A Born Fighter.. He is…

Be Good … My Little Friend

……said the old friend, with a pat on his back and a pinch on his cheek. He wasn’t even listening. He didn’t care. His concentration was on those stickers that the nurse is sorting out for him. The old school doctors have these smart ways to please kids who come for the treatment. A treatment of a kind that is generally unbearable even to an adult patient.

She didn’t mind his carelessness either. Its almost as if they were connected to each other at a level that is hard to understand; as if they know themselves and that they don’t need to go through this emotional farewell; as if they know about each others feelings with out even having to express them.

With a smile, she indulged in her geeky medical conversation with a peer sitting in the same room. Took a peek in to that microscope to examine the slide with a drop of human blood on it. And then, she took a peek again; and did it again.

His mom and dad were awaiting a word. They felt those few seconds to be the longest wait in their life. There was that fear in their eyes. The same fear that terrified them 4 years ago in the same room. They remembered all those moments when they had to rush to that hospital with no (or very less) hope of the kid’s life.

As the wait continues, tears rolled down his Mom’s eyes. No wonder she kept them all inside her that long. His father started to shake a bit with the uncertainty of what comes next. He was away in a different country for the last 9 months, with all his heart at home in Chennai. They had to make that tough decision for a greater good. But now, he is back. Back with an intention to take his wife and kid along. He knows the how crucial is the decision that the 60 year old doc is about to make.

The doctor took her time and with a smile on her face, said 

Everything is alright ma.. He’s gonna be perfectly alright. All the very best to you.

By the time she finished her sentence, the mom completely broke in to tears. It took some time to gather herself and realize that the tussle is over. The dad was relieved and took his time to finally speak out to the doctor.

Doctor, we remember how broken were we when we came running to this place 4 years ago. Today, we stand here with the same week heart not knowing how to thank you enough. You literally gave life to my son. Thank you very much for what you have done.”

And then he takes his time to gather himself. 

Interestingly, the little kid has no clue as to why his parents are crying. He lives in a different world. In his world, it is normal to have that painful injection to the spine every month. He thinks that it is the way of life. He just didn’t know what he has gone through in the last 4 years. He thinks he is special and privileged to wear that mask every time he steps out of the house. In his world, it is not usual to eat anything with out boiling. His world has no chocolates, No Lays Chips and No Lolly-pops. Heck….Not even the backed cakes. He know it as a very healthy world. He eats a lot of fruits and vegetables. Every thing boiled. 

The parent were still worried about his future. They had a lot of questions in their mind. 

What is going to happen if someone knows about his health history? 
Will he be able to mingle with all other kids like a normal kid? 
Is he going to be normal in future? 
If he knows that all the rules around him were because of his health (and not because he was special), how does he react? 

And I told them, Jut one thing. 

He’s a born winner. He knows the struggle better than many others know. So, he can handle the reality better than many other can.


Durga Prasad

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The unempathetic reality

It was 12:15 in the night. The final lap of share-autos in my tiresome journey from Chennai Central Railway station to my home is almost about to end. In my thoughts, I was slapping myself for my decision, to take a Cab from station instead of this adventurous endless share-auto rides. I thought this would be the lesson for me that day. But, little did I know that my lessons for the day only yet to come.

My share auto finally came to a halt at the entrance of a dark no-manned alley. After saying goodbye to the Auto driver, it was my turn to take a 400 Meter long walk in that stray dog filled road, before I finally take left into my own apartment. To my bad luck, I couldn’t find the security personnel that was supposed to be posted at the entrance of that road. Far at the other end, I could see the dogs have spotted me and started barking in rhythms. These dog rhythms were slowly inducing the poison of fear into my body. I’ve pulled the phone out of my pocket to call a friend, only to realize that it was completely drained out. Thus putting me in a situation that most westerners would call as “Effed-up”.

I don’t fear dogs. I am pretty used to walking on dark roads without having any problem. I am not used to Pets. I never got hurt by the street dogs, nor were they ever friends with me. But, that doesn’t give me enough strength to face the barking one all alone. I tried to make a move once or twice before I quickly moved back to where I started. I didn’t have enough strength at that moment. I was desperately looking for passing by vehicles to take a turn to my road so I can ask for a lift. The main road was empty too, other than the heavy vehicles carrying some cargo. At this point, I had no idea what to do and just stood there with a blank mind and a pale face.

