Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Unforgettable moments Part 3

I am continuing this after a long time.

My next Unforgettable moment came in 1982 when there was a severe recession particularly in the Automobile Industry. Since I was employed in an Automobile company, I could feel the direct effect of recession. It was difficult to sell; more difficult to collect payment !

The company naturally had to undergo a lot of difficulties in meeting the finance needs,like payment to suppliers, payment of salary to employees etc.

I was then working in our Calcutta Sales office, looking after the sale of Spare Parts in the Eastern part of India. Calcutta State Transport Corporation (CSTC) was one of our valued customers. But it was a white elephant and they found it difficult to make both ends meet even on normal days. They were then purchasing a few hundreds of vehicles from us with World Bank aid. But the payments were always delayed.

It was around 25th of Sep 1982 that our Regional Manager(RM) got a call from our Head Office Finance Manager that they were desperately in need of about Rs 4 Crores to make the Salary payment. And he wanted us to collect as much from CSTC as possible within a day or two !

Our RM deputed me for this job ,( even though another colleague of mine was dealing with Sale of Vehicles and it was his duty to collect the payment.) I collected the details of outstanding payments from him ( it came to about Rs 5 Cr )and proceeded to CSTC. I met the Accounts Manager of CSTC, told him the urgency as a matter of fact and requested him to help our Company .( This person was a very honest and straightforward officer and I had established a good rapport with him , may be because, we were on the same wavelength, in the course of my dealing in Spare Parts Sales to CSTC.)

Being a finance man , he understood the urgency and immediately swung into action. He spoke to all the concerned departments, like the Stores Dept, Inspection Dept, Technical Dept, Finance Dept and Audit Dept and advised them to expedite the processing of pending bills within 24 hours. He asked me to get in touch with him the next day.

I went there the next day straight from my home and was in Accounts Manager's cabin even before he entered ! A lot of bills were on his table waiting for his signature before the cheque can be prepared. After attending to some urgent works, he took up our bills and after scrutiny , passed them one after another. By about 12 noon, bills for a value of Rs 4.2 cr had been cleared and sent for Cheque preparation.

The cheque was ready by about 200 pm. Then came the shock. The Govt cheques are to be signed by two authorised officers and in CSTC, totally four officers were authorised to sign the Cheques. The Accounts Manager was one and the other three were officers from other departments. After the Accounts Manager signed the cheque, the clerk took it to get the signature of another officer. But he came back within half an hour with the news that none of the three officers was available in the office. One was on leave and the other two were attending a conference in the Oberai Grand Hotel which was a cool 15 Km's from the CSTC office ! The accounts Manager pleaded his helplessness in handing over the cheque the same day and asked me to come the next day. But I was unrelenting and told him that I would like to get the cheque the same day. He was rather stunned when I suggested that we go over to the Hotel and obtain the signature of the officer there. Such a thing has never happened in the history of CSTC and he wondered whether it would be a proper thing to do in a Govt Office.

It was 300 pm then and the time was ticking by. If the conference gets over, the officers may leave for their home ! We had to catch before they leave. I pleaded once again. The Accounts Manager then consulted the Managing Director of CSTC and got his permission to go to the Hotel with the Cheque. He then rang up the hotel, called one of the Officers, told him the matter and requested him to be at the Hotel till we reached there. The Accounts Manager took all the relevant files, rubber stamps and the ink pad and we two then proceeded to the hotel in my car and reached there at about 445pm. The conference was just over and the officer was waiting. He signed the cheque in the lobby of the hotel and put his rubber stamp! It was about 500pm when I finally got this cheque for Rs 4.2 Cr.

After profusely thanking the officers for the trouble they have taken, I took the Accounts Manager back to his office ,and then drove straight to our RM's house and handed over the cheque to him at about 800 pm. He spoke to the Finance Manager at Chennai and as per his suggestion, asked me to fly to Chennai the next morning to hand over the cheque to the HO.( In those days, there was no immediate transfer of money from Calcutta to Chennai and it normally took one , if not two days , for the transfer to take effect. Hence my flying to Chennai.)

The Finance Manager was a relieved man when I handed over the cheque to him ! After all it was more than Rs 4 Cr ( equivalent to more than Rs 40 Cr at todays price, considering the inflation )and his worries about the Salary payment for the month were over !!

I was happy and at the same time thrilled to have handled such a situation. You know, it gives immense pleasure ,if you achieve something. And this was not an ordinary achievement,in any case .


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tribute to KVS athimber

20th Dec 2008.

Prakash's mail of yesterday rekindled my thoughts about our dear athimber KVS ,who left us this day last month. More than an athimber, he was a father figure to us , esp after the demise of our father.

It is a big loss to our akka Padma , Prakash , SriVidya and their families. It seems that I met him and spoke to him only a few days back , but it is over a month now. I am still not able to digest that he is no more with us.

He was an affectionate person and treated all of us ( our brothers and sisters ) as his own brothers and sisters .

He made it a point to attend almost all the functions in the family despite his age and physical problems .In fact, I was amazed many times to see his strength of will in undertaking long journeys. Such was his affection . On 18th Nov, when I met him , he was feeling very sorry that he could not come personally to Adyar the previous week to mourn the death of the husband of one of our cousin sisters !

I have stayed with him at Pune, Coonoor, Vizag and of course Chennai. His affection towards me in 2008 was the same as it was in 1955. And that is our athimber. He has taken a personal interest in our well being and had given a lot of advices to me and Girija which were immensely beneficial to us. I am grateful to him.

From a humble beginning, he came up in life the very hard way and ensured that his son and daughter got all the love , education and a very good married life . He achieved all in his life except that he could not see his grandchild thro Prakash. I know how much he prayed for it. Now that he is with God, he is sure to take up this cause more forcefully and directly with the God. And I wish and hope his prayers are answered soon.

