Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Tree Project!

Preetham had returned home early that day. He had to, especially when his wife Seema informed him that she and her mother in law were working on a joint project which she called 'The Tree Project'. He didn't know what this tree project was about. Are they cutting down the long standing coconut tree? or are they planning to plant a new tree!. But he saw no tree felled down nor any plant being grown. There was a huge tree grown, but not on the garden but on the drawing board. The Mother in law and daughter in law duo had drawn a tree, a family tree .... Preetham's family tree. They even had a consultant... an expert... a very old man helping them out on the family tree and its branches. The Consultant's figure definitely told that he was a centenarian (one who has crossed 100 years old) and Preetham only prayed that this old man didn't kick the buckets at his place.

Preetham wanted to know the objective of the project. His mother was eager to speak about the project, but Seema had already started explaining, "Its like getting to now the roots of your special traits. Its believed that characteristics pass from genes. So we are building your lineage to see as to from whom you have inherited some of those special traits." Preetham liked the idea very much and looked once again at the family tree. It started with him at the top and the duo were successful in tracing back his lineage to at least five generations back. The old man who was a distant relative of Preetham (Preetham never knew the old man ever existed until now) provided those missing links and descriptions.

Once the tree was built, it was the time to find out the source of some of Preetham's special traits. So Seema put her first question to the tree consultant, " Can you tell me, from whom has my husband has picked up his so very romantic traits?" The old man looked at the tree with his bare eyes and pointing his finger said, "I believe its from his great-grand uncle who lived near the sowparnika river some 150 years ago. He was a school teacher and taught around fifty students at school. Even at home he taught some fifteen students" Seema was impressed,"That's great. He gave tutions at home even during that time. But how does it make him romantic!" The old man expressed his view, "Fifteen students at home were his own kids, my girl!" Seema still didn't had the answer for her question, "How in the hell does it make him romantic!" The old man spoke confidently, "Gifting his wife every year continuously for fifteen years with a beautiful baby.... wouldn't it qualify him to be voted as the most romantic!!!" Seema didn't know what to say and gulped that answer without further probing.

But she quickly shoot another question hoping that this time the answer would definitely lie somewhere in the family tree, "How come my husband is so much god-fearing. From where did he get this trait?" It was easier question for the old man as he answered without looking at the tree, "Its his great grandfather's brother. When this gentleman's wife was suffering from labor pain, he had disappeared. No one knew about his whereabouts and he returned only after his wife delivered a healthy baby. But he took all the credit. To put in his words, 'The birth of a health child is a gift of the heavens to the family of the newborn. And I was praying with God for the health of the mother and the child all these months'"
Seema didn't like what she heard, "This gentleman you described is a coward who feared everything and not only God. My husband is not a coward who would run away from responsibility. When faced with adversity, he will effortlessly play the flute of confidence and put the negative emotions of fear and cowardice to sleep. And when I have such pains, I want him besides me and not in front of some deity, so that I can hold his hands very tight.... and I am sure that half of my pains would be absorbed by that touch alone...."
Preetham was really elevated on hearing his own gun-gaan from his dear wife.

When Preetham thought that there would be no further questions from his wife, his mother spoke out, "Many sons forget their mothers after their life partner sets her foot in their life or their love towards their mother gets diminished in the few months itself. But my son has been an exception. Is this example set by any of his ancestors?" The old man looked at the tree up and down once and then again. He scratched his head but his memory failed him. Then Preetham spoke out, "Mother! You will not find the answer in the family tree!" Mother believed her son was right, "Some people are very unique. Its rare to find another such gem..." Preetham quickly corrected her, "I am not self boasting!... This whatever you are talking of.... the trait of impartiality, if i can say it that.... Is all because of your daughter in law Seema!" Preetham's mother was suprised beyond words and so was Seema as she eagerly waited for the explanation. Preetham continued, "Its all left to a girl to make her boy her slave or make him a great human being who values all human relationships. Your daughter in law had made me a topper in the second category"

Seema was delighted beyond imagination. It was one of those best moments of her life when smile and tears both came together and adorned her pretty face.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Saved from Enlightenment!

