Tag Archives: Kanchana

Independence and A Rose from a dream

A Rose from a dream spans the decade 1942-52, a very special time in India, pre and post independence. I wrote about this particular era because for the present generation growing up in India and the US, freedom is sometimes taken for granted . They cannot even begin to understand the mindset of those who struggled and died so we could be free.

The book gives you a perspective from many angles:

Famous revolutionaries like Vanchinathan and Bharathiyar whose stories are legendary, known and recognized for their patriotic fervor  and the lesser known Swaminathan and Salih, ordinary folk who worked under the British yet longed for freedom.

The freedom movement was quite different in Bengal as compared to the south. In fact, young Kamu had no idea what was happening or that she was privy to a very special moment in time.  What  is refreshing is that for the first time you read about Indian History  from the perspective of the women of that time.

A Rose from a dream carries a piece of my heart: my love of country. Buy the book and walk through history.

Rose on Amazon


Here is a small excerpt

The atmosphere in the city was particularly festive. Thousands of people were in the streets, already holding paper tricolor flags and wishing one another Happy Independence Day, although that momentous event wouldn’t take place until midnight. Every government building in the city was lit up, the illumination particularly impressive against the darkening skies. There was a prediction of thundershowers and a collective hope that this wouldn’t dampen the festivity. In preparation for the grand moment, the entire street had been covered in a shamiana decorated with festoons of orange white and green. Tonight no one would sleep. It would be a night of celebration.

Rajam and Kunju had tears in their eyes as they watched the friends greet each other. They knew this day meant something really special to these folk. This was a group of people who had  fought for the freedom of the land with a passion. Perhaps never again would this spirit of patriotism rise in the nation against one common enemy. No one could ever understand the depth of feeling and the deep love for the land shared by this band of revolutionaries. Never again in their lifetimes would the longing for Swaraj (self-rule) inspire poetry that tugged at one’s heart strings making tears stream down one’s cheeks. These were very special people, this a very special time, and they were indeed privileged to live through it.

Cries of Jai Hind and Vande Mataram rang all around them, and then they stood, one nation, one voice. For the first time as free Bharat, they heard and sang Janaganamana, the melodic and evocative song written by Rabindranath Tagore, and adopted as the nation’s National Anthem. It was indeed a very special day, one of hope and of dreams as they stood together singing the national anthem. Every citizen, rich or poor, would have tears in their eyes, a combination of painful remembrance and visionary imaginings.

They were all in the streets greeting each other, laughing and cheering. The temple doors were open and people were pouring in to give thanks to the gracious God that had granted them the honor of this momentous day. Sweets were distributed and firecrackers lit the sky. The family was going to see the city lights, but for others, fatigue crept in and slowly the streets emptied and everyone found their way indoors, exhilarated yet exhausted from the emotional festivity.

As Swami lay down he couldn’t sleep for a long time. He led a sedentary life, and this was too much excitement for him. He thought about all the great martyrs who had died for this cause from Bhagat Singh in the north to Vanchinathan in the south, and he reminisced about his attempt to aid the struggle despite wearing a British uniform. For many, their minds had been kidnapped and brainwashed, leaving them with diminished self-esteem and questionable loyalty. Added to that was so much pain. The searing pain of communal riots and hatred, the partition of the land and the creation of Pakistan.. The nation had suffered, and it would take tremendous effort to begin the healing process. The scars of colonial slavery would take a long time to mend. But people had faith that the leaders were good and were ready to follow the guidance of stalwarts and erudite intellectuals like Nehru, Gandhi and Patel who would lead them from darkness to light. India would awaken to freedom and enterprise, to belief and tolerance, to hope and dignity.

