GURUVANDANA

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HSVenugopal

Guru Vidwan H S Venugopal  had his initial training under Vidwan A V Prakash in Mysore and later under Vid. M S Srinivasa Murthy in Bengaluru. Thereby he inherited two major legacies, of Vidwan T R Mahalingam and Vidwan Narasinga Rao.

Vid H S Venugopal has won accolades both as a solo performer and an accompanying artist for over three decades. He has the distinction of having performed extensively in numerous major sabhas of many States including Karnataka. His forays abroad are equally brilliant, as evidenced by his remarkably successful musical engagements in USA, Germany and a few other countries in Europe, New Zealand, Srilanka, Australia, Kuwait and so on. Connoisseurs everywhere have acknowledged his uniqueness as a Flautist. His weep as an accompanying artist is a marvel in that he has been part of the orchestra for various dance forms like Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Mohini Attam, Kathakkali, Kuchupudi, and Yakshagana. He has excelled as a Flautist for other forms as well, like Kavyavachana, and Geetha-Chithra-Kavya. That he has composed music for many dance ballets and devotional music albums add to his high reputation.

The field of Drama has not been left out either, as he has also composed and scored music for many dramas including “Mandra’ ( A play based on the novel with the same name by Dr. S L Byrappa), Yegdagella Aithe’, and ‘Santha Saakshaathkaara’, to name but a few. Also noteworthy is the fact that he has taken part in the Musica Sacra International, a musical meeting of major world religions in Markto Berdorf, Germany, and the Rituelen Festival  in Tongeren, Belgium.

He has many  awards and titles to his credit, ‘Hamsa Puraskar’ by Hamsa Jyothi, ‘Sunada Vinoda’ by Sri Shiridi Sai Baba Mandir, Ulsoor, ‘Madhuramrutha Murali Gaana Praveena’ by Devi Bhakta Gaana Sabha, Ulsoor, ‘Ananya Puraskaar’ by Ananya, Bengaluru, for lifetime achievement. ‘Kaladeepti’ by Thyagaraja Gana Sabha, Mysore, ‘Naada nrutya koLalu kovida’ by Sadhana Sangama, ‘Sri Kala Jyothi’ by the Bengaluru Gayana Samaj, to name a few. As for this albums, ‘Aamoda’, ‘Chandana’, and ‘Krishnaamrutham’ have been appreciated by practically all lovers of music.

Vidwan H S Venugopal’s ‘Gokulam School of Music’ in Bengaluru is legitimately proud of its numerous disciples, some of whom are leading performing artists today. The annual dawn- to-dusk cultural festival ‘KALAARNAVA’ organized by Gokulam School of Music has won the hearts of many lovers of art and is one of the most celebrated music and dance festivals in town today.

Shaashank

Chi. Shashank Jodidar

One of the several pupils of the musical maestro Vidwan Sri. H.S.Venugopal, an internationally renowned Carnatic Flautist. Shashank started learning the art of playing the flute at the age of 13 with ardent support and encouragement of his parents Vidushi Smt. Veena Vani, an accomplished dancer and Sri. Ravi Jodidar, a lover of art and music.

Shashank was initiated into music in August 2010 under the able and committed guidance of his Guru Sri. H.S.Venugopal, whose affection for his pupils is proverbial. His constant nurture of Shashank as also his inimitable style of teaching has enabled the devout  pupil to emerge as a budding artist.

His Guru accommodated Shashank in Kalaarnava 2011. “Kalaarnava” is an annual musical festival organized by Gokulam School of Music in which internationally reputed artists are only too happy to perform. Gokulam is the institution founded and run by Vidwan H.S.Venugopal from which scores of pupils have made a mark as accomplished artists so far.

Endowed with talent and dedication as he is, Shashank has gained immensely under the tutelage of this legendary preceptor with the result that his love for this art-form remains boundless. He had the benefit of performing at various prestigious programmes under the aegis of associations like Bangalore Ganesh Utsav 2015, the ICCR at Yavanika, Contemporary stage at Phoenix Market City, Upasana Kalasangha (R), Sahakaranagara, Bengaluru and so on. He was also part of the music ensemble for a Rangapravesham at the Town Hall in Bengaluru quite recently.

He has also been a recipient of multiples of opportunities for accompanying his Guru at various prestigious concerts like at the Ramamandira in N.R.Colony, Sri Ramaseva Mandali in Shankarapuram, Ramakrishna Math in Chamarajapet, Cheluvanarayanaswamy Temple at Melukote, Pattabhirama Temple in 4th ‘T’ Block, Jayanagara, to name only a few. His endeavour continues for attaining higher successes with his Guru.

Chi. Shashank Jodidar is an alumnus of Sri Kumaran’s Children’s Home, Bangalore and Jain College, Bangalore. Presently he is pursuing a law degree at the Bangalore Institute of Legal Studies.

 

 

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Our bygone high school days! A reflection in retrospect by chaddi chikka Digest2-0ct152017

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Remembering 10th std “c” section

The Euphoria:

As the summer of 1976 in south Bangalore set its rays on the horizon, all mundane forebodings of 9th “C” yr slipped out of my memory, virtually vanishing into thin air. But, unlike before, there’s a difference. The onset of a new anticipation! A harbinger of blissful possibilities waiting to unfold.

It was as though the euphoria of spring, authentically blessed by nature just a few months earlier was back to host yet another symphony on celestial scale. As though “spring foliage” around VHS had been mandated a renewed lease, by push of a reset-button.

Nature perhaps wished to signify, acknowledge start of a unique year for a unique group. Us!

We’re in 10th std “c” section.  You, me, and everyone in this group. Yes, we’re glad all things earlier were gone. We loved the latin phrase – tempus fugit!

Do you remember that specific point in your lives? A time when we couldn’t wait to grow up? Hmm… What the hell were we thinking?

