Abhilash's Pandora Box


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About myself :

 

I am a simple, introvert turned extrovert, God’s eccentric creation on this planet. God made me the Jack of all Trades and Master of None. You will find me collecting and assimilating knowledge from various sources and in turn channeling the same towards my fellow beings on this planet. Easily reachable whenever you need me, I will surely not disappoint you.

 

 

My Personal Details :

Name              : Abhilash . People call me by number of names (Abu, Abhu, Abba, Anil, Anil, Alibash.

Mail                : abuabba@gmail.com

My family        : # Born into a family of 5, me being the eldest. Includes my father (1942 - 2003), my mother and

                          four siblings all younger to me.

                       # My immediate family includes my wife,  a son and a daughter.

                      

 

Positive Traits : Emotional, Loving, Intuitive, Imaginative (the reason for my various hobbies), Protective,

                         Sympathetic.

Negative Traits: Cautious, Protective, Moody.

Beware of        : My anger (It's out of the world, but there is a flipside. I have loads 'n' loads of patience, so my

                         blowing the cork is a rare phenomenon. Cheer up!!!).

Dislike most     : Selfishness, Dishonesty, Bragging, Snobbishness.

Likes most       : Originality (being true to oneself) and humility.

 

 

My Hobbies :

Like I mentioned earlier myself being a Jack of all trades, I have varied hobbies and interests. I definitely take my time out and try to vent out my constructive energies into these hobbies. Some of them I would like to put across are Sketching, Painting, Poetry, Weight Training, Boxing, Cooking, Music, Dancing, Making miniature models, reading, Writing essays & short stories...

 

 

My Work :

I have been in the Software Industry since the year 1989, starting with Foxpro and dBase and gradually been associated with Oracle, SQL Server, Visual Basic, C and subsequently into Software Quality Assurance and Testing. My favorite has always been the C language. I have around 17 years of experience in the Software Industry, and has contributed to lots of projects both Domestic and International (58 Domestic and 7 International - only development). I also had the opportunity to be part of a Quality team directly involved in implementation of CMM and ISO. Also actively took part in Gap analysis, and Causal Analysis towards the requirement for CMM. Currently working for an India based Software Development and Testing center as a Software Senior Test Lead for Sarbanes Oxley and Audit related functional application.

 

 

 

I have been in the Programming area for 9 years and in the administrative, Process and testing environment for the remaining 10 years. Major projects have been done in the area of C, Oracle.

My current organization is involved in Offshore Product Development Services.

 

 

My childhood

 

I was born in a city named Nasik Road, on the outskirts of Nasik, a pilgrimage city. Being the first born, I was adored, loved and given the utmost care by my parents. Perhaps, they crossed the limit, for which I would have serious repercussions later in life. 

 

In my childhood, I was the obedient, parent fearing child. I will not do anything, without their permission. It includes virtually anything I want to do. Due to this strict upbringing, since my childhood days; I was getting molded for future life with no confidence in facing life and with lot of psychological problems and the result was a guy with a lot of inferiority complex. I grew up like this, until my graduation, totally obedient & scared of my parents. I don't mean that I am no longer scared of my parents or not obedient now; but I have ceased to be the inferior complex spook I once was. The respect and obedience to my parents still exists.

 

Since my 9th standard, I have never seen a playground in the evening, and forget how it looks like with children playing on it. I would be back from school by 5:30 pm, have some snacks and be ready for studying. I was being molded on the lines of a baby elephant, who remembers the chain to which it is bound and be under the impression that the chain cannot be unbound or broken. The result, I became one of the most brilliant students in India (probably a bookworm). I have been 3 times runners up for National Talent Scholarship examination; 3 times runners up in General Knowledge exams at All India level; been a winner once and a runners up for Science exhibition at the All India level, and was a state level elocutionist too. My teachers considered me an ideal student, for which subsequently my siblings had to suffer. Every teacher wanted to be my teacher and my mentor at some point of time. But on the other side, I was losing in life. I was not healthy at all, had an inherent health problem, due to lack of physical activity. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” held true in my case during my childhood. I was growing up scared to take on the world. As a result, I was being cowed down in school too. Every guy in the class would take pleasure in beating me. This was how I grew up, until my 9th standard. One thing I am proud of my parents is imbibing in me the virtue of honesty. (I have gained and suffered too because of this trait in me).

