Fulfillment

Modern civilization focuses a lot on acquiring wealth and enjoying the luxuries of life, simply because it has become easily possible for anyone with a professional degree to tread that path. While wealth and luxury is not anything wrong, there is a portion of life that needs to be looked at.

Fulfillment.

Your heart senses emptiness whenever you do things only for the sake of doing. You feel a drain in Energy and you attribute it to just making your living and say “I am supposed to do this to earn my living”. An article on Lonely planet couple of months back made me to think on this term fulfillment and it took me 2 months to understand it to an extent that I can write it here. The article was about an Italian cook who simply said “If I had the money to live, I will cook for free”.

Would you do what you love to do for free?

A recent episode of “Who wants to be a millionare” equivalent in Tamil aired with Actor Arvindswamy as the game player. He was largely a modest man that none of us knew him about. He made a simple statement towards the end, “Whatever you have or you achieve will rot someday including yourself, what matters is with whatever you have and whatever you are, did you make the best, did you have a fun and fulfilling life?”. Ask yourself and look around what you have. They will all decay someday. So go and make the best use of them right now, Don’t postpone your fun!

Let me point to our modern day problem. People are so mixed into the daily affairs that they fail to differentiate between mundane tasks and fulfilling ones. Here is a surprise for you, Every task that you do has an aspect that can give you fun, even if it is really mundane. For example, my job requires me to do Excel and Powerpoint work. While it may sound boring, it is actually fun when you look at how you can think and put your own formatting and presentation. It is a like creating an art on a canvas, free to do the way you want. The requested data didn’t change, but the paint and brush are mine.

By all means, fun is the one that leads us to fulfillment. When people say this hindi phrase “Mazaa aagaya” (means “Had fun”), it means they loved doing something that striked a chord in their heart and made it quiver and the simple phrase popped out as a form of expressing that. Fun is the simplest and basic form of having fulfillment in life.

Yes, you may ask what about ambition and charity.

Ambition or what people call Aim in life is just to give a serious face paint for the basic and core aspect of necessity – “Fun”. It is mostly influenced by successful people. You can find a hell lot of folks in the world who are influenced deeply by Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and then they formed their “Aim” in their life. What they don’t know is Gates and Jobs had fun in doing what they did and they never really would have thought their ambition was to get here. They may have been lead to this place step by step. So don’t rush yourself as well. Fulfillment is not about ambition. If you want fulfillment then think deep into your childhood. You will know that the things that you do to have fun gives you a good night sleep and pushing yourself for a career and ambition makes you lose sleep. If you slept well, it means  you did something fulfilling. Fulfillment is larger and beyond than Ambition.

What about charity? If you do this because you have extra money it is meaningless. But if you are able to sense someone in need and provide them with that, without a need to be recognized for your name to appear in a placard, that would give you happiness. This is also actually a kind of fun because it excites in a way for just doing it and not expecting anything in return. You just did it and you did it purely from your own will with absolutely no influence from others and also not because you got some extra cash this month. This is fulfillment, otherwise it is just a celebrity show off.

My friends, all these days, every single one of us have been looking for nothing but Fulfillment and giving several names to it. Some are after ambition, some think charity, some think family, some think career aspirations. At the end, none of them alone will purely give you any permanent fulfillment. The permanent fulfillment is only in the way you see and handle your life. Whatever you do, it has a serious aspect and a fun aspect. The fun aspect gives you fulfillment while the serious aspect keeps you straight and focussed. Both are needed and if you can direct serious aspects to your brain and let the heart see the fun, you will have a fulfilling life in whatever you do. You will not go after fulfillment once you begin to see this. I hope I made some sense.

Have a fun and fulfilling life.

English speaking Country

India is my beloved English speaking country. Whether people know the language or not, English is a fashionable language for Marketing and publicity. It is not that English was force fed during the British rule, but it was more of an evolutionary adaptation by people of India to cut across various cultures when Hindi is not enough for everyone. English has become so important for us that people of all economic background are fond of using it.