If 8th “C” was an orientation of sorts to regimen one’s mindset, it helped me ensconce into lower-than-surrounding-earth ambience of VHS, for the long haul. While enclosures with asbestos sheets making up our class seemed to verge on drudgery during first summer, the curriculum however interspersed with school activities more than made up for mitigation plan.

Science lab, school vision, core competency:

Science Lab we had indeed. Just that it seemed more like a crammed museum than seeming as a thriving place. It was strewn with meagre supply of working apparatus / gadgets related to physics, chemistry, biology. My stints at the Science Lab offered little to help me comprehend difference between theory and practice, and with clarity.

But, notwithstanding impediments, which indeed left a bit to be desired…It was the team of empathetic teachers who made a difference. The mainstream VHS engine inculcating discipline, converting regimen into tangible success.

Much like how we had been showcased Gurudutt R Shenoy, K.G.Ramakrishnan by the school, while we were still in 8th “C”. Just for the same thing to be again validated by state’s mainstream accreditation system in place. We saw best boy, best girl 3 times over. Do you remember?

1974-75: Gurudutt R, Shenoy; Brinda Sitaram

1975-76: Shaji Farouk; K.S.Suma

1976-77: S. Harsha; Sudha G. Rao

So, no qualms for 10th “C”. All got their mental faculties ready to be present in class both in thought, and deed. So much so that nobody wanted to lift hands even in RPrahladaRao’s (RP’s) class when he often queried quizzically, “ Yaaru, yaaru absento avaru kye etthi”

Everybody waiting to savour the yet-to-unfold saga of learning in what would be our last year of basic schooling.

Learning came in all forms, core subjects, languages, school-band, NCC, Volleyball, CPrasanna Kumar Road-Relay, Philatelic Club, Science Club, Gamaka class, Traffic Management training for girls, Ball badminton for all, topped up by the audio-visual sessions hosted in the school’s highly chronicled, seminar hall. In alignment with an aim for well-rounded human-development.

Intransigent Mentors put you between rock and hard place:

Hockey, Cricket, Golf, Horse-riding, Equestrian, Swimming our headmaster K.S. Chandrasekharaiah (HM) had proposed, had deliberated in the board meeting and, got a nod as well. But, the lease of land was pending with un-cleared files with govt. of India.

Just one hitch. The new tracts of land would be allotted in Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Although HM was keen to explore for the sake of future generation, NTRaju (NTR), President of Vijaya Vidhya Samsthe, was the slow-link in the decision-chain.

He’d not budge from south-end circle campus. He felt the school looks like a monastery with the saffron paint onto walls and pillars. That’s all what he wanted.

Further, as a New Year gift, he’d even proposed maintaining a herd of deer to complete the look of a hermitage. But, the fact that it would hinder prayer-assembly got the idea quashed quickly. Faculty, NCC, volley-ball, ball-badminton teams all raised concerns. Prayer singers reminded they had to carry-on the tradition of singing “Yam bramha varunendra rudra marutaha….”. So, the majority won. NTR, a sworn animal lover, worried for them as well.

So, seeing no light at the end of the tunnel, whole master plan was shelved for the next generation of thought leaders to deliberate, resolve.

But, unlike so many corporate leaders proactively worrying about future plans, NTR neither groomed next generation of leadership, nor did he allow HM to run the way he wanted to take the quasi-business entity, to next level.

NTR kept on harping on Governance, Governance and, wanted to operate everything in his style, his comfort zone. Although a few confidants try to reason out, try to allude that a change of heart may be imperative in today’s world. He was emphatic in saying, “either my way, or no way”.

What a waste of intellect if a man is so intransigent…..Javaraiah thought as he picked up the last of pipettes for washing in science lab. He could hear the exchanges between the board members so easily that there was no need to eavesdrop…everything was in public domain. The exchanges surely were generating more heat than, light he worried. But, he was helpless…

Audio-visual sessions for mentally inclined, somatically flexible:

Javaraiah was called by LH to set-up a film-show in seminar hall which he was glad to help. He’d put time for his certificate course that previous summer at FTII, Pune. Now, he wanted to cash-in. But, as he was emotionally attached to VHS from his early age, he had chosen to continue the bondage and, stay put in one place so that all his 7 kids complete schooling. At least. And, he liked amoeba films shown so frequently in VHS, a lot!!!

Film-shows there were many, mostly on amoeba, cell-division, mitosis, and meiosis. If anyone put up a request to show. They would be allowed to sit through the catch-up film-show on Saturdays, after school. These film-shows were designed in such a way that they served as a back-up medical check-up as well. If you complained audio-visual session was inaudible, then LH knew what to do. He would put you through a green channel for ear testing.

In seminar hall, you had to listen carefully to audio that came to your ears amidst hordes of other noises …unfortunately all originating from the same equipment.

Replacing this 1950’s equipment had to go through 6 layers of justification in board-meeting and, everyone felt compliance was the best option rather than going through exasperation. But, if you did not complain, you survived the system.

“Ah!”, the films on cell-division glorifying postulates of Robert Hooke…were  enjoyable indeed… especially for a pleasant drowsiness they seemed to induce generously onto all of us with fair equanimity. On an equitable distribution basis.

Sooner the film-show arena was packed, and the projector noise sank into the human mind, alas! the Methyl-isocyanate syndrome kicked in. It would cause everyone to succumb temporarily till the audio-visual learning-mode was  switched off decisively and, kids allowed to breathe fresh air.

Intrinsic, extrinsic factors converge onto seminar hall proceedings:

The projector diligently took the role of a sleep inducer especially due to:

·     low decibel rattle of the projector

·     cramming of students in the dark hall like sardines

·     film-show timing invariably coinciding with an impending lunch break

·     constrained silent ambience

·     projector often needing change of reels

·     LHanumanthaiah (LH), fixing some snags on the fly

·     No expectations set on what to expect in film-shows, especially on relevance with topics being discussed in class.

