Monday, 26 August 2019

When Emotions Turn Spiritual

When Emotions Turn Spiritual


When Emotions Turn Spiritual
Stone Becomes God
Book Becomes A Granth
Beauty Becomes Divine

When Emotions Turn Spiritual
A person becomes a Saint
Seeing Becomes Darshan
Love Becomes Pure

When Emotions Turn Spiritual 
Food Becomes Prasad
Life Becomes Sadhana
Death Becomes An Experience

When Emotions Turn Spiritual 
Attachment Becomes Detachment
Relations Become Relative
Many Become One

Saturday, 16 March 2019

My Sister Vasanthi - Lived And Left On Her Terms


Synopsis

Vasanthi was more than just a sister for us. She was an inspiration. A homemaker for a large part of her married life, she took to entrepreneurship and created a small empire of sorts. As my brother rightly put it, `TamBrahm Lady born in 1951 and Entrepreneur. As rare as it gets.` Thank You Dear Sister for what you were and what you taught us through your life and personality. I am sure you have already scripted your next adventure with life. Move On, Joyfully.


Main Article

It is incredible that within a year I am writing another obituary for yet another cousin sister who called it quits from this world. Vasanthi was the eldest amongst the cousins from the paternal side. We were all looking forward to meet her on her visit to Mumbai. As it turned out, meet we did, but mostly in the hospital.

Life can be cruel and unhumourously funny at times. From the time she reached Mumbai to eventually exiting the world from Hosur, her health deteriorated rapidly. We were looking forward to catching up before she left again for the US to be with her daughter. But life had another script written out.

My penultimate meeting with her in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in Mumbai will forever remain etched in my memory. She pleaded that I not pray for her health, but for a fast exit. Soon after she reached Hosur, she breathed her last. She was just like that - lived and died on her terms.

Vasanthi was more than just a sister for us. She was an inspiration. A homemaker for a large part of her married life, she took to entrepreneurship and created a small empire of sorts. Even as a daughter, wife and mother, she was dynamism personified. It is no surprise then that those qualities expressed themselves successfully in the entrepreneurship space. As my brother rightly put it, `TamBrahm Lady born in 1951 and Entrepreneur. As rare as it gets.`

Truly, traditionally, we TamBrahm Iyers are brought up on a heavy dose of building loyalty towards our employers rather than venturing into risky areas like business. "Not for us," we were told. We were duly educated on the communities that did business and the ones that served the `masters`. Vasanthi however was a trailblazer. She took to entrepreneurship like fish takes to water and showed that we too could do it.

She was a symbol of support for me when I ventured into entrepreneurship about ten years ago. She always encouraged me and commented on my work. I was thrilled that she admired my work and that truly meant a lot.

Vasanthi was an example of how to be a support system for people who mattered in her life. Be it her parents, sister, husband, daughter, son-in-law or even grandchildren, she was a pillar of strength for everyone. The ones she served benefited directly, and people like us drew inspiration from her achievements and interactions. Vasanthi lived two lives - one in India and the other in the US with her daughter's family. We were always updated about her whereabouts and never felt she was too far away from us.

"I have always been a support for people and don't want to be a burden for anyone," is what she kept telling all of us in the month leading up to her demise. This attitude emerged from her very practical and grounded wisdom. She was fearless and fast paced in life and fearless and fast paced in death too.

In a way, we are happy that we could do our bit in her moments of suffering. It was a swift end, but our grief is not going to go away anytime soon.

Thank You Dear Sister for what you were and what you taught us through your life and personality. I am sure you have already scripted your next adventure with life. Move On, Joyfully.


Friday, 12 October 2018

अमिताभ तो बस एक ही है


अमिताभ तो बस एक ही है 


ये कहना कि मैं अमिताभ का फैन हूँ, बहुत आम बात है,
ये कहना कि मैं अमिताभ का भक्त हूँ, ये भी आम बात है,
पर यह कहना कि मैं अमिताभ जैसा बनाना चाहता हूँ, ये ज़रूर कोई बात है.

पर अमिताभ जैसा बनना मुश्किल ही नहीं, नामुनकिन है,
क्यों कि रिश्ते में तो हम उनके फैन लगते हैं,
पर नाम अमिताभ सिर्फ एक ही का लोग जानते हैं.

वोह आवाज़, वोह अंदाज़ उस इंसान का है,
जो जहां खड़े हो जाते हैं, 
लाइन वहीं से शुरू होती है.

काबिलियत उसका नाम है जिसका  नाम अमिताभ है,
बस नाम ही काफी है,
और काबिलियत का परिचय हो जाता है.

कद इनको कुदरत ने दिया है,
पर औधा इन्होने खुद बनाया है,
इनके कारनामें से देश का सीना चौढ़ा हो जाता है.

