31 December 2014

Enduring The Long Mile

The only run I ever remembered to have run and won was the spoon and lemon race, during my early school days. Probably that could have been either due to limited racer or the mere fact that even though I was slow; I managed to have my lemon balanced on the spoon to win the race. It was another 5-6 years later that during my 11th class, I ever participated in proper running trials, Only to lose to my talented batch-mates first on 100 meters race later to other short distance race. Later when for the sake of participating long distance run (maximum we had was 800 meter). I managed to be on the honors list and also felt strong enough to easily finish the race. 

It was only during my first year college days, that I came across the fact there are races for 5000 meter and 10,000 meters. Due to large motivational and enthusiastic Brindavan batch-mates and our strict Gopi sir did many of us participated in our first 5000 meter and 10,000 meter race. The biggest motivation being if declared the top 10 finisher, you could be entitled to receive prize directly from Bhagwan Satya Sai Baba. Training hard and thinking of only receiving the award from Swamy own hand, I ran all the races for the next 5 years till my end of MSc days in 2004.

It took another 10 years to have that urge back again to be on the track, probably the motivation lies in the fact that my waistline started to increase with every subsequent year. The driving force also laid in the thought, that I wanted to gift not only myself a healthy body, but to my wife and also my future child. So thus began my training way back in February 2014, with a determined choice of finishing my first full marathon by Dec 2014.

Long 7 KM run on alternate days began a ritual over the next 2 months with increasing the time duration to 2-3 hours every weekend. Running was inter-dispersed with occasional cycling and swimming to avoid strain on knees and ankle. I prepared to complete my first 10 KM race in 10 years last being way back in 2004. Slowly increased the training regime and duration to finish my first half marathon 21 KM in August. Motivated to finish the 42 KM full marathon, I registered for my Singapore SC Marathon for December. Taking advice from my other colleagues who finished a full marathon, I practiced harder to try to finish my race successfully in December.

But the nature of my research job, which takes me to places around the globe, affected my training and the entire month of October-Nov couldn't practice a single run. Upon return back to Singapore viral fever and consistent cold almost made it impossible to participate in the marathon. It was only a 3 days before when collecting my race kit, I was confused to either participate or skip the marathon. Only on the race eve, I decided to test my mental fortitude to finish the race. I ignored the general convention of having enough training prior to finishing a full marathon race. I believed the test was to be mentally strong during my entire race, so in morning of the race, I began slowly conserving my energy for the rest of race, till my 24 KM finish for which I had trained 2 months back, I felt strong and good. But after which blisters opened up on my feet and slowing me down. Limping painfully and deciding against the body decision to quit, the only factor that kept me running till the end was that even elders aged 60 and more were competing strong, and I felt ashamed to quit amidst them. Finally enduring the pain due to blisters and lack of sufficient training, but only strong determination backing me all throughout, I managed to cross the finish line only to bear the simple truth of life, In the end Endurance alone matter.

08 July 2014

Myopic View on Iran

Media always propagated that Iran should be among the last choice on your travel list. But when I realized that I had to make a visit to Iran to install and train researchers I was equally excited and bit nerved upon hearing the news. As the process of visa application began, I realized although Indian passport initially had visa on arrival for Indian citizens, but the previous Indian government had cancelled the same visa on arrival facility to Iranians despite the fact that more than 10,000 Iranian student come annually to India to pursue their studies. The next choice was to visit Kuala-Lumpur to get my Iran visa done. Imagine the scene when you visit the embassy/consular office and you notice nothing written in English, except Arabic. Even the list on the token machine was in Arabic. Then an old TV playing a movie/serial showing scene on wars/local fights and people only with AK-47, this visual can really spike you up. The refreshing part was when requested an Iranian to help me with the token machine and which counter to reach, he made it all easy for me.  With Iran visa on my passport, ready to travel to learn more about the new nation and culture. Although I'm not sure whether I will be black-listed to travel to any western nations. 

Landing at Khomeini International Airport at Tehran  in the early hours, it took me more than 1 hour to clear immigration despite being just over 20-30 international passengers(mostly Pakistanis and Arabs) never saw a single European/american passenger at the immigration and all the long hour just because they had only 1 counter for foreign passport holder and for every passenger they seem to have ask long list of questions on the reason for visiting Iran. As my turn came up, I feared using the word that I'm scientist (Atomic in general), but for luck, the guy just smiled and stamped my passport, after seeing more than 3/4 of passport filled with visa stamps across the globe.

The long drive to the hotel in early hours on empty roads felt good. City architecture, swathing gardens, colorful mosque and curvy highways glittering the city indeed separated it from many other capitals of the world. It was only in the morning, did I realize the city of Tehran was surrounded by mountain that gave it a historic modern look. My colleague came to pick me after which I visited the University for the training, following which in evening we went to Evin darake and climbed the mountains along the small creek and enjoyed the local fruits. Here the place was bustling with young couple seeking good and private time, old couples trying to keep fitness and local farmers with their horse/donkey selling their produce. In general, the view transported me to back to ancient days. On the way down we walked through the older part of city consisting of small bylanes with houses with high walls. The collection of recipe on most of the hotel menu reminded me of the famous dialogue from Kabul Express, 'You have kebab for breakfast, for lunch for snacks and for dinner, the only choice you are left is the meat.' 

