Book Review: A Book of Simple Living

In times of lockdown, if you are a nature lover and appreciate the little pleasures of life, this is a book you would enjoy reading. Written in a lucid manner, A Book of Simple Living – Brief Notes from the Hills will give wings to your thirst (if any) of living by the mountain side. The author Ruskin Bond in his usual rustic, illustrative tone describes the seasons, the skies, his writing passion, his strolling expeditions by the mountains, his rendezvous with the flora and fauna, amongst a few other impressions.

You will find mention of deodars, ferns, rhododendrons, dandelions, clovers, begonias, sorrels, nettles, miniature peepul trees, honeysuckles, convolvulus, oaks, maples, gingers—all growing in the wild. Some names may seem foreign no doubt, unless you are a botanist or a local. You will feel driven to the mountains as the author talks about peaches, plums, apricots and blackberries. It is a colourful spectacle when he takes you through his brush with the marigolds, daisies, antirrhinums, jasmines, nosegays, roses, red geraniums, nasturtiums and chrysanthemums, on different occasions. You will actually smell these plants, fruits and flowers with his description! Let me know if you don’t! 😉

The book contains short notes from the hills. Some of them are so short to include a few sentences only, but each conveying a thought you will be thrilled to ponder over. At the least, you will be left with a smile on your face. 🙂

 “A cherry tree bowed down by the night’s rain suddenly rights itself, flinging pellets of water in my face. This, too, is happiness.” How nicely said!

Ruskin Bond goes on to tell you about his feline friends, and birds such as the Himalayan whistling thrush, magpie, hawk cuckoo, pigeon, eagle, myna, sparrow, peacock, babblers, bulbul, woodpecker, crow and nightjar. Yes, animals such as monkeys, jackals, rats, foxes, cows, sheep, bears, bats, leopards, buffaloes, mules, dogs and ponies do get their mention too. You will begin to visualize these creatures as though they were a part of your life! The crickets, spiders, cicadas, grasshoppers, butterflies, fireflies, moths et al. find space in his book with their buzzing sounds. It is the overpowering affection that he has for these creatures, which gets reflected in his notes.

He enjoys the little pranks the visitors present to him. He feels a sense of completeness meeting these visitors. He says, “I’m not looking for pets; it is enough that he seeks me out when he wants company.” This statement he makes with reference to a squirrel! He seeks fulfilment in the companionship of his foster family with whom he had developed ties in the 1960s. A couple and their first born have added essence to his life.

He owes his sanity to a pigeon in the skylight at a nursing home in Delhi where he was “incarcerated” for a couple of days and was put through certain rounds of tests and scans. On page 19, he says, “I think I have learnt something of the value of stillness. I don’t fret so much; I laugh at myself more often; I don’t laugh at others. I live life at my own pace. Like a banyan tree.” These lines are worth a mention in the situation of a pandemic. It’s joyful to read the way he admires the hues skies offer through day and night.

He goes on to say how he collected odd objects such as marbles, feathers, stones, snail-shells and so on as he walked along the beach in Jamnagar. He used these objects to embellish his own room to get an “outdoors” feeling when he was within the confines of his home. What a unique type of joy that could have been?!


Whilst discussing a restaurant in a particular town, he talks about its refurbished look where the wooden walls were now covered with mirrors, and the diners suddenly turned their attention to their own reflection than the food being served. In the same vein, he adds, “avoid mirrors as far as possible” as they don’t add much value, which is so true.

My thoughts are being echoed in the book where the author says, “slow down, and listen. There are sounds that are good to hear.”

I endorse these words of Epicurus (Greek philosopher) who has been quoted in the book: “We shall not spoil what we have by desiring what we have not, but remember that what we have too was the gift of fortune.”

I consider this as a pithy quote from the author himself: “If you have the ability, or rather the gift, of being able to see beauty in small things, then old age should hold no terrors.” These words are to be taken seriously, for the author is so vivid in his imagination and vivacious like a child at the age of 85+ years. Hats off to his spirited attitude!

First published in 2015, the book is available in stores. You would love the font of the book too. Happy reading!


Rukma Vasudev

Corona, the illuminating force

Work from home. Major trains cancelled. Flights cancelled. No hospital visits unless emergencies. Tourism shut. No online deliveries.  Malls, restaurants closed. Social distancing. No maid support. Stay at home all day. Lockdown for 3 weeks, for now.

It seems like a surreal situation. Yes. But there’s a clear message: slow down. You may like to see it as (economic) slowdown, as a noun. Or, see it as slow down (humanity), as a verb.