It was the product launch session. After a tough final week, the software product was being put into the market. But after searching everywhere, Manya couldn't find the leader and the man behind the success, Mr Preetham. Then she found him sitting alone far away from the maddening crowd and outside the company building in the park bench. She joined him there to find her boss stressed out from the weeks work.

Looking at a small family enjoying the evening sun, Preetham noted to Manya, "Look at the family...." Manya loved the scene, "The perfect family! The hardworking husband seems to be worked out like us. The wife looks more like the ad lady who comes in that jewelery ad. And their daughter looks very mischievous da...." Preetham asked Manya to focus on the young girl. The young girl was being disturbed by the sound of the bangles caused while skipping. So she started removing all the bangles except leaving one on each hand. Even then the noise continued. So she broke one of the bangle and continued skipping with the single bangle on her hand.
Preetham then turned to Manya, "With more people, more disagreements and more confusion. Hence to avoid conflict, it is better to be alone like that bangle on the girls hand."
Manya got the idea Preetham was driving home, "So... You want to shoo me away and be left alone!... No way!.... I love to hear ur observations.... Yeh dil maange more!!!"

Preetham continued, "Look at the bumblebee over there sitting on that yellow flower....." Manya smiled, "I have seen such a scene a thousand times in all those old romantic Hindi movies when the boy and girl are about to kiss...Now with Hasmis and Kanganas, flowers are no more required."
But Preetham was busy explaining his viewpoint, "The bumblebee moves from flower to flower and extracts the honey from it without causing any damage to the flower. A man should be like that bumblebee. Wherever he goes,he should extract the best, without getting too much attached, be it the workplace...."
Manya was now able to measure the magnitude of the effect of over work that has had on her boss's mind. She needed to divert him and bring back to the normal world and make him think like a engineer, "Hmm! Boss! I am more worried about another aspect. That is... why hasn't science learn t to extract honey from the flower itself ?and why it has to extract it by destroying the beehive?... Why we haven't learn t the technique from the bee?."

Preetham was in his own world and was not capable of thinking scientifically,""I don't have the answer for that question...My mind doesn't want to observe from that viewpoint. " Manya was not the one to leave him at that. "But, How come the same scene of the nature has different impact on me and you?"
She knew that Preetham would answer such a question effortlessly and true to her expectation, the answer came, ""Just as rain falls equally on trees and shrubs, but one has red flowers and another yellow leaves. Thus too the same knowledge affects different being differently, depending on their innate culture, personality etc...."

Manya thought that if she left her boss like that, he would get enlightened and keeping in mind her boss's wife Seema, she thought it would be a pretty bad thing. Enlightenment doesn't take much time. But she didn't want it to happen. So she took her mobile and started dialing a number. Preetham inquired with a Buddha like calmness, "Whom are you dialing?" Manya said, "Time of difficulty! calling helpline." Preetham guessed, "Whom? Nine One One!" Manya smiled as she answered," No! Not Nine One One... But your dear one... Mrs Seema Preetham... Only she can save you from getting enlightened."

Hearing his wife's name, Preetham came back to his senses fully and jumped to grab the mobile and prevent the call. But the playful Manya had foreseen the move and was on her feet and running in the direction of the building with the mobile. Closely on her heels was her boss. Thus that day, Preetham was saved from getting enlightened.

(Inspired heavily from the thoughts of Avadhoota episode of Bhagavatham and thoughts from Valmiki Ramayan)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Confessions of the Conscious

Manya was of the view that the fresher Mr Madan should be shifted from her project team. Though the chap had good academic record, when it came to the deliverables, he had failed miserably. But Preetham wanted to give Madan, an opportunity of being heard before taking any decision.

