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!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Graveyard Love

At darkest corner of graveyard,
With loneliness filled heart I stood;
It was a juncture of my life I learnt,
That I was ignorant about where to turn.

I was talking to my dad,
Sole way to bring peace to my mind;
The hearty meditation is all that I can give,
To him, resting in peace under the grave.

From where you flew down, dear?
Like an archangel,
To the graveyard,
Lighting up my life!

Where are you going to take me, dear?
With your beautiful smile,
And your gorgeous face,
To any fantasy world of your choice?

Mesmerizing, you are,
Your talk, your walk,
Where are you going to lead me?
Straight away to your heart?

You wiped away my loneliness,
With your loveliness,
Your lips are so sweet as honey,
Its worth all the money.

You are like an answer,
To my endless prayers,
Not to god above,
But to dad below.

Your smile lights up,
My way every day,
Your smooch can take me,
Higher than any hooch.

It's graveyard love they say,
Yes, it's the same I would say.
It's the place we met,
Where our souls going to set.

But, our love won't die,
It's going to last forever,
I can rise from dead,
If you are going to fly down again...
Image Courtesy: Internet

Thursday, November 03, 2011

My First Sales Pitch

Hi! This is Justin Raj, I wanted to let you know about my new enterprise!
Hi, I'm extremely happy to inform you that I have secured business partnership with Aditya Birla Money Ltd, subsidiary of Aditya Birla Group one of the premier business organizations in the country and abroad. We provide premium stock broking and investment services to all kinds of investors. Please take a look if any of the services we provide be helpful to you. Thank you.
Why Aditya Birla Money?
Here are few factors which propel Aditya Birla Money to the top of the business and made it one of the most trustworthy brands in the country:
  • Aditya Birla Group is a premium brand, with successful establishments in multiple verticals.
  • Strong Pan India distribution network
  • A robust online and off-line model with a strong technology backbone to a large customer base in excess of 4, 00,000 customers.
  • A combination of personal attention, ethical practices, strong research, state-of-the-art technology, streamlined processes and innovative marketing.
  • The company is well poised to serve the growing economy and increasing investor population.

  • Provides access to enjoy number of financial products such as company deposits, mutual funds, insurance, structured products and alternate investments.
  • Possess a premier management service arm to cater to HNI (High Networth Individual) customers.

  • The company’s vision, to offer the finest financial products in India with a strong focus on its customers and partners, is quite successful.

  • A strict code of ethics combined with strong values and principles.

Why To Choose Me As Your Stock Broker?

There are quite a few stock broking firms out there and I’ve explained to you already why Aditya Birla excels compared to its competition. However, you will be wondering why to choose me as your stockbroker. This question is perfectly understandable: you are investing your hard-earned money in a new business venture and anybody wants the best outcome from it.
I am a post graduate in Mass Communication, Currently pursing my PhD in Economics from CUSAT (Cochin University of Science and Technology). Stock Trading is not just a profession for me but it’s my passion too. You can expect assistance in a personal level and I am always available to answer your questions. The nature of Stock market is really complex. The market is highly unpredictable; it takes keen observation skills and business knowledge to predict the market movements. This is where you can expect my help and it’s simple for you to multiply your income with my trading tactics. Some of my credentials are listed below:

  • Certified financial market professional registered with SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India)
  • A frequent blogger and freelance journalist; my media background helps me stay updated about economic changes in India and the World.
  • We as a team provide the clients with personal motivation and save them from misleading information and news.
  • When others gives you theoretical blabbering, we provide you with pragmatic solutions to your investment queries.
  • We as a team have experience over several years in securities market, thus able to provide the customer with customized portfolio management in accordance with the needs of the investor.
  • Free advice and friendly staff.

To make it convenient for you, I’ve written an eBook, Look Before You Invest, that explains the fundamentals of stock market, risks and benefits of dealing with securities and other investment vehicles. You can find my business card in the attachment!

I know you still have many questions to ask me! Feel free to contact me through phone, email or drop in at my office at your convenience!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Creattio: Ushering a New Era in Event Management World

'Creattio' in Latin means create from nothing! With a green-colored logo which represents rejuvenation, imagination and creativity, today, Creattio artwork and designing solutions Pvt.Ltd has become the ultimate destination for event management designs among number of best event managers in the country and abroad.
Since its inception in 2009, Creattio has been providing great number of event managers, light engineers, art directors to our meticulous clientele with world class designs and ideas for better event-management. Being the pioneer in event management designing solutions in the country, Creattio has given unique designs and ideas for more than 10,000 events in India and Middle East, not to mention the Russian federation and the rest of Europe.
Clients of this Cochin-based company range from software majors like Microsoft to automobile giants such as Audi, Toyota and Lexus. It has also managed and designed events of telecom giant EtiSalat and other known names such as ITC India and lot more. For the past few years, Creattio has been lavishing upon beauty and elegance to the major beauty pageant events like Miss Kerala, Miss South India and International Great Flow Women Award Night.
Attention to detail is the biggest attribute of professionals at Creattio, something that you can witness from conceptualizing to the execution of each task. Suggestions and ideas from clients are always taken into consideration. The firm ensures their clients get the best by providing suggestions and recommendations on materials to be used and this determination is lingered further by giving on-site assistance to the production crew of the event-management firms, art directors, and light engineers.
Creattio's expertise lies in giving out unique graphic, diagrammatic and 3D (three dimensional) presentation of the venue as well as the event within the budget estimated by the clients which fully satisfies their imagination and expectations. Beyond any doubt, it can give a comprehensive overview of the event to the client.
Creattio has also marked another milestone by recently foraying into wedding management and also designed and managed number of major wedding events in Kerala. It has also started destination wedding, theme and color based wedding at premium standards with affordable rates.
When asked about the mission and vision of the company, Jossy George, Managing Director who has a decade-long experience in event-management industry said that it is to roll out unique event designs, ideas and management plans of international quality at affordable rates to the clients and event managers.
Image Design: Jossy George
Writer : Justin Raj
Editor : Jim Mathew

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Look Before You Invest! : My First eBook.

