The Blog Post No: 500

I have been moving towards this milestone, the five hundredth post on this blog for some time – there was a time when I thought that I could get to five hundred posts only while combining all my blogs together, but here I am, as The Tea Cerebration(s) has achieved that figure. I have been thinking about writing about a movie for this special occasion, but then I felt that I should stick to the personal side with this post. I really haven’t watched that special a movie for some time; so lets take this one back through the memories.

Lets talk about the awesome people I have met in the last one year or so. At a time when I was wondering what was next for me, the blogging fraternity has always been there for me – I am thankful to them for the same. I have met a number of my fellow bloggers, all of them at Cochin or Delhi. I have met a lot of people already from online communities, and last one year for so, has been special. I have met some of the most amazing people in these times, and I have been a lot of happy about the same.

At Delhi, there were four other bloggers for the conclave, as the winners of the writing contest on The World Remade; I met Arvind, Shoma, Shreya and Yogita at Taj Palace Hotel, Delhi. It was the best of times – I also met Mayank from India Today there. This one might always be my biggest win ever, and the only time when I have met so many bloggers at the same time. It was also one of the most interesting journeys of all-time, with the chance to see all those celebrities in person, and also to wander around the city as a tourist. I really needed a reason to visit Taj Mahal, and finally, there I was, with the suitable reason.

It is good to have an identity - we don't always get to have one.

I was surely left with the feeling that I missed meeting so many other bloggers at Delhi though, with the chance there – maybe there is another opportunity on another day. Life has the ability to provide you with second chances, as I have felt and proven at many points of my time-line of existence. Well, hope has got wings, right? I am sure that we have read that somewhere in a poem. According to Emily Dickinson, it had feathers, I guess. It should never cease to exist – there were many situations when I thought that I was done with blogging, but here I am, with my existence still being there.

On another day, I managed to meet Anoop, at the Ernakulam South railway station, followed by four cups of tea. It was a meeting which was waiting to happen; I was sure that it was supposed to happen some day, and in the end, it did. At least before Batman was to go and battle Superman, it had to happenĀ šŸ˜› At my break between two movies – Paavada and Monsoon Mangoes, I met Ranjini at the mall – with the tea; that was another meeting which was due for so long, of course; well, we did happenĀ to go to the same school at a point of our life too šŸ˜›Ā Well, a fine day is to be chosen for meeting such wonderful people. I was just lucky enough to find the best timeĀ šŸ˜€

I later met Deepa at Durbar Hall Art Gallery in Cochin during the exhibition of her paintings last month; feels good to see such awesome creativity at any time. It was just last day that I met Shrinidhi during his visit to Cochin. I am more than happy to meet such amazing people, they have been directly or indirectly a significant part of my life, as not only have they supported me, but their writings have always been a source of inspiration for me. People look at many fields for some motivation, but I have found the same among my friends – the bloggers about whom I have talked about a lot already.

You can avoid and forget many things, but not the lovely tea!

It has taken me 642 days to get to 500 posts on this blog. I have been stuck at the score of 499 for too long after continuously writing for more than a year, and I am glad to have finally got to this milestone. Sometimes, you feel that you need these scores to make you remember, but there are occasions when you understand that it is all about the ideas and the people, and the records and achievements will just follow. I haven’t been able to blog much in the last few months due to work, but I hope to keep this going, as blogging has defined my life more than anything else, and the impact has surely been deeper than I felt earlier.

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

TeNy

Birthday and the Conclave

March 12th is my birthday, and there are lots of facts which are related to this particular day. I have never been that much fond of celebrating this day, even though when the friends were there, it was kind of different – giving and taking those treats were essential things. It had become a tradition to celebrate the birthdays more than the rest of the celebrations. But things did change, and I was back to my normal situation, of not celebrating anything – celebrations did leave me, and I was a lot happy to skip them all.