 

 

 

 

Paradigm shift

 

Subsequent years after my 9th class, was witness to a paradigm change in my life. Due to my failing health, my parents were worried and consulted a Doctor, who advised them that I need some physical activity desperately. Another aspect was the prospect of an inferior being locked deep inside me. I wouldn't dare to look anybody in the eye due to the inferiority complex which I suffered and was deeply etched in my being. My father took a decision which I think changed my whole life. He got me admitted to a karate class, which I continued for 5 years and got various certificates at State level. It has been a struggle for me and I saw myself change from an unhealthy spook to a healthy, fitness conscious freak. I am personally indebted to Soke Solomon Issac, who has nurtured me during these days as my Karate Instructor. He is currently Lifetime Chairman of World Ishudo Federation and Director of All India KickBoxing Federation. I am really indebted to him, for he has paved the way for me to face the world and the struggles that come with it. He has been a great source of inspiration with his motivational techniques and imbibing in me the feeling of an inspired person. He has played a significant part in awakening the dormant mental strength and optimism that lied buried deep within my grey matter, and inspired me to believe in myself. Soke Solomon Issac, thanks a lot.

 

As is commonplace in most youngsters, it happened to me too. Gradually with the exposure to a lot of physical activity, I lost interest in studies, and no coaxing and beating from my parents could bring a change in me. Every advice, beating from my parents had an adverse affect on me, and it created a resolve in me to not go back to my studious routine. Eventually, I turned to other sports and became addicted to Football and Boxing. But there was one thing I could not change, the psychological scars in me about being inferior to others.

 

Finally the day came when I could shed that. In my second year of my PG, I was forced to join a Gymnasium by my friends. I was taken to this place, and I realized it became an outlet to vent my frustrations. The extensive and painful physical routine helped me to convert my negative energy into something positive. My father was dead against it. So I joined a typing class in the morning from 7 to 9 and instead of learning to type, I would keep myself busy at the Gym. I am sorry to say, that to misdirect my father, I would do some exercise at home in the evening. Even today, I thank God for providing me a unlimited source of energy, motivation and dedication to pursue the art of healthy living. Focussing my negative energies and the positive energies within me, I could transform my life from an obscure person to somebody who has gained fame, respect, name and recognition. It made me believe that everything is possible if you are focussed on your objectives and have a practical way to achieve these in a planned manner. 

 

An advice to all my folks out there "IT IS VERY EASY TO GET TO THE TOP, BUT TO REMAIN THERE AND SHOW CONSISTENCY IS A WHOLE LOT OF EFFORT, DEDICATION, AND ABOVE ALL, MOTIVATION".

 

At this moment when I found myself at the crossroads of life, I had the previlege of having some great friends who have guided me time and again, and persisted with me; so that I learn the ways of the world. C. Sunil, a friend and whom I consider like my elder brother has been a great source of inspiration. He has always stood besides me in times of trouble. I felt he was an angel sent by God to help me inch towards the light at the end of the tunnel. Vijay Rai, a great friend, who exposed me to the two sides of the coin of life. He is no longer amidst us, and my rolicking days with him will always be etched in memory. Here are two people who taught me the mental and physical aspects of life. Sunil with his ideas and provoking thoughts has molded my way of thinking and has taken me to a point, where there was no looking back. Vijay with his brawn and brashness has unknowingly nurtured in me the same characteristic for which he was known. "Thanks a lot", that's all I can say. No words can express my gratitude to you.

 

Another friend I'm really indebted to is Joshy Thomas, my friend in troubled times at Bombay. A great friend, a brother, someone whom I could approach and talk to without any hassles. Thanks Buddy.