Look Before You Invest eBook

Hi friends,
Let me introduce to you, look before you invest – an eBook which I have written with the help and guidance of few of my very good friends. It was a fortnight's work to write, proof-read, edit and design this eBook. But at the end, it was all about the joy of creating an eBook by myself.
Since I have eventually stepped into the world of investments as a stock broker, it is my pleasure to share my little knowledge related to my profession. This simple book will help novice investors to learn about the basics of stock market and give a glimpse of the vast world of investments.
Look before you invest was created with a sole purpose to educate a novice investor and to save him or her from errors those are part of investment process. Hope the eBook will serve it's purpose.
Thanking everyone who were with me all through my writing journey.  

Friday, September 16, 2011

Be Happy!

Most of us ponder and wonder on the purpose of life. Does our life holds any meaning or mission? Are we here just to eat, drink and reproduce? Is human life has some special higher purposes? - we ask others as well to our own hearts with no satisfying answers near the corner.
Some say, it is being successful that is the ultimate goal of life. By the way, what is success? Can we define success?
Ask a CEO of a High Net-worth company, he or she would say it is running his or her company successfully is the ultimate goal or so called success in his or her life. Ask a family man who is leading a happy married life and taking care of a good, harmonious and peaceful family, he would say it is his family that defines the purpose and success of his life.
Ask an evangelist, he or she would say, it is to live and spread the words of Christ is the ultimate goal of his life. Some of them even tell that it is to pray all night and day is the ultimate goal of human life and also add that prayers can keep you feel rejuvenated and enlightened. Sorry, I don’t believe that, because ask a person who regularly practices Yoga, he would also say the same!
You can't define success and purpose of life. It varies with persons.
Ask me, I would tell it is being happy is the ultimate goal of life.
Then, an obvious question pops up - what is happiness? Like success and purpose of life, happiness can't be defined as well. But I can say that a smiling face, enthusiastic mannerisms and good will gesture etc are signs of happiness. To my mind, happiness is more of an attitude than something you can buy from a store. Sometimes, a beggar sleeping on the pavement will be happier than a rich man who is sleeping in his palace. In reality, only few people in this world know what true happiness is.
Only way I know to achieve happiness is by helping others and doing what I love to do.
Wisdom from popular Indian author, Chetan Bhagat.
When we look at the world we can see that a section of people is trying to chase happiness fruitlessly by valuing success and money more than relationships and healthy well being. But on the other side, we can observe that the trinity philosophy of achievements-money-success is gradually loosing it's sheen and changing it's course in an opposite direction. Today, the latter part of the world is searching for something it had missed in the midst of the rat race for success and achievements – a harmonious, peaceful and holistic well being.
What is the use of the money, success and other achievements, if those can't be shared with loved ones? Is there any joy if you have to stand alone wearing a crown with countless golden feathers? Do you think, you will be happy if you have millions in your bank account? I don’t think so. Money and success wont bring you happiness.
Today, a good number of people have started weighing happiness more than economic gains. Some nations around us are turning their heads and hearts slowly from Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to Gross National Happiness (GNH) while concepts like Ecological Economics, Green Politics, Sustainable Development etc have taken birth marking a beginning of a new world order.
What is the use being rich without mental and physical harmony, successful without anyone to share and care, highly productive without nature-friendly? You are just disrupting the universal equilibrium by doing so.
It is up to a person who wants to happy and it is not up to the circumstances or the fellow beings. Happiness can also be spread and shared very easily. So, be happy always!
Image Courtesy: Internet

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Magic of (my mom's) Cooking!

Recently after watching a malayalam movie named 'Salt & Pepper' (a box office hit) I pondered deeply on the subject – cooking. In that movie, the hero and heroine who are passionate about cooking (eating as well) get attracted to each other over their common interests. The movie also depicts how the art of cooking beautifully manipulates two persons' lives.
At times I even feel that there is something magical and nostalgic about cooking. The taste and smell of certain foods and sweets take us back to our good old days, right? I'm certain that most of us agree with me.
Sole inspiration behind my cooking and eating habit is my sweet mom who is an excellent cook. As she works abroad, I get only two months in a year to savor the foods she cooks. Whenever she happens to be here, I'm really happy to invite my friends to my house since she always loves to give a great treat to their tastebuds. It feels really good to watch the happiness and satisfaction reflect on their faces after dining at my house. Most of my friends are huge fans of my mom's cooking.
Her menu has yummy and delicious local, Indian and continental dishes. To name a few, her portfolio of dishes ranges from sophisticated Mughalai Chicken to simple Grilled Chicken; Soya Pulav to Yakni Pulav; Thai Pineapple Rice to Pan-Set to Kapsa. Her bake list goes from Black-forest Cake to Pineapple Upside Cake and dessert list starts with Butter Scotch Ice Cream and ends with Caramel Pudding. She also makes variety of Dosas like Tapioca Dosa, Tomato Dosa and Paneer Cheese Dosa. Her special sea food list consists of Sizzler's Fish, Oriental Fish Fry and lot more!
Let me restrict myself by naming only a few of her recipes for number of reasons. Few of them are: I neither want to make my blog look like a cook-blog nor my blog post sounds like a promotional advertisement for my mom's cooking talent. And more importantly, I'm not so keen to make your mouth water!
One of my girl friends once asked: “Why are people giving so much importance to cooking by themselves? Isn’t enough to go out to a hotel or appoint a cook at home?”
My mom has got a ready-made answer to this question. “Cooking is an art, passion as well as a great stress buster. It requires a great amount of patience and skills to cook good food. Cooking for your family, friends or even for yourselves is a great treat to others as well as to yourselves.” She also adds that new generation kids don’t know the relevance of cooking. Most of them shy away from cooking, labelling it as burdensome and difficult. She also thinks that the process of cooking is not complicated as we think.
Passion for cooking as well as an open and free heart to feed your near and dear ones is a great virtue a person could ever possess. In personal relationships especially in marital relationship, culinary skills help a lot as a means to showcase one's affection, love and care towards other.
Recently one of my friends visited my house and he happened to have dinner at my house. My mom cooked a continental dish called Thai Rice and number of other dishes – I forgot the names of them as they are in Chinese. While leaving, he certified me as the luckiest son on this planet since I'm blessed with a loving and caring mom who is passionate about cooking as well. Anyway, he is absolutely right.
As an old adage goes, the entrance to heart is always through the belly. Sometimes the cooking mania of my mom make me realize that she is not only feeding our belly but also our hearts to a greater extent with her delicious and yummy foods.
The only drawback I found in her cooking is that I'm gaining weight day by day!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Lessons from Virtual World

