Thursday, November 23, 2017

The constant of my life.!

November is a month of happenings. Prior to his demise, I had happy memories and post, there were many traumas! Let me recall the beautiful memories and try to let go off the trauma, now. I would like to paint the beauty of life, as of now. May be, later, when I am long gone, you can focus on my ‘November Trauma’!
November was the month that laid the foundation of our birth. Yes, the Mohans marriage. Year after year, every year, Kailash and I used to gift our parents many tiny stuffs. We would hide under the cot or close ourselves in the cupboard, break our piggybank – buy things or make things - paint – wrap and do many things in secrecy. It is supposed to be a surprise, you know! The November, before his sad end, Kailash and I, organized a party with our cherished circle to commemorate the 25th year wedding anniversary of our parents. Rings, new dresses, dinner and invitations, many things came to them as a surprise.
Sitting at the back bench, me and Kailash passed running commentaries, pun – intended, for every wish that the couple received from the erudite, on stage. At one point, both of us, ran outside to have a hearty laugh and came back to the celebration with laughter choking us, literally.

A last picture of our complete family - Nov 2014.

A couple of days ago, when I was accessing my drive for few pictures, there was him in many folders, his life measurable by the bunch of images, the all smiles and the all cuteness, the strict facial expressions, the childish twinkle in his eyes, the divine aura spread all over, there were many images. There were some videos, which presumably had his voice in it but then, I had no courage left in me to open those video bytes.
Year after year, the anniversaries are to come. But, we will miss him till eternity. We will miss his pun – intended comments to pull my parent’s legs. I will miss him while planning surprises. I will miss him during the dress selections. I will miss him to comment on the colours of my choice. I try not to miss him, by looking at the sky. Most of the times, he kisses me as rain. I have been struggling to accept that everything around me - the people, the season, time - is always changing. I realized he was the only constant I ever had and will never have. I am trying not to allow the sadness in my mind to be my only sibling left. But sometimes, I have got no other choices.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Learning to Live . . . !

I have faced many losses in my daily life. A teacher, A friend, A paternal Uncle, A maternal uncle, Granny and Grandad. Yes, I have lost people. Rather, I would like to say, I gave back these people to their creator. I knew they have lived their life happily and any more day beyond their last day would be just as painful as anything that words fail to describe. But, losing someone who fits in every possible relation ; A teacher – to teach me what is right and what is wrong, A friend to be in need, A guide to give me suggestions, A companion to travel with me, A parent to understand what I would need, A co – gamer to play with me, A grandparent to cook for me and tell me stories and above all A BROTHER – to love me with all his heart; yes, losing him is a pain to me every day, every minute.  
Three months later, I was experiencing a paroxysm of weeping for the first time after my brother’s demise, that I started telling stories of his life to a few friends. When I began mentioning his life in ‘past tense’ my friends stopped me and asked me to talk in present tense. Few friends in-boxed me saying that they did not want my 'Kailash diaries' on 16th of every month. Instead, the 23rd of every month. The reason they tell me is that I should start celebrating his life more than brooding over his death. 
Friends have always been my family so far. I do not know, how to thank them for all that they have done to me at various points of my life. Friends filled in so much of my life’s pages. And, here by friends I mean, people elder to me. When ‘Friends’ by themselves are an advantage to any human being, I had the perks of having experienced (I really don wanna call them Old, u know!!) friends who had always taught me to look the other side of any story being told. When I hang up any calls with them, suddenly, from nowhere, this feeling of loneliness creeps in and occupies my whole self and gives me the relentless reminders being orphaned (Oh yea, I do have my parents! But, Kailash was above all the kith and kin). I was not someone who used to weep and wail so easily. I was soft yet stubborn. I wasn’t pampered much but I made sure or at least he made sure that I got what I deserved.

I once went to him with a problem. I felt I was exploited and abused by one of my mentors during a project phase. I never knew with whom I can share. I was afraid of telling my parents. For, they would tell me to withdraw the project and come home to them. I can’t do that! I called him over phone. I told him my trouble. His immediate response: “Every coin has another side. I would not say you are the only person right. Neither would I say you are the only person wrong. Learn the experience from this. Learn the mistake and know to do it right. Forgetting or forgiving the people involved is your discretion. But, learn. Learn to learn and learn to accept and learn to prioritize your needs and learn to empathize. Remember, you are on your own now. Kerala is our neighboring state. Yes, I agree. We can come to you by an overnight journey. But, it was your choice to go there for your project. You are responsible for your decisions. Live and Learn to Live!”

