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This blog is a joint effort of two sisters, Vidhya G. Krishnan and G. Sukanya Krishnan to share their views on different topics.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A day in US embassy - II

-Vidhya Krishnan

Just after few minutes I stood in the queue, it started pouring like anything. Everyone wondered what to do as all their bags are not with them. Suddenly from no where a guy came in an auto with many umbrellas. I thought to myself, how kind is he! He started distributing the umbrellas and got 200 bucks for each. I understood how kind he really is! Suddenly a funny thought came and looked to check if my umbrella was one among the distributed ones. Thank god, I couldn’t find it. It should be safe in my bag in the tea stall!

Finally the queue was allowed to enter the embassy and there wasn’t even space to move around inside. Everyone has to go to many counters to clarify and take their finger prints. I entered the embassy around 10 a.m. and finally when I got to the interview queue it was around 12 pm. I was quite exhausted but it was interesting to talk to different people to find out the different types of visas they have come for. Since it was lunch time, the embassy people in the interview counters disappeared for lunch. The people who need to be interviewed were starving and tired.

After a short break (but looked longer for me), interviews began and all sorts of questions were asked. Some were rejected and some got the visas. It was my turn and was simply asked which company and what we do. How come I have applied for visa before I complete a year in the company. I answered them to my satisfaction. But obviously got rejected saying less than a year experience with the company.

Anyway, the thanked the interviewer and came out. It was still pouring heavily. I rushed to the tea stall and got my bag and checked if everything was alright. Fortunately everything was fine. I paid some bucks to the tea stall guy after a bit of bargaining.

Now it was the turn of smart auto drivers. Many surrounded me and almost pushed me into their auto asking for a fortune. I could see the local transport beating the inter city transports. Finally, I managed to find a better (better among the worst!) and reached the airport. I was desperate to get out of the flooded city.

As I was traveling out of Chennai, I was wondering how there were people who made use of the opportunities to make their living!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A day in US embassy - I

- Vidhya Krishnan

In the last 2-3 years I have heard all sorts of incidences about difficulties in getting an entry to US for even short stays. I have seen students refused a visa to attend a conference (for even 5 days). I have heard about people who got rejected to enter US for work permits, tourists etc.

Last year in December I had to go for US visa on official purpose. I applied for business visa and got an interview date after six months. After six months of waiting I got an early flight and flew from Bangalore (No US embassy in the Silicon valley of India!) to Chennai for the interview. Chennai was already in floods. Luckily, the embassy area was not in floods. As far I could see there were people who had come for the US visa interview. People started queuing up before an hour of their interview time. There wasn’t any shade or shelter. One has to stand in the queue on the pavement.

When it was time for me to stand in the queue, I wondered what to do with the bag I took with me. Inside the embassy only the relevant documents are allowed. There wasn’t any cloak room to keep one’s belongings. I asked a police man there. He said, “ Don’t worry, I will take you to a place.” He took me to a tea stall at the bottom of the road. I said, “I don’t want tea.” He said, ”You can keep your belongings in the tea stall and pay him some bucks. He will take care of your things.” I didn’t have any other option other than to leave my bag in the tea stall. I thought to myself, smart people who make use of the situation to earn their living. One can’t even take any food item inside the embassy. I knew it would take a long time to finish the interview. So I grabbed my sandwich and had it while walking towards the queue.

to be continued................

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A hilarious scene in Indian trains

- Vidhya Krishnan

First of all thanks to British who left us the trains. I think we preserved them so well that they still run even after 50 years!

I really love observing people in public places especially when you have lot of time in airports or bus or train stations. Recently, I went to Coimbatore by train. I got an early train around 6.15 a.m. Train was as busy as always. I always think Bangalore needs more train all the time. It looks as though people live in the trains. As many trains do, there was a pantry. The caterers started going around with food from 7 a.m. I have noticed many people eat a lot in the trains as they are forced to sit idle. They don’t know what to do with their time. So eat whatever comes! For breakfast Dosa (like Pan cakes) was served with Chutney (made of coconut and pulses like Mayonnaise) and Sambar (like soup but thicker than that). Dosa is a popular south Indian breakfast.

The train was speeding up and was very shaky. The caterers came with a flat paper plate and served dosa with Chutney and Sambar. OOPS! Before I could imagine what can happen, the person sitting just in front of me bought dosa. Before he could eat it the chutney spilled on one side and sambar on the other. He couldn’t stop the sambar and chutney shaking with the train. What can flat plates do against the law of inertia. Soon there was a mess on the floor. Further, there was a small pool created beneath the wash basin. That made a good combination and helped people to spread the sambar cum chutney all through the compartment. Although the scene was hilarious it provoked my thoughts.

