I have not been consistent in blogging since school started, trying to juggle between work, team discussions, classes, meet-ups and assignments. I don’t remember if I started this year on a high note but definitely this is a year that’s ending with many sweet memories, new challenges, intrinsic learnings, futuristic visions, growing bucket lists and much more. I always take time to reflect and rewind to see how things scaled up and this is what exactly I told when my classmate asked “What do you want to achieve personally by doing an MBA?”. My reply was “There should be a difference between how I was when I joined and how I am when I leave. There should be a graphical representation that shows a giant leap of weaknesses that transformed into strengths” All these differences and transformations should align me to make a difference in this world. Pete Cashmore whose blogging turned into a site that is ‘mashable’
today attracting 23 million readers everyday. He considers his success as 1% of what Steves (Woz and Jobs) could do to put a dent in this universe from their garage. My view of life is similar to this – If I could do a 1% difference [subjective] in this world before I die, I would die happily having lived a worthy life. That difference is my dream. That difference is my vision.
Joy of Giving:
This year had been a great year filled with the ‘joy of giving’. Be it donations to ‘Give a book’, ‘CRY’, ‘Petral dhaan Pillaya?’ or buying cookies for seniors or adopting a family for giving Xmas gifts, nothing in this world can beat the feeling of giving a ray of hope, an arch of sunshine, days of happiness to those whom you can never expect or get anything in return. That’s when I decided that I will donate something for a noble cause for my best buddies and close relationships special days like birthdays and anniversaries. In a way, my materialistic gifting to all those people has dwindled but karmic goodness and blessings has reaped.
First trip of the year in NJ and MA spending time with family was delightful (Kids are the best part in life). Then a pleasure and sight-seeing trip to Vegas followed (No gambling but beautiful views of casinos esp. Bellagio’s). Trip to SFO for my friend’s baby shower and spending late nights decorating and enjoying the company of friends with laughter and joy was a memorable one (Did not realize that I may be visiting SFO often after that). Each one of us who long for, get excited about and end up with ‘don’t want to go back’ feeling – The India trip revealed a new me in me (lots of attitudinal shift for good). Trip to Seattle to meet the two tiny ones for their first Birthday – Had a blast mingling with people enjoying the fun times (Happy feeling). And the time with my best buddies for the B’day, roaming in MN, WI and IL (That’s special). Then the first foot at my dream school gave a feeling of pride (That awesome feeling cannot be equated to the words expressed). Later and now Silicon Valley has become my next stop
Started various things in this blog but most of those did not prevail – The Leadership Ladder, I read. I liked, One observation, one new thing, The starting point, Stanford’s online classes. ‘Time Management’ needs focus
Focused on many interpersonal skills, initiated new strategies to study, got new people whom I can look up to, thought about new ideas and approaches in my entrepreneurial readings this year. Had a huge smile while looking back and connecting the dots on how past experiences and initiatives has helped me to step into Babson. It has reiterated a point strongly – any skill, any knowledge, any effort can never go waste. It may not render immediate benefits but at some point in life, it would help – At that time, you would look back and smile.
2012 definitely had been a great year for me. And when I look forward for 2013, I can see many challenges, many new experiences on its way.
May the new year 2013 bring you
New avenues to accelerate your learning
Challenges to shape you better
Happiness to show the beauty of life
Prosperity to show you how to live and give
Good health to have fun
Wonderful times to accelerate the hopes
Blissful moments to show the purpose of life
Wishing you wonderful days in 2013 and have a great and happy New Year!
Its been a year since I had been to Boston. Had lots of excitement to meet my nephew R and to enter into Babson MBA community. I’m going to keep this post short and cover all the activities in a nutshell.
Day -1: Played with R for a while…his observations, puzzle solving capacity, talking abilities…there were more to catch up. I couldn’t compete with him in solving the large set of puzzles that he have. Loved when he says ‘Not like that Chitthi’ when I tried to connect the puzzle pieces wrongly Aha…his American accent…I’ve to learn from him, I told my sister. Picked up the rental car (Welcome my first solo driving in the people packed Boston). Did a bit of shopping for the Business casuals and dozed off early at night.
