Monday, June 22, 2009


Life is at times getting inspired by others and also to inspire others.
Well there is no dearth of some interesting people in my life but the only thing that matters is what I have to learn from them. Well this is the story so far of the two guys who are my friends and were my classmates in my PG days at Pune University.
Both of them hail from rural areas with financially poor background but with very strong determination.
Hard work and perseverance are their strengths and their never say die attitude has made them what they are today of which everybody is proud of them .Today they have made their parents the most proud lot.
One of the guys who used to clean buses for his pocket money in his childhood days
is today doing his PhD in India’s most premier research institute. The other guy too has been very successful so far pursuing his research in India.
Both of them did their schooling in Telugu medium so English was kind of rocket science for them, but the determination with which they picked up the language in the university was mind blowing. They used to torment the lecturers with their tricky questions and always did their best to outsmart their competitors. Others were really envious of their success and always tried to suppress them in all possible ways but these guys never gave up. They faced all kinds of hardships and challenges because they had only their ultimate goal in their mind.
That’s what is called being focused. Life is just not bed of roses .Our true character is tested only in adversity.
One of them, though earning only 15k per month is contributing 2k to the Pune University scholarship fund. Don’t you think that’s awesome?
I would like to ask one question. How many of us who are well settled and earning may be three times what this guy is earning are really doing such kind of a thing?.........So can we do something positive taking inspiration from such people. We may say that it’s because this guy went through all the life’s hardships he knows what struggle is and this is his way of helping students like him. But then should we not thank god that some of us are really better off and extend a helping hand to those who are in need as a gesture of social responsibility.
The help need not be just monetary. It could be like spending some time with the less fortunate who need some attention and affection instead of just hanging out in the shopping malls and boozing out. Apart from this a lot of other activities based on community service can be done like taking up the responsibility of the security, hygiene, education, economic and social upliftment of the people who live in our community including the underprivileged.

I don’t say that we need to stop enjoying the way we do, that too after a hectic week. But we need to squeeze out some time for socially constructive work as responsible citizens at one point of time when we think that we are settled. Just imagine the kind of happiness one can bring into the lives of others. I bet the kind of satisfaction one gets in giving is no match to that in receiving.
But life is really weird. People who really have such philanthropic tendencies are devoid of resources and people who have surplus just go on amassing more, never satisfied with their incomes. The point is what one has contributed to the society being a part of it.
Success is the measure of contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings.
It is not too late to realise the importance of being Homosapiens.
D/o Digumarthy Sunder
Endless Dreams with Ending Consequences.

Human desires are unlimited and it is because of this sometimes we end up taking wrong decisions in certain vulnerable situations.
Who is to be blamed? Nobody but we ourselves are to be blamed. But then there are people who just do not care of what others may say or think but just do what they feel is the right thing to do at the right time. Initially they may have to face lot of opposition and even sometimes people make fun of them, but in the long run they emerge as winners in the race of life. Let me tell you, of all the experiences that I have had in my life so far, I have realised that fear is our worst enemy no matter to what extent the fear may be relevant to the situation.
We reap what we sow. This is very much the philosophy of life. But then it depends upon the environment in which we reap .And I believe it’s just a matter of luck for the environment to be conducive. And whatever little luck one is blessed with, one should make the maximum use of it. The only difficult thing is to recognise the timing of the luck. It does not knock at our door. One needs to be really cautious and pretty smart for this battle of life.
If opportunity knocks at our doors we are really lucky. If we fail to recognise even if it is gifted twice to us then we are super fools.
In today’s fast moving life there is no room for people who are innocent, docile, submissive and sentimental.
Even if we are an emotional lot we should know when to hold back our emotions because people take advantage of certain emotions to the extent which we may never imagine.
Now this is really a crazy world. Gone are the days when people tend to think really good about others. Everybody has become selfish in the rat race to achieve more and more of everything.
I just wonder where the simplest pleasures of life have gone like viewing the morning sunrise, birds chirping, evening sunset, smiling and giggling children, lovely flowers breezing out in the cool air etc. Even the urge to experience such pleasures is gone without any trace. Rather people would argue, what one gets out of this aesthetic outlook.
The answer lies when we think about it and not argue senselessly and endlessly.
Have we become so restless in our lives, I guess so. That’s the requirement of today’s fast paced life. But we should know when and where to stall and contemplate.
The pace with which we are heading towards materialisation and mechanisation of life, I am sure certain beautiful simplicities will be permanently lost. There is no point in regretting later for all that we have done to ourselves.
Still I guess one can be resilient if we start believing in one thing.
That there are no regrets in life, it is just a choice one makes. There are no setbacks in life, only lessons to be learnt.
D/o Digumarthy Sunder

I am very much delighted to see that one of our young adult has started posting in the “Ushakalam” blog. From the beginning, this is what we wanted to see; the young adults in our family to participate and express and share their views and in the process get to know the cousins around the world.

