Tag Archives: Anniversary

Swamusings @ 50 ~ Different Folks… Very Different Strokes..!

3 May

Swamusings @ 50 ~ Different Folks… Very Different Strokes..!

There were two sets of people with whom conversation happened today. That too in the morning itself, which is practically impossible in Swamyverse. It’s as rare as Pournami (பௌர்ணமி – full moon) and Amavasya (அமாவாசை – new* / no moon) happening on the same day, which actually happened only once as far as we know, resulting in the amazing, revered verses known as Abhirami Andhaadhi (அபிராமி அந்தாதி). The first stanza of the first verse ‘உதிக்கின்ற செங்கதிர் உச்சித் திலகம்’ is a near-perfect தமிழ் version of SindhooraaruNa vigrahaam (சிந்தூராருண விக்ரஹாம்) – the beginning of Lalitha SahasraNhaamam. Ah, the genre hopping mind…

Anyway, the first call was made to Swamy and the second one was made by Swamy (no choice there – yep, Swamy does make phone calls, once in a red moon). Both conversations were with elderly people, who diligently stick to the ancient practice of celebrating / wishing others only during the janma nakshathram day (ஜென்ம நக்ஷத்திர தினம்), and strictly avoid that on the birth date, which has never been part of this ancient culture anyway (anniversary celebration is a western import, unsurprisingly tied to all kinds of commercial extortion).

In both conversations, the male elders offered the customary aaseervadham (ஆசீர்வாதம் – blessings / wishes by elders) and promptly handed over the phone to the female elders (and most probably went on / away to finish today’s newspaper/s). It’s the conversation with the two female elders that did the naamakaranam (நாமகரணம் – giving a name to someone) for this post, i.e. ‘Different Folks… Very Different Strokes..!’

The first conversation (call-in on WhatsApp, in line with the social times we survive these days) was about Swamy’s childhood (the ‘primary school’ period, to be precise), which didn’t happen in his parental home but at his maternal grandparents’ home. The reason cited still is ‘good education,’ which is debatable to this date. In reality, there was a separation of a first-born child from the parents, for a few years, when siblings were getting added to the brood. It was most probably done without any ulterior motive, unless of course such a separation was advised by a family josier, in which case the elders of the day will ensure strict adherence to such ‘expert’ advise, without question. And that child grew up to be a loner, despite being part of a fairly large family, which moulded him into an inward-dwelling quiet persona (other than the moments of angry outburst, of course), who prefers solitude at all times, for the rest of this lifetime. Since any debate about the past is utterly pointless, let’s leave that aside, conserving time, effort and energy. 

Coming back to that first conversation, it was filled with reminiscences of events from a long gone past, which apparently was still vivid in the caller’s mind. Swamy couldn’t even remember one of the incidents recalled, which is quite surprising since that event has happened during his youth, much of which he could recall well – especially that particular time period, which was truly life-altering. Before you begin to wonder, no, it had nothing to do with spirituality, other than Swamy trying to be a non-believer for a brief period of time, resulting from a very active youngster’s utter frustration of being confined to a bed, for several months (due to a sports accident, that required 2 surgeries to fix and recover from the physical injury). Overall, that conversation was an enthusiastic recall of the past, ending with one more round of blessings for a long, healthy life.

The second conversation was predominantly about the event of Swamy’s birth itself, which should’ve been like any other child birth. It was and wasn’t. Instead of a BAUHumbug routine event, that child birth apparently transformed into a memorable event due to a few reasons, some of which may sound a bit imaginative, but were true nevertheless.

  • First, he was the first ‘male’ child to be born in a new government hospital (the hospital itself was fairly new and until then all child births there were producing only girls, apparently).
  • Second, he was born on the day of Dhikvijayam (royal procession on all directions – forgive the transliteration, since there aren’t any exact equivalent in english for many such sanskrit words) of the reigning Goddess/Empress of the town Devi Meenakshi (this is one of the key events of the famous annual festival known as Chithirai Thiruvizha – சித்திரை திருவிழா).
  • And third, the Apollo-13 spacecraft landed safely back on earth on that day on the other side of the world, despite major technical difficulties, which ended up giving this first-born male child of a tamil family an english nickname ‘Apolloer,’ in small town Madurai. Considering there was no social media or TV then – it was 50 years ago, after all – and the only news sources were the radio and newspapers, visualising that amusing/amazing situation is left to your vivid imagination.

