Tuesday, October 25, 2016

How my life changed since I started writing/blogging?

I write because I love to scribble.   I used to scribble tiny things of life in the form that was close to my heart.  Lyrics.   I never knew they were lyrics unless once friend recognized the rhythm in the lines.  When I felt I can share my anger with no one, I knew where to go...to the back pages of my school books...that's where I first started to write.  When ever I was happy, I used to write lines that expressed my joy and happiness in the form of small jingles and poems.   Sooner this became a habit.  My solace.  My destination when I want to shut myself from the outside world.   Later, what started as a practice to rejoice within, became a passion to share with everyone.   Sooner, this practice became from no where to everywhere.

When my first few articles got published in the school magazine, especially the one that gave me the first adrenaline in life when I wrote an essay in school where I won a prize and placeholder in school magazine, my happiness knew no bounds.  That popularity was so gratifying that the gravity of those appreciations stuck my chords of writing for ever.   I wrote several poems, many of them not worthy publishing for they are my inner murmurings.  I wrote several short stories, few found readers among my friends, many of them lost over the time.   Thankfully, the habit of diary writing preserved many of my tiny poems that I used to write.   Finally I found an online portal where I can preserve them digitally and for reference going forward.  But the conversion from traditional to digital was an experience in itself.  I felt so tempted to correct them and many to write again.  But I did not want to buy in for the temptation for I wanted them to remain raw and real.  The way they were written.  It is like a kid in a bucket in the bathroom snaps where each one of us find it amusing and at the same time want to hide it from everyone as we grow old.    Not many of us would love to share such musings of life.   Despite of this consciousness, I left them remain open.  The way they were written.  In its original purest form. 

Over the years, I must have improved in the way I wrote things.  From the mere jottings in the diaries to the form of simple amateur poems, I started to things twice before I wrote.   From Poetry.com to Poem hunter, and the subsequent recognition I started getting for what I wrote personally made me become a conscious writer for some years.  But that did not remain constant.  My urge to be what I am overtook the way I wrote for the outside world.  I write for myself and others as well. But what I write for myself is more meaningful, real and its a 'me' thing.    Whenever I forced myself to write for someone and put in my conscious efforts, I struggled to give the best piece of work.  But when I enjoy writing what is close to my heart, I didn't care of the outcomes and what mattered to me the most is the joy of writing.    During the award ceremony in 2005 when I got the 'Star in Focus' award in ABN AMRO, that people asked me about my blog.   Till that day, I did not have a thought about having one.  My diaries meant the writing world to me.   It was in 2008, I started my  blog.  For couple of days,  I kept thinking about the name for my blog.  Later, I decided I am going to write on my own name.   It is not about who will like it.  It is about how close I feel my relationship with my blog.  

Today after 8 years, when I look back at my blog, I find it is interesting, multi-focused, and to my own happiness.   I got thousands of readers and hundreds of posts and poems written in my blog.  I crossed 500 posts and several thousands of readers and 48 wonderful followers.   The statistics just make it meaningful in its own way.   I am recognized as a writer, a poet and a blogger.   That recognition is no less wonderful than to the one I received in the school nearly 30 years ago.   The spirit of blogging keeps me going.  I made friends and fans on the way.  I also received wonderful worst criticisms as comments and I accepted both in good faith.   If I don't appreciate my critics, I am not going in the right direction.   I want both positive and negative feedback to understand my shortcomings and success as a writer or a blogger.   

My blog opened me up largely to the outer world.  My friends appreciated and few closed one's warned me to stop being a open book.  But as long as my life inspires someone, I don't have an issue.   As long as I don't hurt someone close in life, don't write anything insulting or hurting anyone's sentiments and as long as I keep touching lives of people around, I will write.  I wrote my dreams, I expressed my anger,  I shared my fears,  I shared my happiness and successes,  overcome failures, and my blog became my destination to unwind myself.    It helped me understand myself and my own world.   My small world, my family and my life.   Blogging became my solace, my happiness and my destination when I want to fret and make a hue and cry.   I will not be able to quit this sooner or later, for this is a strong addiction.   A cool addiction.  A Happy One.   Thank you for reading this!

