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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Friendship in a Nutshell

Once a friend said, that her husband told her that a friend is someone who responds to our call for help in a hailstorm.

But can friends always be present at our time of need? Maybe not for many valid reasons although they still care.

The person who comes to our rescue may not necessarily be a friend. In life's journey, one would have observed that often, it's not the people we expect who respond to our time of need.

It is human nature to respond to emergencies on sight (at least for those who have the courage) and someone is bound to respond. Therefore, whether a friend arrives at the spot or not, the one who does not even make an attempt to move a muscle is definitely not a friend.

Then, how do we know our friends? The one who values and honours our happiness is a friend.

The story?

Well, we'll just have to wait till I relate my life story. :)

Thachayini Coffee Talk at 2:01 PM

Sunday, December 4, 2011


When I was in Primary Three, I used to look forward to "Seyyul" (Proverbs) during Tamil lessons. During the lessons, my teacher would introduce a proverb and tell us a story to explain its meaning. I had enjoyed those story-telling sessions and it's probably the reason why I have always been quite a story-teller.

Among the stories she told me, I've always remembered the story of two friends who went to the forest together. While crossing the forest, they were confronted by a bear. In an attempt to save himself, one of the friends climbed a tree, abandoning the other to fend for himself. The latter who could not climb trees pretended to play dead to save himself. After the bear left, the friend who played dead accused the other for abandoning him. Thus, concluding that a friend in need is a friend indeed.

Often, I have pondered over this proverb because it has certainly not been proven true in my life. I have people who have come and gone in my life; often those who have helped me but expected to have their way at my expense.

To me, the meaning to the proverb stands only if we help one in their time of need without expectations. Often times, we do expect something in return. It could be something as intangible as loyalty, sincerity or a sense of satisfaction by feeling needed. So is a friend in need a friend indeed? Maybe not. Especially not if your need boosts his/her ego.

I have learnt from experience that friendship break-ups can be somewhat like relationships break-ups, though the latter can be more intense. I believe there is love in both heaven and hell. In heavenly love, there is trust, loyalty and sacrifice. In hell love, there's obsession, the need to possess and control.

Likewise, in love there is infatuation and true love. When infatuated, there are tendencies that one would feel jealous and insecure in some instances. True love sans all that. It's a commitment; a bond bound by trust.

In the same way, in friendship, you have two kinds of friends. The ones who are with you because they know who you are and the ones who are with you because of what you are and what you have to offer. As I would put it, genuine love vs needy love.

In my opinion, a friend is someone who is transparent and you feel safe being around. And a friend is someone who genuinely accepts you for who you are, and will always be with you and work it out with you if there is a glitch in the friendship.

Friends who stick around because of their own needs, will fade away along with our contribution.
There can be no friendship without confidence, and no confidence without integrity. - Samuel Johnson

Thachayini Coffee Talk at 8:42 PM

Monday, June 27, 2011


The ancient Sanskrit epic, Ramayana tells the tale of Ravana, the demon king of Lanka who abducted Sita, wife of Ram (Prince of Ayodhya and also known to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu). With the help of the monkeys, Ram killed Ravana and saved his wife. Lanka, on the other hand, was reduced to ashes.

It has been widely established that it was Ravana's lust over Sita that had led to this destruction. Sita, however, has been heightened as the epitome of chastity for effectively preserving herself and not succumbing to Ravana's demands.

Hence, Sita's role in the story was carved as an image of an ideal woman in the society. Curiously, little has been said about Surpanakha, Ravana's sister. Surpanakha plays a pivotal role in the drama that unfolded thereafter.

Was Ravana the only one responsible for the plight? Was it not Surpanakha's lust for monogamist Ram that led to all that hadhappened? Had she not pushed the boundaries and spun a tale to instigate her brother's wrath, Ravana wouldn't have gone in search of the two brothers to teach them a lesson. He would not have seen Sita and become enchanted by her beauty.