So Madan was called on to the red carpet and asked to explain the poor performance. His retort didn't satisfy his seniors, "I am in a confused state!" Preetham enquired very gently, "Well! What exactly or who exactly is the cause of the confusion" Madan was not sure of how to answer the question, " I can't speak of the person whose presence is felt here..." Manya got a bit irritated as she felt her subordinate was probably pointing an accusing finger at her. Madan soothed her down, "I am not speaking of any individual. I am speaking of something else. I am speaking of......" He didn't complete the sentence and ended it with a big pause. Manya tried to take a wild guess, "Don't tell me that you are possessed! Possessed by a ghost! Ghost of whom? A software programmer who had returned to complete some unfinished coding.Ha Ha Ha"

Madan decided that he needed to be more frank and so came his reply, "Its my conscience. Its saying that whatever I am doing is not ethical!" Preetham was taken aback, "We are into Software business! We use legal versions of all softwares!" Madan spread out his hands over the table, "Its that I have fallen head over heels over this girl when I saw her the first time. My conscience says that I have fallen prey for lust. It says that as a fresher, my responsibility is to learn the ropes of the job rather than to follow some girl." Preetham admired the honesty with which the youngster spoke, "Nice friend you have there! Your conscience! Blood can flow in only one direction. When Lust is at work, Blood definitely will not flow in the upward direction that is into the head. Therefore brain malfunctions and performance gets degraded."
But Manya wished to differ, "But Boss! Love is not a bad thing. All Love begins in the same manner. It begins with lust...." and turning to the Madan, "But it should end with a sweet responsibility."

Madan was happy with his immediate senior Manya's answer and put forth another thought of his conscience, "But my mind says that It is definitely not right to fall in love with a fellow colleague!" Now Preetham didn't like the way it was going and he remembered what his mother used to say, "Kothi thanu ketithu allade vanavela kedisthu anthe(Kannada). The monkey not only got his tail burned, but also brought down the entire forest. Here this monkey is trying to bring my office down..."
Manya didn't like the way her boss was behaving, "Boss! Don't be an enemy of love. Have you put NO TRESPASSING signal for love here. Wouldn't it be great for the company if its workers found their life partner within the four boundaries of the company. I think such workers should be given a special marriage bonus.."

Madan was more than delighted and immediately put forth the last doubt of his conscience, "Isn't it bad for one to fall in love with someone who is a guide to him." Preetham knew where this was going and he immediately looked at Manya who was left speechless. It was Manya who was Madan's Guide. Then Madan came down on his knees in front of Manya,"I know you are greater than me in every aspect : age, height and knowledge. But I am sure that I have been given this life only to love you! This is love at first sight! Don't you believe in love at first sight" Manya was not the one to be carried away by such sweet nothings and she replied in a very subdued manner, "I do believe in Love at first sight. Because I loved my mother ever since I opened my eyes", after pausing a bit, she continued, "I am sorry. I can't say YES to you. I am already committed. All I can say is that you will find a better and probably a younger girl."
The poor fellow slowly retreated and made his exit with silence.

But Preetham had his doubts, "When did you get committed and to whom?" Manya smiled, "You don't know! I got committed as soon as I joined the job. I got committed to my work and would love to come up in the professional field before I can think of any relationships."

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Kitty Story

The cat had came to their doorsteps some three months ago and with its innocent looks and meow cries had taken the household over. Preetham's mother felt it was her dharm to feed the hungry animals and even she had named the cat. As the cat had come on mangalvaar(tuesday), she gave it the first name Mangal and her boy gave it the second name Pandey. So it became Mangal Pandey. Preetham's wife Seema corrected both of them, that its not Mr Mangal Pandey, but Miss Mangala Pandey.

Seema's MIL(Mother-in-Law) never ever allowed the cat to enter the house, her reasons were, "Animals like cat are uncouth and should never be allowed entry to the house. Secondly, that any attachment to pets like cats can affect one's consciousness at the time of death. But feeding them when they are hungry is dharma" Seema warned her MIL, "You can order a dog at stay at the gates. But not a Cat! There comes a time when the cat tries it level best to gain a entry into the house." The MIL failed to read the warnings.

