Life, less but full….

 It was in the midst of Bangalore’s flurry summer when I joined one of the erstwhile big fours in Bangalore to pursue my CA. Fresh from college, the burgeoning wings could not be clipped. The aspirations to have fun in a serious setting like a CA firm of all places was more important than doing anything serious in a firm full of curd rice lovers. These curd rice lovers recited Company Laws and Income Tax acts like nursery rhymes. Instead of fearing this erudite lot or at least being in awe of their “intellect”, I honestly regarded them to belong to a class of individuals who fitted into a framework of boring, lifeless, jaded, and plain. They were so boring that boredom could be redefined with their callous attitudes towards life. They were a breed who never illuminated themselves with the greatness of Amitabh Bachchan or Maradona or Tendulkar (which was by itself sacrilege) or cared to know the difference between the Khans (they could have well been four brothers) or understand an empire called Bollywood, (lets not even try to go across the Atlantic to Hollywood).But, they could dissect every Tax Lact, every Company law ammendment and maybe even each Raaga that the great carnatic maestro MS Subbalakshmi sang in fifty years. God chose to drop me in the middle of these peculiar species.

(In order to know more on my penchant for the curd rice terminology, please read this previous blog of mine at

I recall my first day in the hallowed wooden decked offices. People stared at me; I walked in confidently, cheerfully and above all normally. I was received with looks that bordered between oddity and ludicrosity. “It is wrong to sound and look so carefree in a firm of Accountants ” they whispered to one another. Did they expect a litre of coconut oil on my scalp and maybe two strands of jasmine flower braided on my head? Maybe. Evolution had bypassed this firm’s office in the last millennium I had concluded. An erstwhile “big four” they called themselves.

My first day there after an initial orientation of important things like how big this firm was, who their clients were was not as important as procuring knowledge as to what time we got served coffee by that whiz coffee maker from Trivandrum (or Ernakulum). I eventually went on to give more respect to this chap who served us delicious, piping hot filter coffee (religiously at 10 AM and 4 PM) than what I dished out to my Managers. I met the boys and girls from my batch. The first year, eager batch of wanna be Chartered Accountants was a heterogeneous lot with a homogeneous mind set of aspiring CAs. It was a healthy mix of rustic Tamilians, Kannadigas, Sindhis, one Persian (or so he thought) Anglo Indians and Malus scattered in for a good measure. Each character had his / her peculiarity and traits that deserved a patent.

In this rookie batch there was a chap by the name Vinod Sreedharan aka Mr. Noddy and going by a few other nom de plumes which were mostly made up by a larger Malu batch mate. I instantly developed a rapport with Vinod, this large Malu chap, the Persian, the Sindhi, another IQ infested Tamilian, a junior tycoon from Karnataka and an Anglo Indian choir boy. These chaps were fun to hang out with, great to party with and a pleasure to go on Audits with ( if at all ). Any permutation and combination with either one or several of them produced the much desired result of extreme fun. I was the only nineteen year old girl in this club of crack pots and these chaps well and truly prepared me for male stupidity in the years to come.

My bonding with Vinod was valuable. An extremely lean geek with a heart of gold, who answered questions late, who flickered like a tube light that ran on voltage of less than zero watts, who was the “butt” of all jokes that were raised mostly on account of his posterior (that was said to have been flattened by a road runner in his formative years). In him I found a true friend, who laughed at my silliness and remained an able alibi in all my tricks and treats alike. There were certain peculiarities about Vinod that made us wonder about him time and again. He eluded any questions about his family but treated us like one. The Malu chap and Vinod were constantly in a game of “dumb” charade with one another, but it made me enjoy their company even more albeit I was the go between most times in their frictions and factions.

I remained in touch with Vinod during the years that I was not in India. Vinod went on to do extremely well in his chosen career path and was getting ready to move to greener pastures in the US sometime in 2007. I recall speaking to him one evening in May 2007, a few hours before he was ready to embark on his journey to Tirupati with his family. He was all set to leave for the US and obtaining the Lord’s grace was important for Vinod before commencing this new league. I recall the mirth in his voice and his excitement about life in the US with his lovely wife. He promised to call back on his return from his pilgrimage. That was the last time I said bye to him. Vinod, his wife and his Mother in law perished in a car accident en route to Tirupati.

I chose to write a bit about Vinod for the first time. If Vinod can log on to a computer wherever he is, I hope he reads this.

If death meant just leaving the stage long enough to change costume and come back as a new character…Would you slow down? Or speed up?


17 Responses to “Life, less but full….”

  1. Dr.Damodhar.M.V Says:

    Sorry for Vinod and his family…may their soul rest in peace…

  2. Sharmila,

    Perhaps you have made it easier for yourself by giving the person a name and an identity – Vinod.

    Nonetheless, permit me to quote myself from my own personal musings…

    Death is non-existence in any form. A state that cannot be measured by space, matter, energy, motion or time. Therefore Death is a state without a potential. Death is immortal.