The Art of decision Making


Decision-1All day, every day, we make decisions which vary in intensity and importance. Some are really small and inconsequential involving routine matters like what to wear and what to eat, and these are really first world decisions. We seamlessly make these based on our past conditioning, guided very powerfully by the strength of our desires. So we do what gives us pleasure and stay away from that which causes pain. Which is why it becomes extremely difficult to decide on something which doesn’t give us any pleasure and may even cause us some pain. Those are the tough resolutions we loathe but have to take while mired in stress. Breaking a ten-year long relationship, giving up a job with no alternative source of income, eliminating sweets from your diet because you have diabetes and the list goes on. Decisions are nothing other than life choices. Taking tough decisions is character building. It’s easy to decide when the repercussions are less earth shattering but we certainly need to pause and deliberate while making the tough choices and that inevitably leads to stress, especially in those that have a difficult time making hard decisions.Desicion-2

Categories of decision makers

  1. The Type A “My decision”

This type of person likes to be in charge and is the ‘decider’ in the group. We all have one of those in the family or in the office. They are the ones who have very good reasons for deciding everything from the next family vacation, to the airline they pick for business travel. They always take charge and know how to get things done. This person will never eat Chinese when the mood is for Indian cuisine especially if the suggestion comes from someone else. They need to have complete ownership of every decision. Highly strung and emotional, these individuals function at a very high level of anxiety and pass on their sense of urgency to others while continually reminding them who the decider was.

  1. The non-rufflers

This person loves someone else to take decisions and just follows suit without exerting any aspect of his personality. It doesn’t matter to him either way. He could eat Indian or Chinese or Azerbaijani food and it’s the same. It makes life easy when someone else is making the right decision leaving him with plenty of time to spare for other relaxing activities. Most often non-rufflers are easy going and relaxed, apparently unfazed by life situations. They live within their comfort zone and don’t take on any additional responsibility.

  1. The Flip floppers.

People in this category really suffer because they cannot take any decision and stick to it. They are convinced that their first choice was good but at the first hint of opposition fall deeply into the canyon of self-doubt and immediate back out of the decision, taking an opposing view. But that doesn’t last long either. Yo-Yoing constantly between doubt, regret and the other choice, they drive themselves and others around them crazy. They live in their heads all the time doubting their circumstances, their situation, people and events, and for sure suffer from continual elevated stress and lack of self-esteem.

Not Black and white categories

Each one of us moves fluidly between these categories depending on where our priorities lie. A person might decide very easily about financial decisions in the office but make everyone crazy as he sluggishly picks from a menu. Similarly, one might flip flop between career choices but may make very good, unwavering, healthy, food choices. A decision is not this gigantic, phantasmal, nebulous shroud hanging heavily over you; it is nothing but a choice.

 Types of decisions

Informed decisionsinfo

Decisions can be informed only when there is ample reaction time and one doesn’t have to act immediately. When you have to make important, life altering choices it is important to have some sort of mental map or plan. There is no substitute for due diligence which is the magic ingredient in creating the #marketingguru #greatdesicionmaker, great buzz words a.k.a. must-haves on one’s resume.

Gather information

Before making a choice gather as much information as possible. Begin by making a list of your requirements and priorities. This will help you organize your thoughts, your needs vs optional luxuries.

Have a Plan B

Inform yourself about the other options as well. A good decision is weighed against other routes where based on your needs you pick the best alternative. Such decisions are most often not entirely cerebral and often enter into the realm of intuitive decisions. Always have something to fall back on in case your first choice doesn’t pan out.

Time factor

Take a decision as quickly as possible. There is a direct relationship between time and stress. Quite understandably. The longer you take, the more time you have to chew the cud and the longer you stay in your head, the greater the stress. Give yourself a cut-off date which might increase the pressure in the short run but will be a relief looking back, once the choice is made.


Once you take the decision, commit to it. Take ownership of that decision. It was yours to make and was taken after measured thought and now you have to possess your situation completely. Second guessing your decision will lead to poor execution unhappiness and frustration.

Intuitive decisions.Desicion-3

All life situations can never be purely clinical and intellectual. There are many circumstances where we have to sink into our source and function from the heart rather than the brain. Decisions that are tough and life-changing usually have the best results if they sprout from the source. Intuitive choices do not have logic and rationale backing yet tend to have the best results as they stem from your source which most often is your best resource. Intuitive choices feel natural and right and align with universal energies. It is that feeling when you step into a house and know it was built for you although it may not satisfy your specific criteria. However, no decision is stress free.