The conversation which went on for some time turned out to be more about the mother than the child.. heh.. heh.. Despite Swamy’s poking, not much was recalled about that (supposedly) wonder kid, but quite a bit was spoken about the mother of that child and her childbearing experiences.

Thus started the actual anniversary dhinam of a child who was born in the popular temple town of Madurai on this exact day (per the janma nakshathram, of course), five decades ago. Today happens to be not only the janma nakshathram day, but also the Dhikvijayam of Madurai MeenAkshi Amman. Despite the amazing similarities of the two days, 50 years apart, there is also a significant difference, which is quite sad, considering it involves not just Swamy or his extended family, but the populace of the entire town and nearby towns and villages as well.

The famous annual (summer) festival of Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple is being celebrated this year in a very subdued manner within the temple itself, due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Both Chennai, where Swamy resides and Madurai, where he was born and brought up, are unfortunately marked as ‘Red Zone’s. Typically, there’ll be several thousands of ardent devotees thronging the vast – and ancient, needless to say – temple, during each day of the nearly 2-week long festival, despite the blazing summer sun. On the special days such as Thirukkalyaanam (திருக்கல்யாணம்), DhikVijayam (திக்விஜயம்), KaLLazhagar EdhirsEvai (கள்ளழகர் எதிர்சேவை), the crowd of devotees will easily swell to lakhs. Till date, Meenakshi Amman isn’t just a deity inside  the temple for the emotionally-charged Madurai folks. She is considered very much their own Amma, i.e. mother.

Swamyji50_C1

Of course, as far as Swamy is considered, today is just another day – golden anniversary or otherwise. He’s thankful for waking up as usual, still breathing fine. The nondescript daily events list is getting ticked of one by one, as any other day in the recent past. His sahadharmini (சஹதர்மிணி) was kind enough to prepare sweet pongal (சர்க்கரை பொங்கல்) to mark the occasion, which is the only noteworthy change from the routine post-retirement living. Usually, some kind of sweet prasaadham (பிரசாதம் – offering to the divine) is prepared only for festivals celebrated in SwamyHome. Today is anyway the Jagathjanani (ஜகத்ஜனனி – universal Mother) RaajaMaathangi’s DhikVijayam festival day. So, in a household with Devi’s presence (in the form of Devi Linga Bhairavi Yantra), it’s appropriate to offer sweet prasaadham on this day.

Those two conversations of the day went on to highlight the saying ‘Different Folks, Different Strokes.‘ Very different strokes, i.e. perspectives, indeed. Neither is good or bad, obviously. They are who they are and what they remember and recall is what they have experienced and thereby know. What each elder expressed was certainly true, as it is based on their own direct experience. But it’s the perspective offered that makes them vastly different from each other.

One looked at it from the perspective of bringing up an interesting child, that wasn’t her own. She was only an indirect stakeholder in shaping up that child’s life trajectory, despite actually bringing up that child for a certain period of time – a very crucial time in that child’s existence. So the recall of her experiences reflected that child’s skills, attributes, characteristics. In a way, it was a retelling of that child’s growing up days, as it was.

The other elder’s experience was of her own, rather than the child. This could be simply due to her own very first childbearing experience (she ended up doing it quite a few times, afterwards), which must have been overwhelming for a young woman from a traditional upbringing with limited external exposure of the world. For the child, who himself is nearly as experienced as those elders now, as a retiree at 50 (the planned retirement itself happened 5 years ago), the perspectives were quite a revelation – despite not being able to recall an event or two, of his own life, covered in those conversations!