This blog post is written as an entry for the 'The Chennai Bloggers Club'  Anniversary contest partner with www.sweek.com   #Sweek.com  #Chennaibloggersclub #CBCContests  #UmasreeRaghunath

Monday, October 17, 2016

To My Limited Edition....happy birthday :-)

I am what I am,
for I discovered not me
But him,
His silence, his smiles
his few words
He is my limited edition
Precious, powerful
pious and pragmatic...
I was an angry teen
he made me overcome
I was too much to handle
he managed it with calm
I am over ambitious
he lived my dreams
We as a family, have one dream
The dream of happiness
It is in him I found love,
his simple way of handling
both our ups and downs
smilingly with care!
Yes, I am what I am
for I have him in life
He is mine
Together we are always fine
As we age and grow
graciously holding together
I need him more
to lean on and not wither
Thank you Raghuma!
Happy Birthday my dear!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Book Review: The MONK Key - Songs of the Mist by Shashi - A Perfect Bowl of Happiness

 Sometimes, you get to read a book, not because of the content, but because the author is well-known, or personally known to you or just to experiment with a different genre.   I also started to read Shashi's book -  Book 1, The Monk Key - Songs of the Mist just because he is my blogger-friend and secondly, I got the book as a prize for one of my blog post.   Interestingly. the first few chapters changed my perspective.   From being a compulsive reader of this book, to one who enjoyed few things for sure, traveled through the journey of the book and its characters and places with ease and decorum.   It was a like a fresh morning filter coffee - One word - Refreshing!

At one point, I slowed down a lot, for I wanted to enjoy the lines and re-read few line again and again.  The wisdom of Srimad Bhagat Geetha touched me in every chapter deeply.  It was like of reading a summary of the great epic poem.   what more, I took lot many days to keep reading few chapters and trying to understand the characters deeply.   My one journey gave me ample time to complete the book finally...this time for 5 hours not putting down it except for few mandatory intervals.   Simply, the book is a classic and of a class of its own.  Good job Shashi!

'In Eternity
We live...Came from.  Life is one
Series of footprints'

These words in the very first page of the book finds it magnanimous answer in the last chapter.  I felt like referring back and forth to the dates and each person to relate.  I felt that this was a very interesting way of making the reader weave the web of passion, love, emotion and indulge in this journey of himalayas.   It is a mixture of science, deep spirituality, divinity within, strong human emotions of love, sex, anger, betrayal, loss, death,  passion, serenity and calmness and peace.  In Shasi's words, it is a collective human and scientific endeavor.

Ashutosh, Ayan, Monk, the priest, Vasudha, Yogini Ashika, Calliope, and above all the wild wonder woman Kyaka...I loved this particular character for its simple natural beauty.

'We are closer to the reality, in the nature of love than the science of nature....''  Only Shashi can think of this.    The divine song takes you to the free flow of words, absolutely interwoven with nature, your inner self and the outer materialized world.    Shashi proves to be an amazing spiritual writer touching upon human multi dimensional aspects

Few lines that touched my heart and thoughts...that I would love to have them here, so that I can refreshingly look at it when ever needed.

Shashi...these for sure, would become your quotes in the long run.

1.  When the living gets unburdened with needs and desires, the life becomes simple and easy to carry

2.  "  Never worry about the path, just take care of the steps that you take "....how true...each step makes the journey an awesome path.    Live by the moment.....

3.  It is all there in the nature , outside and within, a continuous transformation.-   Call this mantra of life, or trying to identify our own self.  Shashi touches up on the fact that it is what you are and what you can make it out of this life...the cosmic energy inside you...for you to survive and drive this universe.

