Blogger Recognition Award

Blogger

I am so happy to receive this award from Krishna. Krishnapriya as I know her from her writings is one who is always thinking of the divine supreme and considers all living beings as one having the same divinity. Such noble thoughts are glorified through her poems and posts. She has also some excellent translation achievements on some of the original Sanskrit works which is the reason for me being an ardent follower of her blog in the first place.

Please check her blog: Light + Love

 My Blogging Journey

 I started blogging on WordPress in 2012 and my posts were few and far in between. I like to read more than to write and these were my only hobbies in school days. In college I didn’t write much maybe a couple of poems here and there as singing became a newly acquired hobby and then once having started to work, all this was forgotten for decades…

It was in 2012 that I started thinking of coming back to writing sessions and jumped to the WordPress bandwagon and has enjoyed my stay here ever since. I am an introvert by nature and an adhoc writer. Sometimes it could be a frame from a movie, a picture or a fleeting thought that inspires me or gives me an idea to churn it into a post. But most of the time I don’t and that is the reason I still write a couple of posts in a month. I like creative writing and mostly a short story or a poem is what you will find on Perceptions. These posts also stem  from my observations in day to day life…

WordPress also helps to connect to many other bloggers who share our reading/writing interests and help form a community of closely knit followers who regularly check upon your work and put in a comment or a like. This is what inspires, I guess most of us to write more, at least this is what works for me.

Advice for New Bloggers

 My advice for people who want to start a blog of their own would be write on things you like and would want to share with the online community. You should not start on a high note like as in a sprint and then burn up soon. I have seen people who churn out posts more frequently and get tired when they lack the initial inspiration and motivation and give up. So not only the content but how you space it is also important. Write original content and carve a niche of your own. Proof reading your work is also important before you hit the publish button 🙂

Also you need to read posts written by others., follow whom you like to get your own set of followers. You can put relevant tags in the posts that you write so that it reaches a wider audience and same way you can add tags in your reader on topics that you would want to read.

I do follow a lot of wonderful people here on WordPress and I have a voracious appetite to read at least 20 to 30 posts on a day and maybe 50  plus on a weekend. By reading as many posts of a new blogger I come across, I do try to get an insight into the mind of the writer.

In my initial days on the internet in the late 90’s I had a few pen friends and with whom I am still connected… Similarly, I would like to remember each one of you whom I follow and your writings for a long time to come.

Thanks are also due to my other followers  who have been kind enough to have bestowed similar awards to me and I am sorry I could not acknowledge them in a formal post such as this.

Blogger Nominations

As long as you churn out good content which is useful and pen your thoughts and your creative hobbies that is useful to others, I think that is what makes you a good writer and definitely the awards and accolades would follow. I am sure  some of you who read this, take upon themselves to write a post that describes your blogging journey, your likes in life and your advice to new bloggers..

Thank you once more dear Krishna  for nominating me.

 

 

 

Reach to the Poor

Pravin and Raju were friends since college days. They used to play not only lots of cricket at a nearby playground in their locality but also a lot of naughty pranks at others, such much so, that most people used to avoid them whenever they saw them coming their way. Though the general perception about them was so, there was no doubt they were good at heart. Pravin having the rare O-ve blood group was always a call away in emergencies that required his blood group, and many a time he was disturbed from his sleep by someone who was referred to his house in such cases. Raju never lost an opportunity to help the old and infirm. He was a bit short tempered but used to laugh uncontrollably at himself when someone pointed out his mistake. Pravin was always smiling when you met him and it seemed he had a solution to every problem that his visitor had, in his welcome smile.

After college, both decided to set up shops in the nearby town center, a distance of a kilometer walk from their homes. Raju set up a medical shop with his DPharm License and Pravin a Grocery shop next to it. Though both shops were not that expansive, it seemed it had everything any buyer would want when they started frequenting these shops. There were a few as I said who stayed shy away from these two shops and the owners wondering what new pranks they would play on them during their visits.

They had a fair share of critics and cynics who were not happy about how they had settled themselves in life since their earlier predictions about the duo had gone haywire and also wary about what and how they sold. This was one of the topics of the so called group who whiled away their time in the shade of a poor banyan tree who could not but help listen to all their negative conversations.