    Energy and Matter dissipate, hence they are mortal. Space is what is occupied by matter, hence it is mortal. Time is a measure of Life and all its depleting resources, hence it is mortal.

    Creativity is a loose, inaccurate concept applied to the premises of Life. It is impossible to create a resource that does not exist. Death defeats the functions of all the resources that sustain life. Life begets life from its resources. Death is not a resource that sustains Life.

    The two parametric measures of mortal and immortal apply to the two distinct identities of Life and Death respectively. Life is mortal. Death is immortal. They are not complimentary alternatives to each other.

    The unity called Life is a working amalgamation of its resources formed from reckonable reserves- the Body and the programmable functions called Mind and Consciousness. Death is not an entity that can be described by the contents of life.

    When referenced to Life, Death is only ‘Not This, Not This, Not This…’


    “Who are you?”

    “Thats ‘who’ I am”

    A question and an answer that has been officially recorded in the history of humans first time over a 1000 years BCE in the Vedas. Since then, it has appeared in various ways in practically every philosophical treatise.

    I have spent so much precious time in trying to find out what this is all about that I am now merely what I know about all this.

    This hurts.

    I was myself when I decided to learn. But now I am what I have learnt. My knowing has hijacked me thus.

    Shall I free myself of this knowing? What shall remain of me then?

    Who am I if I am not ‘who’?

    No. I am not this.

    I am the one who engages and I am the one who is engaged…

    Matter and motion are attributes of Life not of Death.

    Life occupies space; Death does not.

    Life is driven by volition; Death is not.

    Life creates Time; Death does not.

    The content of Life and the content of Death are not the same.

    The spirit of Life does not exist in Death.

    The appointments of Life are not those of Death.

    In Life I recall; In Death Time does not exist.

    I was not prepared for life; I am not prepared for death…


    • REader – This is truly brilliant, loved every sentence here. After reading this, I am inclined to think that life too is not mortal.

    • Sharmila,

      Thank you… all the above are extracts from my own site.. I use that space like a diary to talk to myself… 🙂

  3. Aishwarya Says:


    Your post had me in a torrent of emotions. From giggling uncontrollably over the office that “evolution had bypassed” and the chaps who prepared you for “male stupidity in the years to come”… I broke down reading about your friend’s death…I am so sorry for your loss. In this world, where we make acquaintances almost everyday, a true friend is so hard to come by.

    My friend, Ani, was an absolute joy to be with. We did our SPM postings together. Driving into the rural areas before sunrise everyday would have been sheer torture if not for her cheerful company. We lost touch when we went on to do our PG. I later learnt that she had committed suicide in her first year of MS. There have been many rumors over it, none of which I choose to believe. For me, she is alive, seeing life through my eyes. I am neither brave enough to face death nor to come to terms with hers.

    I would like to enjoy life a day at a time…and if death means just leaving long enough for a costume change, I hope my friend comes back soon…life awaits her…and so do I.


  4. ANIL NAIR Says:

    Touching Story……Tears Rolling….

  5. Jasmine Jaywant Says:

    Sharmila, very well-written, and poignant, in the context of the tragic ending.
    Have you posted your review of Raavan yet? Did I miss it, or you haven’t seen the film still? Thanks for putting up Satyam’s here, and Nina Rothe’s.

  6. Sharmila – Very touching post here. I’m so sorry for Vinod and his family and obviously for you too. May be Vinod should have just left for the US without bothering too much about seeking divine blessings. Who knows, the story could have been different.

    Thank you for sharing this because it has made me decide to let bygones be bygones and invest more time on friends and relations. Life is too very unpredictable.

  7. MonaLisa Says:

    No one knows how death approaches and grab one from behind by neck. We the remainders can do nothing about it except feeling sorry for the family and victim itself. our mind gets lost in the maze of those ifs and buts, however nothing has been fructified yet to defeat The Death.
    Its a terrible thing to lose our near and dear ones, close friends and well wishers. no matter how one tries to be philosophical about it. We all have lost someone or the other in this life time and we all know how irreplaceable they are/have been.
    Sorry for your loss Sharmila….! God bless his soul…!
    If death was supposed to catch up with him, if it was destined so….who could have changed it…place and means are just another reason to blame onto….
    However apart from being so philosophical and all that….one can certainly blame road and traffic system in India. ppl drive as if they are in rush to meet with Death,as if they have an appointment with Death….Most of the Roads are too narrow, there is no traffic sense or civic sense at all, ppl drive as if a herd of sheeps running neck to neck. there is no lane system-those are just white stripes on the road to be ignored…Driving is so reckless….there is no speed limit…ohhh…God…its too much to take…!

    • MonaLisa – That is right, the road system in India is a nightmare. It will be interesting to dig out some stats about death and roads in India. It is indeed too much to take. Accidents on the national highways most certainy result in death 9 out of 10 times.

  8. Salman Shahid Alvi Says:

    It comes in the Holy Qur’an,”Kullu nafsin zaiqatul maut” which means ‘Every soul has to taste death’.Life is full of uncertainties.And death is one of those.I was really moved by your words at the end.Condolences for your friend Vinod.

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