Facebook, Twitter, Blogger and internet, at large has become like a parallel world in today's information age. Most people especially youngsters prefer to spend more time on this virtual world rather than spending time with their friends and colleagues in real world.
As a young boy who is living in the information age, I’m also so fond of virtual world interactions. Since I'm active on social networking sites for past 6 years, I have learnt certain lessons from them which I learnt that can also be applied in real world. Here I’m sharing few of them with you.
'Like' ourselves first
We share or update our statuses, photos and videos on Facebook and other social networking sites with great fond and frequency. How many of us show the willingness to like our own status first? Most of the popularly liked updates and photos or videos are liked by the uploader or user by himself or herself. In real world too this principle has a great role: it is only when we start to 'like' ourselves, others care to 'like' us.
Frequently update ourselves.
One of the major characteristic of today's world is that it is evolving rapidly. There is very little space for conventionally thinking and acting people. We have to update our lifestyles or 'status' in accordance with the flow of the world outside otherwise gradually, we will be chucked out of it.
Be active
Do you ever notice that the people who are more active on Facebook or Twitter gets more comments or feedbacks or followers. This theory, as everyone knows, works in conjunction with the real world as well. Active and interactive people get noticed and get positive feedback from the fellow human beings.
Keep In Touch (KIT) phenomenon
Facebook is a bit tricky social networking site which resembles the real life in many ways. If you ignore a friend for more than 3 months or so, he or she will get hidden from your news-feed or even from your chat list. That means, if you want to be visible or noticed in all of your friends' news-feed, you need to keep in touch with all your friends at least once in 2 to 3 months.
Do you think, is this a usual phenomenon in real world? Yes, it is. If you fail to keep in touch with all your buddies, you will get lost from their contact list and if not, forgotten completely. Only frequently contacted people gets into your way both in real and virtual world.
Be genuine and open minded
There is always a good space for genuineness. A person who have a genuine profile on Facebook or Twitter is widely liked by people and generate interest in others to engage in good conversations and interactions. A person with fake identity is widely ignored or even 'reported as spam'. In real world interactions too, this genuineness factor plays a major role.
Being open minded qualifies you to be accepted in all social circles both in virtual and real world. Even people who are not so close to you feel that you are a person of integrity, accessibility and friendliness.
Image Courtesy: Internet

Monday, August 15, 2011

An Indian's Independence-Day Message

Once again, on this auspicious day, we are about to celebrate the Independence Day of our great nation-a nation which has stood the test of time, gave birth to two great world religions and endured several foreign invasions.
Actually, what do we mean by Independence Day? Is it the only day we realize and recollect the hardships and struggles of our great grandfathers during our fight for independence?
There is always something more to celebrate and give thought on this day other than just hoisting our tricolor national flag and distributing sweets. It is the day which gave us a great identity: an identity which unifies us despite of several languages, cultural and ethnic barriers between all of us.
India is developing at a great pace. She is showing high rate of growth in major sectors like industry, technology and finance as well as showing performance which got recognized at global level. Our country has become a country all other countries are looking upon as an upcoming super power.
Lot of sufferings and struggles were paid as a price for the freedom we are enjoying today. Number of heads rolled on soil to enable us to hold our head high. Number of legs are broken to make us stand firmly and proudly on our soil.
But the freedom which is won by great collective pain and perseverance is getting misused today. Citizens are downgraded to the level of fools. Our police and other civil service departments are still in the hangover of the 200 years of the colonial rule. Their behaviour towards citizens should change.
Sadly, our country is still in the dark clutches of corruption and other horrible malpractices today. 2G spectrum scam, discrepancies in Lokpal Bill et al and recent fast until death fight by Anna Hazare and Swami Ramdev for a transparent Lokpal Bill reveals the height and depth of corruption in our country.
To top it all, finally, the parliament passed the bill making it powerless enough to bring the highest ranks of bureaucracy to the hands of law thus making fool out of all citizens of this great country.
Centuries ago, it was foreign invaders who plundered our wealth but today it's our own politicians and corrupt bureaucrats are taking away our wealth to their Swiss bank accounts.
More souls like Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi and Swami Ramdev should born in this soil. Then only we can make our country a safe, happy place to live and flourish. Steps should be taken to create a reverse Brain-Drain and young people should be convinced and motivated to earn and live in our own country. Entrepreneurial attitude should be cultivated in the minds of young Indians.
Media and of course, the blogging fraternity can also bring a lot of good changes to the system which governs our daily life. A good, transparent and unbiased media can bring corruption and other malpractices to the social and legal forefront.
We must be the change we wish to see in the world, said Mahatma Gandhiji. It's high time that we should become the 'change' the fast evolving world around us wish to see.
Today is the day we should celebrate as well as relive the unshakable valour, courage and perseverance of our freedom fighters and leaders. Along with that, we, as young citizens of the country, must take an oath in our hearts to work together towards a better and corruption-free india.
Jai Hind!