ये जब पग घुंघरू बाँध नाचते हैं,
तो देश झूम उठता है,
ये जब सुर लगते हैं, देश गाने लगता है.

ये भाई को सैन नहीं देते,
और `पहले इसका, पहले उसका सैन लाओ` कहते हैं,
पर सब इनके सैन के दीवाने हैं.

ये डॉन हो या हीरो, हर किरदार बखूबी निभाते हैं, 
इनको सभी ढूंढते रहते हैं,
पर ये पता नहीं कहाँ इंतज़ार कर रहे होते हैं. 

ये बेमिसाल हैं, लाजवाब हैं,
प्रोडूसर के लिए दो और दो पांच कर सकते हैं,
खुदा गवा है, अमिताभ तो बस एक ही है.




Thursday, 20 September 2018

थकना ठीक है, थमना नहीं

थकना  ठीक है, थमना नहीं 

By Hariharan Iyer

थकना  ठीक है, थमना नहीं,
गिरना ठीक है, हारना नहीं,
नासमझी ठीक है, बुरा व्यवहार नहीं,
कभी कभी अनुचित संवाद भी ठीक है, पर बुरे सम्बन्ध नहीं

प्यार में गुस्सा ठीक है, पर औपचारिकता नहीं,
समाज के प्रति कभी कभी खटास ठीक है, पर ग़ैज़िम्मेदारी नहीं,
सबके लिए सहानभूति ठीक है, पर सबसे दोस्ती नहीं
हर समय ना हसों थो ठीक है, पर छोटी बातों पर रोना नहीं

गलती करो तो ठीक है, पर उसे दोहराना नहीं,
खुशी ना हो थो ठीक है, पर अधिक समय तक दुखी होना नहीं,
दोस्ती न निभाओ तो कदाचित और किसी सन्दर्भ में ठीक है, पर दुश्मनी नहीं, 
मरना थो ठीक है, पर जीतेजी मर जाना नहीं  











Sunday, 22 July 2018

My Sister Latha: A Legacy Of Cheerfulness


My Sister Latha: A Legacy Of Cheerfulness

Synopsis: Latha leaves behind a legacy of cheerfulness. She epitomised a life of fullness and laughter. She taught an important lesson - it is not the length of life that matters, but the depth of life that matters.
Main Blog

The prayer meeting for my cousin sister Latha Iyer, who passed away few days ago, had a peculiar air about it. Solemnity was written all over it as her large and affectionate friends descended to offer condolences. Yet, after a while, the audience could not stop themselves from being more relaxed, picking up chatter and filling the air with 'happy' small talk.
The audience's behaviour was still conditioned by the smiling presence of Latha in the picture in front of them. There was a sense that Latha was still around and she just did not approve of the eerie silence in the hall. Spontaneous speeches honouring the presence of Latha in their lives was a poignant moment for all those present.
My sister was just like that - full of life and laughter. Her little frame packed in a kind of laughter that boomed across corridors infecting people with happiness.
Though she too lived in Chembur in Mumbai, we did not meet often. But I knew she was doing good, and doing good to others too. Whenever we met during family functions and otherwise, the bond was instant. We shared wonderful times together and were there for one another in happy and not-so-happy times.
My deepest memories are from our childhood spent in Chennai and Mumbai. While my brother and me grew up in Mumbai, Latha, her sister and brother grew up in Chennai. Our visits to Powai and Vihar lakes during their visits here are enduring memories. The simplicity of our picnics was far removed from modern day get-aways in expensive cafes and restaurants.
Latha leaves behind a legacy of cheerfulness. She epitomised a life of fullness and laughter. She taught an important lesson - it is not the length of life that matters, but the depth of life that matters.

She was a great wife, a fantastic mother and an amazing friend. It would be a long and hard ordeal for people who love her to come to terms with her absence.

Rest In Laughter Latha.


Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Shashi Kapoor: The Last Of The Kapoor Pioneers


Shashi Kapoor: The Last Of The Kapoor Pioneers


Though Deewar is a Bachchan-centered film, Shashi Kapoor stood out by choosing to let Amitabh's character stand out. Seen from a management perspective, this is an outstanding example of team work, where the individual ego is dismissed to make way for emergence of the larger perspective. Shashi Kapoor not only looked good, he made everyone around him look good too.

The passing away of Shashi Kapoor has invoked a feeling of sadness that comes with losing your friendly neighbour. That's what Shashi Kapoor was – a simple star, a friend who enthralled audiences for decades with his charm, simplicity of acting and intellectual potency. He was simply the star next door, not the one who rose above all of us on cinema screens.