One day MIL boasted to Seema, "See the cat now! Because of my Kripa-kataksha (compassion filled eyes) falling on her, she has become so Arogyavathi (Healthy)!". Seema laughed a bit and corrected her,"You are completely off the line, MIL. Its because of some tom-cat's kama-kataksha (passion filled eyes) falling on her, that Mangala has become garbhavati (pregnant) !" That left the MIL speechless. It was the time that Mangala would try its level best to get a safe place to deliver her young ones. The old lady knew she had to become alert and protect her home from losing its sanctity. Now her pet animal became a prospective invador for her.

Every living moment, she was thinking of the cat trying to force itself into the house. And sometimes,Seema took advantage of the situation. A silent evening, Seema was enjoying a romantic movie with her husband and MIL. A scene had the hero slowly kissing the heroine on her chubby cheeks without the others present there, knowing about it. Preetham whispered into Seema's ears his desire to do the same but was afraid of being caught by his Mother. Seema knew just the right thing to do to get the kiss. She took advantage of her MIL's latest acquired fear, and thought aloud, "Oh! I think I must have left the back door open".
It was enough to make the MIL worry about Mangala gaining an entry.The mother in law jumped on her feet, "You silly girl! Why do you do like this? That cat is waiting for such an opportunity!" And off she went. After she had left Seema said to Preetham amorously, "Now Mr Romeo! The area is All-Clear!" and she waited for that gentle peck. She closed her eyes and instead of hearing the gentle soud of kiss i.e Mwah, she heard a huge bang. The pair got freightened and ran towards the sound to really find the door wide open and the old lady chasing the cat out.

The fear in the old lady grew more and more as the day neared its end. When Seema and Preetham were preparing to retire for the day, they found the old lady under their bed stead. Only her legs were visible. Preetham gently enquired as to what she was doing. His wife gave a apt reply, "Your mother is crossing the limit! She is planting a time bomb under our bed! " After some struggle, she came out. She had the poor cat in one hand and in another she had the broom. Her hair was widely let out and her face was completely covered with dust. She let out a wicked grin, happy from having the cat caught. Seema looked at the horrible appearance of her MIL and said to Preetham, "She remembers me of my childhood!" Preetham was suprised as to how this scene could bring back the memories of her childhood. Seema explained it very simply, "I remember the stories of chandamama where those witches flied on their broomsticks and had a black cat by their side..."

Next morning, Preetham's father had a request to his son, "Your mother is quite upset these days. She has a special request to you. Say Ok to that one, my Son!" Seema got worried a bit, because her MIL reads Ramayana every morning and today she was at the Chapter where Dasharath sent his dear son Ram to exile on the instructions of his dear wife. Her fears came true when she heard her father in law utter the next sentence, "I need you to go to that small woods nearby....". She put her face down with disgust but the further words brought a big laughter, "....and leave that cat Mangala over there!. My Wife is losing all her sleep over that Cat!". The obedient son did as he was told and for the next few days the old lady had peace at home.

And then deepavali arrived and the little neighbour Riya came down with sweets and gifts specially to Preetham's mother, "When I returned home yesterday, I found three angels in my room. I wish to give one of them to you. " And she slowly took a kitten from her carrier and placed it on the table. No words came to the lips of Preetham's mother. She knew that cats find their way home back easily and so did Mangala. She was sure that this kitty was Mangala's only. Though Preetham's mother didn't say a word, the small kitten let out a small gentle meow so as to say, 'Please accept me!'

Wishing all my readers and their families and friends, a very happy deepavali

Friday, October 9, 2009

An Ideal Wife!

Preetham was too much influenced by Dr Brian Weiss's books on Past-Life Regression Analysis (Technique whereby an individual is hypnotized and made to go back to the past lives). He even had the audio file for the hypnosis downloaded. He wanted to experiment it on someone. Seema, his wife was forced to volunteer and he had a good excuse too, "You have used me a lot for your culinary experiments. Now its my turn."