Image Courtesy: Internet

Monday, August 08, 2011

An Apology Letter to my Blog

Mostly during my academic days, I have written number of apology letters to the deans, lecturers and principals of my schools and colleges. They include apology letters for bunking classes, for misbehavior and for number of other 'crimes' I had commited. Those letters which were a necessity at that point of my life weren't straight from my heart. As usual, they were compelled to write and submit to satisfy the useless ego of elders.

But today, for the first time in my life, I'm writing an apology letter straight from my guts to whom it really deserves. It is none other than my blog, my mouthpiece for last 5 years.

My Dearest Blog,

You are my faithful mouthpiece for past 5 years. You have always helped to enrich my thoughts, ideas and experiences. During my troublesome and loneliness-filled days, you were my sole hope. You are the only supporting pillar when I struggle with my alienated yet individualistic thoughts and ideas. You were the only one who was always there to listen to my heart. You were the only companion I had during the darkest yet loneliest phase of my life. You were always there as a 'release-button' to all my inner feelings and emotions.
Today, I can feel that my life has been changing but it is really painful that I couldn't make a blog post for past three months – such a long gap since the day I started friendship with you.
Those three months were, in other words, the most eventful and memorable months of my life.
I have helped to organize some of the extravagant and much popularized weddings in Kerala, secured the certifications to become a stock broker, suffered a young brain stroke, spent few weeks at two hospitals, quit smoking forever and knowingly or unknowingly (I don’t know!), fell in love with a beautiful girl!
Sadly, all these events made me ignore you completely. I couldn't even check you frequently and my thoughtless use of Facebook played a major role in diverting my attention from you.
Now I know its high time I should come back to you and give you my thoughts and bits of my imagination.Today I realized that life is really boring without scribbling some words for you. It is highly necessary to rejuvenate my soul and refreshes my mind. 
Hope I can share my thoughts, ideas and emotions at least once a week to you. Hope I won't step back from doing so. Please forgive me for my ignorance and mindless behavior towards you for the past 3 months. Hope you will accept my apology letter at your earliest convenience. Thank you. 
With love,
Justin Raj
Image Courtesy: Internet 

Monday, May 09, 2011

Sweet Memoirs of an Indian Boy.

Few weeks ago, while watching a Malayalam movie with friends, a short film was screened in the theatre prior to the movie. It was a fantastic visualization of India's achievements in defence, cultural, business, industry and arts. As soon as that short film drew to a close, audience stood up, gave out thunderous applause, high-pitched whistles and cheered at the maximum of their voice.
Suddenly, after contributing our part of hooting, one of my friends said in tamil: “ eppadi iruntha India, ippadi ayitaen!” that simply means, India has grown much from nothing. We enjoyed that phrase (it's a filmy punch dialogue of a popular Tamil comedian) and we laughed louder. Movie was excellent. It is a box office hit but in truth, that movie couldn’t rock the theatre like the short film did.
That night his words started lingering in my mind with flashes of my childhood during early 90's : those golden days without television, video games and other modern entertainment facilities we enjoy today. India has changed and indians as well.
There was no time killing activities other than talking with friends, playing cricket or football. Weekends were spent on listening to elders' stories of struggles and hardships. “India was a rich country. European colonization has plundered the vast resources of our country. We are poor now!” most of the old people complained. Going to cinemas and other entertainments were considered as luxury.
Those 'Poor India' stories had really given us a bad impression about our country. No hope. No motivation and no self esteem. The newspapers were filled with news of corruption, political tensions and especially, failures of highly expensive Indian rocket missions. We were all literally shameful about being born in this country.
Only source of motivation was reading the heroics of Indian freedom fighters and feeling of being born in a great country which can boast of a great heritage and culture.
During those days, there were no television channels other than government owned DoorDharshan. On Sundays, we, as small children used to peek through the window of a neighbour's house (he is the first proud owner of a television in our locality) to watch 'Mahabharatha' in Sunday morning, matinee show and Jungle Book cartoon in the night.
Television antenna was considered as a prestigious relic which was sealed on top of every houses those had a television. Some poor geniuses (who didn’t own a television) even fixed TV antennas on top of their houses to prove to the world that antennas are much cheaper than television!
(Here one of my friends at his house I'm staying tonight was constantly glancing on my computer screen. He was reading what I was typing and told that he had a television at home when he was a little child. I told him that he was born in a rich family and I wasn’t! He left...without giving out a word...poor fellow!)
Later on, cable television came, putting an end to the antenna frenzy, providing more TV channels thus more entertainment at the comfort of your home.
Then came the pager... One day, I noticed a beeping equipment with my cousin and totally went mad with that gadget. Then I heard, the era of pager was just a short-lived one with the sudden emergence of mobile phones
It was my uncle who started using the mobile phone first in my family. It was a Siemens gadget which looked and weighed exactly like a brick piece. Using a mobile phone is not a simple issue, an incoming call will cost you `12 ! So, you can imagine how much it costed to makes an outgoing call.
No wonder a mobile phone was a prestigious gadget a person could ever possess. Like the television antenna, some people (including my uncle) tried hard to show off the antenna of their mobile phone in every way possible.
While doing high schooling little did we imagined we would be using mobile phones in near future nor did we imagined we would be using laptops within few years.
I still remember the day when few computers were installed in my school as a part of launching computer lab and we were all standing near to them with total awe. Some students expressed their anxiety and joy by touching, fondling and patting on them. The tutor with great pride, taught the basics of computer as if she was teaching us Rocket Science.
During late 1990's the scenario was essentially changing. The name India was shining even in the international arena. India has transformed from 'Poor India' to 'India Shining' and 'Incredible India'.
Though 41.6% of the total Indian population still living below the international poverty line, the 'Poor India' stories are heard nowhere. Most of the people got money, a vast purchasing power and more comfortable life.
Old days were fun days. Though celebrations were restricted to special occasions such as Onam, Vishu, Easter, Christmas and New Year. There was a community feeling and religious harmony among everyone. We exchanged food, gifts and pleasantries. There were a feeling of companionship among friends, family and local communities. People were more sociable those days.
Will those beautiful and joyful days come again? I don’t know... but, I believe, there is always a loss with a gain. Let my country shine and grow and most of us wish, let it become a Super Power in future.
Image Source: Internet

