Sunday, December 30, 2018

SSSIHL/SSSU (Sathya Sai University) ID cards with face blurred (Ravi S. Iyer)



SSSIHL/SSSU (Sathya Sai University) ID cards (with face blurred) during my (Ravi S. Iyer) free service from Jan. 2003 to Mar. 2012 with designations of Hon. Staff, Hon. Faculty and Visiting Faculty.

I have blurred the face in my above photo IDs as I prefer to lead a reclusive and low profile life in the real physical world. However, I am easily accessible on the Internet, via Facebook, blog, email and even Twitter. The bottom of this post provides my Internet contact info. and other details.

DMACS stands for Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and is the department I was associated with during my entire stint though I also taught some software lab. courses in the Physics department.

SSSIHL (Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning) name changed to SSSU (Sri Sathya Sai University) and then back to SSSIHL during the course of my stint. But the institution was the same.

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My Internet social media channels and contact information

Ravi S. Iyer
Social media writer on spirituality, religion and miscellaneous topics
Retired international software consultant
Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh, India

Spiritual/Religious Websites/Blogs
* About Sri Sathya Sai Baba and more: ravisiyer.blogspot.com
* Existential reality, Vedanta and God & science conversation: iami1.wordpress.com

Software Websites/Blogs
* Indian CS & IT Academic Reform Activism: eklavyasai.blogspot.com/p/table-of-contents.html
* Course material related to computer programming (software lab.) courses: raviiyerteaches.wordpress.com

Misc. Topics Blogs
* ravisiyermisc.blogspot.com/
* Misc. Tech.: ravisiyer.wordpress.com/category/misc/

e-mail:   ravi@raviiyer.org
Twitter:  twitter.com/RaviSaiIyer
Google+:  google.com/+RaviSIyerSai
Facebook: facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7

Service to Society is Service to God

Friday, December 28, 2018

Documenting my part auto bio with pics - school and college education certificates and marksheets

Last updated on 1st Jan. 2019

This post follows up on my previous post: Documenting my part auto bio with pics - computer software industry appreciation and experience letters, https://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2018/12/documenting-my-part-auto-bio-with-pics_27.html.

My first school was English High School, Dadar, Bombay perhaps from Ist standard to VIth standard. I do not have any records of this. The school itself is not around now.

[To open pic in higher resolution, right-click on pic followed by open link (NOT image) in new tab/window. In new tab/window you may have to click on pic to zoom in.]







Above pics are about my second school stint and the important Xth standard Maharashtra state board exam. The school was Cardinal Gracias High School, Bandra (East), Bombay, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardinal_Gracias_High_School, and I studied there from VIIth standard to Xth standard, from mid 1974 to mid 1978.





Above pics are about the first two years at my first college, Ruia College, Matunga, Bombay,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramnarain_Ruia_College. The first two years, XIth and XIIth were referred to as Junior College, at the end of which there was an important XIIth standard Maharashtra state board exam.













Above pics are about the next three years at Ruia college for my B.Sc. Physics degree awarded by University of Bombay. First Year B.Sc involved three main subjects: Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. Second Year B.Sc. had two main subjects: Physics and Chemistry. Third year B.Sc. focused only on Physics.

Three pics of the B.Sc. degree are shown above. The first (from top) pic of the original and laminated B.Sc. degree shows a bulge at the line where it is folded. The second pic of it was taken when the bulging part was held flat by weights on the sides. To eliminate the weights on the sides from the pic, I decided to show only the key inner part of the degree in this second pic of the B.Sc. degree. The third pic of the B.Sc. degree is of a zerox copy of the original degree.

I do not seem to have any records of my partial first year (perhaps around 6 months) M.Sc. (Physics - Electronics) with theory classes at University of Bombay, Kalina campus, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Mumbai#Kalina_Campus and practicals at Khalsa college, Matunga, Bombay, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guru_Nanak_Khalsa_College_of_Arts,_Science_%26_Commerce. My grand plan of earning money by conducting tuition classes for school and other students to self-finance my M.Sc. studies, and in parallel study well in M.Sc. did not work out properly. I think I fell behind my targets in both earning money and in my M.Sc. studies.

