These women made life worth living

March 7, 2011 at 7:39 pm (Personal)

“We’re women. We’re smart and savvy, striving to live up to our potential,” These words are a burst of assertiveness, a product of self emancipation.

Today’s women are on the forward path to re-establish an equal space next to men. The modern woman has progressed aggressively from a phase where she was constantly bombarded with roles that are an offshoot of a patriarchal society, to a world where gender equality, respect for womanhood is gained by right. This again was a path dotted with struggles.

From a diaper changer at home to heading Multi National Companies effecting economic change, women on every rung of the empowerment ladder have had a constant struggle. The democratic view that I hold on women comes from those women with whom I have been associated with – my mother, my sister, my ex girl friends and the present one who recently has been upgraded to wife status.

If I were to describe them…“they are curious about the world they live in, and want to make a difference. They cherish the gift of womanhood and most particularly, the ability to look within, push the boundaries of what they know, and enlarge their hearts and minds with the world. They are the toughest beings (if they want to be) and the softest souls that they are made to be. They yearn to explore their fabulous womanhood …”

This woman taught me to walk; to talk; instilled in me the basic reverence towards women. A woman of substance that she was, my mother had in her the power to heal pain – most women have it I believe. She would never wish ill for others and would tell me to love my brother. She would make me give away things to the poor and bestow love like a monsoon shower. Busy at home and in school (she was a teacher) she would have ample time for us children. Her life, although short, was the first lesson on the beauty of motherhood in a woman. 

We would fight tooth and nail, but she would be the one to compromise and settle issues. That was another woman in my life – My elder sister. Only those without elder sisters would disagree with me, if I say that sisters make good friends; show motherly concern and even fatherly tyranny when things go wrong. She would change roles quick. From a playmate, to a care taker and from a guide in homework to a companion in harmless pranks.

Hundreds of women who were my college mates brought to me a world of fun, enjoyment and a major leap into exciting time in courtship. Laughter that resounded in the class rooms; evenings that were spent in the coffee shops; moments spent in intimacy sharing life experiences; hours spent in ‘combine study sessions,’ nights spent in overnight camps; days spent in figuring out what was going on between us were the ‘blessed’ days of my college life. Later did I realize that I had seen and felt another side of womanhood – for I was in love!

My partner has taken me a long way in being sensitive to the needs of women. These lessons may seem small to the world, but can change the chemistry between the two. It was here that one could see a woman stepping into those corners of man’s heart that have not been probed into so far. The difference between the two sexes and the dynamics that works between them has amazed me. More than the commonality that exist between the sexes, it’s the differences and the efforts taken by the woman to bring about a congruence that came to light.

This woman was a symbol of sacrifice and commitment. She always gave her best in the relationship. An ace organizer, best surprise giver, gifted holiday planner, trouble shooter, pacifier, an excellent crisis manager, the best financial advisor and above all a confidant.

Taking a step further I would like to share the recent and more prominently exposed soft side of men which complements the nature of women. “Men don’t cry” is now a cliché. Watch the reality shows on Indian television and you will find men being honest with their emotions and venting them out. From where has this sensitivity emerged? We have learnt it from women. The number of those men, who are at ease with showing to the world that they are soft at heart, is increasing. This greatly helps to strengthen the connecting and communication between the sexes.

I am sure God made women in his leisure time. Deep thinking has surely gone into making this being that gels into any circumstance and makes the change. Playing numerous roles to the best of her ability and combating her way through to emancipation in a world where patriarchy is a deep rooted poison ivy, womanhood still awaits its due.

I salute this virtue of womanhood for if there were no women, there would not have been men.


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The Mangalorean Kid Rock

March 16, 2009 at 11:58 am (Media)

Tom and Jerry, Sachin Tendulkar are not his icons. His toddler love has transcended toys and cartoons towards a sound activity. This roly-poly kid has his eyes fixed on renowned drummers like Sivamani, Ranjit Barrot, Arun Sukumar and Kishan and Roberto Narain. Six-and-a-half-year-old Mangalorean Galven Martis is destined to rock!

The raw talent and natural ability of this charming toddler bloom within the four walls of his house in Bejai.

His tutor Sachin, an ace drummer of the Trinity band, calls it a phenomenal achievement for a child of his age. His father saw Galven’s forte for playing the drums and desired to give him lessons.

A visit to a music shop at the age of four triggered the interest in the child. “He saw the drum kit and wanted to know more about it. The store keeper played the drums and Galven was struck by the instrument’s charm. He too wished to play it,” narrates his father Godfrey Martis.

