Why did it take so long?
To drop the burden. To let go.
To realize. To accept.
And, to be free.

Why was so much time wasted?
In fighting the wrong battles.
In figuring out allies and amoral opportunists.
And, in identifying the most resourceful weapons in the armoury.

Why did it get so complex?
To see through the fog.
To recognize intentions.
And, to pick the right from the wrong.

Why was the understanding lacking?
That growing needs effort.
That leadership needs courage and sacrifice.
And, that reality reveals itself at some point.

The setback is distressing, but the resolve is renewed.
The task is tough, but there is help.
The outcome is scary, but there is hope.
The day has ended, but there is a tomorrow.

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How To Bounce Back After A Mistake?

Mistakes happen.

Sometimes out of ignorance.
Sometimes out of incompetence, underpreparedness.
Sometimes out of negligence, carelessness, or lethargy.

Sometimes due to circumstances beyond your control – you can blame someone or something.
Sometimes solely out of your own actions or inactions – you have no excuse.

And sometimes, you do end up committing mistakes knowing fully well that you are committing a mistake.

Mistakes happen.

How do you bounce back if you have committed a mistake, and it is weighing you down?

It’s not always easy. It’s never impossible, too.

Here are a few things you can consider doing to get back on track:

1. Write down the what you think was the mistake you did, and who all are affected by your mistake.

2. Accept your mistake and seek forgiveness – from yourself and everyone else affected by the mistake.

3. List the lessons you have learnt from the mistake. Share them with the people affected by the mistake.

4. Promise yourself and others that you’ve learnt the lesson, you’ll never forget the lesson, or repeat the mistake. And, act on the promise.

5. Identify your actions, inactions, that lead to the mistake.

6. List what steps, precautions you would take to make sure the above actions, inactions are not repeated. Share them with the people affected, with a promise to them (and to yourself) to not repeat the mistake. And, act on the promise.

7. Write down the worst outcome of the mistake – the ultimate price you pay for the mistake. Prepare yourself to accept it.

8. Write down what’s the best outcome you desire in your situation. Prepare a plan to achieve it. If you are clueless, seek support from people who can help.

9. Act on the plan to salvage the situation with all earnestness. Give it your best shot.

10. Accept the outcome, even if it’s the worst that you feared.

Don’t beat yourself up.
More intelligent people have made more stupid mistakes.
And, more ordinary people have bounced back from graver blunders.

It will all get better with time. Have faith.

If you think sharing your feelings with someone would be of help, please feel free to drop a comment below. There are many kind souls in the virtual space. You never know how or when you may chance upon one.

Categories: Life | 4 Comments

Bhagavad Gita: Divine Qualities vs. Demonic Qualities

The Bhagavad Gita classifies people into two groups – those with divine qualities and those with demonic qualities.

Divine qualities lead one towards liberation. Demonic qualities lead one to bondage.

Liberation is happiness. Bondage is suffering.

Chapter 16 of the Bhagavad Gita lists divine qualities and demonic qualities. I thought I share here some of qualities listed as divine or demonic that left an impression on me, along with a few questions to ponder.

Divine Qualities:

  • Equanimity, Composure, Level-headednessCan you treat success and failure alike? Can you handle gifts and disappointments alike?
  • FearlessnessAre you convinced that as long as you do your duty, no harm can come your way? And does that belief empower you to discharge your duty fearlessly?
  • Absence Of AngerEven when provoked. Yes, even when provoked. No more, “I wouldn’t generally get angry, but this is too much” excuse.
  • Abstaining From Frivolous PursuitsNothing further needs to be said on this!
  • Fortitude, Grit, DeterminationDo you stick to the path? Deviations always appear easy and fruitful, right?
  • CharityTo be performed without an eye on any reward. Neither material, nor emotional or spiritual. Not even for ‘self-satisfaction’. And certainly not the “Tube Light Sponsored By Vijven” type of charity that we see in temples today. Instead, donating only because someone else needs it.
  • CompassionTowards all living things. That includes animals. That’s easy, you say. And that includes your enemies and those who harmed you – whether unknowingly, or even purposefully. Now, how about that?
  • TruthfulnessForget about truthfulness in relationship with others, are you being true to yourself?
  • NonviolenceWe no longer indulge in physical violence. Good. What about emotional violence?
  • ForgivenessLet go. Please.
  • Worship GodI do, you say. Ok.
  • Worship EldersWhat? I am sure I am not even respecting them properly most of the time!

