LOSER – [L]IFE [O]F A [S]OFTWARE [E]NGINEE[R]- II

The Old Mahabaliburam Road or the IT express way as the government proudly calls it is the cradle of information technology industry in Chennai. The Ganges was the life source of Indus valley civilization, the Nile was the life source of the Egyptian civilization. The 20.1 km long perennial river of tar, called the OMR,is the life source of the IT civilization. At about 10km from both the ends, in the approximate centre of the stretch, on the median that divided the road into its yin and yan stood an insolent fool who thought he had the world under control. On a normal day I would have zoomed past this guy and jumped into my chaotic world of mediocrity. Unfortunately I couldn’t do it on this particular day, because that insolent fool happened to be ‘me’.

27TH august, yet another normal day in my life had turned into such a “loser” day. I, along with three other buddies stood on the median of the OMR road watching the world zoom past us. Unsurprisingly not a single soul slowed down even a bit to throw a glance at us. I wouldn’t blame them, each one had a zillion plans, deadlines and ambitions that kept them on their toes. I too actually had a tight schedule for the entire day.
9-9 30 Testing basics

930- 10 30 Meeting with team lead

10 30- 11 30- ….the list goes on and on

In a fraction of a second the company had made my entire schedule, plans for the weekend as well as the plans for my future all into, what the IT world calls, “redundant data”. The beautiful glass palace that I had built with my dreams of the future had been shattered in a single moment  with a single sheet of paper ‘fondly’ nicknamed the “pink slip”.

There are only two categories of people who would visit the ECR private beaches in the scorching afternoon sun in Chennai
Firstly the people who are ‘madly’ in love.

Secondly the people who are simply ‘mad’

Unfortunately we belonged to the second category on that particular day. On the hot sands of the beach we sat trying to dissolve our disappointments in our sweat. All four of us were lost in our own thoughts when the squawking of a parrot brought us back to our senses. At about 10 feet from us came a man carrying a parrot’s cage in one hand and bag full of crappy stuff in the other. With a mouthful of beetle leaf and eyes full of deceit he came close to us and asked, “would you like to know your fortune sir?”

“fortune teller!!” shouted one of my buddies,”macha lets check out our (mis)fortune” he continued. Somehow handing over the reins of our fate to a helpless parrot stuck in a cheap iron cage dint seem like a very smart idea to me. Before I could voice my protest my friends had queued in front of the parrot cage.

After enquiring our name list like an election commission officer, he slowly opened the cage and let his pet parrot out. The lazy parrot came out reluctantly and selected the mascots of our fate(small cheaply printed images of various deities). After glancing at the images for several minutes the fortune-teller gave us the result of his analysis

You are all in the beginning of your career (like that wasn’t obvious from our college student like faces and unmatched formal clothes)

You are facing a big problem (even Sherlock wouldn’t be able to find that from our terror-struck, melancholy faces)

After a long list of stating such obvious facts he scanned the faces of his victims. It was clear from my obnoxious expression that I was oblivious to his nonsense and he knew he had to woo me in. He looked at me closely and threw his first astra-‘money’, “sir you have the blessings of tirupathi venkatesh and you are gonna be a millionaire”.

Seeing that his astra failed to impress me, he decided to throw his bramastra-‘sex’. In a base voice that was meant to excite me he said, “sir you are gonna have a beautiful son to take your legacy forward…that too before marriage”

Though his words of ‘expertise’ dint impress me, it did not fail to impress one of my friends. After an hour-long discussion about his future the fortune-teller charged a whopping 600 bucks. When the fortune-teller took his parrot and walked away I saw a small glint of satisfaction in his eyes. The satisfaction of having successfully pulled off another heist through the most powerful illusion of ‘faith’

We sat there in the hot sun for the next couple of hours and some of the most important lessons that the fortune-teller had subtly taught us about the world of IT, dawned on me.