By now, we have made sufficient strides in science and technology. And, our life has turned simpler with these. The world is one stage and that is a global village where distances have shrunk. We have played with the mystic formulae of nature. We have tapped into the powerhouses of natural resources. But we have also upset nature by encroaching on the very lifelines of civilisation: water and land. Poaching and hunting have grown unabated both above and below the water surfaces. Deforestation, amongst a host of other factors, has taken its toll on the environment globally, and all this in the name of development. Who hasn’t heard of aspects such as global warming and climate change? Most human beings want to keep up with the Joneses, forgetting to enjoy the present. Ahem!

As it seems, from nowhere, Corona has made its way with a plonk to the universe. It is asking us to slow down in terms of the incessant struggle of meeting the demands of life, sometimes driven by one’s personal desires and sometimes by the incorrigible norms of society. It’s high time we spent quality time with our own selves by reflecting upon and introspecting on what has happened to the planet at large. In this quietude, we may end up marvelling at how peaceful can we be with ourselves in the present situation of “live and let live” and at nature’s power to reenergise and rejuvenate. I already hear of marine life and wildlife roaring back to life with abstinence from human activities. I get to listen to the melody of the birds chirping even in the thick of an urban setting I am a part of. I somewhere get to see some equanimity and subtle order in the crests and troughs of life.

While the world faces an economic slowdown with many businesses coming to a standstill, it’s up to each one of us to behave with responsibility in terms of following these 3 Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle. Go around your home and see if there are any unused consumables you may have collected over a period of time. Use them. Reduce buying. Stop accumulating.

Pursue your hobbies. Reach out to the Internet to learn. Engage in some meditation.  Dive into positive thinking! By the way, at least for now, eat to live and not live to eat! 🙂

In the same breath, my heart goes out to the innumerable healthcare professionals, sanitation workers and police personnel who are putting their own health in jeopardy to help tackle the mighty power of the microscopic virus. They are true unsung heroes at the moment. Hats off to them! Of course, a word of gratitude goes to the suppliers/sellers of essential goods and services. By staying indoors and by being doubly sure of hygiene practices with frequent handwashing using appropriate soap, we shall be able to deal with this pandemic—a scale of this sort last seen about a 100 years ago.

Happy soul-searching!

– Rukma Vasudev

Spiral Journey

Time and tide wait for none;
Do get your work done!

Slow and steady wins the race,
So long as you keep up the pace.

Dynamism is the order of the day;
Don’t you cease to look ahead, eh!

“Impressionism” tends to traverse the path to eternity.
“Futurism” exudes the essence of infinity.

Life indeed is one of rhythmic motion;
I humbly embrace the notion.

– Rukma Vasudev


Courtesy: Google Images

PS: I quickly penned these few lines in my fine arts class as the teacher Ms Bala discussed three famous paintings and asked for our thoughts on any one of them. I chose the painting (above), Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash by the Italian artist Giacomo Balla who propagated the concept of futurism.

The subject(ive) success

What is success? We engaged in a short debate around this topic over lunch today.  This was done against the backdrop of Chandrayaan 2, India’s lunar mission, where there was loss of communication with the lander, Vikram at the last moment, when the science enthusiasts and patriots across the country waited with bated breath during the wee hours today. (The Prime Minister of India flew out to Bengaluru to witness the event, straight from the control room of ISRO along with its scientists.)


Courtesy: Google images

The social media was a veritable whirlpool of messages, with many expressing solidarity over the fact that the mission as such was not a failure as the orbiter will continue to orbit the moon and do its job. This message particularly from a NSF scientist struck a chord with millions of netizens:

“If Vikram failed to land – which it looks like – REMEMBER the ORBITER is where 95% of the experiments are. The Orbiter is safely in Lunar orbit and performing its mission. This is not a total failure. Not at all.”

Of course, there was a cross-section of netizens who mocked, calling the mission a failure, with tongue-in-cheek comments!

Coming back to the moot topic of discussion, my answer would be: success is about  having vision and passionately working to one’s capacity in the given constraints. Capacity could mean one’s intelligence; ability; perseverance; enthusiastic devotion; dedication; determination and so on. Constraints could mean the limiting variables/factors that are not directly related to one’s work, but incidental to accomplishing the work at hand, and these include intrapersonal (oneself/self-concept); interpersonal (people/self-esteem); climate (organisational/political/economic/geographic); health; the unknowns and so on. That said, success is an intangible term/aspect and thus difficult to measure! Ohh, yes, success turns out to be personal, subjective, and relative too.  For a toddler, the first steps and the first bits of speech are success while for a nonagenarian, to hear and being heard are success. Failure is just the opposite: to NOT have vision and to NOT work passionately to one’s capacity in the given constraints. So, whenever one takes the liberty to label somebody or something a failure, it’s best to sagaciously look into the two Cs (mentioned above) and accordingly decide. By the way, to label as such also depends on one’s self-concept and self-esteem levels – the upbringing and the environment one is a part of have a role to play.