May his soul rest in peace and May God give the required strength to Padma, Prakash , SriVidya and their families to bear this unbearable loss.


Monday, December 15, 2008


Girija’s Aapthigam ceremonies are over.

On 10th ,Aapthiga oona masyam and on 12th, Aapthiga Sotha gumbam were performed. On the 13th, Aapthiga Srardham was performed . On all the three days, the ceremonies started by 10 am and ended in an hour’s time.

The Grekkiam (Subam) function went off well yesterday. It started at 10 am and ended at 1230 pm. Navagraha Pooja and Homam were performed by 5 Sastrigals. This was attended by Padma, Prakash, Raji, Saroja, Athimber, Savithri, Ramesh, Mangalam, Balan, Rajappa, Manni, Arun, Gayathri, Sowmya, Shriram, Arvind, Krithiga, Aditi, Jayaraman, Kalyani, Vijai, Poornima, Santhosh, Chandar’s parents, Magesh’s two mamas, mami, akka, and her daughter Shreya, , Girija’s mama and his two sons, Ramana, Kirthana, Jignesh, our friends Venkat, Sahoba, their daughter, our Pondy friend Lakshminarayanan , and his wife Geetha and downtairs Shobu’s family
I had arranged the lunch thro my usual caterer Ayyappa Catering, Mylapore. The last batch of lunch was over by 2 30 pm.

By God’s Grace, all the functions were held in a fitting manner and went off without any hitch .Varuna Bagawan was also very kind to us as there was no rain for the last 12 days.

Earlier, Savithri came on 6th and helped us with all the pre function preparations. Ramana joined us on 10th . Padma, Saroja , athimber, Rajappa, manni , Jayaraman, Kalyani and Poornima , joined us for the function on 12th and 13th. While Prakash and Raji were with us on 12th, Mangalam , who had gone to Tiruvannamalai for Karthigai Deepam, came back here on 13th morning and joined us for the Srardham
Savithri, Ramana and Sudha managed the household affairs including the cooking , on all days . Padma, Saroja, Vijaya manni, Kalyani and Mangalam helped them in the cooking on 12th and 13th.

Suba and Magesh came on 7th. Suba is having continuous Masakkai and Sugh osh was not well till yesterday.

Amidst all these, I missed one person very badly..................


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Erumbin attahasam or The war with ants !

Erumbin Attahasam

You know the Eeyin nuisance. You also know the Eliyin thollai. What I am going to describe here is the Erumbin attahasam. I call it attahasam because; I have admired many times what the ant does, though it causes a little inconvenience.

Some houses have the ants in plenty but in some other houses, I do not find any ant. I do not know the reason why it is so. All I know is that in my house, there are plenty of Erumbus and they are all very intelligent. So, to outwit them you have to be more intelligent. You have to be innovative, creative, and very sharp. If you are not alert, the ants will outwit you in no time!

Let me come to the intelligence of ants, which will easily beat the human beings

Normally the ant will come where there is sugar. Now, how does the ant know that it is sweet and that it can eat it? If you keep salt by the side of the sugar, it will not go near salt, though both look alike. (I have seen some adults mistaking sugar for salt and vice versa, but there is no question of ant taking salt thinking it is sugar!!)

The samayal medai will be free of ants when the cooking takes place. Also you can’t see any ant nearby when the vessel is hot. Now, even human being can’t say whether the vessel is hot or cold just by seeing it. We can know only when we touch it. But the ants somehow know whether the vessel is hot or cold from a distance The moment the vessel becomes cold, you can see first one or two ants in the vessel with the cooked food or milk (even if it is kept on the gas stove).

Before you know what happens, the ants communicate to their relatives and friends about the virundhu that is ready for them, and, hundreds of ants will come there so quickly that you will be left wondering at the speed of the communication and response. (In hindsight, I think the ants would have done a better job in bringing the NSG commandos faster to Mumbai!). How they communicate and how the ants know where to come for virundhu, it is amazing!

Many a times, Girija and I had extra work to do by removing the ants from the cooked food or milk. One day, by chance, we found out that the ants don’t come near the cooked food, if they are kept in the midst of water and we were very relieved to note that after all, the ants also have a weakness – they can’t swim! From that day, we used this trick to keep the food from the ants

But, how many items you can keep in the midst of water and even if you forget to provide security to one item, you had it. The attahasam of Erumbus became so intolerable that once, believe me, I and Girija went around the Vessel shops to hunt for a very big tray, in which we can keep all the cooked items on the samayal medai.

But since the cost of such a tray was very high (about Rs 400), we postponed the purchase.

One day, I kept a Dabara with a Jangri inside it on the dining table. Till then, I had never seen the Erumbus near the dining table. Normally their domain is the samayal medai and the adjacent walls. The distance between the samayal medai and the dining table will be appro 5’ (straight line distance) and about 10’ traveling distance (considering the samayal medai height and the dining table height.) Within about half an hour, I could see hundreds of ants relishing the Jangri! Even human beings cannot say that there is a sweet in the dabara by looking at the dabara in a horizontal direction. But the ants, found out that from a distance of about 5’, and traveled about 10’ in the exact direction and reached the destination in no time. I thought to myself that perhaps ants have a very high smelling power and that is why they could reach out to the Jangri.

But the next day, I discovered that ants are capable of even better things, when, I did a research work. I placed another Jangri in the same dabara and kept it on the dining table, but this time, the dabara was placed on a plate containing water. This time, there was no ant for hours together. What does it indicate? Even though the ants could smell the sweet, they somehow know that they cannot reach it, so, they did not take the trouble of traveling the 10’ distance. They could not have seen the water from that distance, since the water was kept in a shallow plate. Then, how come they know that the sweet is placed in the midst of water, I have no answer. Amazing, isn’t it?