It was not that there were no other grocery and medical shops in the town and our PR brothers knew it would take some time for consumers to come to their shops from afar. Knowing that the local community would not fail them, they reposed their faith and trust in their businesses and got going. Both had stocked only the bare necessities in their shops since they did not have a big capital while starting their ventures. Having studied the buying habits of the people in their place by frequenting the other shops, whatever they had on their shelves they could sell fast.

One evening on a dark night when Pravin was about to close for the day and down the shutters of his shop while calling out to Raju to do the same, an old woman came up to him asking for a kilogram of rice and half a kilo of tur dal. She was perhaps over seventy with wrinkles adorning her features with a stick in hand. She looked at peace with herself and yet so out of place in the middle class locality. Pravin was wondering where he had seen her and it was then a fragile piece of memory dawned upon him. She lived in a small house with her daughter in law, her son having passed away a couple of years back near the playground. He had gone into their small courtyard once to retrieve the cricket ball that Raju had struck for a Sixer. She, her daughter and her granddaughter subsisted on a pension that amounted to a meager 2000 rupees as per the all knowing banyan tree group.

Son, should I go back or will you be kind on this old woman in the dark“, she said with a smile mirroring Pravin’s smile. Oh Dadi! how could I be so cruel to have turned away such a beautiful woman away from my shop, was the instant reply that came out from Pravin. Old habits die hard, he muttered as he bit his tongue. How is your granddaughter doing? “Oh, she is not keeping well, down with fever since yesterday. Only when I wanted to prepare some gruel for them was when I came to know there were no provisions at home to prepare one”, with a chuckle came her reply. Gita is also sick since morning otherwise she would have come for this.

Hey Raju, don’t close your shop yet. There is a customer for you. “Dadi do you have some medicine for their ailment or should you need one, you can ask Raju here for one, he is dying to help people recover their lost health”. As Pravin gave the packed rice and dal in her cloth bag in the dim candle light, he waited for her to pay him. She took out her small purse which had a few small denomination rupee notes and quite a lot of coins… In the dim light, since the electricity was out just as as the old lady had reached the place, she was taking a bit of time counting the notes to pay a smiling and observant Pravin. Raju having heard the conversation had come with a strip of Paracetamol and he looked to Pravin with a twinkle in his eyes.

It is okay Dadi if you don’t have enough money to pay us now. You should hurry as I sense rain some minutes away from here, and we don’t want you too, to fall sick. “It is okay sons”, she said, “I think I should have enough money to pay you” as she went on counting her notes and coins to make it tally…

What Dadi? how can your counting tally since each time you are dropping a few notes and coins, as Raju sat down and picked up a few notes and a couple of coins and gave it to her. “That is so kind of you son to have noted it and helped this old lady. I am a bit nervous and hence fidgety with my fingers”. When Raju counted back the money and handed over to Pravin his share and took another 10 rupees for his Paracetamol strip, there were a couple of notes given back to the woman, saying this time also, your counting was wrong. “Come we will give you company, give me the bag, it will be heavy for you”, said Pravin, as the trio traced their steps to her house. Would you want a cup of tea here before you reach your homes was her parting remark. Don’t bother Dadi, some other time, said they, in a single voice and waited outside till she had entered her house.

Raju you were quick to switch off the light, in fact I think you saw her before me. What is our gain today, remarked a laughing Pravin, Well, she got fifty five rupees from me, said Raju. Hmm, and half a kilo more of gram and rice from me. Each patted the other on the back as they walked back, contented towards their homes. Their well devised prank and well rehearsed reach to the poor, who counted their meager store of money in the dim light had worked out well, this time too…

Motivating Kids at School

Try and Try till you succeed.. is a good punch line aimed at school goers..but the punches are so forceful that students duck for cover..The difference between a champion in academics and an average grader can always be pinpointed to practice, talent and interest. Like the hare and the tortoise story, an average student can come close to beating a topper with consistent practice…but the question is will they last till the end (read success) without motivation..

At school, we have people who are invited as guests who lecture on the importance of studying, getting good grades allowing them to choose the best universities and so the saga continues..but looking from the student’s perspective, what motivates him or her to perform is what we are going to look here in this post…

Let us look at some simple facts here..