Nevertheless, the hallmark of excellence is to continue to move on despite all odds. And, the reaction during odds stands testimony to one’s character! Here’s an evergreen quote: “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.” Another one is, by the philosopher Confucius: “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

May we do our best. Let’s chase the missions and battles in life with elan!


Rukma Vasudev

PS: Do feel free to leave your thoughts on the subject. 🙂

A sketchy hello

A picture is worth a thousand words, they say. It is so true. Yours truly enjoys taking casual snapshots and serious photographs of the flora, the fauna and the homo sapiens – be it on a routine day, an event, or any travel undertaken. Although I rarely get to share them, I do feel it is worthwhile to store memories and relive them down the line as a matter of flashback!

It is world photography day today – August 19. As a mark of celebration, I am posting some sketches from among the humble ones made in the last few years. Sketching used to be a hobby during school days. It somehow got buried subsequently.  Well, let me tell you that a rekindled hobby can give you sparkling joy. Try one yourself and let me know how it feels!

Happy sketching and photographing!

– Rukma Vasudev


The colourful garden

Nature’s bounty is best experienced when you are a part of it, living close to it. Quite a substantial period has been spent at my parents’ home called Dharani in Hubli, Karnataka, India. It is indeed enchanting to observe the garden here – a garden that my mother has tended to with so much love.

I take a stroll in the colourful garden every morning, watching out for some dainty flowers for the pooja (prayer rituals) performed by my father. The hues offered by  flowers such as shanka pushpa (Asian pigeon wings); parijatha (coral jasmine); sampige (champak); dundu mallige (Mysore jasmine); yeLu sutthu mallige; nithya mallige (common jasmine); pink, red and yellow trumpets; kanakambara (firecracker); kepala (ixora); dasavaLa (hibiscus); kaNagile (oleander); roses and so on are simply eye-catching and refreshing. Every evening, I pluck some common jasmine flowers from their lush green creepers in the balcony and string them together. Ohh, what a blissful feeling that is! The seasons have a telling effect on the flowering plants – the nandi battalu (crape jasmine) and swastik (chandni) flowers that were seen in abundance during pre-monsoons have almost depleted now in the peak of monsoons.  (By the way, there are 200-odd species of mallige or jasmine in Asia. They are known for their ethereal beauty whilst some are famed for their sweet smell.) The karibevu (curry leaves) plant is another favourite – it feels nice to smell the fresh aroma and use the leaves for cooking, straight from the garden. The tulasi/holy basil plant adds beauty to any garden. The sitaphala (sugar-apple) tree yields its fruits occasionally. The mango trees lived their lives, and a couple of times gave us unmatched joy with their luscious fruits; the next set of saplings planted are still in their growing stage. The papaya trees that grew magically had bestowed on us their yummy, seedless fruits. Apart from the heady smell emanated by the champak tree, it is a paradise for birds and butterflies. Occasionally I get to see chirpy birds such as a cuckoo, a red-vented bulbul, a sunbird, an ashy prinia, a tailor bird, a sparrow, or a coppersmith barbet perching on the champak tree as yours truly is sitting on the swing and basking in nature’s glory.

Ahh, the blowing of winds, the falling of rains and the chirping of birds are making for a natural melody these days! As Albert Einstein said: “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Nature does serve as an antidote to the vicissitudes of life. Here goes my homage to the colourful garden, through some pictures.  



–  Rukma Vasudev

A lot can happen in a coffee baron’s life

The celebrated Café Coffee Day’s founder CEO, V G Siddhartha went “missing” on July 29. On July 31, 2019 he was found dead in the backwaters of Nethravati river, Ullal, Mangaluru, India.  It has been hard to believe that he took this extreme step of taking his own life. Sigh! There was a letter apparently written by him to his employees, blaming his own self for the “failure” he had been as an entrepreneur. He had also mentioned about some entities of the ecosystem who were bothering him. (The authenticity of the letter is to be verified though.)


Courtesy: Google images

Café Coffee Day (CCD) is a desi company founded in 1996, with the tagline, “a lot can happen over coffee.” CCD made it into the international arena, by establishing itself in Nepal, Vienna, Czech Republic and Egypt. It is coffee served at a premium compared to the local coffee shops in India. But the brand CCD has grown to command that price, be it for a café latte or cappuccino (my favourite). It is a brand that resonates well, specially with Gen Y and Gen Z in urban India. I happened to discuss this brand in one of my corporate communication classes, when dealing with aspects such as brand identity, image and perception. The overall feel of the outlet in any place in India is quite international. My husband and I chose to visit Café Coffee Day in Vienna in Europe back in 2012 (