 

Some close friends whom I cherish and played a role in my life (Ramkumar, S. Venu, Prashant Kangade, Hasnat Ansari, Rakesh K R, Squinty, Suresh Reddy). More shall be added to the list.

 

 

My Education

 

I completed my education from one of the prestigious schools in Maharashtra, situated at Nasik and affiliated to the Poona University. The name “G.E.S HAL HIGH SCHOOL & Junior COLLEGE” invokes memories in many of us who have studied in this school. It was here, we inculcated discipline into our system, gained knowledge, found respect and motivation from our teachers; who went out of their way to give the best to us. It is always a very happy moment for us, when we meet our teachers, who have given us a life that is smooth sailing in this world of competitiveness.  I studied in this school from my Kindergarten to the XII standard, and then joined the same education group for my Bachelor in Electronic Studies (B.E.S). Being interested in so many sports activities, I found myself not in the good books of my teachers. I was basking in my new found freedom of not having to study all the time. I paid the price and could only muster to pass my Bachelor degree.

 

 

For my Post-Graduation, I had to go to the main city in Nasik. I joined Institute of Management Research and Technology, Nasik for my Master’s in Computer Management degree. I resolved to not let the same freedom which I enjoyed during my Bachelor degree days, overcome me during my Post-Grad days and took my PG degree with First class.

 

 

It was during this time, I got involved in Programming and has been addicted to it since then. It was also the days when I got to working nearly 22 hours a day. It has been a long journey since then and today, I stand proud being one of the employees at CORDIANT TECHNOLOGIES, a Software Development and Testing organization based in Kochi, Kerala. Today, I enjoy my work place, my organization due to the fantastic colleagues whom I will always admire for their friendship, co-operation and teamwork. Every one of them is unique to me. I have gained in knowledge, in human values from each of them. More than colleagues, it will be best to consider them as someone who have influenced me and my attitude towards life.

 

 

 

From the Jaws of DEATH.

 

Well Folks, you might have wondered about what do I mean by being from the jaws of death. To put it in short, God gave me a new lease of life. Maybe the good deeds of my parents, my fore-fathers and my friends tilted the balance in my favor.

 

 

In the year 1999, I was working with the firm “Silverline Technologies” in Bombay. It was October 29, Friday. I left office at 21:45 and was supposed to leave for home at Nasik. I boarded a bus from Dadar at 22:15. I was seated in the second last row to the right, adjacent to the window seat. As was my habit, I would never sleep in a journey. I would spend my time observing the people, the surroundings and definitely; listening to my favorite music on my portable walkman. This night, I decided to listen to the mid-60’s old rock band “Doors” of the legendary “Jim Morrison”. The bus reached Asangaon, a tiny hamlet on the outskirts of Bombay at 01:30. People alighted to have a cup of coffee, for some like me indulged in biscuits or Rice and dal (which is the staple and humble food in dhabas all over Maharashtra).  Enjoyed a bit of the night air and ofcourse relieved myself of the pressure that had built up in my bladder.

 

 

I resumed my journey at 02:07 towards Nasik. Now, the only thing in my mind was my meeting with my parents and my siblings; and I was looking forward to spend valuable quality time with them and sharing my experiences in the past one week in Bombay. I need not say this, because most are aware that Bombay at every moment gives you a different experience, that will be cherished or the worst case, will haunt you until your death.

 

 

It was 02:10 now, and I was eagerly waiting to listen to the next song on my walkman. The song, I vividly remember was “Light my fire” with its fantastic guitar pieces by “Robbie Krieger”. Very soon these wonderful guitar notes were to stop for an eternity and the strings of the guitar go "twang".  Suddenly I felt the bus swerving violently towards the left and dragging its tyres. I could smell the burning of rubber as the bus was being pushed by an invisible force towards the left. Within moments, I felt the bus in a free-fall. It was like bungee-jumping in the dead of the night. Now it was very clear in my mind, that I was falling into a black-hole, a black-hole of a different kind. I was scared stiff. The only word I could muster from my lips were the word “Amma”. The only person I remembered was my mother, in this dreadful moment. I could feel myself and the other fellow passengers being pushed, prodded, rolled, rocked around like the number pieces in the tambola box.  Some of us would make it alive, while others would remain in the box, without making it out into some winning coupon. It feels nice to say I was one of the lucky number for a winning coupon; Yes, the coupon of God. I heard the sound of the bus hitting the ground, and felt it being dis-integrated into various pieces. In this motion, I could feel for the first time, how it feels to be sucked up by a black-hole; the black-hole in this case I later learnt was a slushy river bed. In fact, I had just fallen off a bridge.

