November 24, 2005


I was thinking about what makes people strong in the face of adversity. For those who claim to know my characteristics, I am sure that you find it amazing that I have the faculty to think. However, there are times that I actually think. One thought lead to another as they always do and I finally began the concept of vulnerability. What does the word mean and what is its significance? Why do people fear the word and they take great pains to ensure that they not as vulnerable? What is it that is so special about this small word?

Personally, before I begin, I would like to say that there have been times that I have been so vulnerable that it pained. Therefore, I guess that gives me the authority to comment on the topic.

Vulnerability is the quality of a person that makes them open to external attack. This is in both the physical and psychological sense. However, being the weakling that I take pride in being, I shall not deal with the physical sense. That is for those people that take karate lessons and go work out in the gym daily. Those are another thing all together and let us not talk about that. I shall talk about what it is to be vulnerable emotionally. I do not want to go into what makes one vulnerable and why they should do if they are so. I want to touch upon the importance of being vulnerable.

In today’s world, more and more people want to be seen as strong people who are always in control and are scared of the word vulnerability and all that it signifies. They believe that the more in control they seem to be, the better they are professionally. Moreover, who gives a damn for the personal life anyway?

However, I have seen that vulnerability has strange effects on people.  By people, I mean me. It took me sometime to realize that vulnerability is not a bad thing. When one is vulnerable, open to the world, one can learn many things. They range from the mundane things about others to the most important question of them all. Let me see if I can take you through them. I believe that it is only when you are vulnerable that you realize who your friends are and who the enemies are. At a time when you are down, emotionally, if a person takes advantage of you, then he is not one you should keep close to your heart. A person who knows that you open, is ready to stand beside you, in my opinion is a good friend.

What is the opposite of being vulnerable? Is it being strong? Well it is not necessary. One can be strong and still make a mess of life. I am not saying that the vulnerable ones make a mess of life. That is the perception that is doing the rounds. Being strong is a case of not being in touch with who you are and what you want. It is like a mask that one wears to show the world that all is well within oneself. I have seen many cases where the people seem strong and they have become a mess inside. They have been hiding from what they should have realized long ago. That brings me to the most important characteristic of vulnerability, its ability to answer the question,” Who am I?” It gives a clear picture of the truth and all that goes with it. All your wants and your needs, everything that you say and do is direct from the depths of your being. There is nothing that wraps anything that you say and do. In a relationship, it is important to share this vulnerability. It shall enhance the relationship. There are times when I hated myself for being so open, but then this is but one life. Live it so that we never regret what happens or rather what does not happen. Be true to yourself and give others a chance to be true to you.

The essence of excellence

What is the meaning of the term excellence? Does it mean that you are better than others are in doing something? Does it mean that your performance is better than the rest in the group? Well it could mean anything depending on the circumstances. The question that arises is how is the quality of that excellence determined? More and more we have come to determine excellence by the competition that one faced. The more severe the adversity the better is ones performance. That is the idea that has been passed on down to us, and that is what we come to accept. Then the performance against weak opposition is not excellent by the above definition. However, does the same not require effort? I shall try to give some illustrations. It is the finals of any series in any game be it cricket that is a way of life in India or the renowned conference finals of the NBA in the US. For the sake of argument, I shall take a series that consists of seven matches. One team has won the first four to win the series even before playing the fifth match. The fans of the winning team are ecstatic. They have won and have drubbed the other team. They could not have asked for more. The other team as well as their fans is down. Now that the series is lost, there is nothing to play for. Or is there? There is the small matter of pride. Now the score that reads 4-0 could read a respectable 4-3 in case they win the remaining three games. That is motivation enough. Therefore, in most cases they shall give all that they have may be more, because this time they are playing for pride and the name. Fair enough. However, let us take the case of the winning team. For what are they playing? What is the use of flogging a dead horse as the saying goes? In most cases, the performance shall drop, players will stop offering the best that they can, and they will lose the next three matches. They are after all mortals. The final score line reads 4-3, no one shall remember the beating handed out in a few years time. To stamp the authority over the opponent, the score line should have read 7-0 not a mere 4-3. To maintain that level of performance when one knows that the rubber is dead goes above the mortal. It goes with willing oneself to give the best when it is not necessary, with motivating oneself even when the outcome is not affected. To keep that killer instinct that got them the series victory in the first place is where one rises above the mortal and takes on the mantle of immortal. That is the true essence of excellence, to want to win even when assured of victory.