But sometimes, the birthdays become more than just birthdays – it will have other memories and special things happening on the day which will make it the memorable day, but not directly related to being the day on which you were born. There is something special about this year’s birthday – it will be the first birthday of me on which I will be working; the first time on a birthday that actually have a job; it has a special status in that case, but there is something about the last year’s birthday too.

It is good to have an identity - we don't always get to have one.

The last year’s birthday had me at three different cities – in the morning, I was at Cochin, at noon, I was at Mumbai and in the evening, I was at Delhi – well, that was surely a different day for me. Usually, it was like, each and every day, I am either at home or at the theatre watching a movie. This one special advantage of not going directly to a city – well, I had so much to spare at that time, and so this kind of journey was not going to waste my time! The return was through Bangalore for some change.

That was what happened on March 12th last year, and then the big moments were to be on the next few days. It was about attending the India Today Conclave at Delhi, and it was what I was there for, even though visiting Delhi for the first time was also a priority. After winning the contest, I found myself at Taj Palace, and right there in the hall to listen to those eminent personalities. I also found my new friends there, my co-winners and delegates – Arvind Passey, Shoma Abhyankar, Shreya Das and Yogita Aggarwal.

One of those interesting things which I found about tea :D

When a day has Sachin Tendulkar in the beginning, you know how awesome it can become. There were people like Katrina Kaif, Lisay Haydon, Chetan Bhagat, our honourable central ministers and others on that wonderful first day. On the second day, there were Viswanathan Anand, Ranveer Singh, the ambassadors to India, Shobhaa De and the others, along with the Chief Ministers of a number of states – and when everything ends, you are not happy that it ended, but you can’t wait to travel through Delhi!

The memories stay so well that I often wonder if this is my birthday or the conclave anniversary; a few things are a lot meaningful than the rest, and it changes according to the person; for not everyone thinks the same about their own lives. Maybe I was never really going to think about it as my birthday and as the reminder of myself getting older; it was going to be remembered for my big journey rather than anything else. I didn’t think that much in that way at that time, but now I feel that it might have been the biggest moment of my life, and nothing bigger is to come; especially related to writing.

And there is the legend - notice the divine light that burns bright ;)

There are more facts about the same – I have never seen a Malayalam writer this close, but Chetan Bhagat was right there; I have never seen a Kerala cricketer close enough in my life, but I have seen and heard Sachin Tendulkar speaking in that hall; I have never seen a Malayalam movie star in my life, but I have seen and listened to Ranveer Singh, Katrina Kaif and Lisa Haydon – I consider that surprising, but it is something that I am a lot happy about. I guess that some things just happen in life, and there are others which will never occur.

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me during the 2015 India Today Conclave at Delhi.

TeNy

The Conclave Saga: Part II

#Conclave15 on theĀ first day had its best moments with Sachin Tendulkar and Katrina Kaif, whileĀ Day 2 started with talks from Ambassadors of seven countries. The talk had a good number of points to note down, especially with the man from the United Kingdom. Still, it wasn’t really an interesting thing for me in totality. The conversation with Mehbooba Mufti brought a few things about Kashmir into focus, and it was another thing which was rather new to me – I shall stick to not writing about what is unknown territory for me.

The talk about “Make in India” had some charm, but was repetitive at times for me. Actually,Ā I did find the talk about dissenters rather interesting despite having not much love for politics. And then there were Moni Mohsin and Shobhaa De with “Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee” – this is a very good segment which you need to watch to enjoy the real splendourĀ as it won’t do justiceĀ when brought about in third person. There is a clue, and it is once again the Malayalam movie Picket 43 whichĀ provides that.

This is from where the tweets, Facebook updates and even blog specials come.

This is from where the tweets, FBĀ updates and even blog specials make it to internet.

Meanwhile, Viswanathan Anand managed to keep us interested with some memoriesĀ about his games and a few nice Chess moves. It was once again and honour to see him and watch him play, even though I stopped playing Chess long ago – it was him who inspired me to try it for the first time. The talk about the Chess moves were getting a little bit too much for me, but with him around, things were to remain interesting.

