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Nature’s brush strokes

The celestial dance of nature before the shimmering leaves gracefully drop down to the forest floor, be one with the earth, and sprout again with a spring in April next year.

Tiger tales

Our African adventure jogged a few memories. Stories about my grandfather heard in my childhood in bits and pieces. Some narrated by his sons, some gleaned from his diaries I stumbled upon. I heard these tales between the ages of 10 and 18. Most of it is true, for everything else I uphold the term…

Temple of dreams

Getting the opportunity to be a part of building a traditional Krishna temple does not come even once in a lifetime. It did not appear in my wildest dreams! In 1999, when I first heard about the idea of constructing a replica of the Guruvayurappan kshetram [temple] in N. America, it stirred up a lot of…

Is the pen mightier than the word?

When The Pen was born it was placed in an elegant coffin. As it came to its senses it found out that it was immobile, held in place around the waist by an ivory-coloured band in the middle of a ivory-coloured velvet-cushioned box. At a 45 degree angle, The Pen watched the world go by…

The English countryside roads that drove me nuts!

The first time I drove a car was in India. A friend taught me the basics in his father’s 1960 Fiat that had doors opening from the front. The road had no markings. The general sense was as long as one stayed on it one was fine. In Dubai, I learned that the road had…

The power of stories

The power of stories is a Toastmasters speech. In hands of a deft story teller the tale can move hearts and mountains!

Whale watching

Whale watching off the east coast of Nova Scotia.

Mundu – The most sensible clothing for men!

Mund. Munde. Mundu. All one and the same thing. In some cases a bit of a rag! In other cases, a delightful piece of attire that keeps the stuffing in! After a long gap I got the chance to wear that ‘delightfully easy to wear’ length of cloth – mundu. The occasion was a kathakali…

Zero print: The making of an app

In 2016, the company where I am currently working launched an initiative to reduce its carbon footprint and go purely digital. The company had hundreds of marketing materials that it printed, when required; since the print run was limited and at random throughout the year, this drove up the cost per publication. Besides, content became outdated as soon it was printed.

Mag+ – Look Ma, No code!

Mag+ is the ideal platform for publishing corporate publications to the mobile platform through native apps with zero coding.

Adobe DPS – On publishing digital content

Adobe DPS is an alternate method to publishing and communicating marketing content to mobile devices. Adobe DPS (Digital Publishing Suite) facilitates a designer to create and publish highly visual, immersive, and stylized content to help drive business and marketing strategies in less than one-third the time and cost of a traditional process. Background: Existing resources…

Digital initiative

The digital publishing initiative was meant to enhance customer experience, considerably reduce development time, publish multiple formats for the mobile platform, and complement existing content and in some cases replace it.

What’s in a name?

Very close friends call me “Mad”. Some friends call me “Madhav”. My wife and thousands of my relatives call me “Madhu”, which means honey!

Mistress of my soul

All these years, I had bottled up Conscience, the mistress of my soul, deep under multiple layers of fat accumulated over five decades.

Holiday blues!

The day I was invited to four Christmas parties may go down in history as the day my weighing scale broke down and cried. That night I stood in front if OhMy!, the weighing scale in my bathroom, for a long time thinking “should I take its taunt and step up to the challenge?” Finally…

What’s bugging me?

The flu virus! Physically not yet. The quandary began with the onset of the flu season and advertisements that flustered even the most resolute. This constant bombarding triggered the fear factor which I had, over decades, hidden under layers of positive thoughts. Early in the fall season, my family doc encouraged me to take the…

I am sorry, it is cancer

Initially it was a search for answers, trying to find the strength to comfort my wife, and coming to terms with what we thought usually happened to someone else. The earliest signs appeared in October 2014 amidst the packing, booking tickets within the sub-continent, buying pieces of Chinese-made Canadian history for friends and family, scheduling…

Lotteries. A worthy cause!

I feel good today. Hopefully, my contribution of $100 towards the research of a deadly disease will save someone’s life. That’s the best part. On the other side, research into my lottery buying habits has begun. If an electronic tracker got hold of my life record and played it back, she/he can trace the origins…

Thanksgiving

I first heard about Thanksgiving eight years back. Of course, I was familiar with the literal word, but never gave it much thought. What I knew of Thanksgiving till then was in bits of conversation and stories. And, till recently I presumed Thanksgiving was a religious festival! The first thanksgiving I truly enjoyed was in…

Another day in Cuba

Today’s highlight is the road train. A big toy train with three open bogies. We leave the hotel at 10 am sharp Cuban Standard Time. All modes of transport travel right through the middle of the road. The road stretched out in front of us without any markings, roughly the width of two buses. Like…

Silver Streak

Summer time. Managers at a popular car franchise wilted under the constant pressure of trying to sell their inventory and promote next year’s stock. After much deliberation they hit upon a plan to target new immigrants. They began scouring the countryside for a racecar driver model to promote their new collection. On a cloudy Monday…

Kissed by a dolphin

The day started early, a few sunrays before six. The sun peeped, ran an eye over Holguin beach, looked up, parted the curtains of our resort room, and summoned me to the window.

Women are right. Always!

There is no woman in sight. If a man stands in the middle of a forest and says something, is he still wrong? [A quote I borrowed from a speaker in TED.com who in turn took it off a T-shirt which passed him on the street.] The wife is always right. She reminds me every…

Keep that smile!