  • Just like the pseudo science of fortune-telling, the IT industry on the whole worked on a powerful tool of mass hysteria. It hides under the cloak of ‘white collar job’ using which it lures the huge number of youngsters into it.
  • The next time somebody in the company comes and tells, “you belong to the family now”,”you are a representative of the company’s brand”, “live the values of the company”,please remember it is all complete B.S. Don’t even believe a word of all that crap.
  • If you are under the impression that you are exchanging your knowledge and expertise in turn for the salary that you get every month in an IT company then you are ignorant. The only economically valuable commodity that you are selling in turn for your salary is your “time”. So please do not complain that you don’t have time for your family again because you have already sold your soul to the devil
  • If you don’t have the habit of smiling or wishing the security guard at the office door, please remember that he had more power, control and job safety than you do, more importantly you might need his mercy if you get thrown out someday. So play it safe

The IT world is a race that you start running the moment you enter the company. It is by law of nature that you get out-run someday…so it is all

“just a matter of time”

LOSER – [L]ife [O]f a [S]oftware [E]nginee[R]

After about three years of excruciating struggle with engineering,it was finally time for the nightmare of every engineering student, “PLACEMENTS”. Every person who gets a glimpse of you from your  great-uncle to next house dimple will ask you only one single question, ‘got placed?’. When the placement season of 2013 started every guy in my college from nine pointer to a no, pointer started preparing everything we learnt (or at least tried to learn!) in the last three years.

Finally the inevitable danger arrived. After an immensely disappointing first day of placements, I realized one thing. None of the companies wanted to test what we had learnt in engineering, rather they wanted to test us on more essential, life-saving skills such as word, PowerPoint, email, 10th standard mathematics and of course English. Thus after a week of immense learning from all my rat bitten 10th standard books (under the tutelage of my beloved school going brother!) I attended the interview of one of India’s top IT firm. After a three round interview process that happened over two days, the company decided to give me a job! (my HOD and my unplaced department topper had a mini heart attack!)

 1 YEAR LATER

There are two unforgettable days in every young guy’s life, 1.the day he gets his first girl 2.the day he gets his first salary. After 29 dry days finally my memorable ‘first salary’ day arrived. With never-before seen enthusiasm I reached office twenty minutes early. I settled down in my cubicle and waited for the arrival of my gang. My gang is the crime syndicate of my facility. Like the corleone family, there cannot be a single crime in my building that does not involve us. My gang is a four member exclusive club that includes mickey,khan,master and me(I have used their nick names not to hide identity but because I have forgotten their real names!)

At about 8 15 the customary gang meeting at the water cooler happened as usual. All of us were anxiously checking our phones for the “salary credited” sms, but life always has a way of throwing the biggest challenges at you at your weakest moments. When we were expecting the doors of our life to open and the money to start pouring in,  the door of the HR office opened and our HR manager walked towards us with the sweet smile on his face.

Human Resource manager in an IT company is the sophisticated nomenclature for the Devil’s advocate, so as long as the HR manager has a grumpy face it is a good omen telling you that everything is going fine, but whenever you find even a hint of a smile on the HR managers face it means there is an imminent danger coming your way and you have to move to disaster management mode in war footing basis.

Unfortunately for us we did not have this factual gyaan at that time. When we saw the HR manager walking towards us with a smile we even had the audacity to gracefully return the smile. Finally after a five-minute ramp walk he reached our zone. With the swiftness of a cowboy picking his gun from his belt he took out his smart phone and opened a word file consisting of a list of names.

“The following associates are requested to assemble in the HR room immediately” came the announcement in a booming voice. The voice further continued with a list of 17 names. We were not really bothered about the whole incident until the last few seconds when one by the names of my gang members were called out (that too in alphabetical order :P)

In about ten minutes my gang, along with 13 others were standing in the small HR office perplexed, when the senior HR manager walked in. He glanced at each one of us in the room and then stated, “The performance of these 17 associates in the last one month has not been satisfactory, thus it has been decided to relieve them from services temporarily. They will be called back as and when required”.

I was about to shout out, “dude you have mugged up the last statement of the mail you got from the head office perfectly, but you forgot to change the pronouns from ‘they’ to ‘you’!”. Then I realized I was in a corporate company where the right to commit blunders was reserved for the HR departments and the CEOs.