So I dropped out of M.Sc. after around 6 months. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I was able to get into the sunrise field of software development at an earlier age. In fact, two of my student colleagues in M.Sc. in Khalsa, joined the same company, Datamatics Ltd. that I had joined in March 1984, after they finished their M.Sc. (Physics). They would have finished M.Sc. sometime in mid 1985 and perhaps joined Datamatics a few months later. So I think I was around one and a half years senior to them in the software development field because I had dropped out of M.Sc. (Physics)!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Documenting my part auto bio with pics - computer software industry appreciation and experience letters

Last updated on 29th Dec. 2018

This post follows up on my previous post: Documenting my part auto bio with pics - the Visa trail as documentation of my foreign trips, https://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2018/12/documenting-my-part-auto-bio-with-pics.html.

I worked in the computer software industry from March 1984 to August 2002.

Here's my computer software professional biodata including my free service stint as Hon. Staff, Hon. Faculty and Visiting Faculty, in an Indian deemed university, https://ravisiyer.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/ravisiyerbiodata.pdf.

And here's my computer software industry work-experience details, https://ravisiyer.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/raviiyerindustryworkexperience.pdf.

Appreciation Letters

Given below are pics of some appreciation letters I got during my software industry career:

[To open pic in higher resolution, right-click on pic followed by open in new tab/window. In new tab/window you may have to click on pic to zoom in.]





Above pics are from my seniors/bosses at Wang Laboratories, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wang_Laboratories, which was a famous tech. company in the 1980s but had started running into financial difficulties in the second half of the 1980s which is where my Indian company, Datamatics, got an opportunity to offer lower cost technical services through us software developers. The first two pics (from top) are for my 2nd USA stint from Sept. 1988 to Sept. 1989. The third pic is for my 1st USA stint from March 1987 to Sept. 1987.



Above pic is an appreciation letter dated Aug. 1991, during my stint in Boshu Technics Corporation. We had done work in our Bombay office, for a Cologne, German client called BUSY Gmbh. Mr. Kaiser who has signed the above letter was the client company boss. But there was a technical lead in Busy Gmbh for this project, a Mr. Achlietner (if I recall the name correctly), who sent us in our Bombay office, a delicious cake as an additional form of appreciation for the work. I don't know whether the cake was sent from Germany or was sent from someplace in Bombay itself. My guess is that they sent it from Germany as, if I recall correctly, it was some German speciality cake. We enjoyed the cake :-)!







Above pics are appreciation letters during my stint as Technical consultant in Mastek, Mumbai, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastek. To help manage my health issues which got easily precipitated by stress, I had completely given up project management work and offered only technical consultancy services as an independent consultant (not employee).

Experience Letters

Experience letters from various companies I was associated with as employee or as independent consultant (not employee), are given below.



Above pic of experience letter is from my first company, Datamatics Ltd., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datamatics, where I was employed from March 1984 to May 1990. I joined as Trainee Programmer and by the time I left the company I had risen to Project Leader.



Above experience letter is from my second company, a startup, Boshu Technics Corporation, where I was employed from June 1990 to November 1992. I was essentially the technical head with the proprietor, Mr. S.K. Basu (ex IBM India, ex IDM founder-director) being the overall head of the small company. (The company had around or less than 10 employees when I joined and I think even when I quit it was around 10 employees though it was an almost completely new set of employees by the time I quit). The official designation I had was: Manager Software.

Boshu Techics is not around now I think. Perhaps after Mr. S.K. Basu passed away, the company closed down. Here's an article from Indian Express in Nov. 1998 that references Mr. Basu and Boshu Technics: Innovative software keeps company going, http://expressindia.indianexpress.com/fe/daily/19981116/32055744.html.



I free-lanced for most of the 1993 year. Above experience letter is from Mastek Ltd.,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastek, with whom I was associated with, as a regular technical consultant (not employee) from end 1993 till June 2001.



