The ‘hope’ run

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Today’s run was extremely special for many reasons.

This was my first run with The Wipro Chennai Marathon.

I’d signed up for a 10k. And, I was not at all motivated to run this morning, for many many reasons.

But, then, running is not just a physical pursuit but a mind game as well. I told myself, that I am not quitting and would participate. I labelled it as ‘Hope’ run in my head and reached the start point.

Through my run, I felt humanity, for others and myself.

I rediscovered myself through this journey.

It was a run where I sweated out all my negativity, insecurities, doubts, unpleasantness and everything that would not help me progress.

And, for the stats, I completed the run at an average speed of 6.31 kmph, which is by far my best.

I took 01:20:46 duration to complete the entire run.

P.S: I’d like to record my gratitude to all the amazing coaches at The Quad, especially Raj Ganpath for being an inspiration!

Also, Meera Sundar, Prasanna Kumar, Karthik Natarajan: Today’s run is dedicated to you folks! :)

‪#‎TWCM2015‬ was conducted today i.e. Jan 31 2016, to celebrate the spirit of Chennai, that suffered rain floods in Dec 2015.

Music and mostly prolix

Being born and growing up in a musical household meant that, I’d be encouraged to pursue Carnatic music even before I’d speak.

The following quote holds a testament for my upbringing. And, I am beginning to realize what a blessing it is to have lived life this way.

Music is there to enrich your life and make you aware of things in a slightly different way. ~Andrew Eldritch

Everyday, I was either made to listen to live concerts of reputed musicians, or listen to recordings from several tapes / radio relaying concerts of yesteryear musicians. My thatha (grandfather), my guru, Sri Thirupoonthuruthy Venkatesan would ensure that I paid attention to every little nuance and absorbed as much as I can. I reminisce these listening sessions with him which included Alathur Brothers’s (who were thatha’s gurus) ‘EmA Ni Ne’ in Mukhari, GNB’s ‘Manasuloni’ in Varamu, MLV’s ‘Nannu pAlimpa’ in Mohanam, Semmangudi’s ‘RAma Ni SamAnam evaru’ in Karaharapriya, M S Subbhulakshmi’s ‘SarOja Dala Netri’ in Shankarabaranam and many alike.

Until I turned 15-16, I knew nothing, other than music. I’d simply learn compositions taught by my grandfather, resume to endless hours of practice sessions at home with my amma following up on a day to day basis. 24 hours wasn’t enough but, amma ensured that I utilized every minute of it towards music and only music. Indeed, life was very different back then.

Sometimes, I begin to wonder the amount of things my amma has done, to make me who I am today. She was and is still a working woman. She could have progressed and moved up the career ladder. She chose to take it slow and never wanted to shift base from Chennai. She’d never retire on weekends, she almost single handedly managed home, aging grandparents, me and my erratic music schedules, very diligently. She missed being away from appa. So was appa missing all of us. But, they both made the conscious choice to do this, for me.

While amma was a disciplinarian, appa was liberal in every way. Possibly, because, I am the only daughter and he mostly got little time to spend with me back then. His enthusiasm to learn was infectious. He had an ear for good music and considered himself a fanboy of K V Mahadevan, M S Viswanathan, Ilaiyaraja and in that particular order (in current times, I tried influencing him, but that’s not affected him). He kept traveling on work and whenever he was home, he would narrate his musical influences mostly through story telling. It’s because of him, I got into exploring this side of the musical world (amidst a lot of resistance from amma).

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” ~ Aldous Huxley

I grew up, and suddenly, I preferred silence over music. Which only meant that, I needed a break from this beautiful art, especially in terms of performances. And, maybe, this is part and parcel of a package called life. I got into academics. Was mostly an average student, but worked very hard to catch up with everything that I thought, I missed in the last 18-20 years. I just wanted to stay away from all lime light that music exposed me to. I never quit learning music, but took a break from performing, very consciously.

The last 5 years between 20 and 25 was a phase, where I listened to more music – of all forms. Call me a rebel, call me a fool, call me anything you want. But, this would be one phase that I’d call a liberating one. I listened more to Hindustani Music, Ghazals, Jazz, Metal, Rock, Fusion and to endless genres and forms of this art. I rediscovered myself through this journey.