Philosophically speaking, untimely death knocks at the doors of mortals in forms such as (incurable) diseases, accidents and natural disasters.  With appropriate support, people strive hard to come out of them. Natural death due to aging is a given. But how would one treat suicide, that too from an entrepreneur who had generated jobs for close to 50,000 people in a developing country like India? Reasons for the extreme step could range from mental pressure/harassment, depression to cowardice to face the reality. (I am aware the reasons may be anywhere far from these.) It is also a known fact that an entrepreneur’s journey is always bumpy. That said, what about lives of near and dear ones who are left high and dry, with barely any inkling of such an impending loss of a valuable life? What happens to the soul of a voluntarily shortlived life? What about repaying of karmic debts (let alone financial, in this case)? These questions haunt the mind. Anyway, here’s a prayer that the coffee legend Siddhartha’s soul rests in peace, and his family and friends are able to come to terms with the situation. This episode has left one to ponder over the lesser discussed subtleties of the entrepreneurship ecosystem. It is hoped that the brand will continue to enjoy its loyalty.

– Rukma Vasudev





Nostalgic 2017

It was a refreshing year that passed by.  I was thrilled no end when I got to meet up with my school friends over a reunion meet organized at the Good Shepherd Convent. I had lost touch with many of them. I had been meaning to join Facebook for the very purpose of reconnecting, but something always stopped me from joining the bandwagon. Strange, unusual – you may think. I somewhere felt it was a source of distraction and kept postponing forever! The reunion was special in that ours was the biggest batch in terms of the numbers that turned up. We talked, we laughed, we played and we ate. It was nostalgia all the while, that particular day and the days that were to come. I used my phone like never before – WhatsApp turned into a veritable bond of friendship, with flooding of messages. It reached a peak point and then I decided to turn the groups to mute. Initially the groups (an all-girls group and a mixed group) were meant to coordinate the reunion and perhaps disband, but they ended up growing only stronger by the day, even to this day! The conversations run from mundane ones to serious ones, with full, some or nil participation from me. After a few months, I invited some school friends home on my birthday. In fact, the invitation was open to everyone in the all-girls group; but considering it was a week day, a few could make it. It felt nice attending the first birthday party of my school friend’s daughter last month. I remember having attended this friend’s tenth birthday celebrations while in school!

Coming to the travel part, we visited the district of Coorg in the month of June with family. My husband and I attended my students’ (Coorgi) wedding – interestingly, both the bride and groom were students each at the two different institutions I had taught! After a few weeks, it was Jungle Lodges with friends – ziplining was so much fun; reminded me of our trip to Switzerland in 2014. In July, I flew to the US – a long pending visit to my sister’s place in the Bay Area. It was great spending time and travelling with her and her family, along with our mother. It was lovely listening to the chitter-chatter of my three-year-old nephew, playing with him and taking strolls with him. I appreciated the trips both in the West and East coasts of the US. Apart from absorbing the beauty and grandeur of the places visited and enjoying family time, the friends whom I caught up with added spice to my experience in the US. By the way, I thought I would join Facebook after touring its headquarters at Menlo Park, in the State of California, but that’s yet to happen!!! A tour of Hong Kong during the return journey was memorable too. (Oh, yeah, the year started with a visit to Ahmedabad where yours truly presented a paper at a conference hosted by MICA.)

Well, I had voluntarily quit my job and decided to enjoy a break for over three months last year. It was a significant move indeed. But such breaks are worth it! Upon my return, I took up a new job with a Foundation (housing the biggest skill development centre in the country), although the option of joining my old organisation was open. The job has social impact, and it’s been a gratifying experience. I work out of two cities now.

Talking about resolutions, I plan to catch up on my literary pursuits. Kindle has made it to the bookshelf.


Hope the New Year is one that assures good health, happiness, peace and prosperity for all of us!

Let’s celebrate life!



PS: Pongal/Sankranti greetings as well.

US Chronicles – I

From spending time with my family here to the many great travels undertaken, it has been a memorable visit to the United States of America. It was a voluntary break I took from work, to relax and rejuvenate. Mark Twain had said: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Yours truly explored, dreamed and discovered. Each travel experience was unique and left me marvelling and reflecting on certain aspects.

The 17-mile Drive was enchanting – it took us through some promising sites. It was a drive through the pebble beach and pacific grove on the Monterey peninsula in northern California.


Pebble beach

San Francisco was a beauty. The streets looked busy and pretty. We drove through the crooked, Lombard street. Any traveller would be smitten by the Golden gate bridge. Pier 39 was buzzing with activities.


Golden Gate Bridge, San Franciso

The trip to Los Angeles and around was wonderful. We stayed at a bungalow on Hollywood hills. The visit to Disneyland was like walking bang on a fairy, fantasy land!