1. I get motivated as my teachers bestow praise upon me..

2. I get motivated when the charming girls and guys look up to me for help in studies..

3. I get motivated if my teachers regard me as their right hand in helping them out…

4. I get motivated if only my teachers could motivate me relating studies to my favorite sport…

5. If only, teacers could spend or devote some time maybe an average of an hour as to see how am I progressing and where I need correction and spell that out to me on a weekly basis..

6. If only, my parents sat with me and saw how am practicing for my exams, instead of just saying, GO and STUDY!

7. If only we friends could group together and have competitions fixed for half an hour to assess our level of understanding on the subject or chapter that was taught in the last class..

8. If only my Headmaster or the Principal knew my skills personally..

9. If only they could give me due recognition as an individual and treat me as potential athlete at a sports academy…

10. If we had monthly motivating sessions that could lift us from slumber or polish us up on lagging skills in certain subjects…

In a nutshell, motivation means all of the above and more…If my teachers knew my academic strengths and weaknesses and could sit down with me to iron these out, I know I can aspire to be an Andy Murray or a Pete Sampras

Thanksgiving – Saved by Soni

Auto rickshaw

I do not remember the exact date but it was the first week of October, 2010, a week that would portent two things the loss of a job and almost dear life itself.

As, I got the breaking news at work about my job, I never thought it would be this back breaking. The next day, woke up to a slight muscular spasm in my lower back, and thought, would attend to it, as soon as I got fit enough to ride my scooter to the doctor.

I reached him, and as usual, like other earlier visits that had a frequency of a couple of months, I waited for him to prescribe his injection of paracetamol to relieve the pain, as I was allergic to other pain killers.

I had the injection from the nurse, and reached home in a matter of minutes by around 12 noon. No one was at home, as the kids and my wife were at school. But within a few moments, feeling uneasy, and as I could gauge certain symptoms, I knew something had gone wrong with the drug that was injected. My throat went dry, the tongue was getting stuck, and I had difficulty breathing, which was increasing by the minute. The eyelids started swelling, and I knew, by the way it was developing it would be a close call. I looked at the mirror and open my mouth to see the epiglottis having swollen twice its size.

I immediately called the clinic and told the nurse of my symptoms, they asked me to come right away. I gulped down 3 glasses of water, as that was the only thing I could do at that point of time to dilute the effects of the allergy. Now I had to call Soni, the rickshaw driver, whom I used to call whenever such medical or other errands came. Now Soni operates from the Cochin Special Economic Zone, Auto station, which is at a distance of 3 minutes running time from my home for an auto rickshaw. But rarely he is seen at the stand, as his log book is always full with his committed customers, who book him for days in advance. 90 percent of the time when someone calls him, he is already transporting somebody else.

I had only his number at that time and I called him, and as usual, he picked my phone. In those days and even now he doesn’t know me by name, but would recognize me by my voice and location. I told him who i was, and the urgency in my call, prodded him to rush to my place wherever he was at that time.

Within a minute or more, he was at my doorstep, and the sight of his rickshaw was like a chariot sent by the gods. We did not talk much, as every minute was precious. A look at my face, and he knew it was serious and there was no time for pleasantries to be exchanged.

We reached the clinic in another 5 minutes, and I could barely see the door what with my swollen eyes that were almost shut and enter inside without bumping into the wall. My back was paining now because of my acute wheezing, the regular back pain having gone long back. Soni asked me, if he should wait for me, when I parted with him, but I asked him to move on, since I was now in safe hands, and it could take some time before they would allow me to go this time.

The nurse, who had injected me earlier, though for no fault of hers, guided me to the patient bed, where the doctor was issuing instructions to another nurse as to what antidotes had to be injected into me this time, with him to do it personally. Normally, I used to remind my doctor of my allergic condition, and on that day, both of us forgot, but within moments, we both were reminded, how important it was to remember such things.

After 2 vials of antidotes, I was tied down for another 3 hours, before I called my wife, and she was able to pick me up. If not for Soni and his presence of mind that day, I would not have been writing to you today…

P.S : Soni is still seen ferrying passengers and sometimes us as the year 2018 comes to a close. I wish all my dear readers the very best in the New Year.

A Kadali Tale

 As per Wisdom Library:  Kadalī (कदली) is a Sanskrit word referring to “Banana”, a hybrid-species of trees from the Musaceae family, native to the tropics of Africa and Asia, and is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Caraka-saṃhitā.  The equivalent name in the Prakrit language is  kelī, and is Hindi it is known as kelā.