Above experience letter is from a startup, CelPro Group B.V. (a Dutch - Netherlands - company), that I was associated with as senior technical consultant (not employee), through (for administrative purposes) an Indian company called Continuum Technologies, from July 2001 to Aug. 2002.
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Given below are some comments from my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2377203519162878 associated with this blog post:

In response to a comment, " It was wonderful going through these Sir. One observation: The length of the recommendation letters are progressively decreasing as the years go by :)", I (Ravi) wrote (slightly edited):
After 1993 till early 1999 when my mother passed away, my main job was mother care involving no money earning but expense. My secondary job was earning money part-time as software technical consultant. So my work output had reduced. Further, I had stopped taking on project management responsibility and would limit myself to technical advice. Now I have noted that the later set of appreciation letters start from October 1999 (from Mastek), though I was with Mastek from end 1993. A few months after my mother passed away in Feb. 1999, say from around April or May 1999, I had started working almost full time (but staggered hours) with Mastek. So the appreciation letters are from after I started working almost full time with Mastek. But I was not accepting project management responsibility and limiting myself to technical advice. I think this may be one reason for my appreciation letters after 1993 being less laudatory and less long :-).
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In response to a comment which said in part, "Probably Sir, the managers became too busy!", I (Ravi) wrote:
In my case, brother, what I said above is the truth. My job profile drastically reduced after 1993, even though I still was able to contribute technically. Earlier I used to own projects, take full responsibility and deliver to the customer. So the customers were very happy with me then. That's reflected in those appreciation letters.
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In response to a comment which partly said, "Wow! Ravi, you took me down my own memory lanes with your chronology! I'm 1963 born and I was with the World Bank group from late 80's until 1997 and we had Wang VS and then we implemented Banyan VINES on Tokenring. I remember attending training courses in Massachusetts in early 90's.", I wrote (slightly edited):
Very interesting --name-snipped--! Fascinating that I found a Facebook friend who knows of Wang VS and Banyan VINES!!! Most of the post 2000 software industry people which includes students I taught software development from 2003 to 2011 in Sai university, Prasanthi Nilayam campus, would not have heard of Wang VS or Banyan VINES!

John Kowalonek was the big man in Wang VS work on porting Banyan VINES to Wang VS. He was earlier in DEC.

Fascinating that you attended training courses on these topics in Massachusetts in early 90s.

You put it very well: "Everything moved towards Windows (both server and desktop) eventually. How things, technologies and whole companies become obsolete over time! Nothing is permanent." I entirely agree. Especially in Tech and change is so blindingly fast in Tech.

How big were the names of IBM, DEC and Wang in the 1980s! Where are they today? IBM is still around as it reinvented itself as a services company. The WinTel PC revolution just blew them or their computer system maker brand, away!

Thanks a ton for your comment.
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In response to comment that said partly, " Ravi, you're way more technical than today's CS graduates! You say you discontinued your MSc, but you managed to work on such a wide variety of platforms and OS's!" and referred to some Wang computer models, I wrote (slightly edited):
For me the big Wang computer model was the VS 80, which was said to be very close to IBM 360/370. I got pretty deep into it, and also had an opportunity to see a little bit of the actual operating system code.

I think I had to study far more during my computer industry career than during my college days. Honestly!

But my studies have been informal and on-the-job. No academic degree to show for it. But then neither do some of the biggest names in Tech of my days have academic degrees to show for their prolific knowledge and technical accomplishments - Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. So I am in good company :-).

If I recall correctly, I had told one of the vice-chancellors of the Sai university that if I wanted to get a Ph.D. I could get two, not just one :-). It is just that I was not interested in academic research. I was focused on spiritual endeavour and my teaching & guidance on tech matters to students, and initial 5 years of additional role of Systems Manager at Sai university, DMACS (Dept. of Maths & Comp. Sc.) Lab, were my Seva offering to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, which was an important part of my spiritual endeavour done in the physical presence of Bhagavan. At that time and even now, I was, and am, interested in a spiritual career and NOT an academic career or a tech. career.

I also realized that as in my industry career, all my work was intellectual property owned by the company, even if I wanted to I could not publish articles in trade magazines or even technology magazines, giving key information about my work. So there was no way outsiders would know of my work details, unless they interviewed me on something or somebody from my company told them.