 

 

Down below, in the hellish black hole; I was thankful that I was alive and kicking. I had not conked off like most  others. I bade some time to get accustomed to the moonlight. Immediately within some moments, I found out that I was wedged in a space between the rear tyres, the axle  and the skeletal remains of the bus. I tried to squeeze myself out of this tight corner, but could not. Oh God! My left hand was useless, I realized. I was not able to use them, but this was not going to cow me down. I mustered all my courage in my right hand, and thankful I was to the punishing routines in the Gym; for it was to save me this day. Once I was out of the junk, I found the platform that I was sitting upon was one of the rear tyres of the bus. I looked down and found the other tyre just below me. Oh Gosh! So the bus was lying on its side. Besides the tyre, I saw my fellow-neighbour passenger. He was a Naval cadet from Bombay, who was on his way to Shirdi to seek the blessings of Sai Baba. But I think, Sai Baba loved him and called him to heaven. He saved him the journey of making it to Shirdi, like countless of his devotees. He is blessed.

 

 

I jumped down and found my legs deep till my knees in the slush. Thank God, the river was just dry and there was no water. I plodded through the slush and found some of my co-passengers; some just sitting stunned, some knocked out cold and oblivious to what is happening around them, some calling out to their family members. I could hear the names being called “Papa”, “Mummy”, “Aayee” (mother in Marathi), “Sunita”, “Pravin”, “Mishra” and so on.

 

 

I saw another person cut in half by the metal sheets, that moments ago had provided a shield to us and gave the luxury bus its distinct shape and beauty. The sheets had turned into a dangerous weapon, rummaging through whatever it could slice through. I was thankful that I was alive. My body-building instincts, my immeasurable physical strength and mental toughness which had been hardened by my exposure to Body-building had helped me. The prayers of my parents, my friends, my well-wishers had pulled me alive out of this premature hell. I thought that the people needed help. I walked towards one of the edges of the bridge, holding on to the grass that grew around with my right hand. My left hand was useless. I motivated myself, pushed myself beyond my limits and reached the top. By then the police had already arrived, for they had been intimated by a good Samaritan who was right behind the bus in a car. I wish to have more of his kind in this world.

 

The police put me in a jeep and promised me that they will be helping the others too. I hesitated to leave behind my co-passengers, for I had seen the hell they were enduring down below. On being confirmed that the police would do their bit, whatever they could; I embarked on the journey to a small clinic in the village. I was lying on the floor of the jeep in agony. I could hardly breathe, which I later learned was due to blood rushing into my lungs because they were torn.

 

In the clinic, I was given pain-killing injections. My head was bandaged. The gash on my head which I was to later know was due to a flying piece of glass. But at this stage, my head was bandaged with a piece of glass already in the messy wound. Nobody had bothered to remove the piece of glass. I was told that my shoulder was broken. While I was sitting outside the dressing room of the clinic, I saw jeeps, ambulances and mini-trucks bringing in my co-passengers, and dead bodies. I counted 9 of them. On closer inspection, I found that these 9 people who had already bade goodbye to the world were my immediate neighbours in the bus. The last seat of the bus holds 6 people and the second last row holds 4 people, 2 on either side. So the dead accounted for the remaining people minus 1, that was me. It was my lucky day. As I said, a day on which the good deeds of my parents, my friends, my well-wishers tilted the scale of life in my favor. I sat there until morning, knowing fully well that the effects of the pain-killers were wearing off. I made a slit at the top of the T-shirt I was wearing and pushed my left hand into it as if like some sling to get some support to the damaged left shoulder.