Luckily, in the next 10 minutes, a cab carrying a passenger passed by to my apartment. At first, with my blank mind, I didn’t ask them for the lift. In my sub-conscious mind, I knew that this car is going nowhere as it had to drop the passenger and come back towards me. By the time I got to my senses, the car dropped the passenger at a visible distance and was coming back towards me.

I finally gathered myself to stop the car. The driver looked rigid, tired and not in a mood to listen. I, then, told him that I need his help to go past the barking dogs and duly assuring him that the distance is less than where he dropped his previous passenger. He thought for a second and said that he needs 150 Rupees for it. That was the amount I paid for the share auto, to cover the distance of almost 45 KMs from the Central station to the place where I was standing. The cab driver clearly was exploiting the situation to make his final bucks of the day. I was taken aback; not for the amount that he asked, but that he was trying to use my weakness in that situation. My mind voice continued to nudge me saying “What the hell? Pay it and just go home….”. I thought for a moment and realized that I was being victim to the circumstance. My little wit decided to stand up to this ruthless man. So, I laughed at the cab driver and let him go with no expression on this face.


For the next 15 minutes, I was relentlessly hoping for another good person to graciously give me the lift past those dogs; only to realize that waiting any further would be a bad idea. Meanwhile, at a distance in the dark, I saw a bike with the engine on. The driver wasn’t visible at first, but I could hear him speak on phone. As I crossed the road and started walking towards him, he appeared clearer. He turned out to be a Police (probably a constable) speaking on phone, presumably to this supervisor. I could hear a bunch of Police related commands on his walkie-talkie. I kept walking past him, not knowing if I should ask him a favor. Once he finished his phone call, I went around and asked him

“Sir, Vanakkam. There are barking dogs in that street. Would you please care to drop me at the end of the street?”.

The police looked at me furiously and started denying my request almost even before I finished my request. While I hadn’t said any further word, he went on ranting me in his native Tamizh voice,

Do I look like security to you, in order to escort you?

How dare you ask a policeman a lift like that?

How dare you assume you can simply walk to the police and ask a favor like that? and so on.

I didn’t take me long to realize that I threw a stone on the human feces. I was left with no open than to move away from him as quickly as I can.


Taking the hot shower at my home, I kept thinking how these two people reflected the un-empathetic reality of the society, just in the span of 30 mins. While I am glad that a random food delivery person had helped me reach home, I couldn’t get my head around the behavior of those two. 


Police – Aren’t they the security for the citizens?


Durga Prasad

 

Raged and Helpless for an old Friend.

It was a normal visit to a near by grocery store. Pamphlets claim that it is owned and managed by the farmers of a nearby village. This has been the favorite evening spot for me and my wife lately. Just when I parked my vehicle and about to enter the store, something shocked me with my eyes wet. I don’t see my old friend, where he used to be anymore. Adding to the irony, he has been simply cut off till his feet. I couldn’t see him that way.

He used to greet me with his cool breeze every other evening. He stood tall with his arms open while we (me and my wife) had the delicious Litti Chokhas from the Bihari stall there. He was a healthy and greenish Neam Tree, who stood tall, strong and happy for years. He didn’t come in anyone’s way to build their little revenue generating food stalls. He was humble to everyone. He offered a cool shade to anyone with nothing in return.

He has seen the world changing. He has seen the technology transforming. But, never thought that it would enable a tiny machine to cut him down in less than 2 minutes. He believed in us “the humans”. In the end, we turned out to be inhuman. We have technology. A super advanced one. But, what for?…..if it did not help my friend live his life ?

I went and asked the shopkeeper. He told me that the tree is rotten from inside and had to be taken off. I knew he was telling me a cock-and-bull story. He told that he would get a Singapore Pine tree in that place instead. I still know that he was talking non-sense. I pushed him hard with my questions. Then comes the famous verse that many use as an excuse to not being responsible for the nature.