First thing every morning, I look at myself in the mirror and smile. Then I wash my face, brush my teeth, look at the mirror, and smile again. I can feel the smile spread across my face lighting up my eyes. That warms my heart and prepares me for the day ahead. Whatever happens today…

Music of the rain

I opened my eyes and saw nothing. First the sounds of rain reached me, then the spray from a water drop. Lightning made the room bright for a blink of an eye. I reached down and pulled the blanket over my head ready for the sound. The deafening thunder made me still shudder. It began…

Freedom at 10

Women think way far ahead. They plan, plot, and gently let their men loose in a maze that resembles their mind! And those pour souls believe they are getting away with ‘it’. It could be anything from an iPad to an unsupervised visit to Costco or Best Buy. These two incidents will elaborate my point.…

99% Canadian

My journey to become Canadian started 20 plus years ago. I was told Canadians are very nice people. The same person told me, in Canada there are people from all over the world. So, before I reached Canada, I decided to find out about the different forms of greeting people. At a young age, I…

Sleep Clinic

What comes to mind when you hear the words, ‘sleep’ or ‘a good night’s sleep’? A cozy bedroom with a high four poster bed. Crisp clean sheets. A pocket coil mattress. A warm duvet pulled up to your chin. Then you turn to your side. Supported by a fluffy pillow, bathed in the gentle glow…

Breaking the ice

I resemble an ice carving; silent, apparently lacking human emotions. With persistent global warming it would be a matter of time before I melted away without a trace. So I borrowed a page from Barack Obama and decided to ‘change’ become more human. Make history in the process, even if it was confined to the…

Carroms, anyone?

Chitra is mean. It all started with that stupid carrom board*. One fine evening Chitra and I had the urge to go and eat at Gerrard St. [Indian street downtown]. So, with Parvathiammal [our Tamilian friend who has a strong opinion about everything and everyone] in tow, we eased into our 1996 Ford Taurus and…

On making dosa

Dosa is another heavenly food item from India – the land of mystery and more recently, outsourcing! The humble dosa originated in Kerala (South India). Dosas are very thin and crisp and is usually the size of a plate. There are bigger chattis which can produce dosas that hang from either side of the plate…

Eat my son!

The following account took place in early September. The place: New York, New York. The event: The wedding reception of a dear friend. “Eat, my son. By the time you go back to Toronto, I want you to gain two pounds.” This shocking start to conversation stemmed, unbelievably, from unconditional love. After a grueling 12…

Home is where the heart is!

I like going home. If possible once every year. My home is far away. Roughly 8,500 miles away, across the Atlantic, past the gulf countries, across the Arabian sea, in a tiny state called Kerala at the southernmost tip of India. Going home is always a memorable event. It looks different now. Concrete buildings have…

Basic rules of driving

Some drivers break rules most of the time; they dismiss road signs, crisscross lane markings, and threaten human beings in other vehicles. Today I will introduce the two basic rules of driving with specific examples, one as a passenger and the other as the driver. These rules may be followed by all drivers and you…

Creative imagination

I read this story and it stayed in my mind. It’s also the punch line in a TED talk. A young teacher was conducting a drawing class for six year olds. At the far end of the class a girl in pig tails sat with her arms around the paper totally engrossed. The teacher asked…

Tech-no-logic

A dear friend of mine received a new Blackberry. Till then she had a simple flip phone to receive and make calls. When the phone rang, she’d flip it open and start talking. If she had to make a call all she had to do was punch the numbers on the oversized keypad, press the…

Kathakali

Celestial Dances I – For Arun, the weekend started with Kathakali, followed by nature’s dance in tornado alley, and dancing on the streets in Little India celebrating India’s cricket win. All in one weekend. Kathakali. Arun’s first memory of this story-play from Kerala was when he was five years old. It was raining heavily that…

The Butterfly Effect

At the bottom of the bridge over Welland Canal, the overhead sign flashed once. ’30 minutes to 1 hour wait at the Peace Bridge Crossing.’ On cue, butterflies in Arun’s stomach emerged from their cocoons. The first time, Arun and his family crossed the border to the US of A with their friend and family.…

Don’t take it personally

I was brought up with the habit of sharing. In school there were the textbooks, the bench we sat on, the pencils and erasers, teasing the teachers. At home I had to share the last piece of chicken. As kids we rarely received gifts. On the ethnic new year’s day the oldest member of the…

Peep. Mum’s the word!

The highlight of Chitra’s New York trip was lunch. Hunger pangs dug in when her car entered Holland Tunnel on the way to a rain-soaked Big Apple. Though it was Saturday afternoon, guide and cousin Shalini found a parking spot on Thomson St. She flipped out her iPhone and scanned for the nearest Thai restaurant.…

Breaking the iceberg

I broke the ice in my first speech. Many of us do not see or connect with the iceberg beneath. I am talking about our inner feelings, our subconscious, who we are, and how we become the people we become. These are thoughts that continue to haunt us for most of our lives. Some of…

Vishu

This year, the concept of Vishukainettam has changed slightly. What was a token amount for Vishu given by karnavars to the younger folks is now the rolling trophy for the best Vishu sadya. The race is on for 2003. Who will win the cup? The contest begins on 15th april. Due to some complexity in…

Gastronomic weekend

Chitra thrives on excellent cuisine. In her quest to taste the best ethnic foods, she has dragged me across time zones, even countries. As the president of GC7 (Gastronomic Club of Seven), Chitra gets invitations from all over North America. GC7 is made up of seven members spread out in North America who regularly correspond…