We tried many ways to get rid of Erumbus. Yes, the first try was to use the Erumbu powder. Girija and the ants used to play hide and seek game with this method for a no of days, till we exhausted two / three packets of Powder. When Girija applies it on the walls, in the route that is generally followed by the ants, there won’t be ants in that route , but they will appear in a different route. Girija was equally unrelenting and she applied the powder in the new route the next day, only to see the ants take a different route the next time. Finally, we acceded defeat to the ants when we knew for sure that ants have made the powder another dish for their late night dinner!

Next, we tried spreading the neem leaves on the samayal medai, on reading in some book that it is a good remedy to get rid of ants. Except that the cooked food carried the flavour of neem leaf, it did not have any effect on the ants.

So, finally we had no other alternative than to keep the food in the midst of water. At least we know we are safe till the ants learn swimming!! Hi, swimming pool owners, don't admit the ants in the swimming learning classes, please .

Hats off to ants.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

About my Mumbai Visit

When I was at Pune, I went to Mumbai and spent a week with Suresh and Sudhakar ( in the last week of Oct.) No, no, I am not going to bore you with the usual details about Mumbai. But what I observed during my trip was something new to me and I was astonished to note the time sense of people there.

Yes, this is about the unique sense of time, which the Mumbaivaasis generally have. To give you an example,

When I was travelling to Mumbai, my train was supposed to reach Kalyan at about 655 PM. Here is a conversation of two co passengers of mine.

“ What is the time now”

“ 647 pm”

“ Is the train running late?”

“ Yes, it is running late by 8 mins and it will reach Kalyan by 7 01 pm instead of the scheduled arrival time of 653 pm”

“ In that case, we will miss 656 pm local, isn’t it ?”

“ Yes, but we can catch the 706 train”

Wonderful it was!

During the one week I was in Mumbai, I came across many such conversations. Everybody talks in exact minutes like 6 mins, 7 mins, etc. And invariably, what they mention in mins is absolutely correct. If somebody says, it will take you 14 mins to reach a particular place, it takes 14 mins.

I experienced it myself. The trains (so many of them) are running to perfect time and even buses are invariably on time except may be during peak hours when they may get delayed due to traffic jams. Such time sense has caught almost all in Mumbai, I could see. Hats off to them

When we were returning to Pune, we (myself, Magesh and Suba) were seated in the train in CST (Thank God, there were no terrorists that day) waiting for the train to depart. Magesh then asked me “ When will the train start?”. I told him “in another 2 ½ mins”!!

(In this one week, unwittingly, I had also become a Mumbaivasi!!!.)

Elders' Children Day

On Nov 14th , Children’s Day , Odyssey ( Book, Gift, Toy etc Sales shop ) Adyar had arranged a small celebration in their office for the children of the staff of Odyssey. As one of Dhanush’s classmate friends is a son of the Odyssey Manager, Dhanush got a special invitation for the function. I and Sudha accompanied him to the shop.

There were 17 children in all. And there were 17 mothers , 16 fathers ( Chandar was in office and hence could not be present there !! ), one grandfather ( that was me) . Including some 15/20 bachelor staff members ( who were floating between shop and the function hall.), there were totally about 50 adults.

They had arranged some games, painting ,singing sessions etc for the children . They had also arranged free unlimited popcorn ( roasted and served hot ), Sugar candy ( remember Panchu Mittaai !) (continuosly made in the machine and served ), balloons etc ,obviously for the children. But the children were busy enjoying the games, painting etc and they did not consume much Popcorn (PC) or Sugar Candy(SC). Instead, all the adults were enjoying the PC and SC to their heart’s content and each was taking minimum 6/7 SC and equal, if not more , no of PC cups ( hi.. hi, I also took two cups of PC ). Since the children could not hold the balloon , as they were busy painting etc, almost all the adults had 1 or 2 balloons in their hand, and they were actually playing with them !!. While at Ashok Leyland, in one of the training programmes, I was taught that every adult has a child in him ,and I could practically see this child in every adult that day.

The children enjoyed the evening , but the adults enjoyed better. Really, it was really an Elders’ Children day !!! What do you say ?

Monday, December 01, 2008

My eyes have never dried since she left

25th Nov 2008

My eyes have never dried since she left

How does one go about describing what it is like to be married to the perfect mate for almost 32 years? How does one describe the loss of a person like Girija?

I think, my dear wife, Girija, is not dead, but on vacation in some beautiful land – where she is resting, rejuvenating and walking in that beautiful flower garden. I do not believe she is dead.

Or else, she is just taking a prolonged afternoon nap

If I were a painter, I would have perhaps painted a picture of her – just to feel her lasting presence. If I were a carpenter, I would have made a very nice showpiece.

But, I am just remembering a wonderful wife.

I recall the day when she became seriously ill and I rushed her to the Malar Hospital on 24th Nov 2007. She was treated in the ICU for about 1 ½ days but she never recovered and breathed her last at 515 pm on 25th Nov.

She died of complications due to Diabetes and it is so sad. And I could not wrestle with God.

Girija was more than a wife to me. She was also a friend, philosopher and guide. Ours was truly a marriage that was chosen by God, and made first in heaven before on this earth. . It was God’s love, and our love for each other that made our marriage what it was. We both thought and told each other that the other one was our personal blessing from God. I know that I am a lucky person, because of all of the men in this world, God allowed me to marry Girija.

We never quarreled. For the 32 years we were married, my wife never offended me. I know it sounds unbelievable, but we never quarreled, neither did we have any domestic misunderstandings.