Sunday, April 10, 2011

God's Own Gender Gap

Few months ago, in God's Own Country a young lady was raped and killed in a train. This tragic incident took place in broad day light while she was commuting from the workplace to her home. Media went gaga over this incident. Several organizations and sections of people went on with agitations and strikes. Number of political parties made this unfortunate incident a good reason to blame the ruling government.
As usual, financial help came from government to the family of the rape victim. Security has been beefed up in ladies compartment of most of the trains plying across 14 districts of the state.
In fact, who is the real loser? The government or the organizations those are fighting very hard for this cause? Of course, the family of that poor girl.
This murder brought an irremovable scar on the image of this scenic and peaceful state. It also brought out our attitude towards women in general.
Who to blame? Definitely the attitude of the people of my state. Whenever I talk to young men here, I wonder whether they have any female friends or female family member or at least a female neighbour. Most of them talk about women as if they have never seen a woman in their life – more on a sexual outlook.
Unfortunately, there are lesser opportunities for woman and men to gather or socialize in our state. Especially among young people. Why there are separate seats for ladies in public transport systems? Why can't women sit with men? I never seen this strong sense of gender gap in any other states other than my home state.
If the general attitude was right, this incident have never happened in my life: Day before yesterday I was travelling by bus to a near by place in our area. The bus was crowded and I managed to get a seat. After few stops the man who was sitting near to me got down and the seat next to me became vacant. There was an old lady standing near to my seat. She was too old and barely stand. So, I asked her to sit near to me. But she refused my offer with an artificial smile.
I couldn’t understand the reason behind her refusal to take the seat. She was at the age of my grand mother. But she simply refused.
Unless there are chances for socialization among men and women in my state, more rape, eve teasing and killing will take place in this beautiful place which boast of hundred percent literary rate in the country and blessed with tons of intellectual capacity.
In a civilized society, raping and eve teasing shouldn’t be allowed or encouraged. All these are the results of insufficient knowledge about sexuality or frustrations generated from unsatisfied sex or restrictions in society to mingle with opposite sex. In a progressive society, there should always be opportunities to understand both sexes.
In a primitive, natural state, man is not pornographic. When human beings are naked and nude and man knows the woman's body and woman knows the man's body, you cannot sell PlayBoy. It is impossible. Who will purchase PlayBoy? And who will look into all that crap? - Osho
Image Courtesy : Internet

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Please, Don’t Kill the Child in You!

Today, in social circles, most of us discuss about abortion, female feticide, child labor et al. We talk on those topics endlessly as if we are the sole expert in that subjects. Yes, we can talk well on the ethics related to killing a growing fetus in a womb. But, how many of us have mentioned or even thought about killing the child in ourselves?
We came to this world as cute, innocent children. We loved to play, laugh and fool around. But unfortunately, in course of time and along our struggle to emulate grownups, we have lost our innocence, cuteness and childlike enthusiasm.
In this 'serious' world, if an adult displays a playful, careless and enthusiastic attitude, he is ruthlessly labelled as childish. “ You don’t have seriousness towards life. Your life s#@cks!” people nag you if you play around. Is there anything in this life to be serious about? Personally, I don’t see anything in life to be 'serious' about. Everyone, from your great-grandfather to closest friend asks you to grow up. “ Hey, grow up, dude!” they bug you.
Wise people states that art of joyful living is all about growing up without growing old. The day we start growing old, we start missing all joyfulness in life. Life loses it's liveliness. Life loses it's sheen and beauty.
Our biological age increases with each passing year. People have their own concepts of age. Most of them think teenage is the only age for fun. Fun time is over with the end of teenage. During twenties you should get a good job, find a life partner and if you are smarter, make two or more babies (as you wish). It is like a rule that a person should behave in accordance with his or her age.
“My age is just a number to me” popular Bollywood film-star, Aamir Khan quipped on his age during an interview. He was 45 then.
Jayaraj Warrier
Recently I got an opportunity to attend a function where an excellent caricature artist named Jayaraj Warrier performed a brilliant comedy show. While concluding, he tried to give a personal touch to the show by sharing few life experiences with the audience.
He attributed his artistic skills to the child he nurtures in himself. Still sailing through mid 40's, he is not ready to let go his childishness, enthusiasm and curiosity. He also added that being childish or enthusiastic in this 'serious' world is really a daring adventure. His family and friends always force him to be matured and develop a serious attitude towards life. But he tells them that killing the child in him is similar to killing the artist in him.
Work and play should be in perfect harmony in human life. When you look at the characteristics of great creative people, most of them are highly sensitive like children. A good artist is a talented person who is highly sensitive towards himself, his ideas, world and people around him.
The day we start killing the child in us, the joyfulness, youthfulness and creativity also starts dying in our life.
All work and no play made Jack a dull boy. It is true. But, the choice is always yours.