I am more fascinated by how the mass population who are not expected to be good in English, love to use it for tail stickers and small sign boards. You can find them in the back of the Autorickshaws, Trucks, Water tankers etc., I do not mean to undermine their efforts to express in the language that is alien to them, but I would rather go to the length of appreciating their work because, they have no fear and nothing to lose by making Typos and that they are doing something out of their comfort zone without worrying about some stupid blogger who might write a few lines or so from their slogans.

Here are some I enjoyed around Bangalore.

Cashmir pashmina shawls – Perhaps, he took only “Cash” for Kashmir Shawls.

Bretainiya Spread – We are honest. We will write it ourself even if we are wrong even though it may be there as Britannia on the Box in the shelf. (I hope I got the number of “t” and “n” correctly myself !)

Puncher Shop – You can go to this shop to get punched. Price may vary by preferred anatomical location.

Vegitabil Superfasht – Just to let you know that This is a super fast truck carrying fresh Vegetables, which can take its own sweet time on an inclined highway blocking your Audi or BMW in the back. Atleast it did so to my small car on the Krishnagiri highway.

Do not Falow me, I am sunami, Sound OK Horan – I had a hard time typing this one with Auto correct on!

And the latest I saw shows you clear cut steps on how to save your country.

“DEAR CUSTEMER USE PAKING BAG 2 ONLY CHILLY, BEANS, TOMATO, {S}ONION, BENDY, GRAPES & 2 SMALL ITEAM, PLEASE TRY TO AVOIDE PLASTIC BAG & SAVE COUNTRY”

Let me clarify what “BENDY” is. Bendy is Ladies finger (UK Version) a.k.a Okra (for my American friends). It is pronounced as Bhendi in Hindi. I have no clue what {S} is doing here!

So, what funny tail slogans did you see in India? Share it here!

Time

Time is not the clock. Clock is used to measure the time with numbers. Year, Month, Date, Hour, Minute, Second give us a certain feel that time had a start and definitely there will be an end. But we neither know the start nor the end. Time as such is just an experience of our life externally and a corresponding feeling of that situation internally. The experience of life keeps changing but it is repetitive. Perhaps Time is cyclical. Think about it, everything is cyclic – Day and night, the 4 seasons year after year.

If time was linear, the Earth would have been on a clean long endless straight super highway with no traffic jams and all our clocks would have been an infinitely long inch tapes instead of circular devices. So what makes time look linear. Our age. Our body ages linearly with cycles of time. Our experiences mature as we move along several cycles of time. Our response to the external forces are different each time based on our past.

If Time was not cyclical, we may never have the same or similar opportunity again in our life. We might as well live a life of repentance and guilt for our committed mistakes and never redeem ourself. It will be depressing and hopeless. Time will test you in cycles and time will give you the luxuries of life and take away in cycles, good and bad all of it in cycles. What will matter will be our reaction to the same or similar looking situation again. If God meant for you to learn empathy, you will be faced with that situation again and again until your perspective of the person is altered.

If time was really linear, we wouldn’t have to do the same thing over and over again. Same breakfast, lunch, dinner over and over again in cycle. Work, Money, Hobby, Vacation in cycles. Hindu belief is this cycle extends to birth and death, incarnations after incarnations.

So if Time really worked in cycles then is there a point in our life where one cycle ends and another cycle begins? Is this a point of hyper jump when we can slip out of the never ending Time cycle into another dimension where time comes to a standstill and we simply exist in harmony for ever without the need for anything in life, without even feeling the compulsion of the passing time? Is that the real freedom? Is that a hidden dimension we have glimpses of once a while without our knowledge and get pushed back into the cyclical Time to face our weaknesses and continue our learning. Do the events like Mahasivarathiri, contain these points of hyper jump?

Where do I begin? Where do I end? What time it really is? and What really is Time?

Only Time can tell!

Pain

No Pain, No Gain. This is one of those universal Mantras. But what is the level of pain that one can tolerate before we break down. Sadly, we find out the limits only after we break down, when it is too late.

Let’s briefly classify the causes of pain as known and unknown.