Besides being such a great wife, she was the best mom I know. She was dedicated to giving our two daughters the gift of being children.

She was so committed to their health, to their confidence, to their kindness, to their faith, to their love for family and most of all their happiness. She will do anything for them, always with a smile to make the children happy.

She was loved by the whole family and so many other people. She was a perfect host to scores of relatives and friends on so many occasions. I think that most people will remember two things about Girija. One she always had worn a smile, and two her love for other people.

At her funeral, all these relatives and friends came to witness her departure. It was very moving.

A lot has changed since my wife passed away. She organised the home– everything ran smoothly, like a well-oiled machine. It is amazing that men build railways across continents, they build ships and cars, but they cannot sew a single button on their shirts! She was just wonderful.

Girija, thank you for being such a great mother, wife, partner and best friend.

I am not embarrassed about getting emotional as I talk about my Girija.

Sometimes I would have to stop doing whatever I was doing because I would become too emotional. Since she left, my eyes have never dried. I would cry secretly and then carry on working once I had recovered. Losing a spouse is not an easy thing.

Indeed, my wife’s death has taken a heavy toll on me psychologically. I could not sleep on many days and when I slept, strange dreams have become part of my life. Last night, for instance, we ate dinner together. She had prepared a wonderful meal. When we were done I took the dishes to the kitchen, but when I came back she was nowhere to be seen, only for me to wake up and find it was just a dream.

Sometimes I am in deep grief; I feel like a walking dead person.

But, I am thankful to God, my darling daughters, affectionate sons in law and the lovely grandsons have been very supportive as I continue to mourn the death of my dear Girija.

Wherever she is, I believe we are still together.

My eyes have never dried since she left.

An interview with God


I dreamed I had an interview with God.

"So you would like to interview me?" God asked.

"If you have the time" I said.

God smiled. "My time is eternity."

"What questions do you have in mind for me?"

“My Lord, You know what will be my only question”

“ I don’t understand, my son “

Oh my Lord, pl don’t pretend as if You do not know. Why did You have to take my dear Girija at such a young age? Why did You make me and my family undergo such a misery ?”

“I will answer this question later,but tell me are you angry with me ?”

“ No, how can I get angry with the saviour of this world ? I am only sad at my fate “

“Now, tell me my son, are you not happy that you got good parents ?”

“Yes, I am extremely happy that I got such a loving and caring parents and very affectionate brothers, sisters and their families “

“ Are you not happy that you got a wonderful wife?”

“ Of course, I am. I am ever grateful to You for this gift.”

“And, I hope that you are happy that you have two darling daughters and affectionate sons in law

“ Yes, my Lord. Our daughters made our life wonderful all these years. I am fortunate to have such nice sons in law who are now more than sons to me. My daughters and sons are today my best source of support and affection.”

“How about your grandsons?”

“What to say? They are the source of great joy. Without them, I do not know how I would have been after the tragedy that struck me last year. Thank You my Lord, for having given such great grandsons.”

“Your dear Girija was also happy all these years in the company of all of you?”

Yes, except the last four years when she was suffering from ailments. But even then, she kept her sufferings within herself. Outwardly, she was the usual ever bright Girija”

” So, my son, you had SuKham and Dhukkam in your life. This is true in everybody’s case. I will try to explain to you how this happens and who is responsible for it”

“ What , are you not responsible?”

“ Wait my son, after you hear me fully, you will also agree that I am not responsible.”

“ Ok, my Lord, go ahead.”

“ My answer will be a long one. But I will try to make it as short as possible. Be patient and try to understand what I say

First, let me tell you about the Sariram., i.e., the body. Each individual is endowed with three bodies.-

Gross Body ( Physical body ) which are visible and experienceable to others and self.

Subtle body consists of sense organs of knowledge ( ear, skin, eye,tongue,nose), Sense organs of action (Mouth, hands, legs, organ of excretion,organ of reproduction) , Physiological system( Respiratory system, excretory system, digestive system, circulatory system, and the system for protecting the body from unwanted extraneous system example Vomitting , sneezing)and inner organs ( mind and intellect) which are invisible to others but experienceable by self

Casual Body ( Physical and Subtle bodies in unmanifest form ) which is invisible to others and self.

What you have to note is that the subtle body has a longer life than a gross body. When the gross body dies, the subtle body does not die. It survives and takes another gross body. It continues to take physical bodies until the resolution of this world, which is called PRALAYAM.

‘Death’ is the disassociation of subtle body from the gross body. ‘Rebirth’ is the association of subtle body with a new gross body. Have you understood until now ?”

“ Yes, I think , I have”

“Ok, then I will proceed to the next step.

As per law of Karma, every Karma (action) by the individual, small or big, has its effects or ‘Phalan’. The Karma phalan is divided into Drsta Phalan ( visible result ) and Adrsta phalan ( invisible result ). The Adrsta phalan is again divided into two – The good (Punyam) and the bad (Papam). The scriptures have clearly defined what is Punyam and what is Papam. The Adrsta Punyam later becomes Drsta –Sukham ( happiness which is visible) and the Adrsta Papam later becomes Drsta Dhukkam ( Unhappiness which is also visible.)

Now, you may ask - how long will it take for today’s Punyam to be converted into happiness and Papam to be converted into unhappiness. The duration is never a fixed one. It will vary from Karma to Karma from Punyam to Punyam and Papam to Papam.Certain types of Punyam will fructify immediately, while others may take a very long time. So is the case with Papam.When different types of seeds are sown, they sprout at different duration. A papaya seed may sprout immediately and become a tree in no time. On the other hand a mango or a coconut seed takes a very long time. The gestation period is different for different animals. Insects multiply within hours, whereas a human being is born after nine or ten months after conception. So, you understand that all actions need not produce results uniformly. Agreed?”