October 1, 2005

What do I want?

My application for one of the top financial institutions in the world has been turned down. It did make me feel really small and insignificant. But it also got me thinking. I have no idea as to what the company does other than the few words that they told us. I had not even heard of the company till I came to SIBM and the first time that I heard it I asked the person who was sitting next to me what it was. The look that I got from that person was enough to convince me of my ignorance. Talking to seniors, the people that have been there and done that, I was told that was a company to die for. And you know what? I was actually convinced.

Now that I am not going to be a part of that process, I look back and think. To those who know me very well, yes I actually can think! Did I want to get into the company because I thought that I shall be able to make a difference to the company and me or did I want to get in because that all around me thought that it was a cool company? Coming at a time when I am beginning to understand what I am and what I stand for, this question is a rude awakening. Too rude for comfort. I only hope that for the companies to come, I am not in this situation.

September 30, 2005

Me? Who?

I am sitting here and the rain is pouring down. This city seems to have never ending rains. I was on lunch when it was sunny and now it is pouring cats and dogs. I have nothing to do and the classes are suspended till the exams that start on the 17th. Till then I have to work for the summers and the best part is that I have no idea as to where to start.
A thought seems to take me. What is the greatest crime of them all? Is it stealing the crown jewels, or war secrets from a country? Is it betrayal of someone’s trust or is it not living up to someone’s expectations? Or is it being someone you are not?
What makes people act as if they are someone they are not? What makes them seem one person to the public and totally another to their own self? The worst part is that the people around you want you to be someone you are not.
What makes a man unique? Is it what he does? Is it what he speaks or is it what he believes in? A man is unique not because of what he says or does, but because of the fact that he is man. One must realize that the people they are with are what they are. They can’t change and there is no point in changing.
Coming back to the crime. What makes one want to be someone they are not? There have been times when I myself have been someone I am not. I think that a person acts in a different manner if there is something to gain when he is different. When a person is not comfortable with what he or she believes in and feels that someone else’s ideas are better than theirs, there shall come a time when they doubt their own abilities. If you want to someone’s circle and you think that you are not acceptable as you are, then what do you do? The logical option would be to change yourself and act as if you are one of them.
This means that you are killing what you are to gain something that you want. The other option would be to sacrifice what is less important, the circle. In this world there are some things that can be given up. The one thing that can’t be is what you are and what you mean to yourself.

September 29, 2005

The Mask

Every one seems to be wearing masks these days. I just had a class called Business Dynamics wherein we were talking about Corporate Masking. This is a concept where the employees put on a mask to seem desirable to the company. With the exception of a select few, this I think would agree to most of us. We are different people when we are among different people. A subordinate to the boss, a colleague to our coworkers, a friend to our friends, a child to our parents and the list is endless. The question that arises is who we really are? Are we the docile subordinate, are we the affable friend who can be counted upon for any emergency, or are we an enigma, unknown to no one?
After some time of wearing the mask, how can we differentiate between who is the mask and who we are? The time that we spend in the mask becomes more and more and finally there shall come a time when we are what the mask says we are.
Is it not possible to remain who we are, to preserve our identity and live life the way that we want it to be? That requires a higher level of self integrity than humanly possible. There are a lot of restrictions that are placed on a human being by society. The demands that are placed on him require that he wears masks.
In the words of Ayn Rand “Only man is an end to himself”. It becomes the utmost duty of each man to satisfy his needs. He must learn to place himself before anything else and then will he attain what Maslow may have talked about as self actualization. May be one day we will actually see who we actually are. The day that the masks fall off, I hope that each one of us has the strength to face what we have become and that we spare a thought for what we may have become.