The shock in the air that filled the room hadn’t yet subsided, when the innocent looking fair maiden in the front of the group deployed one of the most powerful weapons that every woman in the world is equipped with. She started crying. With the versatility of a well experienced tormentor the HR manager brushed aside the melodrama and with the stern voice stated, “would you people please leave or should I call the security?!”

By the time we got around digesting the indifference with which the last statement was made he came around collecting the umbilical cord of every employee, the last remaining connection we had with the company ie ID cards. After knotting up the id cards in a bunch he personally escorted us to the entrance and saw to that we left the premises immediately.

In a ten minute span of time we had been stripped off our job, a promising career and more importantly, identity. We were standing in the middle of the road, literally. With its huge traffic and awe inspiring length the OMR road embraced us.

Standing in the middle of the road we had few options to do:

  1. Go back home, break the news and face the problem
  2. Jump on the road and let the lorries transport us to a better world

But what we did never ceases to surprise me till date. (to be continued)

(title courtesy: dipen ambalia,finger print pages)

The Ripple

Google Dictionary defines ‘Butterfly Effect’ as the phenomenon whereby a minute localised change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere.

The term originates from Edward Lorenz’s research paper, Predictability, from 1972 where he explains using Chaos Theory that a hurricane forming in Texas, USA could be traced back to an ostensibly insignificant act such as a butterfly flapping its wings ‘weeks’ ago in ‘Brazil’. And, that is pretty darn AMAZING! Isn’t it? But unfortunately, in a world where every individual wonders if whatever he/she does will make a difference in the world, the concept of Butterfly Effect seems to be appreciated only in Sci-Fi movies.

We normally measure the significance of an event or action through the number of people it has directly impacted. If we are asked to list a few important events or happenings in the course of human history, the things that usually pop up in our minds are the discovery of fire/electricity/penicillin, invention of wheel/internet, man landing on the moon, abolition of slavery and the likes. Of course all the events above were of great significance to the progress of the human race. Events like these get the spotlight because they have a high degree of direct impact on a huge chunk of the society and hence, attract a lot of media attention and find a way into history texts. This leads most of us to believe that to create a significant impact on the world we must be involved in the ‘Discovery of fire’ equivalent of our respective generation. We are tuned to think that only events causing huge ‘direct’ impact are of any significance. We tend to forget that any single action of ours, no matter how menial it may seem, has its own set of consequences and hence causing a ripple impacting everyone around us indirectly.

The Happy Daughter - HONY

“Never laid a hand on her. And that was huge for me. Because it was always the first thing my dad did.”

The photo you see above is from a photography page on Facebook called Humans of New York. Here you see a father holding his daughter’s graduation day picture. On first look we may not think that there is anything special about the picture or the father’s quote but on closer look we can see that the choice this man made to not follow his own father’s footsteps has a greater magnitude of impact than what most people realise. He chose the right path, though not the easier, to make the world a better place not only for his daughter but for the innumerable number of people around him and his daughter. His decision to never hit his daughter helped create a world his daughter saw through her eyes when she grew up which was very different from the one he spent his own childhood in. The world he chose to show her was a world filled with love and care, a world where physical abuse could never possibly be part of her childhood memory, a beautiful world. And, this was the lens through which his daughter saw the world, a place filled with love, a place with less hate, a happier place. Hence he started the ripple with his daughter which then spread to touch all others who knew her, who saw the beauty of the world through her kindness. His choice made the world they all lived in a whole lot happier and beautiful. And it still doesn’t end there; the ripple continues coursing through the vastly interconnected web of human race over time and thus impacting the lives of one and all and making the world a better place.

One of the top commenters on the photo has said, “He broke the cycle”.  Here the father chose to end generations of dreaded childhood, which could have carried on further for generations beyond his daughter’s. He could have easily chosen to accept that physical abuse was a normal part of disciplining the young. We humans usually tend to think, “Why should they deserve any better from what I got when I was in their position? The world wasn’t very fair to me, why should I be fair to them?” And this is truly what makes doing the right thing commendable. Someone has to stop this domino effect. Someone had to be the change and it is never easy to fight our own ego and insecurities and be the one to ‘break the cycle’. It would be an even more difficult decision if it is a total stranger that we have to choose to be kind to. Kindness is a habit. Like any other habit, once you get used to being kind, it becomes part of your lifestyle. And in no time you start your own ripples of kindness wherever life takes you, making the world around an infinitely more happier place. If that is not a great contribution to mankind, I don’t know what is.