“ Yes, I understand”

“We have already seen that when a person dies, the subtle body does not die. Also, when a person dies, there are many unfructified Punya, Papas which are embedded in the subtle body.As these unfructified Punya, Papas have to produce Sukham and Dhukkam, , another physical body is required. Hence there is PunarJanma or rebirth.

You know now that in the rebirth, the subtle body and the casual body are the same and only the physical body is different.While experiencing Sukham and Dhukkam in the next body, the individual performs more actions and consequently acquires fresh Punyams and Papams.Many of these remain unfructified and thus produce the next body. Thus the cycle of birth and death is perpetuated by the Punyams and Papams which are regularly replenished. Is this clear ?”

“ Of course, My Lord ,the things are becoming clearer now “

“ Wait my son, let me elaborate the Law of Karma further

I hope you have now understood that God does not determine the type of birth and the type of experience. God cannot do so. Both are determined by the Punya Papas acquired by the invidual. Trust , I have made myself clear”

“ Ok, I agree that you are not responsible for the type of death and type of rebirth.”

“ The Punyams and Papas are of three types

- Sancita Karma _ all the unfructified Punyams and Papas accumulated in the past infinite Janmas

- Prarabdha Karma – of this huge amount of Sancita Karmas, a portion is fructified in the new physical body. This fructifying portion is called Prarabdha Karma . (The amount of fructification is an unknown thing, but you can safely assume that it is based on the intensity of Punyams and Papams in the Sancita Karma.) Prarabdha means that which has begun to fructify.

This alone determines the type of body, the type of parentage, the duration of life etc.

Agami Karma - In this Janma, the individual does fresh Karmas and the Punyams and Papas acquired in this Janma are called Agami Karma

So , in this Janma , while the individual is exhausting the Prarabdha Karma, he/she is earning Agami Karma

When the whole Prarabdha Karma is exhausted, the life comes to an end and death occurs Some Agami Karmas may fructify in this Janma itself and these will also get exhausted in this Janma itself. The unfructified Agami Karma will join the Sancita Karma. And so goes the cycle.

If you find it difficult to understand, I will try to illustrate with an example which may not be 100 % correct , but it may help you to understand the situation better.

Suppose you have Rs 10000 in one of your Fixed Deposit accounts ( Sancita Karma )

Assume you open a new Savings bank account ( new Body ) and transfer Rs 4000 from the FD account to the SB Account . This Rs 4000 is the Prarabdha Karma .

Assume that out of your fresh earnings of Rs 5000 ( Agami Karma ), you deposit Rs 2000 in your Savings account and another Rs 3000 in the FD.

So, you will have a total of Rs 6000 in the new SB account and Rs 9000 in the FD.

Suppose, the bank tells you that the SB account will automatically cease to exist when the whole amount is spent , what will happen? The moment you spend all the Rs 6000 in the SB a/c, the a/c will cease ( i.e, the death occurs). But the FD amount of Rs 9000 will continue to exist and with a portion of this amount, you can open another SB a/c in another bank ( rebirth )

This cycle of Sancita, Prarabdha, Agami Karmas goes on and on. A horoscope is an indicator of Prarabdha Punya, Papams in coded language. When we say, Saturn affects my life, the actual idea is that the Prarabdha Papam is affecting my life. When Sukra dasa helps me win a lottery, it is the unfoldment of Punyams.

Have I made myself clear, my dear son ?”

“ I think so, but, I have one question. If everything is going to happen as per the three types of Karmas, then what is the purpose of so many pujas , prayers, worshipping etc that we do ?”

These Karmas are called Prayascita Karma . By doing the Prayascita Karma, you are creating an Agami Punyam to neutralize the Prarabdha Papam.The Agami Punyam will either eliminate the Prarabdha Papam or atleast reduce its impact depending on the strength of Papam. In worst case, the prayascita Karma gives the strength to withstand the onslaught of prabala ( strong ) Prarabdha Papas. We will never know the power of Prarabdha in advance because it is invisible( Adrstam)So, we have to continue or repeat the Prayascita until we get the required benefit.”

“ Now, I clearly understand Girija’s life. Now, I know for sure that her various Pujas, Parayanams, Prayers, etc had only helped her to withstand the onslaught of her Purva Papams.”

“Have you got the answer to your question?”

“ Yes , my Lord, Thank You.”

‘One more thing, my son. I will now tell you the advantages of understanding the law of Karma.

1. The Law of Karma alone explains the differences and disparities in the living beings from birth. We often wonder why innocent children are born handicapped. This is because of Purva Papam.

2. You can accept your suffering even though you have not done any mistakes in this Janma, even though you have led a good life. The law of Karma explains you that it is because of your Purva Papams. You learn to accept your problems without blaming others esp, me , THE GOD. !

3. You can take charge of your future. If the present is due to Prarabdha Phalans ( fate ) , then the future is in your hands. The future situation in your life will be determined by your present actions. God does not determine your future. So, you accept a free will and decide on your present actions.

4. The law of Karma answers one of the general questions, which most people ask. Why do good people suffer and corrupt people have a gala time? Corrupt people are enjoying wealth today as a result of the fructification of their past Punyams. But they will definitely pay the price in future for their present corrupt practices. Similarly the good people are suffering because of their Purva Papams , but their good actions today will help them get Punyam which will get fructified as Sukham in the future.

5. Knowing the law of Karma only will help restore faith in God. By understanding this law only, you will know that the Lord can never be unjust. If a judge acquits a person in a case and gives different degrees of punishment to others, it is not because of his partiality. The decision of the Judge depends on the actions done by these persons.