Critics have concluded that Ravana's ill intentions to possess a chaste woman against her will proved to be a curse that led to his eventual end and that of Lanka's.

Given the laws of Karma, I wonder what could have led to the end of the king and his kingdom.

Was it the tears of a virtuous woman, the anger of a woman's unfulfilled desire or the senseless love of a brother?

Thachayini Coffee Talk at 11:36 PM

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Journey

Joseph Campell said, "The heroic life is living the individual adventure. To refuse the call means stagnation."

As inspiring as it sounds, an individual's adventure is a rocky (Should I say thorny?) path that takes a lot of resilience before reaching the respective destination.

A "gap" is a phase that takes place between transitions. During this phase, one learns to adjust and embrace. It is a difficult phase because you often find both your feet in two different places and it may seem almost like you belong nowhere. Finally, when the right time arrives, you see light at the end of the tunnel and begin redeeming yourself.

Last year, I was experiencing the "gap". As hard as I tried to seek job opportunities, nothing came my way. After a hundred futile attempts, I began to wonder if I was destined to be in the same situation for the rest of my life. However, life is full of surprises. When the right time came, I got a job offer and in less than 10 days, I became a teacher in an International school in Medan. My adventure had begun.

The changes have been astounding and in seven months, I have faced various challenges; I had to adjust to the new environment and wrap myself around the language barrier, the friendship that I valued the most fell apart in three months, my lodging is still tentative and
the school is recovering from a flood that took place not too long ago.

I have been facing challenges since the age of 16, hence most of the time, I appear unfazed. The most difficult trial amidst all, is accepting the end of the friendship and working my way around it. It's a huge challenge to cut the only familiar tie you have when you're starting life anew in a foreign land. It is even a greater challenge when you realise that tie is just not meant to be.

However, I have been successful in renewing my strength in each passing day by telling myself that I am being "fired" to be made into the best China. I know that I am going through a process for betterment and to become the best version of myself.

On hindsight, my world has already opened up and I'm beginning to embrace the positive changes. I have got to know a few wonderful acquaintances and I have a clearer perspective on the things in life that truly matter.

There is some unpleasantness that I need to let go in order to embrace the new world wholly. Instinctively, I know that that day is not too far away. Each time when the pain gets too much to bear, I tell myself this story that reminds me that my halcyon days are not too far away.....

Once, there lived a king who was extremely rich and prosperous. The kingdom was doing so well for years that he wondered whether there could be anything in this world that could make him sad. Hence, he summoned his minister and commanded him to find a property that would make a happy man, sad and a sad man, happy.

e minister spent several days combing the kingdom but to no avail. He was running out of time and he was becoming increasingly worried. He feared incurring the wrath of the king. As days passed, the minister grew increasingly unhappy, just worrying about this.

While continuing his search, one day, he chanced upon a white smith and asked him if he knew of something that could make a happy man, sad and sad man, happy.
The white smith gave him a ring with a few words engraved on it. A wide smile spread across the minister's face as he read it. He brought it to the king and showed it to him. Upon seeing the words, engraved on the ring, the king's smile vanished.

Those words were, "This too shall pass."


Thachayini Coffee Talk at 10:42 AM

Friday, May 14, 2010

Where is God?

I would like to share an account by Nobel laureate, Elie Wiesel that I found inspiring and hair-raising. I am unable to explain the effect it had on me and I leave it to my readers to feel for themselves.

Wiesel was a prisoner in his adolescence and he survived four different concentration camps during World War II. However, he lost his parents and youngest sister while he was transported to another camp. He reconciled later with his two other sisters.

I shall write as it is adapted in the book:

Author's (Beth M. Erikson) script:

Rather than trying to control God or becoming cynical because of the events he witnessed daily as a young boy in the camps, he chose to believe, as I now do, that God suffers when people suffer. In that sense, people do not need to wait for their "final reward" to experience the presence of God. In his autobiographical account of life and death in prisons, Wiesel wrote of his conclusion, eloquently voicing the anguish of millions who grieve over or rail about the seeming absence of God in the Holocaust.