All these contributed, converged together making audio-visual sessions a key-differentiator in putting many to and, thru… siesta….It blissfully induced everyone some rest. But, siesta in a seminar hall?

Even if LH was impacted by this, he would not show. He had done it enough number of times on a similar projector in Melville, NY. He was a master in feigning normalcy.

For me, it did not matter what the main topic and sub-topics were… I only knew it was something on cytology and cell-division glorifying postulates of Robert Hooke.

Seminar hall cytology film-show triggers ambitions for a movie-buff:

How nice if class topics were tied-in more with film-show content, as well as timing?

But, something to celebrate. Every one of those film-show days, I happily reported to mom, “I saw a film show in school”.

But, for an aficionado of kannada silver screen, the urge would have been to see Rajkumar, indeed. Full blown movies of Rajkumar via 1950s projector in seminar hall, would be sublime…babruvahana, sannadi appanna, girikanye, mayura…would’ve been a catalyst to improve attendance of whole sections at a time. Even NTR would bring in his entire entourage to the monastery.

How could we forget Raghavendra?

Especially, a boy named Raghavendra who had relocated from Varthur and, joined us in 10th ”C”. He used to live and, commute to school from Tyagarajanagar. Just amazing how often he’d escape classes to see a Rajkumar flick …be it in nearby shanthi theatre or, sanjaya talkies. Just vivid in memory.

As though this was not enough, the kid had glibly disappeared once mid-way through YVN’s class.  Mid-way is the key word, here. Oh boy!, what a prankster…?

Pedagogues, an overview:

But, we had a set of exceptional teachers who were all-rounders. Batting, bowling as well as, fielding. They brought compassion into the classroom. This included, but, not limited to PSChidambara Murthy (PSC), JRSeetharama Sastry (JRS), TSMohan(TSM), KNarayan Ballal (KNB), MRVidya(MRV), DJShashikala (DJS), SQuesida Banu (SQB), PAKumar (PAK), PManjula (PM), TSMohan (TSM), TKSundaralakshmi (TKS), MNarayana Rao (MNR), YVNagarajaRao (YVN), as well as the highly committed maths teacher MVenkatachalaiah (MV) who had his own way of saying “Cheepay Kaayi” for guava, whenever he quoted an example cost for an article, all… in the course of his class. Do you remember?

Others can add your own favourites. I will agree to it…:-)

Not to forget LHanumanthaiah (LH) who’d convince a novice that he had just arrived from New York, that same day, that very morning … after a 10-yr stint of teaching Physics in a grammar school in Melville, NY. And, sooner he finished saying, he would run fingers of his left hand through his hair to compose himself for further discussion. Do you remember?

Well, surely is it unbecoming of us to judge our pedagogues?

Well, no…just an entitlement of an opinion. A bit of sense of humour, chuckled chaddi chikka as he pondered over yet another VHS get-together in 2018. Mobilizing enthusiasm amongst a lot who have spent half of their lifespan already.

A group which needs to cherish a camaraderie, support each other’s motivation to do the right thing. Shun the snobbishness of elite. Uphold dwindling values of middle-class. No matter where you live, what school district your home is in…or, what car you drive. Alvaa?

An urgent need it is…perhaps, especially before the relevance of this group folds up.

Coming back to our class, we earnestly looked for anomalies, be it LH or, the more innocent CNKrishnaMurthy (CNK). In all his talk during prayer-assembly, and otherwise CNK  was closely monitored by our listening skills to account for how many times he uttered the word “Gottaayitenri, Gotthaayitaa!”. Do you remember?

We were mischievous, and as such this is to be seen purely as a sense of humour. We got transaction-hungry that was set in a restless mind topped off by a mix of adrenaline, and physical energy that seemed limitless.

Epilogue:

Amidst the trivial many, a vital few pedagogues tried to hone our unbridled, boisterous mannerisms. Looking back, we try to sugar-coat it calling it “spirit of enquiry”.

But, then it is a fact of life. We are at receiving end from our kids in a world where the only thing constant is “change”, 108 diversions for the gullible, plethora of silver-linings for the discerning.

That change from 9th “c” on ground floor behind seminar hall it was a progression to the better. Progression to a newly constructed classroom where you could still smell freshness of the walls. What were missing are the portraits on the walls, like we had in earlier class. We had bid goodbye to Shanthi Swarup Bhatnagar’s portrait. I saw it every time I walked past front of the class.

Was it a coincidence that 10th “c” was directly on top of 9th “c”….let us invite more perspectives on this moot point, as well as the eventful year that it was!… A ploy I adopt to get your inputs for… my next blog.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Our bygone high school days! A reflection in retrospect by chaddi chikka Digest1-0ct152017

560556432Preamble, moving to next level of VHS networking:

Despite the challenges of a constantly evolving world around us, we’ve grasped the reality of sustaining networking with friends. We’ve surely done well to keep-in-touch amongst us via conventional email yahoo groups. Kudos to all!

While forming a WhatsApp group may take us to next level, there are pitfalls galore.

There’s more to cherishing those bygone high school years, than just creating a WhatsApp group. Just to fall into a trap of en masse forwards from other groups to ours, in a hurry.

But, given the awareness, we could perhaps, exercise restraint on “forwards” syndrome. And, explore this option. Agree?

It’s with that very thought that I want to initiate a way to share my memories of VHS via a blog of sorts delivered every other month on to WhatsApp. This way, access to nostalgia would be more digital, on-demand, non-premium, and not against one’s volition. I want to avoid cramming in boxes every month. Besides, I can set aside some time for creating these reading material aligned to those golden years of schooling. Pl note that although the blogs pertaining to that 3 yr window, doesn’t follow a chronological order as the memory hasn’t accurately stacked it that way.

Disclaimer:

My blogs would be a loose “sally of mind”. It would be a spontaneous timestamp of my memory, dispassionately shared with you. It offers a walk down the memory lane for you as a fellow classmate. Perhaps, you’d revisit your own as one who went through a similar feeling from “seen it… done that” kind of perspective.

