Skip to main content


Her wait is over.

Gandhini packs the carry bag for her son, Karthy. He is going on a long tour of five cities, having recently finished three performances in three Sabhas - it was a glorious madras music season, at least for him. It has been hectic so far. But this is the final leg of this year. She is getting ready to get some life back.

Time passes slowly now.

Karthy is going to become a great singer: that is Gandhini's dream and she knows it. She will do whatever it takes to get him there. Not because of what she wants, but because that is what Karthy wants.

She found his talents early, when he was five. He was a silent boy and never spoke much. But one day, he started singing along with the radio station, in the "hall"/living room, while she was cooking. This would have been a normal day, had it not been for their neighbour, who came in unannounced, listened, cried in happiness and left him a gift of Amul chocolates - a treasure for a five year old!

Since then, Gandhini has been trying to get Karthy as much music time as she can. It is a constant struggle, since she lives in a colony that can give Cupertino, CA a run for their money - students carry twice their body weight in books from the age of 3, and it never lightens. Too bad they don't compete in deadlifts and squats, they'll easily win in the under-age category.

In all schools in the colony/neighbourhood, the sticks are literal, and the carrots are imaginary. Gandhini tries hard to get Karthy to escape his destined reality. She is not popular with the teachers, or the other parents. She always "cooks up trouble, thinking of leisure time for children". But that's what she can do. That's what she wants, and that's enough for her. Her role in life was never pre-ordained, but it is what it is now.

Gandhini is past trying for what she needs. She had dreams. Aspirations. Hopes. Fantasies. It all began when she was 5. She fell over from the parapet wall of her rooftop, trying to catch a butterfly - and landed 10 feet down into the grassy backyard. Miraculously she escaped. Even more miraculously, she dodged the verbal arrows that a panic stricken parent in unconditional love of his sons and daughters would unleash. On that day, her mother simply smiled and her father said "It is ok Gaani, you grow only by making mistakes, ok? Now go and play, go go". Yes, she thought. She had to try better than anyone else. Life long.

Since that day, she knew trying was OK, no matter how risky. It was reinforced at school when her teacher introduced her to Bharathiyar. Reading his works,  she was afire, ready to change the world. Her hero was not any of the gods, but Kannagi. She would fight for her right whenever it was due. Gandhini was going to become a poet activist, just like her idol, Bharathi.

Gandhini was also the topper in her school and college. She won every poem recitation contest there was. That's how she found Virat, and their life became her best poem. For a while, it was all exactly the way she wanted it. Then came the typical Indian trappings. Infinite wisdom crept into their lives, purely through benevolent intentions from harmless family members (you wouldn't know from their actions, you had to imagine that it was in in their hearts so). Her vision blurred. Bharatiyaar was demoted from activist into a merely superlative poet. Mother Teresa was for feel good documentaries, not for a lifestyle to pursue. Loans, both taken and given, took from them more than it gave them. They moved around, in pursuit of dreams that remained so.

Slowly, she gave away what she wanted. Not because that's what she wants, but because that's what Virat wanted. She would do whatever it took to get him there. That became Gandhini's dream even before she knew it: Virat is going to be a great Businessman.

Time passes slowly now.

She is getting ready to get some life back. It was hectic so far. But this is the final leg in Virat's career. He just finished a glorious streak of acquisitions and is going on a long tour of five countries. Gandhini packs the suitcases for her husband, Virat.

Her wait is never over.


  1. Love the depth of your observations and how you've woven the pieces of the story together.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Why PI is not 4, math is great, and other mysteries.

The other day, I found myself with an interesting problem of approximating a circle with the enclosing square which seems to prove pi = 4.

The paradox was forwarded by a most interesting puzzle collector, Surajit Basu, a friend and life long inspiration. See Sonata for Unaccompanied Tortoise for why!

Here is the offending paradox:

This is an example of how counterintuitive questions can be answered with a little calculus.

The key is to realize that no matter how closely we approximate the circle, the orthogonal lines of the approximation formed by inverting the square corners will never actually be tangential to the circle.

Note carefully that as you get closer to 90 degrees, the horizontal line is much longer than the vertical. Same goes with the approximation at 0 and 180 - the vertical line is much larger than the horizontal component.

If we take a quadrant of the circle - let's say the top left quadrant, moving counter clockwise from top to left -  we can imagine that each inf…

Ambition vs. Fear.

Most important things in life don't come to us. Nor do we get them by seeking/wanting them. It comes from letting go of the unimportant stuff.

The hardest part is letting go of the tendency to take the world as is. This is a habit of our past successes.

But success is not a destination, it is a STOP sign. You stop, wait, and move on. Too often, we are paralyzed by success into the fear of the new. We stall on the road to a new life. We need to break our inertia and move.

Our thoughts and thought habits are hard to break. But that is where we have to spend the most energy. Thoughts are always competing strands  - of worries of the past and anxieties for the future. For some of us, they are cleanly separated into rivers that nurture every place they travel. For most, they are like the torrents and trickles -- competing, rushing somewhere, stopping completely elsewhere, always mixing, morphing, competing, winning, losing.

Our thoughts are the potential difference between the two pole…

Architecture, Engineering, Operations - iteration 1

The world has infinitely more stuff to be "done" nowadays. At least in the sense of building/running an institution that uses technology, there are many roles that are involved in making things work. The world of IT and technology in general makes the speed and variety possible. We now have a platform of IT that is globally scale-able if we can put some new thinking to the old problems of "getting things done".

There are great organizations that do this well, and they use "modern" IT principles to achieve this.

Fundamental to engineering a modern IT (or infrastructure organization) are the three roles of Architecture, Engineering and Operations. Some would say Architecture is encoded Engineering-history, but for now, we will keep them separate.

The popular definitions for these roles are about "output" delivered or the "domain" of discourse. The personality drives that determine the actual performance are not discussed, as far as I ca…