I keep remembering this more often because of the experiences - the bitter and best, the people around me keep giving me. My present situations make me feel the pangs of remorse that I am missing a trust worthy kin. How true was his word ‘live and learn to live!’ I still wonder, maybe he is the gospel to many of our lives. Even as being as translucent as I can be, I can’t stitch words together to express the lacuna in my life because of his physical absence. But, I am learning. I am learning to accept.  

Saturday, September 30, 2017

THE BLANKETED SOUL - Mohan Gaanz (published in Visual Verse, VOL. 04 CHAPTER 11)

He found himself hurtling over a red blanket. He was escaping from them: the bawling child, the brooding youth, the dying man and the lost soul. He looked around. It was chaos. Everyone was wailing. Everyone was screaming. Everyone was shivering. All of a sudden, he was thrown under the starry sky. He was thrown to feel the winter. He was left alone.

He looked around to see the light of love. He felt the wintry night. He felt the stones around. He felt the earth beneath. He felt the winds blowing. He was controlled. He was conquered. He had bounded feelings. Gradually, he realized his heart was opening. He was no more the flame that failed to glow. He began spluttering. He wanted to be the light. He felt everything around him merged with him. He felt his heart glowing. He felt the heat flowing. He searched for brightness. His red blankets unravelled a beautiful soul. It was strong. It was pure. It was blissful. He transformed heat to love. He let all the love flow. He let all the love, flow out of him. He let all the love flow to the world. The love flowed. He became brighter. He became lovelier. He was no more the flame that failed to glow.

He let the words gush in ecstasy. He watched the sun creating pattern of joy. He saw the stars twinkling the bliss. He saw the sea engulfing the shore to show love. He saw the flowers bloom in bliss. He saw the bees sing in euphoria. He saw breeze dance to the song of joy. He saw everything. He felt everything. His red blankets unraveled a beautiful soul.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

In pursuit of happiness . . !

I cry through my smiles. Being an honest human being is much more complicated than I ever knew. No Biochemistry or Cell Biology or Probability statistics books taught me to be honest human being with true emotions. I had an unshakable faith that Kailash would be there for me when I face the darkness in life. I had an unaltered confidence that Kailash would be there for my parents too when I get married. When the unshakable and unaltered was shaken and altered, my emotions build like layers.  

Both my parents are educationalists by profession - teachers and principled principals! So, September has always been a month for professional celebrations. Year after year, every year, we celebrate September 5th – Teachers’ Day. The gifts for them would range from Red / Green coloured Pens to Chalk Piece carvings to New Dresses to Glass Gift Pieces. Parents used to treasure those gifts and loved the surprises. Unlike every family, Kailash and I was brought up by our grand ma – Pappu Paatti. For, my “Teacher parents” were always busy with their ‘children’ from schools and other classes. We would always be discussing everything with our Pappu Paati only. These celebrations made us feel very little is certain yet we chose to celebrate every moment.

Year before last, Dadda celebrated his 25 years completion as teacher and Mom celebrated her 25th year as teacher. We planned for some outing. But, every dog has its day, right. It was then the time for kids to be busy and the parents to miss the kids. Both of us had our work commitments and hence could not make it for the outing. Kailash made sure that our parents received their gifts.

When I called him in a state of anguish, he taught me that we must learn to accept the responsibilities that we have and also continue having the responsibilities that we already have. He taught me to tackle responsibilities. That day he taught me to take care of myself. He told me to handle myself responsibly. I never understood his words then. After a while, when he left the world, I was too busy handling everyone else. I got so used to the fact that I will be the Bull’s eye for every one’s target. I forgot how to cry. Months passed. The grief was buried deep inside me. I forgot how to cry and vent out. Instead, I wore a mask of boldness and traveled the time.

I have a biggest responsibility ahead of me. More than being a daughter to my parents, a good wife to my husband, a better daughter in law to my in-laws, I must learn to take care of myself. I must learn to be responsible for my life. I must learn to keep myself happy. I had quit my job. I got married. I faced challenges. Now, I am using all my energy to do things that make me feel happy. I write. I browse. I cook. I hit the gym. I go for the walk. I do everything that makes me happy. I want to rebuild my happiness. But, somewhere, at some point, I miss the lacuna left by him. That lacuna can never be filled. 

Every beat counts . . !

Listening to the sound around us and cultivating that into a musical beat, is phenomenal. So are the percussionists. Karthik Vamsi began his musical journey when he was 2 – 3 years old. His first stage performance was at the tender age of 2. His great grandfather, Shri Jaganathan was a permanent artist for Gemini studios. His grandfather Shri. Tabla Prasad had worked on more than 60,000 songs in four languages, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada respectively. His father Shri Ramana has worked as percussionist for music directors and composers like Mastero Ilayaraja, Yuvan Shankar Raja and D Imman. His Uncle Shri Drums Kumar has been working with Mastero A.R. Rahman and has played the Oscar Winning Jay Ho song.