The talk about terrorism from survivors who escaped from captivity was engaging. It is still not something that I would like to keep talkingĀ about though. Then there was AIB who came up with ideas on free speech and comedy. I haven’t watched their episode which caused trouble, but it was quite funny with them on the stage, even as there were some jokes which I didn’t really follow. Well, I have had my lack of knowledge on Bollywood related entertainment and the Hindi television channels.

You know that you need t see and listen to Viswanathan Anand.

You know that you need to see and listen to another legend, Viswanathan Anand.

The food related program was not something of my interest, but I did realize that the speaker surely got some nice ideas. Then came the moment of the day, and surely one of the best of this Conclave – or a collection of moments which were provided by Ranveer Singh who made an amazing appearance. It did make me wonder what he was going to talk about, and then he started talking, and performing – from that point of time,Ā I forgot to tweet and post Facebook updates.

He was dealing with coming of age in Bollywood. It is like going through the history of Bollywood in one of the best ways possible. I have been a Bollywood watcher for quite a long time, even though not that much of a fan now. I had recorded a lot of Hindi songs on tape and watched movies on the VCR during my childhood. I can say that some ultimate movies like Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani played very significant role in making me diverge away from Bollywood.

Ranveer Singh - such power and unlimited energy on stage.

Ranveer Singh – such power and unlimited energy on the stage. This was too good.

Ranveer’s story was more like how he grew up with Bollywood throughout his life and how he came up triumphant in fulfilling his acting dreams, and he presented the same with such an energy that we don’t see often. Well, this has actually inspired me to write a post about how I grew up with Malayalam movies, even though I have always been watching movies in more than one language. You can expect another post related to this soon enough.

Finally, there was that debate which ended things. With Chief Ministers from a number of states (this is surely going to help me in my PSC exams), the final conclusionĀ was made that all states have to work hard in collaboration with the centre to achieve progress, and it is not a lone journey. There were many points made in between, as I ended up knowing a few more ministers, and this was a good choice of leaders they had there, I have to admit.

I am not going to forget these CMs for my PSC exams, that is for sure :D

I am not going to forget these CMs for any of my PSC exams, that is for sure šŸ˜€

I was blessed with a nice groupĀ of bloggers who gave me company at the Conclave. Shoma Abhyankar, Arvind Passey, Yogita Aggarwal and Shreya Das – I haven’t known them before the event, but I am glad to have had them with me for the Conclave. It was a pleasure to meet the four of them. I have never been toĀ a blogger meet before, and may be this was one! Once again thanking BlogAdda!Ā ā€“Ā http://www.blogadda.comĀ for this wonderful experience, and thanks to Mayank and Sumit from India Today for the support. Now this journey of mine is also a certified Delhi trip šŸ˜€ I shall leave you with a link toĀ the blog posts which we five had writtenĀ on the topic “The World Remade”.

TeNy

The Conclave Saga: Part I

Do you know that Kochi Biennale is going on and I didn’t attend it, but I am there for the Delhi Conclave? It is strange indeed, because it was so easy for me to go for that art exhibition which I admire and is close enough to my place. But life do provides one with enough twists, and I was there at Taj Palace Hotel at Delhi, and not at Cochin or its surroundings islands – not looking at art, but listening to some of the best of our nation.Ā Thank you BlogAdda!Ā ā€“Ā http://www.blogadda.com.

Lets get to the first day then. The highest point of day one was surely with the Master Blaster, and undoubtedly the biggest Hero of Our Times from our land, Sachin Tendulkar. There are only three cricketers whom I ever wanted to see, and with this programme, it is one down and two to go. You can make a guess who all the other two are, and with the first one, it is easy. He was indeed the reason why many people told me that they will shoot me if I don’t go to the Conclave.

