X ing a paragrab

The short story X ing a paragrab is written by Edgar Allan Poe.

It is one story that had me laughing so hard.

Written during the olden days, when the press used to manually set the entire article, letter by letter. And the rivalry between two presses and their challenging each other on drafting an article, with using of one particular character in almost all the words. So what happens when the entire block of that particular character is stolen and how the habit of using the character x as an alternate for the missing character is used.

I believe this was the starting point for all those challenges for using or not using any of the characters in blog posts.

Nights on terrace

One of the happiest memory of childhood is the time spent on terrace after dinner. Sometimes even for dinner!

And those night outs require some prep work done by evening. We have to splatter water so that it is not so hot for relaxing later on. This is one of the favorite chore on the summer vacation. As we get to play with water, while we also get some work done.

Regressing, I wonder how our well was up to its maximum capacity even during summer and the idea of water scarcity was not even so remote in the ideas. Also, the water comes from well, that is self replenishing, whereas the water waste from bath and kitchen goes to water the plants and trees of the garden.

Still, I think I might not be watering the terrace just for cooling effect, while the water is becoming much more precious day to day..

Anyway, twenty years back, that’s the only source for cooling as air conditioners are not so common and also the electricity can’t be trusted at all times for fans.

I’m moving away from the main idea. Getting back to it…

Those night time gatherings are so great memories, for that’s the time the entire family gathered together and shared much more than stories. That’s where the creativity is kindled with riddles. That’s where the knowledge is passed on through generations. That’s where we counted stars and believed we could finish it some day. That’s where we learnt stories of our parents as kids and it was always a pleasure to see the parents be kiddish, which makes them more likable even if they reprimand us for our pranks.

So that’s where life was at is jest, happiness breezed along, cheerfulness lingering like the distant train’s passing, and smiles were abundant, while making the childhood best of times!

An initiation

Few long years ago, when I’ve started taking baby steps into the world of literature, an initiation happened. And the details are….

Bharathi was introduced to me even before I started crawling.. For my favorite lullaby was the song written by him.. In the early class, for school competition, I frequently dressed up as Bharathi and secured prizes every time. So that’s the prologue for this following incident.

My dad was leisurely lying next to me and we both were chattering away. Across us, on a line, two cloth hangers were hanging empty and swaying. They were sort of perpendicular to each other. A hit on the left edge, made them sway on the right edge. Hence, they were on some kind of perpetual motion.

My dad pointed it out and said, see they were chattering and playing with each other. It was fun to me, to see how that non-living thing came to life.

And that’s when my dad picked up a small bound pink book and read out something in the perfect voice to amaze a kid with those little sound effects.

It was about, how two strings hanging from rooftop are given name, life, romance and how they alternate between life and death, by the power of wind.

And without even recognising, I fell in love. With the wondrous words of Bharathi for its simplicity and the imaginable story believable by the kid. And also it felt so important, even though I couldn’t fathom the profound meaning of it, by then.

To this day, whenever I see something fluttering in the wind, I remember that day, when I kept looking at him, as he kept reading out the story, in awe, for the story, for Bharathi, for the time well-spent, for changing something mundane forever.

Just like, as the drop of stone, has no inclination of how far the ripples caused by it can reach, that day had nothing extraordinary to know, it’s going to impact my life huge decades later. For that was the same prose-poetry, I took up for translating and felt a pride for my translated work. 

The story, original + translation available here.

So what do you remember of the first step into a long journey?

Aadhirai

This is indeed about my name. I have been asked several times about the meaning of my name and my lazy self decided to write a post once and share it henceforth! I could see you smirking at my laziness, but as ever, I couldn’t cut short the meaning into a line or two and I also think that the name deserves a post of its own. Hence, without further ado, here is the story of Aadhirai.

There are Five great epics in Tamizh literature. One of them is Manimekalai.

The title character, Manimekalai, has a special bowl, amutha surabhi (something similar to cornucopia), which gives food forever and it never empties, so she could feed the needy. When she received that bowl, it came with a condition. It will start repleting itself only if it receives alms from a person so pure and generous.

அமுத சுரபிக்கே அமுதிட்டவள் ஆதிரை.. That is Aadhirai. The one who gave alms to Amudha surabhi itself..

This is the first info I learnt about her and it made me search, What’s so special about her? And here’s her story. Continue reading “Aadhirai”

Scholar!

Not so long ago, in a not so far country, there lived our hero X.. Unlike me, he loves burying his nose under the books and get himself drenched with new knowledge every single day without caring for food nor relaxation or even some entertainment..

Though there are ways to learn about human behavior and how to interact with other beings are wide discussed and many books have been written, none of them seem to have entered even the peripheral vision of our dear hero..

The library where he had been hunting for books ran out of supply of new knowledge for him at a stage.. Thus he was compelled to look at alternative options..