Day 0: Accounting Workshop – My first day @ Babson. Met Prof PW. I had difficulties in completing my pre course work accounting course and hence signed up for this workshop. When I got a hold of the basics of Accounting during the first few hours of the class, totally succeeded in solving the first set of problems that he gave to solve working with a group. Connected to those people in my group while solving the problem. None of us had finance or accounting background. Income Statements, Balance sheets have shifted from ‘Oh I don’t get it’ to ‘I like solving it’ type. A set of ‘Account statistics’ and ‘Company matching’ group solving activities followed. It was great to brainstorm with others and come up with solution and eagerly awaited to see the solution that Prof posted and explained in the class. Keeping in mind that the whole week is going to be a very intense and exhaustive week, caught sleep early after getting
Day 1: The Auditorium was filled with so many people connecting during breakfast. Orientation was started by Babson’s dean followed by our fast track chief and the President’s ‘Entrepreneurial Thinking’ session. He was brimmed with enthusiasm and energy moving across the Auditorium while delivering the content. During lunch, we were asked to pick up a token at the entrance and sit at the table with the number that was in the token. It was a way to connect to people from different industries. Went to bookstore with one of my classmates to pick up our coursepack. Connected to so may people and got an idea of why everyone chose Babson and why were they there. There were some technical laptop setting sessions thereafter. It was a 8AM-9PM week with 1 hour driving up and down amidst traffic, school buses, I felt very exhausted by the time I got back home
Day 2 & 3: It was a session called ‘Techmark simulation’. We were divided into groups into each planet (divided into 5 planets and 5 groups in each) and each group represented a Management team trying to bring back Techmark to speed and reap profits. We were given 5 quarter periods spanning 1.5 hours each to solve and sell 3 products to 3 different countries based on the market statistics, economy and financial statements. You don’t understand anything right after reading this? That’s how we as a group felt too…After 2 periods, we could gather details and understand what was expected and by the end of 5 periods, we won in our planet. Was it a win by luck? May be or may be not, but it was a great experience trying to calculate, brainstorm, listen to various perspectives, ideas and coming up with a competing strategy doing all this inside a room packed with charts, flipboards, print outs and notes. By the end of day 3, my brain was about to explode
Day 4: Had an idea lab session with Prof DC to know about brain orientation, where ideas come from, working on gathering and multiplying stimuli and coming up with an idea only with a company name given. There were 42 different ideas that were generated in the class…Mine was the most dumbest idea But most others were weird, very different and out of the box thinking types. We were asked to pick up one idea as a group and pitch as a business plan with Potential customers, Business/revenue model, Target industries, Production costs in mind. It was another group interaction session which led me to think ideas come from divergent thinking and its not easy to pitch if you are not sure about what you want to do/implement. Had a welcome party in the evening where we connected to our Profs and other faculty members.
Day 5: We had our first 2 core course sessions. Without pre reading for classes, you cannot contribute anything in the class which led me to catch up with the readings early in the mornings. Class interactions count for grades and hence introverts like me were pushed to talk. It was evident that only when you talk, your thinking and ideas emerge and help you to leverage with that others think of. It was a great session to discuss about a case study of Innovation, How failures breed success and much more. Said bye to my learning groups and other classmates and thanked Babson for such a wonderful experience throughout the week thought it was exhaustive. Did a bit of shopping and dinner with Sis and R later.
Day 6: Went to CT with friends and saw fall colors. How long I had to wait for seeing the fall colors? Had a great dinner at A/S’s house after which stayed very late till 2:15 in the morning completing my assignments. Ha, when did I become a good student?
Day 7: Watched some TV shows with A/S and talked about those. Packed and got to the airport very early not anticipating that I would be missing my connecting flight. New experience of missing the flight due to technical snag in the aircraft and stayed at a Hotel arranged by the airlines.