4.   What a beautiful way to describe death...a good definition from the author.....'Death is not the destruction of the body or the flowing stream, but the merging of your dreams, desires, sorrow,  and anger into an eternal calm ....a deep sigh that echoes an eternal calm of eternity, O Ganga! That is OM.

This book touches upon the great Himalayan journey, it takes you to amazing peaks of Himalayas, the snow, the silence, the tribal villages, the thick dense forests, the deeper wilderness, the rocky paths of travel, the beautiful and serene sounds of Varanasi, the amazing Ganges and the power of Rishikesh....in its simplicity and spirit.   What else do you want than loving what you have

5.  She is within you, Find Her!  --    Simple yet powerful line.   Be it atma, the soul, the surge, the thought, the body, the pain, the love, the ecstasy, the silence...it is all within you.   'Find me in Rishikesh'.....it is not finding someone but finding yourself in a place that gives you all the chances to discover nothing but your own self.

6.  Sense of purpose and knowledge too Son, if you would only listen to the words within you. 
Many times, in our eagerness to please this world, and in the chase of wild goose, we forget and fail to listen to the voices within., hence we end up stressful and distressed with this life.  

7.  If you dont want to be disturbed, then do not be a disturbance.   It's far easier to flow with the flow than to the swim against the river's current

8.  Mind is always scared live in NOW.   For that the reasons, that are in the future, like death.  But dying is inevitable?

Our life is lived in the moments of now rather than in memories of the past or worries of future.  
9.  People who are going far need less baggage and it to me it looks like you are holding more than you can carry

Reading this line, I felt like the author has written this to tell me something.   I could feel as if the advice was given to me directly and I need to understand this more.   The baggage of the past is the most painful and heavy of all.

10.  The attachment to one's own body is the most deep rooted possessiveness that creates the fear in the form of beliefs, hopes and temples of God.

We are all so selfish in this journey of life, that we forget that this body has an expiry date no matter what.  Irrespective of our want and desire, this body will one day detach itself from this world leaving behind everything....letting the soul fly back to its non-captive mode.

 Kala (death) is the most powerful fear, that is synonymous to time, that too, another of the great equalizers

 The Unity of body, soul is untouched and undisturbed by anything that this body does.  

 The experience of the author is reflected in the words and its deep sense of responsibility towards its rights.  At one point I felt that this is a solid summary of the great epic poem.   There were pages, where tears flowed without my knowledge, for it did not describe any tragedy, but touched a deep emotions what so ever, without knowing and probably, that is the beauty of this book.  In Bhagavat Gita, you will find answers to everything in this life.  Similarly, this book gathers the key essence of life.  

Each one of us, take time to write what we think.   I am sure Shashi spent quite an amount of thoughts and year in making of this book.   This shows the efforts and thoughts of a great author around us.   I am now waiting for the next book in this series now.  The beauty of Kyaka, the boat rides, the love in the wilderness,  the tribal village, the statue of Maa Kali and the devotee,  captured so well to give you a feel of completeness.   There is so  much of spiritual depth in the writer's voice that if you have the courage to take it, it is the best medicine for the current day melodrama.   You need strong sense of understanding for that language is of richness and the words touch you from Bhagavat Geeta in every page you turn.   Once you get to understand that flow of the book, you will enjoy the same like I did.  

I am going to read this book again, and probably again and again, as time permits.  To me it is rarity but this gives me simple sense of belonging.  I am not writing this because the author happens to be a friend but because this book is   "A perfect bowl of happiness"

Dear Shashi,

Kudos to you Shashi.  Great work and wonderful effort.  Keep it coming on our way and we as your readers are awaiting for the next book sooner.  Thank you for this one.   Your book touched my life in its simple way and strong messages.   Thank you and God bless you


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Six Steps to Resolving Project Problems

Having a structured approach to solving problems will help you resolve them more quickly and directly. Guessing the cause of the problem rarely works. You want to not only resolve this particular problem, but you also want to understand the problem well enough so that you can identify the root cause and ensure that this particular problem does not occur again. 