Today, at 26, I continue to learn from Sumithra akka. She has helped me gain confidence and strength as a person. I see life coming back in full circle.

But, I am still confused, I am still insecure about what I should do, in terms of performances, my contributions for the art and a plethora of things. The battle is between art and art itself. Unless, someone who has gone through the last 26 years from my shoes, I don’t expect anyone to understand this, as well.

For now, I just trust that the art will take care of my being and help me sail through this phase and to a better one, at the earliest.

Through this journey, I had support and empathy from several musicians and I am ever grateful for their presence. You all know who you are.

Week 3: Family

 

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Who gave me life.

Who are reasons to live everyday.

Who have enriched my living.

 

Who gave me an identity.

Who helped me grow.

Who taught me life’s ideals, by their own action.

 

Who let me experience freedom in it’s real sense.

Who see only the best in me and are always encouraging.

Who are my support system.

 

Who would never give up on me.

Who would treat my success and failure equally.

Who know how to make me smile instantly.

 

Who make and break me.

Who get me completely.

Who I know, I can take for granted.

 

Who are simply the best.

And, indeed, I am incredibly blessed.

 

Week 2: Spouse / Significant Other

To my future soulmate, husband, significant other. (If you exist) 

Hey,

How have you been?

Hope life’s awesome at your end.

Phew, I have lots to say. But, let me get started with a few things.

Whoever you are, this is what I wanted to let you know.

I want you to be you always.

Pursue what you really want.

I hope you’re someone who is happy and takes pride in what you do everyday.
It could be an unsolved math problem or a signature dish you would like to cook.
It could be traveling around the world or sharing your experience with the next generation.
It could be a piece of art that you took months to create or serving patients all day long.
It could be anything that you do.

Whatever it is, please remember that I am already proud of who you are. Because, it takes a lot of courage to pursue whatever you believe in.

I am certain life has tested you and you’d failed many a times. But, what is success if you don’t fail, fall and rise back again?

I understand that you’d trusted people all along. You’ve been deceived too. I wish, you have the strength to trust with all the broken pieces. Or we could figure this out together :)

If you’ve not realized this already, believe me, you’re beautiful. You’re awesome. You’re rare.

You’re optimistic at one end, pessimistic on another.
You’re confused, yet you’re clear on certain things.
You care a lot, but don’t know how to express.
You’re simply a human. And I get that you have emotions too.

I sincerely pray that, we remain friends forever and keep company with a sense of mutual respect and admiration for each other.

I wish, I could learn a lot from you and be there for you.

I wish I could make your dreams come true and help you in every best possible way.

I wish to make your family and friends mine.

Lastly, I really do hope, you exist.

And, if you do exist, I simply want to say thank you.
For being born, being you.

P.S: Glad to meet you.

Week 1: Why Start this Challenge

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Why start this challenge?

Because, I didn’t stick to this challenge last year. Wrote only about 6 out of 52 challenge posts. Sucks right? Yeah.

But, why start all over again? Especially after failing so miserably last year?

I want to give this a fair shot, once again, this year. And, use this challenge as an opportunity to convey my gratitude for all the simple things I experience on a day to day basis, the people who help me grow, the experiences to come and most importantly, discover myself through this journey.

A splendid new year to all you readers! :)

Hopefully, you and the universe will conspire enough to help me stick to the challenge.

25 years of experience..with life!

Disclaimer: TL;DR.

25 years.

Phew!

Has it been amazing so far? Yes.

Do I look forward to another 25? Why not?

As I step onto 26th year of living, here’s taking some time to recall some folks who have made this life, worth living.

Firstly, my amazing parents. I have shared this time and again. But, its completely worth all the mention, because they mean everything to me. And, they are only getting awesomer everyday. Thank you amma, appa or appa, amma, you guys figure out this order. But, hey, thank you for making me the person I am today. For being my best of friends. For being my pillar of support, bricks, walls, everything else. For making me, for breaking me, for everything that I cannot express through just words.

My chithi (aunt), my paati (grandmother) and my thatha (grandfather) for making my childhood beautiful. And, grateful to be part of this family, who are always my source of happiness.