Blue Mood

The mood is blue
My peace flew.
No light left,
No fingers deft.
Loss of words,
Fight of swords.
No life lost
In eyes of frost
Freeze my soul
Tears in a bowl
Fly like a dove
Take me love


I know that I like you,
As much as you like me.
The laughter that we share,
The moments we have
The times that we spend
Remain a source of joy
In a world that is losing sanity.
But why is that when you come close
I shall come as close as I can
And when I get real close,
I shall run from you,
not knowing why I run.
It is not something that I understand
Nor is it that I am proud of
But every time that I get close
To someone that I value,
I become scared and withdraw.
Is it a fear of companionship
That I am not comfortable with you?
It can not be that,
I enjoy when we talk.
Is it a fear that I shall get too involved
So much that I lose my self in you?
It cant be that either,
I can never be anyone but me.
The reason my dear is simple
As it is obvious.
It is because my friend
I am scared to death
That I shall lose you.

Human eyes

Human eyes shining bright
Through the times of danger and fear
In the hope of a better dawn
To follow the night before

To world seems lost to all
With the battles raging everywhere
From the countries that fight
To the war inside ones head

But faith lives on as ever
In everyone’s heart, seen in eyes
Human eyes shining bright
Showing a new will to survive


Smiling on the outside
Crying on the inside,
Enacting a strange drama
To seem okay to you.
You know my insides
The tears that flow and flow,
They have formed raging river,
Held back by a dam, my eyes.
One day that dam will break,
That day you will see me
Crying on the inside,
Crying on the outside.

Death to time

Sitting here not a thought in my head
Wondering where everything has gone.
Wishing I were in another place now,
Wishing I were lost.
The sights around me twirling
My vision seems to blur
Who is the one who is losing it all
Is it me or the world around.
No place to go
Not a thing to do
Wishing I could kill time
Get some work through
The thought awakens a sight
Of a knife dripping in blood
Carving away at time
To bring peace to rest.
Death to the one who keeps track
Of all that has happened
And has the reins
That rule what is to happen, death to time

Never Dead

Staring at the sky above
I lay there
Not a muscle moving.
Alive to the world around
Revealed by my chest.
Every breath that went in
Seemed to bring new life
Washed my mind cast in doubt
To bring peace to a tormented soul

The stars seemed to say
“you are the world
The soul that rules.
Having moved away from the life
You are now saved from death.
They said not a word that hurt
Nor was there any thought,
But you still broke away
From thoughts
That kept you spirit bound.”

Resting in peace
I tug at a thought
Of dying a life never lived
Of wasted years before
Of living a life never dead.
9th October 2005

The musings of a Tam Bram

“It is the beginning of a new life”, they said. “You are going to a place far off to do what you are destined for”, they added. Yeah right! If anyone in this world had no idea as to what his destiny was, it was me. For heaven’s sake, I did not even know as to what I want to do in life, let alone destiny.

Nevertheless, I packed all my clothes (not that I had many), my two pairs of shoes (hard to find any given that my shoe size is 12) and all the things that I thought I needed (again not much) in two suitcases. I finally landed up in Pune at my room (this was after a long arduous journey from Madurai to Chennai, from there to Mumbai and finally to Pune) feeling free to be free.