When you see such clouds on the sky, good things can happen to you :P

When you see such clouds on the sky, good things can happen to you šŸ˜›

It was amazing to hear from the legend, as he continued to thrive in his humble nature throughout the talk, and there was that moment when he gave tribute to Roger Federer as his favourite player and someone who has no replacement – as God’s gift. It is always a special feeling to listen to one legend giving credits to another. We already know that they are good friends with each other with a photo that we usually see on Facebook, but this is even more special.

With his hopes to see a better world supported by the philanthropy, the first big talk of “The World Remade” had finished. It was followed two talks related more to Politics about which I shall not talk about without being better informed about it. My relation to National Politics has been like a void; the knowledge about Kerala Politics should be a little more though. I am surely working on it with my PSC studies, and may be I can discuss about this topic in a good way later.

And there is the legend - notice the divine light that burns bright ;)

And then there is the legend – notice the divine light that burns bright šŸ˜‰

One interesting topic in between the two political talks was about being educated with a degree, but not having a job. There is a dialogue from a Malayalam movie, CID Moosa which I wish to share here – in the flick, a character keeps saying, “It is about me, about me and me only” (translated from Malayalam). Yes, it was the feeling that I first got while listening to that talk. Rajiv Pratap Rudy made some valid points there, and the rest including Chetan Bhagat provided the audience with something to think about.

The question was asked about the need for dignity of labour. Why is one job superior to other, is a question that becomes extremely relevant considering the current scenario. Well, how can we expect that to happen in a world when the parents want their children to be engineers or doctors? I have been listening to this for eternity. An engineer is an engineer and a doctor is a doctor. Then who am I? Did I drop out of the ninth circle of hell with my MA English according to the society? Do I need to add something before my name to improve my quality instead of being a good person?

It is good to have an identity - we don't always get to have one.

It is good to have an identity – we don’t always get to have one.

I pondered about it for a lot of time over tea, and I had to have a lot of it because it was extremely cold inside the room, and I have already written about my reaction to cold. I was born in March, which is one of the hottest months of Kerala, and I am more inclined towards heat than cold. We grew up playing cricket and football at mid-noon and not bothering about any globe of fire over our heads. This is also one of my reasons to be addicted to tea rather than any of those colder drinks.

I remember seeing “chawal” somewhere on the list of food, and I only recalled my lack of Hindi vocabulary despite studying Hindi in school and scoring well in the subject. The word actually meant “death” in Malayalam, just like “chor” meant rice in Malayalam. I just looked at a few other names, which I won’t be sharing here, but what I surely want to share is something aboutĀ Lisa Haydon.

One of those interesting things which I found about tea :D

One of those interesting things which I found about tea šŸ˜€

My admirationĀ for this lady increased a lot after this talk. Yes, her name reminds me of my second favourite Australian cricketer of all time, but that is not the point here. She was there to share the ideaĀ that we are more than what wear, and a person is not his or her dress. Even as she might have surely meant it more about women, it is something that has a bigger scope – the judgment made based on one’s clothing is rather too much to handle.

The talk about the future followed, which included a few things about the future of science and technology, and the one about 3D printing was more interesting than the others. The temperature inside the hall was getting lower, and the well-known soul guru Deepak Chopra did come with some interesting points, but the talk was too long and not always there making the point, I would say. There were a few things taken from his talk for sure.

You can avoid and forget many things, but not the lovely tea!

You can avoid and forget many things, but not the lovely tea!

Then came the afternoon session that we were waiting for, and it was “The Kat with Nine Lives” – Katrina Kaif. Yes, she is among my favourites of Bollywood. I was impressed by the way in which she answered almost every question, especially those related to her personal life. But what makes me wonder is why are people so interested in the personal lives of the celebrities, and what the relevance of these questions are, especially on a stage like this.

May be it was meant to add the comic relief, but we were never going through a tragedy like in the case of a Porter scene in Macbeth or like the situation which demanded something like a grave-digger scene in Hamlet. Well, my best guess is that a lot of fans who will watch this programme on the television or internet might want such questions. It was indeed funny and enjoyable, and I would like to applaud Katrina for the way in which she dealt with those questions.