Let’s now look at the other side, see a few demonic qualities:

  • Desire, Anger, GreedBhagavad Gita describes these 3 as gates of hell, capable of destroying the soul, and advises us to forgo them.
  • IgnoranceInability to distinguish between right activity and right abstinence.
  • Vanity, Pride, ArroganceLead your life. Let others lead their lives.
  • HarshnessInsensitivity is inhuman, right?
  • HypocrisyIt is more common than we all think. And we are more hypocritical than we like to accept.
  • Insatiable DesiresDuty is divine. Desires may not be so.

The above 2 lists are not exhaustive. If you are interested, please check Chapter 16 of the Bhagavad Gita. You will be fascinated!

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My Hero

Dear Ram,

You are my hero!

The courage you have shown over the last 3 months is very inspiring.

You fought bravely to overcome many challenges. Pain, suffering, fears, insecurity, anxiety – you beat them all.

You displayed maturity beyond your age. Your cooperation and brave approach made things easier for everyone else.

As you grow, you will continue to face many more challenges. Some of them more serious and grave. Challenges, obstacles, difficult situations. Disappointments, frustration, suffering.

Whenever you come across a difficult situation in your life, whenever you are clouded by self-doubt, uncertainty, whenever you are anxious, or need inspiration and strength, look back and remember these last 3 months. Remember that you fought the battle and won. Realize that you have the necessary strength, ability and skills to win every battle.

And never forget this. You will always be my hero!


Categories: Life | 2 Comments

Daily Bedtime Prayer


Dear Lord,

Thank you for all your blessings.

Everything went as per your will and plan today.

You have used me to deliver to people what they deserve.

In the process, you have also given me what I deserve.

You have blessed me in many ways today:

  1. ____________________
  2. ____________________
  3. ____________________

I may have the opportunity to carry out the following on your behalf tomorrow:

  1. ____________________
  2. ____________________
  3. ____________________

I retire to bed a satisfied person.

I look forward to delivering to people, on your behalf, what they deserve tomorrow.

And, I am ready to receive from you tomorrow, what you think is the best for me.

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Demanding Success


Success does not come for free.

  • Are you aware of the costs you have to pay to get what you desire?
  • Are you willing to pay the price?

If your answer is “NO” to either one of the above, maybe you do not deserve it. Not yet.

What you do not deserve, you cannot demand.

You can only hope for it, pray for it.
You can request, plead, beg; but you cannot demand.
you can borrow, steal, put an act; but you cannot own.

Want to demand what you desire?

Begin by getting to know the costs you would be expected to pay.
Ask an expert. Ask someone who has it.

Happy hunting!!!


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Life: A Game of Soccer


Life is quite like a game of soccer.

You win by scoring goals. Even as you manage to defend a few things.

At the end, if you have scored more than what you have given away, you win.

Sometimes your best effort may not result in a goal. Sometimes your team mates may let you down. And, sometimes your most genuine effort may be disallowed.

But then, sometimes, other’s mistakes may also allow you to score.

The same is true about your defence.

Your best effort may not always ensure effective defence. Some of your lapses may prove costly. Self-goals happen all the time.

And sometimes, you may just not be skilled enough to protect what you are protecting.

But then, the game is never over till the final whistle is blown. The game will present you with opportunities. Be there. Grab them.

You may yet win by scoring more. You may yet win by defending better.

After all, you win if you have scored more than what you have given away.

So, play well. Score more. Defend better. Win.

And, do enjoy the game.