Ripples

So, the next time you ask yourself, “What difference am I going to make?” remember the ripple our actions create in the vastly interconnected web of mankind we live in. We don’t necessarily have to be an elected representative of the government or a social rights activist to make significant changes to the society. We just have to realise the power and the consequences of our actions and lead a life that has a positive impact on others around you. We have choose to be the change we wish to see in the world today, and not just complain and whine till half the world has already changed and then follow the herd. So the next time when you don’t know where to throw the chocolate wrapper, keep it in your pocket or purse till you find garbage bin. Switch off that fan, if it is not in use. Smile at your security guard because your smile might be the best thing happening to him on the day and the smile cost you nothing.

Here’s a video which went viral on social media a couple of years ago which beautifully depicts how your random act of kindness sets off a ripple making the world a better place.

THE ‘CHEMISTRY’ BIOLOGY AND PHYSICS OF LOVE

February-14th the only day of the year that every ‘couple’ prays never to end and every ‘single’ guy prays never to begin .On the valentine’s day of 2014 I walked along the world’s second longest beach “The Marina” wondering with bewilderment, awe(and some jealousy of course!) at the sheer number of couples filling the beach sand. Braving the heat of the scorching sun that refused to reduce its intensity even at 5 30 pm, hundreds of couples sat there chit chatting their way to a dream land.

Among all the couples there was one pair that caught my attention, because from the moment they reached the sea shore they never spoke a word to each other. Both of them were staring at the wide open sea and apart occasional glances there seemed to be no interaction between the two. Even more intriguing was the fact that judging by their facial expressions both of them seemed to be enjoying each other’s company without a single spoken word. I slowly approached the couple but they continued to have a wonderful time completely oblivious to the fact that my pair of envious eyes was scanning them from tip to toe. As soon as I was close enough I tapped on the guy’s shoulder. He turned around, irritated at being disturbed, he blurted out a rude, “what?”  I asked the guy, “Boss, can I ask u something?”With his irritation increasing even more he repeated his statement, “what?” Faking a polite tone, I asked him, “what is it that makes you guys stick together & enjoy each other’s company so much!?”As soon as I finished my question the irritation on his face disappeared and was replaced by a pleasant smile, he looked at his girl and winked, she replied gracefully with a blush. The guy moved an inch closer to me and replied“chemistry man! We have a beautiful chemistry between us that fills us with joy whenever we are together!”

At that moment I kicked myself for having hated the great subject of ‘chemistry’ all through my middle and high school.

THE CHEMISTRY AND BIOLOGY OF LOVE

LOVE IS A SERIOUS MENTAL DISEASE

-PLATO

brain_stem

To all the people who say ‘love is a matter of the heart’, am sorry to disappoint you but your heart has nothing to do with love. So who is the real culprit? We can never really ‘think up’ the answer to this question because the ‘culprit’ is only doing the thinking for us. Yes the real culprit is the brain.
The Ventral tegmental area is a small factory in the brain that creates one of the most important hormone in the brain called dopamine. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that helps in controlling the pleasure center of the brain. Thus the pleasure of intense romantic is the same pleasure pleasure as the rush of cocaine(at least you come down from the high of cocaine).

So girls,next time a guy proposes to you like this

Propose-With-Truly-Heart

Please do not accept because he should really be proposing like this

brain

So what is love?

The modern day philosopher Yann Dall’Agilo expresses it best!

“Love. It is nothing more than the desire to be desired!

No matter who we are, what we do every single human being on this planet wants to be desirable. The ever increasing level of consumerism is prevalent today only because of the drive to be desirable. Historians classify our age as a materialistic age and philosophers identify as materialistic people but at the root of all this materialism is the need to be desired. What better illustaration is needed for this theory more than a teenager who buys a perfectly good pair of expensive jeans and tear them at the knee, just so that he/she can be desirable among peers.