Elie Wiesel's account:

One day when we came back from work, we saw three gallows rearing up in the assembly place. Three victims in chains - and one of them the little servant, the sad-eyed angel. Three victims were mounted together onto chairs. The three necks were placed at the same moment within nooses. At a sign, the three chairs tipped over. Total silence throughout the camp. Then the march past began. The two adults were no longer alive. But the third rope was still moving: being so light, the child was still alive. For more than half an hour he stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face. Behind me I heard a man asking: "Where is God now?" and I heard a voice within me answer him: "Where is God?" Here - God is hanging here on this gallows.


Thachayini Coffee Talk at 9:41 PM

Monday, April 19, 2010

To Understand and Accept

No matter how much times have moved forth rapidly, some things simply don't change. Especially, when it comes to human mentality.

Some of us still laugh at people who are different. We can go on endlessly on the various nicknames for fat people, skinny people, short people, tall people, punk rockers, the mentally unstable and sadly, even those who are physically challenged.

Though some of us have tried to evolve by keeping our comments to ourselves on differences in physical appearances, we have crossed over to being critical of people's lifestyles instead.

We comment if people not married, if they do not have children, if they are unemployed, if they are gay, if they are not educated enough, if they are not rich enough, not gracious enough and what not....The list goes on. No one ever seems to be good enough.

For once, if all of us just step back and try to understand the picture, we will realise that everyone has a story behind to explain why they are the way they are. Not to be mistaken for excuses. Excuses are when you know you're wrong and you're giving reasons. Most of us just simply have different lessons to learn and we're given different predicaments to learn from them.

I'm not sure about the rest but I'm a firm believer of fate. And yes, I also believe that we have choices. To cite an example, let's put it this way.

Today, a woman's position in most societies is still questionable though we're thankfully growing with times. Nonetheless, we still face limitations due to some societies' mentality.

Hence, being born as a woman is my fate. I can't change that. But I have a choice as for how I accept and grow gracefully as a woman in any society.

Therefore, my call to everyone is to not laugh at anyone for their fate. Something I wish to remind myself as well for I have my moments which I am not very proud of.

And as always, my opinion shall follow with a story to explain that some things happen as it is fated.

Long time ago, there was a scholar in China who had turned 25 and he was still not married. He sought a fortune-teller who told him that it's his fate to get married at the age of 40 for his bride has just been born!

The scholar did not like what he heard. He was not prepared to wait that long. He learnt the whereabouts of the baby girl and one fateful night, he sneaked into her home and stabbed her in the chest.

The scholar got away scot-free, feeling contented that the obstacle in his path has been removed. Years passed by and marriage was not possible for the scholar till he was 40. His newly wedded wife was a young bride of 15 years of age.

On their wedding night, the scholar noticed a scar on his wife's chest and enquired. She narrated the story that was told to her by her parents. When she was a baby, an assailant had sneaked into her room on a fateful night and stabbed her. By God's grace, she survived it. The scholar's face turned livid.

Some things are meant to be. Best to accept them and accept others for them. The rest that can be improved, we should only seek to improve in ourselves.

Thachayini Coffee Talk at 1:10 PM

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Winner Among Us

My apologies for posting this almost a week later. I have been caught up and on top of that, I have fallen ill. I'm still in the process of nursing my cough.

Coming to the point, last Saturday, 3rd of April 2010, my niece, Kavitha took part in a singing competition along with her two other friends, Vidthiya VM and Akshaya Krishnamachari. (Hope you girls don't mind my posting your names :)). I would like to congratulate Kavitha and her friends for winning the first prize.

I have reserved this space for Kavi for it was not a smooth ride for her to have made her presence on that stage and to have won that prize. She has followed her heart and fought against all odds to arrive at where she has today. Hence, this would be my dedication to Kavitha Kannan (on the extreme left) for her perseverance. :)


Thachayini Coffee Talk at 2:49 PM