Stress in decision-making

Stress arises while making decisions because we fear the unknown. What if it doesn’t go the way I want it to? What if I fail? What if this is the wrong thing to do? What if I lose all my money? And Family? What if they disapprove? Trying to please the whole world leaves you in state of utter confusion and shrouds you in stress, making you doubt every decision you make.

Fear paralyzes you.

Know that fear is nothing other than situations in your head about the future that may or may not happen. We don’t know the outcome for sure. Bring yourself back into the moment and do a fear check. Are they immediate or imagined? Awareness of fear reduces its intense hold over you and allows more balanced decision making.

Commit 100% to the choice and go with the flow of life.

Know that if this journey does not work for you there is always another choice. Life is filled with endless possibilities. And the Divine has filled you with deep reserves of abilities that only come up to the surface under pressure. At every turn there are hundreds of choices you could make. Pick one and go with it. Know that you are never in a situation you cannot deal with. There is never a problem without a solution.

Accept your situation

Sometimes the Universe decides which path you need to take and in the short run there is no alternative. In such situations acceptance is key.

Drop your doership.

Realize that life is just a series of events and experiences, all of which inform, educate and enlighten you. Live in the moment with faith that you can and will live up to the high standards of excellence the Divine expects from you. That makes any decision, intuitive or informed, so much easier. Lighten up a bit, it’s not so difficult to decide. “And if things get too much for you, just take a pillow and go to sleep.”

The legend of the Brahmakamalam

In the summer of 2009, my mother fell seriously ill and I was with her in Bangalore. At the time I was halfway through writing WTLB and called the manuscript Rajam. It was an extremely difficult time. I was writing the book for my mother yet I wasn’t sure she would live to read it. Then one night in May, nine Brahmakamalam flowers bloomed in her garden and I knew she would be fine and live to enjoy my dedication to her. My book and my life is for my amazing mother. I had the title for my book and in three months the manuscript was written.

Last year a friend sent me two leaves from this plant which I planted and for the last year have been watering faithfully  like Rajam in my book. I don’t know what the future holds but I believe the blooming of the lotus will change my destiny and manifest my dreams.

Here is an excerpt from the book which explains the legend I have created from the Blooming of the Brahmakamalam

A tiny bud
A tiny bud
To a flower
To a flower

Brahmakamalam, the exotic Himalayan beauty, is called by many names — the Fragrant Queen of the Night, Golden Heart, and Star of Bethlehem. A plant, which, by a whim of nature grows only in the Himalayas, the abode of the god Shiva, around Mount Kailash and in the verdant valleys of Mansarovar. Ancient Hindu Texts refer to this flower as being special to Shiva, although the word Brahmakamalam translates to Lotus of Brahma. Perhaps this was the golden lotus on which Brahma was seated as he emerged from the navel of Vishnu to create the universe. So incomparable is this flower that it symbolizes every aspect of creation, expressing itself in the world we live in as a tribute to the creator. It creates from within itself in a design so complete that it overloads the beholder with emotion, sensation, and passion — a lotus that includes aspects of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva within its physical form. A unique plant, the likes of which is not found in any other part of the world, a flower which some say, belongs to the sunflower family, while others swear is an epiphyte, a cactus, or a lotus.

The first impression is deceptive, as its long drooping leaves look like any common foliage. But its magic lies in leaves and flowers growing out of the leaves themselves and not from a stem. It has been seen in full bloom in spring and winter, and those who have the honor of seeing the Brahmakamalam flower, never forget the experience. At first a limp pinkish bud appears, and for a while nothing happens, then all of a sudden, mirroring the miracle of life, it unravels in white splendor. The outer petals are thin and pointed, revealing within its folds a round petalled mound that uncannily resembles a Shiva Lingam. Over this mound are white stamens tipped with yellow, resembling the hood of a cobra suggesting Adishesha, the hooded serpent associated with Vishnu.

Once a year it spreads elation and joy as it opens its face in the delicate moonlight for humans to admire. It blossoms only once a year, only for three or four hours, after which the petals wilt and fall to the ground. While the plant is in full bloom, its consummate fragrance is unparalleled, defying description, leaving the privileged gasping at its magnificence.