It’s my tree and I can do whatever with it.

I don’t understand how can one claim the ownership of something that was made by the mother nature. Something that was nurtured in the hands of the mother nature from years. I had to calm down, give up on him helplessly. My friend would have asked me to do so if he was alive.


I was raged. I was angry. I was helpless. I was sad. I thought again and again, what could I have done. I didn’t quite find my answer.

I miss my friend.

The only thing that I could do was to quit going to that shop, ever in my life. That wouldn’t bring my friend back to life. But, its my way of acknowledging how much I care about this nature. The very nature that this mankind has been destroying a bit by bit.


Dear Friends, Here’s my request to all of you. Unless it is inevitable, please try not to cut down the trees. It takes 3 minutes to cut down a tree, that took more than 30 years to grow. If we don’t give it back to nature, we have no right to expect from it as well.

Well, the above statement was a humble version of saying….

Don’t mess with nature. It can mess with you badly


PS: Excuse me if you find me harsh in this post. I am sure you understand the chain of emotions that I am in while writing this.

– Durga.

I do my Job, whatsoever.

He said, “Sorry Sir, Mein ne dekha nahi hu!!” . I said, “Koi bath nahi bhayya!! Aap ne, bas, aap ka kaam kiya!!”


Everyone has a responsibility defined for them, based on what their job is. One must clearly understand it and “Do it” regardless of any circumstance. I firmly believe this principle and try my best to follow it. I also respect those who tries to do this (especially in the era where people nicely try to push their responsibilities to others). Now, If you wonder what triggered this post, this is my experience of a small incident that happened in TCS Siruseri.

It was a Friday. An eventful Friday in TCS Siruseri. Eminence (A TED like program in TCS ) was going to take-off in the ATL Auditorium. I was excited not only to attend the event, but also to meetDamodar Padhi Ji. So, I started the epic walk from my block (EB4) to the auditorium ( In all excitement). And then, I hear a voice that said

Sir!!! Please show me your ID Card”

Only then did I realize that my TCS ID card was hidden under my half-sleeve casual shirt (Remember ? That’s a Friday). When I turned back, It was this Lean and very young looking Security Guard (G4S). He was in hurry going in the opposite direction and had to stop suddenly to ask me this question. I, then, have shown him the hidden ID Card (almost as a reflex action). The guy went blank for a minute. I could only infer that he was feeling bad to have asked me that question.

After a full minute of no conversation between us, he said,

Sorry Sir, Mein Ne dekha nahi hu!!! (Sorry Sir, I didn’t see it).

I didn’t see a need for him to apologize as he was just doing his job. Actually, I completely respected that question coming from a young security guard. This only tells me how safe I am in the premises of TCS. So, I replied.

Koi bath nahi bhayya!! Aap ne, bas, aap ka kaam kiya!! (Not a problem brother. You just did your job).

I further shook his hand and told him (with a smile on my face)

Thank you !!! Thank you for doing your job.

He left with a smile on this face and I wish I had asked him his name. 🙂


So dear friends, I’d leave you with a question. Do we need to apologize if we are doing our job?

I don’t think I want to (unless is absolutely necessary). How about you? I welcome your views on this topic.

— Durga Prasad

Destiny, Fate, Miracle, Coincidence? Which one is it?

My Grand mother was from a remote village called Vadamathimangalam in Tamil Nadu. She was born there in 1930 (Approx) and was brought up in a very poor family. She was the eldest of all her 7 siblings in an orthodox Tamil Brahmin Family. Her brother (I call him Kanchi Tata) used to be a Preist in Ekambareswar temple of Kanchipuram. It was with his income that the entire family used to live, back in Vadamathimangalam. In 1950 (Approx), In almost like a cinematic twist, my grand father (who is from a Not-so-orthodox-Brahmin telugu Family) happened to see her in Kanchipuram and wanted to marry her. This was the love story of 1950s. My Grandma’s family didn’t make it easy for him to marry her, especially because of his appearance (ugly beard, ungroomed mustache and noholy mark on the face). In order for him to marry her, my grand pa had to groom himself and recite the vedic mantras of their choice (oh yeah, my grand pa also studied those vedit mantras) to prove that he is also a Brahmin. And yeah, he had to live in the Kanchipuram temple for almost more than 2 weeks in order to please her family.