Universal studios was stupendous. The studio tour especially left us spell-bound.          The visits to the Dolby studio, Chinese theatre,  Madame Tussauds, etc in Los Angeles were worthwhile. We got an opportunity to see the bungalows of some popular Hollywood celebrities while on a trip to the Beverley hills.


Universal studios

We went around Santa Monica (a beachfront city in Los Angeles county) on a guided tour. The Aquarium of the Pacific around Long Beach (a coastal city near Los Angeles), followed by the harbour cruise over there were wonderful. My little nephew was thrilled to see the octopus dancing in its own charismatic way in the aquarium.

Redwood forest was yet another nature-friendly place. Thomas train festival was being organized that weekend and it was a total fun zone for kids. Apart from the train ride, it was a walk through the forests I enjoyed most.


Redwood forest

We spent quite some time exploring the magnificent Stanford University. We also went on a guided tour of the University.


Stanford University

The Japanese gardens in Hayward was a beauty. It looked so pristine. It was refreshing to have gone there on a Saturday morning.


Japanese garden

It was very touching to see the patriotic fervour here in Fremont, California while Indian Independence day was being celebrated! Actor Manoj Bajpayee was one of the guests.


One of the tableaus during Indian Independence celebrations in Fremont, California

The Jelly Belly factory was another sweet visit. We went on a tour of the sweet factory and gathered firsthand information on how different flavoured jelly beans are processed and packaged. It was interesting to note that the 40th president of the United States, Mr Ronald Reagan used to savour these jelly beans!


Sacramento, the capital of California, is less touristy but it is a very serene and beautiful place! The American River Parkway there was a beauty and my nephew loved it a lot, a nature lover that he is.


California State Capitol

Yosemite national park was scenic no doubt. It was like experiencing nature at its best.


Yosemite National Park

Grand Canyon was truly a geographic wonder!


Grand Canyon

Las Vegas was a colourful city, with a lot of theme based hotels. It was nice to see the décor and aesthetics of these hotels.


Excalibur hotel, Las Vegas

Berkeley University  had its own charm. Upon our return, we came across a Udupi palace (veggie) restaurant. Enjoyed some vadas and lassi.


Berkeley University

A visit to the corporate head offices of Facebook and Google was fun. Loved the Google campus in Mountain View.

Well, the east coast of the US was beautiful! The weather cooperated too. I shall write more about the visit in my next post.

All along, I was reminded of my Europe travel days, where my husband and I used to enthusiastically explore places of interest. The other memorable aspect of this trip was that I caught up with some of my friends – a couple of whom I met after close to two decades! It was wonderful catching up with a couple of relatives and family friends. It also felt very nice being invited over for tea by the CEO of the first company I had worked for.

The Janmashtami, Ganesha and Navaraatri celebrations and a pooja arranged at home added more colour to the US stint. It was indeed a memorable stay at my sister’s place, who with her family, lives in the Bay Area, California. I love her home, which I fondly refer to as Radiance.

My travel taste buds are satiated fully for the season. It’s packing time now. Ahh, I am experiencing parting pangs!

Bye for now,


US time

Hello! It’s been quite some time since I wrote here. Having been smitten by the travel bug, I feel dragged to this platform, from the pacific coast of the United States of America.

I arrived here over one-and-half months ago (Phew! Time flies!) to spend time with my sister and her family. Her two-and-half year old son (my nephew) is in one of his most adorable phases – he strings words together to form sentences from the sweet vocabulary he has developed. The last time I saw him in India was during October-November 2016 when his nonverbal ways tried to overpower his verbal prowess.

Travel within this vast country has been a part of this visit of course, with my sister having planned a neat itinerary and my brother-in-law driving us around enthusiastically. I will try to pen my thoughts on each of the travel experiences when time permits. There is something new in each of the outings to appreciate about and take pleasure in. The Lonely Planet guide has befriended me yet again – bought it soon after I arrived here! It acts as an additional source of information.

I arrived here summer time. The weather is thus great – on an average, the temperature is around 23 degree centrigrade during the day and anywhere around 12 degree centigrade during the night.

Having taken a break from work, its vacation in its truest sense. The overall system in the US is different from Europe. Most importantly, it’s a huge country unlike cute little ones in Europe! It’s a subcontinent, bigger than India. I have been living in the state of California, but I did travel to the states of Nevada and Arizona so far. The landscape of these states looks pretty different from one another.

My mother’s presence is adding more beauty to the US visit. Here’s an article by her, which is about her impressions on the flora around:

Btw, it feels like mini India here in the Bay area. The Independence day celebrations at Fremont, California reinforced the fact that the inhabitants are so Indian in their hearts. Felt touched to see tableaus from certain states of India! Krishna Janmashtami and Ganesh Chathurthi were no less in their grandeur!

As I reflect upon my travel so far, I realize there is so much to write about. I need to stop here, as I am all set to visit the public library in Union City, California. The library is located by a pond – an exotic locale indeed!