Pain can come to us in any forms. One of it can be from a stressful day at work, or over stimulating by watching too much TV, overeating or generally overdoing something. But since these kind of pains are known to us, It is possible to regulate them. But think of the pain that can be caused by unknown factors, a death of a loved one, an accident, an unexpected long day at work. These can be some of the unknown causes which we cannot control.

Pain is inevitable in life. Anything and everything in this world would ultimately lead to some form of pain. Even as I type this, my fingers would pain a little after I finish. But that didn’t stop me from typing because my objective of experiencing this pain is so that I can express something useful to the world. Pain is not all bad then. The key to pain, is channelizing it for the right purpose. We have no right to cause pain to others, but if we can give a little bit of pain as a medicine to others, for their own development then it is not wrong at all. For example, if you want to teach a student on a particular subject, you can give him an assignment which would pain him to search through materials, collect the points and format it into an assignment. That pain for that student is necessary for his development.

So what is bad about Pain then, if pain is anyway inevitable?

There comes a point in life where we get blinded by selfish motives that we are not even aware that we are causing pain to others. We may ourselves be experiencing some pain and we would simply be subjecting others to that pain, in a sadistic way. That is unwanted pain. Pain that you would cause to a lot of people to satisfy your ulterior motives, your childish, selfish and perhaps egoistic motives.

One way to solve this problem is to become aware of the consequences of your action just like how you would predict the chess moves. There is pain in everything, but why should we become the cause of the pain to others and to even ourselves, when that pain is not developmental in nature. When you become aware of the consequences of your action and when you determine that there is unwanted pain in it, ask yourselves why would you still want to perform that action?

When there is no unwanted pain in this world, there will be real world peace.

Vishwaroopam

Kamal Hassan is a creative and intelligent artist with a large ego. I am a fan of his more humble counterpart and his friend, Rajinikanth. But Kamal Hassan is supposed to be this way. He is one of the very few artists that India has produced who has been keeping up with the recent trends in technologies and happenings around the world to make his movie appealing and of fine quality. He is one of those film makers who can test the limits of audience acceptance right from the science fiction spy action thriller Vikram, which was released at the wrong time to a bewildered audience  till Viswaroopam which merely portrays the story with a bit of recent history in the background.

After a completely dissatisfying experience from a 10 times egoistic Dasavatharam, I expected the least from Viswaroopam. The trailers showed a glimpse of what may be and the protests and ban fueled my curiosity to watch the movie. I would have watched it anyway but the drama that unfolded in the news over the movie’s concerns from a political group only increased my curiosity to watch.

Viswaroopam was unlike any of Kamal’s earlier movies but you can definitely see how Kamal blends the scenes as he has done before, with the right amount of thrill, story flow, dialogues, humor and continuity of the movie. The drama and intensity of the story is kept intact as you would follow the movie closely with every scene, trying to connect, a characteristic of any Hollywood action thriller. Thank god there are no dampening songs which may be why he chose Shankar Ehsaan Loy to just score the background soundtrack focussing only on the close knit screen play.

It is of no doubt that he has chosen the highest quality technicals in visuals and sound, which makes it a must to watch on big screen. It would be useless to watch it from a pirated copy or even DTH and cannot be enjoyed fully. If Kamal is any wise of a businessman which he has proved time and again, I would see him release the blu ray copy (perhaps the uncut version) right around the corner when he plans his Part 2 release. May be he can go further by releasing a HD digital copy of the movie in iTunes. But honestly I don’t know what this movie will keep after 7 cuts and a few mutes for the folks in Tamil nadu. It may also be a warning sign for other states folks to watch it before they may make these cuts spread to the other states as well.

As with all Kamal movies, in the objective of glorifying the character that Kamal plays the other characters become perceived a bit shallow, except the villain of course. I was left to feel in the end that this movie may not need a second part and may have been finished utilizing the space of certain draggy second half scenes. It could have helped the pace of the screenplay as well. But nevertheless I am now curious to see part 2 and hope he releases it within a couple of months.

Viswaroopam. Thrills.