Shashi Kapoor was never counted as amongst the megastars of his era –
like his own brothers, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Rajendra Kumar, Rajesh Khanna or Dharmendra. In the '70s of course Amitabh Bachchan's rise relegated all competent and incompetent heroes to the background. Yet, Amitabh's career graph is inseparable from Shashi Kapoor's as they paired to produce some magnetic performances in movies like Deewar, Do Aur Do Paanch, Suhaag, Kabhie Kabhie, Kaala Patthar, Shaan and Namak Halal. In each of these films, Bachchan is the show stopper, but Shashi Kapoor provides the anchor.

The trio of Dharmendra, Shashi Kapoor and Rajesh Khanna had women swooning over them due to their incredibly good looks. In Sharmeelee, Shashi looks stunning to say the least. As his career evolved, he did not strive to be a specialist, like the `romantic Rajesh` or the `angry young man Amitabh`. Shashi was not a brand in that sense. His branding came only from the immortal `Mere Paas Maa Hai` line in Deewar. But even there, Bachchan stole the show with his intense dialogue delivery. Bachchan perhaps has a lot to owe Shashi Kapoor because he made him look good on screen by being a back-peddler than an equal on screen.

It is a tribute to Shashi Kapoor's humility that though he was elder to the Big B and his senior in the industry, he played his younger brother in Deewar. The film is a classic and is iconic for its dialogues, story line, action sequences and direction. Though it's a Bachchan-centered film, Shashi Kapoor stood out by choosing to let Amitabh's character stand out. Seen from a management perspective, this is an outstanding example of team work, where the individual ego is dismissed to make way for emergence of the larger perspective.

Shashi Kapoor aged gracefully and never felt tied down by any image. He seamlessly moved from being a commercial star to doing films with a parallel cinema touch to being cast in character roles. Though the chocolate hero next door in the early days of his career, Shashi Kapoor transited to doing films with depth like New Delhi Times. He even produced quality movies like Kalyug and Junoon. He was perhaps ahead of his times when he directed a super hero film Ajooba with who else, but Bachchan in the lead. While his brother Raj Kapoor will always be remembered for the RK banner and his path-breaking films, Shashi Kapoor too made no mean attempt to add to the intellectual horizon through his brand of film-making. The RK Studios banner has been fledgling since Raj Kapoor's death, but the brand of Shashi Kapoor's films have created a space for themselves in Bollywood. He was the last of the Kapoor pioneers. This is no mean achievement as the masses had mad adulation for his brothers Raj and Shammi and his nephew Rishi.

My personal Shashi Kapoor favourite is his 1981 film Baseraa, in which he co-starred with Raakhee and Rekha. He presents a mature character who is caught between his love for his sick wife and a practical life situation. Though caught between two difficult choices, he stands out as a character and as an actor. This role in a sense typifies Shashi Kapoor for all of us. In his career, he never seen as a mega star, but every mega star he worked with got a fillip because of his presence.

Shashi Kapoor not only looked good, he made everyone around him look good too.

RIP Shashi Kapoor.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

A Lesson In Customer Service From A Hotel Waiter


The lady at the counter simply did her job. She was playing it by the book. While she was not wrong, she did not get it right either. But our smiling and caring waiter friend ensured his customers got what they wanted. He ensured we came back happy and delighted.

It is said we can learn from anybody, anywhere and anyhow. A wonderful lesson in creating customer delight came from an unexpected quarter - a hotel waiter.

Our family recently visited Pondicherry. We had to return to Mumbai by flight from Chennai. On our way to Chennai we asked our cab driver to stop at a restaurant which offered the quintessential South Indian meals. We arrived at a well known joint a little after 3 pm. It was closing time for meals but we hoped we could still get to eat. We saw a few people polishing off the meals and so I optimistically asked the lady at the billing counter whether meals were available. She said it had closed and we could eat something else, but not meals. I told her we had come all the way from Mumbai and were keen on having meals. I requested her to do something, but she said it was not possible.

I however persisted and shared our predicament with one of the waiters. I told him we had come from Mumbai. He asked us to sit and went inside. We got concerned as he took a bit too long to return for our comfort. But soon to our utmost delight he returned with three plates of meals and placed them on the table. He managed it though meals time had officially closed.

He ensured we got the servings we wanted. He said he got us the food from the staff quota. It truly was an outstanding example of someone going out of his way to ensure happiness for his customers.

He probably took a risk, bur definitely ensured customer experience was top class. He demonstrated the power of ownership and went beyond his call of duty. He showed us that ownership is a value and has got nothing to do with the money we get paid for doing our job. The lady at the counter simply did her job. She was playing it by the book. While she was not wrong, she did not get it right either. But our smiling and caring waiter friend ensured his customers got what they wanted. He ensured we came back happy and delighted.

He showed that customer service does not stem from politically correct statements on walls, but from an attitude of service and care. He proved Customer Is God, not just in words but also in spirit.

Thanks to him, we came back not just with our stomachs full, but a heart filled with gratitude. An `ordinary` waiter offered us not just food, but an extraordinary lesson in customer service.