Use the following general process to identify and resolve problems.  
1. Identify the problem or symptom
You should not assume that everyone knows the problem already. Take the time to document the problem in clear terms that everyone can understand. If you cannot clearly document the problem, it will be difficult to solve it. Make sure that you also explain the impact of the problem to the project.
2. Identify the root cause (or causes)
This is the most important step, since you do not want to spend your time resolving a symptom that you think is a root cause. Instead you should be very clear on the root cause and explain how the root cause ultimately results in the problem. If you cannot track the root cause to the perceived problem, you have not taken your investigation far enough. There are a number of issues management techniques that describe how to focus in on the root cause.
That being said, it may be that the root cause is not within your power to resolve and you may be forced to try to solve a symptom. However, you want to still be sure to identify the cause(s) of the problem to make sure you understand if you are solving a cause or a symptom.
3. Determine alternatives and impacts
The project manager may assign one or more people to determine alternatives. For each alternative, they should also address the impact to the project.
4. Select the best alternative
The project team and appropriate stakeholders can all be involved with determining the best alternative. This may include members of the project team only, or outside stakeholders.
5. Resolve the problem
A plan is put into place to address the problem and implement the chosen alternative. This could just be one activity or it could be a complex plan of resolution. These activities should be moved into the project schedule to ensure that they are performed
6. Validate the problem is resolved
The situation must be monitored to ensure that the problem is resolved as expected. If the problem appears to be resolved you are done. If the problem or a related symptom still exists, you have more work to do. Return to step 1. 

Source: Method 1 2 3...empowering managers to succeed! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Do Not Let Her Die! AMMA - A saga and an era of glory and empowerment of women ! A Charismatic Leader

It may or may not be her time yet,
why speculate on her health!
Stop wanting her to die 
even if it is the truth that would not sink in
Like you and Me,
She is also a human being!
We all fall sick, go fragile
wanting care and rest !
All of us will one day go!
leaving behind the power and human body!
We will take the paradise gates
That's the only human final destination!
She is a leader, a most charismatic one
Roaring with her voice and opinions
Redeemed a lot with her achievements!
What did she personally achieve!
Family? Peace? Health? 
Wealth and Power gave her a ego boost
Governance had been her mantra in life
Like all aged women, she is fragile now
She will recover and come if God will
Let her take her time to recuperate!
Don't speculate her death and damage
After all, she is no ordinary woman!
She is the 'Thanga Talaivi' like her fans call
AMMA to the masses 
Queen of the Tamil Silver screen
Supreme reign of the Tamilnadu Politics
It is so cheap and mean
with rumors spreading about her 
Even if it is truth, let us respect the human being
for what she is!  The charismatic leader
Do not kill a living legend
let her live long and reign along 
for she leaves behind none to be called her own
She came alone to this world
living alone amidst the crowd
like you and me, she may also go alone!
what would be left behind are deeper footprints
and bigger shoes to fill and feel

May you Amma,  Selvi JJ ,  come back with good health and rule the land that masses have voted you to run the government!
As a responsible leader, people are concerned about your welfare and hence the speculations.   Keeping all aside, we would wish you speedy recovery.  God willing, what is best will be wished to happen for your good and the good of the masses!


Tenali Raghavan - A Tamil- Comedy Drama that you would enjoy watching ! - A Review

Indulging in the essence of Chennai during the month of December, savoring the vibes of Arts all around - Dance, Drama and Music,  Chennai is the destination during the winter months.   One troupe,  a small beginning few years back, started getting into the theater circles with some big shows and names in the year 2014.  