The alternatives weren’t that much as his resources to attain new knowledge were limited.. Thus he was forced to look up and face humans around him..

He wanted to increase his resources to gain access to more books, and the choice made available to him is full of jobs which needed human interaction more than other skills..

He picked the job with the least probable communication and yet his skill of reaching out to people was more damaging to everyone rather than helping him secure the job..

He had to skip change multiple jobs, just because of his inter-personal skills (or lack thereof).. This multiple change in jobs overrode his reputation as scholar to a recluse..

In spite of his expertise in many areas, he was looked down by the fellow people around him.. His reputation in the elite circle also started fading and his social status was on constant decline..

Since our hero is becoming almost zero, let’s stop your imagination of cliche movies and motivational stories, where the zero hero suddenly bounces back to super hero..

And let us tear off the mask of story and get to the basic idea or the moral of the story..

உலகத்தோடு ஒட்ட ஒழுகல் பலகற்றும் 
கல்லார் அறிவிலா தார். (140)

ulaGathOdu otta ozhugal palakattRum
kallaar aRivilaa thaar

Who know not with the world in harmony to dwell, 
May many things have learned, but nothing well

. (Couplet 140)

Though learning and being a scholar is a noble thought, the basics of living in the society is much more important..

Even when you are a treasure trove of knowledge, you would be labeled as ignorant / recluse or the like, till you learn the skill of being Roman in Rome..

So let us set aside some time to learn what’s happening in the society around us, how they react to situations and then find out the best way possible to achieve our goals with the least resistance from them!

Let us be street-smart scholars, who knows to convert the ideas to action and success!

Autobiography of a Plagiarist

Disclaimer – This blog post is a work of fiction.

Some say truth triumphs! I had never experienced it until last winter! This change cleansed me and transformed me into a good individual. Some say that there is no difference between people who steal others things  and those who snatch others ideas. I had been doing that for my material gains.  Google turned out to be my best friend for it provided me everything that I desired. Being a blogger and an amateur writer, my mind constantly required to produce and reproduce several ideas. Most of the blogging sites that came up with  different blogging contests often came up with attractive and lucrative prizes  – iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Mac Books and various electronic gadgets. I seemed to have been blinded and smitten  by these prizes that I resort to snatching ideas.

5th November 2013 – was the day when blogger.com came up with a PAN level blogger contest. The winner of that contest was to be awarded an iPhone. ‘Human Heart Vs Human Brain – Measuring conflicts. What does the heart say when the brain says no?’ It was a  topic that had to be dealt with utmost sensitivity. I usually suck at writing such articles.  The prizes attracted my eyeballs. Gluttony hurts, it  kills!

I started thinking over the topic and my brain couldn’t conceive constructive ideas relevant to the theme of the contest. I was disappointed at the fact that I was turning creativity handicap. It was indeed challenging. Any writer wouldn’t succumb to an act that I did! I typed – Heart Vs Brain on the Google Search bar and I received numerous web links. I went through the websites one by one and accumulated points.  I jotted down the points and tried to put it on my own words.  While exploring few of those websites, my eyes grabbed the attention of a blog written by an American Teenager – Brenda Anderson.

“Heart is symbolic of emotions, feelings; attachments. It has its own reasoning which the mind may not approve of, probably because it lacks the evidence or arguments that prove it to be right. But has an understanding that assures it of not being wrong.
At times, the high EQ (emotional quotient) may overshadow the strong IQ.
The reason for it is simple when faced with a situation; our heart pulls us to one direction and the mind to the other. We don’t know which way to go this gives rise to a conflict that interferes with our ability to think rationally. There is no direction, just a dead point. We feel lost and our mind stops working, stops thinking and then we become totally dependent on what our heart tells us, after all, it’s our last resort.”

This was something that I was looking for! Spot it! I copied the entire post on my document and started working on it. I meticulously made good use of the thesaurus and changed meanings of certain complex words. I made its vocabulary easy to understand. I optimized it for an Indian audience.  The deadline for the blogger contest was approaching. Brenda Anderson was indeed a blessed girl. I explored her blog and it was the repository of literature work. Her works dealt with the highest level of art and literature. I envied her for some reason. She would have won several blogger contests if she were in India. Perhaps, at that moment, I never felt guilty publishing someone else’s article under my name and that too under PAN India level. I was feeling jubilant when I posted the link to the blogger page. I was quite sure that I would win. I had no traces of guilt in my heart. Weeks passed and even months!  The contest results were about to be announced.  Many people had appreciated that article that I had lifted from Brenda Anderson’s blog and no one had even the slightest doubt that it was a stolen one. I had received over 100 comments for that single blog post. People enjoyed reading it and they had scribbled genuine comments for that. It did make me smile!