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2012: A Year in Review

2012 came. And is leaving. Looks like it all happened in a flash. What did I achieve during the year? Not many pleasing answers I can present!

The year began for me with a relaxing trip to Bangalore and Hosur. Trips to Chennai featured as usual, lots of joyful occasions and happy gatherings. But trips to Vizag and Tirupathi remained elusive. Looks like that is how it will be in the first half of 2013 too.

The year saw Nimal graduating from pre-primary to primary at school, and become a hard-core fan of Chota Bheem. He has also developed a liking for Horrid Henry, Roll No. 21, Oggy, Mighty Raju, and god knows what else!

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2012 saw Pranab becoming President of India. Obama and Modi were voted back to power. Akilesh emerged the shrewdest among the young guns. Arvind Kejriwal established the Aam Aadmi Party. Mamta left UPA. And, Arnab Goswami was busy, as usual.

2012 also saw Ajmal Kasab’s sentence being carried out.

The year witnessed lots of protests. From those against corruption in the beginning of the year, to the ongoing ones seeking more stringent punishments for rapists. Anna, Arvind, BRD lead popular protests. Honestly though, I failed to relate with many of them.

India will not forget Nirbhaya. And the world will not forget Malala.

The year also saw some interesting events take place in India on the ‘social media’ front. Few arrests were made in relation to tweets and facebook status updates, leading to public outrage and wide scale discussions on Sec. 66A of IT Act. Events like arrest of a Pondicherry man for his tweets against Karti Chidambaram and arrest of two girls near Mumbai for a facebook status update in relation to Balasab’s funeral will hardly be forgotten soon.

But not everything changed in 2012. Uncertainty over Telangana, inflation, power cuts, meaningless debates on television – few things hardly changed.

The year saw Ratan Tata stepping down and handing over the reins to Cyrus Mistry. Kingfisher Airlines kept journeying from one crisis to another. Yet, surprisingly, it is still surviving.

Bal Thackeray, Rajesh Khanna, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Neil Armstrong, Mehdi Hassan, Vergherse ‘Amul’ Kurien, Whitney Houston, Tony Greig, Jaspal Bhatti, Yash Chopra, Joy Mukherjee, Dara Singh, AK Hangal…. The list of celebrities and inspiring personalities who departed in 2012 is staggering.

2012 was a year that every Indian cricket fan would like to forget. The drubbing at the hands of England was followed by a 0-4 loss to Australia, and then, more shamefully and painfully, a 1-2 home series defeat at the hands of England. Yes, England. The year saw Ponting, Dravid, and VVS retire from international cricket, and Hussey announcing his retirement.

2012 saw SRT making his 100th international 100. He also debuted in Parliament, and retired from ODIs. West Indies won the World T20, and in the IPL, DC became ‘Sun Risers’.

India’s best performance in Olympic Games was soon followed by IOA getting banned. IPL style Hockey League was launched. Saina came up with some good performances. And, Vishy Anand retained his World Champion title, winning it for the 5th time after beating Boris Gelfand.

Spain won Euro 2012, beating Italy in the finals. Amazing achievement by them – to win Euro 2008, WC 2010 and now, the Euro 2012. Lance Armstrong fell from grace. Men’s tennis saw 4 different grand slam winners in 2012. And, Andy Murray capped it with an Olympic Gold. On the women’s end, Serena won 2 Grand Slams and the Olympic Gold. Indians will be glad to remember that Mahesh and Sania won the French Open Mixed Doubles this year.

2012 saw Saifeena and Vidya Balan getting married. Many interesting movie releases this year. Some that I wanted to see (but failed to, as usual) were Paan Singh Tomar, Talaash, The Dark Knight Rises, and Life of Pi. Among the few that I saw, enjoyed English Vinglish. Needless to say, it was Sridevi who made the difference!

And, finally, if 2011 was about Kolaveri, 2012 was all about Gangnam. Interesting video, amazing steps. I, like many others, just loved it. Now, waiting for an Indian version of it in some movie!

