Ootacamund – Go Heritage Run

May 29, 5:30am – 10am,

Ootacamund, Tamil Nadu

fresh cold of breeze, leaving me with goosebumps.

as we drove along the tiny lanes of ootacamund to reach the beautiful destination – lovedale school.

at 7am, we started a run, that will be etched in my thoughts, for the beautiful memories i made.

15kms covering sheer beauty,
for nature is par above us.

the flowers, the trail, the trees, the wet grass, the street dogs that looked well kept, the hills, the tiny roads.

the continuous breeze, the eucalyptus smell, the wet mud, the clouds.

the view of tiny colourful houses presented like a step cultivation.

the fellow runners – kids, loners, lovers, friends, couples, families.

there was beauty in every little thing.

and, most importantly, myself, my thoughts about a lot of new things. learning and discovering myself, for this was really “my time”.

grateful for the magical experience, for i only felt ecstatic and blissful throughout this journey.

thank you Go Heritage Run – Ooty team, it’s volunteers and my friends – Karthik Natarajan, Ashwanth Kumar and everyone else (you all know who you are), who made this possible for me.

Week 16: Simple things in life

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You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.

– Swami Vivekananda

I feel very insignificant to share my views on this, but, somewhere one has to reflect their thoughts, right?

The simplest things in life is ‘To be’. As I type this, I am aware that, I have gotten this as a concept. But, in reality, this moment occurs only now and then.

Yet, I am extremely grateful that I could experience moments such as this, that too in an aware state of mind.

I hope that, this becomes a way of life, for me.

Tataastu.

Humbling experiences in dark

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We, normal human beings, have taken life so much for granted. Why do I say so? Because, little do we realize the power of our senses. Having said that, please think about this – when was the last time, we were aware of all our senses?

Here’s my attempt to express what I experienced today.

We entered a pitch dark room. [What followed thereafter was simply beautiful. And, I haven’t felt this good in a very long time.] A voice resonated and gave us a set of instructions from time to time. It wasn’t easy in the beginning until we began to trust this voice and perform all the tasks that were given to us.

This experience lasted about 40 minutes. And, towards the end of this, we realised that the voice belonged to Robin, who is visually challenged, but in no way less than us normal mortals.

Personally, I realised how much I had taken my sensory organs for granted. And, the tiny conversation I had with him made me feel that ‘there is always a way if we are willing to make things work’. They don’t need our sympathies. They just need to be treated equal.

This experience / simulation is a concept by Dialogue In the Dark. I request everyone to look up for this place and visit it whenever possible.

For fellow Indians, more details of the concept and locations are available with this link – http://www.dialogueinthedarkindia.com/exhibiti…/concept.html

Week 14: A talent you have

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.
– Albert Einstein

This is mostly me in a nutshell. I am very aware of my musical abilities and understand that I have been blessed with a voice that can move and produce some good sound. You could call me a singer, for this description 😉

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But, to talk about a talent I have, hmm, I believe I am very very curious, to know and learn about a lot of things. Even in cases, where the subject sparked least or no interest in me. And, I uncovered this reality, only when I remained fascinated about everything around me – especially to understand the potential of human beings and talent / skills they persevered.

Over the course of time, I did juggle and explore things like writing (yes, all the stuff you’re reading right now), playing the violin, perspective drawing, clay modelling, quilling papers, jewelry making, clicking photographs, producing a movie, story telling, concert performances, learning languages, sudoku puzzles, crossword challenges, poetry, composing to name a few. (oh yes, I am not at all modest here!)

Throughout my explorations, I found myself to grow more and more inquisitive. It also gave rise to a thought on how many such untouched areas of talent or skills that exist around us. And, we seldom acknowledge and understand, how this one life is just not enough to simply learn about these possibilities 🙂

Week 10: List 5 things you like about you

This blog topic is tricky. But, come on. What’s the big deal about self-love?

“If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.”
― Charles Bukowski

Like, one of my friends, mentioned to me the other day, we all spend most of our life’s time with our own self.

In that context, it is imperative that I enjoy being with myself and appreciate the goodness in me.

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So, jumping straight to the list of things I like about myself.