On the first day of school (have no idea as to why the management colleges are called schools: maybe because even children are spared what we are being put through) has two things that stand out. First - the enormity of what I had come into and second - my roommate, both for different reasons. Having come from a place that was situated far far away from the centre of the city (well it was 80kms away from the nearest city, and the city was more of a big village), to come to a place that is the in the hub of life is somewhat intimidating. Having never been away from home for more than few days (in spite of the fact that I was in a hostel), 1600kms to home was as far as the stars. Also for me, who needs rice thrice a day - breakfast, lunch and dinner, (here no one even knows that rice can be had as a staple meal!), to be able to have curd rice becomes a treat. Life never got so different. Imagine this – all you could have for any of the three meals a day were different forms of bread. Moreover, they came in all sizes, shapes, colors and prices. (I can reel off a few from my memory- pav, roti, naan, paratha, chapathi, bread, kulcha, etc.) Not to mention they had variants of each of these. You had from the buttered variety of each to the stuffed ones. Add to this that there is a generous helping of garam masala in every food item; I ended up killing my taste buds in the first week itself. While I am on the subject of food, people cooked rice as if there was a shortage of water in the area; sambar - something that they served dosa (d pronounced as in “dead”) with and rasam was plain tomato soup. God, I am sure that by the end of the two years I shall lose all the flesh that I have (that is not too difficult seeing that I have very little of it already).

Now on to my roommate. There are scores of others that deserve a mention when I talk about the people here. The girl that is more of a boy than all the guys put together, the girl that has the hardest kick ever (personal experience talking), the guy who thinks that he is a porcupine, the one that has to finish every argument no matter what, the list is endless. Nevertheless, my roommate is extra special because he is everything that I am not. Rather, he has everything – period. Just giving a list of things that he brought to the room shall fill another three pages. Six suitcases came in having 8-10 pairs of everything (and I mean everything!). We have enough stuff to open a small store. All that you will ever need in life from toothbrush to slippers are there and seven times over! On the other hand, here I am, all my worldly possessions taking two and half shelves of the total ten that we have. I have to say, none of the shelves that he uses ever complain of being underused.

For the next few lines, I shall cater to the men that are reading this. I can remember all the times that we gave a second look to a girl in college (this was because there were not many times that a girl got a first look let alone a second). Every man that got a chance to go to Bangalore (especially MG Road or Brigade Road) was blessed. We seem to have lived in the state of perpetual famine. However, here every waking second is a party for the eyes. It is so bad that I already have an eyestrain due to looking too much (this is in class, after class, outside class and everywhere; no respite at all). And the year is just getting started. I hate to think of the state that my eyes shall be when I finally pass out.

The concept of a fresher party was as alien to me as was the man from mars (the man from mars seemed more of a reality then). When I got there with my date (the first of my life and may be the second last; I shall be invited to go next year), the thought that struck me was that if only I could get the cloth merchants from Tirupur here. They would have made a bundle. There was more skin being shown around than on fTV. In some cases, I actually had to see if there were any clothes at all (my conclusion; they might as well be not wearing any - the purpose of the cloth was not satisfied). Another observation was that all the girls seemed to be tall. This was until you looked at their feet. Heels, if tread upon your leg, would go right through and out without you knowing what hit you.

Those nights that we went to sleep over the soothing voice of Illayaraja seem distant. The instruments do not make the music but trashcans, tables and chairs do (they even make Deva sound soft and mellow!). Please do not get me started on the dance. There is no use comparing with the grace and elegance of bharatnatyam to the epileptic movements of hands and legs flailing around. It was mind numbing! Lesser said the better!

Having come from a place that has three seasons in the year – hot, hotter and hottest, to see the amount of rain that falls makes me muse (rain, rain, go way, little Adi wants to play). This amount of rain shall not only satisfy the need for water back home this year but then shall take care of it for years to come. They never seem to stop. When I go to sleep, they are there as they are there when I get up. More omnipresent than god.

That was the other side. However, the people are broad minded (unlike home where the people are just broad). The politics that ruled is conspicuous by its absence. The people respect you for what you are and not for what you can do to them or for them. The girls are as much like the boys, in the sense that you get no sense of being with the other sex when you are with them. The best thing that I like is that there are no masks or facades. I am finally, what I am. I guess that I am out of the well now.