In contrast in academia, one publishes papers on the work that one has done quite freely (unless it is an industry sponsored thing in which case there may be some constraints). Even I am the co-author of two papers published from work done in M.Tech. (CS) student projects where I was technical consultant and a USA based professor (NRI) was the key advisor. Given the intense tech. stuff I had to do during my Wang Labs. work days as well as some other intense software projects I have done, the M.Tech. student projects resulting in published academic conference papers, were minor stuff! Really!

But most Indian CS academics that I came across could not really understand the depth of technical work that many in the Indian software industry who were not formally educated in Computer Science or Information Technology, including me, had done, Their tech. knowledge was, at best, superficial. And so they played the UGC/AICTE game of Ph.D. requirement before anybody is considered knowledgeable in Indian academia!
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In response to comment, "Ravi, you're so right! Formal education is far less important than your passion and drive. What all you did was out of genuine interest to learn and master the subjects! My hat's off to you ", I wrote (slightly edited):
Thank you so much brother --name-snipped-- for your kind words.
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A former student of Sai university whom I taught software development lab. courses, wrote me over email, and was OK with sharing publicly:

You have had an illustrious career laced with multiple fantastic achievements. It must have been lots of hard work to earn those sincere and appreciative compliments. It must also be very pleasing to look upon them fondly - I feel privileged to know you and be your student.
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I (Ravi) responded (slightly edited):
Thanks for the kind words, --name-snipped--. Yes, it was hard work backed with a lot of genuine enthusiasm and interest in software technology that brought the accolades, some only verbal and some written. I took to software technology/software development like a duck takes to water. So while some of it was intense work, including night-outs and long workdays, it was usually very satisfying work.

And yes, it was a pleasure to look back upon these written accolades in the process of documenting my part auto bio.

Glad that you feel good about having been my student (for software development lab. courses) :-).
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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Documenting my part auto bio with pics - the Visa trail as documentation of my foreign trips

This post follows up on my previous post: Some old pics of me (Ravi S. Iyer), https://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2018/12/some-old-pics-of-me.html, where I mention about providing pics for my to-be self-published part auto biography.

From mid 1985 to end 1991, a six and a half year period, which would map to my age of around 23 to 29, I spent around 3.5 years abroad which is over half the time period, and remaining period in India mainly working on foreign software development project work from Indian company offices in Bombay. The foreign trips were to Western Europe, USA and Far East Asia. This had a profound mind-broadening impact on me and made me feel that I am a global citizen. I was largely able to relate to India, and at the same time, relate to Western world (USA and Western Europe) and, to a lesser extent due to lesser time spent there, the Far East Asian tiger (economy-wise) countries. I mean, I was quite at home in living and working in all of these places and having a good time - no problem at all!

As my health problems became significant from 1992 onwards, my life orientation changed. Spirituality became a key interest area in my life from end 1992 onwards with my software career taking a less important role than earlier. Partly due to health issues and partly out of choice, I did not go abroad i.e. visit any foreign country from 1992 onwards.

I guess I am a somewhat strange person now and was somewhat strange during the days of my foreign travel as well. Somehow I did not get into taking pics when I was doing my foreign travel. I chose instead to deeply experience my visits rather than capture them on a camera. Even today, I have clear recollections of many things from my foreign visits. As an example, from my first trip to Niagara Falls, USA (and Canada) in the second half of the 1980s, perhaps in 1987, I still recall quite clearly how I was stunned and awestruck when I had my first sight of the big and great Niagara Falls.

These were pre-Internet days for the wider public. I would have seen some pics of Niagara Falls but I had not realized it was so big. There was a big roar of sound as we were approaching the viewing area (USA side) from the parking lot but it did not prepare me for the huge volume of water and the height from which it fell, at Niagara Falls. I think I was talking to my friends while we were walking to the viewing area and suddenly the awesome Niagara Falls came into view. I was spell bound and completely awestruck.

