Wednesday, November 28, 2012

10 Rules for Being Human

I saw this in a FB post and loved it so much so that I'm blogging it, to keep it for my reference, and may be for posterity.


‎10 Rules for Being Human

➊ You will receive a body.
➤ You may like it or hate it, but it's yours to keep for the entire period. 

➋ You will learn lessons.
➤ You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called, "life."

➌ There are no mistakes, only lessons.
➤ Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately "work."

➍ Lessons are repeated until they are learned.
➤ A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.

➎ Learning lessons does not end.
➤ There's no part of life that doesn't contain its lessons. If you're alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned.

➏ "There" is no better a place than "here."
➤ When your "there" has become a "here", you will simply obtain another "there" that will again look better than "here."

➐ Other people are merely mirrors of you.
➤ You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.

➑ What you make of your life is up to you.
➤ You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.

➒ Your answers lie within you.
➤ The answers to life's questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.

➓ You will forget all this.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Audacity of Hope

Imagine a guy - who flunked his SSLC exam, came back to his home in village, lied that he had cleared it, then without informing anybody, ran away from home. What an audacity, good/bad is the secondary layer to it, but the audacity stands out for me.

In fact, audacity and possibility are two things that define my thattha. With him, everything is possible. It doesn't matter to him if it is hard or easy, if he wants, he will make sure that he will get that somehow. At the very least, give a super best shot at it.

His whole life has been a super shot!!!

He earned his living by doing accounts and was really good at it. Irony, right, for one to flunk schools and then go around earning a living from doing accounting for organizations. As I said, he was trusted and so good that, till few years back he used to have one or two clients give their personal/small organization accounts for him to do. And, he was earning from that while doing the accounting from home. Apparently, we are good at doing maths :)

And, all of his children are graduates - thanks to both thattha and aachi for all their hard work. Thattha, I was told, did 3 jobs; one day-time job and 2 firms accounts management separately at different hours in the same day/week. And, thattha had that "Gambeeram" - when he walks in or if he is in a room, you can know that he is there. He is not dominating, but he is very influential. 

Lastly, he is straight forward, has a pinch of swagger along with his audacity and to the point, blunt at times. And, his way of doing things has a flair, style to it. In fact, some of my straightforwardness in speech, lack of inhibition - I attribute to my thattha. His enthusiasm, is something, that I have probably derived on.

~ ~ நான் தாத்தா மாதிரி ~ ~ May 2012 pic above

I cannot complete the list of all good times that I have had with my thattha but here are some of them

  • There was this one time, during summer leave, I had gone to thattha place. And, after waking up, I, for a change, decided to fold my "padukai". This is something I never do, even now too. But, when he saw me doing that, he was so impressed with me doing this and immediately wanted to award me something - and I, being the kid, asked for the most expensive tooth brush at that time. 30 Rs it cost (must be in mid 90's) and the same day evening, I had that brush.
  • He sent me across to learn swimming in IIT madras for few weeks, along with few friends in Medavakkam. That was the only structured learning of swimming I have had till date.
  • And, guess it was for my bday in 8th std - I wanted a Hero Ranger Techno cycle, the first cycle in India with front and back suspension. And, he helped me get that.
  • Countless number of eating time outside, the number of times he got the saturday morning parcel of rava dosai/dosai for me and my sister when he comes to our locality for his monthly check up.
  • The saravana bhavan cheedai for my sister - a small pack whenever he visits SB.
All Thatthas are like that, whats so special, one may wonder. Well, for me, my  name is the same as that of the other thattha (Dad's dad) but he (this thattha) is the only one I have ever seen. He is also not just thattha, he is like the Kavingar Vaalee - ever youthful in our family. He is so well informed of everyday activity, sports and politics of TN. In fact, he is an encyclopedia of the politics of Karunanidhi, Sivaji and MGR times to till date. The countless talks I have had with my thattha on politics are very much informative to know of the past, which I wouldn't have known otherwise. 

There is a tradition in family - all of the grandchildren name begins with "A", coz my thattha name is Arumugham. It all started with me.
  • Arvind
  • Anand
  • Ashwini
  • Ajay
  • Aarthi
  • Akshaya

80th Bday of Thatha - 2010; all except Anand

His humor nature, is simply mind-blowing. He is second only to Goundamani for me - his comedy has such a timing sense that all people - his peers, his friends, his elders, his children and grand children - we all laugh. That is a tremendous quality. He pulls people, left and right and engages actively in arguments.

More than all this, he is like a friend for me - a partner in crime types. We had planned and done countless going-out things, small events or things like that. The last phone he got, which I helped him buy - a flip phone and he thought it was cool to flip it open and take call. The touch screen technology came little late for my thattha as he was never interested on that. 

I don't know what is it with 2012 - two of the people in family, I had looked upon as role models, had chosen to leave all of us, all little too soon, for me. Or so I feel. My periappa left in June - the architect of my dad's family resurrection. Now, thattha. He is the only person who is my role model, not for any thing he did, but just for being himself.

I cannot think of anybody doing things that he has done - beating death 3 times so far and to succumb on the fourth time a day back :(. I was so hopeful of his will power, that given a small chance to survive, my thattha would be back to his usual or ok state in a bit. Alas, he didnt get his chance this time :(. In 2006, he surprised all of our family members; after suffering his second heart attack while he was in haridwar, he flew back to Chennai, all by himself, and in airport we had an ambulance waiting to take him to the hospital. And, those drivers, didnt know the shortcut to reach Kamakshi hospital, and my thattha, lying down in the ambulance, gave directions. WOW....such acts by thattha defy me.

Death, which is, and has to be a biological phenomenon; but not sure why it evokes such an emotion within me. :(.  May be its coz, I wont have the same place to go back to - thattha veedu, with out thattha, it is just a void place. The place where I go and open fridge, kitchen, almirah all with so much rights, is going to be an all together different place - for all of us. He is such an independent man, lived his entire life, all by himself; both him and my grandma . They lived alone till date and were doing their daily chores all by themselves with help from my chitthi on cooking coming in the last few months. This for me is such an astonishing thing, given how old my Thattha is. He has lead his life, managed and maintained that house, all its accounts till the very last - all alone. He is such an organized man, that you will find all things neatly in place.

I share his disappointment in not having his "Sadhabhishekam" held; for some reasons, it never really materialized.

Alas, Im sitting all alone now, having decided yesterday night not to fly back to India for last rites but since morning, Im all blahhhhhh. Im not doing anything. I have no real clue why am I even blogging all these. Not sure why Im not going - Im in two minds. And, now it is that Im not going, Im sitting with a feeling of void that is too big and tears that roll down, ever so slowly when I see pictures from different times. But this distance -arrrrggghhhh is killing :(. I just wanted to go there and dance my heart out in front of his procession, don't know why but that is what I felt.

He has interest in tamil literature and a voracious reader, his almirah is full of books, which by itself can fill three to four book shelves. 

I'm not sure how to say good bye to my thattha coz he is our biggest support. I will miss his "Ganir" voice in phone call, his exaggeration of things he like - are all the wonderful traits that we have got so accustomed to and enjoy. 

He began to go weak in the last few months and his voice started showing that he was suffering. All the while, I was hoping for his pain to subside and didn't want him to leave now - may be he could have stayed for few more years, 3 years may be :(

Such a stickler for time he is, he will be the first person to arrive to any function or event in the family/elsewhere. And, he follows the same, while leaving too, will be the first person to leave back home as well. So much so, my aachi always says, "Kal le sudu thanni oothukittu than eppavum nippa thattha". 

I think he has done that one last time, again :(.

With tears rolling down, here is to my thattha, my friend - Arumugham