Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E Frankl.

I got this book as a gift. The title would sound like a self-help book. It’s not.

The Jewish author shares about the days he struggled in the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp during the world’s worst man-made disaster, The World War II.



The Auschwitz I Main Camp. Source: Wikipedia

There were a number of concentration camps during the Second World War. The Auschwitz camp was the largest camp built and established by the Nazis. The women, children, homosexuals, and the physically weak people were gassed as soon as they arrived at the camp and burnt to ashes. More than a Million people were killed in this camp.

The rest were put into all sorts of physical work. The men were shaved and all their personal belongings were taken away. Each person was assigned a number. Their identities were abolished. All they had for themselves was their naked body.

The author describes how it felt physically and mentally to survive in the horrific camp. The physical and mental stress were at the peak. They dreamed of the day they’d be liberated. Typhus (typhoid fever) spread in the camp. Death and suicides became a daily occurrence.



Female prisoners in Auschwitz who were deemed suitable for work but did not work in the brothel. Non-Jewish women were lured into volunteering with promises of better living conditions and better food rations. Source:

The prisoners went through mental trauma. Only the hopeful people survived. The hopeless ones eventually died. The author impressively breaks down the mental state of the prisoners as three psychological phases and explains each of them. Can mankind be so dreadful? It’ll be a shocking revelation as you read through.

The men knew that their wives and children were gassed and burned few meters away from them. All they could see was the smoke from the chimney.


The Crematorium with chimneys. Source:

Would you survive a camp like that? If yes, what’d be that one reason for which you wish to stay alive?

This quote keeps repeating throughout the book.

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how. – Friedrich Nietzsche 

This book breaks you down and gives you a new dimension to view life. Apart from the distressing incidents which took place at the camp, “How did they survive this?” is the question which disturbs you frequently.

Here are some of the most amazing lines from the book

“A human being is not one thing among others; things determine each other, but man is ultimately self-determining. What he becomes – within the limits of endowment and environment- he has made out of himself. In the concentration camps, for example, in this living laboratory and on this testing ground, we watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine while others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualized depends on decisions but not on conditions.” 

“Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become the next moment. By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.”

“A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the “why” for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any “how”.”

“For the first time in my life, I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that Love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.”

“But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.”

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

And there are many such quotes. Each paragraph is worthy to be read and understood. Do read this. A short and a highly impactful book.

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With Sport, Life’s Good


Recently I read “Shoe Dog by Phil Knight” and it instantly became a personal favorite. It was about sport and the man who tried to redefine sports and ultimately succeeded. All of us love sports. Watching our favorite teams/players play makes us energized and emotional. Sports unite people from all walks of life.

Many of us would have been on sports teams during our school and college days and eventually stopped playing due to various reasons. I’m one of them. I’ve never seen myself as a successful sportsman. But I loved everything about sports. It requires a certain discipline. Right from what you wear to how you do it. Everything matters.


When I was around 11 years old, I joined a swimming camp. The coach taught us how to swim for the first few weeks. Towards the end of the camp, we’re asked to dive into the pool where the depth would be around 8ft-10ft and you’re supposed to swim to the shallow part of the pool. Obviously, it was frightening in the beginning but as days passed by, we got accustomed to it. As soon as the camp ended, we were let free. I and my friends would meet up regularly for 90 minutes of swimming. The more we swam, the more we explored about this sport. We’d dive, swim underwater at a depth of 12ft, take some endurance sessions, etc. Indeed it pains, but we loved it. We just swam.

But, it came to an end after few years as we moved to various cities to pursue our graduate studies. This was my introduction to the world of sports.

Table Tennis

The year after I went to the swimming camp, I joined a Table Tennis camp. The coaches would train us every day. It’d be 40 minutes of outdoor workout and another 20 minutes of indoor training to sharpen our concentration. In the beginning, we’d be like, “why on earth are we doing all these? We could just go over to the table and start playing.” Later we realized that it was always about fitness. Fitness and the game are directly proportional.

The camp got unofficially extended for the newbies who performed well. Fortunately, I got a spot. And this was intensive training both on and off the table. It was not child’s play anymore. Training programs were charted for the players. We were supposed to work out to strengthen our calves, reflexes, wrist, hip, neck, shoulders, and almost all parts of our body. And, immediately after completing that, we’re trained on the game. By the end of the session, we’d literally fall off.