So Niagara Falls experience is still accessible in my mind, around three decades after I saw it first, but I don't have any pics of me at Niagara Falls! Including such pics would lend more life to the part auto bio.

But what I have are my passport visas! It does provide an official documentation of my visits. So I thought I should include them/some of them as pics with sensitive info. masked, in the ebook. At least it will give some corroboration info. to the ebook reader that I did make those foreign visits.

I thought of also sharing them here. Readers may please feel free to ignore these pics :-).

[To open pic in higher resolution, right-click on pic followed by open in new tab/window. In new tab/window you may have to click on pic to zoom in.]



Above pic: Benelux Visa for my first trip abroad to Brussels, Belgium in 1985 for around 15 months with a break in between. In Belgium, I applied for and got a regular Work Permit, which document I don't think I have with me now.


Above pic: USA Visa for my first USA trip to Lowell, Massachusetts and Nashua, New Hampshire for, if I recall correctly, around 7 months in 1987.


Above pic: Benelux Visa for Netherlands (Holland) trip to Barneveld,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barneveld_(town), for, if I recall correctly (IIRC), around 2 months in 1987 (almost immediately after I returned from USA trip).



Above pic: USA Visa for 3rd USA trip to Goleta near Santa Barbara, California, for, IIRC, around 2 months, in 1990. The 2nd USA trip was to Lowell, Massachusetts and Nashua, New Hampshire, for a year in 1988-89, IIRC - I have omitted its Visa pic.


Above pic: South Korean Visa obtained from its consulate in Los Angeles, USA for a trip to Seoul, South Korea for around 2 months in 1990, from USA. After this trip got over I came back to Bombay.






Above pics: Short marketing and international exhibition (CeBIT, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CEBIT) related trips to Sweden and Germany in March 1991, and Singapore in December 1991.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Some old pics of me (Ravi S. Iyer)

Last updated on 28th Dec. 2018

Over the past few days I have been working on a quick conversion of a hastily written part autobiography (main work was done in 2013), into a self-published ebook and paperback book. This hastily written part autobiography covers my childhood, education, working life and turn to spiritual while working. It covers my life till I retire from commercial work in 2002 (at around 40 yrs of age) and leave for Puttaparthi to start full-time spiritual aspirant life in ashram environment. Here's a post with the 2013 manuscript work released on Internet in 2016 in PDF and Word document format: http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2016/06/an-indian-software-techies-my-material.html.

In this conversion of above mentioned manuscript into proper ebook and papeback book, I am only making superficial changes without adding significant new descriptive content. I would like to add content for some topics like my USA trips but I have decided to postpone that to a future edition. Now I want to use the manuscript as a low-hanging fruit to create a proper ebook and paperback book version of it, and move on to some other things that are on my plate.

But I have decided to add some photographs to this part autobiography. I was not into taking pics during those days. So I don't have photos of those days that I have taken out of an interest to capture my life then in pics. But I have some documents with my pics on them. I have decided to share that with the document context info. but with sensitive information masked out.

While these pics will go into my book, I thought I should also share them with readers here, and so they are given below. From a life documentation point of view, I have decided to include my birth certificates too in my part auto-bio book, and so have included those pics below.

[To open pic in higher resolution, right-click on pic followed by open in new tab/window. In new tab/window you may have to click on pic to zoom in.]




Above pics are my birth certificates. The second one is the official Bombay Municipal Corporation certificate obtained in 1980, when I was 18 years old, probably because I may have needed it for applying for some education programs and/or jobs.







Above pics are from my first passport made in 1985. I think I was around 22 yrs old (running 23) when my above passport pic was taken. My profession is correctly stated as computer programmer.



Above pics are from my Maharashtra state Driving License and International Driving License issued by Maharashtra state, made in 1987. I think I was around 24 yrs old (running 25) when my above pics was taken.





Above pics are from my second passport made in 1989. I think I was around 26 yrs old (running 27) when my above passport pic was taken. My profession by then was higher up the software development ladder than programmer - I was an analyst and a designer as well as a project leader. So the initial entry of computer programmer was corrected to computer professional.