Image Courtesy: My dad and Internet

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Meet the boss...always!

When a strong desire to do something on your own strikes your heart, the only way in front of you is to quit your job and be on your own. That was all I did few months ago. I came to that decision after thinking hard for several days. But that decision took my life to an unseen and unpredictable course - months of joblessness, disappointments and finally, broke. I also turned down number of good job offers in my area of interest: journalism.
To take care of my expenses, I took number of writing assignments (both online and offline) and it was the coolest thing I could do. I enjoyed the work but most of my clients didn’t paid me well and sadly, few of them vanished from the scene without even paying me.
Disappointments. I can handle that. But living without a single penny in my purse to spend was too hard for a spendthrift like me. For the first time in my life, I shied away from parties, get together with friends. The reason was quite simple, I don’t have money to spend on drinks as well as on food. I don’t want my friends to pay for my expenses too.
During those troublesome days, roaming around with a strong decision to do something on my own and without a single penny in my pocket, I met my cousin-in-law who is successfully running a stock brokerage firm in his hometown. I was interested in equity trading during college days but I couldn't begin it since I was busy with studies and other activities. Cousin-in-law and I had discussed about this business too few years ago.
But, he was smarter and also faster. He had started trading stocks while working and when he became confident enough, he quit his highly paid job abroad and started a brokerage firm in his home town. I love doing business and have read a lot about stock market and equity trading. After all, his story was highly inspiring.
He offered his help and guidance. He also added that the business he is running involves high risk and only by trial and error method one can become expert in stock trading.
He is a man of action and I trust him. On my birthday this year, I invested my entire savings and started trading stocks. Within three days, all the money vanished from my sight! My cousin-in-law, cousin and their parents were sad and speechless. That day seemed like a day of mourning. I tried my level best to bring a smile on my face.
There is no trading without money. Money gone is money gone. How to raise capital? How can I ask my friends and relatives? Most of them think that stock trading is nothing more than a gamble. At that point, only safest way to borrow was from my mother.
Hesitantly, I called her and told that I lost entire savings on equity trading and I need some cash to resume the business. I thought she would be angry at me or at the most, curse me. To my surprise, she laughed and told, “I know you are making a lot of mistakes. It's fine but I would be happier if you learn a little from them. How much money you need?”
That was the happiest day of my life. It is not because of cash I got but mainly because of my mom's attitude towards life and her son. It is always soothing if you have someone who can understand and help you at the time of need.
At the edge of resuming trading, I told my cousin that I need to learn a bit about this business before investing. He recommended an experienced stock broker at a brokerage firm and I went to meet him. He was a North Indian who can talk very well in Malayalam.
“Sir, this is a highly risky business. As far as you want to make some pocket money, I would recommend to pursue other risk-free jobs. I know you are educated and there are number of good jobs out there. Trust me, you will lose more money again.” it was his statement to a person who came near to him to learn what he is best at doing!
“If I want to do some job, why should I come to you?” I murmured.
“ You should avoid risk. I’m telling it from my experience. I have seen people who have lost all money and sleeping on street. I'm just doing a job and I'm not ready to risk my money. I'm happy with my salary. I would recommend long term investments to novices like you. You will get the benefit for sure after 5-10 years” he said.
“What I need is short term profit and I neither have time nor money for long term investments. My cousin-in-law is making good profit each day and he is leading a good life. He is always positive about this business.” I told him.
“Your cousin-in-law is an experienced trader. You are new to trading” he defended his argument.
“He was also a novice like me one year ago. He doesn’t have a commerce background either. I can learn and I'm still learning” I took my stand. “Its impossible!” he exclaimed. At that juncture of our conversation, I felt like hitting his head with my laptop. I didn’t do that...patience always pays...
“Can I meet the person who runs this brokerage firm?” I asked him. “You can't, he is busy!” he answered in negative. “Of course, he will be busy. He is your boss!” I murmured in my mind trying to bring a smile on my face.
It was such a point of my life that my ego got tested at the max and I really felt so weak. I know that I'm moving away from the safe zone and any ray of hope was out of sight. All the doors appears new and great amount of negativity around me.
For the first time in my life, I felt so ashamed of myself. I felt disappointed about quitting my job. About exhibiting lot of ego and disobedience. My decision was strong and I had to keep my stand strong no matter what happens. But I felt so down... it was so hard to get up.
Just a phone call to my cousin-in-law fetched me an appointment with the person who runs that brokerage firm. I was at the cabin of that 'busy' person after waiting for few minutes.
“I can never assure you that you can make money faster with this business. It is a risky business but it is likely that you can make good returns every day only if you are ready to learn and study the market. Stock trading becomes risky only if you don’t possess sufficient knowledge. So, first of all, you should study the market. It is easy and doesn’t need great wisdom and such. It is just a common man's business. I wish you all the best.” he gave me number of booklets which contains information about various trading practices. I thanked him and left the office with great confidence.
Even after all those lectures and with good guidance from my cousin, I lost half the money I borrowed from my mother. But, on the way, I learnt a lot about market as well as making a little bit of pocket money. The profit I'm making today may be marginal but it is highly satisfying than chunks of salary and perks I earn by working in a corporate enterprise or any other organizations. I don’t need a label of any organization and I'm really proud in telling that I'm self employed.
And the most important lesson I learnt was that if you want to do something on your own, talk to people who have done so. Never ever talk to an employee of an organization if you want to start a business of your own. Meet the boss...always! He is the person who is full of positive energy and dare to live as he pleases.
P.S – Here in my state most of us hold a misconception that equity trading or any kind of investment is some sort of gambling. But let me tell you that it may be a gambling for people who don’t know the game. All the businesses are like that. Stock trading is not an exception. Here, unfortunately, stock traders are labeled as gamblers.
In North India, I have seen people even teenagers making (literally, minting) money from stock market. They know stock market well and do the business with low risk. Here most people don’t know the market and trades in high risk and finally end up blaming - it's a gamble! I lost money!
Image Source: Internet

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Granny's Heart...