I will also post pictures soon.

See you for now!


One month into 2016!


Hope this year is off to a flying start for you. (Belated happy 2016 – eleven months are still ahead of us!:)) It’s been a while since I communicated through this platform. It was quite a colourful 2015 I must say, with all its hues. How was yours? 🙂

Felt gratified that I was awarded my PhD degree at the 65th annual convocation of Karnatak University, Dharwad, by Mr N R Narayana Murthy of Infosys. I was later felicitated by our Dakshina Kannada organisation in my hometown for the PhD. After the felicitation, I was given an opportunity to address a huge gathering of all ages – many of whom I had seen and spoken to at social gatherings. It was an overwhelming experience, to say the least. (These were the five key points of my speech, delivered in Tulu: a) be goal oriented b) give due importance to extracurricular activities, alongside studies c) pursue your dream career (without getting influenced by others) d) “In the race to be better or best, do not forget to enjoy the journey” e) do not forget your roots (society and culture) however high you may rise in your life.)

I was told that the speech received a very positive feedback. My husband and parents who were witness to the event were proud of me. I owe them my gratitude as they stood like pillars of support during that phase of my research work.

P and I enjoyed a trip to Coorg mid-year with friends. I went into a hiatus during the latter part of the year due to a health reason. But that hasn’t deterred my spirits thanks to my overall positive attitude. I love my family all the more whilst I am slowly getting back to my routine. Btw, my good-old interest in sketching is rekindled. I will share some sketches with you over a period of time. Let me first start with the New Year greetings. 🙂


Celebrate life!



The show must go on

Theatre is an art form that showcases freedom of speech and expression. It is made to suit the entertainment needs of the young and old alike through its content, narration and style. Themes for a theatre performance in India are usually borrowed from the epics such as Ramayana and Mahabaratha.

Yakshagana (Courtesy: Google Images)

Yakshagana (Courtesy: Google Images)

What is the status of theatre in urban India today? The scene is not so encouraging. As of now, theatre is seen as an alternative form of entertainment enjoyed largely by theatre aficionados. And, mostly contemporary theatre it is. Although traditional theatre forms such as yakshagana, dollu kunitha, bailata and so on originated here, they are on the brink of extinction while they are gaining popularity in the West. Movies, cable television, computer games and gizmos are seen to satisfy the penchant for entertainment.

The need of the hour is to keep theatre and its forms alive in India. One of the best ways to introduce theatre to the younger generation is by including it in the school curriculum – be in the private schools or the government schools. Exclusive time needs to be devoted to nurture theatre talents among individuals. Students who are not keen on pursuing academics may wish to pursue acting as a career and take up some training. Young minds when nourished with appropriate training and exposed to such theatre forms will help in upholding theatre – a dominant facet of Indian culture. Amateur theatre clubs should be given the required support. The government on its part should continue to acknowledge theatre artists by way of instituting various awards and offering promotional platforms. Any financial assistance will be greatly appreciated as well.

Theatre, after all, brings out myriad facets of human personality to the fore and it draws attention to certain subtle aspects of life. Qualities such as humour, wit, revolt, anger, sorrow, fear, surprise and so on are depicted in an artistic manner. Relationships are given new dimensions and life is looked upon through different lenses. Those colourful clothes and props, dialogues and stories – all are woven together to give a performance that magical aura and effect.  In fact, theatre brings out the best in individuals. It acts a stressbuster to both the actors and the audiences. Thus, the show must go on.

PS: Yours truly had written this piece for a recent edition of a college journal – The Write Angle. Your comments/views are welcome.

A whirlwind trip to the space

I was sitting comfortably on the settee, all geared up to watch an Aurora through the  window sill. Chuou chuou chucho…bit by bit…I heard a quivering noise. The decibels of it only increased with every passing hour. Was it an alien, I thought to myself, for I was reading about space science just then. It was a story about a black hole that captured my imagination. I was so much caught up with the story that I began to think about gravity and Milky Way like never before. Just then a hovercraft racer zipped past and that caused a crater in my thinking patterns.

Time lapse seemed to envelope as some cosmic scenes continued to show outside the window sill unabated. Adding to it, flying cars and flying bikes crossed over one another. I was caught between scenes at my eye level and above my eye level.  A robot suddenly surfaced from nowhere. It spoke about exploring the possibilities of nanotechnology and teleportation to crack hurdles in the space. Using its sixth sense, the robot arranged for a time machine. A domino effect was seen with the usage of both the time machine and teleportation, and with people using their scientific temper to experiment with issues grappling life in Mars.

