the next train. I usually end up seeing some acquaintance or a bestie of mine and learn about the next train. No, I don’t bury him (:P)!! I keep wandering on the platform from the bench to the edge of the platform and watch for the next train.

Image: Harikrishna Raghuraman

Kishkintha Kandam: (Train Chapter)

Lord Rama on the advice of a sage reached Rishyamuga parvam and meets Sugriva and Hanuman. Initially he and Lakshmana were mistaken as the enemies by the vanaras. Later they understood that they were otherwise. He killed Vali as Sugriva requested, thereby earning the trust of Sugriva. Hanuman and Sugriva became close to the lord and they promised to help him in finding Sita. Rama and Lakshmana took rest after several days of travel. Hanuman and others set on a voyage to the south of the Indian Ocean to find Sita.

So I, after hearing the train horn, stand up and walk near the edge of the platform. Initially I mistake it to be too crowded seeing young chaps hanging out. Later I find that these are hyper youths who want to show off their special (!!) talents to the public and there is enough space inside for me to sit. I sit in a place killing my breath and cough to earn the trust of the person beside me. The train gets crowded in the next few stations and I start reading a book to relax after such tiring encounters. I bend every time low to check if my destination has come. The person sitting near the window promises to tell me when the station comes. And I get down at Guindy and walk towards the bus stop.

Image: Google Images

Sundara Kandam: (Bus stop Chapter)

Here Our Lord has no other work except to wait for the arrival of Hanuman. He waited patiently. In the mean time, Hanuman went to Lanka and found Sita. He got Kanaiyazhi from her and fought with the Ravanan’s mob and returned to Rama. He happily announced that he had found Sita. Lord Rama embraced him. But Hanuman said that they had a great deal of people to fight to get Sita back. Rama announced, “WAR!”

So I, after coming out of the railway station go to the bus stop and wait patiently for the bus to come. The M21G or the M119B which starts from Guindy usually stands near the corner. The bus drivers and the conductors have their cups of tea and little chats before starting the bus. I have no other option but to wait. I wait patiently looking at my watch. When I see the sight of the bus, I rejoice like a small child seeing its dad. But usually the buses to Anna University from Guindy are so free that we will be crushed inside the bus!!! But I will make a strong determination to board it in-spite of the huge crowd. I announce, “BOARD!”

Image: Harikrishna Raghuraman

Yutha Kandam: (Bus Chapter)

Lord Rama and the vanaras crossed the mighty ocean by constructing a controversial bridge and reached Ceylon. They fought with the Lankans bravely with honor  One of the Lankans, Vibhishna came to the Lord and announced that he would be with the Lord there after. He surrendered to the Lord. They also fought back. Indrajit knocked down the Lord and his brother by using Nagasthra. Hanuman flew to the mountains on the advice of Jambhavan and brought back the Sanjeevi Mountains and helped them regain consciousness. After a great deal, they won the war and rescued Sita.

So I, after boarding the bus, somehow manage to stand on one leg. I fight a number of people to get a place to keep my other leg down. They too fight back bravely. The Lankans here (the co-passengers) surrender to me for I am strong than most of them. The huge people with orca fat knock me down with their powerful boulders. The conductor gets down from his seat to give tickets to the people in front and thereby giving me a place to sit. He helps me regain my composure. After a great deal, I get down from the bus. And I am lucky enough to be here alive to tell you my great life after travelling in those numerous buses!

Image: Google Images

Pattabishekam: (Next? Rest)

After the victory, everyone reached Ayodhya and they celebrated Rama’s Pattabishekam. And there is a myth that Lakshmana went to sleep straightly since he had to guard Rama without sleeping in his last 14 years.

So I, after getting down from the bus victoriously, I retire to the famous Sundial of my college and take rest there since I had to guard my purse and cell without relaxing in my last 1.4 hrs.

Image: Harikrishna Raghuraman

Now tell me, Should not I put in my Karma book that I too have lived the life of our greatest hero? Thank you! I know your reaction! Jai Shri Ram!

No! No Jais for me :D

Image: Harikrishna Raghuraman

Image: Harikrishna Raghuraman

Friday, October 5, 2012


A group of three were shouting at him and throwing curses. His face remained calm with a smile on his lips. After some time, they left the place. 

Ram noticed Peter staring at him. Peter was so angry that his eyes were red with fury. He walked towards Ram.

"Why were you silent again?" questioned Peter. 

"Why shouldn't I?" 
"You didn't do anything. Those guys treat you as a sordid one. And you remain silent with a smile.” 
Ram smiled again. 
“When will you get rid of this goddamn nature? Can’t you fight back? Are you a coward?” 

Ram smiled again. This time, it insulted peter. He made a vow never to talk about this to Ram and turned back to leave the place. A sense of touch made him stop. It was Ram who placed his hand on Peter’s shoulder. 

“I am not a coward, Peter. I am neither weak-minded. But the question is why should I fight back when I know the mistake isn't mine?” 

“To make all know that it isn't yours!” 
“Oh Peter, I know it and the God knows it! What’s the point in letting others know this?” 
“Ok! Leave others! They are accusing you and you must retaliate. Am I correct?” 
“Retaliate for what?” 
“To prove that you aren't wrong. Stop this Ram. I am tired of all your non-violence nonsense!” 

“This is not non-violence. This is called living my life.” 
“At the cost of you, you are living your life you fool!” 
“No Peter, Life is too short for grudges. He has been my good friend since my school days and you want me to fight him back? No, I am not going to. I live by a code of conduct and I will abide to it at any cost.” 
“A code of conduct?” 
“Yeah, I will tell you! It’s short and so life is! I call it the SLAP method! 


Smile always. Smile every time. Smile at everyplace. Smile for every action. Your smile will relax everybody’s mood around you. You not only create a good atmosphere for you but also for others. Smile is the best answer to all the questions. If someone comes to you with a problem, smile and help them. If someone complains to you about others, smile and hear them. If someone is happy for their success, smile and congratulate them. Doing everything with a smile changes your attitude of looking it!


To laugh is always superior. Laugh at your own mistakes. Never forget the laughter for it is the best medicine. Crack stupid jokes and make others laugh. Do funny things and let you become the reason for others laughter. Be happy if someone laughs at the expense of you but never do you laugh at others’ expense friend!


Many complain that the loneliness is the most deadly thing in this world. But see that as the chance to admire things around you. See the small things around you. Appreciate the things nature has given you! Taste the dew drop from a leaf to feel its purity. Touch a small baby’s hand to feel its warmth. Hear the sound of the sparrows singing to feel its beauty. See the clouds above you and try to find a pattern in them to feel its calmness. Admire the things around you!


Be patient! Always be patient! Do your work and wait with patience for its result. Perform your duties and wait with patience for its rewards. This is the most important thing for the above three. Try to put up with people even if they are so much mean and irritating. Never let out words for they can’t be picked up later. Never lose your temper.

“Oh I am flattered!” told Peter.
Ram smiled. 
“But this won’t be practical Ram!” 
“This is!” 
“Try to follow this and you will feel a great deal of positive energy radiating from you!” 
“SLAP!” told Peter.
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