It was intense. But, the players who passed through this became a part of the school and club teams. Tournaments, win, and loss, became a routine. And that went for a year or two after which I was asked to stop playing. The creepy crappy “board exams” came in and I was forced to stay away from the kit for a long time. In no time, I lost the fitness, lost the form, and my game sucked big time. Oh, I sucked in my exams too. You can’t expect any respect in your middle-class household if you mess up something as big as a board exam.

I got admitted to a college 350kms away from my home. That means, no buddies, no training sessions, and no coaches. After a long break, I took up TT again. This time, it was self-training. There was no coach exclusively for the game. I was a madman all through the 4 years of my college life. It had temporary and permanent impacts on my character and lifestyle. I can say, those were the difficult 4 years of my life.

The lonely training sessions

Quickly I was on the college team and often it’d be only me running around the indoor stadium. Friends and teammates would accompany me a few days. The aura of the stadium would help me push. Running is good. It’s great! I used to run three or four laps in which the last lap would be the fastest and toughest as the muscles would start paining a lot. You need to go all out on the last lap.

One thing that’d come automatically to my mind when I ran the last lap would be the sufferings and pains which I was facing and the ones which I was going to face. The thoughts made me push and complete the final lap. In life, we always need to push hard. I failed a lot in my academics. My interests and my academics were divergent. I would flunk my exams and run an extra lap that evening. The last lap was the remedy for all the shit I went through. I’d get a satisfaction when I completed the session.

The harder you push, the more you are pulled. – Nike

The sport was not anymore a time pass for me. It became an integral part. But, as years went by, the dedication reduced and I never stepped into the stadium as my life was full of crap. Then started the next big break.

Work Life and to the days to come

I completely stopped TT or swimming after college. It’s been two years since I had sweat or my muscles ached from intense workouts. Now I’ve taken up cycling and had ridden around 300kms. No, it’s not new year resolution. I don’t believe in resolutions.

It’s the never-ending love for sports.
It’s the never-ending determination to push an extra mile.
It’s the never-ending act to challenge myself.

With sport, life is good.


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Be Unapologetically Yourself

“Our neighbor’s son secured an A and you’ve got just a D.
Look how well she dresses. Learn from her. (with a jab on the shoulder)
Your uncle’s daughter has topped her semester exams but you’re still lagging with 4 arrears.
He’s making 7 Lakhs per annum but you’re making a mere 4.5. When will your salary increase?
Fine arts is not going to help you in your life, get into an IT firm like your friend.”

We are accustomed to these type of comparisons in our life. If you are from a middle-class Indian family, the peer pressure from your family members and relatives will make you go nuts. When our parents sign our report cards, when our board exam results crash the servers (and ourselves), when we get into college, when we get a job offer after going through serious pains, we get subjected to silly comparisons in all the phases of our life. The worst part is when you get compared to a total stranger and the elders acknowledge his/her “words of wisdom.”

It’s a highly demotivating culture and people who don’t care about these “advice” are branded as adamant and stubborn. One cannot simply compare you with another X or Y. Sometimes, these lame comparisons sow the seeds of jealousy in the minds of children and even adults. For few, the comparisons are taken as an insult and it brings down their level of confidence. The other breed is the people who give Zero attention.

If you are from a middle-class family and if your ideologies and your family’s ideologies diverge, the only option for you is to be resilient to these scenarios. Your desires need to be concrete and you must not give room for negativities. Whatever you are, the society is going to compare you, criticize you, find faults with you. Embrace you’re uniqueness and feel happy about who you are.

The culture’s not going to change. The people around you are not going to change. You are responsible for your decisions. Success or failure, it’s in the way you see and accept life. An old friend of mine used to say “Don’t complicate life, have simple thoughts.” It may be hard to accept but, he makes sense. Complicating things or feeling depressed is not going to alter our lives in a positive way.

The society praises you when you succeed and stamps you hard when you fail.

Amidst all these, there’ll be few who heartily support you and encourage you in all your endeavors. Whatever happens, never let go of them. Each one of us goes through tough times in the path of life. These are the people who bring us back to the same spot where we fell down and make us stand strong again. Respect them.