Then the experiment began. With the background soothing music, he began to slowly hypnotize her, "Forget everything.... Your mind is blank.... You are now boarding a train which will take you to your past lives...." Slowly he forced the train to stop at one of her past life. Now Seema was in a more dream like state completely unaware of the real physical surrounding. She only recognized Preetham's guiding voice. Preetham asked Seema to identify the period. Seema tried to describe whatever she could see, "Seems many centuries ago... There seems to be only horse carriages everywhere and no modern building or electricity.... Probably some Rajput Kingdom.... I am wearing a bridal dress... I am a daughter of a Rajput King. It seems my happiest moment of that life. Yupee! I am getting married. But wait! But I am very young. Hardly even fourteen."

Preetham asked her to identify the people around her "There seems to be an old lady. Can't be my mother in law because this old lady has tears in her eyes and looks sad."
Preetham looked at the angry face of his mother as Seema continued, "Must be my mother. She is telling about sthree dharm (Ethics to be followed by a married lady) and her first principle goes like this, 'A wife should serve her husband and respect his decision and enable him to discharge his duties effectively. That's the reason why Sita went with Rama to the forests.'"
Mother in law was listening with all ears as Preetham asked, "So how did the bride receive that message". Seema still in a hypnotic state, "I correct her, "You are wrong, mother. She went with Ram because if she had been in the palace, she had to deal with not one, but three mother-in-laws!!!. The very thought had frightened her and she grabbed the opportunity of running to the woods with her husband."

Preetham interrupted before his mother could open her mouth, "Look around and try to recognize your man. Is it me?..." Seema a bit irritatingly, "But this mother is not allowing. She is filling my mind with her silly rules. Here comes the second one, 'Husband is a woman's God. Her Selfless Service alone to him is enough to protect her from all the worldly harms. She doesn't have to do any other penance or any other form of devotion'"
Preetham looked forward eagerly for the answer of the young bride, "This young bride is very smart and has a witty answer 'Had Draupadi listened to you, O My Mother!, She would definitely have been disrobed!. Remember it was not her five husbands who came to her rescue, but Dear Lord Krishna. Mother, these men are also human beings like us with emotions and feelings. No need to treat them special!'

Preetham liked the way it was moving, but he was still curious, "Now! Is the bridegroom standing nearby anywhere!", Seema was helpless, "I am unable to turn my head as whole of my mother's attention is on me and here she comes with the third rule 'Always look at the husband's mood before you talk with him. Because a right thing said at the wrong time may lead to disastrous results' The young bride's face became little dull, 'Mother, You have raised me in such a manner that when my mind thinks, my mouth moves. So I am helpless there! And speaking of moods, Even I may become out of control and impatient at times. Then what's his responsibility? If he cant handle me at my worst, Definitely, he doesn't deserve me at my best also**.'

Preetham somehow was more interested in knowing the bridegroom then all the Stree-Dharms. But the rules had to be completed as Seema continued, "Here she comes with the fourth rule, 'Win over the in-laws. Treat their home as your own.' The young girl said "I know this rule and I am fully prepared" and took her mother to the palanquin which has supposed to carry her to the in laws place." And then Seema suddenly announced "Now I see the bridegroom. Its my husband of the present life, Mr Preetham. But here, he has fallen on the ground with a thud after seeing the accessories in the palanquin."
Preetham was very curious and asked her to look into the palanquin and describe the contents. Seema was back with her answer, "Oh My God! She has got a bow and arrows, a long sword, a mace like the one used by warrior bheema, a spear and a dagger too... She definitely seems full prepared to take over her in-laws"