Oh, before concluding this one, it’s worth recalling (pun, absolutely intended 😉 another post by Swamy on the occasion of the calendar birthday/date, couple of weeks ago. That post, ‘ஐம்பதிலும் ஞானம் வரும்!‘ is much more elaborate and will offer quite a few insights for readers who contemplate whatever they read. Here’s a link…

ஐம்பதிலும் ஞானம் வரும் ~ ஸ்வாமியின் உயிர்மெய் பதிவு  

As a species endowed with relatively higher intelligence (not necessarily better though) in this vast creation, our perspective of things, events and people is a result of our ability to shape and utilise that intelligence. There’s no doubt the environment in which we were born and brought up – including the people around and close to us at the time of growing up – plays a significant role in shaping our personality and perspectives.

But one’s perspective can eventually change – wider, broader, deeper – based on one’s exposure to the external world, commonly known as society. Such change in perspective is an outcome of both personal and professional experiences. But the caveat for such a change is one’s in/ability to assimilate, contemplate and comprehend life happening all around, objectively, without colouring them with subjective bias of any kind. In essence, how much a being changes or doesn’t is entirely in the hands of that being.

At 50, Swamy’s perspective of Life (the way humans know and live it) has changed quite significantly. Realising mere survival is just a BAUHumbug routine, he has consciously bid adieu to the corporate world, where he performed his survival act in a reasonably successful way for nearly two-and-a-half decades, five years ago and started treading a different path, to realise the Truth (about Creator, creation, existence, et al) and attain Mukti (the ultimate liberation from the repetitive birth-death lifecycle spiral).

This ongoing journey has significantly altered Swamy’s perception of Life (the way it is, i.e. Reality) as well, though there is still a long way to go, inward of course. So for the seeker that Swamy is nowadays, pretty much full-time, this day too shall come to pass, just like any other day in the past, including the day in the long gone past when he came (back!) into the world of survival, one more time, as the jyEshta kumaaran (ஜேஷ்ட குமாரன் – first-born male child) of a god+government fearing humble middle-class family, in the temple town of Madurai, on the auspicious day of DhikVijayam of Meenakshi Amman (மதுரை மீனாட்சி அம்மன் திக்விஜயம்).

The just-born ‘apolloer’ has certainly travelled a looooooooooong way – literally and experientially – from that day and place. And life goes on, without being bothered about whether he has turned 5 or 14 or 23 or 50, on this particular day!

2016-02-07-19-45-40Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 

 

 

 

 

Copy New Year!

31 Dec

The senseless noisy silly celebrations of yet another new year has started all over the planet. Millions will get drunk mindlessly, shake their body shamelessly to non-stop cacophony, shovel plates of atrociously priced food into their bowels & keep on wishing many more millions pointlessly.

Tomorrow morning the Sun will rise without a reminder, just like it did today & billions of days before, to keep Life going on this planet. Flowers will bloom; trees will sway & offer shade; birds will chirp & flap their wings; ants will crawl in a disciplined line to gather food; strays will roam the streets looking for food; cows will wait patiently near medians for speeding idiots to race past them; ceaseless waves of the ocean will continue to kiss the shore; prayers will be offered at temples, churches, mosques, gurudwaras & other places of worship; RaGa’s earthquake will not bother to disturb the Richter scale; neighbour will double the chance of you getting stricken with cancer by blowing second hand smoke from his balcony nonchalantly; over half of the Divided States of America will pray for armageddon to happen before Jan 20; AIADMK white brigade will pride themselves on being herded by a brand new mini amma; Stalin will continue to wait for his nanogenarian father to hand over the DMK baton; Akhilesh Yadav will continue to marvel at his incredulous father’s irrational attachment to his uncle; selective secularists will continue to wait for the next opportunity to pounce on NaMo worshippers, while sipping their wine or chai in british era clubs; black money hoarders will offer expensive gifts to bankers to convert their stash beyond the legal deadline that has already passed; Google will have another enchanting doodle; ACT fibernet will continue to be dead, almost a month after Vardah; TV channels will continuously broadcast death, despair & destruction 24×7; none of the Hollywood copycats & wannabes here will make a single decent movie that a global audience can watch & cheer, yet our movie makers who think too highly of their limited skills will wonder why they still couldn’t get an Oscar; all sports other than cricket will continue to starve for sponsorship; gyms & slimming clubs will gleefully sign annual contracts, knowing fully we’ll they don’t have to sweat it out after a few days; rich spoilt brats will drive their ultra-expensive imported cars in drunken stupor & kill a few platform dwellers, and walk away unscathed; Urjit Patel will conjure up his umpteenth DeMo rule, to amend the one announced yesterday; NaMo will wake up at 4am, do yOgA & head for another day at work to make this once-great nation great again; invariably all the hotels – especially the ones with a bar, Ola, Uber & the like will relish their most profitable day of the year, and will eagerly await the next such silly celebration day.  