6. If you understand the law of Karma, your devotion to God will remain intact. You will see the sufferings as an exhaustion of your Papams. You will understand that even as you suffer, your papams are washed off and you are becoming purer and purer.You will u8nderstand that The Lord purifies you by giving you sufferings, that is removal of papams. So your faith in The Lord is getting reinforced

I think I have tried to explain the Life as simple as possible, If you have any more questions, pl call me for another interview or contact my sishya H H SWAMI PARAMARTHANANDA SARASWATI”

“ Thanks a lot ,my dear God for sparing your time. I have become a better person today.” I said humbly.

“ Before we close this interview, can I tell you something in a lighter vein ?

“ What, my Lord, You don’t have to ask my permission”

“ You have worked in a big Corporate office. What do they do if the MD finds an employee extremely efficient in one of the branches of the company?”

“ The employee will be transferred to another important office, mostly the Corporate office, to help the top management to run the show more efficiently”

“ And what will happen to the branch?’

“They will suffer initially, but will learn to manage the branch in due course of time”

“ That is all , my son, have a good day”

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Autos in Chennai - the other side

The other day, when I was in T Nagar, I was feeling a bit bored to walk to a bus stop , hence, wanted to return in an Auto. But when the three Auto drivers I approached demanded Rs 130 to 150 for a distance of 8 KMs,(against the Govt fixed rate of Rs 50 ) , I decided to walk a few meters , caught a bus and came home at just Rs 5/- .

While traveling in the bus, my thoughts were on Autos in Chennai ; Why the Auto drivers behaved this way in Chennai? The more I thought about it, the more enlightened I became while understanding the great service the Auto drivers are doing to various sections of the society in Chennai.

You may like to know how . Read on –

1) Service to the middle class people : If all the drivers are honest and charged correctly the Govt rate, then each Auto will definitely get additional 5/6 passengers per day . Assuming each passenger travels a distance of 5/6 Kms, the revenue of each Auto will go up by Rs 200 per day. As there are 50000 Autos in Chennai, the total additional revenue will work out to Rs 1 Cr per day and Rs 30 Cr per month. But, because of the attitude of Auto drivers, they lose this revenue and their loss is the gain to the middle class of Chennai, as they are the predominant users of Autos . They, instead spend only Rs 3 Cr per month on bus travel ( Bus fare is approximately 10%, or less of the Auto fare ) . So, the net saving for them is Rs 27 Cr which is not a small amount given the current high inflation. A great service to the Middle class, isn’t?

2)Service to State Transport : As said above , the State Transport earns a revenue of Rs 3 Cr which would not have come to them, had the Auto drivers been honest. Remember, they may not be able to reduce the bus numbers or trips because, the number of additional Auto users , when translated to per bus, per trip, will not work out to more than 15/20 ( Assuming 3000 buses and 10 trips per bus). So this is a clear gain to STU and they should be grateful to the Autos.

3)Service to the Govt/Nation: For making the additional 5/6 trips of 5/6 Km’s each- an additional 30/35 Kms- ( as said in point 1 above) ,each auto will consume about 1.25 lr of Petrol/ diesel and this works out to 18 Lacs litres of fuel per month ( for all the 50000 Autos ). With Oil import prices soaring and given the high subsidy the Govt incurs on sale of petrol/diesel, this is a huge saving to the Govt. Precious Foreign Exchange is also saved .

4)Service to Police: The police must be doubly thankful to Auto drivers for the present state of affairs. Firstly, It is a known secret that Autos ‘fly’ when they have passengers and ‘crawl’ when they don’t have a passenger. So, if they have to make additional trips, there will be more flying at higher speeds, putting the life of many other road users to a very high risk. Naturally there will be more accidents and hence more work for the police. Secondly, if they are honest, from whom the police will get their extra income ? Thus the Auto drivers not only reduce the workload of Police, they also help them for their extra income.

5) Service to the Newspapers: We regularly see big newspaper columns on the statements (read jokes) of the State ministers, police officials, RTO officials etc on the steps they are taking to make Autos adhere to the Govt stipulations and the actions they are taking against erring Autos. If the Autos are honest, newspapers will find it hard to fill a lot of space now being occupied by the statements, the reporters’ stories, and letters to the editors on the atrocities of Autos . In the absence of such juicy stories, the newspaper circulation may also take a beating.

6) Service to the general Public of Chennai : If the Autos are honest, Chennai will be a big attraction to the visitors. If we have to believe Govt officials, the honest Autos will encourage more tourists to Chennai. If this happens and if there are more tourists, the cost of living for the general public is bound to go up . Now they can live in peace, relatively ,I mean.

Long Live the Autos in Chennai and Long Live the Auto drivers !!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Unforgettable moments - Part 2

This is the second of the series – unforgettable moments in my life.This is rather a long story and I hope you will have the patience to read this.
This one , I should say, is unforgettable moments. Because, this extends to three years . Yes, I am referring to my life in Ramakrishna Home, Mylapore between 1962 and 1965 when I did my diploma in Mech Engg after 10th Std.
I am indebted to our father for getting me admitted there. Ramakrishna Mission Students Home(RK Home for short) , Mylapore is run by Ramakrishna Mission.

In 1962, It used to admit 40 students in 1st year. Out of these 40, 10 are reserved for BC as per Govt rules and the balance 30 were usually filled up with poor and bright brahmin boys. It was very difficult to get admission there. Somehow, appa got me admitted there. The students are admitted simultaneously to the RK Mission Technical Institute ( For the diploma course ) and RK Home( The hostel). In those days, it was compulsory to stay in hostel,but both boarding and lodging were totally free. And for the dip course, we had to pay a tution fees of Rs 10 per month for 10 months. And my expenses towards soap, post card, occasional coffee in the hotel, occasional bus fare etc, would work out to another Rs 4 or 5 per month. So, in about Rs 450, I finished my LME staying in a hostel at Chennai !