Today was a lonely day. It is somewhat self imposed because I need some time alone before leaving to the busy world outside; a kind of absolute solitude, just a little time with myself.
Last year, for first time in my life, I was fortunate enough to stay with my 83 years old granny for one month at my house. It may be the solitude that I experience now at home that made me think about her and inspired me to write a poem on her.
This poem which is dedicated to my granny is based on my observations on her daily life. I'm just trying to get into her shoes and transform her thoughts into a poem.

Chirping birds bathing in sunrays,
Reminding me of my youthful days,
Those joyful days are over,
When is my soul going to hover?

Old leaves swaying on trees,
To the tune of wayward breeze,
I lived and raised my family with toil,
When is my body going to melt in soil?

Stillness of darkest night,
Taking my loneliness to greater height,
Is this solitude, an earthly tranquility,
Before my soul's quest for heavenly eternity?

Strolling along narrow, deserted lane,
My heart has become so calm, so plain,
Now, I'm loving my life more than ever,
But, when is my eyes going to close forever?

Meditating on my rosary,
Only way to get my mind steady,
Let my prayers reach heaven,
And bring good to my children.

Image Courtesy: Internet

Friday, February 18, 2011

Grass is Always Greener on Our Side

Grass is always greener on other side.” says wise people around us. What does the Grass and the other side means? I was confused with this phrase till recently. There is a similar saying in Malayalam (my mother tongue). The English translation of it goes like this: “ Jasmine grown in our surroundings doesn't possess much fragrance”
It is a naked truth. We won't see greener pastures on our side. And the jasmine grown in our backyard is considered as 'local' or mundane or may be useless. People always find pleasure in looking into the neighbours' house and envy them as well as complains on what they don’t have rather than enjoy what they do have.
Local food. “Oh no! It is so unhygienic!” people says so. But I don’t think so. Traditional costumes. “Hey dude, they are so conventional. Be modern, dude!” people say so. I don’t think so. Frankly speaking, I have a serious trouble with this 'modernism'. Solution to this problem came in the form of an ethnic day which is observed once in a blue moon. On that day, we wear our traditional dresses and boast of our traditions as well as culture. Rest of the days we all are (forced to be) so called modern! What a paradox!
How many people take pride in their identity, their nationality, their own culture and heritage? Unfortunately, only a few.
People tend to become others by destroying their own culture and life styles. A civilization is complete only with its time tested traditions, culture and lifestyle. How many of us carries with us at least a small part of our culture, heritage and language? Only a few.
Let me make this thought clear with a personal experience. During a North Indian trip few years ago, I met a European lady on the train. She is a highly talkative woman and suddenly, during the talk, she exclaimed: “ You got it, man! Look around you...” At that instance, I couldn’t understand what she was trying to tell. “ Excuse me? What do we got?” I asked her. “ You, Indians are too tanned and I love your complexion!” I felt like laughing and I did it at my max.
“ In Europe, we do sun bathing and such to get tanned skin...” she said. “ And here...we use fairness cream to become fair like you!” I interrupted her talk. “Yes, you are absolutely right!” she smiled. “Actually, we are not brown skinned, we are chocolate skinned!” I joked and she enjoyed it.
Let me tell you that these fairness cream advertisements are really terrible as well as pathetic. The message they are trying to propagate is crystal clear: if you use the cream, you will be a fair or 'white' princess/ prince within 2 weeks and you can get a beautiful, charming bride/groom or get recognized in the society. So, will the people with tanned or dark complexion never get a beautiful partner or never get that so called social status? Saddest part is that even Indian superstars are trying their level best to promote such advertisements.
To conclude this thought, let me give out few of my favorite quotations.

Don't let anyone else take the measure of your worth and capabilities. Always stand proud in who you are!
- Margaret Spellings

The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself.
- Lao Tzu

Stand Tall, Stand Proud. Know that you are unique and magnificent. You do not need the approval of others.
- Anonymous

Image Courtesy: Internet

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Doore...Doore... - A Musical Treat

Oh...I can't resist myself from sharing this video - a music video directed, shot and edited by some of my closest friends during my campus days. I really love this music video because it was my first attempt to emulate singing in front of camera. Later, I realized that I love to do it again!  