You’ll wake up either a bad hangover or aching hips & knees or upset stomach or all of them & yell at someone for the misery you’ve created yourself. And signal the glorious start of yet another year of your wretched existence, which isn’t going to be any different from the previous one. 

Yet, you’ll expect everyone to wish you a “Very happy, healthy,… blah.. blah.. blah.. New Year” on all the social media apps & over phone, if not in person, and will respond to only those who wish you & make a note of those who don’t, adding that wrath to your already dump yard like karmA pile.

Bejan Dharuvala, Peter Vidal, Vamanan Namboodiri, AMR & Shelvee will assure you that at least 50% of your new year will be wonderful, which is exactly what they predicted for every new year, for everyone who cares to read their prediction. 

Swamy will once again re share his previous blogs like “Wish you Will” on this topic to remind you of the utter pointlessness of this abject stupidity & not respond to anyone’s wishes, which will continue to pour unabated from all & sundry anyway. Of course, not many will bother to read those blogs, again. 

As far as Swamy is concerned, there are only two days worth even thinking about – the day the Sun fails to show up in the morning & the one when it forgets to leave in the evening. In case of the former, we’ll all perish by freezing in a new ice age & in the latter we’ll probably burn & still perish.

Either way, there won’t be a planet anymore that inhabits a species that gloats so much about its extra sense over all other beings & still manage to screw up the only planet they’ve got to exist. As if their miraculously continuing existence itself, even for one more day, isn’t a celebration, they’ll hilariously – and very noisily – continue to celebrate some silly day or anniversary, pretty much every other day of the year. Every year. 

Celebrate like automatons trapped in The Matrix, without pausing to ponder even for a moment, if they’ve actually changed anything within themselves, in all these years, each of which offered at least 365 brand new days to ignite some change & appreciate the magnificence of creation all around in myriad forms, sizes & hues. And take at least a few baby steps to know the purpose of Life.

Celebrate yet another Noisy, Egocentric, Weary, Yappy, Eco-unfriendly, Arrogant, Ridiculous Copy New Year. BAUHumbug!

~Swamy

@PrakashSwamy 

19 Life Lessons From An Enduring Companionship!

21 Jul

Swamily14Mr. & Mrs. Swamy recently celebrated their 19th wedding anniversary. While Life together wasn’t necessarily a hard test for them, it wasn’t a fun ride all along either. But hey, they strived and thrived together for nearly two decades. And what better way to celebrate that than to share 19 life lessons from their enduring companionship, that they hope will be useful and valuable for any life partner to lead a meaningful, purposeful & joyful Life, together!

Disclaimer: Don’t drool over the possibility of getting to know some spicy incidents or juicy events from the Swamys’ Life. It’s the outcome that’s important, so no personal revelations to shake the world here. :O Just Life lessons! 😉

Swamily_NorthShores# 19 Absorb.

Life is full of things that keep happening all the time. The general human tendency is to react to anything that happens around us. Think opposite. Instead of reacting to anything and everything, just absorb things like the sponge that you use to clean dishes. What if that sponge starts reacting to the chemical in the cleaning liquids and the dirt on the vessels? Scary, isn’t it! Be like a sponge and just absorb!

