March 22, 2006


Traveling everyday from home to work & back is indeed a stressful experience given the increased number of vehicles in the road and the terrible weather condition. I felt I am always unlucky to have caught-up in almost all traffic signals on the way to office. I am spending almost 2-3 hours a day in traveling, which would actually take hardly one and half hours if there were no heavy traffic in the roads of Chennai. With this thoughts ringing in my mind, I decided to try something unique while traveling. Meditation!!! Yes, I am going to meditate.

After all those good morning SMS, songs in Sun Music & Zoom, News in NDTV and, sumptuous breakfast (everyday it is Dosa and Chutney for bf ;-)), I along with my friend Praabhu headed to the place where I spend most of the time, my office. Everyday we try to catch a limited stop bus, which will take us to the office relatively faster. There is one more attraction to that bus; a Lady drives it. She is really fast but the problem is that she has a tendency to honk frequently and apply sudden breaks. I thought this would cause distraction for my proposed meditation exercise. So I opted out that bus. Got into the next bus, which was relatively free and I got a seat somewhere in the middle.

I was back in the “Road of Reality”. All the energy, composure, and motivation started evaporating on seeing the traffic. My tolerance levels seem to fade very fast but I controlled myself. The first traffic signal is passed-by and I thought it’s high time I started doing “the exercise”. As I was trying to get into the world of tranquility, the noise of the horns and the crowd in the bus woke me up. I decided to resume meditating after the bus crossed Adyar signal, till there traffic used to be at it’s peak. In the mean time I browsed through the small note containing tips on “how to mediate?” which I collected from various websites.

Once the Bus crossed Adyar fly-over I closed my eyes, and made myself comfortable by loosening the muscles. Initially I struggled a bit to concentrate but slowly started falling into the world of serenity. I imagined myself as a rock in the midst of an ocean (as I was supposed to do according the tips on meditation). Waves arise; they dashed the rock several times. The rock is unaffected, calm, tranquil, peaceful and serene. That was the last thing I could remember, I didn’t know what was happening around me. After some time I felt somebody is tapping my shoulder. I vehemently tried keeping my eyes closed, as I didn’t want to get distracted. The gentle tap turned to be a sturdy shake. I had no way other than opening my eyes. I turned back to see who woke me up from the world of tranquility. It was Praabhu, my friend. He said, “Bus stop has come, lets get down”.

As we both were walking towards the office from the bus stop I gave myself a mental pat for having meditated for more than half an our with out any distractions. I told Praabhu what I was doing and how happy I am on this. He smiled gently and told, “Actually you were snoring”.

"Meditation is an effort in the beginning. Later on it becomes habitual and gives bliss, joy and peace." – Swami Sivananda

March 09, 2006

En-Route My Village

“It was Hartal yesterday”, told the Auto driver who took me from Thrissur Railway station to home. The reason for Hartal was not so surprising as I am used to such “Silly Hartals” in Kerala. This time it was against American President George Bush’s India Visit. My home state is going global, thanks to all behind this.

It was first of my three-day visit to hometown, Thrissur. The place is beautiful and affable as ever. I couldn’t sleep after Palakkad, which is around one hour before Thrissur. I bought a Malayala-Manorama and relished a hot (paper) cup of tea while the train moved fast towards “my home”. Chennai-Trivandrum mail-which was late by one hour-reached Thrissur station by around 6 in the morning. I was engaged in a small chitchat with the auto driver, by the time auto had crossed the Railway Station premises. The road was empty except for the vehicles carrying vegetables and fruits to the nearby market. I asked the driver to go to the market so that I can get some fruits. On the way to the market we passed-through the Municipal Bus stand, which is located in front of the South Gate of Famous Vadakkumnathan Temple. The temple looked amazingly beautiful in that early morning. After buying the fruits I continued the journey in the same auto. My home is on the way to Kodungallur, which is around 35 Km from Thrissur. Believe it or not, Thrissur-Kodungallur Road is considered to be one of the fastest bus routes in the World!

I am very familiar with that road, through which I had traveled countless number of times. I wish I had a camera to capture those beautiful sights en-route my home. It was like a stream, which took different shapes but always looked beautiful. Here comes the Sakthan Tampuran Bus Stand named after the famous King of Cochin State. Before seeing Koyambedu Bus Stand I thought this one is the biggest bus stand in the world. It could accommodate 48 buses at a time and there was parking space for the same number. Iyyappan (read e-yya-ppan) Soap Company is a kilometer away from the bus stand. This Company is more than 100 years old; they are into detergent soap manufacturing. It was surprising for me to know that the Company is surviving in spite of the competition from the FMCG majors or vice-versa. No FMCG Company can match their rural distribution network. The next major attraction is the place called “Chevoor”, which is known for its furniture industry. Every home in this 2-kilometer stretch is a manufacturing unit and adjacent to the home there will be huge showroom. Moving on I crossed my school, nearby temple and the large
paddy fields.

Arattupuzha is the name of my village, which is located 15 Km away from Thrissur town. It is famous for the Sree Sastha Temple. The antiquity of this temple dates back to 3000 years. Also, this temple has been the host of the most ancient and well-known yearly "Pooram" (a festival when all gods and goddesses assemble) at Arattupuzha. The road that leads to this place is 2 Km towards east from the Thrissur-Kodungallur main road. The tarred road was over and the driver started cribbing about the pathetic village roads. As soon as I reached home my Amma started complaining about my Tummy, which has grown “disproportionately” over the last six months. My Ammavan (uncle) had a doubt that I am taking beer frequently. I managed to get out of the place saying that I want to go to river. It was the best time of the year to enjoy the bath in the river since it was full of water and slightly cold. I swam across the river once with my friends, who continued swimming a couple of times more. I was tired after the first round itself, may be an effect of banking job (joblessness).

Time passed-by very fast and it was time for me to leave. I couldn’t believe that I spent three days in home. I played cricket, football and even golf (in the paddy field), went for second show, ate, drank and did everything possible, but still not satisfied. And while coming back I saw a procession by one of the political parties. Slogans were beating the bus-horn; they were proclaiming their “war against terrorism”. A group of ten people, fighting for World Peace.

Truly God’s Own Country!