Kiruba is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, podcaster and a farmer.

Why I Still Like Lance Armstrong


(Pic courtesy: Gawker)
When I was in my 3rd standard, my Tamil teacher taught me about a bird called ‘Annam’ ( or Annapparavai), a beautiful, white colored, swan-like bird. The specialty of this bird is that even if it was given diluted milk, it had the ability to extract pure milk and drink it.

My teacher would often say that the people who we meet in real life are like diluted milk. Every person has both good and bad qualities. Like the Annam bird, we need to extract just the good qualities.

For a long time, I thought that bird was real. Even after realizing that its a mythical character much later, that lesson got entrenched in my mind.

That early lesson comes to my mind again as I think of Lance Armstrong.

There’s no doubt that he made mistakes…grave ones. He cheated, he lied, he bullied. Yet, I can’t get myself to hate the guy.

You must give it to a guy who can raise over $500 Million for a foundation. Try raising even a small amount of money for a charity and you will know how tough that is.

He has given hope to many cancer patients. Just ask Yuvraj Singh. Ask his mother. Ask the mother’s of all the patients who were inspired. Now, lets talk again.

I have done a bit of cycling.. a tiny fraction but that’s good enough to appreciate anyone who rides the Tour de France. 3500+ kms at an average speed of 40kms. That’s frickin’ insane. With or without drugs, that’s just plain astounding. I tried attempting 40 kms speed and after 2 kms, my lungs were ready to explode.

I have read every book of his. I liked them all. Authoring a book is not easy. I’ve done four and I’m fairly confident that they suck. So, when I find a book with lucid narrative, I can’t help but appreciate it.

Cycling is not a popular sport. Not by a long shot as compared to Soccer, Cricket or even Golf. Yet, Armstrong made a fantastic name for himself and almost single-handedly made the sport popular for my generation.

I’m not for one bit defending what Lance Armstrong did. What he did was plain wrong. He deserves the punishment he got.

What I’m really hoping is that he gets a window of opportunity to get back to sports…be it cycling, marathons or triathlons. I strongly feel he deserves a chance, even if its not for himself but for the sake of so many people like me who have made mistakes in our lives.

I hated Mohd Azzaruddin and Ajay Jadeja for what they did. While I still arbor animosity, I admire their resilience for how strongly they have come back. With so much hatred, its easy for people to buckle down and disappear. These people chose to claw their way back.

I sure do hope Lance gets his chance. I would love to see him come back clean. You can be sure I will be rooting for him… even more than I did before.


Nila Soru : Re-living a Childhood Memory


Pic by Bohemian

The full moon was stunning. I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen it this bright. Maybe it had to do with the power cut. I stood watching it for a full minute soaking in its beauty. It reminded me of my childhood days.

Back in Rettani, my maternal village near Tindivanan, we kids would gather around on the terrace and our aunt would feed us ‘Sambhar Boova’ (that’s kidspeak for sambhar rice). With outstretched hands, we would receive riceballs in turns while listening to some fascinating story.

My journey down memory lane was cut short when the power came back. The bright city lights diminished the luminosity of the moon. No wonder we never notice it that often. That’s when I thought about my kids and felt bad for them. Will they ever get to experience the small pleasues that we were fortunate to enjoy. An idea struck me. Why not have a ‘Nila Soru’ dinner tonight?


My wife and Mom are a fantastic sport. I told them the idea and they were party to it immediately. They made nice sambhar rice (with lots of ghee, yumm) and potato ‘poriyal’. The kids in our apartment are a connected lot and the word spread quickly. They all assembed on the terrace and after a bit of dancing and playing, it was food time.

The only person missing though was the moon! At 8:30 pm, no sight of the main character. I was told he’d take time to come up. We were all hungry and decided to go ahead.

My wife placed rice balls in each kid’s hand one by one. I followed by keeping the potato sidedish. The kids seemed to love it. Just the sight of joy on their faces was worth it. In our daily rush and a commercialized lifestyle, we fail to realize the happiness in small things. Many of the kids parents came up to the terrace too and it was their chance to reminiscence about their childhood.


Livng a Childhood Spidey Wish

Back when I was a school boy, the Spider-Man cartoon was my absolute favorite. I remember they would show this on Sunday afternoons and I would hum along that catchy spidey tune. However, I could never sing along because the song was too fast for me. I really wanted to but never did.

Today, my younger daughter was playing with a Spidey mask when I remembered my long time desire. I quickly fired up the video of the spider-man serial at YouTube on one window and the lyrics on another window. I must’ve played it at least a dozen times, singing along aloud. My daughter would join in joyfully and hum along. When I see her hum and the joy on her face, I can’t help but notice how life has come a full circle.