Hope you enjoy this Kadali Tale laced with karma… kadali

Reghu chanced upon a small cottage while on the run away from the nearby Chartusra city and in his travails, hungry and famished and with a bag laden with stolen valuables, the robber makes his arrival known to the inmates by coughing and gasping at their door. Vedha,  the small time jeweller traded in his jewellery which was made at the cottage with Bhanu, his helping hand welcomed the tired robber not knowing his exact credentials. On inquiring as to why he looked so tired and out of breath, he said he was a trader from Chartusra and had been followed by robbers while coming this way  to Patali, the port city, the same place where Vedha used to sell his home made jewellery.

Reghu was welcomed as a guest and was told, he could stay for a few days before he could gain enough strength to go to Patali.  One day Reghu’s eyes fell upon the golden bunch of 4 Kadali kept in front of the Lord and worshiped by Sree, Vedha’s wife, Reghu was thinking of adding it to his collection. The old caretaker and help,  Bhanu to whom Sree was just like a daughter took good care of them all. Bhanu was not happy about Reghu but Vedha dismissed his fears and allowed Reghu to stay. With stolen silver and gold coins he impressed upon the jeweller to make a replica of the Kadali saying it would fetch him a good price at Patali. The jeweller obliged and took a week before finishing one, an exact replica of the one which he had made earlier on Sree’s request.

Once the work was completed and Reghu getting impatient and tired of the stay with the lovely couple, one day kills them and flees but not before taking the work in progress jewels and the two Kadali bunch. After walking for two days and night he came across a plain land with not much  human habitation near a placid river. As dusk was approaching he thought of burying the 2 golden priceless Kadali. He chose one huge old jack-fruit tree to bury one near it. As he was in the process, a fearful spirit came down the tree and asked him what he was doing. Reghu told her that he was hiding this Kadali which he had in his hand and said he would return in a week to claim it. She agreed and asked him  about the other banana  jewel he had in his bag. Reghu on second thought thought of burying the other one too there, but she told him to  hide the second one, a hundred yards away as she could not stand the sight of the divine jewel. Do claim this one in a week otherwise you will forfeit it and I will not allow anyone who comes in possession of it, any peace, was her parting words.

Reghu walked a hundred yards and came upon a mango tree near the river bank and as instructed started burying the Lord’s Kadali there. A benevolent spirit came down the tree and asked what he was doing…. He said that he was burying the Jewel in his possession and showed it to her. So be it, she said with a smile, I will guard this till it reaches the rightful owner and help him in any test that he is put to, she murmured to herself..and went back to the tree.

The river was in full flow and had submerged most of the land when he came back after selling  the stolen jewels and the coins with a few workers to set up a home. To his surprise he found the landscape had changed thanks to the flood. The marked trees had got uprooted and he knew not where his twin treasure lay buried. He was seen digging most of the time but never told his servants as to what he was looking for. They deserted him soon after his money got over. He was now a man gone mad…

Years had passed by with the jewels remaining hidden where they lay for a few generations. The land had changed much and it was a small village now.  Jinu was a landless worker who got a tract of land on lease from the greedy village officer to plant banana plantains. Half of the produce he would need to give to the officer as per the deal struck between them. As expected and to Jinu’s happiness, the first crop turned out well. One day while digging a canal to water the plants in the land,  he came upon one of the golden plantains. He took it to Jayaram the local jeweler who had a good look at it and gave a small token to Jinu assuring him the rest of the money, but as a law abiding citizen, he had to talk to the village officer first about its antiquity before he could sell it  as the laws had changed. He showed it to the village officer the same day who kept it with himself though he told Jayaram and Jinu  that he would be handing it to the higher officials in the government and had no plans to keep  anything to himself. The next day he told Jinu he had other plans and asked him to stop using the land for his planned second crop.

Jinu was out of work and was finding it difficult to sustain himself after whatever money he  had on him ran out. He could see that the  tract of land was fully dug up by the village officer in the hope that he would get some more of such golden Kadali, but his search for more treasure turned futile. Meanwhile Jinu again approached the village officer after a couple of weeks to use the tract of land for plantation, but he was driven out.