The talk about the India-Pakistan friendship which followed had some good thoughts to take home too. The first thing that came to my mind when listening to the same was about the Malayalam movie, Picket 43 starring Prithviraj Sukumaran (My take on the movie: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/picket-43). I recommend that movie too. Yes, we need our neighbours to be our friends, but we are still left with that question if it is possible.

The crossfire stuff related to elections which are won on the internet gave some interesting points too, even though I have been completely unaware of such things behind the that election about which I onlyĀ read on the newspapers. The talk about Afghanistan was an interesting addition which ended the day’s programs with a hope for peace in the nation which has been suffering.Ā #Conclave15

***And thanks to my blogger friends there: Shoma Abhyankar, Arvind Passey, Yogita Aggarwal and Shreya Das – yes, there is the Part 2 with the final day; this has gone too long already šŸ™‚

TeNy

The Conclave Saga: Intro

When my post won a prize which was the pass to the India Today Conclave (https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2015/02/21/the-vision/), I wasn’t actually ready for this. Yes, I always knew that there was this prize for the contest, but was rather more interested in writing about that idea than thinking about the prize. It was the same reason why I posted that one which turned out to be the winning postĀ – coming to Delhi wasn’t among my worries when I posted that on my blog at a time when I was bored and was looking to write on something.

There are not many of my readers who don’t know the Vampire Bat story, even as it started the same more on the other blog – Movies of the Soul. I wanted this idea of the Vampire Bat’s world to work, and this time, it did, and I am really happy about it. The Vampire Bat’s utopia was to be mine, and there was no other way through which I wanted to write the second post for the contest.

DSC08269

As I wasn’t ready, I couldn’t really reply to the winning mail fast enough. But then I thought, what was there to lose? Except for the money played for the flight tickets, stay and the food when not part of the Conclave – but there was no replacement for an experience. Then there is the element of time – I was preparing for the PSC exams and would miss the coaching for a few days, but it wasn’t something that couldn’t be brought back on track with some effort, but the Conclave was something that was a first opportunity for me.

Yes, Delhi is quite far away, and I was sure that I have to cover a lot of distance for this programme. I asked myself, why not? This is the first time I actually won a contest from a major blogging community (Thank you BlogAddaĀ –Ā http://www.blogadda.com). I didn’t need to miss out on this, as this was a special event and I had never visited Delhi. This was also a trip, and not just an attempt to claim a prize and see a few celebrities on the stage. This also had an intellectual side, and even though I had the ability to come up with many excuses, there was not the need for any, because I could just go.

It was not a good start for the journey. The flight was delayed and I was caught in the heavy traffic of Delhi later – that kind of traffic from which I had doubts about making it out alive even thoughĀ it made me a lot more confident about driving around Cochin. The wait at the Mumbai Airport was worse, and the waiting procedure continued only to have me at the destination much later than expected, and I had to wake up early on the next day to get to the Conclave at the expected time.

DSC08348

It was my birthday when I started from my hometown, but it didn’t go the usual way. Half of it was spent at Cochin getting prepared for the journey, and the rest at Delhi and in the flight with a part at the Mumbai Airport. The day for the Conclave was to begin was waiting to arrive. It was cold and I felt like being frozen, coming right out the hot climate at Cochin. I haven’t been good friends with low temperature for quite a long time.

I reached Hotel Taj Palace at 7:45 AM next day though. I did feel that it was more than needed, as I thought that I was not going to make it on time after that birthday which had no celebration at all – yes, people who were not on my Facebook list completely forgot that I was born on that day. But it is quite natural, and I hoped, or at times knew that it could only get better later. After all, I had come all the way from Cochin to attend this one programme. TheĀ post about the experience of those days coming up šŸ™‚ #Conclave15

*The photos used in this blog post were taken on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 at Delhi.

TeNy