I want to congratulate Sameera for her insight on life and her perception and observation of people. She must be a very understanding, caring and mature adult. At this time I extend my congratulations to her parents and other individuals who influenced her in her upbringing. She is very articulate in conveying her message.

I can’t help but notice how different and mature this generation is! They have a very healthy attitude towards life. The main points she is conveying to us are:
1. Have strong and healthy goals and don’t dream of future.
2. Be brave and remember fear is your worst enemy.
3. Do take time in your busy schedule, to contemplate and rethink of the day’s events
4. Give, contribute to the society in any way you can and think of the less fortunate.

At this time, I would like to make a suggestion. Either the author of the article, or Devi, who is kindly posting the articles in the blog, should write a brief introduction about the author, like who he/she is, what he/she studied, what she/he is currently doing and if they are interested, can give their email address etc.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Dear all:
I’ve been keenly following Ushahkalam blog ever since its conception. I am rather disappointed that not many have been contributing. However, that is not the point now. I was rather reading with interest, stories / articles / experiences recently written by Sailaja and Rani. I too would like to share my experiences with a baby owl, with all of you. This may be sort of a repetition, but this may inspire at least some of you, to observe nature, and contribute your little bit for its conservation. Man being the only intelligent animal, he must also contribute to help the lesser beings, put up efforts to save the species, thus save our globe it self.
Now my story:
We live opposite Timpany school and facing our balcony is a sheer wall with couple of windows and niches. We observed that every year a white owl couple was coming and living there throughout. I used to take a binoculars and observe them in the early hours. Once noticed that they have nested and we saw couple hatchlings. They would come to the edge of the niche in the early hours and observe the world with their huge saucer like eyes. Then unfortunately one hatchling and one big bird fell through the electric wires and died. Within couple of days the other hatchling came to the edge of the alcove and fell on to the sunshade. He still didn’t have the feathers to fly and mother was helpless. Meanwhile hoards of crows, natural enemies to the owls came and started bothering, pecking at the poor little bird. We watched helplessly for a while and I was determined to save it by hook or crook. I met the school authorities but they said they couldn’t do any thing. I phoned the zoo, animal rescue center, SPCA – all without any effect. Finally some one told me that there is an organization called Visakhapatnam Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (VSPCA) and also kindly gave me the number. I called them and there they were within an hour. Meanwhile the poor baby owl was pecked, injured by crows and was crouching behind some pipes. VSPCA people climbed on to the ledge, with the help of their equipment, put a box over the hatchling, gathered it into the box. I asked them what they would do and they said that they would treat its wounds, feed it and when it was stronger, would leave it in the wilderness. I do hope the little owl has grown stronger merged with Mother Nature and is bringing up its own offspring.
These stories should be inspiration to our youngsters so that they too would do their might to help and save animals and birds.

Vijaya Murthy (Jijji)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I want to carry Sailaja's story further. It is a story of societal caring. We once had 3 sparrow fledglings with us who were orphaned. Ofcourse, our son Kanti and his father had to rescue them and as usual hand them over to me to feed and keep alive! So we had cordoned off a portion of the room and kept them in a little basket and I had to feed them every hour or so. They came to recognise my footsteps and would set up such a loud chirping as soon as I would come back from my clinic! Talk of "eating like a bird"! They want to be fed every few minutes! I don't know how but they managed to survive and grow well in time. There was a window next to the basket and the outside sparrows used to come and peep at them and fly away. They grew well and had wings. My husband, a pilot, used to give them flying practice in the room! Once they were flying around in the room, they strangely stopped eating from my hand and the outside sparrows started making such a clamour at the window calling out to these babies. We decided to see if we could let them go.

One morning we took them out into the garden and with a prayer on our lips set them free! When we were out with the babies all the neighbourhood sparrows gathered on the trees around. The babies took to the air and the crowd of adult sparrows escorted them from one branch to the other, went to the topmost branch and they all flew together over our heads as if to say goodbye and thank you and disappeared into the blue sky. What a joyful and at the same time a tender feeling in our minds!