Got back home the day after and went to work after a week. Felt like I had been in a different planet the week before
Intense coursework and busy schedules ahead. The interest towards the coursework has certainly multiplied after the whirlwind week. Got to go…Will catch later
It started with a sumptuous breakfast – Pongal, Vadai, Sambar. We prepared Puliyodharai, Thayir saadham, Potato Fry (nothing can beat this combo) and packed it for lunch/supper and headed to Duluth, a scenic place in MN. Before leaving to Duluth, we had a small photo session – What’s in a trip without photo sessions and that too with different brand SLR in the hands of guys? On the way we picked up some beverages (‘A’ called it as ‘drinks’ always – more on this on day 3 & 4) – The ‘Starbucks’ lady gave us one triple cappuccino instead of 3 cappuccino [Ok, nothing significant here but I wrote this in a flow]. We stopped by the Visitor center on the way and we could be the only group who can take 50+ photos in a Visitor center – Thanks to Nikon and Canon SLR camera makers and credit to those budding photographer friends S, N & Sh Me & A took the ‘posers’ role If there’s a photographer, there should be a poser, right?
From the visitor center, we went to Aerial lift bridge and Canal park. I loved the shores and the rocks. It was packed with people. We thought of playing frisbee but it got dark and cold and had to park that plan for some other day. While S, N & Sh were busy taking photos of nature, flowers and birds, me & A took rest in the bench enjoying the scenic beauty from there. We saw the Aerial lift bridge but not the view of it opening when ships pass which is one of the landmarks of MN. Then we ate the food that we had packed. From there, we went through the north shore scenic drive – It would have been more beautiful if it had been fall time but it was still good when we drove. It was very dark by the time we completed the drive and reached the Gooseberry falls. We discussed whether it was worth visiting the falls during that night-time while it was dark. There were different levels of falls – Upper, Middle and lower. After few minutes of discussion, since we were already there, we thought of just glancing it and walked in the dark to see the falls.
After that, it was a drive to WI then…
Wisconsin Dells – America’s largest water theme park – the next day’s coverage – For a hydrophobic person like me, was it fun or phobic? Day 3 will tell you…Stay tuned.
Visiting all states in USA is one of the items in my bucket list. It’s going to take a while to make it happen but I hope I can do it. This time it’s midwest coverage. Excitement factor of trips, visiting friends used to creep in sometime before boarding the plane. Ditto, this time as well.
Day 1 – MN:
Minnesota – City of 1000 lakes – It started there. I was the last one to arrive at the airport and N, A, S and Sh came to pick me up. I was hoping for a tiffin box full of food to be offered to me in the car while we headed to N’s home. They were giving me hints of what they ate and what will be offered to me for dinner – I knew all that was a lie. Truth turned out to be a ‘Saravana Bhavan’ special consisting of Dosa, Adai, Pudhina Chutney, Tomato Chutney made by N – In addition to it, N and S made fresh musk melon and water melon juices and served those past midnight [Sema Saapadu...burps... ] Then the award ceremony started – Who’s got gifts for whom? One of them took the vocation of a photographer while I got my share of gift – Aha…this B’day became a B’day of watches. Now, I have the privilege of wearing different watch every day of the week – Different straps, dials, colors, shades, pattern, brands. I gave the cards that I made for A/S and N. I started talking to Sh about his MS coursework, classes, credits, professors [See ya...it's student student conversation] Heard from N that Sh pulled a full nighter before he came to MN. I thought to myself: It’s not far for me…Classes are nearing. We all spoke for some time and went to sleep after discussing the next day’s menu and logistics.
Day 2 to follow…
- it’s brilliance from your hands will be missed. A level headed consistent batsman-ship will be missed. While I was reading through all those who have to say about you and your mastery over the sports, these particular lines enlightened me, as your fan.
“If you get Dravid, great.
If you get Sachin, brilliant.
If you get Laxman, it’s a miracle.”
(Brett Lee repeating the words of wisdom of his former captain, Steve Waugh)
TEST CRICKET WILL MISS YOU, VVS!
And now, some nostalgic moments:
Success = Potential + Efforts + Luck
Though the % towards each factor can differ, when one is not there, ‘Success’ as a collective thing could be out of reach; could be a dream and not a reality. I watched this video from Grasshopper and I liked it because I thought it was well aligned with my thoughts. And, I’m sure every other Entrepreneur or a wanna be Entrepreneur has watched this video umpteen times.