  1. Learning:
    At any given point in time, I have observed and acknowledged that I always enjoy learning, in its truest sense. I strive to learn from my respective gurus / mentors. I also learn through my interaction with people, belonging to various groups.
  2. Trust:
    I like how I am wired to trust anyone and everyone without any prejudices. I give everyone, a fair number of chances. When things don’t work their way, I get, that it’s time to let them be. I like that, I have learnt through time, to pick myself up and move on.
  3. Time:
    I do juggle between work, family, friends and my own goals. I definitely like how I am able manage time for all these things. But, truth said, the folks in my life are extremely supportive and make this happen for me, seamlessly.
  4. Communicate:
    With life experiences, I have learnt to communicate well. I like that, I can clearly state what I have to say or what I feel. Again, a lot of people at various instances have made me this person I am today.
  5. Enthusiasm:
    For those of you, who know me well, you’d instantly agree on how crazy I am. I like that, I can almost laugh out loud on anything and everything. I hold a child-like enthusiasm which lets me explore, travel places, experiment on things, stay raw and radiate within.

The ‘hope’ run

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Today’s run was extremely special for many reasons.

This was my first run with The Wipro Chennai Marathon.

I’d signed up for a 10k. And, I was not at all motivated to run this morning, for many many reasons.

But, then, running is not just a physical pursuit but a mind game as well. I told myself, that I am not quitting and would participate. I labelled it as ‘Hope’ run in my head and reached the start point.

Through my run, I felt humanity, for others and myself.

I rediscovered myself through this journey.

It was a run where I sweated out all my negativity, insecurities, doubts, unpleasantness and everything that would not help me progress.

And, for the stats, I completed the run at an average speed of 6.31 kmph, which is by far my best.

I took 01:20:46 duration to complete the entire run.

P.S: I’d like to record my gratitude to all the amazing coaches at The Quad, especially Raj Ganpath for being an inspiration!

Also, Meera Sundar, Prasanna Kumar, Karthik Natarajan: Today’s run is dedicated to you folks! 🙂

‪#‎TWCM2015‬ was conducted today i.e. Jan 31 2016, to celebrate the spirit of Chennai, that suffered rain floods in Dec 2015.

Hampi – run, travel, food and all of that!

 

 

Hampi Heritage Run was announced and it was around mid December, that I decided to register for a Half Marathon. Little I knew about Hampi, but after experiencing this beautiful place in the last 3 days, I assure, it’s a place worth visiting multiple times.

The breathtaking Hampi, the huge boulders, temples that were constructed atleast 1000 years ago, the scenic views, it’s people, the fellow visitors, food, everyone affected me.

How to get there:

Hampi is closest to Hospet.

I took two trains to reach Hospet [Chennai -> Bengaluru -> Hospet]

How to reach Hampi from Hospet:

Hampi is about 14kms from Hospet. You could either take an auto that would cost anywhere between Rs 200 – Rs 300 for one way.

Alternatively, take a bus (301, 302) from Hospet bus station. Costs you about Rs 14.

Accommodation at Hampi:

There are plenty of options in Hospet and anything on Station Road is your best bet since its close to railway station and bus station.

I stayed at Amrutha Residency, that costed me about Rs 750 per day. Contact details: +91 8394225225, +919880544559

Places to see in Hampi:

  • Enthrodwaraka Temple
  • Virupaksha Temple
  • Monolithic Bull
  • Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple
  • Kadalekalu Ganesha Temple
  • Chandrasekara Temple
  • Saraswati Temple
  • Narasimha Temple
  • Purandaradasa Mantapa
  • Vamana Temple
  • Vittala Temple
  • Tungabadra river
  • Hanuman Temple (Kishkinta, across Tungabadra River)
  • Laughing Buddha (Kamalapura)
  • Tungabadra Dam (Hosepet)

Food options to explore:

  • Moonlight Restaurant (near Virupaksha Temple)
  • Mangotree Restaurant (near Virupaksha Temple)
  • Andhra Mess (Station Road, Hospet)
  • Udupi Hotel (Station Road, Hospet)
  • Bikaner Sweet Stall (Station Road, Hospet)

P.S. This trip was made possible by some dear friends (Sriram, Bharath, Karthik) and I am extremely grateful for the experience.

Week 4: A family member

I have taken some folks for granted. This includes my family, some of my very close friends.

But, isn’t it how, relationships work?

Lately, I have realized the kind of sacrifice, unconditional love, one person has bestowed, to make my life beautiful, in every aspect.

And yes, there is just one person in this entire universe, who has seen the best and worst of me.

She remained elated, if I listened to her intently and made her proud.

She would gleefully cheer me on, when I was low.

She has been severely bruised with my words, actions at several instances.

She would still wear a smile, even when things were broken for her.

She is one of the smartest, talented, hard working women I know of and probably the nicest person I know of.

She holds a child-like enthusiasm to explore and learn, every single day. 

She’d go out of her way to make life easy for others.

She’s a blessing to everyone around her.

This she is my amma, friend, guru, family and sometimes, my foe.