Courtesy: Google Images

Courtesy: Google Images

I was dazed with the scenes around me, and for a moment I felt like the superhero Iron Man who had to escape from the fear of captivity and save his life. I called for help from the guardians of the galaxy. They arrived in no time and took me away through a wormhole to the space town. Our spacecraft sure looked like a UFO. A feeling of euphoria set in me.

PS: How do you find the sci-fi story? Yours truly happened to weave it for fun. 🙂

Welcome MMXV!

Here’s wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year 2015. May this year be a lovely year for all of us!

Any New Year resolutions? Any wish-lists? Well, yours truly made one last year only to find it safe in the system. Lo, when the list surfaced before the eyes just now, felt happy to see some accomplished. 🙂

We had an amazing 2014 with travel to some exotic locations in Europe. Some countries on my bucket-list such as Switzerland and Spain were covered, much to my delight. Portugal was refreshingly amazing. France was charming as ever. Italy was enigmatic. Felt like donning the mantle of a tourist guide when we got to visit some countries in Europe the third or fourth time. It was a wonderful stint in Belgium. Visited all the major places of interest such as Brussels, Louvain-la-neuve, Waterloo, Ghent, Ypres, Antwerp, Brugges, Liege, etc.

Significantly, in 2014, I managed to submit my PhD thesis. I got an opportunity yet again to lecture in a communications school at Ghent, Belgium. Btw, I have got back to a full-time academic career. Hmm…in the midst of our respective careers, both P and I continue to engage in short travels in India as well. We had been to Dandeli (an exotic locale in North Karnataka) recently where we were close to nature’s bounty thanks to the Jungle Lodges experience.

Time is a precious commodity in extraordinarily busy cities such as Bangalore. It gets reinforced every now and then thanks to the maddening crowd and traffic. It has changed for the worse since the last time I worked here a few years ago. Hope to find some calmness and peace in this otherwise culturally vibrant city.

Catch you soon!

PS: Our niece Saanvi and nephew Kanishk brought us endless joy as they arrived in July and November 2014 respectively. 🙂

True essence of education

The hallmark of education is to unleash one’s true potential. Education, in this context, simply does not refer to a parochial type of formal training. It is the essence of being aware of oneself in the gamut of a metaphysical environment. Surroundings, upbringing, reading and social contacts add to the understanding of oneself. In all, these factors aid in defining one’s self-concept. 

Self-concept is the realization of one’s worth. When it is achieved, one begins to focus on one’s strengths and work on areas of improvement. This in turn leads to a refined personality where confidence and humility act in equal measure. Thereafter, one’s self-esteem, which is nothing but one’s estimation of oneself in comparison to others, shall be on a higher plane. 

Given this context, it is only apt that a child is made to understand both its strengths and its weaknesses. Of course, the strengths need to be highlighted more. A mentor or a teacher’s role is of paramount importance as the child grows, so that the child is moulded into a deserving rather than a desired shape, as
dictated by society. It is important that a child is made to think for itself, without being forced into acting in a particular fashion.

Fine-tuning and conditioning of the mind at a young age is of utmost importance. This is all the more true in an age where distractions abound, thanks to technology, which acts as a pawn in fulfilling a child’s desires. Materialistic pleasures seem to rule the roost for a child, who easily falls prey to them.

Understanding child psychology and its nuances/dimensions is very relevant. Innovativeness in teaching and learning is the need of the hour. Thus, this calls for sensitizing teachers to awaken young minds in a manner that brings out the best in them. Education, in a formal setup, has to be imparted using appropriate pedagogy. The pedagogy has to bring out the innate self of the child, which should manifest itself in showing appreciation for life and its simple pleasures.

The ultimate aim of education, in the words of Swami Vivekananda, “is the process by which character is formed, strength of the mind is increased, and intellect is sharpened, as a result of which one can stand on one’s own feet.”

PS: I had written this editorial piece for a recent edition of a college journal – The Write Angle. Your comments/views are welcome.

Travel and marvel

We love a lot to travel,
for there is something to unravel.

Each experience is like an opulence,
worth a lifetime of reverence.

Our trips are well-defined,
and they leave us refined.

Some jaunts take us to nature’s beauty;
while others, to man-made bounty.

Europe and its countries are scintillating.
Asia and its countries are mesmerizing.

Our lens aids in packaging memories,
which in itself act as boundless glories.

A good travel partner matters a great deal –
it is just like having a fulfilling meal.

Far and wide we will continue to travel,
as we tread on life’s canvas and marvel.

–  Rukma Vasudev


Norway – a country so close to my heart

Canine attraction

Bow! Bow! Bow! So I heard the sound.
Wow! Wow! Wow! So was I spellbound.

Hop, hop, hop – so I went to the scene of action.
Romp, romp, romp – so were they tended on with passion.

Lo, a bunch of five cuddly puppies lay in the garden!
They looked up as if to say we were their guardian.