It all started somehow, somewhere to have a motto in life to make a difference in every possible way. When your vision is clear, putting the thoughts into words can be easier than expected. I have talked to many people at work, at functions, at home, at friend’s place about being an Entrepreneur and getting into Babson’s Olin School of Business. Many have questioned me why I did not consider Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Wharton, Berkeley, Darden and all other ivy league B-Schools. Babson has been ranked #1 in entrepreneurship for 19 consecutive years. Babson’s professors are Entrepreneurs – Their realtime business execution, success measures, lessons on failure and much more will be helpful than just being in a theoretical class. Most of the Students are Entrepreneurs or at the least they have an idea or agenda to be an Entrepreneur. Theory can teach you the ways of doing things but unless it is put into practice, it is mere information. Practice can take you through the intricacies, show you to get back strong after a fatal fall – Experience can give you much more than the Knowledge you possess. Getting into Babson was a dream. I lived with it for years.
During one of our dinner outing, K asked me what were my plans for applying this year. I detailed her about the difficulties and she was the one who spurred this idea into me of trying something that’s possible in terms of executing the dream. My research started there and it provoked me to connect with few of Babson’s alumni and the prospective students. They helped me throughout the process of knowing what it is and how to approach. It was the start!
Application Essays – This was one of the things that kept me occupied for days altogether. Though I like writing, I was not sure how this format of app essays should be written. I researched on essay editing services and approached some but was not towards them due to the expenses their services rely on. So, ruled out the option of getting my essays edited through the services available and heavily relied on my writing skills. My best friends N and S were the driving force in getting the essays done. I honestly told them my views and the way I want it to shape up. Thanks to S for the valuable suggestions she provided. I owe N a great deal of thanks and gratefulness for spending several hours in reviewing, acknowledging, criticizing, giving ideas and directions and at the end giving me a very satisfactory feeling to say “It has indeed come out really well!”. Thanks to my sister for reviewing the essays within a less amount of time that I could give her, correctly pointing out grammatical errors and the lines that were not making any sense – I was able to correct it and rephrase it to mould the essays into a better shape. With application essays carrying the greater weightage for candidacy, without these 3 people, it would not have been easier to get it done with utmost satisfaction.
My good friends K and A, well wishers from my earlier and current company – S and R, were instrumental in recommending me to Babson’s MBA. I owe a great amount of thanks to them.
Bounds of joy:
The anxiety of checking the results every 1 hour on the web ended yesterday. Even for the 10th and +2 results, I did not have this anxious feeling. But the first ever time I tried to get into Babson, i.e. this time, it worked. I was not 100% hopeful because I stumbled in one significant question in the interview process. Yet I was very satisfied with the way I shaped my application essays. So my take was 50%-50%. The results were supposed to come on Thursday but it did not. So, the anxiety factor increased tremendously although I kept saying myself that a day delay in the results could be because of the July 4th holiday.
Later yesterday, when I got a call and the other side uttered “We have a great news for you!” – I felt like dancing; I felt like jumping; For few minutes after, I did not listen to what she said. I sunk into one of the happiest moments of my life. Then I realised the call was not over yet. We discussed on the next steps and hung up. The year(s) long dream, the vision, the future has unfolded today – Hurrah! Babson accepted me. I made into Babson’s fast track MBA this fall [I wish I could fill this space with 1000 smileys ]
My parents are one among those who know this dream of mine. They came to know it better after I detailed them on how I see it. So, when I told them the news yesterday, my dad gave a philosophical connection on why he believed that I would definitely make it. The connection/story is simple – He went to get the official transcripts from the university where I attended for my Undergrad studies. Generally it takes weeks or even months to get it. He approached and they said it will take time and with my deadlines fast approaching, he gave up the idea of getting one and was returning home. On the way, he was approached by one of his old students who was working in the university asking the reason for his visit. The student went with my application and there he was, with the approved application and official transcripts in hand within 2 hours. This was the root cause of my dad and mom’s belief of me getting it This sheer coincidence is what luck is!
Going to be back to School after 9 years. Studies, Travel, Work life balance, Financial responsibilities – A tough road ahead. I could foresee many challenges but I want to live yesterday’s moment without comprehending anything
The First treat:
I know S only for few months after she came to this place. We have gone out for Friday dinners, did cooking together, watched movies, shared personal futuristic views, took strolls on a nice weather etc. We went for the usual Friday dinner to one of my favorite restaurants. It was her treat for the great news that I shared. I did not know about the treat until she told me that when the bill came.
