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

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Music of the Swamps

It had gone quite dark as he walked through the swamps. It was the shortest path to the other side, and he had to get there somehow. Getting a car and traveling through the road meant that he would have to waste an extra hour and a quarter on the journey. But he didn’t want to reach his destination late. He wished to be there as early as possible. His phone was dead, and so was his only option for some light.

“Welcome to my world” he heard a voice from behind.

He turned around to see two eyes shining in the darkness. There was no light around except for what moon was providing. There was a shadowy figure right in front of him. It was rather like a small person, but the shape resembled that of a tree.

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“Who are you?” he asked.

“Does it matter who I am? Do you know where you are?” it asked him.

“I asked you a question, didn’t I?” he asked again.

“Okay. I am the keeper of these swamps. I know who you are. I believe that you are here to steal the music of the swamps” the voice replied.

“I don’t understand. I was only taking a shortcut because I have an urgent thing to do. Please make way before I go through you” he said.

“You don’t walk through the swamps on a full moon. These are the days on which the swamps produce a certain kind of music which you are not allowed to hear. Well, hearing is stealing, and then I will have to punish you” said the keeper.

“Well, I don’t care about your music, but I have to go through the swamps to reach the village on the other side. I don’t care who are, because this is an emergency. So, stand aside, little person” he shouted.

“This won’t do you any good. The music of the swamps is sacred. This action of yours will have terrible consequences” the keeper warned him.

“I don’t give a damn” he said as he walked around the keeper to keep moving.

“And here you walk towards your end. Whatever you are hoping to achieve will never happen” the keeper was heard yelling.

He didn’t care at all. He did feel that the someone was making some music though. He wondered if the swamps do make some music. But he didn’t care to return or stop to think further. He kept walking, but the swamps seemed to extend a lot more than his expectations. This path no longer seemed to be the shorter one for him, as he felt that he should have taken the longer route by road. The music was getting stronger and soon, it turned into some kind of chant supported by some primitive musical instrument. He stopped to see a tree carved into something which resembled an entrance. He walked right in through it, but nobody got out through the other side.

“So, it is done?” the keeper was seen asking a huge shadow which covered the moon.

The next day, the body of a young man was found at the end of the swamps. The villagers attributed the death to a little shadowy demon which was believed live in the swamps. But the post-mortem revealed the cause of death to be because of hitting the head on a hard substance, which was believed to a thousands of centuries old holy rock on which he slipped and fell.

On the very next day, clouds covered everything on the sky, and a few villagers reported at the police station that they had seen a young man walking on the swamps with a singing young lady, and their feet never touched the floor. They also told the police that there was the music of the dead going on at the same time, which was a variation to the praise of the dead, that was sung when people died and their soul never really left this world. It was recorded as “the music of the swamps”.

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

TeNy

On Responsible Tourism

Exploration is a fine thing to do, and occasional travel refreshes our mind and soul as we wander around those wonderful destinations, whether they are the much visited ones or the locations lesser known. There is the never-ending need to travel, and as we go through these journeys, we arrange our food and stay at some nice place, and take photos of the beauty which is around us. When we are on such a journey, especially through the beauty of nature, we not only have the right to enjoy all these, but also got some responsibilities.

1. The first thing which I would consider as part of the responsible tourism is not to litter, no matter whatever be the circumstances. Well, the situation might differ everywhere, but the nature and our responsibility remains the same. It is a bad idea to leave the trace of our visits here and there. If there is something to be left behind, I would suggest that we leave some love and take home only the beauty which we have captured on our cameras and phones along with those rejuvenating memories.

This tree welcomes you to Ezhattumugham as the official messenger of nature :D

Why someone feel the need to litter at places like these is beyond understanding!

2. I would also suggest treating these places as if they are our own homes. Will we make our own homes dirty? We are supposed to keep these places clean as we would do to our own houses. We do see those historical monuments which are not in the best shape due to the visitors who find some fun in writing on them as well as spitting here and there. Along with conservation of nature, there is the need to preserve these archaeological monuments which tells the story of our past; it is also our duty to consider them as part of our culture.

