What started as a column in the Edex page of the New Indian Express on August 27, 2019, thanks to Vasu, the then Chief Editor and Daniel Thimmayya and Seema Rajpal who handled the education supplement, Canteen Fundas came into existence as a 450 word column. The column was envisaged as a conversation between three students - one senior and wiser and the other two junior - Rakesh being senior and Rinku and Rahul being junior. It was a print version initially so we had to send in our columns by Monday latest and they would appear the next Monday. I would share the column with a few friends and family, some students and like minded people initially, and then to some more.
Then the COVID 19 happened and the column continued as print edition until it shifted to digital version. Then the word count was limitless and we called it eCanteen Fundas. In the early days we had to sending a concept by Saturday so the illustrator could do an illustration and the article could go in on Monday. They would do such lovely illustrations too.
I'd write the article and then run it by Shobhs and Anjali for their editing inputs and they'd patiently help. I even hired Anjali at 250 rupees an article to run through and give me a go ahead. Many articles I would reach out to those who were experts in that area so I would not make an error. Many times i would revise the article and trouble Seema who might have set the page but I felt the revision would convey the message better.
When I shared the article I would get all kinds of responses. Krishna, Chitra would read every article and comment on it. Tanuj would have a breezy take on it. Papa Raju would comment on those he liked. Tops would almost always comment. Pratap would send a thus up. Naren would comment. For a brief while Sheelu was very interested and then it got too much for her. Mahesh Bhogawar would share it on his groups. Farrukh Azam and Arif would always comment on the school group while Malli, Sridhar and others would comment on the cricket groups. Abhinay would comment on them here. Vasudha would instantly analyse and take the lesson. Smitha would always give me an instant and positive feedback on how it would help young kids. Dr Anuradha would comment on how it made her Mondays so bright and so would Dr Pushpa. Too many to mention really but one thing that I really liked was that it would somehow establish connection every week.
Now, it has come to an end. Yesterday's was the last piece. I received this lovely mail from editor Seema.
And today I sent out a note to all on my broadcast list to thank them for being with me on this journey.
"Dear friend, for the past three years, from August 2019, you’ve shared my weekly journey with Canteen Fundas, with Rinku, Rahul and Rakesh, and listened to their conversations, worries and apprehensions. It’s been a journey that has been deeply satisfying for me, and I hope it has in some measure been of use to you.
As all good things, the time has come for Canteen Fundas to end. The last column of yesterday is indeed the last of this series.
Writing the column has given me a lot of purpose, provoked thoughts and mostly helped me keep my sanity through the pandemic and the rough times of the last few years.
I’m so glad I could share this journey with you. Your comments and calls, your thoughtful and measured responses, have not only kept me going, encouraged me, but also made me write better, think better. Made me a better person through this process surely.
Thank you so much for indulging me for all this time. Hopefully when there’s another column, we’ll meet again like this.
Until then, with the deepest gratitude for staying with me all through patiently. Lots of love and affection. (From Rinku, Rahul, Rakesh and me)"
And I got a flood of messages which I will retain here.
Oh, oh Hari, Enjoyed reading them. Good life lessons that sometimes we tend to forget – G Krishnan
Thank you for writing beautifully 👏👏👏👏 You are an inspiration to me and many. God bless you always.... Keep following your dreams. Keep writing....😇😇😇😇 – Namrata
Oh...that is sad. Moving on to someting else?- Anwar
👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾. Wow, three years. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and philosophy with us.- Kiri
Oh damn, will definitely miss all the above. It was nice knowing all of them - Don
Rinku, Rahul and Rakesh; 3 guys, 3 years. Next time add more characters...😊 – Sanjay
Hello sir, we had absolute joy and great insights reading your thoughts in Rinku, Rahul and Rakesh's conversations. Thank you for the efforts of sharing them every Monday. It kept reminding us our university classes and the many lessons we discussed. Will cherish them. Hope to read your column soon! – Sravya
Thank you for all sharing to us sir. I started reading from just a few months ago. Chala manchi concepts ni conversations ga your writings was so simple to read and very thought provoking. Congratulations on these successful writings sir. Many more to come ✨ - Gangadhar
Will miss your column Hari. Waiting for a new series & wishing you all the best – Sarita
Hari bhai E-canteen fundas can be captured in a book form or pdf for publishing..Sridhar Pulei
Bhidu, whatever you write...comes straight from the heart and is supposed to serve a purpose. I'm sure your piece has helped a lot of deserving teenagers 👍��...looking forward to the next round...!!! – Satish Singh
The canteen fundas are thought provoking, enlightening.. I used to wait for the post... I shared almost all posts to many people including youngsters, corporate employees etc... I will miss them... Waiting for another column very soon💐💐💐 –Venkataramana
So the mindfulness was a swan song 🎉 Great fundas bro, the RRR trio kept piling on the pro tips which I will surely miss, until you swing the bat again in the near future. Looking forward bud 🤝 – SV Ramana
Great efforts Hari bhai. you kept the motivation going during unforeseen pandemi times 🙏🙏💐💐🤝🤝👌👌👏👏 – Dr S Sridhar