Kadal

The story of Good conquering evil is perhaps the easiest and most traditional of the stories to tell. But portraying the depth and intensity of the Devil that arises out of deprivation and desperation is not something that is usually told. In fact the good is glorified only in the hands of a strong evil. It is probably the drama of realization of the good that the good subconsciously unveils the evil and lets it take over, while it fights its way back, but not by killing. Because it is supposed to be the way of the good that it is more forgiving than killing, that even the purest of the evil cannot fight the tiniest ray of light and that the evil begins to vanish and transform by trying to fight the tiny ray of light.

Kadal is a story of a wild swing into the deepest level of the devil and a transformation into good by a simple and significant ray of forgiving light.

The strength of the movie lies in cast and portrayal of the main protagonists. It gets more exciting to watch Arjun play the devil than it is to watch Arvindswamy play the divine. Kadal is the Manirathnam movie in which the characters are in their own strength and at no point it becomes aligned to being the movie of a particular star. This makes Kadal not only top class but keeps your focus on the simple yet dramatically portrayed storyline.

Kadal is a technical treat to the senses with beautifully composed scenes from Rajiv Menon and a sound recording that is absolutely class one. The visuals and the movement of the story board especially the climax, simply shows Manirathnam’s elegance and his thirst to differ from himself from his previous movies. The dialogues give a hint of the possible locality in Tamil Nadu but one keeps wondering how the art was set and where would this location be. It gives a hint that it could be artificially set for the movie and yet it looks normal and natural. Songs fall in place appropriately to remind us that it is a regional tamil movie but when it is AR Rahman, Rajiv Menon and Manirathnam, you enjoy it is a wholesome package.

Kadal. Depth.

 

RESMONT

Resmont is a new word and I am definitely sure about it because I see a red underline as I type this blog post using Imagine for Mac. I am a playlist happy music listener. I have a lot of music just like most of us, but I keep improvising on my playlist making. So one day, I went extremely crazy and brought out this wonderful playlist for shuffle listening – RESMONT. I started by creating individual smart playlists in iTunes.

To start with, a top 25 songs of what was recently played from your library and I called it “Recently Played”. Quite a simple playlist that iTunes has by default but it gives a good picture of what you had listen to latest. For example I have “Chithirai Nila” from Kadal, topping this list. Let us call this RE.

Sometimes I skip songs. If I don’t have the mood to listen to a particular song now, I just skip it. But iTunes is clever and it keeps track of how many times I skipped a song. So I created a playlist that will hold Top 25 of my most skipped song. Well what did I know, I had skipped “Hoshwalon” from Sarfarosh for 384 times all time, even though this song is my favorite with a 5 star rating. I had been unconsciously cruel to some great music, looking at this playlist. Let us call this S.

Now, I like some songs a lot and lean towards listening to them while on Computer, on iPods and also on Apple TV. So they get the most played count. Lo behold, a new playlist called Most Played to hold the top 25 most played songs. Let us call this MO.

What you add recently to the library from purchases in iTunes or Flipkart’s Flyte is something you may want to listen to often. I take the top 25 just added and make a playlist “New add”. I recently added a wonderful soundtrack music “The married life” from the Pixar movie UP, bought for 12 rupees from iTunes. Let us call this N.

Finally, to cream up the selection I thought I could create a playlist called Top Rated (default in iTunes with 4 stars and above) with all music with 5 star rating. Seems I had only 2 of them. One is Hoshwalon from Sarfarosh, which is also the most skipped and is beyond my understanding, why a 5 star rating song was skipped so many times. Oh vasantha raja from Neengal kettavai is the other 5 star song. I just seem to be lazy to give star ratings or it is rare for any music to reach 5 star rating from me. Let us call this T.

Simply put all of the above together – RE S MO N T, is a new smart playlist that holds songs from all these 5 playlists. You got the Resmont playlist ready to be copied to your iPod shuffle. I have been listening for more than a week and it has been full of surprises and discovery of music from my own library.

Share your own playlists creation and help the world rejoice in music listening.

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