Now coming to the hostel life, it was really a home away from home. Such was the care taken by the hostel warden ( a Swamiji of RK Mutt), the secretary ( a retired person doing a voluntary service ) and an asst warden ( part time job done by a lecturer of the adjacent Vivekananda College – again a voluntary job) They all ensured that we led a healthy and peaceful life. But at the same time, they ensured discipline .

The daily routine ( Monday to Saturday ) would be – wake up bell ( yes, a temple bell ) at 455 am., attendance at 505 am, bath(in cold water), Sandyavandhanam , puja , studies etc., till 725 am., breakfast ( Sambar saatham and thayir saatham ) at 730 am., Tech Institute from 8 am to 12 noon, full three course lunch at 1210 pm., , Tech Institute again from 100pm to 5pm., Light snacks / Kanchi at 510 pm., play till 600pm., refreshing, sandhyavandhanam religious discourse( mostly by the Rev “Anna”)and puja till 715 pm., studies till 800 pm., dinner at 800pm., relaxation/studies till 10 pm., Lights off at 1000pm.

On Sunday, it would be different. Wake up at 630 am., garden work for about an hour, breakfast at 800 am., free time till 1200 noon when you can wash your clothes, take oil bath ( oil and Seeyakkai Podi will be given ) etc. After lunch at 1200 noon, again relaxation till 200pm. Hostel cleaning from 200 pm to 245 pm., Light snacks and Tea at 300 pm., free time to go out of the hostel from 300pm to 600 pm. Puja at 630 pm., dinner at 800 pm., lights off at 1000 pm.

On most of the Sundays, in the three hours that we were allowed to go out, I used to go to our Periamma's ( Mylapore Gopu anna's mother ) house near Mylapore Tank and to one of our cousin sister - Kunjakka's house at 105, Broadies Road ( now called RK Mutt road), near Mandaveli Bus stand. Many a times , I had been to Santhome beach with Raju, our cousin sister's son and eaten plenty of sliced Mangaai with salt and Milagai Podi. In those days, Santhome beach ( adjacent to Santhome church ) was a clean and easily approachable beach with band and AIR broadcasts in the evening.

Coming to my stay at RK Home, why it is unforgettable ? Mainly because, we did not have to worry about anything. Everything was taken care of. There was a separate room where the sick can take rest., ( a very good doctor nearby will attend to the patients free of cost and where possible, students can go to the free dispensary run by the RK mutt ( near Mylapore tank ). Those were the times when there was acute shortage of foodgrains in India and the people were even advised not to eat rice one day a week to overcome the shortage of rice atleast partially. We were not at all affected by these and there was not a single day when the meals were delayed by even a minute.

Not forgettable because, I was taught all the good things in life, self management, self reliance, service to society,discipline in life, good habits, religious matters, many slokas, and what not. Those were the golden days of my life. All the Hindu festivals were celebrated with gaiety, esp, the Navarathri used to be celebrated on nine days when very eminent persons will address the students everyday, and there will be a long discourse for nine days.

The Home Day , celebrated in Feb every year is an occasion we used to wait for eagerly because, it was during that time, we used to have our annual sports and an entertaining evening with the old students of the home. Needless to say, there will be a gala dinner for the present and old students and other guests on that day. In between, we used to get different fruits and sweets on many days, courtesy, the well wishers and old students.

We were allowed to go to our native place only for Deepavali, Half yearly and annual holidays. And naturally, we were very happy that we could be with our parents three times a year. ( Those who can’t afford to go home , can stay back in hostel)

Amidst the routine and sometimes strict moments, there was no dearth of lighter moments. Like, after the morning wake up bell and attendance, some students will fall asleep again and they will find some genuine ways to avoid the prowling eyes of the secretary and warden, who will be on the rounds just to see that all the students have really woken up and are attending to their morning duties.!

Though it was impossible to go out of the hostel on normal days due to the strict vigil, there were some students who would somehow sneakout and go to night shows of cinema and would come back to hostel at 2 am climbing the rear wall to the terrace of the hostel and making their way to their rooms. Once, two students went to a cinema “ Kaathiruntha Kangal “ and a student who obviously did not like the student who went to the cinema, informed the warden. And the warden was waiting in the terrace till the two students got there and caught them redhanded. The warden, a Bengali Swamiji, who did not know Tamil fluently, uttered to the students “ Avai illada Kaathiruntha Kangal, Ivai thanada, Kaathuruntha Kangal “ ( Connecting the cinema’s name and his waiting all thro the night ! ). The students were duly suspended for a week !!

On another occasion, two big baskets of mangoes arrived for distribution to students. The secretary ( the old retired person with a little poor sight ) called a student to count the fruits. He counted and told the secretary – 124. The secretary told that there should be 125 as per the person who gave the fruits and asked another student who counted – 123 ! A third student was called to count and he said 122. The secretary stopped there . And we, the other students who were watching the fun, could not laugh loudly there and we disbursed quietly to our rooms where we had a hearty laugh !!

When we completed our studies, in 1965, we took leave of the secretary and warden who were in tears and of course, we were all weeping. And that moment was the most unforgettable moment of my life in RK Home.

I am grateful to our father who got me admitted there, our mother who was always encouraging me to excel in whatever I did in RK Home, The Great “ Anna” for his inspiring discourses , the selfless secretary – Sri Krishna Iyer , who, at that old age, worked tirelessly for more than 17 hours a day and who took great care of all the students as if they were his own sons, the three cooks who gave us a tasty food always on time and the Technical Institute Principal and lecturers who were again a part of our family there .

Now, tell me , how can I forget those moments in RK Home, where I entered as a student and came out as a MAN.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Unforgettable moments in my life

I have today posted a blog on the above topic. Many more moments are to follow.


