Come on in!

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!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Please Forgive Me, William Miller…

Nearly a year ago, at midnight, I was coming back to Madras Christian College (MCC) from a small get-together along with my best buddies, Arun and Ben. They were boozed, as usual, and I was boozed in my own way―over drunk. After making fuzz with the security personnel at the entrance, we entered in to the college and were walking through the main corridor of the college. There stood the tall, black and shining statue of William Miller- a great person who had made stupendous contributions to a prestigious institution like MCC and was the principal of the college from 1862 to 1909.

While I was passing through the front side of the statue of William Miller, suddenly I felt his eyes following and gazing at me. I stopped and went near the tall statue and gazed back at him. His gaze was strong and filled with anger. However, I gave a pale smile to him but he didn’t respond. “Why are you looking at me like that? Did I do something wrong?” I asked him angrily. No reply. He could offer only a steady angrier look back at me. It really annoyed me. I hate people who don’t talk when asked something. I vent out my anger by shouting out most abusive language at my disposal.

Arun and Ben smelled the danger; they took me out of the corridor as I was still shouting at the peak of my bad mouth. It was a terrific experience for Arun and Ben, not for me. However, the next day morning was welcomed with an unusual guilt feeling and I gradually started forgetting the whole episode.

Today, I’m back to my alma mater as a Post Graduate in Communication. It is really a proud moment for me, I guess, only for me. I’m really happy in my achievement of becoming a Master but also taking an immense pride in completing the course within the specified period. My three-year Graduation course in Visual Communication had taken four years for me to complete. The one-year Post Graduate Diploma in Media Presentation has, unfortunately, transformed as a two-year course for me. No one to blame at, just me and lack of my focus towards future along with laziness I showed towards studies.

M.A in Communication is the first course in my academic life which I’m completing within the course duration with good percentage of marks. After collecting my mark sheets and other important documents, happily I was jumping down through stairs to the main corridor; there stood, waiting for me the statue of William Miller, throwing the usual serious look at me. Smile on my face vanished, flashing in mind the whole ‘drunken’ episode. I realized I had to make an important confession before leaving.

People were passing without noticing neither the statue nor I. I walked straight towards that tall, black, polished statue, stood very close to it and looked at his eyes. His thick moustache, bushy eye brows made me slightly nervous. I just looked around; everybody was busy in their own worlds.

I didn’t hesitate to speak up. “Today I’m going out of this great institution which you have built up in your own noble skills, perspiration and conviction without knowing what future holds for me. I don’t think I can ever match your status in future. Please forgive me; bless me, William Miller.” I stepped down to the porch, by giving a final look at the statue. I could only see a William Miller slightly smiling thinking over the stupidity of a stupid kid.
Edited by Rayson K Alex
         Image Courtesy: Arun Sivan, MCC Website

Saturday, June 19, 2010

No Excuse…No Escape!

“Where is the assignment, Son?” Father Francis Peter of Loyola College inquired to me. “I couldn’t do it, Father” I sunk my head. “Why?” he asked angrily. “Father… one of my closest friends died yesterday… I was in the hospital…” I replied by raising my head faking sadness on my face. “Get out…” he said in a low pitched voice. “Father…” I mumbled. “Get lost!” he roared. I got the cue and rushed out of the classroom with a burdened heart.

It was not for the first time I was thrown outside from the class room in my academic life. But that particular day I felt humiliated to the core of my heart. I told a Himalayan lie to that respectful person. I felt guilty on that. In truth, none of my closest friends died on that day. I was roaming around with some of my active and alive friends in city. At the end of the day, in the midst of fun and enjoyment, I completely forgot to do the assignment.

The disgrace and shame I felt that day taught me a big life lesson: focused and dedicated persons never value excuses. They are concerned about the completion of tasks rather than excuses which hinder them.

Hot or cold weather, a common cold or a disturbed tummy are few of the regular excuses of most of us. But there are number of people I have observed in real life who never cared about these kind of petty excuses.

Mr. Sashi, newspaper man of Madras Christian College had been delivering newspaper to me for past two years. Every day (except for public holidays) at 0700 hours, despite of rain, hot or cold weather or whatever heck happens to his life or world, newspapers will be under my door. Not only he delivers newspapers to all offices and hostels of college, he finds time to manage a canteen too. No one could ever find him sick or taking a break from his jobs. At times, ordinary people can teach us extraordinary life lessons.