Above pic is my California, USA driving license. I was around 28 yrs old when my above pic was taken.


Above pic: I am not sure of even the rough date when it was taken. I have only the pic without the context document to get an idea of the date. I think it must have been in the mid 1990s (say 1995, at which time I would have been around 33 years of age), by which time I had got associated with Sathya Sai movement and probably done or was going to do my first Prasanthi Seva at Prasanthi Nilayam (Puttaparthi). The slight moustache that I had earlier is gone. The hair has still not thinned in a big way and does not openly show signs of greying :-), and so it must be before 2000! If I recall correctly, I shaved off my moustache before my first Prasanthi Seva as my Dombivli samithi convener and/or other elders had indicated, if I recall correctly, that clean shaven is what is preferred for Prasanthi Seva.
=================================================================

Given below are some comments from my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2375459016003995, and pics on the post, associated with this blog post:

In response to a comment, "You should have become a film star. 😊", I (Ravi) wrote (slightly edited):
Ha! Ha! Bro. --Name-snipped--, your comment has made my day! Perhaps I could have become a villain or a nerdy side-kick of the hero.

To be honest, as I was going through the pics and laughing at how this mind-body complex was in its earlier years, I was struck by my first passport pic. It shows a frowning me, perhaps with some shades of even anger. I was reminded of the 1980 Hindi movie (which I don't think I saw but had known about): Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyoon Aata Hai (Why does Albert Pinto get angry), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Pinto_Ko_Gussa_Kyoon_Aata_Hai, starring one of the great Hindi film actors of my days - Naseeruddin Shah as the angry young man.

So perhaps I could have starred as the main character in a movie: Ravi Iyer Ko Gussa Kyoon Aata Hai :-). But I am sure it would have bombed at the Box Office!
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In response to a comment, "I think I look angry in some of my pictures too!", I (Ravi) wrote:
There is a lot of injustice in the world that a young person can easily get angry about. I think life taught me that getting angry about all the injustices in the world, including perceived injustice to myself, only hurt myself. Some anger is natural and perhaps is necessary to survive. But anger that is felt so deeply and for so long that it etches its mark on one's face is not good for one's own well being, IMHO. Better to work hard to resolve one's own problems, and while doing that, do what is feasible given one's situation, to help others, without getting all worked up at injustice that one cannot help solve.

People in political space, and in public space in general, are different in the sense that their voice carries weight. So them getting angry and opining about it publicly helps as others get alerted to the issues and may help resolve it.
----

In response to a comment, "You certainly look like such a deep thinker! And that you are!", I (Ravi) wrote (slightly edited):
Yes, --name-snipped--, I think you got it spot-on. Over the years, I have often been advised by relatives (including my mom), friends and well wishers (including some of my Doctors), who were concerned about health issues I was having, to think less :-).
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In response to comment on my first passport pic, "Nice to see a handwritten passport Sir :) Most in my generation would not have even comprehended the existence of one. Thank you for sharing :)", I (Ravi) wrote (slightly edited):
Thanks for your comment. I had not seen this angle of it, though I knew that such pics could have other angles for readers than the original angle with which I shared it. ... This comment of yours encourages me to share more pics in my part auto bio (and on social media). Thanks.
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In response to another comment, I (Ravi) wrote (slightly edited):
Well --name-snipped--, I have captured my view of some events that you have mentioned but NOT ALL, in some blog posts of mine. The part auto-bio (till 40 yrs of age) is a very hastily written one and so does not typically cover larger scale perspectives like you have mentioned above. It is more of an individual life view and the immediate environment impacts on it. ... Ideally, I would like to make it a much better memoir, perhaps drawing from some blog posts that I have made on larger aspects like what you mentioned. But that will take a lot of time which I cannot spare now as I have some other things on my plate. So I have decided to simply add some more documentation (like these pics) to the hastily written part auto bio (mainly done in 2013), and do some cleanup from a quick review of it, and then publish it as an ebook and paperback book. I think it may have value even in this hastily written form to some spiritual aspirants who now are in the shoes that I was in when I was in my twenties and thirties. That is the main objective of publishing this hastily written part auto bio, in the near future. As I said earlier, maybe some years down the line I may revisit this part auto bio and revise it significantly, and add some future years content as well. Thanks.
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Holy and spiritually satisfying Christmas to all where we remember, marvel at, and adore Lord Jesus Christ

Given below are contents (slightly edited) of some of my recent Facebook posts, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7.