It’s a new beginning with challenges ahead, responsibilities surmounted, vision focussed. It’s going to be a difficult but an enriching experience!
I hope I live up to Babson’s legacy. A dream turned to reality – What an incredible happy feeling it is!
It was a trip planned well in advance. It was a trip that was due for a year, waiting for the cute twins grow and giving adequate private time for my friends to enjoy the parenthood and the new experience. Few days before the trip, I told my colleague friend M about the Seattle trip. M, who shuttles between Seattle and Colorado Springs often, told “Say my hi to the pilot” and giggles followed The GPS struggled to work on my way to Denver but some luck showered in the form of my driving skills and the driving directions memory that I held hitherto.
The sleep cycles after the India trip was a deviant that continued even ‘in the air’. I had the Infinithoughts magazine on my handbag that gave me company through out. It was the first time after so many years I finished reading the magazine in one sitting. There was an argument between the airline crew and a lady who boarded. Due to a delay in the previous flight, this lady has gotten into this connecting flight at the last minute where as her boss had missed. The argument continued for a while until the crew member had to discuss about the laws and regulations. I got reminded of actress Sneha who comes in a guest appearance as the Senior airline crew member in the latest movie OKOK – The nuisance in the movie scenes was probably in line with this actual and thats why I gotten Sneha in my mind at that point of time.
While we disembarked the plane, saw most of the people taking their jackets and wearing it. I too picked up my jacket and wore it. Seattle weather can be gloomy all the time. I remember my colleague friend M telling me the correlation of percentage inclination of suicides and weather. AP came to pick me up and we talked about work, Colorado, songs, movies, personal things etc. There was a group of friends at his place and we had dinner and ended up chatting till 2 AM in the morning. S was asking about my India trip and other personal plans. The twins were happily sleeping in their places and we did not disturb them.Is this what is called ‘Sleepless in Seattle?’
The next afternoon was the B’day party. In the morning, AP’s mom, sis and I were chatting for a while talking about good old stories and how me and his sis used to play teacher games Getting the Y & Y twins ready was not an easy task. The tikes that I had gifted was a hit – the twins and all those kids who came to their place wanted to ride on that. Loved the kids dresses – the boY with a cute coat suit and the girlY with a cute little pink frock and a flowery headband was a delight to watch. The next set of dresses – a girlY chudidhar with a dupatta for a one year old? (wonder how they design such cute dresses for the little ones) and the ‘cool dude’ dress of boY also suited them well that we couldn’t get the eyes off of them. Snaps were clicked continuously.
Though I am not used to long earrings, with S’s request, wore one. I looked different to myself The bright colored dress was another thing that was a new attempt from me. The new attempts bore its fruit of satisfaction revealed from the snaps that I saw later. The party place was filled with friends of AP & S. Loved the place which had a park and a lake around. We took a stroll to the lakeside and took few pictures. Then some group snaps followed. The lunch dishes were good and we packed the left overs for dinner. While getting into the car, A came and showed me a photo asking “Why are you not having a Bindi in this photo?”. I said “Ha ha…it’s not me”. The girl in the photo was a look-alike of me and hence the question. I then enquired who that was and since it was AP/S’s friend SC’s sister, I have started calling SC as ‘enga Anna SC’
We had some games in the evening at AP/S’s place and dinner at their friend’s place. There was a game to tell in one line about each of them present there. They asked me to tell about S and after few mins of thoughts I said “Friendly”. I could have come with a better word because I meant to say something more than that. Anyways, my turn was over. S was asked to tell about me and she said “Samaritan”. M said “I have read the word in books but don’t know the complete meaning of it”. I was in the same boat as M but I thought it was to refer a person who lends a helping hand. My vocab is limited that way. When S detailed it, I didn’t know how to react but smiled and felt very happy inside
Dinner time was fun at their friend’s place. We were taken an inside tour of the house by A. Liked the way they have kept things, modelled and adorned the house. We had home made dinner, party left overs, pizzas. Before a game of poker was started, we requested AP and his brother-in-law, a talented vocalist and guitarist to play Guitar and sing songs of “Engal choice” [the songs that were chosen from all of us]. Songs ranged from Ilayaraja’s “Madai Thirandhu” to Harris Jeyaraj’s “Nenjukkul Peidhidum”. Banters were there in between the musical show Kids were engrossed in Wii games. The game of Poker was detailed to some of us who were new to it. I watched the game most of the time rather than taking the role of a player. Time flew and it was well past midnight. Then, to bed.