"Shristi Dramas"  - a young and vibrant troupe formed by two like minded individuals who already are making their careers in IT joined in passion to form a drama group.  Their friends joined to make the dreams come true.  What bound the youngsters is the passion for drama-   action, play, story, music, stage, rehearsels, sets, make-up, dates, sabhas everything followed.   Getting the big names of the Tamil theater like Sri Karur Rangarajan sir as actor and Crazy Creations 'Appa' Ramesh Krishnamurthy sir as director added the required fuel to the fire of the artists.  Script which started its formation to a stage show, slowly took onto the momentum from home practice to regular rehearsals at 'Sri Venkateswara Kalyana Mandapam' in T.Nagar.   This group saw the old marriage hall helping them get into a perfect form for presentation of their inagular show before going under the movers for demolition.      Professionals with range of expertise and a common passion for drama spent weekends tirelessly bringing Tenali Raghavan in making.

As they performed their 10th show at Tag Dakshinamurthy Auditorium on 25th Dec 2014, it was the right time to write a detailed review about the show.  

'Raghavan'  a middle class lazy man working as a bank employee wants to grow in life without doing his share of hard work or commitment to work.  His ambitious wife keeps pushing him to get the most 'wanted' promotions siting the reasons that they need to come up in life by buying a house, car, and lead a good life.  Lively father and father-in-law makes this family complete.  'Raghavan's close friend and colleague Varadhan is also like Raghavan finding easy ways to grow in life.   On advice from Raghavan's wife Sita, they want to take to 'swamiji's' advices and act accordingly.  Meanwhile, dreams of promotions, two managers who are two different kind of people, the house owner Alamelu mammi,  the office watch man, all happen in a flow of sequences and scenes.  

The Falling Petals of Autumn!

Orange, Red, Yellow and Brown
Autumn leaves are falling all around!
Danced to the tunes of Nature
Breezed through cool air and hot summers
Finally it looks like falling fair
when the time comes to touch the Earth!

Colors of life, merge in bliss
raking through the times 
Bagging memories with care
where else to go, than falling to the Earth
my precious falling petals of Autumn
the leaves that cherish the days!
Passed through in life with grace!

Lady bugs on the lawn and leaves
Grass-hoppers making loud buzzing noises
Flowers, leaves and corn in the Gardens
Eating up the aphids, being hungry 
and looks dull, dried and ready to die
Yet, the Nature gives its beauty
To shine once again before the silent snow!

Among the sea of souls 
Rejoining the remnants of the  past
Rejoicing the new shores on other side
Enriching life down under, far and wide
Loitering along the various seasons and winds
touching lives of people of all kinds
Bid Adieu, to the seasons
and those wonderful souls all along!


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Trip to Gandikota Fort and Belum Caves : Incredible India : Explore the Unexplored. The Great Indian Heritage- Grand Canyon of India

Gandikota is an exotic location, called as India's grand canyon that cannot be challenged by anyone due to shining rocks and natural gorge formation with a bonus of beautiful fort complex with temples and mosque. Closer to that place is another exciting place called 'Belum Caves'. It is a natural underground cave (technically called 'cavern' spread over 3 KM but accessible only up to 1.5 KM now. AP tourism department has done a great job of creating a way with lights and air stations.

Quick Schedule - From Chennai

Day 1  06:00 AM - Leaving from Koyambedu , Breakfast at GRT, Tirutani  Lunch enroute, Gandikota Archealogy Museum, Fort visit includes (Madhava Perumal temple, Mosque, Granary, Jail, Ranganatha Swamy Temple, beautiful Gorge)-  overnight stay at Gandikota Haritha Hotel

Day 2 Sunday08:00 AM Finish breakfast and visit Tadapatri temples.  Visit Belum Caves and leave for Chennai. Stop at Vondimitta temple  By 11 PM Reach Chennai

Things to carry:

- Inside Belum Caves is hot. Please wear appropriate dress and footwear.
- Two bottles of water always
- Torch light

Few Pictures that speak millions words about this beautiful Grand Canyons of India.

 thank you Rootwalk for this amazing experience to my daughter and her friends ...here is another blog that talks about this beautiful place