Hari your summation of each article with a pro tip is always thought provoking. I enjoyed sharing the articles with my family, friends and especially my kids. I always thought after every article that the subject is so simple but still all of us tend to ignore it or keep it pending. Thank you for all the subtle insights u have given us all these days. Hope this is just the beginning of more interesting things to come. Looking forward to many more. Well done Hari.👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 – Vijay
Great 👍 looking forward for the upcoming column. Keep Up The good Work Hari – Akram
Well done Hari bhai as usual you rock 👏👏 – Mohib
It really is a very good column mama. Sad it's ending – Yash
Oh no!! Why???. 😭😭😭😭❤️❤️❤️❤️
Good afternoon, They were too good and thought provoking...Will miss them and will wait for another series from you Sir. Thanks – Naveen Chauhan
Oh how sad Harry ! But all good things have to come to an end 🤗 And fresh good things will start ! – CV
Thanks Hari. I have enjoyed reading your posts and appreciate the wisdom you have shared. Best wishes - Vivek Pande
Congratulations Sir💐💐 for successful completion of Canteen Fundas Series. Canteen Fundas weekly articles helped me in many ways, personality development, problem solving skills, looking at the things from different point of view. I will be looking forward for your Next Articles Sir.🙏 – Sravan HCU
Omg! Your columns have given me hope, supprt and wisdom in times of distress. True, everything must end one day.. Thank you for giving me goodness, and wisdom through your lovely characters, Hari! – Ram Roam Films
Sad. You should put them together and make another book. What say..Vidyuth
Didn't realize it's been three years... Week after week, you've shared with the young, "fundas" of daily life. Liked the way you structured these columns too: presenting a dilemma and articulating a solution in simple conversations. I enjoyed reading these... I wish you start a new column, or even a book again. Perhaps another novel, or something about cricket. Look forward... Best wishes – Jayanth Kodkani
Thank you so much for sharing the whole series😊 - Sruthy, UoH
🙏👍thanks for making us look forward every week...Hari...you are a rockstar..let's catch up.soon..Jaideep Pal
Loved reading them...Will wait for your next column – Lekha Nair
Dear Hari I read most of the articles thoroughly.twice I referred to the book you quoted from.i found it useful to apply some in my lday to day life. I highly recommend students to go through them . because I felt I would have benefited a lot if there was a column like this in newspapers.i remember The Hindu on Wednesday had a column. We are students althrough our lives.always needing some practical guidance something which is applicable in my life.being in the teaching line I strongly believe in a systematic approach to any problem and for that I feel any counseling based on a scientific approach is necessary.that way I really liked and read and sometimes re-read your columns.i feel Students need this rather than random advices.i shared some with Abhi.so a big Thank you.A job very well done.A column I always looked forward to.done with real passion and diligence.my best wishes in all such future endeavours from you.Hari.All the best and I will miss Rinku Raul and Rakesh bhaiya.- Nalini
No wonder yesterday's column was much more elaborate and loaded... 😀..it was a nice idea which must have resonated we with the intended TG .. 👍- Salil Datar
🙏🏻"Lots of Learning" from your experiences shared through the column bhai..enjoyed every topic and discussion points throughout. I look forward to many more moving forward. Thanks RRR and off course Hari bhai – Naren
End of one innings and beginning of the next , looking forward to your next column ! 🎉- Pratap
Not done.. can't stop suddenly.. your messages were really so cool and satisfying.. I have been sharing your fundas with my near and dear.. Many thanks dear Hari for the lovely messages..Lots of love, Good Wishes and Regards, - Mahesh Bhogawar
You did a fantastic job in creating these characters and the central message to be conveyed - Suresh
Farewell, friends. Enjoyed Canteen Fundas, whenever I read it. Well done, Hari - Bro Jospeh
Thankyou sir! The stories resonated with me for sure :) - Kartik Kak
Surely it is a commendable effort from your side- presenting the management fundas in quite an interesting manner to the present generation through RRR (Rinku, Rahul & Rakesh). Await your future series- which I hope will be more interesting & participative Best wishes - Dilip
Hello Sir! Enjoyed reading your columns with nice and easy way of teaching great life skills and lessons. Though little irregular in reading them these days, I have saved all links to read them soon. Best wishes for all your future endeavours. Thank you.🙏 – Parijatha
It was good reading all your columns they have really helped Mohit a lot.looking forword for columns
Best wishes – Arvind
Thank you so much Hari for sharing the article all the time and help us to periodically introspect and progress.- Chandra
Thanks for sharing some great tips. 🙏🏽- Srikanth
Hey Hari. It was truly wonderful reading Canteen fundas. I've even managed to share it among some other friends and groups. Looking forward to seeing you come back with something new soon.😊👍🙏 – Sunil Jyothi
Hi Hari. Congratulations on writing this series so diligently and such diverse topics on management, self improvement, leadership, optimal performance, group dynamics etc. This should definitely become a book and I’m sure it’ll be hugely successful and perhaps mandatory reading from High School through graduation. Congrats once again! 👏😊👍 – Anil FT
Enjoyed every piece of this column Hari......you should make it a ready reckoner and possibly a Book. I am no expert here, but the idea is that a large section of people benefit from these invaluable pieces.