And finally, he did it !!! They got happily married with the blessings of their elders and my Grandma came to our home (my current home town Tenali). At the time, My grand ma didn’t know to speak Telugu and my grand pa didn’t know to speak Tamil. Over the time, grand ma learnt a fluent Telugu and they lived happily ever after. She never got a chance to get in touch with her family in Tamil Nadu and neither did they ever visited us in Andhra. “Cost of travel” and language were the major barriers of those days because of which these families were not in touch for years (actually, for Decades). However, The love and affection prevailed. Of all these years, the only person that we (even my dad) know from that village is Kanchi Tata, who happened to come to my home town once or twice. Although, we don’t know much about that family, we talk about them a lot. My dad always used to tell me about that family, which he knew from his Mom. He never visited them himself.


Years passed by; My good Grand Ma and Grand Pa passed away. We somehow got in touch with Kanchi Tata, who is now 86, from Vadamathimangalam. I’ve got the phone number of his care taker Srinivasan Anna, who is a neighbor to kanchi tata. He has been taking care of kanchi tata like his own father. He was also the main reason for us to get back in touch with this family. By 2008, Me and my sister knew to speak in Tamil and so, we got back in touch with Kanchi Tata and were able to talk to him once in a while (like once in six months). We were acting as a the translators between the two sides of the family. But, the language barrier still prevailed.


Fast forward to 11th October 2014. I was in a pilgrimage trip to few temples near to Chennai with my family. We were 8 of us. On the eve of Saturday the 11th, we visited Vellore Golden temple and were on our way to Tiruvannamalai. The Tempo driver had been very friendly with all of us and knows a little bit of Telugu. With all the conversations we’ve had with him, he already became a good friend. We were almost halfway through to our destination for the night. When it was 9:30 PM, the driver requested our permission to take a deviation of 4-5 KMs, in order to collect a rice bag from his relatives place. Apparently, the rice in that area is a lot cheaper than in Chennai. We readily accepted his request as we didn’t have any other plans for the day. So, we deviated from our original route and did a quick stop for the rice bag and continued towards the main route.

Around 9:45 PM, out of the blue, my mom remembered our grand ma and started talking about her. The driver overheard our conversation and asked me the name of her village. Once we told him the name, he jumped out of his seat in excitement and told us that it is on our way to main road and only 2 KM’s from where we were. We had no words to say at that moment. We were staring each others faces in surprise. When I finally came to my senses, I took out my phone and made a quick call to Srinivasan Anna to explain him that we were near by.

Anna was real surprised too with the coincidence and readily invited us home in Tamil “ungalukaaga naanga aavala edhir paarthutu irukom”. He told me that he will inform Kanchi tata that we are coming.

And what happened after that, will remain as a greatest memory of all of our lives.

When our vehicle stopped in front of an old hut house, I’ve seen 10 people waiting for us. Srinivasan anna took my hand, gave a tight hug and welcomed all of us inside the house. As we entered the house, I see Kanchi tata standing at a distance in tears of Joy. We took his blessings and settled down in that small house. Kanchi tata started asking whereabouts of each and every one of our family members (he remembers every one by name). Few of them asked “Are you the one who got married recently? Where is your wife?”. I don’t even know who they are yet. Well, my dad himself doesn’t know who they are. “Your grand pa tried his best to make it to your wedding but couldn’t, because of his health. He has been feeling very sad since then”. Kanchi tata showed us the old photos of my grand pa and grand ma, that my dad have never seen. Hugs, tears and a lot of talks followed for the next 40 minutes.

We finally said Adieu to them and just when I was about to get in to the vehicle, kanchi tata woke up from his chair, held both of my hands and told me with his slow voice in Tamil “This day is one of the most memorable days of my entire life. I will not forget this”. I told the him the same, took his blessings. This time, I made sure to exchange our contact numbers, address and invited him to visit my place in Chennai for sure.


As we resumed our journey towards Tiruvannamalai, a chain of thoughts breezed through my mind.