Love is also one of the most addicting substances in the world. It has all the features of any other substance addiction but the only difference here being that you are addicted to another human being. This is nature’s way of ensuring the desire for life’s greatest prize ‘an appropriate mating partner’.

 THE LAW OF ATTRACTION (PHYSICS OF LOVE)

Ulagathula evlo paer irunthum naa yaen  unna love panen?(there are millions of people in the world yet why did I choose you?)

love post

Have you ever experienced the WTF  moment when the hottest girl in your office falls for the lamest guy you can imagine!

Life’s greatest beauty lies in this unsolvable paradox of love.The when,where and how of love is a question that has traveled with humans from the very beginning.  But this is one question we don’t want to know the answer to,because this great puzzle holds the ray of hope to life’s greatest prize,”an appropriate life partner!”

After decades of research these so called experts have only been able to scratch the surface in their futile attempts to understand true love. May be one day in the future humans will evolve to understand the depth of the most powerful emotion in humans.

Untill then humans will continue  to dance for love, sing for love , compose poems for love , kill for love , die for love and be entranced by the magic of love.

Women are foolish to think they are equal to men!

After an exasperating morning session in one of India’s top IT firms, I looked away from the screen to provide some relief to my tired eyes. Though I was just looking for a relief, there was a treat waiting right next to me. At 5 ft 5 inches, plump yet not too stout structure, the complexion of a fair and lovely model and typical south Indian dressing style, the girl sitting next to me was definitely dream wife material for all testosterone charged desperate men. She seemed to be struggling with the first line of a simple java program, as a chivalric gentleman,I was obliged to help her (though it did help start a conversation with the fair maiden).

After the customary name exchanges, she blurted out her frustration of working in the IT field, “Programming is so tough, I am considering quitting my job and getting married!” (What a reason to get married!)

The next day happened to be Friday, the only day corporates lease you the freedom to choose your own attire (#Friday dressing). I was surprised to find her in her usual salwar even on that day. I asked her the reason for her choice of clothes, and she dint fail to shock me with her answer, “my boyfriend doesn’t like me wearing jeans!” (So much for the freedom and independence of women!)

After an outing with all our colleagues the following weekend, I offered to drop her home in my car since we lived in the same locality. She declined my offer with a reason that surprised me yet again. ”sorry, but my father doesn’t like me to travel alone with a boy!”

Engineer by degree, IT professional by occupation, this young woman is the representative of urban working class female population of the country. Her attitude is the reflection of the young women of the nation (except for the small segment of modern women in the metros who Bollywood endorses as the majority) .Her intimidation and inhibitions leads to the demand for rise of a new wave of post modernization feminism.

THE NEED OF THE HOUR

The feminism waves of 40s and 70s ensured that the ladies of the age broke away from the chains of the household and became a equally contributing part of the work force.But that is not enough.We need a new wave of feminism that ensures change in two attitudes.

  • Attitude of men towards women

More importantly

  • Attitude of women towards women

Women needs to break away from the cliched tag of “traditional,homely” and start respecting themselves and their decisions to become truly independent. This wave of feminism comes to life when women follow these golden rules:

Don’t let marriage/your life partner define you.

Wear traditional clothes only because you like them not because someone else wants you to

Never spend your adult life dependent on a male in your circle be it father/boyfriend/husband.

Make your own decisions and stick to them.

If a so called “well-wisher” asks you to dress sensibly please put on your best smile and ask them to STFU!
Because the problem not in the dress but in their eyes and you can’t help it.

Don’t stick to your job because it is a “safe-for-girls” job. Follow your passion. You deserve the right to be anything you want from painter to porn star, because it’s your life.

Never wear the clothes you don’t like because you want to feel safe in public. Next time you want to feel safe wear your favorite clothes and add a pepper spray/taser/AK47 to your accessories.

If your bf “asks” you to marry him
show your ring finger
If your bf “tells” you to marry him
Show your middle finger.