Galven chanted the ‘I want drums’ mantra for almost three months and eventually forgot it – but not for long. A performance video on TV of an eight-year-old Brazilian drummer triggered it again, but stronger this time. “He would pester me day and night for drums. It was a huge expense and I was not prepared to take it as children have passing phases of interests. But eventually I gave in and began my search for someone who could teach him drums. All the teachers in Mangalore turned me down and I turned to Sachin,” explains Godfrey.

Sachin, who also owns the popular Trinity – The Music School in Mangalore and conducts drums classes for children, was reluctant to take in the four-year-old Galven.

“To play drums, one needs a good amount of stamina and a fairly good understanding of rhythm which usually develops after eight years of age. Galven, I felt, was just another child mesmerized with the drums. But I was wrong. I visited him and gave him few lessons. He was quick to pick up and surprised me with his moves. It was then that I realized that this boy has something more in him,” said Sachin.

With two years of practice, musically-talented Galven has completed 13 courses: quite remarkable considering no student of Sachin’s age has crossed this stage so far. Galven’s dreams came true when he got his own drum kit.

Although a second-hand set, Galven cherishes it more than all other possessions. He is relaxed behind the drums and sits as if he is on a throne. He practices for two hours a day.

His mother Veera never gets sick of hearing Galven play the drums hard and loud. Galven’s older siblings Godleva and Gavryel support him always and even play along with him on the keyboard. A student of St Theresa School, Galven is surely a child prodigy who can rock the world!

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Coming home to Christmas

December 26, 2008 at 12:25 pm (Personal) ()

It’s that month of the year that has a different feeling altogether. The air has a unique scent of celebration, grandeur and red festivities. As a child Christmas would be fun.

The pranksters of staff quarters would gather shunning their religious tags and join in some collective crib and star making. The bigger boys would take the lead and months before December, the blue print of the crib would be formed. Roles assigned and then the execution makes headway. In most cases the common crib would take shape in my house as we had lots of space and our house centrally located.

Above all my dad was generously resourceful with material and electric equipment. Mom too was not behind except that she half-heartedly gave away her saris to be used as screens for the crib. I understand her pain in giving away those precious pieces to be treated as covering material above the crib.

What I recollect being close to my heart was Christmas carols. Along with my same-age girl friends, I would sing carols loud and to my hearts content. Assisting my elder brother in the crib was a proud task and would always use this as an excuse to skip doing the holiday homework time.

Yet another activity that I love was to accompany dad and mom to every house for distributing Kuswar (home-made Christmas eatables).
Come 2008 Christmas and I felt the clock turning back. The burst of enthusiasm of my childhood just returned – thanks to my greatest friend – and I went on an accelerated mode with decorations and crib spirit. After shifting to Konaje, this was the first time I got to decorate a Christmas tree. This time is was the most elegant one.

Cleaning my house in Falnir. Making space for the tree…spending sleepless nights preparing thermocol candles with hollies…shopping for Christmas decoration and offers on household goods appliances…brought back the similar enthu of the yesteryears when ‘doing’ was the ultimate fun.

Not to forget the crux of this year’s celebration. I joined the church choir. On the Sunday prior to the Christmas day, I landed in the church and joined my 14-year-old cousin in the choir. Seeing a new face triggered a lot of whispering in the group which I easily sensed. The girls sang well, while the boys attempted with higher notes on the tenor. Instinctively I took up the alto.

The priest who did not know of my singing career heard me sing and made a comment “I heard your alto and it is good”. This open praise created a mild buzz in the 30-member choir.

Once they found that I had a relative in the choir, inquiring questions poured on her. Later did I find from my cousin the probe included some interesting queries – Is he a musician? Does he sing for music albums?….and so on.

On Christmas Eve, I joined the choir just in time and the choir which had arranged itself well suddenly shifted and an individual mike reached me. One member of the choir walked up to me and with reverence said “Will you be singing the alto?” I nodded.
The next two hours were of soulful singing.

After mass the choir surrounded me wishing me Christmas joy. But one member had a request. “Will you please lead the choir for a first mass of a newly ordained priest on Jan 15. We need you to teach us some voices.”
Now that was something I did not expect. With no airs, I obliged knowing well that I have given them a commitment and will have to make time and also take a leave from work on that Thursday.

However, the feeling was great. Christmas was memorable….like coming home.

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Glorious era of my ‘brick phone’

December 19, 2008 at 7:51 pm (Personal)

The one thing that was common between me and Shahrukh Khan was that both flaunted the similar phone. I am talking of a story that is place around 2002. On every available wall around the city adorned the Bollywood heartthrob King Khan with the trendiest Nokia handset then. I was a proud owner of a similar piece.