GirlY refused to come to me most of the times but boY did not. Sat besides them and saw them playing. Took pictures with them in AP’s friend N’s place. I knew N from the school days. I was teasing N and AP on how those school days they waited at the bus stop to sight a girl of my class, whom they liked We had a surprise baby shower for AP’s sis and then lunch at N’s place. We had a ‘in and around’ house tour there also
Left to the airport there after. AP & S came to drop me off. On the way I was thinking of the hand written card that they gave. I’ve clipped it on my bedroom now. It means a lot to me as it referred how much I mean to them. Their gift to me reached a week later – it was a very funny desktop organizer. I told S why I did not want to keep that in my work place. If I keep it, I’m sure every one who walks that side, will stop by and pass some comments.
Boarded the flight and with insufficient sleep for few days, thought of dozing off as soon as I get in. There was an old man sitting across my seat smiled and asked me “Are your parents from India?” I nodded and he said he want to talk to me. I did not know why until he came and sat next to me and told his details. He was a musician who had gone to various parts of India for his concerts. We started talking about various topics – India, Culture, Varanasi, Chennai, Carnatic Music, Brahmins, Religious gods, Marriage rituals, Dowry, Recipes etc., He said he loved Upma and Dosa with coconut chutney and sambar. He went into the details of “how to make Upma?” I told about my iota of knowledge on music and the carnatic classes that I had taken [not worth mentioning though ] We both did some thaalams, aadhi thaalams and talked about some raagas that I’m familiar with. Being at the rear end of the flight, the flight attendant kept smiling at me often seeing our conversation. The old man and I talked about Harappa, Mohenjadaro, Castes, religions, history, tamil linguistics, differences between Hindustani and Carnatic – Most of these topics which I am not knowledgeable enough, I felt bad for not knowing more about my country, history and ancient culture that he asked about. I shared the Dosa recipe with him. He showed me how he wrote his name in Hindi – It was crystal clear and correctly written. He asked me if I am in my 20s. I told that it was a decade before Good thoughts, happiness, peace can bring radiance in you making you look and feel younger
While we waited to pick our baggages from the side, he sang a carnatic song for me. I remembered my carnatic teacher and my ‘on the class’ experiences then. Back home then…
Every trip offers a different enriching experience. Many more to come…
Meeting ‘Ra’: Tried so much to meet ‘Ra’. I knew beforehand that it would be too difficult to get an appointment to meet him. So, I started my attempts to get an appointment few days after I booked the flight tickets to India. After many attempts, I got an appointment. G was the one who was in constant touch with me to get that appointment. I was a bit anxious and many things were running in my mind like what to talk, do I need to write a set of questions that I can ask him when I meet, will he accept the personalized gift of Inspiration that I had got for him and the feedback on Frozen Thoughts (Infinithoughts now) that my friends had insisted me to give to him. The day came but the chance of meeting him did not happen. I was disappointed to miss it after giving so many attempts. I thought that the chances of meeting him would have been higher if I had been in Chennai and not in Madurai. But a sense of hope prevailed when G updated me that Ra may come to North America this year. Chances are there that me and my friends will meet him.