The village officer’s wife was fascinated by the golden fruit so much that she took it daily out of the strong box to marvel at it. The fascination increased so much that the officer had to hide it in another room and lock it. Meanwhile Jinu thought of planting a few banana plantains around his small home near the river bank where he was forced to retire. At least it will keep him from hunger once his efforts bore fruit. He prayed to Krishna at his home that the first fruit from his land will be gifted to him. As he dug another canal  he came upon another golden plantain which was the exact replica of the first one he had got, but this time he made good his promise and bestowed the golden marvel to Krishna. Whenever he prayed, the golden jewel would change to real bananas and he would take one as prasadam(offering from the Lord).

One day he chanced upon Tulsi standing nearby who happened to watch him at his plantation work. He inquired of her and came to know that she was jeweler Jayaram’s daughter. One day she asked if she could assist him at his work in the plantation. He replied on one condition that she should accept her fair share of the produce once it materialized to which she gladly agreed.

The officer came to know that Jinu had a small plantation around his house. Somehow be didn’t like it but also couldn’t do much about it. Jayaram paid a  visit to Jinu and saw the bunch of 4 bananas with a golden hue kept near Krishna’s idol. Oh! how marvelous a sight and so golden, said he after tasting the one from the bunch offered to him by Jinu. Can I have one more..Why not sir…take two, one for Tulsi too, smiling at her, who was standing at  the door. The much pleased Jayaram had never had such a tasty fruit and he expressed the same while having it. Sir, my Krishna’s prasadam is always like his love. The more you love Him, more sweet will be your offering to Him and so, his prasadam in return. Being a devotee himself, Jayaram was no doubt thrilled by Jinu’s company. He and his daughter became frequent visitors. One day Jinu revealed to Jayaram, his wish to marry Tulsi. But Jayaram first decided to put Jinu to the test before he could approve his request.

Krishna

Jayaram asked Jinu. This bunch of mini kadali  that you offer to Krishna daily…can you show me the plantain which yields such sweet bananas to you. Jayaram was sure no plantain could yield a bunch daily, in fact not more than one in its lifetime and with Jinu having not more than a dozen odd plantains, there seemed to be a mystery about them which he wanted to unravel.

Jinu was in a fix as to what he should say when an old woman came that way and asked for some ripe banana as food to be given. Jinu said I can give you some rice and vegetable but I doubt I can give you a banana at this time as it was well last noon and his kadali prasadam  could yield real banana only before noon based on his experience.

The old woman laughed a bit loudly, much to Jinu’s and Jayaram’s consternation. You call yourself a planter?  There, yonder. I can see a bunch of fine kadali. Jinu rushed to his garden and much to his surprise there was one ripe kadali bunch awaiting them. He took it down and gave to the woman. No, I don’t want all of this, maybe you can give the better share of this to your guest here, smilingly pointing at Jayaram. Saying so, the woman took leave.

Jayaram was a bit disturbed  and left with a perplexed mind. The next day he sent Tulsi to bring a bunch of fresh Kadali. Tulsi came in the morning as was her wont, to Jinu’s house, prayed to Krishna, took two of the prasadam kadali and there were only two left for the day. Father has sent me for a bunch if you could provide it. Jinu at a loss went to the same tree and there, lo another bunch of ripe bananas was waiting to be taken down.

This went on for a few days. Jayaram came on the fourth day himself and examined the tree. There was none. He was going to win he thought when another woman appeared asking for something to eat. Jinu asked what he could give her. Don’t bother I will go inside and take what I need. She went inside and was not to be seen for sometime. Both went in to see her feasting on a bunch of freshly plucked kadali. Jayaram was at a loss of words and failed to understand what was going on. He asked Jinu from where this bunch came when Tulsi appeared in the doorway saying I plucked it in the morning before you two had even got up and kept it here.

The woman had her fill and after blessing Jinu and Tulsi and laughing at Jayaram went her way. It was a matter of  a few weeks time before Tulsi and Jinu got married on an auspicious day.

The village officer couldn’t sleep on many a night as he could hear someone pounding on the closed door. The noise from the room where he kept the golden Kadali, the disturbance from the roof as if someone heavy was trampling upon the tiles…the fearful shadow behind the curtains, the poor sight of his wife  already at her wits end when she could not see  the golden fruit anymore, now out of sight behind the closed door of the cursed room. It was just a matter of time before the officer too went mad after he saw the room ransacked, one day,  by some robber and the golden Kadali missing…