One day, while attending a meeting, Personal Assistant of Sardar Vallabhai Patel aka Iron Man of India informed him about the death of his wife. Without any change in his mood, Patel asked his Personal Assistant to stand outside the hall and went home only after attending the whole meeting. Death of his wife was not even an excuse for him to terminate an important meeting! Mahatma Gandhi’s declaration, ‘Do or Die’ is mainly meant for those who are suffering severely from ‘Excusitis’.

Stray dogs were always an obstacle for morning jogs in my home town where there are no good playgrounds. I always had bad experience of dogs trying to pounce on and bite me especially during runs. Thanks to Animal Rights groups those are more active and supportive than Human Rights groups in my country. So, most of the days I won’t go for run comfortably embracing the excuse: I’m scared of dogs. I had to bury that excuse the very day I stumbled upon a runners’ website where I learnt that just carrying a stick will do the trick of keeping stray dogs at bay. I tested this technique successfully and back into morning jogs in hometown nowadays.

Excuse is just another name for laziness, I realized. Finding excuses for not doing a task is actually tougher than focusing and completing a task. Great persons to laymen have proved that there is always no place for excuses in this world. Thus, in other words, no escape!

                                                                   Photo Source: Internet

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Creative Expressions of Nisha

This is a 4-minute video of Nisha, a 6-year old tribal (Mudugar) girl taking pictures of what she likes outside her house. Her likes and creativity is pronounced in the video. Watch it you will be surprised to see the excitement of the little girl. The video is made in Mudugar-Kurumbar Research Centre, Attappady, a Centre established for documenting the vanishing cultures of indigenous communities, with the World Oral Literature Project Fund of University of Cambridge, London. The video is conceived by Sachindev. P.S., cinematographed by Justin Raj and Sachindev P.S., edited and voiceovered by Rayson K. Alex.

Monday, June 07, 2010

In their eyes...

A seven minute video-documentary of the responsive expressions of Mudugar, a tribal community in Attappady, watching themselves on screen. Watch the twinkling eyes that look on the camera! The documentary is made in Mudugar-Kurumbar Research Centre, Attappady, with the World Oral Literature Project of University of Cambridge.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Atheism is no Egoism.

It is a very difficult option to be an atheist if you have been born and brought up in a family which upholds religious values. If I say that ‘I don’t believe in God’ or ‘I’m an atheist’, people stare at me as if I have just declared that I’m a gay! Then they ask why I do not believe in God. I tell the reason. Then a discussion starts, follows by a debate and finally end up in an argument. I hate arguments so I usually release my ejection seat immediately from it. But people will not give up. As a conclusion they ask me to read Psalms 14:1 or if they still see me smiling at them, they ask me to look upon John 15:6.

The people who believe in God is considered as ‘good’ and the people like me who declare themselves as atheists are seen as ‘bad’. I couldn’t understand the difference anyway. If a theist does something and fails, it is regarded as God is ‘testing’ him but on the other hand, if an atheist fails, people start telling that God is ‘punishing’ him. Some time ago, whatever I did met with failures, so people around me told that it is solely because of my disbelief in God. But things seem brighter nowadays and my disbelief is still the same. So what should I think now? Did the God stop punishing me or She/he takes a break? This ‘testing and punishing’ theory doesn’t make any sense.

We all undergo problems in life whether we believe in God or not. We face ups and downs. We experience saddest and happiest moments. No one ever told me if you believe in God, life is a bed of roses. So if we have to face all these things in spite of our belief in God, then why do we bother about believing? Being an atheist is not always an easy going affair though.

A person whether he believes in God or not is his sheer personal preference. We can’t judge a person’s character with his belief any Religion or God. The real problem starts when we believe that a ‘God’ is needed for a lawful moral life. Some people may need it but others might not. So it doesn’t mean that all atheists are immoral people or all theists are morally inclined lot. By the way, morality, religion and spirituality are entirely different issues.

I recently heard a funniest comment from a middle aged pastor accidently came to my house. “Son, you can afford to be an atheist while you are young. But when you become old keeping one foot on ground and other in your grave, you will start believing in God”. What an idea! So, it is not the belief in God that matters to that man but sheer fear of death. My question is simple yet intriguing: if very few people show a little bit of courage to face life without the support of God or Religion, why calling them egoists and anarchists? I’m still pondering...


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