About Me

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If I can just give to the world more than I take from it, I will be a very happy man. For there is no greater joy in life than to give. Motto : Live, Laugh and Love. You can follow me on Twitter too . My handle is @Raja_Sw.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Life's like that!

Even by the standards of his terrible job, the day had been bad.

It had started with his car breaking down on the way to work. It was then he realized that his phone battery was also dead. By the time he finally managed to get in to work, it was as if all hell had broken loose. 

A critical server had crashed. Thanks to his company’s belt-tightening efforts, the backup server, never used operationally until now, was nowhere close to being capable of handling the load now expected of it, rendering it practically unusable. His colleague had decided to call in sick that day – leaving him now to deal with the problem. In other words, fix it.

John, his boss, was in no mood for explanations. “Fix it – then we’ll talk!” he barked at Mike.

Mike didn’t say a word. Getting straight down to business, two hours later, after a lot of searching and testing and rebooting,  voila – the server was up and running again. They were back in business.

John's cabin. NOW.” came the terse message from John’s secretary.

“It is ok now, John” Mike said, as he entered John's cabin.

“What’s ok? Four hours! FOUR hours we’ve lost today. Do you have ANY idea what that means? Do you know how many orders we’ve lost? How many customers we may have lost? Do you know how difficult it is to retain ONE customer nowadays?”

“Sorry...I did the best I could. It was quite a complicated problem. The system directory…”

“Spare me the details. You walk in one hour late, we can’t get you on the phone – who do you think you are?”

“Sorry, my car broke down. And my phone died too. I didn’t know Jim wouldn’t be in today. Anyway, it’s working now. We really should be getting a faster backup server, John”.

“Sure, why don’t we just get it out of your salary?”

Mike went silent.

“What are you doing still standing here? Have you finished that network configuration schematic that I asked you to work on? I want to see it by end of day today on my desk.”

Mike returned to his desk. The day was only half over but he was already feeling very tired. Oh, how he hated this job! But he needed it. He needed the money. Not for himself, but for his daughter.

Mira. His ten-year old. She’d been five when her mother had died in a fire accident in front of her eyes. She hadn’t spoken a word since.

He’d shown her to every doctor he could. “It’s a trauma case. We can try – but no guarantees”.

 And they’d tried. Without result.

He’d finally taken her to Chicago. A friend had suggested this speciality clinic there. Not very well-known but apparently it had shown some good results for similar cases. It was over a thousand miles away – but he was willing to try ANYTHING.

 “No guarantees, Mr. Wilson” the doctor had said “but we’ll try our best. You can leave her in our care.”

It was expensive – and insurance covered only a fraction of the costs – but it didn’t matter. Mira was all he had. Money was no object.

He’d call up the clinic every week. “We’re working on it” is all they’d say.

The phone rang.

He was in no mood to pick it up. It went to voice mail. “Mr. Wilson, this is Dr. Adams from…”.

He grabbed the receiver.

“Yes, Doctor?”

“Mr. Wilson, somebody wants to speak to you”.


He froze.


He couldn’t speak. Tears were flowing down his eyes.

He covered his eyes with his hand.

Nothing, NOTHING, could spoil his day now.

(Pic courtesy morguefile).

This post is written as part of the writetribe  initiative. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

7 x 7 x 7 x 7

 Here's the latest blogging assignment.

1.       Grab the 7th book from your bookshelf.
2.      Open it up to page 7.
3.      Pinpoint the 7th sentence on the page.
4.      Begin a poem/a piece of prose that begins with that sentence
5.      Limit it in length to 7 lines/7 sentences.

 So here goes. 

Text from A Pelican at Blandings – PG Wodehouse

Looking at Vanessa Polk, one could easily imagine her being kind to people, whether on or off ocean liners, for her warmth and geniality were obvious at a glance. Where Lady Constance had winced at the sight of Lord Emsworth like a Greek goddess finding a caterpillar in her salad, she smiled upon him as if their meeting was something to which she had been looking forward for years. It was a wide, charming, smile and it brought about a marked improvement in his morale. He felt, as so many did when smiled upon by Vanessa Polk, that he had found a friend.

‘How do you do?’ he said with a cordiality of which a short while before he would not have been capable. Then, remembering a good one, he added ‘Welcome to Blandings Castle. Tomorrow’ he said ‘I must show you my pig’. It was not an invitation he often extended to female visitors, for experience had taught him that the Empress was wasted on their shallow minds but here, he saw, was one worthy of the privilege. ‘Are you fond of pigs?’

 So here are my 7 lines:

Tomorrow, he said, I must show you my pig
All of Blandings, Ma’am, hath not one so big
Majestic is she, three hundred kilos and more
Outwardly tough, heart soft to the core
No ordinary pig, no, an Empress is she
A sight to behold, a joy for all to see

So Ma’am, er, are you fond of pigs?

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Why I write

There is this bloggers’ initiative that I’ve recently started participating in. Every week a topic is given to participating bloggers – they need to write a blogpost on the topic.

This week the topic is “Why I write”.

So here goes.

I must start by saying I’ve never thought about this – and wouldn’t have, even now, if I hadn’t been prompted to do so.

I guess there are a few reasons I write.