1) This was the place, where my Grand ma was born.
2) This was the house where she lived (the house didn’t change much from then, says grand pa).
3) My dad had two more sisters (cousins) that he never have met.
4) My dad and Mom were visiting this place for the first time ever.
5) Language didn’t matter for us to convey our feelings and relation towards them (and vice versa).


Never in the wildest dreams that we planned to visit this place as part of our Journey. Neither did we know that this place is on our way. But, then this happened. How & Why?

My Mom says, this is a divine grace. My dad says it is destiny.
I don’t know what it is, but it just made my entire family Super happy.

A Glimpse of my life in US – Part 1

Hi Folks,

Its been ages that I had a look at this space. I am finally back after a very long break posting this from Milford City, Connecticut, US. 🙂 For those who don’t know this yet, I am relocated to US on an onsite assignment.  Started a new way of life here at US. Accustomed to the extremely good environment. Started to understand different things about the culture here.  And of course back to my favorite part time, cooking. Trying different dishes on my friends (I pity em).

The entry to US….

My entry to US was a lucky one with out any pains (I traveled with my manager..).  That was my first travel in an airplane and I was thrilled to see the clouds through the window. It was initially difficult to understand what exactly was I having  in the plane. Was it Breakfast? Wat It lunch? or Dinner ? The way air hostess come to me and say “Here is your Vegetarian Meals Sir”, confused me all the time. I was wondering how she found out that I am a vegetarian.  I had never mentioned it anywhere. I finally asked her a question, for which she clarified that my travel agent did this by default for all the travellers from TCS. 🙂 🙂 🙂

The first impression…..

I reached US sometime in the afternoon and it was very cool breeze that touched my face as I come out of the plane. For the next few days, I was sleeping in Indian sleep times  (which these guys call as Jet-Lag).  The climate was very cool (for me) and I used to wear sweater when I come out. I later realized that those were the hottest days ever in the near past. 🙂 This surprised me one more time in US. As time went on, I got adjusted with the climate and I am not wearing sweater anymore.

The Scenerie’s….

I was extremely thrilled with my first travel to office in my friends (Jaggi’s) car. The roads here are so damn good and are very organized. I liked the traffic maintenance here and the discipline of the car drivers.  The greenery on both the ways is astounding. They give most importance/preference to pedestrians. It is good that The Government cares a lot about people here.

My Apartment…

I lived in two appartments till now. The first one is Robert Treat, which is been a home for all TCSer’s from ages. Other than TCS there are lot many other Indians that live in this place, which make me feel no different from living in India. We recently moved to an Authentic beach-side apartment on Joy Road.  This apartments has an American community. 🙂 I now have a chance to say that I am residing in a beach side apartments where the beach is visible form my balcony, Nice breeze, beach walk, fishing, etc etc had become my favorite part times in the recent past. I simply simply loved the environment that I am currently residing.

The habits….

There were some drastic changes in my habits here. I am no more getting a chance to play my loving game Table Tennis (called as ping pong here). No more GBH and CSR activities. Unable to find a  nice/appropriate place in my apartment to arrange my Puja idols because we all use sandals in the house. 😦 I am living in a double bedroom apartment which just has a single bathroom. To adjust with the office timings, I need to get up sharp at 6.30 AM. Sounds very tough, but I am making it everyday (somehow). No deviations in office timings. Starts sharp at 9.00AM to 6.00 PM.

Will be back with more updates on my activities.

Bye for now,

Durga Prasad Tamirisa.

Mood: Very sleepy, tired. Going to bed after making an unsuccessful attempt to cook Channa Masala. 😦

The Chamber – John Ghrisham. A Review.

Hello All,

I feel very surprising to write this. You know why? I never thought that i can write a review  of a novel, especially a 600 page one. This is a new thing that I have started after coming to my new room. The idea of reading  a novel started on a very ad-hoc basis just by vising a Higginbotham’s store at Chennai central railway station and suddenly buy a catchy book.

And that catchy book happened to be John Grisham’s “The Chamber”. I started reading this book with a very Little passion and believe me it dragged me to read it for three continuous day. I never know how did I do it.

