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 . . !

Friday, July 28, 2017

India - I.N.D.I.A . . !

When I share Indian Army pictures, pick up conversation with my army men as the starters, show my support to my Men In Olive-green, I am always asked “Is there anyone from your family who was in army?” Yes, few decades ago, between 1941 – 1961, my paternal grandfather, Late Mr. K.S. Eswariyer, served as Havildar with the Indian Army. He had also shared his experience during the Burma War, his interactions with Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, his serving time at Dehradun and West Bengal and many more. Though, I had interacted with him, very -  very fleetingly during childhood, he had left an imprint of a Pride Army Man. His wife, my granny – Pappupaatti, used to share her terrific experiences in the northern parts of the country, with less or no Hindi knowledge, how she started her family, how granddad served for the nation. With them, the era of patriotism through serving in the army, dimmed out in the family. However, when I grew up, I made up my mind to join the Armed Forces of India, which eventually became an unfulfilled dream owing to my physical fitness.
A) Havildar K.S.Eswaraiyer b) His discharge certificate
c) & d) His Medal of honor
But, thanks to the social networking sites, Indian Army is my family, now. My family is big. I have many brothers who chose to do the supreme sacrifice for the nation. I am called as ‘Mausi’, I have got many sisters and I am loved as their daughter by many brave parents who proudly sent their sons to the war front and received him, wrapped in the Tri – Color flag. Yes, my family is a big one. We are not connected by blood. But by Tiranga Janda - the Tricolor flag. We are not connected by genes. But by the men in olive. I have not met my family. My family has not met me. We might not be of the same lingual clan but we are a team of Indian Folks. If love exists, without meeting, then we are the examples. We are, still, bonded by valour, sealed with bravery and love each other Unconditionally.
Recently, India celebrated its Kargil Vijay Divas. And, I was sharing Team Desh’s write ups about Kargil Heroes. I also lit a lamp, joining the movement to pay homage to my brave martyrs. Lo and behold, message boxes of all my SNS is filled with a question – “You are living in USA and just showing off!” Wow, people!! I tell you, all of you deserve a round of applause! Seriously? Living outside India was not my choice, exactly. However, I have no complaints about it, too except the fact of missing my homeland, kissing my soil and taking pride! 

Non-Resident Indian Citizens would understand the pain of missing the country. It is painful not to see the Indian Flag flying high, on August 15. It is painful to see Indian flag parade with Sunny Leone background music. Despite appreciating the “tolerance” of foreign lands, it is painful to see a different treatment given for the Tiranga Jhanda. When your fellow Indians rebel for unjust things, it is painful to just watch these rebels and gatherings only on TV and not to take part. When your men in Olive Green come home, wrapped in the flag, and you can only watch him in the big screens as just a photograph, it is painful. When you can hear Jana Gana Mana and Vanthe Matharan at home, in a low volume, it is painful. All you would want to do is throw away everything and go back to Mother India and rest in her lap and kiss her soil. But, you cannot, owing to other responsibilities you have! No one, will ever understand this pain unless they live through it.
IMHO, remembering the roots and not lured away by other things, born – living and dying as Indian by heart and by citizenship matters a lot. People can find fault in everything and anything. But, empathizing others’ situations is far more important. Many moved out of India because their life wanted them to. Not everyone made it their happy choice, to move out of India. Not everyone, who moved out of India, hates India or belittles India.

Pain or Pride, it will always be Mother India ! 

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Childhood memories . . .

Dr Raj Kailash Mohan
Memories from childhood are especially remembered when more than one of your family elders keep repeating those incidents for longer time. That is the case for me. My grandmother – Pappu Paatti, who reared us up kept telling about Kailash’s birth. I was 2 years or to be two years precisely, when my mom conceived Kailash. I began talking in at a very early stage. And so, I was sent to school before I was two years completely! Telling the sex of foetus was not a crime in early 1990s. So, after a certain stage of pregnancy, we knew it was a boy. But even before that, I had “ordered” for a “thambipappa Delivery” from my mother and had made up my mind that it was going to be “thambipappa”! I began drafting rules. Thambipappa should call me gaanukka (akka is must!). I would be taking care of him and all those things. Every evening after school, I used to come straight to my mom who would be sitting tired on that red velvet sofa in the hall and would talk to her growing tummy inside which thambipappa was there. The regular conversation was
What next?
Maathhenn Poo (No I won’t!).” and would run away to play. When asked for, I would complain that “thambipappa had been asking me ‘gaanukka gaanukka shall we play’ but I told ‘maathhenn po’”. My granny’s biggest doubt was ‘I ordered a baby boy to play with but why had I not accepted the baby’s call to play with him!’ Well, it is funny, isn’t it?

Maybe I needed a ‘thambipappa’ to teach me what life is. Maybe I needed a ‘thambipappa’ to teach me how to cook. Maybe I needed a ‘thambipappa’ to make me self-dependant. Maybe I needed a ‘thambipappa’ to fight with. Maybe I needed a ‘thambipappa’ to push me to greater heights of achievements. Maybe I needed a ‘thambipappa’ to fulfil my dreams of becoming a doctor. Maybe I needed ‘thambipappa’ to teach me everything but live in his absence. Maybe I needed ‘thambipappa’ to know how love will be. Maybe I needed a ‘thambipappa’ to show jealousy. Maybe I needed a ‘thambipappa’ to share my nasty sides. Or, maybe I needed a ‘thambipappa’ and his untimely death to become strong and discharging his duties too, as a son to the family and as a citizen to the country and as a human to the world. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

BEAUTIFULLY UGLY MohanGaanz Published in VisualVerse


I am too hard on myself. Maybe I should have listened to my mother. I think her as a hindrance. I skip my training periods. I could not go back now because it is my wish. Yes, I felt ready as if I knew all I ought to know. I felt confident rather over confident as if I learnt all I ought to learn. Thinking of my home, makes me smile. My home – you can never come to my home. My home is my mother. My mother is the ocean. I stay in her lap – a place where no one like you can set your feet on. I know I am to be kept track upon. I know I am monitored. But something pushes me to explore. And I come up. Since then, I have just been thinking about my life. How I loved to know what was above the ocean. I do not know what destiny has in for me. I come up, come out to see what is above, leaving the secured place of my mother’s lap. And then, I am trapped. I am attempting to come out of this trap. I am trying to use a bit more of force than I used to come up. Experiencing loneliness has not been so great to me. There is stillness. There is silence. There is darkness. There is fear. There is failure. There is ugliness. I have turned awful. I lost my beauty. I have not lost my faith. I have not lost my hope. Waiting for one lightning, just a streak of lightning that can illuminate my world and I can swirl to the birth of sunlight and death of darkness.I am not going to repent. I am not going to brood over. I know, I fall out of place. But, I am glad that I have life which most of the others do not. I am glad that I can try. I am glad that I want to try. I want to go back to the ocean bed. I want to share the unflinching love. For, I know, how love is important. For, I know, how painful is loneliness. For, I know, how good it shall be to be kind – kind to strangers. For, I know, I can be home if I try.

Published in VisualVerse - Vol4,Chap8