Here, is an interview with Karthik Vamsi, a Rhythm player, hailing from the family of stalwart musicians. Karthik was ready to give me an interview for my “Unsung Heros – No Longer” when I said to him all about it.
1.How did music journey begin for you?
My journey started at the age 2 on a stage performance. I remember admiring my grandfather while he played, his rhythmic sense was so beautiful. I am sure, my grandfather is the main reason because of which I am still in music. He plays Tabla in a very enchanting way. His rhythmic senses were so elegant.
2.Did you face pressure because your family is already with so much musicians? How did manage the “expectations” pressure?
I did have a lot of pressure to excel in music from all sides. A greater amount of expectation had been thrust on me. I had to practise at least four hours a day. But, interestingly, I nurtured in my skills. I learnt Tabala , Mirdhangam and drums. I used to practise one hour at least, in the morning before leaving for school and in the evening, close to a couple of hours. It was tough, initially. Somehow, I managed!
3.How about your academics?
I am an Alumina of A.M. Jain College, Chennai. I graduated in Bachelors of Business administration (BBA). I was kind of, an average performer in academics. You know why! I would not have attended at least half of my school and college classes. I used to join the band members for gigs, performances and studio recording sessions.
4.Tell us about your band and its activities and members
Since 2015, I am a part of a band "RAAG" based on Bollywood. We are a team of six members, from different parts of the country like Nepal, Jammu, Gujarat, Kerala and TamilNadu. The association began in an interesting way. On July 2015, I was called for a gig performance at Leela Palace, Chennai. A friend of mine, Sharath, called me to join the show. There was an excellent co-ordination between me and the already present members. So, we agreed mutually and I joined the band. The Band members are, Prathap - lead vocalist, Soorya – Keyboardist, Jax jay – Keyboardist, Lakhan- Lead guitarist, Rudy - rhythm/bass guitarist and me.
Raag - The Band
5. How does it feel like to be performer?
We are just a medium of the music and we deliver the music to the audience. I personally always feel proud and happy to be a performer.
6. What do you define success to be?
To me, success is always the applause that we get from our audience after every performance.
7. What else other than music? Given a chance to rewrite, will u take any other thing than music?
Nothing I can think of. Being a musician is the best ever happening for me.
8.Who would you say is your inspiration for your love of music, and why?
I have many inspirations like A.R. Rahman sir, Illayaraja sir, MSV sir, Tony Royster, Billy Combam ,Zakir Hussain sir, Allah Rakha Shaheb - all these legends made me fall in love with music.
Karthik and team with Mellisai Mannar M.S.Viswanathan
9.What are your Projects?
Recently have worked for the most awaited movie Vishwaroopam - 2 composed by Gibran and have also worked for a couple of movies that are yet to be released. And I have collaborated with a band, "Alibi Reed" from London and played 4 tracks for the album, “Citizens of now" composed by Sam Cornor and Diego. 
Rapid Fire:
1. Favorite Singer: S.P. Balasubramanian Sir.
2.. Favorite music director: A.R. Rahman
3.. Favorite moment: My first day of Recording
4. Unfavourite moment: Nothing so far.
5 List five artists that You listen to, in loop. MSV, ARR, IR, MJ and Yani.  
6. Things you cannot live without: My family, My musical instruments, My headphones.
7. Favorite food: Curd Rice
8. Favorite quote: Music is life.
10. Favorite outfit: Leather Jacket
11 Favorite places: Singara Chennai
Wishing Karthik Vamsi and team, more and the most!

Feel free to contact Raag - The band @ Lakhan : +91 - 7418836860 for exceptionally interesting gigs for any events at your place!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Walking through the darkness

