Posts Tagged ‘Memories’

Days Of Yore

Posted: July 13, 2011 in Experience, Toastmasters
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The bell rang. I could hear the students chanting their evening prayer followed by a chorus “Thank you mam”. It was 4:00 pm in the evening. Motley of uniformed students came out rushing towards their waiting parents, auto rickshaws and cycles. Few others decided to quench their sporting pursuits by choosing to play carom, chess, volley ball, cricket and badminton. I was also one among those uniformed students just few years ago.

My friends and I were waiting outside my school looking at the giant building which was our second home not long ago. The agenda to come to school was straight forward. Teachers! We wanted to meet our teachers. We all missed our teachers in some way or the other and it all amalgamated towards fulfillment on 20th June 2005.

First up was the Principal. She was always busy especially after the school ends for the day. Nothing changed even when we went to meet her that day. We were waiting to meet our Principal. As we were waiting, the memories of the days I enjoyed unmindful of the competitive world outside engulfed me.

The same small ground just in front of the Principal room had been a witness to many a number of quarrels, chit-chats, and even mindless cupid wars. That ground has seen me from shedding blood to crowning glory. Except for the students who were playing on it today, the ground simply remained the same.

After few minutes, we entered our Principal‘s room and I was surprised when she recognized us easily and even called few of us by our names. The lady whom we feared a little won our hearts that day. Heartwarming indeed!

After we met the Principal, we immediately rushed to meet our teachers as we did not want to miss anyone. The reactions from my teachers ranged from surprise to sheer joy in meeting us. The conversations were a mixture of what we are doing, what we want to do in future and predominantly how life has been since school. The fun part was really when few of my teachers managed to recollect the pranks we played during our heydays. I personally felt the warmth and tinge of happiness in every word spoken, in every pleasantry exchanged and in every quip cracked. Mobile numbers were exchanged and promises to keep visiting school once in a while were taken.

Finally, my friends and I went to our 12th standard classroom and spent a few quiet moments within ourselves.

It was a satiating day – both mentally and emotionally. I bid goodbyes to my friends and started for home. Along the way, I felt nothing seemed to have changed with my school. The sanctity of my temple of learning was intact and most importantly my teachers were simply the same – ever encouraging and always caring. As I recollect my life’s precious moments, those 90 minutes I spent in my school will remain as one of those moments that I will cherish forever.

(This article was written for Wordsmiths Toastmasters Club’s 150th meeting newsletter on the theme “Life’s Precious Moments)

My Mentor’s Ribbon…

February 27th 2010 – It was a quite, serene and tranquil Saturday afternoon except that I did not realize it as I do today. Every cell in my brain was embedded with only 700 odd English words as my heart continued playing a discordant symphony skipping a beat or two here and there. Nothing was quite, serene and tranquil within me, as the Toastmaster of the day called me out to be guillotined for the very first time. It was my Ice Breaker. Learning by rote for 17 long years helped as I read, re-read and re-re-read the facts about me until I really knew everything by heart about me! The initial moments were nervous but a responsive audience helped me sail through my first speech successfully. That day, I had a plethora of firsts to take back home – the first laughter I managed to evoke, the first nod of assurance I garnered, the first message I conveyed, the first joy of finishing a speech I wrote, the first best speaker award I received and the ultimate first among the firsts – the first hug from my mentor TM Rajeev Nambiar. After all this came the ‘The’ moment when Rajeev pulled out his ribbon which he had won for his Ice Breaker and gifted it to me. Joy! My Ice Breaker was indeed special and thanks to all those wonderful people for making it feel so special.