Over the days as I went about travelling cities, along the different direction the general opinion I had about the country and its people surely took 180 degree turn. Iran might be called Islamic republic of Iran, but its majority people are Persian and their roots are still Zoroastrianism. Persian today due to conquest of their nation by Arabs by might have become Islamic, But they are just follower of Islam and not strong believers. Local dialect when merged with Hindi has given rise to Urdu and that was the reason I could understand when my colleagues spoke Persian. Cultural city of Ishefahan, Mashhad and Qom was rich experience and religious tourism in this cities was worth noting. Along with my colleagues I visited the shrine containing the tomb of Imam Reza and was a enthralling experience by itself. 

The view of  Mountain Damavand, an active volcano and hill with huge mythological bearing with Persian history.

Among all the non scientific discussion that I had with my new made friends and colleagues, I figured out that the local mullahs were the one who everyone hated and felt that they have made life miserable for all the Persians. Government propaganda to enforce strict religious dictum on locals was accepted with fear and not with the right spirit coupled with the economic sanctions by the west on Iran mostly due to oil-politics and have left the people filled with opposition against the government. Keeping the religious politics away, Persian were the most sweetest people I have ever come across during my globe trotting, they have raised the bar of what it means to be a good host. The language by itself sounded like poetry when I heard people speaking, In contrast to what I observed in West, where people hesitate to speak to strangers, here people love talking to strangers. Hesitation to capture everything on my camera due to some inherent fear, I restricted the photos taken on my mobile. The regret being not able to capture the beautiful city, the people and culture in my camera frame, but at-least I have carried back wonderful memory of the people.

10 October 2013

Labouring Hands but Stale Minds

Quite often as I would travel on work to different corners around the globe, one thing has always amazed me is the type of jobs that are undertaken by people all around. No work is ever big or small and there is always dignity is attached to every job we undertake.

At my alma mater, we were taught the importance of work with the dictum 'work is worship'. This feeling behind the work always guided us, allowing to put in 100 % percent of our effort while achieving the goal. This feeling no doubt helps you avoid the ego building up within, when enlisted with a important big task; or feeling of embarrassment when enlisted with a menial job.  The work could vary from assisting and sharing space with world leaders/musicians to cleaning campus/hostel premises. 

Carrying out your own work helps you build your own self-confidence and esteem. But imagine if all small jobs done by person himself, then the very service industry could run out of option. I would be very careful in making some poignant observation while travelling across our country. You would invariably see at airport toilets, someone lending you tissue paper, lift-man to press the floor you want to travel, someone to issue you parking ticket on an automated machine. These are very simple observation that anyone would come across our country, I always felt do we really need people for these jobs, aren't we capable of doing all these by ourselves. When we meant that we have to create jobs for the growing population of our country, Its not merely those job, that would require someone to robotically go through the same motion 24 hours, leaving his mind decomposing.  

These jobs in the service industry are to belittle one existence, and I'm sure the individual is always capable of using his limbs for better service than to merely use in conjunction to ease other's daily chores. The pertinent question to ask would be, Is that the person can DO only that much, It's never about empowerment here, since any job an individual gets will surely be financially rewarding based on the economic strata he comes from. 

I'm of the firm opinion that jobs should be rolled out so that unemployment is no more a stigma to our developing country, but jobs just for the heck of it, serving no purpose and more importantly resulting in making his limbs busy, but mind morbid can only result in dormant society.

17 September 2013

Heart on Ember

Emotions when flames in your heart, you turn proactive;
But if they burn within, destruction abounds.

When Love flames within, happiness surrounds you all around;
But when love burns within, loneliness is what you feel always.

When Anger flames in your heart, discontent brews;
And if anger burns within, savageness is nearby.

When Lust flames inside you, passion envelops you;
But if it burns within, hedonism is what you become.

When Knowledge flames within, humility grows;
but when it burns within, arrogance booms outside.

When Jealousy flames inside you, extra effort will always abound;
But if your heart burns with jealousy, hurting others is vice you develop.

When Motivation flames in your heart, no goal is ever far;
But if it burns within, failure kisses you at every step.

When Dreams are flamed in you, hope blooms;
But when they are burnt within, disappointment strikes.

So decide what you intend to Flame or Burn within your heart.

03 September 2013

Ashamed of our Identity

It’s been ages, since i logged onto my blog-page to express myself. Although my Job and my passion had given me enough opportunity to travel around, lazily i never took to make notes of what i observed and ruminate about what each place, culture and cuisine had to offer for each one of us.

 Living and travelling from Singapore to most of the South East Asian countries, lots of observation strikes me. Most prominent was the presence of Hindu temples and architecture all around. Curiosity got me asking myself what could have been the reason for such a prominent Hindu base being present in SE Asia. Although it was no brainer, since there has been such a lot historian records of Indian traders/sages coming to SE Asia to promote Hindu culture, that it got easily mingled with the local population from SE Asia.

