Sahana, Santana and beyond.

It all came back in rushes, that one doomed day.

It was either the fact that I was up since 4AM (somehow reminded my brain of the old Diwali days, I guess) or a recent conversation that I had with pEePeE, that got me hooked on to a totally different wavelength of music. Definitely not a genre new to me, since it is customary for every Iyer household to make sure their daughters learnt carnatic music or Bharatnatyam and their sons knew how to play the mridangam. But I surprised myself by listening to M S Subbulakshmi, K J Yesudas, and the likes, all day, reeling in the memories attached to each of those songs.

The earliest memories are brought to life by Yesudas’ rendition of Harivarasanam and SPB’s Aayar Paadi Maaligaiyil. They some how remind me of early days in the Rock City, when I was too young to comprehend good from bad. These “had to be” the tunes the Gods sang to put us to sleep each night, tired from vandalising the neighborhood. It is the same tranquilizing calm I feel every time I listen to these songs. I close my eyes and see myself running through tiny rooms, the walls distinctively highlighted by our crayon artwork. There is a baby-swing hanging bang in the center of the bedroom with the life size mirror in one corner. Bang Center? Wait! Where would that place the fan? Interesting! Heck that’s how I remember it, so it stays. I run out into the make-shift portico and stare out of the grilled partition. God’s Yezdi stands under the neem tree, three, or was it four, floors down. Or was it peepul? Was there a tree at all?

Pancharatna Kritis, unquestionably, remind me of days in the Garden City. Summers in the at-home summer camp, with mid noon walks up to the temple, only to practise for the umteenth time. I remember all the coloring books, action figures and the ingenious games waiting for us, with dimple studded faces, while we sat there singing the same lines over, till we got the perfect twist and got it in unison, as a group. Those gruelling sessions definitely helped the ones who eventually took their art to the stage. But for poor disinterested me, they were but distractions, the bridges between me and my interests; surprisingly similar to work in today’s mindset.

Entharo gets specific mention among the others in the set. Not as much for being the sweet kriti, marking the end of the long and tiresome lineup, as for being the one that reminds me of God, every single time. I can still picture him in every other place that he would tune it up and sing along, head rocking in every direction, hands zestfully tapping along.  We could see him get the same degree of pleasure listening to it, as H would out of Santana. Or is it Metallica now?

Snap! and I was back to triage calls and post deploy validation. The wheel keeps on turning doesn’t it! This is where the day stands clear in my mind. As I listened to each song, humming along and redoing some of those almost forgotten tricks with the tunes, I realized that deep down inside I missed it. All of this felt like an integral part of who I was, what my upbringing was and I was worried that with each passing generation, this rich tradition was going to slowly fade away. Would that leave me with grand children in thrash bands?

Had I listened to God’s Ma’s wishes and given up studies to take up her passion, would I have made it big? Would I have had records to my credit and a fan following to live for? We would never know. Would I have had the pleasure of turning to something apart from the lame work I go to everyday? Would this have kept me going through some dark, gloomy days? Would this have earned me a new boy friend? We would never know that, either.

Would all these questions stop me from listening to them again? No. That much I was sure; for at the end of the day, I had enjoyed myself thoroughly, not once missing the Maidens and Metallicas of the other world.

So I live a king’s life indeed; Vishnu sahasranamam to wake me up and Dire Straits to lull me to sleep. Rich in all the music around me after all. And who is not!

Nine months in a month

It had been a preparation that had lasted for over a month. We had collectively gone through each and available test prescribed and review suggested, to make sure that nothing new popped at the ultimate moment. We wanted to be covered from all angles, when it was destined to happen.

I had slowly but steadily learnt to accept the lump that was growing within. I guess people around me eventually learnt to accept it as normal too. If they had to see me through this, it was a part of the plan for them to be comfortable with this. I researched extensively on this subject, read about past experiences and learnings from them, anything to keep myself ready and armed when it happened. However, pretty soon, the realization struck; it dawned on me that all this was only making The task seem more daunting than normal. I stopped immediately.

I had heard about the possible of this scenario and expected to be prepared for it. But when it eventually happened, my heart sank, and somewhere someone within me died. They were right, no amount of technology or predictions could anticipate the exact date. As each set date passed by and a new deadline was set, the anxiety grew. With each missed date, we grew edgy. We wanted to get done with it, stomp through the entire process and let the results do the talking in public. It had stretched beyond expected timelines, it had become a tan that lasted too long to turn into an undesirable itch. We had to be done with it and move on.