I submit not to profess a “photographic memory” for many of us to get onto a correction mode, in a hurry. Any factual error please let me know. Like all of you, I’ve largely endured a long journey beyond high school and, have had fun as well. Let’s rather allow this effort to trigger more memories you could share, especially focused towards a sense of humour, and wholesome fun.

Influence:

The crux of my writing is to verge on details, to titillate the nuances in joy of reading. All dispassionately worded in-line with my learnings of creative narration assiduously tutored by M.K.Suryanarayana Rao (MKS), my beloved Sanskrit teacher during II PUC, in National College, Jayanagar. Besides, my years in Leeds, England which brought me closer to nature, coming to terms with home-sickness and, a genuine interest to understand people.

I am greatly influenced by MKS’s style of imagination although I horrendously fall short often, especially as reflected by his elaborate efforts in narrating the great works of Kalidasa. Maalivaagnimitra, Vikramorvasheeya, Abhignana Shakuntala, Kumarasambhava, Raghuvamsa, Vritusamhaara. Once you get engrossed with a character in these works, you feel the moment unfolding in front of you. If you miss reading these works, alas! You’ve missed something from Kalidasa’s fantastic ability to delve into depths of human mind.

The character of Shakuntala, for example portrays breadth, and depth of interactions in her daily forebodings in a hermitage. The communication she seems to have with each sapling, each creeper, is mind-boggling to say the least.

On the lighter side, these are the kind of things that alleviate a person’s equanimity with his / her surroundings, however chaotic or tranquil the ambience. With time, you learn to let the pain exist on its own, while you train your mind to objectively address issues in order of priority. You draw strength to endure unfairly repetitive crawling traffic woes such as the ones I stumble upon often in Bangalore.

You learn to be at peace, manage stresses well. A vital skill for all of us to keep sanity in an ever competitive, chaotic, disruptive world. Allvaa?

While reaching levels of expertise would need perseverance, I take the liberty of starting somewhere. Being rest assured I’m sharing thoughts with a considerate target group.

Read Kalidasa’s works if you can. You’d not only agree with me, but humbled with conviction as to why he is considered to give Shakespeare a run for his money.

Anything more, would lie in the eyes of the beholder

It’s an evolving world:

While this blog is one way to connect past with present, and celebrate our bygone golden days. It also alludes to revisit our cherished memories, of other things vintage, and propels our motivation to arrive at foreseeable future.

Today’s mantra of existence underscores an ability to be tolerant with disruptive technologies. More our flexibility to accept social media, mobility, analytics, and cloud computing, better is our orientation with change. Better prepared we emerge to face the future.

What happens around us impacts the way we mould our perspectives constantly? Much like a company does its Sales & Operations Planning based on how the world it thrives in, responds to stimuli. Re-setting plans regularly.

Recently, we saw the case of Gauri Lankesh related news chronicled on global scale. So little did we know how values, tenets of life a person holds dear to heart during formative age could influence the person later in life with such conviction, ruthlessness. We had seen her as a junior to us in VHS. On her passing, her pursuits, her beliefs, her value-systems have become potential case studies, perhaps. Some analysis, inferences may also get documented. But, it’s the shy girl climbing the flight of stairs what comes to mind. Going up and down flight of steps on half-completed building where our 10th”c” was housed.

RIP Gauri. Because, to cast aspersions or pass a slur after a person’s passing isn’t Indian. But voluntarily walking into shades of gray, as reflected by those controversial pursuits she inherited over post-VHS years if true, perhaps fit only a misanthrope. Not fit for lass with exposure to a value-system, not with her “simple-girl-next-door” with a “twinkle-in-her-eyes”, kind of looks.

Trust all would agree, including Gururaj Chadaga. Just pulling your leg, guru…:-) Cannot help but recall your signature style of combing hair. Yet, we saw combing competition from a few of our classmates LRNagendra…who spared no efforts to stay current with  “amitabh, the trendsetter” in hairstyle…being current was icing on-the-cake. Both combed a bit more on certain days with their metal combs defying the discomfort of their forearms. Discomfort tacitly accepted due to fore-arm adorning a metallic bangle, which seemed to tango with movement of wrist.

Competition although to a lesser extent was offered even by shiva who was finicky about dabbing oil and casting his hairdo akin to yester year hollywood heroes, Robert Redford, Sean Connery, Humphrey Bogart and Gene Kelly all combined together. Not a strand above his forehead was allowed to go wayward. Shiva wanted nothing short of “the ultimate thing”.

Hair nourished in vitamins, amla, soaked just right in hibiscus additive for sparkle till all hair became as cohesive as a combined sales + delivery team waltzing a potential customer of an IT Major. It is always a symphony for business units to display a synergistic-symbiotic relationship exists within all their working parts.

Especially during a time when customers are stuck in the wait-and-watch mode, you need to serenade them, make them invest in your IT Enabled services business. In India, it gets accentuated due to competition.

Jokes apart, my best wishes to each of these people bringing special dedication to their chosen professions, which is more meaningful. As much as I do, onto the rest of my audience, you….my classmates.

So, let us bring in our adaptive mindsets…. Use discretion and sensitivity to align with groups’ dominant interests…and, invest in building a memory base of VHS years, and stay young in mind.

Frankly, this is not a debate on right or, wrong. Just a point a view put across in the same spirit that we all grew up during years of schooling.  I hope you would enjoy reading through these, as much as I derived joy in putting them together.

I invite you to travel back to high school days once every other month through my blog.

Always appreciate your feedback….:-)

Awake, arise, stop not till the goal is reached! Hope you agree….

see you in Dec.2017.

Tennis Court’s Green Benches, Auditorium’s Red Floors entice White Australian called Violet

STC defines abounding tennis craze in India

Although the beginning was humble, popularity for the game was impacted by kinship of generous sponsors supporting this game, to develop infrastructure such as Samaj Tennis Complex, STC for its ardent fans. Surely, STC lining the front yard of our school auditorium was destined to be always on par, if not ahead of any tennis ambience in the city. The City Institute, Bangalore Club had rich patrons streaming to volunteer for funding,  and planning its upkeep.