 Reading through one of the historian records, I realized that Hinduism had spread its wings here in SE-Asia already by 200 BC, The present country of Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippine and Thailand had strong Hindu influence on the local ruler. Buddhism reached here around 400 AD and Islam reached only in the 12 century. Although today Hinduism has become the minority population in this region. Each countries local language & culture has a distinct Hindu touch to all of them. 

 What has surprised me a lot is that today these countries have either a very strong Islamic & Buddhist presence, but despite the small rub of Hinduism that had on them, you will be greatly surprised to see temples of Hindu God/Goddess revered all around these region. I personally have seen at Suvarnabhoomi Bangkok airport large statue of Vishnu avatar of ocean churning, at Bali huge statues of Lord Krishna and Arjuna delivering the Bhagvad Gita in the city centre. These are just the few examples that I have cited. The important underlying fact despite being non Hindu country, they proudly display Hindu culture in their city infrastructure, Just because they were influenced by the Hindu culture long time ago. 

 Whereas we being a Hindu dominant country(Secular), Nowhere outside the premises of a temple, Do I see any carvings, painting, statutes of Hindu based culture, forget Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism which all have flourished in our country. Our history, traditions and culture are not merely to be part of the curriculum till we graduate, but also a part of our identity till we breathe our last. I’m not sure what has plagued our country that our administrator have failed to recognize the rich cultural heritage that our nation has, or is it that we have become ashamed of our real identity and would love to display only our pseudo secular image.

14 December 2009

Surprise Script

Rarely do we come across situation in life, Where we think of our future and dream of walking it all Alone, and within a week do we realize that the event around your life have taken such a twist and turn, that the dream that I imagined of walking alone, may be shared by someone else, and you have a company to assist you till the very end of your journey.
Our personal ambitions are outcome of our skill and the environment we grow, & nothing better than the truth that you end up getting a company who will tend to share your dream as OUR own dream. No wonder someone correctly remarked, When your dream are no more thine or mine, but OUR’s, it’s the onset of a beautiful relation that is about to being scripted in your life. How often an individual goes through such a phase in life, where mere fraction of time have elapsed before eyes have met glances, thoughts shared, horoscope matched and have mutually agreed to have their life bound together in such a short span of time (guess mere 5 days).
Some days get etched in your memory forever, sometime for the significant/misfortunate event that occur then, But how about a day for which you always knew would surely come sometime, but comes in such instantaneous fraction which takes all people and nearby completely by surprise. Having gone through such an experience myself, I’m sure Rush you to have gone through the same thought process. No wonder the Friday 11, 09 is the beginning of new script for us, but the speed at the which the script was drafted have taken quite a community by surprise. Apart from the event it’s the surprise element of that day and the days before that will etch in my memory for long.

22 September 2009

Going On & On

Nothing taste sweeter than your own sweat after you achieve what you initially set for. No goals are ever remembered and cherished longer which is earned easily. Every individual once in his life time sets a goal which he dreams of achieving. The drive towards his goal is the motivation that keeps him GOING ON & ON till he reach his goal.

Setting goals are as easy as dreaming about achieving your goals, but reaching your goals is what separates boys from men.I have a dream is what Martin Luther King, Jr said during his Lincoln Memorial speech at Washington DC, He promised his people that they shall not walk alone, and as they walk they always marched ahead and never turn back. He never lived to see his dream come true, but his words ensured that the people worked for the dream he lived for and truly do we see a society that has overcome its apartheid policy.

Have we ever wondered when are own chips are down, what have propelled us to reach our goal. Many a times we come across famous song, poem, speech or words of wisdom from our elders. These are more than sufficient to overcome the hurdles we face on the way to our destination. Motivation is not a phase of life, that you need to go through, buts its just a mere instant that makes you realize that you are worth every ounce of the dream you dreamnt of.

Difficulties are bound to come on a treacherous path that promises of a beautiful destination at its end. Lack of resources and hurdles we face en route always will linger back of the mind questioning the very existence of the beautiful destination we set out for, In such a dire situation when every grey cells deny and muscle hesitate to cooperate for the journey, and we are left alone treading the path. The answer is just Go On & On, Motivation is the source of potential that you can tap when the confidence is low and confusion high. Nothing follows Success as Success, nor Success after Failure, for its easy to get motivated when you are at either end. But when you are in transition between them what keeps us motivated is simply the dream. The pace at which you lose to achieve your goal is the indicator of you losing your motivation. The moment you lose motivation, you compromise on your target. And anything less than achieving your dream, is failure after all.

Your dream exist as long as you keep yourself motivated and the day you lose the motivation, your dream comes crashing. The most important of all your motivation lies on the foundation of your skill and talent. Skilled individual might lack motivation to achieve his goal, but a motivated individual always poses skill to reach his goal. On a final note, motivation is like the ladder on which you climb to reach you goal, but always check that your ladder rest against the right wall, lest you reach wrong top.