Now an antique piece buried under layers of junk in my drawer, the Nokia 7100 was withdrawn from active service when my ex-boss gifted me a new phone. I am very possessive of my Nokia coz it provoked lots of curiosity in those who saw me use it. A small silver button at the back would open up the keypad and dare you call it outdated – it was the first phone of Nokia with WAP (Wireless Application Protocol). 

My phone is historic and it was this machine in which Nokia launches the world’s first WAP handset – Internet came on mobile phones.

I stand proud to state its features: 

  1. Easy access to Internet text content via their WAP-enabled browser 
  2. Optimization for reading and entering text information 
  3. Viewable text in varying font sizes and styles 
  4. A phone keypad enabled for entering Chinese language characters 
  5. Scrolling menus and phonebook functions 

What kept this phone above the rest of its age are its large display and its classy roller-scroll.

To those who mocked at me saying ‘it was heavy as a brick’ my only stern answer was ‘it’s a weapon, I knock you dead with one shot of this brick’.

In its last days, although my heart ached to lay it to rest, but a positive thought invaded my brains. I vowed to preserve the phone in working condition for decades. And one fine day be the few people on earth to possess this model and when need arose auction it for millions of dollars! 

They say commitment to mobile phones is only a three-year affair. Same was my case. I soon forgot my prized possession once I saw newer, smarter, advanced models of phones. Contented with my gifted set, my likeness to old phone models existed as I used a not-easily-available phone belonging to the 3360 range. 

The fixation finally broke in Dec 2008 when I again entered a phone flaunting mode with my N81. 

Watch out to read more about my obsession with my latest phone.

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Make me worthy

December 15, 2008 at 1:43 pm (Personal) (, )

The world is confused and so let me add my share of confusion. I am a powerful contributor to the rut.

It’s like waves. They crash hard and get calm. Just when you think all is well there comes another crash – powerful than the former.

The ebbs and flow of life, they say, keeps the action alive. I don’t agree. The quest for peace, the quest for satisfaction takes people places. In this quest, one changes attitudes, approaches, life style and may even alter his tastes and likes.

Will this change him? Oh yes. Change for the better is always appreciated!

I’ve changed too. Have reached a different mode of my life where ‘doing’ things has taken the prime focus.

Accepting change can be quick, but take my words implementing/adopting it (many of them at one time) is a risk. Not to brag. I have done that. Don’t ask me how I feel. It’s been a bumpy ride. Thanks a million to my partner who was like a shock absorber and has put her heart and soul in making the journey less harsh.

Most of the times I wonder what state of mind will she have to be constantly behind one person to get him on his feet. I think what she should be made of to have patience of an owl, concern of Florence nightingale and in exhaustive energy to meet the goal.

I have let her down hundreds of times. Most of which was my own weakness and approach to change. I have pushed her to her limits and in few instances beyond them. God punish me for that. Even to this very hour she has that special concern for me. Her thoughtfulness is that noble virtue that I admire the most. The feeling of being cared and loved. I enjoy it everyday. Should I say “thank god Dr Love” or say “luck me”…..I don’t know.

I fight a battle daily. A war with my self and what a want to be and what is expected of me. These three elements are constantly knocking horns. My ordeal is to strike a balance. This balancing act is what keeps me busy, confused, happy, sad, depressed, lost, lonely and even low.

Even an inch of success brings be zillions of tiny happiness packets.

Dear friend how can I thank you for what you are in my life. You are like the sun which just shines and shines…

You are like that gush of cool breeze that kisses you on a sweaty day. You are like that candle that shines and burns itself.

God make me worthy of this care and love. Let me never disrespect or fail to recognise the concern. Make me worthy of that love!

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Back on Track

November 19, 2008 at 7:36 pm (Profession) (, , , )

Expectations around me streamed high. But I constantly doubted myself asking “Do I deserve this post?” “Will I be able to perform this role?”

Now this is what they call ‘starting trouble’. But for me it was the challenge posed before me and I had to prove it first to myself.

To add fuel to the fire, I was left in the sea with no one to teach me to swim.

