A little too late….


Rahul had always been a go-getter, an achiever. Right from his school days, he always used to go above and beyond what was normally expected of him and this ensured that he not only came out among the best among his peers in all the activities that he participated in, it also ensured that he always got the necessary recognition for his efforts and was considered as ‘the best’. His parents also encouraged this particular attitude of his and provided all the monetary and other forms of support they could. Rahul was never found wanting for anything, big or small, in his endeavor to be ‘the best’ at whatever activity he used to perform.

This winning attitude of Rahul also meant that as he grew older, he started getting used to being ‘the best’ at everything he did and this took precedence over everything else for him in his life. From being the academic topper at school and college, he always strived to be the best in extracurricular activities, sports, etc. And as he grew older, he also started doing the ‘ancillary but necessary’ activities such as socializing with the right people to ensure that he got the necessary visibility and was always at the forefront of any ‘wild card issuance’ for any events that he was interested in. While he always remained ethical with his interactions and all of them were ‘above the table’, his constant endeavor to excel took a toll on his personal relationships.

While Rahul had ‘friends’, he treated most of them as ‘avenues’ or ‘opportunities’ for him to continue on his path of ‘excellence’. This behavior of his was so bad that almost all his friends started treating him as a mere acquaintance and not necessarily as a friend. Although they didn’t quite hate him for his ‘go getter’ attitude, the fact remained that all of them realized that he wasn’t necessarily their friend, and that he treated all of them as conduits to open the necessary doors for him.

Things had reached a situation where the only people who genuinely loved and cared for Rahul were his parents. For them, he was still the ‘apple of their eye’, their brilliant son who was a winner at all that he did. From academics, to sports, to extracurricular activities, Rahul made them proud each and every day of the week. And them being parents, they also did not complain about the fact that he rarely spent any time with them. They understood that being as successful as Rahul was meant that he had to necessarily socialize with the right people and build the right connections to put him on the fast track to professional growth. That being said both his father and mother used to ‘physically’ miss him a lot. Although he stayed with them, his socializing meant that he was rarely at home at any point in time including weekends. His father and mother used to communicate to him mostly through SMSes where they used to request him to pull out some time, and stay back at home doing nothing but just talking to them. Rahul used to reply to these messages with a standard non-committal “Let me get back to you on this”. He really didn’t have time for general chit-chat with his parents which in no way would help him advance his career. While he did care for them, he just didn’t have enough time to spend with them.

In his quest for professional excellence, Rahul not only used to spend almost all his waking hours in office, but also spent almost all of his weekends in attending parties, social gatherings, golf outings with his seniors from office. He clearly understood the pulse of each and every one of his Senior Leadership team at office and ensured that he pushed the right buttons by being in their radar each and every waking hour of theirs. He took time and efforts to understand their personal likes, dislikes, anniversaries, their hobbies, their out of office pursuits and interests and modified his schedule accordingly so that he could give them company, all with the sole purpose of ensuring that he remained at the top of their mind as far as ‘recall’ was concerned.

One fine day, he got a call from his mother. As he was in his boss’ cabin he declined the call and continued with his meeting. A couple of minutes later, he got an SMS which read, “Dad serious. Admitted to yyy hospital. Call me.”  When he read the SMS about fifteen minutes later when he got out of his boss’ cabin, he was shaken a little. He immediately called his mother who informed him that his dad had a cardiac arrest and was put in the ICU. Not once during the call did she ask him to come over to the hospital to see his dad or provide her with much needed moral support. Even at such a time, she trusted and believed in Rahul’s good judgment to prioritize this emergency over everything else and immediately rush to her side. She was therefore a little disappointed when he said “Ok, if he is already in the ICU, there is nothing more that I can do at this point. I have a couple of important meetings to get to right away. I will call you later in the evening and follow up on Dad’s status.” He didn’t even give time for his Mom to respond and disconnected the call.

Once again Rahul was procrastinating when it came to taking care of his parents’ emotional needs. While he knew what he was doing was wrong and felt somewhat guilty about it, the fact remained that his quest for excellence had blinded him to a large extent and was manipulating his good judgment to the extent that it took precedence over anything else in his life. However, he was not overcome with so much guilt that it affected him. In fact, his quest for excellence had fine tuned his mind to a level where he would ‘zone out’ of everything else and completely focus on the professional task at hand.

Late that evening when he was being driven back home by his driver, he suddenly remembered about his Dad. When he called his Mom, in a sober tone, she just told him “Beta, come over to yyy hospital please.” When he reached there and went over to the ICU, he couldn’t locate his Mom. When he called her, she asked him to come to the ground floor of the hospital and come over to the back entrance.

When he made his way there, he noticed that the back entrance was where the Mortuary was located. His Mom was signing the papers that were necessary for her to take custody of the corpse. She looked calm and collected throughout and her face even had a slight hint of a smile when she saw him come.

Rahul didn’t quite know how to react. Although he knew that he should not have procrastinated when it came to just spending some time with his parents, not in his wildest dreams had he realized that things would reach a state where his parents would not even be with him when he wanted to spend time with them.