3. We should also respect the local culture with their customs and traditions. After all, it is their world into which we enter. If something is banned somewhere, lets not use it, whether it is parts of the law or the tradition. If alcohol is banned, do not use it; the same goes for smoking. If some place has a vegetarian traditions, lets follow the same. If beef or pork is not supposed to be part of the culture at some place, respect that too. Wherever photography is prohibited, lets not take photos; there will always be other areas where it can be done.

4. There is also the choice to minimize the pollution in other ways. When there are four people on a journey, you don’t need to use two cars. But unfortunately, some parents who provide too much for their children make sure that they go on and show some style with the extra vehicle. It is mostly in the name of the homes being a few kilometres away from each other. If you are entering a place close to nature, I would suggest keeping the vehicle some more distance away from the place than you are expected to.

5. One should also stop making noises causing disturbance to other people as well as creatures of nature. This kind of people create more terror than most of the others, because they instantly destroy the peace which prevails in areas close to nature. It is a case of lack of respect, and unfortunately, this one can’t be taught by anyone else, but their own people. There is too much disrespect going on among people, especially the new generation and it might to be too much to ask this, but we have to.

So, when Thommankuthu calls you, will you be there? :D

So, you really want to disturb nature and the other visitors – then be ashamed.

6. As a visitor, it is our duty to be aware of where we are going and what we are doing, not just one of us, but the whole group of people. It will help us to cause the minimum impact during our visits and there is nothing which makes a negative impression is left behind. Enough information about the place, its people and nature will help us to make sure that the journey is a responsible one. Even if a place is mostly unexplored, there will be always something available at least related to the surrounding areas.

I am blogging for #ResponsibleTourism activity by Outlook Traveller in association with BlogAdda

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

TeNy

Quote Challenge 2: Tennyson

“We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
― Ulysses (Lord Tennyson)

Alfred, Lord Tennyson – that name itself had a lot to do with my life. I was often asked about by name by my English teachers, and they have always loved my name while I was in school. I never really realized that it would mean that I could be doing a degree and also the post-graduation in English Language and Literature, but yes, even though late, I did realize what I was supposed to do. Even then the name helped; having the same name as the greatest poet of an era and the longest reigning Poet Laureate has its advantages.

To add to it, I do love his works, and my favourite among them is Ulysses which I studied more than once, and read so many times – then there is this quote “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”. Well, it is a nice quote, but among those which I want to talk about and wish to relate with life includes most of the lines in Ulysses rather than anything else. Among them, the one I have mentioned here has a lot more significance, at least for this period of my life.

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The quote is about something that we all face, about not being good as we used to be. I have always thought about the same. I am sure that as of now, I am able to write better and with more variety than I used to, just an year ago. I am able to write about things that I never thought I would write about. Two years ago, when I began my other blog with the pen name, The Vampire Bat, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Why The Vampire Bat? I had no idea. But then things got better. I never knew I could bring anything new to my writing style.

But there are things with which I am not getting any better. They include most of the things which are not related to writing. I know that I won’t have the stamina to play more than one singles game in Badminton if I give it a try after such a long time. I know that I might not be able to bowl two consecutive deliveries without sending one for a wide. I also know that I might not have the energy to withstand one single football game any more. I am not that good, and I am not of that strength as I was when I was doing by degree.

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I know that I don’t understand things that well as I used to, and I feel that I won’t be able to memorize things that well. I keep having that feeling that I have done with reading, studying and all; and even when writing about a movie, I feel that I might not be able to do justice. When I understand that almost everyone that I know from my college got a job and a good number of them are married, I do feel that I am trailing, and when I get to do one of these things, I won’t be as good as they are now, because I will be tired and older.

I am always reminded of the same, by one person or the other, being the oldest person without a job, and about the rating in the marriage-alliance market going down as I get older. The strength of that old days – we all miss them, and I miss my friends from those wonderful days too. I also feel made weak by time and fate, but I hope to do well, and overcome the weaknesses that have come upon me. I am surrounded by two things, immortality of one world which I love and the mortality of the other which I have to embrace.

I cannot take a step backward, not at this period of time. May be we can dig through the dead end. There are people who want me to, and events which are fair enough to make that call for me. Inspired by my favourite single line of all-time, “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield”, I still leave myself with some hope for miracles, and at the same time keep doing what I hope that I can do well till the end end of time. In the name of the great poet with whom I shares my name, it might really be depressing for his soul if I gave up. Ulysses had a sea, and I have an ocean. But I am still younger. The last times were used to inspire athletes for London Olympics 2012, so why can’t it continue to do so for me?