The mother dog was a brownie,
She looked scary and scrawny.

We offered her bread and some solace,
And her puppies, some shoelace!

They began to run and play,
But they were too tiny for a relay.

Ah, they left us bowled over by their mime,
Only to attract from us a gleeful rhyme.

They were sure to guard our home,
while we were away in Rome!

–  Rukma Vasudev

Lovable puppies

Lovable puppies

Swiss Time

A big hello to you from Switzerland. Hope you are well.

The travel bug has bitten me this season too. After a trip to Portugal and Spain last week, we landed in yet another beautiful and rich country – Switzerland – two days ago. We have explored Basel and Zurich so far. It will be Luzern tomorrow. This was one of the countries in my bucketlist. P planned it around the time of my birthday. 🙂 Although a third visit for him to the landlocked country, he seems to be equally enjoying the visual treat offered by nature and the cultural facets unique to each city.

Well, the weather was just perfect until this evening. The temperatures rose to 30 degrees celsius at times. A feeling of irony set in as we experienced scorching heat in Switzerland! But as we travelled upwards to Luzern (Lucerne) this evening, closer to the Alps, there was a torrential rainfall! Phew! Mother Nature and her idiosyncrasies – I thought to myself. But that didn’t stop us from appreciating the hues of the city.

A visit to Interlaken and the surrounding, exotic areas is in the schedule next. After a tryst with nature there, we shall be going to Neuchatel, Bern and Geneva. Btw, many sites here have been taking us back in time…reminding us of our visits to Norway.

As usual, we have our LP guide with us. The brochures from the tourist info points too prove useful. All the moments are being captured using our DSLR camera. Hope to find some time to post some pictures as well.

Btw, if ever you are planning a trip to Europe, don’t hesitate to contact yours truly for some free tips/advice. 😉

PS: Apparently, author Mark Twain had visited Luzern years ago.

Vacation time

It was a very hectic April for yours truly as the labour of love (thesis related) came to a fulfilling end. May has opened up vistas for travel and fun here in Europe again.

I am presently enjoying some lovely weather at Florence in Italy…dashing off this post from the third floor of our hotel that is overlooking mountains with the blue skies almost brushing them. The view in front of me looks like a neat canvas! Well, P and I arrived in Florence on Saturday. We went to a beautiful place called Siena in the Tuscany region, on Sunday. It was Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera yesterday. The details of the visits shall be posted later. Btw, this is my third consecutive trip to Italy! We decided to choose scenic, nature friendly options this time over the usual touristy ones.

Wow, this country is rich in art, culture, (cuisine) and history. With nature’s artistic and magical touch added to it, Italy is no doubt a traveller’s paradise! It’s exploring time now. Hence keeping the post short. Ciao! 🙂

Time to ponder

I was reminded of this article against the backdrop of international women’s day observed on March 8th. Well, I had written this article for a college magazine in 2005. How is the situation now? Time to introspect!

Yet another international women’s day was celebrated on March 8th. Some called it as a the day for women to rejoice and celebrate their womanhood. Some resigning to their secondary status compared to their male counterparts only sighed a deep breath, as if to say it made no difference to them. While a few others used it as a forum to ponder, debate and discuss problems/issues confronting women.  What were your thoughts on this day?

Women have been able to carve out a niche for themselves in every sphere of life. They have been able to do justice to their roles as mothers, daughters, sisters and wives. However the principle of gender equality is yet to come to stay in India, or for that matter in many parts of the world. We find only a few crusaders or feminists who uphold women’s rights and equality that are actually well laid down in the constitution.

The National Commission for Women was set up by an Act of the Indian Parliament in 1990 to safeguard the rights and legal entitlements of women. The 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution made in 1993 had made provisions for reservation of seats in the local bodies. But the long-pending demand for 33 percent reservation for women in the Indian Parliament is yet to materialize. What are your views on this?

Stories of women being ill-treated by their husbands, especially in rural areas come to light every now and then. Female foeticide is on the rise. The ratio of male to female population is appalling. “Empowerment of women” has almost become a cliche. There are some pundits who say women have entered the erstwhile male-dominated domains and point out where is the need for empowerment. But isn’t this only a minuscule percentage of the female working population? Does it depict the microcosm of the real India?

We are still tied to social systems where “restriction” and “taboo” for girls rule the roost. People, especially ones the conservative bent of mind, rejoice at the birth of a male child and there is a pall of gloom when it is a female child – again mostly in the rural areas. If given the right opportunities with a congenial atmosphere and mental support to boot, she can simply do wonders in any field. Does it need a mention anymore? She is now up flying as a pilot and adept at maneuvering the engine of a train. She is able to balance career and domestic chores with ease. Shouldn’t she be treated on par with the male bastion? In other words, shouldn’t she get her just deserts?