Yours Indebted,

Krishnan Chidambaram

(The above writeup was submitted for Chennai Toastmasters Club’s 300th meeting special edition newsletter contest on the theme “Rewind, Recollect, Rejuvenate” in 250 words.  Personally writing this article was a very fulfilling experience.. rewinding those memories, recollecting those moments and finally feeling rejuvenated at the end of it all. The bonus was it also won me the first place 🙂 )

Happy Diwali :)

Posted: November 2, 2010 in Story
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I looked at my watch. Time was running out. Worry, agony, tension and fear of losing out was written all over my face. I rushed, pushed and plunged. Luckily, I made it to the flight. The beautiful looking American air hostess greeted me in. “Ooo.. that was a close shave wasn’t it”. Yeah..I replied. She asked me.. Indian? Yeah.. Happy Diwali!! She said. Oh thanks.. thanks a lot.. I replied!!

Yes.. It was Diwali in five day’s time in India and I was desperate to return home. Happy Diwali!!! Happy Diwali!! Happy Diwali!! These words always brought back the fond memories of my childhood. I settled into my seat and fastened my seat belts. My journey took off and I went straight into my life when I was just ten years old.

The year was 1995. I was this little plump kid whose cheeks were liberally used by all the aunties of my apartment. I had an entire gang of friends with whom I played, fought and enjoyed many evenings. It was Diwali time and all of my friends got a week’s leave. No school. No books. No exams. I always looked forward to Diwali not just to enjoy the holidays, burst crackers with friends, eat lots of sweets.. but that is when my father would come back home from Dubai. My father was working with an oil company in Dubai and he came to India only twice a year – for my birthday and Diwali. In fact that year, he could not make it to my birthday but promised me that he would be taking a long leave on Diwali eve.

It was four days to Diwali and my father was to arrive on Wednesday. My apartment was already getting into the Diwali mood. Few of my friends started bursting crackers as early as Monday. I too had bought lots of crackers as my dad had promised me that he would burst crackers along with me as a compensation for not coming for my birthday this year. So I was very excited and I decided not to burst any crackers until my dad came home.

Monday went. Tuesday went. I knew Wednesday was my day and I reserved all my energy for this day. I got up early in the morning and was eagerly waiting for my father to come. Sun rose, sun peaked and finally the sun was setting. But my father did not come. I was getting restless. My mother was anxious too and she was trying to find the cause for the delay. Finally at about half past six, my father had called from Dubai. Due to poor visibility, the flights from Dubai were delayed and it may take two days for things to restore is what my mother told me. I just knew only one thing. It meant my father will not come for Diwali. I was heartbroken and sad.

Thursday came. One more day for Diwali and I decided not to celebrate Diwali any more in my life if my father did not come tomorrow. The sun set for one last time before Diwali. The beautiful moon was out. I saw my friend Rahul along with his dad bursting crackers, there was Nithi setting the flower pots on fire with her sister and father, there was Sanjay, Praveen, Dev and Vijay. I looked at my crackers and slowly the pain of missing my father struck me hard and tears overflowed from my eyes. I suffered in silence. I still remember my mother trying to put me to sleep that day telling stories, convincing me, cajoling me and consoling me. It was a long night for us. Finally, I fell asleep.

Amidst the thunderous bursts of crackers, I woke up on the Diwali morning. Happy Diwali!! These were the words I heard as I woke up looking surprised, shocked and stunned. It was my dad. I did not know how or when he reached. But that did not matter. He was here and that was enough for me. My world was back. I hugged him, kissed him and held on to him tightly.

The announcement from the plane captain woke me back to the present. The flight landed in Chennai in few minutes. I wiped the tears which had welled in my eyes. As I headed towards the exit door, I saw a little girl running to hug her father. I knew what that meant and I went straight into the wide waiting arms of my dad and both of us spoke the same words in each other’s ears – Happy Diwali!!! 🙂 🙂

(This story is dedicated to all those hardworking fathers who keep toiling hard, staying away from their family) ~ Krishnan


Posted: August 12, 2010 in Story
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Hi.. I am Raj. This day June 7th is a special day for me. It has been special for 35 years now.