When I woke up that day and smelt the air, I knew it was going to be it. There was that strange smell of foreboding and the numbing headache that had begun to develop did not help either. Each passing minute through the day got us inches closer to the final fate that awaited. Friends and near ones lent a distanced hand of support; It is a tough time to lead through; We hope it all goes through well; You are a big girl, know you will do fine. . The silence that comes when these wishes subside is suffocating and it was indeed getting harder to breath.

Was it really going to be OK? What if I did not live to see the tomorrow that lay ahead? Did I make the right decisions so far or was this the worst decision that I had made? Should I have listened to God and gone ahead to school? Or should I have gone with what Goddess suggested and gotten married first? Hell, there was no turning back and what had to be, had to be.

The turmoil began at the exact strike of the bell, as if it nature had its plans crisp and clear. With each ticking minute our nerves tightened in preparation; all we were waiting for was a wail or a cry that pointed out that things weren’t going normal. Operation abort! There were experts huddled around, studying the rise and fall of mere lines to portend an imminent failure. Every few minutes we walked by the Specialist, to read his face for distortions. An extra sweat and we’d know the tide was high.

But truth be told, none of what I’d imagined in my nightmares really happened. Dreams after all! The minute came, the trigger was pulled and we moved over from not-having-it to having-it-and-loving-it. A few cursory checks and there were glimpses of a smile beginning to form on a few faces. OK, “a few cursory checks” is an outright understatement, considering the few hours we spent validating through every available test. We ran through hundreds of available reviews and controls, auditing each success or failure points. It had been one of the most thorough scrutinies I had seen in a while. And yes, the smile was all worth it.

We took more than a few minutes to let it sink in. We had done it, again, and had walked through to the other side, super happy. We had just deployed a little over a 100 items into production and the system remained stable during and after it. The load test conducted through the night, simply confirmed what was already known.

The latest production release was a success, indeed!!

: P

Communities…

It was a time to idle. Technology has taken its course. Time at hand is spent surfing the deep dark tomes of the web rather than stroll outdoors and enjoy the breeze(When was the last time there was any though.?). True, am a complaining sucker who hates the span of the net but cant live without either.

So as i was saying, spending some quality time surfing, I came to terms with the fact that I had managed to spend a solid 3 hrs coz of this new trend picking up with surfers; Online Communitites.

It was Orkut that kept me going. A frail invite sent by some long lost friend got me hooked for hours together. The discovery started off with me getting the entire list of college batchmates into my list of contacts. Funny a hundred different minds think alike at one point. And another community is born.

And fancy the spread. I managed to get back in touch with this kid who studied with me in the 5th grade. Oh yes it was a revolution. And the spread of communitites. Anything from a bunch of nerds sharing their common interests for puzzles and apti; to a group of freakos talking about eventually falling in love(O so mushy!It actually has 156410 members!). Then there’s the usual alumni bunch forming the same community over and over again. And the list goes on. From the believers of the Gita to the lovers of chaat; Pursuers of an MBA to the ones who got there; Lovers of Abhishek to haters of Schumi. Its all in there. The weirdest one i treaded upon till today is ‘Nokia’; a community for all Nokia phone users.

Then there are the geographically distinct ones. I found one for ‘Coimbatore’, where a bunch of 70s oldes sat discussing the CBE then and now. I bet every city has one such with similar forums going out. And there’s the ‘Iyers’ and ‘Iyengars’ community. I personally love the concept of a common repositiry of people brought up in a similar fashion irrespective of the distance and instance in time. Ones that woke up near the sun to the smell of freshly brewed coffee, renditions of the sahasranamam echoing through the long corridors of the house on the agraharam(the temple street for the uninitiated). Imbibing the taste for good food with the regular vatha kuzhambu and vadu maanga(Now I cant think of a translation to Bliss!). Oh yes. They belong.

Taking forward a tradition is quite a challenge. (I dont know why this came in. It just crossed my mind right now.!) With terrorism and hatred raising its dirty head at every corner, it surprises me to realise that there are people who wanna unite for the most fickle reasons possible. Why else would 3246 people from different parts of the world come together and share their common hate for Mondays!

Communities Rock!