So, friends, this is another example of how much we can learn from the birds and animals around us. There is a lot of wisdom in these so-called dumb creatures which we would do well to emulate. As I said earlier this story is about society caring for the young, even if the young are not their own.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Duck Story

Finally after a long wait of winter, officially spring came, and we were over joyed. Even though it was still cold at least there will not be foot deep snow anymore on the ground and we can open the doors once in a while for fresh air and try to venture out for few minutes. We could even notice the birds that migrated for the winter started returning to our neighborhood. Our subdivision has few man made ponds and they even have small fountains in them. As there is are no covenants that say that the house owner’s should have fenced yards, some houses have fences and some don’t.

About 6 weeks back, we noticed two ducks one male and one female, on our back yard patio. We were wondering why they ventured into a fenced yard. The days passed by and we didn’t pay much importance to that. After couple of weeks, one day Babu went to the back yard and immediately called me to come outside. He said that he noticed some eggs under the small flowering bush we had next to the outside kitchen wall. With curiosity, I also went and saw under there and noticed the eggs. We figured that there may be 5-6 eggs. We didn’t know what to do but realized that the ducks came to check for a good place to lay the eggs.

Just to know what to expect, I browsed on the internet and found out that the eggs would hatch in about 28 to 35 days. From then on, we kept guard and continue to check if the female duck is brooding or not. We wondered when she would go for food, since whenever we checked she was there. Meanwhile, Babu thought it would be a good idea to cover the basement window well next to the bush, if once the ducklings hatch, they may fell down into the hole, so he fetched some sticks and wood pieces to cover the window well enough to let the light come into the basement.

About a month passed. The bush also grew bigger and thicker and we could hardly see underneath it. One Saturday, we noticed that one of the eggs cracked open. We couldn’t find any duckling near by. We wondered what happened but assumed it is almost time for them to hatch completely. The next day, morning when we went into the back yard, we saw the mother duck with 10 ducklings! Being a Sunday, we were home, and we were expecting some guests that morning, so we kept watching them. The mother was walking just next to the fence on two sides and these ducklings, like obedient students followed her in straight line. The mother made sure that they follow her very close. What a sight it was! The walking continued non stop from one direction to the other direction and then turn around and start all over again. It was almost noon and they kept going without taking a break. Imagine the tiny duckling’s energy! In that time, we had our daily morning routines, entertained the guests and went out for lunch too!

As soon as we came back we again checked on them. They are still following their routine. But we noticed that the ducklings were standing little more erect and now the procession looked more like a captain followed by his soldiers in a marching parade!.............It was 3pm, the day was hot and we thought it would be a good idea and filled a paper plate with water and placed it in the middle of their procession route and started observing from a distance. First the mother avoided coming to that side for few minutes. Then she came and looked and drank some water from there but didn’t let the ducklings nearby until she made sure. The mother’s protection of the children! Then we sprinkled some fine bread crumbs on the lawn near the plate of water and see if they would eat. Same thing repeated! The mother duck tasted it and made sure it is ok before she let the ducklings have it. Then they took about ½ hr rest and continued on their walk. By 4pm, the pattern has changed. Mother started to walk few steps ahead and let the children make their decision to follow. After sometime, she even let them walk in groups instead of straight line, and it even ventured more on to the lawn and even onto the patio. This continued till almost 8pm and when it was dark, they finally retired for the day. That means they exercised almost for 12 to 13 hrs!

On Monday, by the time we came downstairs and looked, they already started their routine. We observed some time, and Babu adjourned to his office room, and I went to run some errands. Meanwhile, Babu took out a small piece of wood near the fence, to make a bigger hole in the fence. I came home around noon, and when I went to check, I noticed that they all flew the nest except one! I saw it calling for its mother. I went to tell this to Babu and by the time we came out, it is also gone!

What a marvel! If we can only take a break from our busy schedules and pay attention and observe the nature once in a while, we really can learn so much from it. We humans, sometimes, instead of acting on instincts, try to think too much and do research and take advice of others and follow other’s opinions before acting and even then we do it wrong. “Pappulo kaalu vesthamu”. How the mother takes care of the children and teaches them till they fully learn! The determination it has to teach the young ones and take care of them!

I waited to see if they would return. In the evening, I scouted around in the car in the neighborhood and around the nearby ponds but in vain. They are no where to be seen. I hoped that they might return for the night, but my hope was fruitless. Now we will wait and see if they would return next year and pray that they all will survive the harsh cruelty of the nature.