My gurus, Thirupoonthuruthy Sri Venkatesan (my grand father), Late Chingleput Sri Ranganathan, Kovai Sri Dakshinamoorthy, Sri M S Anantharaman, Akkarai Sri Swamynathan and currently Smt Sumitra Vasudev akka, for making music an integral part of my life and imparting life’s valuable lessons through music. I still aspire to become better with all the good that’s been passed on to me, by all these greats.

The lovely teachers and professors I had an opportunity to learn from. To all of you at Delhi Public School (Delhi), Adarsh Vidyalaya (Ajmer), MGR Adarsh Matriculation School (Chennai), Sir Sivaswami Kalalaya Senior Secondary School (Chennai), M O P Vaishnav College for Women (Chennai), Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication (Pune), Loyola Institute of Business & Administration (Chennai), University of Madras (Chennai). Thanks to all the ladies and gentleman I met through these touch points. Glad that, through these various touch points, I found the best of friends, siblings, mentors who will continue to be part of my life.

Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new ~ Og Mandino

This quote holds true in my case.

All my dear friends from Radio Mirchi (Chennai), Star Vijay (Chennai), Skycap Productions (Chennai), CNN IBN (Chennai), Hanmer MSL (Chennai), The Banyan (Chennai), Cognizant Technology Solutions (Chennai), Human Factors International (Mumbai, Pondicherry), Standard Bank (South Africa), Tenmiles Technologies (Chennai) and currently everyone at Indix Corporation (Chennai), thank you for making it possible for me to learn, fail, relearn and grow. To all of you, I met through these esteem organizations, thank you for being patient with me, letting me be myself, allowing me to be vocal with my views (if any), see my dreams as your own and encouraging me always.

I collect human relationships very much the way others collect fine art ~ Jerzy Kosinski

In no specific order, I would like to thank few folks who have helped me learn some very important lessons, on how beautiful it is to trust and be trusted, to love and be loved, to respect and be respected, to have misunderstandings, forgive and value relationships more than the events itself, to let go and move on at times and, this list is going to be very long. But, hey, this features folks who have influenced me for good, at different points, through the last 25 years.

Naithrav, Divya, Sunil, Madhu, Priyanka, Satish, Renita, Karthik, Dawood, Chandan sir, Ruchi ma’am, Shakti ma’am, Nivedita ma’am, Aruna ma’am, Sujata ma’am, Sumithra akka, Sidharth Iyer, Alokita, Pooja, Preetha, Deiva, Gautam, Ramya, Ramesh, Aditi, Vasanth, Sesha, Manoj, Bharath, Ashwanth, Karthik, Sriram, Praveen, Prasanna, Sridevi, Padmavathi, Avik, Halliq, Ranjani, Parvathy, Divya, Sruthi, Ashwini, Subadra, Balajee, Arvind, Krithika, Krithika, Sabin, Meena, Meera, Rajesh, Kaavya Krishna, Ramani uncle, Ramji uncle, Raj, Santy, Karthik, Harish, Chander, Pranav, Joseph, Srivathsan, PK, Sumeet Wilankar, Saranya, Radhika, Jefferson, Ram Kumar, Lakshmi, Vinoth, Sai, Meena, Ksheera, Nylah and a lot more people, I possibly missed out here. But, you all know who you are.

Thank you everyone.

Strength, pain and all of that

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All of us cause pain to our loved ones – mostly unintentionally, unconsciously. We seldom realize – what the person in pain goes through. Unless, until we get into their shoes. Or, we are sensitive enough to relate to the experience.

Human beings are complex. And, human relationships are more complex. Beyond comprehension, in most cases. We care for our loved ones the most, we also cause pain to these folks. Why? Is it because we are protective? Cautious? Possessive? Because of Love? Insecurity?

Recently, realized that, in reality, some words are louder than actions. Although, we preach that actions tend to be louder than words.

As human beings, have we numbed ourselves to express the right things at the right moment? Have we become insensitive to truth, honesty? Indeed, possible, with the way we all have masked ourselves to various situations.

I knew of a girl, who wrapped herself inside a bed cover, listened to songs. Everyone thought she was fine and strong as a person. But, she laid there in despair. Somehow, there is a lot of intensity when you cry, silently, all alone in the night.

But, it’s a scary thought that this girl might numb herself too, about various things. I do have a question though. Will she really be a stronger person? Well. Time can only answer this.