I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men,
they are far superior and always have been
– William Goldling

All In The Name Of Religion

   A kindly woman, enfeebled with age, was sitting besides the temple gate with her palms raised. I shattered a coconut in front of the idol with hopes that it would magically add points to my karma. My gaze fell on the kindly woman. I was filled with genuine grief just contemplating the sort of lifestyle she has to lead. I looked away. I dropped a 100 Rs note into the Undiyal (Temple Trust Collection Box) and spared 2 Rs change for the kindly woman’s palms. How did I forget God’s lessons of Compassion? All in the name of Religion.

   I panicked listening to the words pouring out the fortune teller’s mouth. He calmed me down with a pious grin and presented to me a crimson knotted-thread. Minutes later, I left the fortune teller’s abode with the pricey accessory around my wrist, eternally grateful for his timely help and worldly advice. Not long after, I climbed onto a crowded bus with a struggle and waded through the unyielding crowd to find a support rod to cling onto for the remainder of my journey. The bus reached my stop. I clambered down accompanied by the usual commotion only to find a hole cut in my pocket where I once had my phone. I grew furious. I felt wronged. I felt ashamed. I had been robbed. Once? All in the name of Religion.

   His eyes cringed as the miniature ‘vel’ (spear) pierced his cheeks. His eyes grew teary and the pain and ordeal he was going through were evident. But, that did little to stop him. He marched on still resolute to fulfil his end of the bargain. A bargain with whom? God?  If only pain and ordeal were currency in the ‘God-world’. All in the name of Religion.

   We don’t think twice before inflicting pain upon ourselves as a bargain for something we want but we grow apprehensive when asked to pledge our organs for donation, to be of use to someone when the organs will be of no use to our dead and decaying bodies.

   We search for God in Godly-men when he exists in our thoughts and random acts of kindness. We live in a world where the act of reaching out to god is commercialised and the promise of material satisfaction is sold like vegetables. Temples have lost their meaning. We tabulate and keep score of our karma and pray to god for material gifts quoting our karma score to justify how we deserve rewards. If only Santa Claus was real. Somewhere along the way we forgot God preaches contentment and chose the ignoramus path of using prayers and religious offerings to fuel greed and propagate hypocrisy. All in the name of Religion.

OMG! I AM A RAKSHASA!

 

Every hero becomes a super hero only based on the villain he faces.

There can be no BATMAN without JOKER
There can be no SHERLOCK without MORIARTY.
There can be no BAASHA without ANTONY.
The greatest villain is a prerequisite to create the greatest heroes. The greatest antagonist of ancient Indian literature is unequivocally the ten headed rakshasa, “RAAVAN”.

I heard the Ramayana for the zillionth time from my sixth grade teacher. Like any middle school teacher she explained the story in an animated tone with exaggerated gestures in a futile attempt to catch the class’s attention. As she reached the AARANYA KAANDAM, she introduced the antagonist of the epic as:

“Thus entered the ten headed raavan, the head of rakshasas”

Surprised at seeing my hand rising up, she stopped her story and asked me what my question was.
“Maam, who are the rakshasas?” I asked her.

In her attempt to make the description memorable for me she raised her eyebrows, widened her eyes and bellowed

“they are huge ,dark skinned creatures who lived in the southern part of the Indian subcontinent”. With her corpulent figure, dusky complexion my teacher matched her own description of a rakshasa. Hailing from tamil nadu I realized that I lived in the rakshasa heart land. I looked around my class to find more than 50% of the class conforming to the “rakshasa” description. I ran to the rest room,stared at the mirror to find a dark creature staring back at me. It was at that moment I realized

“OMG! I am  a rakshasa!”

WHO IS A RAKSHASA?

After several years of futile attempts to find my hidden rakshasa powers and searching through my family heirlooms for the pushpaka vimana,  I diverted my concentration towards finding out who these rakshasas really were.

Valimiki describes rakshasas as the dark skinned cannibals who practiced black magic. It has always been a common practice worldwide for the victorious to defame the vanquished by calling them ‘names’. The rakshasas were the as much human as you and me. They where the forefathers of the Dravidian race that flourishes in the major chunk of south India and Lanka to this day.