PC: WBK Photography
It all started with a question. "How to reach It?" Okay, what is IT? "IT" is the light at the end of the dark tunnel - the tunnel which i dunno how long is! 
Ok, I get it. "do you still believe to see the light?" 
"Hell, yeah! I do. I am not sure if I per se, will see IT. But I am sure, IT prevails there and I need to get to IT to see. IT wont come to me! So, I keep moving, with a hope"
That is how a conversation goes between heart and mind on the worst days which are more than the better days in life. We all face it. Some times a a day or two, many a times a few days in a row. We cant help worse days to disappear. All we can do is to face 'em. We face dampened emotions, unmuted melancholy, grey scale scenarios and all those negativity. We put on a masquerade, smile at jokes that tend to hurt us, wear on a smile that lets none believe we are drifting in a black hole. Dull senses, darker period, stifled voices, lost taste and what not! We get accustomed to a pretending life. Passing every day, pretending to be happy and laughing to jokes that never made sense or listened to ears! 
Days like these are when we get so insane and think to end our own lives. Before we realize what we had decided upon, we are gone. Every day struggles like this? What is the point? And, no body would speak of the bravery to put an end card, but would curse the cowardice nature to die! If you plan to put an end card - in other words - suicide / self harming/ whatever, just a cent to think. All these mentioned practices need more courage - dying demands more courage than to live. 
So, plan and live  your life. Let the fear fear to near you. Overcome the depressions, the tough times and prove your strength and derive happiness. Walk - walk through the dark hours, we will definitely see the light at the end of the dark tunnel. For, life is once and we deserve to be happy! Do not stuff your happiness into other's pocket. Yes, seeing others' happiness is the truest form of joy, but at what cost? not at the cost of your happiness. So, LIVE !
Lets walk through the darkness and say it is going to be alright !

Published in VisualVerse: Volume 4 , Chapter 10

Monday, August 07, 2017

It is August . . !

I hate facing some days when sadness and celebration intertwine. August has always been the month of lots of celebrations and pampering for me. August has the Tamil month Aadi, in which the Fridays are considered to be so very auspicious. Auspicious in the sense, the girl of the home is celebrated and pampered. She gets gifts for Fridays. I did too. Ever since I remembered, I was gifted with studs, bindhis, bangles and a lot more of chocolates by him. Four gifts for four weeks of the month. It was beautiful but I was ugly. I would demand more. He would smile and feel proud to my parents that I had not grown beyond twelve – thirteen years.
“Sometimes, Appa, I do not know, if this loosu gaana had stopped growing”, he always teased me to Daddy.
August meant celebrations for the siblings. It is the month of Raksha Bandhan. The sibling love in the form of rakhis and shanmathis is seen all around. I never knew it was the last year of me celebrating Raksha Bandhan with him. I called him in the midnight, at the stroke of twelve.
“Adei, Happy Raksha Bandhan da thambi”, I called out in the phone.
‘Yehn di, Is this like a birthday or what? Why are you bothering my sleep?”, he responded.
“I do not know, whatever. I am calling you. Which means, I have wished you. Maybe I will send a pic of Rakhi in the WhatsApp, down load and give me the Non – Virtual and Real shanmathi.”, I replied.
That year was when I first wished a newly got lovely man as my brother. Velhunna is how he called and the name in my phone is still the same and will be same, “Anna”. Anna wanted me to get me something of my choice as shanmathi. I was boasting to Kailash about this. He was so very possessive but at the same time sensible, added a few more bills to Anna’s gift money and asked me to get a hand bag that I might use for day – to – day purpose. When I asked him in a later point, why should I not have two gifts but one, his reply was, “We both love you the same way. At least, I guess it to be, by the way you say about Velhunna. You see the number of gifts you get. I see how to make one gift, useful. And, the underlying truth is, you have to grow more to understand what I mean.”

Maybe, I changed his exact words. May be today I do not remember many of his words very exactly. But I remember the synopsis of his statements. And when, today, I realise, his hidden love for me and how childishly I have been through out and how mature he was to handle me, I smile through tears, being grown up is more complicated than I thought it would. I should consider him a short spring who had taught me to bloom in gloom. When I dwell over these memories, my emotions build up. I cannot handle my own self. Maybe some last clicks with him are those left with me along with these memories. May be we clicked this picture, because we might not celebrate Raksha Bandhan any more. Well, I do not know. 
HE is seeing me from somewhere above. He has been guiding me so far and will do till eternity. Though he is possessive of his kinship with me, I am sure, he is glad for leaving me in the hands of a very very few trust worthy brothers whom I always rely upon for everything in my life, ever since. Me and the other four of us try to understand that Kailash’s place in my life can never be filled by any of them. But, these people, Gowthaman, Sudhir, Venkat Anna and Velh Anna and many more, had always been there for me, striving their best to teach me how to lead a life of respect and love. 
And now, all I have is, these people with me, to celebrate the day. 
And now, all I have is, to live my life with full happiness.
And now, all I have is , to behave responsible and discharge my duties as how he would have wanted me to. 
And now, all I have is, his memories which can never be snatched by anyone. 
And now, all I have is, the huge lacuna that he left in me, with which I have to live my further days. 
And now, all I have is, A Life that I can make it to be meaningful, which I WILL, for Him.

To the one who sees me above and to these loving brothers who fill my pages with love and more, A Happy Raksha Bandhan . . !