Monday, January 10, 2011

Blog & I

It was in 2005 that I started my blog without even knowing the value and use of it. I just uploaded some of my photos and treated it like a (free) website of my own. It took two long years for me to realize the purpose as well as the power of blogging. 
The inspiration to write for my blog came from nowhere. It was some kind of sudden enlightenment. In the beginning, I wasn’t aware of what to write, when to write and how to write. I could post only one article per month. It was really difficult to get ideas or so called hunches. 
But today, ideas for articles, poems and even short stories hit my head like snowstorm. I’m not the kind of a person who always sits at home or office and write everything on my blog. As a person who always loves outer space, blogging is just a great doorway to discover my inner space. 
I started blogging mainly due to my sheer love for writing. Writing though appears laborious at times gives me immense satisfaction. The three year blogging journey taught me a lot how to write, what to write and how to derive joy not only from writing but also from blogging. 
There is a huge difference between personal journal writing and blog writing. The former is private and the latter, public.  Blogging gives everyone freedom to express and expression is not a silly thing. It demands guts.  
Most of the democratic countries in the world especially India provides its citizens  absolute freedom to express ideas, critique et al. Why is it that only a few exercises this freedom in this free, democratic country? I feel that it may be the lack of time, knowledge or guts. 
It is a matter of pride and joy that some of my mom’s friends are regular readers of my blog. They always appreciate the time and strain I take to share my experiences through my blog. To my mind, sharing is always caring. 
Our life meanders through number of experiences.  Some of them are mundane while others are exceptional or extra ordinary. I don’t find any reason to conceal my emotions, feeling, ideas and experiences. That is the reason I blog. 
I know very well that I’m not an authority on blogging or a blogging expert to give tips to anyone. I’m an amateur blogger who always love to share and I always love to do it when it comes to one of my favorite activities: blogging.  
Here are some of my recommendations for new bloggers:
Consistency: During the days I had started blogging, I could make only a post per month. I thought I don’t have much experiences to share or write about. But gradually I understood that life talks more to us through the most mundane experiences we go through. So, there are more reasons to write today. 
Touch typing: I have number of my friends who started blogging with great enthusiasm and ceased it within weeks. The reason: lack of knowledge on touch typing. Every aspiring blogger or writer should learn touch typing. Touch typing ease the process of blog writing. 
Don’t think about grammar, punctuation or spelling errors: Even lecturers teaching grammar make mistakes in grammar! Who made this grammar? I don’t care! I don’t give a %@#^$! about it! This was my attitude towards grammar half an year ago. 
When my writings had reached a higher level of idiocy; my friends and ‘well wishers’ reminded me to brush up my basic grammar skills. At first I rejected the idea but gradually I started feeling pity about myself and the way of my writing. 
So, today I’m spending a little bit of time to learn grammar et al. Moral of the story: you don’t need to care about grammar, spelling and punctuation. But later you will feel sorry for yourself and take an extra effort to learn it. Every action has equal and opposite reaction! 
Read, interact, observe and imagine: Reading and writing are interconnected. Reading churns out ideas from our brains and by developing ideas we can create good writeups. From my experience, I get inspiration mainly from observing the life of other people and interacting with them. Adding little bit of imagination, we can make our writeups colorful and enjoyable.    
Type a few words every day: It is the new technique I started using since the dawn of 2011. I just type something every day without thinking about grammar, sentence structure and other troubles. After two days, I just revise and edit my jottings. On the third day, those reckless typing and editing give out an excellent post. 
KISS your blog! : People are busy these days. Unless you learn to Keep It Short and Simple (KISS), you will tear down the interest of your readers. I always carried a misconception in my mind that posts which have more words are more intelligible. Today, I understood that writing a crisp, short article is more painful than writing a big article with thousands of words.  It is always better to keep the word count below 500. 
I never monetize my blog. It is just an open space for my personal expressions and I neither want to sell nor rent that space. Happy Blogging!

Image Source: Internet

Friday, January 07, 2011

A Calm Comfort Zone

It is a remote village situated nearly 10 kilometers away from Thrissur town in Kerala. This village- the place where I can freely scream: “I’m home!”- has recently featured in a reputed newspaper as one of the coldest parts of Kerala. This place is also popular throughout Kerala as the launch pad for the political life of legendary K.Karunakaran. Kerala Agricultural University’s College of Horticulture and other affiliates are located at this place providing employment to number of villagers.  
Above mentioned are some of the popular features of this serene and beautiful spot but personally, this village is very special for me.
It is where I spent most of my school days, where I fell in love for the first time, where I weaved my dreams, where I gained friends for a life time as well as lost some of them in course of time. This is the place where I always love to stay when I come to Kerala. But, due to unfortunate circumstances this place remained as a mere visiting place for some years for me.
Only after completing my Masters’ degree recently could I stay in this beautiful place for a long time. Now it is the time to relax a bit after 5 years of vagabondage.  It is really surprising that this place and its people haven’t changed since I had left this place for higher studies and work. Sometimes it seems like clock never ticks in this place.
The bus stand and the junction are very popular even during my school days. In those locales, school going boys and girls wait for their buses, some boys ‘strategically’ position themselves and give out some naughty gestures to beautiful girls who respond with their blushes and smiles.
At times, especially in evenings, local guys fight over silly issues. Both young and old enjoy drinking toddy at the nearest toddy shop. Happy news! - Toddy shop has opened again after the closure for few weeks following a toddy tragedy in another district a month ago. 
The scenario has not changed yet. Even the color of the paint of some shops and even bus stand is still the same. It was really surprising to see the same people sitting at the same position at the bus stop! Old are still old and young are still young like evergreen heroes and heroines of celluloid.
I noticed some changes though.
Recently during the local Panchayat elections, some candidates with big moustache and beard came to my house as a part of political campaign. After speaking to them for some time, I realized that they were my old school mates. When I asked about their new makeover with moustache and beard, they told it is just for bringing a matured look on their face! “Hey Justin, you are still the same, no change!” one of them told while departing.
Nowadays, health consciousness has gained wide popularity among the people here. A few years ago, I was the only person (and some stray dogs for company!) who jogs in the morning through the rubber tree plantation. But today, I got the company of some middle aged people. There are pretty young girls too who provide good amount of ‘motivation’ every morning.
My world was always faster. But the life at my comfort zone is always slow paced. There is no hurry scurry in the life of the people here. People, mostly men, go to work in the morning (most of them are daily wage workers) and comes home at night. They sleep and wake up early. You can’t find lights on in any houses after 9 PM.  Life is so serene and peaceful in this place. My life has also slowed down after staying here for just few weeks.
“India’s heart lies in her villages” Gandhiji told once. Those words are true to a great extent. You can feel the beauty and serenity of a village life only after spending a very long time in urban areas. It is really nice to be in a serene, beautiful and peaceful village in the midst of a rapidly changing world. It is always a matter of pride and happiness that you can reach out for a calm comfort zone at any time whenever you need a retreat, isn’t it? 


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