2012 – an interesting year, that got over very quickly. A year that, even if it may not have brought much joy to many, didn’t particularly harm anyone close to me. And that surely is a blessing.

Well, those were just a few impressions that 2012 left on a mango man in a banana republic.

Theek Hai ?!!

Categories: Life | 2 Comments

The Shepherd Twins

The two shepherd boys were twins. The flock though, hardly realized that.

They were very skilled and experienced. They had to lead the flock to pastures, prevent them from going astray, and then bring them back in the evening. Routine, yet responsible tasks.

Their day always began early. They worked hard. The Lord was their master, but they took their orders from Destiny. Committed servants, that they were, they always carried out their orders to perfection.

They were bound by a code. A code that they never violated. A code that prevented one from interfering when the other was dealing with things. This meant that where one was around, the other was not to be seen. The sheep though, were free to be close to anyone of them.

They shared common bonds and some similarities. Yet, they were very different. In fact, quite the opposite in most things. They approached things differently. One appeared kind, and the other, harsh. Even while both were striving only to ensure that the sheep don’t go astray. Difference in methods, but similarity in purpose.

The sheep though, wouldn’t understand this. They didn’t realize that the guys were around only to protect them. And for some reason, they all loved the younger one. The one who was soft, mild, and lead them, rather than the elder one, who pushed them from behind. Little did they realize that the purpose of both were the same.

Over a period of time all the sheep wanted to be close only to the younger one. They started to avoid the elder one. And when the younger one was not around, they tried to run away from the elder. In the process, travelling to forbidden territory, endangering themselves. They didn’t realize that the elder one, as much as the younger one, was there only to guide them and protect them.

For the twins though, how the sheep saw them was immaterial. They had a task on hand, and they were committed to carrying it out. They complimented each other and between them, it didn’t matter who was in-charge at a particular moment. They divided the work among themselves, tending to some sections of the herd randomly.

Their commitment meant that, by-and-large, the herd remained safe. Some that strayed trying to avoid the elder one paid the price. Some were lucky to come back and join the herd even without realizing the risk that they had exposed themselves too.

The twin’s commendable job made them notable. Scholars preached about how their approach was laudable and how others had so many things to learn from them. But they carried on with their lives unassumingly. Inspirational they are, the shepherd twins from the Ness family, tending the herd of humanity. The younger one is named Happy Ness, and elder one Sad Ness.

Haven’t you come across them yet?

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Demystifying The Tamil Calendar – Thidhis and Festivals


Continued from Part 1

Thidhi – How to track anniversaries?

Leaving aside technical calculations, we can understand generally that the 14 days between every Amavasya and Pournami, and vice-versa, are divided into 14 thidhis. They are as follows:

  1. Pradamai (First day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  2. Dvithiai (Second day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  3. Trithiai (Third day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  4. Chaturthi (Fourth day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  5. Panchami (Fifth day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  6. Shashti (Sixth day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  7. Sapthami (Seventh day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  8. Ashtami (Eighth day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  9. Navami (Nineth day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  10. Dasami (Tenth day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  11. Ekadasi (Eleventh day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  12. Dvadasi (Twelfth day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  13. Triyodasi (Thirteenth day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  14. Chaturdasi (Fourteenth day after Amavasya/Pournami)

The period from Amavasya to Pournami is referred to as Valar Pirai or Shukla Paksham. ‘Valar’ roughly translates ‘to grow’. It indicates that during the period the moon ‘grows’ in size.

The period from Pournami to Amavasya is refered to as Thei Pirai or Krishna Paksam. ‘Thei’ roughly translates to ‘erode’ in tamil. It indicates that during the period the moon diminishes in size.

To arrive on a date based on thidhi, we need the month, the paksham or the pirai, and the thidhi. For eg., Akshaya Trithiai is celebrated every year on ‘Panguni month’, ‘Valar Pirai or Shukla Paksham’ and ‘Trithiai’ thidhi.