<35 years..34..33……………4..3..2..1.. rewind>

I was studying in my class 6 then and the best thing about going to class 6 was that my school allowed students to come to school by cycle from the 6th standard onwards. It was their way of telling that you are grown up! If my memory holds well, I first saw this marvellous peddling bike when I was in my class 5. It was the ‘Street Cat’ Cycle Event. One look was enough to start my pestering at home. I went back home that day and send down the first of my many ‘Operation Buy Cycle’ mission requests. It was turned down blatantly. My 5th standard mind told me – ‘If Muhammad Ghazni can do it, why not me. Nothing big!’ Learning history was handy then!

From 5th to 6th I progressed. If Ghazni tried 16 times to break the shackles to plunder Somanth, it took me about 470 requests, 546 pleas, 389 I love you Moms and I don’t remember how many tears to reach the ultimate prize. (Move on Muhammad Ghazni.. I am here.. Raj). The D-day came and my dad along with my grandfather took me to the city’s biggest Cycle Shop – My destiny I thought. I chose the cycle which I liked the most. But immediately came the heart breaking moment. I never knew how to ride a bicycle. Gloom spread across my face. My grandfather, realizing that my joy was short-lived tried to perk me up and as if he heard my inner voice, he told ‘Raj.. dear.. I will teach you how to ride the cycle. It is easy and stop worrying now. Be happy – You got what you yearned for. It is time to cheer up dear’. Those words were comforting.. more comforting when I  recollect it today.

My whole family got together to work out a proper plan for my cycle practice – a plan to make sure that my studies aren’t affected and convince my mother of the same. The Plan – I will start from school as soon as the last bell goes (I had to sacrifice the cricket matches we usually play after school) and come home by at least 3:30, have some snacks, then complete my homework (read as mother’s order) and finally at 5:00 pm will leave for cycle practice.

Next day – As planned things fell in place and the clock struck 5:00 pm and though my homework was the only one which was accomplished partially as per the plan. My mother, looking at my enthusiasm allowed me for my first day’s practice. I took out my brand new cycle and started from home with my grandfather. My grandfather took me to a deserted road and believe me I had never seen such a deserted road and that too in the heart of the city. Yes.. deserted in every sense – ‘The West Circular Road’. The entire road was punctuated with beautiful independent houses, chirping birds, green plants, colourful flowers and to top it all a serene atmosphere – Ideal place to learn anything I thought!

Learning Highlights

 Day 1 – Fear to sit on the bicycle and the bicycle pedal felt like an unmovable piece of iron. 😦

 Day 2 – The first of the many falls. My cycle went unscathed but I was not that lucky. 😦

 Day 3 – Never did my cycle head the direction in which I wanted it to move. But at least it started moving! 😦

 Day 4 – Second fall was avoided courtesy a cute looking girl 🙂

Day 10 – My bending towards the sides of the seat was spoiling my control and also damaging my reputation. How? There were few girls who practise regularly in the same road and they were looking at my cycle driving gimmicks all along. They should have had a nice laugh that day looking at my driving skills. 😦

Day 20 – Bending reduced but my grandfather was threatening to not support me by holding the cycle from behind. 😦

Day 27 – I fell for the second time courtesy my grandfather who was a little over ambitious and decided I can drive without his support. 😦

Day 34 – The best and the worst day! I was driving my cycle and one moment I turned back and to my surprise my grandfather was not holding the cycle any more! J I was ecstatic but then forgot to look ahead. Thump! Thump! FALL!!! 😦 😦

Day 35 – I was waiting for this day! Without my grandfather holding the cycle, I drove for the first time. It was my EUREKHA moment – BALANCE is what I achieved that day. What a Joy! The first balanced ride! I crossed the same girls who saw me struggling a month back. They smiled and I smiled back! 🙂 🙂 🙂

 Today after 35 years as I walk in the same ‘West Circular Road’, it seems at least this little piece of the world has not changed for young people learning their first driving lessons. Even today, I could see another grandfather teaching his grandson how to drive his bicycle. His grandson also would have a story to tell like me. 🙂

 Memories are like oxygen.. They keep us alive!