The story starts with a flash back about a Gang of Klansman that involve in a serious bombing of the Law office of Kramers. This will be explained in much reality talking about the way the two kramer twins will be thrown to the Ceil’s of the office floor and all that. He also talks about the media buzz, FBI investigation etc etc.

Sam Cyhall, happened to be a part of this bombing, around whom the story revolves around until his end. He a kind of relatively innocent compared to others that are involved in the bombing. He will be caught by the police for this murder case. And after a long struggle by Kramer, he will be imposed with a death penalty.

The later few episodes, deals much about Cyhall’s struggle to get out of prison and the intervention of few famous Pro-Bono organizations to help him legally. They also flashes you back to the days when Sam was young and was involved in much brutal stuff as part of the Klan.Though it sounds brutal and heartless about Sam, the writer was very effective in create a Good/Decent impression about Sam at the end of the novel.

The writer explains very well much about the circumstances and the thing at Death Row/ MSU (Maximum Security Unit as they call it). It creates lot of interest about the surroundings and the situations inside the death row. He also explains about how they maintain the typical security in MSU. Later he gives much closer look at the Death row, talking about the daily habits of Death row inmates, Their mentalities, their timings, the details about their prison rooms, the way the security system works, the part times of the death row inmates.

The story continues, by explaining much about Sam in Death row. His relationship with the security people. His part time. His friends who only speaks but can not have a look at each other. His hobby of reading the Law books and using a small old type writer to put something on paper. His Habit of chain smoking. The goodies that he gets from his secret brother every month. His dressing in the prison and outside the prison. His mentality. His knowledge in law.

Then enters the hero this novel, Adam Hall.  A  young Law graduate, Just out of his college, approaches a famous law organization and makes a deal with them to represent / help Sam in the death row.Seeing his courage to take up such a tough assignment. The way the writer explains this character is mind blowing. This character shows up his dynamism, confidence, toughness, emotion, and sentiment.  Though he initially hesitates to reveal him as Sam’s grand son, he will be honest to accept it later before all those he had hided that.The initial states of his interaction with the prison personal’s and Sam are much interesting and fascinating.

Slowly, Sam and Adam gets in to business. Sam and his prison \mets always call him a kid (in Law). Probably, Sam know much better than Adam. Adam starts applying his Gang plank appeals to different courts in all the possible ways that he can. He faces many disappointments. He faces may hopeful moments. He also faces some frustrations as well.  This is the part where the author shows his knowledge in Law. This is where I came to know of new and interesting things about US law.

Adam keep getting closer his Grand Fa and their relation will keep on becoming stronger and affectionate. Author keeps track some of the Adam’s relations like Sam’s daughters. But, he is not so successful in using this particular character. This character come in to the picture like a Storm and suddenly goes off somewhere in the air until the climax of this novel. It is during the climax when Sam’s brother comes in to picture.

The Governor of the state, is another important character of this story. He is the only person that sam hated most and he had taken a written contract from Adam restricting Adam to speak to Governor. Governor plays most important role in deciding weather sam has to die or not. Towards the end of the story, author keeps you in the pace of sentiment and almost drags you in to tears in some situations. Especially, when the days are nearing to Sam and there are no much of surprises that Adam can make. He also keeps a the suspense of the story by always keeping a secret character that is assumed to have helped Sam in planing the bombs during the Kramer bombing.  Adam, tries a lot to find about that secret accomplice but Sam never reveals about it.

Towards the end, the story becomes more suspense with all the following questions….

1) Will Sam be Gassed ?

2) Will there be a surprise at the last minute ?

3) Will Governor grants freedom to Sam ?

4) What happens to Sam’s belongings ?

5) If Sam is gassed, where will be be buried ?

6) How are the last moments of sam ?

7) Who are all that witnessed Sam’s death ?

8) What is the Sam’s Last meal ?

etc etc etc…..

For more details, I suggest you guys to read the novel. Believe me, this very interesting at the end. ………. !

Your comments and criticism are most well come. I strognly recommond this book and I took 10 days to complete this 600 page book. 🙂

Regards,

Durga Prasad Tamirisa