But, the crowning jewel of “Cubbon Courts” that had seen the day of reckoning during Davis Cup tie with Australian team becoming cynosure of all eyes with its newly earned tag, “home of KSLTA”.

What else do we want when the city has matured so much as to accommodate a clash of the titans…India Vs visiting Australian Team of Geoff Masters, Mal Anderson in Bangalore. We would see Jaideep Mukherjee, Chiradeep Mukherjee, Ramanathan Krishnan and, last but not least, the Amritraj brothers, Ashok, Vijay and Anand. How could we overlook that?

So, demand for tennis was there except for those die-hard cricket fans like Violet and, Seethamma. Samaj wanted to respond to popular demand from the community it thrived on. And, Seethamma, a sport after all…

No wonder the numbers had surged in enrolment for tennis in STC.

STC brings Wimbledon to Basavangudi

STC was especially known for its calmness. Known for its robust infrastructure too. The apple green colour seating, generous supply of good drinking water, clean white towels for the seekers was international class. Washroom behind school building helped the tennis enthusiasts see stars during their bio-break.

One look at the benches, an aficionado could say it closely matched those on periphery of centre court at Wimbledon. Seethamma had specifically told painters to match the colour of door, window frames of auditorium in the backdrop to those of benches. The hue of apple green colour everywhere had induced even colour blind to stop, and look around the ambience. In short, a vision to recreate “Wimbledon in Basavangudi” was resoundingly successful.

Only sound that belied otherwise tranquil surroundings was the sound of tennis ball smooching a Dunlop or Wilson brand tennis racquet with regular tempo. Stalling now and then, whenever the novice bent down to pick up the ball; just to put it in business again.

Violet fascinated with India wants auditorium as her Office

Auditorium was an entity heavily intertwined with nostalgia involving our Violet Teacher. It was her abode during school hours.  Her preferred work-place. Her “South Block” or “Oval Office”. Actually, there was a tussle between Muniswamy and Violet Teacher for occupancy of Auditorium as their future work-place.

Violet’s childhood dream propels her to India, and the Interview

Violet was an ardent fan of everything Indian since her childhood; despite the influence of Adelaide, Brisbane, and even a sleepy mining town in city of Perth. She had read about India extensively and often fancied spiritual euphoria of living in India. More so, every Sunday after customary visit to local church with her parents, where they preached peace.

One thing had remained an enigma for her. Violet had longed to visit gavi gangadhareshwar temple in gavipuram ever since she heard of the existence of a passage to Benares beneath ground. She wanted to imagine herself exploring this novel option. It would be akin to the excitement unfolding in an Enid Blyton novel…But, will this be fact or remain a fantasy?

During her interview with Seethamma, she had calmly finished written test, had done group discussion with other potential candidates. It was during the subsequent stages that saw Seethamma interface with the job aspirants. As the personal round drew towards closure, towards culmination, Seethamma was kind enough to ask, Ms. Violet do you have any queries about Samaj or anything related to job role? Or, anything else?

Violet’s face bloomed like the lavender, bell-shaped flower on the Tennis Court creeper behind the interview cabin. She could see those flowers through chocolate coloured windows behind Seethamma’s office to be accurate.

Seethamma warms up to young Violet’s innocence

The cordial tone and tenor of her crucial interview with Seethamma reassured Violet. It went off well indeed. They kind of “hit it off”. Violet settled into informality quickly querying Seethamma to tell her more on gavi gangadhareshwar temple.

Actually, for Violet, Seethamma telling her more about all routes to global cities beneath ground originating from gavipuram, excited her. London, Paris, Zurich, Chicago…

Wow! she could not hold back, “Madam!, Tell me all the global routes existing beneath ground from gavipuram, I will take notes, don’t want to leave it to my memory”.” I want to be able travel at will and, give surprise to my friends settled in those cities” “What do you think?”

Underneath routes to where? A bewildered Seethamma asserted. “Ninu Koncha summane iramma”

By this time, Seethamma was convinced that young, plump Violet had not grasped even a tiny glimmer of the mighty effulgence of India’s spiritual greatness. Violet surely has a long way to go before she understands India as a spiritual country, Seethamma chuckled.

But, Seethamma was enamoured with Violet’s innocence. It was a fact that actually brought the two of them closer. Violet announcing the fact during the course of her personal round of interview; that she just purchased a spectacles frame mimicking that of Mahatma made Seethamma feel empathy.

Surely not bad for a “firangi” from the “Land Down Under”, she thought. This potentially had already started sowing seeds of a long-term cross-cultural bondage between Seethamma and, plump, Violet.

Moving into Office, the anticipation!

The incumbent had to plan ahead as they were allowed to bring in their own furniture makers, carpet guys, interior decorators and  adorn it to their own style. That was an established tradition in Samaj. Zahara Begum had likewise hung few carpets of pashmina from Arab countries, in her office which often smelt of uncooked meat though. Some of school buddies would confide in me.

Violet Teacher had a liking for spaciousness of auditorium. But, how to convince Seethamma, a strict disciplinarian? Nobody could imagine her to be gullible, she had seen lots of Australians, Belgians, Germans and, cultures of Gulf Countries to fall trap for Violet’s skin colour.

So, Violet the slim girl by Australian standards, pondered over a ploy to impress Seethamma. It had to be better than an earlier ploy. The con behaviour she had successfully executed while still a sophomore in Adelaide. She had executed it to win a scholarship catapulting her destiny and, enabling her to emigrate to India. Much like Nadia Comaneci had done a perfect “10” performance to become a celebrity.

Those series of events had become a portfolio of resounding results, and had landed her with a dream job. Her dream destination was Basavangudi and, Mahila Samaj, her dream brand to pursue a career.