2014 - 5# 18 Be nice.

Your life partner and you live your life together, for long. At least, that’s the idea of marriage or living together. So, be nice to your companion. What if you choose not to be nice? Your life (& your partner’s, needless to say) will probably be full of misery. Do you want to live life miserably together or merrily? Make the choice and Be nice!

2013 - 2# 17 Catch the moment.

Catch the moments that you want to be remembered forever. Not the ones that could make you forget each other for good. You like something he or she says or does, catch the moment to appreciate, applaud or thank him / her then and there. Such moments are your periodic investments for a rich Life dividend. So, watch out & catch the moment!

Swamily10# 16 Dare not to counter.

Each of you will have ideas. But your idea need not always be better than his / her’s. In fact, both your ideas can compliment each other, in most cases. Care to listen to ideas, however dumb or whacky they may sound. Dare not to counter!

# 15 Everything need not be done together.

Pedal Power - 1Each of you do things differently and different things need to be done differently. Let the person with the right ability for the right action do it his / her way. Don’t try to correct, when they do it their way and don’t expect them to do it your way either. Living together doesn’t mean doing together!

# 14 Failing is like falling.

Swamily_GardenWhen you fall, you get up, irrespective of whether you’re a child or adult. Failing too is like that. Whenever one of you fail, get back right up. Help the other to get back, if required. Think about what went wrong and determine how it can be done better. Allow room for failure, as there’s plenty of time in Life, together, to get things right. Failing isn’t dying, but just falling!

20131201_074215# 13 Go that extra mile.

Life is one long walk, together. It doesn’t hurt to go that extra mile, to make that walk pleasant, for both. If he or she doesn’t know something, guide them and show them how to do it. Give a pat on the back or a peck on the cheek, when they do it right. Don’t blow the lid, but do go that extra mile!

2014 - 1# 12 Treat as equal.

He or she is a human being too, just like you. And each and every human being – including your significant other – is unique. Neither of you are better alone, but both of you can be better together. So, treat him / her as equal.

# 11 Getting even doesn’t get you anywhere.

Swamily_Classic500Getting even is for sworn rivals and arch enemies, who are hell bent on bringing the other down. Not for people who are living together. Getting even divides, doesn’t unite. You’re united, to get somewhere in this Life. Getting even doesn’t get you anywhere.

# 10 Just listen.

20140322_120838Whatever nonsense the other one has to share (there are obviously tons of sweet nothings, daily), you have nothing to lose by just listening. You don’t have to react with your own ideas (mostly stupid, according to the other and vice versa) for everything the other says or shares. What’s your problem in just listening, when you don’t have to spend any energy talking. Just listen!

AK_Kash_Snow# 9 Leap, don’t look.

Marriage or living together itself is a huge leap of faith. There’ll be many deep valleys and gaping chasms that you’ll face during the challenging trek called Life. Many a times, there won’t be sufficient time to look before you leap. Have trust, just leap and don’t look (read # 14 again, if you’re doubtful)!

# 8 When life multiplies, divide the responsibilities.

One_Little_Happy_Family1Raising a family is as much a burden, as it is a bliss. But when divided, you’ve to handle only half the additional load of parenthood. Individually, it’ll unfairly double the load. When family multiplies, dividing responsibilities is the only way to balance life and move forward.

# 7 Stop prosecuting.

Gurupooja_Dakshin3Family isn’t a court, your companion isn’t an accused and you are usually neither a good lawyer nor an objective judge. And society – extended family included – are just passive observers, who gleefully watch and spill opinions. Whenever the other says or does something that’s not in your limited list of acceptable things, instead of countering their pov and arguing for yours, try to enrich your pointless list by including their views. But stop prosecuting!

# 6 Independence = Interdependence.

Cheetah_Mahamudra2Before getting together, you were both independent. After getting together, you’re interdependent as family, but still remain independent as individuals. And every individual likes to do things their own way, which could be diametrically opposite to how the other one does the same. Stop competing to be the first among equals as there’s no trophy for winning against your significant other. Live Life together as equals, by learning the winning formula ‘Independence = Interdependence!’