I also observed few ladies traveling on their own with couple of kids. Kids making mess by throwing the rubbish all over the seat. Within an hour the condition of the train was pathetic. People are racing with time in such a way that one doesn't have the time to sit and think. Neither to think for the self nor to think for others. As long as I get things done it doesn’t matter. Few thoughts such as Can I present myself in a better way? Can I show myself or country to a foreigner and be proud about my country. It is a shame that Indians perceive ourselves as ‘wonderful, powerful, very spiritual and great’. But how does it look to others? Whenever I see people who struggle to make their living having many kids, I wonder where is the thinking? What do we lack? Awareness? Practical approach towards life

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Learning – a never ending process

-Sukanya Krishnan

Before I spell out my thoughts on the above subject I would like to share those words that decorate my work table.

Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.

Learning lessons does not end. There's no part of life that doesn't contain its lessons. If you're alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned.

"There" is no better a place than "here." When your "there" has become a "here", you will simply obtain another "there" that will again look better than "here."

When ever my eyes accidentally catch a glimpse of these words behind the table glass along with the reflection of my own face, I quiet myself and spend few seconds thinking about what I have learnt so far and how much I accept my lessons without any complaints. If the answer for that minute is positive the reflection of my face shows it off – a bright face happy with what was received throughout the day. If otherwise - a face with a frown with lot of questions, complaints and what not.

Recently, I was reading a topic on Object oriented programming. I came across the following terminologies that forms a part of any system.

ENCAPSULATION --- Hiding of redundant informations.

ABSTRACTION --- Looking for only what is needed.

The former assists the later. It struck me very recently how deep the meanings are when I relate this to my real world system. I usually picturize this world as a PLAY... where everyone has a role to play…

The nature of the play follows the above 2 laws. It encapsulates what ever is not required for us to know. And we have to use the principle of abstraction to save our energy from toiling in wasteful work. The phenomenon of sorrow enters when even any of these 2 laws are violated. Whenever I try to poke my nose into others role in this WORLD PLAY, I violate the laws. Whenever I try to comprehend the logics and rules of this WORLD PLAY using my limited knowledge of the mind, I violate the laws.

Is it not a hard fact that most of the times we try to violate these laws?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Die Alive!

- Vidhya Krishnan

In this article I would like to address what is considered as the ‘dark’ side of life. ‘Death’. What is death? Is it the ‘end’ or a beginning?

I met Mr. Goodman last weekend. He is a good friend of mine. I like his way of living with enthusiasm and happiness. I have always seen him with a smiley face in spite of what goes on around him. Last weekend I had a bit of my down side. I heard about an accident that killed 4 people. This news triggered my thoughts on death. I felt like discussing with someone who can give me some insight on this ‘dark’ side.

When I met Mr. Goodman last weekend, he was all smiling. I asked him, “what is the secret of your smile and happiness? How do you manage to be happy always?”. He asked me back, “Do I need a reason to be happy? Happiness is inside me and I access it whenever I want.” That was quite an intriguing answer, I thought.

I said, “Well, I am feeling down today. I heard about an accident that took away lives. I would like to hear about your view on death” He said, “Ok. First of all let me tell you what is my view on life. I see life as a journey between ‘birth’ and ‘death’. When we are born our mind is clear and simple. Life looks simple too. Our needs are very few. We are happy. Slowly we start to accumulate information some of which turns into labels. This ‘I’ becomes partitioned into many labels like doctor, mother or father etc. Based on the attachments we create to these labels, our mind stumbles in the past. Just observe how much of your attention is in the ‘now’.

Death frees us from all these labels. Because of our attachment to these, we have the fear of losing them. That is why fear of death. If we can practice freeing ourselves from the labels before death, death won’t be painful rather pleasant.”

He smiled at me. I asked him, “Do you mean we should not have any relationship with anyone and live like a sanyasi?”

He said, “No. Not at all. Relationship is different from bondage. Having a relationship is ok, but bondage is painful. Even if I have many labels, I don’t have to become attached to any. Even if we don’t want death is the truth that frees us from all these labels. One needs to learn how to be free from the bondages the labels have created. Die alive! Die to our past! Not to revise the past unnecessarily. What do you gain by revisiting your past all the time?”

That was an interesting evening with my friend. Although these are all words but I could read within his lines, the intension or the message it carried. I came home with a nice feeling. Free from labels! Die alive! Die to the past! These three sentences are still lingering in my ears.