Srardhams (death anniversaries) are marked on the basis of thidhi and not on the basis of star. Thus while for calculating the birthdays we use month and star, for calculating death anniversaries we use thidhis.

Special Days

A few days of the month that are considered special are as follows:




Sankatahara Chaturthi Chaturthi of Thei Pirai every month. Lord Ganesha is worshiped on this day.
Pradosham Triyodasi – twice every month [The period when Dvadasi ends and Triyodasi begins]. Lord Siva and Parvathi are worshiped on this day. If it falls on a Saturday, it is called Sani Pradosham.
Sivarathri Generally, the night of Chaturdasi during Thei Pirai every month. Lord Siva is worshiped on this day. If Chaturdasi lasts for less than 6 hours during the night, the previous night i.e., the night of Triyodasi, is marked as Sivarathri.


Some common festivals are marked as below:




Pongal/Sankranthi 1st day of Thai month
Ratha Sapthami Thai/Maasi – Valar Pirai – Sapthami Sapthami after Thai Amavasya
Bhisma Ekadasi Thai/Maasi – Valar Pirai – Ekadasi Ekadasi after Thai Amavasya. Considered to be the day on which Bhisma revealed Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram to the Pandavas
Maha Sivarathri Maasi – Sivarathri Sivarathri in the month of Maasi
Karadayan Nombhu 1st day of Panguni month Festival similar to Karva Chauth where married women fast for well-being of their husbands, and unmarried women seek blessings for a suitable groom
Ramanavami Panguni/Chithirai -Valar Pirai-Navami Valar Pirai Navami after Panguni Amavasya. Considered to be the birthday of Lord Rama.
Tamil New Year 1st day of Chitirai month
Akshaya Trithiai Chitirai-Valar Pirai-Trithiai Considered to be the birthday of Lord Parsurama, and the day on which Veda Vyasa and Lord Ganesha began writing Mahabharata. It is considered auspicious to buy gold on this day.
Sankara Jayanthi Chitirai/Vaigasi-Valar Pirai-Panchami Valar Pirai Panchami after Chitirai Amavasya. Considered to be the birthday of Adi Sankara.
Chitra Pournami Pournami of Chitirai month Considered to be the birthday of Chitraguptan.
Mahalayam Starts from Purataasi Pournami, ends on the next Amavasya called the Mahalaya Amavasya It is believed that one’s forefathers come to down to earth during the period.
Navarathri Starts from the day after Mahalaya Amavasya
Saraswathi Puja Navami Thidhi of Navarathri
Dussera/Vijaya Dasami Dasami Thidhi of Navarathri Vijaya Dasami marks the slaying of Mahishasura by Goddess Durga. Also considered to be the day when Lord Rama killed Ravana. The day is considered to be auspicious for starting a new venture or business or commercial activity.
Diwali First Amavasya after Dussera Considered to be the day when Lord Rama and Sita return to Ayodhya after van-vaas. It is also celebrated as the day on which the demon Narakasura was slayed by Lord Krishna and Satyabhama.
Vaikunta Ekadasi Margazhi-Valar Pirai-Ekadasi Considered to be the auspicious day when ‘Vaikunta Dwaram’ is opened for devotees.
Koodaravalli 27th day of Margazhi It is considered that after 27 days, Andal’s fast came to an end on this day. The only thing I know about this day is ‘Akkaravadisal’ is prepared and served on this day!

The above are only a few of our main festivals. There are many not included here because I haven’t yet understood them. I will try to keep updating as many as I can. Meanwhile, if you find anything here needs correction, please feel free to let me know.

As mentioned earlier, the above post is only for beginners like me who have no understanding of what the Tamil calendar is about. Hence, the information here is mostly simplified and devoid of technicalities. Should one look deeper, one would find that everything is based on a lot of technical calculations. For those interested in knowing more, there are a plenty of material available online.

Hoping that this post would have given you some basic introduction to the fundamentals of the Tamil calendar!

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