I wish all readers a holy and spiritually satisfying Christmas where we remember, marvel at, and adore the advent, life and teachings of the great divine master, Lord Jesus Christ.
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From HANNAH OF BETHSAIDA chapter in Jesus, the Son of Man by Kahlil Gibran

"We shall pass with the flowing of the rivers, and we shall be nameless.

But those who crossed Him in mid-stream shall be remembered for crossing Him in mid-stream."

The Him in above quote from Gibran is Jesus.

How true it has been for Jesus! Those who crossed Him in mid-stream are remembered only due to their crossing/association with Jesus. What a towering figure Jesus has been for two millennia, is now, and will continue to be for millennia to come! That is the awesome power of the great divine being, Jesus Christ's life and teachings.
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Aretha Franklin O' HOLY NIGHT, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbzCqZRjugc, 3 min. 23 secs.

I think this is the first time I am listening to this awesome voice of Charlotte Church. She does a glorious rendition of O Holy Night in this video: CHARLOTTE CHURCH O Holy Night, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUjJi0l_hOY, 4 min. 21 secs.

The lyrics of the famous song can be seen here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_Holy_Night

♥ ♫ ♪ Celine Dion: O Holy Night ♥ ♫ ♪, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sEP5_7DMu0, 5 min. 21 secs.

I just love this rendition of O Holy Night by Jewel and an orchestra, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xh3pFC65CnE, 3 min. 47 secs.
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Joy to the world
Joy to the world
Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing ....

Mariah Carey - Joy to the World (Live at St. John The Divine), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtRgKvLkLHM, 5 min. 31 secs.

Joy To The World - Whitney Houston,"The Preacher's Wife", (Only audio with still pic) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATqL4_8A_yc, 4 min. 42 secs.

Another great live rendition of Joy to the world by an ensemble of singers and a great orchestra in 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDmIddF7DfQ, 3 min 17 secs.

Nice video messages with Boney M rendition of Joy to the world as the audio: Joy to the world -- Boney M, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6ehIN-ZZYA, 2 min. 32 secs.

A recent one - Joy to the World - Silvie Paladino - Carols by Candlelight 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hn2JunbugWc, 2 min. 17 secs.

Jewel and an orchestra - Joy to the world: Jewel - Joy To The World, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U31r38CEX60
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Telugu folk Christian song, Latest Telugu Christmas Folk Song, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fsqZjZ1IJc, 5 min. 48 secs.

Telugu Christmas song which I think would be quite appreciated by many Telugu Christian youngsters in towns & villages in Andhra & Telangana. They like fast beats and the singer emotes well. I liked it. JOSHUA GARIKI'S Vachindhi christmas vachindhi song telugu christmas song, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qM1SwSb1JFY, 6 min. 48 secs.

Nice Telugu Christmas song which seems to have been released on 24th Dec. 2018: We Wish You A Merry Christmas - Telugu Latest Christmas song 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10elFvfcFgI, around 5 mins.

Malayalam Christmas song by the famous singer Yesudas (only audio with still pic): Daivam pirakkunnu - Christian devotional Malayalam Song -K J Yesudas, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-jR7DJKXv0, 5 min. 42 secs

Yehoodhiyayile Oru Gramathil Old Super hit Malayalam Christmas song by K J Yesudas, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFOSv6lzukI, 5 min 18 secs.

Nice Tamil Christmas song: Aariro Aarariro Tamil Christmas Song |Christian Song Tamil| Christmas Song 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wfL8H5dS7o, 4 min. 39 secs.

Fast Christmas Marathi song sung in Marathi folk song style: Marathi Christmas Songs Carols - Bethlehmi Gavala Majhya Khristala Pahaya by Rajesh Aher, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9JtV20W-HQ, 5 min. 52 secs.

