Dec 26, 2014

2014 - In a nutshell

After 4 years of writing about ‘This Year in a Nutshell’ blogpost, I skipped 2013. 2013 was one big year for me with a big career and personal move. I’d moved back to India after 7 years and 7 months in the US. And that was for good, and life has been good!

So here’s 2014 in a nutshell:

- The year with most travel to date! Thanks to work-related travel primarily and professional travel. Personal trips to Srilanka, Costa Rica, Amritsar, and Pondicherry; work-related trips to Nagaland (yes, you read it right!), Assam (again right!), Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Delhi, Indore, Pune, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kochi. So much air travel that the flight seat has become of one of my favourite reading chairs!

- The year of reading books! Finished my Goodreads yearly challenge of 20 books by reading 56 books (and counting). I can lose myself in books completely anytime. @NameFieldMT was one big motivator for me on this front. Thanks A!

- The year that I became a book review blogger! Thanks to @blogadda and @vivekisms, by sending in many many books for reviewing. You made me both read and write! The book review blog (I do crosspost on this blog, at times!)

- The year where I successfully completed two 10k runs! TCS 10k and Ajmera Thump, with a personal best of 59:22! Thanks to Bengaluru Runners and GS for the motivation.

- The year the Siblingeshwari got married and also left home to head to Bombay for studies (both being independent events).

- The year with increased traveling on public transport! Boo to traffic woes and dust! :D

- The year I moved past TV shows (hopefully!)! Have a huge backlog of TV shows to watch and I continue to read books.

- The year with two recordings including this 90stalgia! Hope I get back to music more and get better! Thanks @sdhrshn for that 90stalgia and making me sing some of my favorite songs by my God! Thanks @amaravind and @_curses too!

Okay, I think I have had a great year! Let me stop here before I cast nazar on myself! ;-)

Dec 25, 2014

Rabda: My Sigh... My Sai [Book Review]

Rabda: My Sigh . . . My SaiRabda: My Sigh . . . My Sai by Ruzbeh N Bharucha

It is not often that I go into an experimental phase with respect to reading, though I’d like to count a lot of the reads that I have done this year as experiments to see how my taste has evolved. When I got a chance to review ‘Rabda: My Sai… My Sigh,’ by Ruzbeh N. Bharuch I was not too sure if this book, given the spiritual read it was described to be, would be my cup of tea. I carefully navigated through the first few pages and had multiple false starts before I sat and completed the book in almost one go. While I am not too sure if I will go back to this type of reading, I must say that reading this was an experience in itself.

The premise of the book is a very simple one where a patient Rabda who is very very close to death gets to interact with Baba Sai. Baba Sai looking at this devotee of his from a previous lifetime begins to talk about his life, from the time he got to Shirdi, how he treated his devotees, what he thinks of life, and more. This interaction more or less turns out to be a discourse of sorts and there is definitely a lot of philosophy, spirituality and some common sense in it.

While the writing is pretty much to the point such that a reader is not bogged down by the vocabulary especially considering it is a spiritual read, the use of abusive words that are found in Baba’s speech is something that definitely leaves a bad taste in the reader. It is true that Baba was a man who had a colourful vocabulary and used words at his will especially given his temper. However, the same set of words and same provocations and reactions from Rabda were done to death after a while.

For me, the read was mostly material that I think I would listen to in a discourse/lecture. And the fact that the author Ruzbeh is able to put in a book is impressive. I am sure people who are into spiritual reads will enjoy this book.

View all my reviews

Dec 10, 2014

The Ripple Effect

I was in Class 3. Due to some family constraints, I was put in a ‘local’ school close to home for two years, before I went on to one of the ‘bigger’ schools in the city from Class 5. Class 3 is where you more often than not associate a kid with a happy-go-lucky lifestyle without bothering as much. You still are in a nascent phase of your life and do not have a clue of what happens in life anyway. This school that I was in did have a lot of students from the lower economic background and a few of them did go hungry through the day filling their ever-growling tummies with the tap water during lunch and headed out to play. There were many such classmates of mine, and the fussy eater that I was would end up passing on parts of my lunch or at times in entirety to one of those classmates.

The reason I mention this is because I have seen at least a dozen of my classmates faint during the physical training (PT) classes which were usually held after lunch. The reason why that happened is not difficult to trace back to. This would in turn mean the student would miss the classes at least for the rest of the day, and at times for multiple days in a row. It is not rocket science that this definitely disrupts the learning of the student.

So hunger fuels bad health. Bad health in turn leads to the student missing his classes. This in turn leads to a less-than-perfect learning for the student. This may very well continue to haunt him for the rest of his life particularly considering the impact that education has on one’s career and life.

I’d rather be seen as a person of action than that of words. One way that I along with my family has acted on this is by shunning all forms of celebrations for birthdays, anniversaries, and success. We instead contribute to an orphanage closely which though managed well is quite short of funds. Rather than spending a good Rs. 2000 on getting a few pizzas, I’d use the same to feed the 20 kids in the institute three times a day for two days. This has been the case for close to 10 years and we will continue to do so in the years to come.

BlogAdda, as innovative as they are, are supporting the AkshayaPatra foundation and I am happy to be a part of this cause since the ripple effect that a mid-day meal scheme for children has is indeed amazing. Kudos to you, BlogAdda!

I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild with Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda.