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Hi! I’m Justin Raj, a stock broker by profession, is also a freelance Journalist, an amateur Filmmaker and an enthusiastic Marathoner who possesses the ‘bad habit’ of writing too much. And as long as that ‘bad habit’ stays with me, I keep on posting to my blog.

A blogger is basically a tech-savvy writer. He is a keen observer with a sharing mind, not a silent spectator to all events which happen around him. If a reader is a person who loves to gain knowledge, a blogger or writer is one who loves to share his knowledge and dare to speak out his opinions and ideas. Like a singer expresses by singing, dancer by dancing, actor through acting, a blogger blogs his feelings and ideas out. Literally, Freedom of Expression is his shield and the blog is his Sword.

Here in my blog, write-ups are archived in 9 labels. In ‘Sweet and Bitter’ you can read about my diverse life experiences and valuable lessons I learnt from it. ‘Published Articles’ offers you my articles which have been published in Daily Newspapers. In ‘Random Brain Waves’ you can meet up with my random (or at times, weird) ideas. Poetry writing has eventually become a new hobby as well as a part of my blog. You can read my poems in ‘Verses’. In ‘Marathon’ label, you can read about my marathon experiences, challenges and how running a marathon can shape a man’s life.

‘Vlog’ is a recent addition to my blog as I realize the potential future of visual media. Sometimes, a 3-minute video can do the magic of expression than a 3000 word article. In this label you can watch the short films, documentaries, advertisements et al I have made. ‘Favorite Articles’ consists of articles which have influenced my outlook and attitude on life. Being a tireless traveler, ‘Travel’ label takes you to various travel experiences of mine. Conducting researches is a part of Journalism. In ‘Research Articles’ label you can get articles which throw light on various researches I have conducted.

Every life meets with various challenges, diverse experiences and at the end, all those teach us valuable lessons for our future. Wise men learn by other men's mistakes, fools by their own said H. G. Bohn. I learn more by my own mistakes than others. It doesn’t mean that I’m a fool! I learn from other’s lives too. My blog is a platform for sharing not only my life experiences but also the valuable lessons, ideas and poetry triggered by them.

To my mind, blog is a thinking man's tool. Blogging is more a passion than a hobby for me. It is as if talking something to someone somewhere in world. My words keep on talking to the visitors of my blog. I can feel the magic of words! And that’s the power of blogging!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Newsletter Story.



“Hey, it’s me, Arun! Here I’m planning something”, my classmate Arun said over phone from Pune.

“Okay, what’s that?” I asked him curiously.

“Justin, what’s your opinion about launching a newsletter from our communication department?” He gave out his idea and waited for my response.

“Wow! That’s great dude!” I really liked his idea.

Arun is popular in class for his bigmouth. He talks a lot but that day his call was very brief and up to the point.

I didn’t hear anyone talking about it after that. Even didn’t Arun! Arun told that he had discussed it with Dhanya, one of my classmates. She didn’t speak about it either. It was just an idea without backbone.

I know very well that this M.A communication course is just wastage of time unless we do something practically regarding the course and its content. Class room lectures are akin to teaching swimming without even getting into water! It’s boring and depletes creativity too. Honestly, I hate classroom lectures. I love group activities in which all students participate, cooperate and learn together.

This very idea encouraged me to take the initiative to start a newsletter from our department. Firstly, I informed Remya ma’am, head of our department about this and she gave a positive response.

In December 2008, she opened a discussion among the students-both our batch and seniors. Except a name for the newsletter, everything including theme and editorial teams got decided upon in that meeting.

Our monthly newsletter is a theme based one. That is, each month we come up with a theme. Patriotism is the theme for our introductory January issue. Front page will be dedicated for the theme and the following pages contain articles on recent social, economic, political and of course, media related issues.

Next hurdle after deciding upon content, was christening our newsletter with an apt and catchy name. I collected the names suggested by my classmates, scrutinized them, and submitted it to Remya ma’am. She made a shortlist and with the approval of our classmates, settled on the final name: Resonance, solely suggested by my classmate, Neelima.

Resonance means richness, significance or quality. It also means a vibration of large amplitude produced by a relatively small vibration. By taking up Resonance as our newsletter’s name, we conveys the quality of our content and spreads a concept that even a modest idea can make great ripples or changes in the society we live in.

Logo for the newsletter was designed by Nirmal, one of our seniors. You can also visit his blog: www.retro-memoir.blogspot.com. The logo plainly depicts our concept. You can see an ink droplet falling from a fountain pen nib thereby creating ripples in a water pool beneath. ‘Pen is mightier than sword’ states Napoleon Bonaparte. We too believe in the power of pen. The ink droplet symbolizes an idea or group of ideas. Water pool stands for the society we live in. Ripples show the change which can be brought to the society with the impact of powerful ideas.

We, as budding media personalities, believe in the power of ideas which can bring changes in the contemporary society. It is by this belief that we initiated Resonance and with a hope of bringing fruitful changes, we put in our best efforts to sustain publishing.

As an enthusiastic blogger, launching a blog for Resonance was in my mind from the very day we got the consent for starting it. But Remya ma’am wasn’t serious about it, I guess.

Kiran (www.iotatalks.blogspot.com), my classmate and a good friend came forward for helping me. From choosing blog’s template to linking our e-newsletter issue to a free file hosting site, he has done an excellent job. He also put forward a brilliant idea for linking Resonance’s blog to Madras Christian College’s official website (www.mcc.edu.in). He is a well informed tech savvy. I learnt a lot from him and his work inspired me to improve my technical knowledge which is very essential in the field of media. Not only did he created the blog but also designed the inaugural issue of Resonance. Finally, Resonance’s blog- www.resonancethenewsletter.blogspot.com - was launched in the midnight of 30th January 2009.

On 2nd February 2009, our ‘newsletter’ dream materialized as 500 copies of Resonance came out in print. ‘Chatter box’ Arun’s idea got back bone then. Both ‘newsletter boys’-Kiran and I- on my bicycle carried the copies and delivered it to the evening college office. We both couldn’t control our smiles and a great satisfaction filled our hearts.

We thought of releasing Resonance with a function inviting the principal and lecturers of other departments. But all went vain owing to Sri Lankan Tamil issue and indefinite closure of all the colleges in Tamilnadu.

Let our batch’s initiative-Resonance-brings unity, builds mutual understanding and cooperation and improves knowledge of students. Let’s wish it will become a training ground for budding writers, reporters and those interested in writing and getting published. Hope, it can one day become an integral part of the prestigious Madras Christian College.

*********

Few months ago, before joining M.A. communication, I thought of studying abroad dreaming of a better future. Now I understood that it is not the place; our actions which decide our future. It was with a half heart that I joined this course in Madras Christian College. But, today, without doubt I can tell that I’m the happiest person in the entire college.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Alone, I Run…

Alone, I run…

Through the darkest woods,

With fire on my head,

And, pain in my heart.



Alone, I run…

Through the thorny marshes,

Tears rolling down my cheeks,

And, blending with my sweat.



Alone, I run…

Through the lap of savage sun,

With parched throat

And, paining limbs.



Alone, I run…

Through the herd of beasts of darkness,

Holding up my head unwavering,

To show them-I’m younger, stronger and faster.



No one ahead, no one behind;

No water stops, no stone hinges;

Just blood-thirsty beasts all around,

Rounding for pouncing on me.



I can’t retire, I can’t relax;

Hunted I’m, if I retreat;

Sissy I’m, if I lose courage;

Dead I’m, if I yield.



Alone, I run…fearlessly,

Through the darkest woods,

With vibrant dreams in my head,

And, dynamic hope in my heart.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

My 23rd Birthday: A Nostalgia Filled Day.

A familiar dark face was sitting long away at the corner of the stadium pondering over something as usual. I was just finishing my regular morning run when my eyes fell on him. Murali sir! He was my Gandhian philosophy tutor at Vivekodayam Higher Secondary School. Though being not studious and also at the same time mischievous, I can proudly tell that I was one of his favourite students. I used to visit him and other teachers even after leaving to Chennai for my higher studies.


I jumped on to the stadium and walked briskly towards him. He couldn’t recognize me quickly but as soon as he made out that it’s me, he couldn’t stop smiling. We shared pleasantries and talked for quiet some time. He asked me to visit Vivekodayam, the school which gifted some of the sweet memorable days of my life. Those days are still crystal clear in my mind as if happened yesterday. I promised him that I will visit my one-time school the same day. I was so happy that at the early morning of the day I turned 23 (04/02/09), I was blessed to meet and talk to one of my favourite tutors.


I visited Vivekodayam in the afternoon with my friend, Arun Sivan. I was very excited as I met and talked to Radhika ma’am, who taught me Economics; Sindhu ma’am, who was my English tutor. I still feel sorry about her classes which I attended very rarely since I would mostly be out of the class caught red handed in some mischievous activities; Laxmi ma’am, my Communicative English tutor who taught me the basics of writing and speaking fluent English. She also put forward an offer for me to take a seminar in school on the “scope of Humanities discipline”. I gladly accepted that offer; and lastly, my Hindi tutor. I shouldn’t but unfortunately I forgot her name! Anyway, I will never forget her. There is a reason for that.


It was in the year 2002, I guess, during Hindi class, she came in a fine-looking saree. I really liked the colour and texture of the saree. As an open-minded, frank person I didn’t hesitated to compliment her for wearing such a nice saree. I was and still innocent at heart and I didn’t mean anything wrong. She too thanked me for my appreciation.


But situation became grim when this ‘saree’ news got into staff room. Murali sir became so unhappy about my comment. I still don’t know what made him so restless and also compelled me to apologize to Hindi teacher who just few moments ago accepted my compliments with a smiling face.


“Madam’s husband is there to comment on her saree colour. You don’t need to take up additional responsibilities” Murali sir told me glancing at my eyes. “Go and apologize to her” he added. I apologized to her with a smiling face.


I still don’t hold any grudge towards Murali sir. I respect and admire him. On top of that, he is one of the best tutors I have ever got in my academic life.


I met and talked to teachers of other departments who still know me and some of them still even remember my name! I roamed around the school campus with the same enthusiasm and spirit I had 7 years ago.


Our next stop was at a toddy shop. After getting high on toddy (‘Kallu’ we call it in Malayalam. It’s a drink you can have only from God’s Own Country. So, aptly it’s God’s Own Drink!), we resumed our journey to my village. Arun Sivan got stunned by seeing the scenic beauty of my native place. We rode through my old school campus. My mind was speeding backwards to those old joyful days even while I accelerated my bike forward. Those days were lost in the darkroom of past but the emotions and feelings bestowed by those days are still afresh in my mind. Arun Sivan got stuck with his camera (his newly found passion) hurrying to capture nature’s beauty.


At last, that nostalgia-filled day concluded pitifully. At first, I thought of not quoting it. Then I thought you deserve reading it! Although got high on ‘God’s Own Drink’, I had few pegs of my favourite rum with some of my close friends in the evening followed by little bit of whisky in night. It all was too much for me. My body responded: I puked…again and again. And, went to bed as if I came to this world 23 years ago…

Thursday, February 05, 2009

This is How a Great Week of Mine Got Messed up By SLA v/s LTTE War.

Frankly telling, ongoing Sri Lankan Army’s (SLA) assault on LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealem) has spoiled an exciting week of mine. I can’t blame Sri Lankan Army for that. The onus lies on Tamil Nadu Government’s unwise decision to shut down all the colleges and hostels indefinitely. The move hammered all the hopes and events I had planned for the week.


I reached God’s Own Country at the early hours of 3rd February. Retreating to my homeland-a real comfort zone-from Chennai-a virtual battle ground-is always a joyful affair. But, this week was really special for me.


On 3rd February, we had decided to conduct a releasing function of our newsletter, Resonance (www.resonancethenewsletter.blogspot.com). On the very next day on 4th February, our class also planned for a Mass Bunk (MB) and go for the movie, Slumdog Millionaire for which Indian music maestro A.R. Rahman fetched Golden Globe award and was nominated for Oscar. I dreamt about this wonderful week having a great time together with my friends on my birthday and proudly releasing the newsletter which is an initiative from our batch. Plans failed and dreams shattered.


I don’t know why Tamil politicians are bragging about an issue which is not even related to India. Okay. Tamil civilians are getting injured and killed in this war. It’s true. But, it doesn’t need an Einstein’s brain to understand that destruction of natural resources and civilian casualties are parts of a war. Unlike U.S invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, SLA’s assault is at least showing some positive results. It’s high time to eliminate a terrorist organization akin to LTTE which is banned in U.S, U.K and India from our planet’s surface.


Tamil Nadu Government’s leaning towards LTTE and creating unwanted panic by closing colleges and hostels is shameful and ridiculous. Yes. There is unrest in law colleges and one man committed suicide by setting himself ablaze. But, Government’s unwise move just revealed how ineffective the police force is.


Number of demonstrations and protest marches were happened all over Tamil Nadu against SLA’s v/s LTTE war. In reality, most of these demonstrations yielded negative results by disrupting civilian life here in Tamil Nadu. It would be a positive or constructive move, if the Government had utilized the money, time and energy spent on those meaningless activities for civilian aid in Sri Lanka.


Nothing more or nothing less. Government’s move is just to invoke Tamil sentiment eying the vote bank for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. It is better to have a second thought for the Government while supporting a banned terrorist organization which is even using Tamil civilian population as a human shield for their own survival.


My shattered week will be a happier one if SLA brings LTTE on knees. I appreciate Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa and the efforts of SLA to free that island nation from the clutches of a menace called LTTE.

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