 

 

At daybreak around 06:00, October 30, 1999, an ambulance arrived from Thane hospital to take the victims to a hospital in Thane.  Even I was coaxed to get into the ambulance and leave for Thane, but I had other plans. I told them that I would like to go back to Nasik, to my parents. They enquired if I was able to undertake the journey. I replied affirmatively, for nothing interested me more than being with my family. I was made to sign a piece of document, which absolved them of any consequences if anything happened to me. I cared not what they had to say. I wanted to go home. That’s all.

 

I was dropped at the Asangaon railway station by an autorickshaw driver, who I still remember did not take any charges from me, even though I forced him to have his share. I could barely walk. I could find my breathing going tough. I was managing to keep alive and breathing by changing the position of my upper body, so that my breathing could resume. At 06:35, I boarded the Kasara local towards Kasara, from where I would have to take a bus ride to Nasik. In the train, I was subjected to the most extreme form of human callousness by the passengers. I found a vacant seat and took position. Immediately  those around me got up and shifted to another seat. I could find them murmuring that probably I was a victim of some gang-fights, and was left for dead. They were right, for they did not want to be running their way into police-stations; which has a bad history with good citizens of this country. But it pained me, for I was wanting some help to try and manage to reach Kasara.

 

 

On reaching Kasara, I approached a taxi-driver, who like his fellow-beings whom I encountered in the train declined to help me. I pleaded with them to please take me to Nasik. I was losing time and I needed immediate medical assistance. I knew my time was running out. Out of a blue, a stranger approached me, as I was talking to these taxi-drivers. He came face to face and recognized me as a body-builder he had seen in lot of competitions in Nasik and all over Maharashtra. He was on his way from Nasik to Bombay. He pleaded on my behalf to the taxi-driver to take me where I tell him, and he managed to tell the taxi-driver that I was a famous sportsmen of Nasik. Well, Body-building made me so famous, I did not realize. I am still indebted to this stranger, whom I enquired about and told me his name was “Sanjay Dole” from the main Nasik city. Sanjay, wherever you are, “May God Bless you and your family”.

 

 

I reached Nasik after nearly 7 hours, instead of the normally 3 hours from Kasara; because I had to request the taxi-driver to drive very slowly due to the jitters I was going through. My bones were jarring and poking me. In the hospital, I found out that I had broken my shoulder into 3 pieces and broken my ribs in 11 places and my lungs were torn. The glass pieces lodged in my head were pulled out and the gaping wound stitched up.

 

 

The silence when my parents were told by the Doctor was palpable. I was shocked and beyond words, because it had put an end to my body-building career. Every now and then I would enquire with the Doctor, if I could continue with body-building, my passion. I was advised to stay in bed for nearly 7 months. It is one of the most enduring days I have ever gone through, since I could not move, nor turn on my sides, not sit upright. But I was keeping myself motivated to go through this ordeal and be back with my body-building. After the torturing 7 months on bed, when I saw myself in the mirror; I was in for another shock for I had grown fat and huge. I was resembling Mr. Jiggs in the cartoon series "Bringing up father". I was shattered. A doubt lingered whether I could make to my original self. Deep down in my being, there was a resolve to get back at destiny. I made it very clear in my mind, that I wanted to go back to my passion. After 7 months of treatment (my parents suffered a lot during this period), I re-started my initial forays into exercising by squats and push-ups. I did feel a lot of pain in the ribs, but I could take a rest, change positions and somehow by my grit and determination, continue with my push-ups. Within 3 months, I could find myself getting into shape. Though I could never get back to the old form of mine, I am a pale shadow of what I once was. But I am more determined and more dedicated to the wonders of exercising.

 

 

Even to this day, I remain wide awake on journeys, not to look and observe my fellow-passengers; but to be aware if something untoward is gonna happen. An accident has changed my life.

 

 

My advice to my friends and others,  “Have faith in God, for God will surely make a way for you. Listen to your mind, and believe in your inner self; for it is a powerhouse that can do wonders”.

 

 

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