The first day on job was a disastrous beginning. I realized I had to begin performing in my new role bare-footed. Guess what the inspiration came from within and I did something different. I penned down what needs to be done and began hunting for those who could teach it to me. My plan worked and as I ticked each item on my list by noon, I was on the move. The big lessons learnt were:

  • Don’t panic
  • Relax and remember there is help just round the corner provided you take the pain to reach it.
  • Plan
  • Prioritize
  • Don’t be too ambitious
  • Be practical
  • Be friendly yet stern
  • Keep friendship away from business
  • Place each change with care
  • Show that you are genuinely interested in the others well-being
  • Give each their value
  • Encourage best performers – encourage underperformers
  • Treat everyone equal
  • Anticipate trouble and be prepared for calamities.

 Ooooof that was too much of learning just in two weeks.

Today, I have realized my immense potentials. I am now tuned to perform better each day and tell myself “U r your competitor”

The happiest achievement is that I am back on track and have placed career goals on priority. I am glad to see myself focused again. I now see a steady move upwards.

So far there has been only learning and performing. The storm has been overpowered by its threatening lock of hair.

As I sit on my prized manager’s chair and enjoy all the respect, attention, I would be thrown to the raging fires of hell, if I do not express my gratitude to one person who brought me here.

This young girl came into my life and shook me by my roots. Scary isn’t it. She did this just to plant it in the most fertile soil and nurtured it with all that she had.

Mel, hats off to your work! You have a lions share in my success today.

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A life full of surprises – Part 1

November 18, 2008 at 7:48 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

Call it a mistake or the right thing to have done, I would always keep career goals secondary. Up on the pedestal would be exalted my personal goals. This no doubt made my well-wishers think I had made inappropriate career choices. I did what I felt right at that moment. Past is past. But what’s the new change in me, I ask myself.

Like a gush of strong wind that comes with no specific purpose, but creates great changes, here I am with energy I know not from where it comes.

 Events occurred snappy fast and I had no time to think over them.

An interview attended for fun turned the tables and I was set on the throne of India Production Editor. Even in my weirdest dreams I had not dreamt of being the editor of a UK news agency.

 All called it luck coz I had seniors who were strong contenders for the post. At a time when I had given up on it, the appointment just stupefied me. I could not react.

The next few hours went in futile attempts to digest the fact that a double promotion has come into my fold. From a team player to the team manager, the transition was lightening fast. I had to share this with someone and so I rushed out to pick my phone and automatically I dialed a number (like an instinct).

 I could not rejoice for I missed someone deep amidst this victory!


More to follow…..

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Leila Alvares Shakes up City with Elvis Jolt

October 27, 2008 at 4:01 pm (Media) (, )


Natali and Denis
Natali and Denis

Cause Foundation shook up Mangalore again with its hilarious musical comedy “All Shock Up”. It was Elvis Presley the undisputed king of Rock N Roll who became the catalyst for a change here. Based on the Joe DiPietro’s book, the play at Town Hall on October 25 was the perfect brew of theatre, music, dance succeeding to keep its lead on the entertainment scale.

While the plot for this year’s performance was around a 1950’s small town in US which transformed itself into a vibrant hub for music and romance, the ever green foot tapping numbers of Elvis were suffused aptly creating the flow.

Presley performed this music with a natural hip swiveling sexuality that made him a teen idol and a role model for generations of cool rebels. Leila Alvares, the director of the musical wisely used this icon to bring on stage class-conscious Honky Tonky’s resistance to music dismissing it as vulgar, incompetent and a bad influence. However the force of Elvis music and image signaled won each heart from the young to the old effecting a cultural change.

Natali smitted by Chad
Natali smitted by Chad
Chad, played by Neville De Nazareth in Elvis style, reaches Honky Tonky casting the spell of his music. Romance mushroomed amid resistance. Touching every young heart, the town finally burns with love.

However, Natali, played by charming Anaitha Nair stole the show with her vivacious stagecraft.

Love entangles the young and old. Natali is smitten by Chad who is mesmerized by the museum girl Sandra who finds her soul mate in Natali (impersonating as a handsome man Ed). Denis has his heart on Natali. Love spares none. Sheriff Earl develops a soft corner for the town’s domineering Mayoress Matilda. Her son Dean’s and Florane’s insuppressible love compels them to elope. Florane’s mother Slyvia and Natali’s father Jim finally accept the flame between them.

 The two-and-half-hour show with live music directed by Gaurav Vas skipped none. Most of the audience were seen tapping their feet to the superb music while rest hummed or sang along the great hits like “Love me tender, love me sweet”, Can’t stop falling in love with you” and many more.

One of the scenes that was a visual treat was when a set of angels led by the Mayoress and a devil’s gang captained by Chad engage in a perky musical debate.