Defining who we are going to be is in our hands. I say this to many of friends.

“Be selfish about who you wanted to be in your life.”

So, next time when you come across any cheesy comparisons or negative criticisms, help yourself with some sarcasm.

Live your life the way you wanted it to be.

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Chennai – A Dreamer’s Abode

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Chennai, the city where millions of dreams come true and billions are in making…

As a kid, I used to travel to Chennai once or twice a year just to attend family functions. All I knew about this city was the electric trains, marina beach, and OMR (though, I didn’t know the expansion). Standing in between my father and mother, I used to wonder what is so special about this city? Which element(s) of this city attracts hundreds of hundreds of people from all over this country?

Time gave me the answers.

It was the time of 12th standard results and just like any other child in a typical middle-class family, I had this pressurized feeling which potatoes feel inside a pressure cooker. As expected I got poor marks and I was packed and sent to a private engineering college in Chennai.


Marina Beach as seen from the lighthouse.

Here I was, with broken dreams, away from the family and friends, within four walls of the boy’s hostel, in the city of Chennai. As months went, I got back on track and Chennai gave me this new energy. The people of Chennai, the widespread opportunities, and more importantly I was able to meet individuals with similar ideologies and interests like mine. Exponential learning and life-altering experiences have made me love the City more than anything.

Arts, technology, medicine, engineering, architecture, food, fashion, literature, cinema, entertainment and what not?! You name it, and you’d get it in Chennai. This city was my coliseum to make my dreams come true and so it was for thousand others. Chennai made me run with it and a saying goes with it – ஓடுற குதிரை ஜெயிக்கிற ஊர்.


The enthralling shopping streets, the aura during IPL’s, the elegant filter coffee, the enchanting festival seasons adds more masala to this metropolitan. Being a major Information Technology hub of India, you don’t get enough to satisfy your tech-savvy appetite. Oh! you get delicious street food too till midnight.


The filter coffee.

 In some way, Chennai contributed hugely in exploring whom I really was. Chennai was not just a city anymore. It became my emotion. I came to this city with a pair of suitcases and a camera. After more than five years, today, I can say that I’m leading a satisfactory life. The suitcases are going to stay and my dreams never cease to soar higher each day. Chennai –  definitely a dreamer’s abode.

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We Are All Broken. Aren’t We?

On our daily commute to the office, we come across a lot of people. If it’s metropolitan, there’s no doubt that you get to see people from all walks of life. My return time from office to home would fall between 9:30 PM-10:00 PM. The time at which the city would slowly drift back to a peaceful and less polluted mode. With tiredness crept around our body, we reach our home and stay awake for a few hours and eventually fall asleep.

I live in Chennai and my timings are almost similar to the one mentioned above. My commute consists of a walk for approximately 15 Minutes. On my return journey, I used to see a lot of worried faces, enthusiastic street food sellers, frustrated faces, drunkards, mentally unstable people, and people who ‘re making their beds on platforms.

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The Story of Mukil Ganesan Wedding Photography

Holding a Yashika analog camera in my hand, not knowing what to do and being intrigued by the numbers on the display, I ask my dad for help. “Center the frame,” he says. The tender fingers of mine are wrapped around the flimsy plastic body of the camera and I feel both nervous and excited. Controlling my shivering hands, I place my left eye on the viewfinder and I wait for the machine to focus. I could feel the motor inside the soap sized camera move. I press and release the shutter button.

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9 things you’d have faced if you are a bachelor living in a rental house.

Being a bachelor in a “gated community” is not an easy job. First, you struggle to rent a house. People who rent their house for non-veg eating bachelors are so low. If at all they rent you one, the problems start after you move in.

Here are the 9 things which you’d have faced if you are a bachelor in a gated community consisting of families.

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The End Where I Begin

There is an insidious quirk to your brain that, if you let it, can drive you insane. Tell me if this sounds familiar to you:

You get anxious about confronting somebody in your life. That anxiety cripples you and you start wondering why you’re so anxious. Now you’re becoming anxious about being anxious. Oh no! Doubly anxious! Now you’re anxious about your anxiety, which is causing more anxiety.

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