***The images used in this blog post are from the game Age of Empires III which I used to play.

I have been nominated by Kiran, at https://drkiranacharya.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/day-three-quote-challenge, for the three day quote challenge. Thanks for the tag 🙂

Rules for the challenge:

  • Post one of your favourite quotes (different quote on each day) on three days. The quote can be from your favourite book, author, or your own.
  • Nominate three bloggers to challenge them.
  • Thank the blogger, who nominated you.

For my day two, I nominate my blogger friends:

Ranjini (http://rangelz.wordpress.com)

Tara (http://crimsonapril.com)

Archana (http://drishti.co)

TeNy

Dauntless in Love and Care

I have had very few vacation trips as a kid compared to some of my friends who have traveled a lot. But as time passed, I understood the significance of having a memorable vacation journey which would refresh the mind of any normal person. Among the trips I had during childhood, there were Kolkata, Chennai, Goa, Bangalore and Mangalore which I remember. But I am ready to make sure that my child would have more vacations, and all of them shall be better than what I have had in my entire life. *I am sharing two photos of childhood here, the first one taken at Kolkata and the second one at home with my cousin brother.

I was going through an initiative from Club Mahindra at http://membership.clubmahindra.com/TeddyTravelogues/index.html about travelogues written by children. It reminded me of thinking about myself and how I would go on holidays with my child. The first thing I want to ensure is that I remain dauntless, so that my child would know that I will always be there for him, whenever he feels a certain amount of fear about anything. There is this feeling of insecurity that children feel while going on journeys, and I remember having felt the same on so many occasions. This insecurity is like a big mole on a face, as it affects the beauty of the vacation, and the significance of the journey itself is reduced.

From one of my first vacations ever, to Kolkata - a photo found and scanned.

From one of my first vacations ever, at Kolkata – a photo discovered in the album and scanned.

The fear that children feel outside their home in quite natural, and the current world, we have to be very careful – these are not the best times for the children to grow up either. So, I would make sure that I shall be the friend to him and be the friend that I rarely had during my own childhood. I have to correct the mistakes from my earlier generation, and it is my duty to make sure that he enjoys, and it is a privilege to make sure that I also enjoy the little things that he does.

Even as I strive to make things happen here, another nice thing I would like to add is another person of his own age to give him company. I would choose a family friend who has kids of the same age to accompany us on the journey so that they can nicely contribute to the fun. Otherwise, I will find a relative with a child of the same age. I have been aware of the disadvantages of being a lone child, and I shall never let that happen to my kid, and it is a promise that I have to make to myself.

An old photo with my cousin brother. Never be the lonely child.

An old photo with my cousin brother. Never be the lonely child in a busy universe of chaos.

Well, what is a vacation when the child is not happy? My mother always used to tell me to be happy, or it affects her and destroys the whole purpose of the vacation as it was always about me. She always wanted me to order what I wanted in a restaurant and would have the same thing. This is what I would do, especially when we all have the same thing for food, it is the first step to letting him make decisions during a vacation – his ideas need to be valued. I have had almost no say in even my early education, and I know the pain.

I would let my child explore the world with curiosity, but I will always keep an eye on him, making sure that his vacation universe goes perfectly, and looking at things in the way in which he sees things – it is a perspective that I would enjoy. It will be the best case of happiness for me to see my child enjoying a vacation which I had arranged. It makes my world special. When he loves the journey, my soul takes a leap forward, and it is what we should strive for when choosing a vacation. Let us remember the fact that every step that we make will also teach him something – so lets plan it well to make it a learning experience as well as an entertaining one.

This entry is my submission for the latest Happy Hours Campaign from Indiblogger in association with Club Mahindra’s Teddy Travelogues. I don’t think that Club Mahindra Holidays, a part of the Mahindra Group needs any introduction for any of us Indians. They are among the most commonly mentioned names in their field. For further details about the Teddy Travelogues from them, please spare some time to check http://membership.clubmahindra.com/TeddyTravelogues/index.html

TeNy