Some unforgettable moments in my life.

Aug 1969. Earlier on 20th July 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human being to set his foot on the moon . The local American consul General office in Chennai had received the film of this historic happening and they were screening it free for the public of Chennai , in the Children's theatre , Triplicane for about a week in Aug 1969.

Since they anticipated a huge rush, they had advertised in the paper that the public had to collect the free tickets in advance on first come first served basis. It was a Monday and it was a weekly holiday for us. I left my room at about 830 am( I was a bachelor , residing in Triplicane at that time ), took a cycle on hire and went to Midland theatre, booked a ticket for the evening show of a film ( Poojaikku Vandha Malar, If I am not wrong ), and from there went to Children's theatre , stood in the queue for more than one hour , collected the ticket for the next thursday's show and was returning to the room via Bells Road.

It was about 12 noon then. There was not much traffic on the road , but it so happened that a small boy riding a cycle, suddenly came to the main road from a side road and to avoid hitting him, I swerved my cycle and at that moment my right leg got caught in the front wheel and I was thrown up and onto the road , because of the sudden braking action due to my leg in the front wheel ! I fell on the road and went unconscious immediately. When I woke up sometime later ( about 15 mins afterwards, I was told ), I saw a big bus wheel near my head - about two feet from my head !! And the passengers of the bus were standing around me.

When I became fully conscious, I was told that the bus driver of the bus which was coming behind me saw me falling on the road and in a flash, swerved the bus to one side to avoid running over me . Thank God, he succeeded in his attempt and brought the bus to a halt near my head and the bus was standing at 45 degrees to the road !

Though the cycle got badly damaged , I escaped with some injuries in the hand, leg and face ( fortunately nothing happened to my head) .

After thanking the bus driver and the public who helped me regain consciousness, I brought back the cycle in a cyclericksha, handed over to the cycle shop, went to a nearby ESI dispensary, got the injuries treated , came back to the room, slept for three hours, and went to see the film in the evening!! ( Only to forget the pain )

A close shave with death . How can I forget this moment ?


Thursday, January 24, 2008

In memory of Girija

A few months after our marriage, Girija one day asked me to tell her how a factory functions.

I explained to her the functions of Research& Development, Manufacturing (including purchase, maintenance, and housekeeping), Quality Control, Marketing, Finance and Human Resource Depts. After patiently hearing my narration, she said that the home is also a factory but, added “ in factory you have different people for different functions, but at home, I am the only person who takes care of all functions”! How right she was!

She designed how a home should look like (She gave the main inputs for construction of the flat where we live now ) , she has designed frocks for Sudha and Suba, has designed a no of hand works in small beads . She was always on the lookout for new menus and at various times surprised us with fresh and delicious dishes.

About manufacturing, I need not elaborate on how she managed . But I must mention that the delivery was always on time (The breakfast would be ready on the table by the time I came to the dining table and my lunch box would be ready by the time I put on my shoes ).Productivity was high - she would finish cooking (breakfast and lunch ) in a very short time sometimes even before 7 AM - , Wastage was almost nil and there was hardly any customer( Read relatives/friends) complaint. - All the qualities that Total Quality Management speaks of.

Her housekeeping ability was something I used to admire ( though I did not help her much ! ). She was particular that the house must be neat and tidy always. Everyday, the first thing she would do was to keep the previous day’s newspapers in its place, clean the TV stand, Sofa, Center table etc. Then only she will enter kitchen. And immediately after finishing cooking, the Samaiyal medai will look spic and span. She was very particular that even the daily use clothes like towels, banians, lungies etc are to be folded in a particular manner and kept neatly. There will be orderliness even in her way of hanging clothes in the balcony for drying (all towels together, all banians together etc).

Though she had not undergone any course on 5S* , she was following the concept 100%.

(5S is a Housekeeping concept developed by Japanese. If somebody wants more details on what is 5S, pl let me know)

Quality Control – Yes, she gave great importance to this and whatever she did, be it cooking, or the purchases –groceries to textiles to jewelleries, or the housekeeping, they were all of a very high standard with little to complain about.

She was successful in Marketing also, I suppose. (Marketing is ‘Knowing what the customer wants and fulfilling it ‘ ) . She was very particular in cooking the food we liked. She took extreme care to please all . I have many times admired her determination to help others or resolve their problems.

The day I married her, my financial burden was transferred to her and my responsibility was just limited to earning and handing over the salary to her. It was entirely her ingenuity that helped manage the family, give good education to Sudha and Suba, plan for their marriages, conduct their marriages in a decent manner, buy a flat and a few plots and effect reasonable savings at the time of my retirement to lead a comfortable retired life. She was meticulous in budgeting and spending. She was keeping day today account on expenses to the last pie. And at the end of every month, she used to review with me the actual expenses with budget. And whenever I looked worried whether we would be able to meet the expenses of Sudha, Suba’s higher studies or their marriages, she used to assure me that it would be managed. And how well she managed them!!

She was a perfect Human resource Manager, I would say. Ask Sudha and Suba .She was easy going but at the same time, she ensured discipline. She trained them, developed them, encouraged them to be independent, and increased their self-confidence. She took great pain in their well-being and ensured that they got the best of everything. She will listen to them and give solutions to their problems. She has never let them down anywhere. She groomed them to be women of character and good manners. If Sudha and Suba are today managing well their families, the credit goes entirely to Girija. She was more than a friend, philosopher and guide not only to S&S but to me as well.

This wonderful person who ran this factory so efficiently for more than 30 years, is no more here. The factory however remains, silent and calm , with tears of her memories flowing across the rooms that were charmed by her presence till recently.


Today is Girija’s 52nd birthday.