But that night, I couldn’t sleep peacefully. My conscience knocked me hard to make me feel that I had done the biggest mistake of my life. It indicated me that this was a big shame. How could a person fall down to this level? It wanted to correct my mistake. I contemplated and thought over my act! But it seemed that the results were already announced. I was declared as the winner. I was entitled to get an iPhone. I was feeling guilty and my greed for material products had to be reprimanded. I was feeling low and disappointed.  Finally, I listened to what my heart said to me and contacted the organizers. I spilled the beans! I informed them that I had lifted the article from an American girl’s blog and modified it as per my needs. But that was an honest confession. I had tears in my eyes when I spoke all that to the organizers. The organizers discussed and decided to go with the results as announced. They had awarded me the prize for my honesty. I could have simply opted to conceal the truth, but my conscience didn’t let me sleep peacefully. For years to come, my heart would have been heavy with the guilt that would often remind me of the scar that it had left! But I acknowledged my conscience by doing something that it desired.  But it would have been inappropriate if I had accepted the prize. The organizers didn’t budge and I had to accept the prize.

Image is taken from here 

All the 100 plus comments that the blog post received belonged to that girl. It was the efforts of that American girl who deserved so many appreciations. I had just been a channel. I quickly added the link of her post to my blog post and added a line that my post had been inspired from Brenda’s blog post.

I quickly inspected her blog for her contact details. “You may want to let me know how you feel about my blog posts 🙂 How?  Write me at brenda.anderson7@live.com” It was mentioned at the right sidebar of the blog.

“Dear Brenda,

You might be wondering who this is. I would like to call myself as the greatest fan of Miss Brenda Anderson. Yes, I am a huge fan of your writing. I bumped across your blog through Google and I’m glad that I found it. Your articles have touched me deep! I would like to say something important. Last month I took part in a PAN India level contest and I had won it.  Please don’t get me wrong when I say that I had stolen ideas and points from your blog. I had lifted it. I’m feeling ashamed because of my act. Check this link – virtualstroller.blogspot.com/heartvsmind. All the comments on this blog post are meant for you.  Kindly forgive me. Please provide me your address.

Yours Truly,
Sankit”

I waited for her reply. Finally, two days later she replied me.

“Dear Sankit,

I’m so happy that you won the blogging contest. I’m indeed very happy for you. Thank you for all the kind words in the last email. That was sweet of you :). You don’t need to be sorry. You had taken my blog post and I’m glad you won it. It was nice going through the various comments in the blog post in the link that you had sent me. You are a nice soul, Sankit! Please do not say that you had stolen my blog post. : )  I have blog rolled you and consider me as a regular reader of your blog. You too do the same and yes whenever you read my post do leave some nice comments 😛 And my address is –

2411, Andersons Avenue, AV, Green Park, GA, Atlanta 30301, USA

Stay in touch, Sankit! Xoxox

Take Care,
Brenda ”

I was so happy to read all that. I quickly parceled the iPhone to her. I was not the right owner to that Apple product.  Initially, she refused to accept it. But after insisting she accepted it. We soon turned out to be good friends.  Yes, Truth indeed Triumphs! Sometimes you just need to be true to yourself. Sometimes you just need to listen to your heart. It’s an offense to steal others creativity!

————————————————————–

Friends, many times we knock Google’s door for ideas when our brain refuses to produce adequate necessary desired ideas. I feel disheartened to see and hear such things. My heart hurts when I read my blogger friends writing statuses on Facebook citing their plagiarized blog posts. Trust me that it is something that hurts any blogger. Who would like their blog post to be snatched? Remember that a plagiarist is no different than a thief. The difference is that a plagiarist steals others ideas while a thief steals products.  A plagiarist could steal someone’s blog post, but they can never steal someone’s creativity! Dear Plagiarists – Please do not hurt creative souls here. Your conscience will hurt you and you would live a life of guilt! If you go on to get inspired by someone’s work then do let the article owner know about this and you could link their blog post to yours. That would be a kind gesture. While using an image from Google, do give credits to the  image owner. This blog post might be a work of fiction, but this might be true for many of you out here! Stay blessed my creative people!


There are two ways to present a thought of others. You could get inspired and just spin the thought in your own unique wrap and present it to others. Or just share the post as is, just like I am doing here! This is a post written by my friend Stephen in his blog The Solitary Writer. He has been blogging for the past decade on various topics. His range of writings include fiction, political satire, Cricket Commentary, Social Issues, Reviews and many more. Do check out his blog for a perfect potpourri and you would surely find something to your taste, irrespective of your taste.

The last leaf!

This is not about the short story of O.Henry, except that I stole his title for this picture!!

And I do love that story too much. But another post for that story at another time. Now get to enjoy this tiny lonely leaf.

What story it holds or what story it would unfold is not known to me and hence there are zillion possibilities!! Now tell me, what is the story this leaf reminded you of, or what would be the story you would spin over this..

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