She had somehow successfully taken steps to stabilize her otherwise, choppy career. But, now how would she convince anybody to give her auditorium as her office space? This bothered her day, and night.

The Plot and ultimate victory

Violet the girl, the sumo wrestler look-alike, devised a ploy to lure Seethamma to accede to her request. Aim should be to floor Seethamma completely; she murmured looking at herself sideways in the huge mirror in front of her.

She had to bat like Sehwag against South Africa’s greatest ever, world’s fastest bowler..Dale Steyn. Violet had to score with impunity from the very first ball…Like Sehwag did during very first over. How to do this?

Violet Teacher invited her for an extended 4 hr piano concert playing Beethoven, Handel, Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky with a break in-between for peanuts. She delicately ended her concert with “Nach Kare Baaba Paisa Milegaa”. Much to the applause of target audience. Job was done!

So, this having been done, success was just a matter of days for Violet to choose her office space in samaj. Seethamma happily allocated Violet Teacher, the auditorium while puny, tiny Muniswamy had to settle for the corner space tucked away on ground floor beside wooden stairs, not far from Seethamma’s office.

Actually, Muniswamy was so heartbroken that he decided to leave everything and proceed on his pilgrimage commencing with the famous “char dham yatra”. He wished to visit gowrikund in Uttarakhand, see ‘lakshman jhoola”, visit Badrinath and, stay there few days amidst total solitude.

But, his habit of writing his thoughts gave away the secret plan to Kempamma, another staff member of samaj. She was a  Muniswamy sympathizer in a big way. The note fortunately spilt the beans, letting cat out of the bag. All because of duty minded Kempamma carefully picking a pink paper while she swept the candy shop with her coconut broom.

Actually, Muniswamy had contemplated a get away from mundane forebodings, buy a one-way ticket to Himalayas and, vanish into the majestic mountains. He had lost his last option to expand business. He was disturbed his ardent desire to work out of auditorium was callously transgressed, by his employer. A clear case of racial profiling evident to this man in Gandhi Topi.

But, at least a solace that Kempamma’s alertness foiled his bid to otherwise disband everything. He wanted to leave the illustrious “Samaj Team”. Kempamma, rescued the world….all just in the nick of time.

But, in retrospect, Seethamma oblivious of Muniswamy’s foiled escapades made a mention of Muniswamy’s contribution to Samaj on national TV during prime time. She was delivering her acceptance speech during National Outstanding Teacher Award ceremony inside Asoka Hall of Rashtrapathi Bhavan, New Delhi.

Muniswamy elated while watching his name come up on prime time national TV. He was pleasantly surprised, and happy to know he was wrong in assessing Seethamma in a hurry. What a coincidence Violet had just visited Muniswamy to wish him his 60th birthday that very evening.

In the next few days, Muniswamy brought Seethamma and, Violet his coconut

toffees wrapped in wax paper. They ate, and lived happily ever after.

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Bell-shaped Lavender Flower on the Mahila Samaj Tennis Court Creeper

Lavender Flower on Mahila Samaj Tennis Court

Remember! This beautiful flower was in plethora all over the creeper majestically spread on enmeshed tall fence bordering Samaj Tennis Courts ? We were so careless in the event of proximity with these soft, beautiful bell-shaped flowers. We trampled upon the childlike innocence with our childish pranks cutting short the desire of these flowers to rise and shine. We hijacked the happiness of yet another creation of god, with a cavalier mindset crushing these lavender bundles of joy between the ventral sides of our young palms.

The tender palms that were to tend and rid the creeper of any weeds chose to pat its tenderness with vanity. Took away sensitive life out of a lavender bud beside a lavender flower with gleeful normalcy. All because we were happy to hear the bud making a soft “tup” noise as it released the air trapped inside. What callousness….allvaa?

Lavender bud became a “punya koti” of sorts….unconditionally. How unfair?

But, the creeper, fence, the support stone structures ….with a gamut of paraphernalia of the setup neatly maintained by Marker, his entourage of support staff, ball-boys galore….allvaa? 

I-55-1 Ipomoea cairica

This flower was so ubiquitous that we took its beauty for granted. Surely it caresses my nostalgia as an icing on the cake called “Samaj Tennis Courts”. May be you too….Allvaa?

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I AM Mr A. I STUDIED IN MSS 1974 CLASS, WHO AM I?

This boy had abundance of talent from early school days along with his interpersonal skills. He was often volunteering to narrate stories in front of the class. Especially whenever a teacher was absent. So, we got to listen his “Ondu ooralli ondu ajji iddalu, avalu bajji maadi facebook nalli bajji status update post maadidalu…avalige 3 likes sikkitu…etc.

But, it was the means by which we got the story narrated which is vivid in memory. This boy had a range of postures presented to the target audience ranging from having one with his hands folded, composure unperturbed looking at the opposite wall as though he does not want to forget any minute details of the plot in the story. Next minute he would change his stance to putting hands in the pocket like rajanikanth with a side pose. This was perhaps his favourite pose. But, the flow was spontaneous and, unique as well!

He kept the “story show” going on despite changing his standing posture. No disruption in his thought process flow. A boy who avidly teamed up in class activities and highly focused. But, cricket? he seemed to have an aversion for. Indeed far away from playing cricket; unlike most of rest of class boys.

An Electronics Engineer by profession who transferred from BMS to UVCE sooner he finished his first year or so. His euphonious voice set to dulcet tunes are getting popular by the day amongst South Indian Carnatic Music fans, we hear. Soulful singers are surely few and far between.