Nice Hindi Christmas song, Emmanuel (Hindi Christmas Song), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM_Gb0ehdgA, around 9 mins. The song starts around 1 min into the video.
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Sunday, December 23, 2018

Bought a few books, some on impulse, from Parthi bookshop and later came to know of first impulse purchase of my "Who am I? I am I ..." book from another Parthi bookshop!

On 22nd Dec. 2018 (yesterday) evening, I went to the sale of Sai Towers books at a place opposite Gen Hospital (in Chaitanya International something which offers lodging to guests) in Puttaparthi. I was interested in buying Shri R. Padmanabhan's Love is My Form, Volume 1 book, at a decent discount.

The listed price on the backside of the book was Rs.2500. I got 30% off and so I paid Rs.1750 for it. It has gorgeous black-and-white photographs of Swami's early years (1926 to 1950) besides what is claimed to be well researched information about those days of Sathya Sai Avatar. I am very happy with this purchase. Some years ago, I think it was being sold at Rs.3000 at Sai Towers. On the Internet when I checked now, amazon.com has a sale page of it at around US Dollar 100, https://www.amazon.com/Love-My-Form-Advent-1926-1950/dp/8186822771, and amazon.in has a sale page of it at around Rs.10,000, https://www.amazon.in/Love-My-Form-Advent-1926-1950/dp/8186822771.

If readers are interested in procuring it, I think this is a good time to buy it. Rs.1750 for the book is really worth it for those interested in what is claimed to be deeply researched information of Swami's youth along with gorgeous black-and-white photographs capturing those days.

On impulse, I bought Mahabharata and Ramayana by Kamala Subramaniam published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. The list price is Rs.850 each. 30% off made it Rs.595 each. I was aware that online bookshops may be selling it at a similar discounted price. That got confirmed after I checked on coming back home. https://www.flipkart.com/mahabharatha/p/itme9zadvuzcapgx?pid=9788172764654 offers this Mahabharata book (18th edition instead of 20th edition that I bought) at Rs.515 +60 shipping = Rs.575, and https://www.amazon.in/Ramayana-K-S-Kamala-Subramaniam/dp/8172764324 offers this Ramayana book at Rs.552 inclusive of shipping.

But the point is that seeing these books in the bookshop made me buy it on impulse. So I am happy with these two book purchases even if it was available at a slightly cheaper price on the Net.

Given below are some pics of the books.

[To open pic in higher resolution, right-click on pic followed by open in new tab/window. In new tab/window you may have to click on pic to zoom in.]





Later as I passed a bookshop called Sai Srinivasa bookstore or something like that which is owned by the person who supplies me The Hindu newspaper everyday (via his assistants), the person called me. He informed me that the (free) copy that I had provided him (as promotion) of my book, "Who am I? I am I ...", https://www.amazon.in/dp/B07K7M2963, was bought by somebody! He had kept the book on a table right in front of his shop, where he sits. So this customer seems to have gone through it and bought it!

This then seems to be my first impulse sale in a bookshop of my "Who am I? I am I ..." book! I am heartened that somebody browsed through the copy and felt it worthwhile to pay around Rs.300 for the book. Note that the bookshop guy has to pay around Rs.250 (Rs.199 + Rs.49 shipping) to purchase the book from amazon.in (or flipkart or pothi.com). So he will sell it at Rs.250 + his margin which takes it to around Rs.300. The bookshop guy told me that he now plans to buy a few copies of my book from amazon.in to sell in his bookshop! His friend asked me whether the book can be bought via the Amazon app. I said it should be possible. He started the app on his phone. I asked him to search for Ravi S. Iyer and my book got listed as the first result in the Amazon app. As simple as that. So the process of buying my book from amazon.in was so easy to show to these persons, both of whom are Puttaparthi local guys. That's the power of listing a book on a well known online seller like amazon.in.

So my promotion initiative by giving the guy a free copy has worked in this case. Note that I get ZERO royalty from amazon.in or flipkart.com sales of my book, which is a conscious NOT-FOR-PROFIT choice that I have made.