My ‘young’ buddy: 2-3 years after P was born, I held her in my arms. I was probably 10 years old that time. From that day till now, we are friends Now she’s in college and still remembers me and wishes on my Birthday every year and tries to meet me whenever I go to India. Without any notice, she stopped by, at our house one day. We did a ‘high five’ and started talking. Amidst her non-stop talking about college, friends, movies, studies and future plans, I got to talk for few minutes about US and higher studies here. With my more than one attempt on GRE, TOEFL and constant musings about higher studies I think I should become a ‘higher studies abroad’ consultant She insisted that I should have lunch with her sometime. I tried to make an awesome dosa for her which stuck midway. ‘Awesome’ turned to ‘terrible’…Seeing that, with giggles, she ran away
The Super Singer replica: G Aunty, who was our neighbor few years ago, called one day. She was excited to tell one thing – ‘You know what? Whenever the super singer junior Stefi comes to the daïs and sings, all of us at home get reminded of you. You looked the same when you were young’. I told her that my sis used to tell the same thing when Maestro’s daughter Bavadharini comes to stage. Ha ha…I know what they all mean…I wish they told that I sang like Stefi or Bavadharini
Eye care: The first time when I went with Amma, at the registration desk, they asked my age. When I told the age, the lady said that she couldn’t believe it and she thought I may be around 24. That’s when I realised the reason behind her eye glasses With my frequent visits to the eye hospital for Amma, all the sisters there connected to me very well. Every time I went, they talked to me nicely. One of them gave her contact # and asked me to be in touch. Another one told that she was very proud to see me taking care of my Amma like that. Ore fan following dhaan…:P
Mall in Madurai: It was ‘new’(s) to me when I heard that they have opened a new mall in Madurai. Maduraiyile mall-a? I wondered. Went there twice and picked up some new fashionable dresses. People were very courteous in the shops. Even on a Sunday, there were only few shopaholics. We went to food court to try few dishes. French fries for 57 rupees – Are you kidding me? Not like big malls in Chennai, but I feel that this itself is big for people in Madurai
Second Chennai Visit: The route from Madurai to Chennai – NH is great. There are toll roads, service areas, sign boards throughout which I thought was a real development from what I had seen earlier. We made some stops before reaching the Chennai city and visited some houses/apartments. We went to a township P.G. where all the apartments looked like palaces. Though I am not a big dreamer of lavish lifestyle or owning luxurious bungalows, my Appa said “This is where I think you should live”. I said “this is where I can live if I were a billionaire ” The sales manager’s native was Madurai and hence my family ended up talking for a while and had lunch with him.
After that, Appa, Amma and me went to the hotel talking about the horrible traffic in Chennai. We had wi-fi in the hotel and me and Appa used my iPad wisely. The next day, met B Aunty and her husband. We all had lunch together. She had bought some fancy jewelry for me as a token of her love and we talked about the initiatives that me and my friends had started. We talked about how we can provide education to some kids who cannot afford to get one and more on that front. After our lunch and back to hotel, my Amma and Appa said that the happiest couple that they have ever seen is B Aunty and her husband and they liked them. N’s Appa came to give her wedding invitations that I had assured to take it when I go back. My Appa and he talked about many things and I was listening. I wish I was there in Chennai for N’s wedding. But, there were lots of things to squeeze within few days of vacation.
Got the monthwise photos of my Nephew’s first year and loved it. Decided to pick a proper picture frame that can hold it. Then went to Grand sweets and picked up loads of items. With so much popularity of Express Mall, went there but returned empty-handed. Picked many books and DVDs for me and now my book shelf is overflowing (Padikromo illayo adikiruvomla ) The most surprising thing was without me telling that I was looking for Management/Business/Entrepreneurship books, my Appa was picking all those and giving it to me. My future plans are shaping well, I thought My Amma was giving a “What will she do with all these books?” look.
Met K & A, my previous company friends, for dinner. The ambience was great at AB and that was the first time I went to that restaurant. Casual talks about friends, family, life, personal things went on. Those canteen talks and breaks, birthday bashes, dance practices, cricket matches, organizing events, ‘what next’ talks, drop dead gorgeous following, Girls day outs – all those moments flashed – Golden period of my life. Very happy to be in touch with all of them and it was a pleasure to meet them after years, though the gang size has dwindled.
Most of my plans worked out with all those who I wished to meet (except Ra and college friends), what I wished to do and those that I wanted to eat (Mangoes, Butterscotch/Casatta ice creams, ‘Jayaram Bakery’ cakes in particular). Weeks went off in a jiffy.
Bye India and here I come, Colorado! There I was standing in the Chennai airport, waving bye to Appa and Amma.