Image courtesy: Google images search for ‘procrastination’


This post was inspired by the Daily Prompt : Procrastination


This post was selected by Blogadda as one of their Spicy Saturday Picks on 07-Sep-2013.


Tirupur Kumaran – A forgotten hero

This short story is based on true incidents which occurred in the past [Link to Wikipedia article]. But the same has been embellished with my own interpretation of events and subsequently I don’t claim for a 100% accuracy as far as retelling history is concerned. This short story is essentially a work of fiction and needs to be treated as such.


Since the time he was born in 1904 in Chennimalai, Kumaran had heard and seen only ‘bad’ Britishers. By around 1918, Mahatma Gandhi wrested the Indian independence struggle out of the hands of a elite few freedom fighters and handed the movement over to the Indian masses. Even a 14 yr old Kumaran then knew that the Mahatma was the one person who had it within him to take the fight to the Britishers albeit in a completely unheard of unconventional non-violent manner. Given the fact that Kumaran adored the Mahatma and what he stood for, he was extremely influenced by these methods by the time he was a teenager.

In 1920 Gandhi launched the first civil disobedience movement in support of the Khilafat as well as for Swaraj (self rule). Kumaran actively participated in the rallies, meetings and protests that were held in Tirupur. By this time, he was also in the process of forming the Desa Bandhu Youth Association in Tirupur with a few of his friends. This association would function with the single aim of actively participating in all protests, movements and rallies that Mahatma Gandhi would call for. Their aim would be to non-violently fight for Indian struggle from the British colonialists.

The next ten years were long and hard for Kumaran. All the years of organizing rallies, protests had taken its toll on his health and physical well being. That being said his brain was still active, energetic and constantly working away at trying to figure out what the most effective non-violent way of overthrowing the British Raj in India.

His ‘self anointed guru’, Mahatma Gandhi had in the last 10 yrs made decent progress in terms of negotiating with the British by sheer will of the public support he enjoyed in India. However, when the second Round Table conference with the British ended in failure in December 1931, Gandhiji came back to India and launched the second civil disobedience movement.

By now, the Indian National Congress had also adopted the tricolor as the flag of independent India and encouraged the rest of the country to recognize it in the same manner as well. During the protest rally being held in Tirupur as part of the civil disobedience movement, Kumaran was at the forefront of the crowd, proudly holding the flag in his hands.

The British Govt had officially proclaimed this flag as illegal and therefore the police in Tirupur asked Kumaran to hand over the flag and peacefully disperse. When Kumaran refused to do so, the policemen, seated on their horses assaulted the crowd.

Despite the numerous painful blows that Kumaran took to his head and various other parts of the body, he refused to let go of the Indian flag. While a majority of the crowd retreated unable to bear the severe beatings that they were getting at the hands of the British, Kumaran steadfastly stood his ground. Although he was brought down to his knees and then was made to lie down on the ground due to the force and frequency of the lathi blows, he refused to let go of the Indian flag.

He dared to “stand out from the crowd” in terms of the fact that he refused to be intimidated by physical violence and refused to cow down to the British violence.

He held on to the Indian flag until the last breath was drawn out from his lungs and he succumbed to his injuries.


Even today in Tirupur, Tamilnadu, his memorial is situated in a road named after him, Kumaran Salai. The Govt has also erected his statue in a park near Tirupur Railway Station. The Govt of India has also released a postage stamp in commemoration of his sacrifice to the nation. Such stories of the ordinary Indians who fought and sacrificed a lot for our freedom need to be told and retold so that future generations appreciate the benefits of such freedom.



Image courtesy: Google images search for ‘Tirupur Kumaran’


This post was inspired by today’s Daily Prompt – Standout.


This post has also been guest posted at 1 Hundred works.

Childhood dreams…



As a youngster growing up in 1980s India, I was absolutely enamored by the exploits of Wing Cmdr Rakesh Sharma [Link to Wikipedia article], the first Indian in space. After all, when you are all of 4 yrs old, have a maternal uncle who works for HAL (which had access to the best color pictures of the Russian space program) and an equally space crazy 11 yrs old cousin, you have no choice but to jump into the ‘space loving bandwagon’.

Those heady few years between when I was around 5 yrs old and probably around 11 yrs old, I desperately wanted to be a fighter pilot which would lead to me becoming a cosmonaut (mind you, not an astronaut, as India in those days was a closer friend of the USSR and not USA 🙂  ) I mean, come on, who would not want to wear those fancy space suits, walk in space, fly those wonderful space shuttles and fighter planes at ‘faster than sound’ speeds. What young boy doesn’t dream of that?

What changed when I was 11 yrs old, the damn fact that I was diagnosed as myopic and had to wear glasses. Those glasses (pun intended) shattered my dreams of flying any kind of aircraft.

Today when I looked back at these memories, courtesy The Daily Prompt and critically examined as to whether I had been able to achieve any of these dreams, I would say a resounding Yes.

Why, because today when I write, I fly, my words are my flights of fancy, my posts take me to places in my mind which I probably would have never been able to physically fly to.

So what I dreamt of doing then and what I do today are somewhat connected, aren’t they?

Image courtesy: Google image search for ‘astronauts’