Hints:

  1. He had an elder sister as well as, younger brother studying in the same school
  2. His dad a nationally known educationist and, who’s who in the world of Civil Engineering.
  3. This boy had a short chaddi.
  4. His soulful singing has been acknowledged, applauded by several doyens of popular music of our times.
  5. He had a tete-a-tete with the legendary S.P.Balasubramaniam of playback singing fame on prime time TV.
  6. He came to school in a chauffeured car.
  7. His driver wore a cap made of velvet similar to the ones worn by MGR, Ex-President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, erstwhile Indian Railway Minister Jaffer Sherief and, lastly but not least – Popular hindi singer Manna Dey.
  8. This boy offered to sell funny stuff in MSS annual fun-fair.

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Competition in today’s modern world

Preamble

In today’s global marketplace winning amidst the plethora of conflicting aids and distractions can be quite humbling. The fact that competition exists and follows like an alter ego manifesting itself in different pursuits of human endeavour can be hardly over-emphasized. The fact that we individually engaged successfully with ‘competition’ just to become a true professional is still in the green part of our recent history. Yet, we accept it as a journey, not a milestone in itself for the mere reason that we are competing in the race to assimilate knowledge based on a meticulously orchestrated methodology….to understand technology, comprehend the present in order to prepare for the future.

Staying competitive is vital and key to success. It is an aspiration to invest in ourselves as nothing succeeds like success. Achieving success may require certain effort but, staying competitive surely is a different ball game as expressed by the king of basketball in his heydays, Michael Jordan – basketball legend who said:

“You have competition every day because you set such high standards for yourself that you have to go out every day and live up to that”

It’s like an unbridled horse that has traversed through eons of time unfolding since the onset of human civilization. We have studied how the hierarchical patterns in human settlements emerged although originating with the fights for supremacy in pursuit of food.

History

Ancient peoples, like modern people, spent much of their lives engaged in and thinking about competitions both (1) Organised competitions with rules, audiences and winners such as Olympic and gladiatorial games, and (2) Informal, indefinite, often violent, competition for fundamental goals such as power, wealth and honour. Several studies tried to analyze whether idea of competitiveness is peculiarly Greek or roman.

Competition to harness technology resulted in alleviating vagaries of human lives and drudgery of effort. Human endeavour along with a unique spirit of enquiry played a huge role in the advancement of science & technology. Some of the breakthroughs included:

– The Paper (220 AD) – China, during Han dynasty

– Steam Engine (1769) – James Watt

– Telephone (1876 AD) – Sir Thomas Alva Edison

– Internet (World Wide Web) (1989) – Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist

Competition – Perspectives of Self, Business world and, Career

On an individual level effective time management skill is a secret weapon that will help beat competitors. This strategy will provide the energy to successfully accomplish our plan each day. By devoting 5 to 10 minutes regularly, it is possible to come up with a perfect regimen to beat the competition. Whenever we plan your day in advance, we save an ample amount of time that could be wasted. So it could be said that time is a key factor behind the execution of every plan in today’s competitive world.

In order to thrive in an interconnected world, one must learn a number of crucial, non-academic skills such as understanding and relating to perspectives other than one’s own; mastering teamwork, critical and creative thinking; and being an adept problem-solver. This is the only we can equip ourselves to be part of the global workforce of tomorrow.

While we often train ourselves, prepare oneself to maintain physical calmness yet compete on a mental level, it is of paramount importance to segregate between the music vs. noise, trivial vs. vital parts of the mental transactions we experience on a daily basis in our quest to be competitive. Not an easy task to keep the goal in mind given today’s information explosion as reflected by the quote –

“The Internet is just bringing all kinds of information into the home. There’s just a lot of distraction, a lot of competition for the parent’s voice to resonate in the children’s ears – Phil McGraw

To talk about competition in the world around us, while till the last decade the business world ran on the relation: Selling Price = Cost Price + Desired Profits……….. (1)

Today it is different because of the concept of competition coming to the fore. There is an inevitable shift as global marketplace is constantly evolving. Business competitors have to come out unscathed by conforming to the equation: Existing Cost Price – Selling Price = Profits……….. (2)

So, to make profits, today’s technology should allow to control and reduce the selling price continuously.

This is where competition sets in.

The challenge to stay ahead in the competition is governed by same principles for both individuals as well as global business brands. Individuals seek to excel and attain stability as professionals while corporations seek to improve their revenue, gratify their shareholders expectations.

Due to the human fallacy to always buck an existing trend, we have regulatory bodies overseeing the metrics and ethics of the very process of competition. We see statutes to protect ethics, smaller businesses by way of legislation and promoted by Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). In India, we have competition commission of India protecting the consumer and, fair trade practices.

Competition which has managed to thrive ethically till date, should take a well-rounded approach to change the very way it continues its growth, including that which universities teach and students learn. For graduates to compete in today’s knowledge economy, the possibilities are great. Distance education, sophisticated learning-management systems and the opportunity to collaborate with research partners from around the world are just some of the transformational benefits that universities are embracing. But significant challenges also loom. For all of its benefits, technology remains a disruptive innovation—and an expensive one. This is where competition becomes a catalyst.

Globalization of Markets, Consumers and Competition

Trade is increasingly global in scope today. There are several reasons for this. One significant reason is technological—because of improved transportation and communication opportunities today, trade is now more practical. Thus, consumers and businesses now have access to the very best products from many different countries. Increasingly rapid technology lifecycles also increases the competition among countries as to who can produce the newest in technology.

As we can see in the world around us, in the last decade there is a spurt of innovations that seems to fuel innovation, propel technology further. Impact of new technology, especially in the developed world, is apparent all around us in the way we communicate, run business and understand the world. All taking competition to the next level from the existing consumer’s value chain!