1) My need to dump my thoughts onto SOME platform
Those who know me will vouch for the fact that there are some subjects that I am rather passionately interested in. Subjects that I follow on a daily basis. Like politics and current affairs. Social issues.  Films. Music. Sports, especially cricket.  And economics too (the practical side of it), though I don’t claim to understand much of what I read.

Anyway, I spend a lot of time reading on these topics. And formulating my own thoughts and opinions based on what I read and hear.

If all these thoughts / opinions remained only in my head, I think I’d go crazy. :-) I want to share them with others. Hear their points of view. Or, at the very least, get these thoughts out of my system.

Now, different people have different ways of expressing their thoughts – an artist might do it through a painting, a sculptor might do it through his sculptures, a cartoonist might do it through his cartoons. Since I sadly possess none of these skills, the route I have chosen is through the written word.

So that is one of the main reasons I write.

Note that the platform for dumping my thoughts is pretty random. It depends on what those thoughts are – and the level of detail. If it’s just a few lines, it usually ends up on Facebook or Twitter. Sometimes, I do decide to post it on my blog.  Sometimes, I just dump my thoughts on a Word document – and leave them there. And some thoughts don’t get dumped at all – they just die in my head.

My frame of mind often determines the format. Sometimes I think in poetry, sometimes in prose. But most importantly, once I’ve got my thoughts put down (in whatever format or platform), it feels good to have it out of my system.

2) Writing helps organize my thoughts
Another reason I write is that my thoughts tend to get better organized when I put them down in writing. This is something that I realized early on in life - in my school/college days. I’d read something, I’d think I understood it well enough – but then I’d try to put it down in writing, in my own words. And then realize that I hadn’t quite understood it as well as I thought I had. And I hated not understanding things.

So it became a habit for me to try to write down my thoughts. It was often a test of how much I knew and understood. And if I couldn’t write them down, I knew I was fooling myself.

This habit got into my work life too. Often I’d have meetings where we’d discuss a whole lot of things, often in a chaotic manner. At the end of it, I’d feel the only way to make some sense of it all would be to write down what was discussed.

So, for my own satisfaction, often right after the meeting, regardless of whether official minutes were being taken by anybody else or not, I’d make a “meeting recap” for myself. Point by point, with action points of who/what/when. I’d distribute it to the other attendees – who would then validate my understanding. But importantly, I felt comfortable and satisfied only when I made this recap. Often this recap would end up being treated as the official minutes of the meeting.

3) Have it in writing
Another reason I write is that my memory is rather poor (I know some people will disagree with my saying this, but it is true). 

I was once in a parking lot, staring at a whole lot of cars not knowing which one was mine. And that, when I'd been having that car for years! :-) I sometimes think I'm lucky that when I go out somewhere I manage to come back to my own home, instead of knocking on somebody else's door!

So I often write things down to remind myself. I know this isn’t “writing” in the sense of writing an article or a blogpost (as was probably intended by this writing prompt) but it still has to do with the written word.

Talking of the written word – and following from the above point about a poor memory - I must say I like written confirmation of verbal assurances. Whether given TO me, or BY me. If something is in writing, it leaves less scope for misunderstandings as people tend to think more about saying something in writing, than just verbally.

4) Longevity of the written word
Another reason I like writing is that there is a sense of longevity about it. The spoken word is nice, but it is here this moment, gone the next. The written word is there seemingly for eternity.

For example, if we look at scriptures or the holy texts or anything that has survived several generations over hundreds, or even thousands, of years, we find that much of all this still survives because, at some point in time, these were put down in writing. That which has been passed by word of mouth, from generation to generation, is more prone to adaptation and interpretation by the concerned persons, with consequent dilution of content.

And I’m not talking only about the Bible or Shakespeare’s works. There’s much to be said in favor of the written word. My father passed away a few years ago – I remember fondly some of the things he used to talk to me about. But what I have, as part of his legacy, are some letters he wrote to me at various points in time. Sometimes about mundane matters – but written with utmost love and affection, in his own, very good, handwriting. He is physically not here anymore – but his letters are. And they are part of my treasured possessions.

So this is an important reason I like to write. Not that I am leaving a legacy of any sort with what I write – but at least my thoughts do not remain only in my head. One day we all have to die – and when I do, hopefully my blog will still be around to let people (especially my family and friends) have some idea of my thoughts at a particular point in time, should they be interested at all.

Of course there is increasingly the other option – the video blog (or the vlog, as it is sometimes called). I have not tried it yet – and I think I might try it sometime – but I doubt it will replace my penchant for writing out my thoughts.

5) Love for writing
I think this might really be at the crux of it all. All the above reasons are valid reasons, no doubt, but at the heart of why I write is probably the heart itself. And that heart clearly has a love for writing.
If I didn’t love writing, it would be a chore. And it most certainly isn’t. Even when I’m writing rubbish (and that’s, more often than not, the case), the process of churning out this rubbish is quite enjoyable. And I’d say, even therapeutic. Which is also the reason why, even if there isn’t one person in this world who reads what I write, it doesn’t really matter.

As with most things one truly loves, the destination isn’t always the most important thing, sometimes the journey itself is.

For me, I guess it’s the same with writing.