The rakshasas were fierce warriors and protectors of the Dravidian society. The protection of the forests which were an integral part of their society was one of their most important duties. When the Aryan rishis trespassed into their forests and started disturbing the eco systems in the name of yajnas the rakshasas were bound by duty to interrupt them, but the great Valimiki depicts the rakshasas as warmongers who disturb the peaceful rishis for fun.

Through various evidence prominent throughout the Ramayana, it becomes obvious that Valimiki refers to the tamizh speaking Dravidian clan as “rakshasas”.

RAVANA THE TYRANT OR BENEVOLANT?

dussehra

The death of the ten headed Ravana is celebrated in different forms throughout the Indian sub continent. Dussera and diwali, the most important hindu festivals essentially mark the end of the of Ravana’s reign. Ironically the rakshasas ie the tamilians who were supposedly saved from Ravana by the benevolent ram do not celebrate the death of Ravana in any form.

The mighty empire of Lanka was a much more advanced state as compared to the small princely state of Ayodhya. The glory is elucidated by Valimiki himself through the words of hanuman

prahR^iSTaa muditaa la.nkaa matta dvipa samaakulaa |
mahatii ratha sampuurNaa rakSo gaNa samaakulaa ||

dR^iDha baddha kavaaTaani mahaaparighavanti ca |
chatvaari vipulaanyasyaa dvaaraaNi sumahaanti ||

tatreshhuupayantraaNi balavanti mahaanti cha |
aagatam para sainyam tais tatra pratinivaaryate ||

The great Lanka was rejoiced and gayful, full of elephants in rut, abounding in chariots and inhabited by gangs of ogres.

Four fairly big and extensive gates are fitted with strong doors along with huge beams for locking those gates.

Strong and mighty ballista capable of hurling darts and stones have been attached to them. The enemy troops which arrive there are warded off by those catapults at the very gates

 
THE WOMEN

There are two powerful female characters in the Ramayana who create the motivation for the actions of both the protagonist and the antagonist

SITA

SOORPANKA

The contrasting characteristics of Sita and Soorpanaka are the reflection of the contradicting status of women in the Aryan and the so called “rakshasa” Dravidian land.

SOORPANKA was the younger sister of Ravana and a widow. Ill treatment of widows is even today prevalent in some of the remote regions of the country but Ravana appointed Soorpanka to rule the parts of the mainland in his stead.
When she encountered the young ram, she approached him and proposed marriage , this is a incident always explained in a bad sense in conventional discussions, but this incident elucidates the freedom of women in the rakshasa society and the prevalence of widow remarriage in the so called “tyrant” Ravana’s rule

SITA on the other hand is supposedly the epitome of chastity. She lead her entire life as an “obedient wife” (so much for gender equality) but at the end of the day was asked to jump into the fire to prove her loyalty to her husband (the crazy concept that the ignition temperature of a women’s body would be higher than temperature of fire if she is loyal to her husband!)

Comparing the status of the two women any imbecile would be jump to the logical conclusion that the life of Soorpanka(the so called rakshasi) was in a much better state than SITA who had jump into the fire for a husband whose biggest achievement in life was to live with a single wife(every tom dick and harry is able to do it today!)

The contribution by great kambar:
As  I mentioned earlier it is not a wonder that the Aryan poet Valimiki called the defeated Dravidians as “RAKSHASAS”  but the “great” kambar with his ingenious mastery over chaste tamizh translated the Valimiki Ramayana. So impeccable was his work that he succeeded in making the “RAKSHASAS” (tamilians) believe that they are the demons of the world!

(The success of Valimiki and kambar is the driving force for bollywood stars like SRK to make cheesy movies mocking the tamilians, releasing it in Chennai and expecting a houseful show.)

CONCLUSION

Did the Ramayana really happen?
This is a question that we may never know the answer to, but the locales, characters and their ethnicity are exaggerations of ancient civilizations that were very much real. The Ramayana is the standing proof of a great kingdom that existed in the south, a society that flourished in wealth and social values. Values like equality and freedom that eludes women of India even today. So the next time anybody narrates the Ramayana to you remember that it is not a story of personal feud, but rather a clash of two societies. The defeated society was in every way as glorious (if not better) than the victorious.
#RAKSHASA #PROUD