Dakshin_Ayutha_Puja27# 5 To live is to learn.

While doing things wrong (oh, there’ll be plenty of opportunities), instead of accusing each other for screwing things, look at opportunities to not repeat the mistake the next time (be assured they will happen again). Who said the fancy tools and techniques for problem solving you’ve learnt at work doesn’t apply outside it? Learn from every mistake, each of you make. Know the root cause and understand how not to repeat it. Keep doing it. To live is to learn.

Swamily11# 4 Stay tuned.

Life TV has only 2 channels – you and your partner. Curved 4K with Dolby sound notwithstanding. And there’s no fancy remote to skip the other channel, even if the content is repetitive (you live Life one day at a time, after all, doing many things over and over) and boring (according to you, certainly not the other). But the variety of entertainment offered by those two channels could be mind boggling and thoroughly entertaining, if you stay tuned.

# 3 Give & give.

MrsSwamy2Companionship is not about give and take. It’s about giving what one has, to the other, and then some. Not just material things, all the time. A hug, smile, pat or word, at the precise moment, can do unimaginable wonders, to nurture the relationship. When you keep giving, without expecting anything in return, you’ll be amazed at how much you receive. Just give & give.

# 2 KISS.

Swamily_YogaNo, not that obvious one, that you’ll anyway do as Life partners. This one’s the popular acronym for Keep It Simple Stupid. (or Silly, if you happen to be the gentler kind). Life today is already complicated. Living together amidst that chaos is even more so. It’s utterly pointless for either of you to strive to complicate it even more. Companionship can be absolutely blissful, if you learn how to KISS!

# 1 “1 + 1 <> 1” but 2.

Swamyly15It’s a simple math, really. You’re two distinct individuals, living together, because you chose to. If home were a jungle, the lioness hunts to feed the cubs and the Lion sits around lazing and doesn’t do much. Unless, the situation gets desperate. If family were the cosmos, the Sun nourishes all kinds of beings with its light and the moon just reflects it. If living together were lunch, Chapathi and Sabji together make it delicious. Don’t try too hard and fail together, by complicating the simple math. Respect each other for what they bring to the table and live independently, together in total harmony!

And dear reader, since you’ve endured so far, here’s a bonus lesson. 🙂

Swamily_2013s# 0 Never give up. Ever.

By getting into a Life partnership, both of you chose to live it up, together, not give it up. Come what may (be assured many will keep coming at you), no matter what anyone might say (trust us, a million – mostly unsavory or uncharitable – things will be said), keep chugging forward, together. Trust the other to watch out for you. Believe in the other to stand up for you. Nurture the other to care for you. Give up yours to nourish what the other cherishes. In sport, it’s the players that play and win or lose. Not the referees, commentators or spectators. The Game of Life is yours to play after all. And you need to play it together. Forget the result (& the comments) and focus on the P.L.A.Y instead. And while playing, remember to “Never give up on each other. Ever!”

And here’s the lord of all Life lessons, just in case you’re the type that reads the last chapter of a book first! :O

# ∞ Comparison is for commodities, not companions.

You can compare the price and features of grocery, fruits, vegetables, cell phone, automobile, a/v equipment, clothing, jewelry, medicine, flight tickets, insurance, etc. There are many tools available to expedite such comparison. That’s perfectly fine for saving while buying a product or service. Your Life companion isn’t a product and you aren’t supposed to buy him / her for any specific feature or associated benefits. By getting into a companionship, you’re gluing the two lives together with Love and binding them tighter with Trust, in order to sail or swim (being a compulsive optimist, Swamy can’t even imagine sinking, that too together) the Life ocean. And that can’t happen when you start comparing the quality of your boat or sail or radio equipment or life raft while in the middle of the – possibly shark infested – vast ocean, amidst a raging thunderstorm and the shore nowhere in sight. Comparison is for commodities, not companions!

.

Love + Gratitude > @PrakashSwamy

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

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