Preetham thought if he continued the session, it would definitely upset his mother. He immediately brought Seema out of the hypnotic trance. So Seema who was a little bit aware of what she had spoken asked innocently, "So tell me how different I was in my previous life?" Before Preetham could speak, the mother-in-law came out with her honest view, "However many lives you take, you are never gonna change at all!" and thus walked out. Seema looked with confusion at Preetham. He held her face in his hands gently, "And I don't want you to change also. I always love the way you are." Saying so, he landed a gentle kiss on her cheeks.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Discourse at the Pub

"I don't go to pubs. In the end they will throw me out", announced Preetham when Manya on behalf of her colleagues invited her senior for a small gathering at a local pub. Manya was shocked to hear this, "You mean!.... You get so drunk!" Preetham corrected her, "I am a complete teetotaler.... I need to tell you a small story to explain this one" Manya pulled out a chair and sat down. She always loved her senior's stories.
" It was a year ago that I accompanied my friends to a pub. I had ordered only apple juice. Seeing this, a drunkard approached me, "Hmm... You don't drink?.... Is that because you believe 'Drinking is injurious to health!' Rite.?" I answered him in negative and perhaps a little too strongly, "No! Its Because I believe that Drinking is injurious to the community!" Some more heads turned towards me with that statement, "Now! where did you pick that statement? Gandhiji!!!" I again shook my head, "Lord Krishna!"
Now I had become the center of attention. And in that pub, I started giving my discourse.

I declared "It was alcohol that had brought the fall of Yadavas!"
Like a young concentrating student who raises his hand during the classes to clear his doubts, a drunkard raised his bottle and put forward his silly question, "But where have they have fallen?. Laloos and Mulayalams are still so strong"
Controlling my laughter, I answered him, "I am talking of the Yadavas of the Dwapar Yug, a totally different time. The Yadava clan, Lord Krishna's lineage. In that lineage, there were two great warriors, Satyaki and Kritaverma. They were Lord Krishna's close buddies, but somehow Lord had got them to fight on the opposite sides during the Mahabharata War. Many years after the war, its demons popped up and that too during a wild beach party when bitter truths were spoken...."
One of the listeners who seemed to be not completely in control of his senses spoke, "That's the strength of the alcohol. People speak more truth when they are subjected to the alcohol rather than to interrogation."

I continued, "Kritavarma and Satyaki started abusing each other. Kritavarma accused Satyaki of not behaving like a true warrior and remembered as to how the later had slewn a warrior who had laid down his arms and sat for meditation. Satyaki accused Kritavarma of a more immoral act that of killing innocent boys who didn't even participate in the war, and that too when they were fast sleep"
One of the drunkards commented, "This finger-pointing session reminds me of Today in Parliament. Continue, Mr Speaker"
I avoided my inrtoduction, "Then others joined in the blame game. Slowly people who were fighting each other with words started picking up weapons and aimed at each other. Lord Krishna, the almighty who had instructed Arjun to take up arms against his own relatives found it hard to make his own clan drop their weapons. As Lord Krishna looked on, the Yadavas started killing each other. He had to see his own kith and kin being killed."
Youngest of the drunkards, who seemed to be a new one to the pub realized the moral of the story, "Wow! This alcohol is more powerful than the nuclear weapon. I agree with you, Sir! It destroys all the men who become its servants. I think I had enough! I mean enough of drink and not of the story! Continue please!"

I smiled seeing the change brought about in the young man, "It not only destroys men who touch it.... but also the community. After Yadava men had destroyed themselves, Lord Krishna took departure from this world instructing the warrior Arjun to take the women and the old and the children of his clan to safety. But Arjun was helpless as dacoits kidnapped all the women folk of the Yadava clan. In this way under the influence of the alcohol, the yadavas killed each other and also...."

Before I could complete the story, the manager of the pub came forward, "We really appreciate your social responsibility and as a token of respect.... "

Thus Preetham stopped the story allowing Manya to conclude the story. Manya was a clever girl and laughingly she completed Preetham's final sentence, "And as a token of respect, they had you thrown out of the pub.....Rite!"
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