Elvis resurected on stage
Elvis resurected on stage

 If you have been mesmerized by Cause Foundation’s earlier musical hits like ‘The Sound of Music’, ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and ‘My Fair Lady’, the deeds of Jude Lazaro, Arvind Kasthuri and Prem Koshy in the prime roles would be refreshing phase.

Comparing further this show had one noticeable shortcoming. Breaking the trend of perfection in every play by Cause Foundation, this year’s show had a lack of co-ordination visible while changing sets and backstage voices making it to the loud speakers and some lighting errors. 

All forgiven for a noble cause. Cause foundation offered the returns from the show to White Doves and Animal Care Trust.  

 * Pics Courtesy Daijiworld



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Advertiser’s Victory

October 22, 2008 at 12:22 pm (Media) (, )

With high sense of accomplishment I filed my story and sent it to my editor. I knew well that a ‘Well Done’ was in my basket. The story surely would make it to the front page.

The next morning I was up by 5.30 and restlessly waiting for the paper boy. Never ever knew who dropped the paper each day. But that morning I found it to be an elderly man. He had never received such a welcoming reader than me, coz i flashed a big smile as I took my copy from his hands.

A quick scan on page 1….no story… Page 2..Page 3…. rest of the pages.. NO! WHERE IS MY STORY?

Did they forget to place it?  Have they frozen it for tomorrow? Questions flooded my mind in a flash. Could not wait to rush to the office and find out.  

Who had a problem in the piece? Not he local editor nor the news editor, but the advertisment head!

The golf course which is run by a tourism company was one of the big advertisment support to the newspaper and the breaking story was dumped!

It took me two days to fight for my story and finally got it published on the Stat page. I was glad that it finally came out in black and white, but was treated badly and played down with.

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Fauji reloaded

October 19, 2008 at 3:57 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

As a little boy the first thing that excited me was enacting what young Sharukh Khan did in his debut serial on national television as a dynamic, daring soldier. Without blinking my eye lids, i would be glues to the TV set to watch Fauji on our Beneton black and white monitor. He became my role model and led me to climb rocks, slip down water pipes and even try stunts like jumping from one tree branch to another. My platoon consisted all the smaller neighbouring boys and we also had a secret hide out.

Sadly, I grew up and Fauji adventure became only a part of my most cherished memories.

Amazingly, I found that lost excitement one day on reporting. I was then a two-year-old reporter with a local English daily and had on a story hunt I stumbled upon a great story. But cracking it called for a secret mission. The Fauji in me jumped with joy and soon I laid down the nitty gritty of the mission.

It was on child labour and how the elite of Mangalore made use of minor children at a newly developed gold course in the outskirts of the city. Young boys were employed to carry heavy bat-bags from 6 am till 9 am and subsequently miss school. The trend was growing unabated.

Phase 1- I collected the birth certificates of school drop-outs from the school and also took a official letter from the headmaster stating that these children have been drop-outs.

Phase 2- Obtained all the information about the golf club and the number of members with their background.

Phase 3 – Spoke to the children and their families by visiting their homes. Interestingly, the children were lured into the work by the remuneration – Rs 60 for four hours. That’s a bumper for a 16-year-old school boy! They work in two shift – morning and evening!

Phase 4 – Obtaining photographs of children at work. Who would bell the cat? was the challenge. Finally I decided I would sneak into the golf course and do it myself. A restricted area that was, I disguised myself as a newly-joined software employee of a prestigious software company in Mangalore and was visiting the golf course. With a fanny pack round my waste and a digital camera I roamed round the golf course.

My fear here was to be spotted by a know person. If caught would be beaten back and blue. I was a very bad action i must admit and so not banking on that skill i decided to get a few shots and make a gateway.

My heart started to pound harder as I heard someone call out to me from far. I took a glimpse of two faint figures. One I recognised as the president of the golf club and with him was a GUARD! The red button was pressed and I was a few minutes away from danger. I had still not got the best shot for the story. I told myself ‘its now or never..go for it’. I swiftly moved behind a golfer and boy with a heavy bat bag and took aim and shot at least five pictures.

As the duo neared, I wished i would just disappear like a lightening. Idea! I just took out my cell phone and began pretending to be on an official call. Spoke loud all the computer knowledge I had and made my way toward a few trees and luckily found a barbed wire wall with a opening. Jumped over it and looked back to find myself all alone with no human soul around.

I ran towards the main road thanking my stars and zoomed off on my bike. I had done it!

This was my first investigative story. My excitment was shooting up to see my story flashed on tomorrow’s paper. Did it happen…. wait and watch….

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