She adorned several roles such as a daughter, sister, wife, daughter in law, colleague, friend. But, she did best as my mother.

Amma,

I am extremely lucky to have you in my life. And, for all the good things you’ve passed on to me, either through genes or through your actions, words can’t express my gratitude.

P.S: Now that, I had spoken so well about you, can we please fight? 🙂

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In picture: Amma and Appa (taken at Shimla)

 

Music and mostly prolix

Being born and growing up in a musical household meant that, I’d be encouraged to pursue Carnatic music even before I’d speak.

The following quote holds a testament for my upbringing. And, I am beginning to realize what a blessing it is to have lived life this way.

Music is there to enrich your life and make you aware of things in a slightly different way. ~Andrew Eldritch

Everyday, I was either made to listen to live concerts of reputed musicians, or listen to recordings from several tapes / radio relaying concerts of yesteryear musicians. My thatha (grandfather), my guru, Sri Thirupoonthuruthy Venkatesan would ensure that I paid attention to every little nuance and absorbed as much as I can. I reminisce these listening sessions with him which included Alathur Brothers’s (who were thatha’s gurus) ‘EmA Ni Ne’ in Mukhari, GNB’s ‘Manasuloni’ in Varamu, MLV’s ‘Nannu pAlimpa’ in Mohanam, Semmangudi’s ‘RAma Ni SamAnam evaru’ in Karaharapriya, M S Subbhulakshmi’s ‘SarOja Dala Netri’ in Shankarabaranam and many alike.

Until I turned 15-16, I knew nothing, other than music. I’d simply learn compositions taught by my grandfather, resume to endless hours of practice sessions at home with my amma following up on a day to day basis. 24 hours wasn’t enough but, amma ensured that I utilized every minute of it towards music and only music. Indeed, life was very different back then.

Sometimes, I begin to wonder the amount of things my amma has done, to make me who I am today. She was and is still a working woman. She could have progressed and moved up the career ladder. She chose to take it slow and never wanted to shift base from Chennai. She’d never retire on weekends, she almost single handedly managed home, aging grandparents, me and my erratic music schedules, very diligently. She missed being away from appa. So was appa missing all of us. But, they both made the conscious choice to do this, for me.

While amma was a disciplinarian, appa was liberal in every way. Possibly, because, I am the only daughter and he mostly got little time to spend with me back then. His enthusiasm to learn was infectious. He had an ear for good music and considered himself a fanboy of K V Mahadevan, M S Viswanathan, Ilaiyaraja and in that particular order (in current times, I tried influencing him, but that’s not affected him). He kept traveling on work and whenever he was home, he would narrate his musical influences mostly through story telling. It’s because of him, I got into exploring this side of the musical world (amidst a lot of resistance from amma).

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” ~ Aldous Huxley

I grew up, and suddenly, I preferred silence over music. Which only meant that, I needed a break from this beautiful art, especially in terms of performances. And, maybe, this is part and parcel of a package called life. I got into academics. Was mostly an average student, but worked very hard to catch up with everything that I thought, I missed in the last 18-20 years. I just wanted to stay away from all lime light that music exposed me to. I never quit learning music, but took a break from performing, very consciously.

The last 5 years between 20 and 25 was a phase, where I listened to more music – of all forms. Call me a rebel, call me a fool, call me anything you want. But, this would be one phase that I’d call a liberating one. I listened more to Hindustani Music, Ghazals, Jazz, Metal, Rock, Fusion and to endless genres and forms of this art. I rediscovered myself through this journey.

Today, at 26, I continue to learn from Sumithra akka. She has helped me gain confidence and strength as a person. I see life coming back in full circle.

But, I am still confused, I am still insecure about what I should do, in terms of performances, my contributions for the art and a plethora of things. The battle is between art and art itself. Unless, someone who has gone through the last 26 years from my shoes, I don’t expect anyone to understand this, as well.

For now, I just trust that the art will take care of my being and help me sail through this phase and to a better one, at the earliest.

Through this journey, I had support and empathy from several musicians and I am ever grateful for their presence. You all know who you are.

Week 3: Family

 

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Who gave me life.

Who are reasons to live everyday.

Who have enriched my living.

 

Who gave me an identity.

Who helped me grow.

Who taught me life’s ideals, by their own action.

 

Who let me experience freedom in it’s real sense.

Who see only the best in me and are always encouraging.

Who are my support system.

 

Who would never give up on me.

Who would treat my success and failure equally.

Who know how to make me smile instantly.

 

Who make and break me.

Who get me completely.

Who I know, I can take for granted.

 

Who are simply the best.

And, indeed, I am incredibly blessed.