These earth-breaking innovations include:

Flat Panel TVs / HDTVs
In just 10 years, televisions have transformed from huge cubes into sleek, flat surfaces. What was once a massive box filled with glass tubes has become an inch-thick panel you can hang on your wall. Now we’re getting 6 times the picture in a fraction of the volume.
DVR:
TiVo popularized the DVR, but now every major cable and satellite provider offers some form of digital video recorder. No fumbling with cassette tapes, struggling with tiny buttons and small, unhelpful LED displays on the top of VCRs, just simple select-and-record service. Missing our favourite TV shows is now a thing of the past.
High Speed Internet
Anyone who went online in the 90’s remembers the shrill squeals of the computer modem, dialling into the Internet over phone lines at blazing speeds of 56,600 bits per second. Now, the Internet is an always-on, blazing-fast place for us to upload, download, communicate, and simply function online at speeds several factors faster than our archaic dial-up services.
Wi-Fi
Are you reading this on a notebook computer? Do you see a cable running from your notebook to a modem or router? No? Welcome to the world of tomorrow! Households, cafes, bookstores—they all have Wi-Fi hotspots for hopping online instantly from any electronic device, without a single wire tethering us to the wall.
Smartphones:
Our cell phones aren’t just phones anymore. They’re portable computers that double, triple, and quadruple as media players, web browsers, and instant messengers. With the advent of the iPhone, Blackberries, and Android-powered devices, what were once humble handheld telephones are now all-in-one tools for work and play.
Bluetooth:
Wireless technology isn’t just for going online with large devices. Thanks to Bluetooth, we can pipe audio back and forth between a variety of handheld gadgets and accessories. We no longer have to hold a phone up to our ear; instead, we can just pop in a tiny Bluetooth earpiece. We don’t have to plug our iPhones into a dock to play music on our home theater systems; instead, we can just connect to it via Bluetooth and fill the room with the music in our hand.
Online Media Services:
A few decades ago, watching your favourite movie at home, whenever you wanted, was a fantasy. Then came VHS tapes, DVDs, and the Blu-ray Discs, in that sequence onto the horizon. We still embrace the latter two formats for home entertainment, but even they have drawbacks like “taking up physical space.” Over the last few years, services like Netflix, Hulu, and various television networks’ web sites have given us a nearly endless library of videos we don’t have to eject, insert, or make room for on the shelf. You just click and watch, accessing thousands and thousands of movies and TV shows with your mouse or remote control.
Online Gaming Services:
Long ago, the only way to play video games with friends was to have them actually sit next to you on the same couch, tethered to the same game console and watching the same TV. Today, you can get into a 32-player ground war with gamers across the world without lifting a finger. While it wasn’t the first, Microsoft’s Xbox Live service pioneered simple, easy online console multiplayer. Today, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 owners can easily connect with other gamers and start playing through the respective consoles’ XBL and PSN services. If you still miss the days of living room-bound multiplayer, don’t worry; that’s what the Wii (and the Kinect, and the PlayStation Move) are for.
Social Networking Sites:
The advent of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace has completely changed how we communicate with each other online. Instead of directly messaging one another with email and instant messages, we follow, poke, ping, and gather in dozens of different ways and through several different services. While direct text communication is still very useful, most casual web users are far more likely to meet up with their friends through Facebook invitations than a mass email, all while playing Web-based games, sending messages, and looking up old acquaintances from the same window.
We all know how much influence the social networking and big data analytics has come to bear in the success or failure of global brand corporations. They compete for customer attention to increase their portion of the revenue pie.
Flash Storage:
First came the floppy disk. They held a few hundred kilobytes of storage and, after a few iterations, a whopping 1.4MB. Then came the CD-ROM, and Zip Disks. They respectively held 700 and 100MB. CD-ROMs also required a fair bit of preparation, “burning” the data to the disc over several minutes. Then we had DVDs, capable of holding 4.7GB, but requiring the same preparation as CDs. Now we all have the wonder of USB flash drives: smaller than a stick of gum, faster than a DVD, and able to hold upwards of 32GB for less than 1000 rupees. That’s over 6 DVDs, or 45 CDs, or 320 Zip Disks, or 22,222 floppy disks, all in a package smaller than any one of them.

Future Perspectives on competition

But the new century has seen questions arise about how rapid and how extensive the information revolution will be. Will the internet turn out to be a radical force for uniting and democratising the world, as some have prophesied – or will it cause deeper divisions between the haves and the have-nots?

This is the point at which we need ponder over what famous people such the ones below express:

  • “Do your work with your whole heart, and you will succeed – there’s so little competition” – Elbert Hubbard
  • “Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • “I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn’t know how to get along without it” – Walt Disney

Conclusion

No generation is more at ease with online, collaborative technologies than today’s young people— “digital natives”, who have grown up in an immersive computing environment. Where a notebook and pen may have formed the tool kit of prior generations, today’s students come to class armed with smart phones, laptops and iPods. Those who succeed in tomorrow’s world would be both flexible to contribute as individuals or bring in synergy as a collaborative team. They would be competing with themselves to achieve more with less to verge on creativity as reflected by Apple CEO who said “Technology allows students to become much more engaged in constructing their own knowledge, and cognitive studies show that ability is key to learning success,”. In line with Apple’s claim:

“The reality is, is that we love competition, at Apple. We think it makes us all better. But we want people to invent their own stuff” – Tim Cook Apple Inc.

This era of pervasive technology has significant implications for higher education. We also hear of a trend inclining towards technological innovation presently underway will have a major impact on teaching methodologies over the next 5 years. Like Bill Gates has expressed:

“In the long run, your human capital is your main base of competition. Your leading indicator of where you’re going to be 20 years from now is how well you’re doing in your education system – Bill Gates

This perhaps is in line with a Chinese proverb which says:

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Lao Tzu (Chinese proverb)

may be the Chinese took a cautious single step approach in view of the buffer required with the respond to stimuli approach for any competition they countered in real time. Perhaps…

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References:

  1. Brainyquote.com: Read more at

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/competition.html#EVyz41Jxb2EdcK2c.99

  1. Consumer Psychologist.com:

http://www.consumerpsychologist.com/intl_Global_Marketplace.html

  1. Competition commission of India: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competition_Commission_of_India
  2. The future of higher education: How technology will shape learning:

http://www.nmc.org/pdf/Future-of-Higher-Ed-%28NMC%29.pdf