- The End
Perfections Vs Imperfections:
I went to an Eye Hospital in India for a consultation and then had to make frequent visits for Amma’s surgery and the check-ups/follow-ups after that. Since I was a frequent visitor to the hospital, other than reading newspapers under a fan there, I was observing whatever was in there. They had a TV running Cartoon Network or National Geo Channels showing a lion catching a deer but most of the patients/visitors inside was not giving attention to it. Rather than giving attention to a TV, most of them read what was hanging there – details about different eye surgeries, how one needs to take care of their eyes, different technological advancements on eye surgeries etc.,
During one of the visits, I stood up and went to a sister (that’s how the working professionals inside the building, were called) and told that I want to give some suggestions in writing. Suddenly, 4 to 5 sisters flocked me giving a pen, a form and asked if I needed anything. I said that should be enough and started writing. My Appa, who was sitting next to me looked at me and started focussing on what I was writing. I had few things on it – The way I admired their hospitality, the care taking principles that they follow. Two suggestions – 1. Instead of running a ‘Cartoon Network’ or a ‘National Geo channel’ all the time, few times in between, they could show some eye exercises for people to follow, food items that are rich in vitamins that would help in eye care, in a creative way that would appeal people 2. Apart from having boards hanging in with different things that could promote their business, they could also have some boards detailing the significance and pledging of eye donations after death.
As most of you think, I was questioned – Do you think they are going to read and implement it? My answer was ‘I don’t know’. But, what if they implement it and if 1% of the crowd among all their centers across the world decide to pledge for eye donation and follow the exercises and eye care techniques? It’s a win-win.
How many of us crib about the imperfections surrounding us? Almost all of us. We crib about systems, people who are imperfect. Talking about imperfections constantly – will it bring a change? Things will be imperfect. People will be imperfect. Systems will be imperfect. We have been sent to this world to become aware of it, strive to change it and make it better. Even in our day-to-day relationships, we see imperfections. If we start focussing on the imperfections alone, we will start losing peace. Neither you nor I are perfect in all ways. If you become aware of your imperfection, you strive and change it. That’s the attitude and success behind you.
Any change, for good, should start from you. Until then, nothing else surrounding you can be changed.
Hello Chennai!: With Immigration formalities over, headed towards the baggage conveyor belt to pick the baggage. Someone standing there helped me. Got out and after a while, could see a head popping out and waving at me – Appa, it was. Could see Appa and Amma faces brighten as I went close by. With a few good behavioural attitudes that I picked up here from US, went far away to keep the cart in its place. I could feel the humidity and difference of weather but it was not bad for me. After refreshing, my parents thought I would sleep like Kumbakarnan but I was all enthusiastic about meeting cousins and eating Saravana Bhavan sambar vadai Met my cousin B and she was asking me about my Matrimonial alliance seeking experiences. There I was, revealing my experiences and threw in few words of wisdom – This chance does not come often and hence made better use of it We went to PVR Cinemas and met our another cousin A – From those early days, A and B used to share their thoughts with me ranging from college crushes to where to do MS, MBA topics. Though I am older than them, I’m always called by my name – no suffixes like akka is attached – not that I want it but I feel without it, they feel close in sharing anything that generally they would hesitate to, as far as I know. Aha, there I received the honorarium I hogged on any type of food that I saw – Chats, Icecreams, Coffee (I picked the habit as soon as I landed in Chennai…), South Indian dishes, but was very cautious in having drinking water from anywhere. Met K the next day and collected my official document and talked to her for a while in the office where I used to work before. 15-20 mins was not enough for us to share lots of things that we wanted to and hence we decided to meet again. Good amount of friends and memories that I possess in this building – Golden period, it was. On the way, I was telling my dad that Chennai had become like New York – All high-rise buildings, hoardings were new to me. Visa Interview was a cake walk and after that, headed back home.
Endrum Maaradha Madurai: Had been anxiously waiting for years to see this person in Madurai and the day had come. Without knowing how that experience is going to be, sitting in the car, I was closing down my eyelids slowly taking myself few years back in my life…
Amma shook me asking “Tea or Coffee?” and I asked “Are we there?”
Did I meet whom I was anxiously waiting to see? What happened then?
To be continued…