We, your readers, too have been thoroughly entertained and enlightened by Canteen Fundas all along. Forget SS Rajamouli's film, your 'RRR' has been a bigger hit🙂. A sad moment but it's certain we'll all treasure and re-read the saved copies.Thank you, Hari.Tanuj
All the best in your new avatar 🙌👍 Subaraman
Good luck boss, For future endeavors Vasudha
Congrats Hari for keeping the column alive and relevant for 3 years.💐💐 Looking forward to new beginnings now👏👏Puppy
Awww...this is so sweet Reena
hi Hari, thank you, these articles have always added value to us. Hope there is some other avenue where you will be able to write such articles and keep sharing with us 🙏🏻Girish Belur
I will miss your articles sir. I have not missed a single article till now. Hope we will receive the articles soon☺️Kavitha Kulkarni
Awww.....it's the last one?? 😔 Sagarika
Thank you Hari for your thoughts sharing journey, many a times I was one of the trio (RRR : Rinku, Rahul or Rakesh) and I used to do course corrections with my approach/thought process. Suggestion: Am not sure,if all this put in a book preferably an e-book the reach will be beyond boundaries. Thanks again, will be looking forward for another spell from your end. It has so much of commonality with our life, relating is very easy. It did help me many times to correct my approach. Thanks again. Looking forward for the compiled book. Keep inspiring -Sreenu Lambu
Congratulations for completing 3 years and keeping us entertained...looking forward to more writing from you Vanathi
I'm yet to respond to your last piece, and you send me this :) The universe is telling you to do something else. Something bigger and better is waiting for you. Really enjoyed your insights, Hareeeeeee. - Krishna D
Oh. Another column ends! Was a good one. - Sathya Saran
Sad to see your column end. You made me think. Ponder and react. Will miss that. - Vivek
Well done Bhai - Koni
All good things …… ….…. lead to the next better ones 😊 ! All the best 👍🏻 ! Kanchan
Oh, that's sad. Enjoyed your column and learnt from it, Hari. Now bigger and better things await you for sure! It can take new shape in a different place. - Chitra
Hearty congratulations the successful completion of your very interesting and engaging column Sir. Looking forward for many more - Aruna Bhikhsu
Enjoyed reading your column. The concept of Canteen fundas and your lucid style of writing on complex issues faced by youth has had a great impact. Eagerly waiting for more from you. - Mohan
Oh why have they stopped? Ahh too bad. I liked these ones - Sunil
Sir kind request if all these articles could be published as a Book. This wisdom should not be lost in time. - Lt Cdr Hemanth Kumar
Hi Hari, I shared your journey from Feb 2022,.Thank you for making me a part of the journey even if it was for a few months. Really appreciate and enjoyed the columns. Best wishes.Adithi
Awwww. Will miss the canteen fundas. Why is it ending - Shobhana
Hi sir...i hope you're healthy and fine.. thank you for the columns sir, they were helpful and the content was easy to understand. It was a pleasure reading them. Thank you for sharing the columns and hopefully more will follow in future. - Abdulla
RRR - we will miss you. Our week end readings will not be the same. Come back soon.🙏❤️Dr Krishnan
Good one mate Hopefully you will start a new column mate good luck in your future endeavours it sure was a pretty good journey am sure - Ved
You have written so many beautiful articles that made me think. Rather i am grateful to you. - Mangalatai
Marla and I attended a lecture by Thich Nhat Hahn in Los Angeles back in 1990! Was nice to listen to him. He was soft spoken and spoke of this. I remember his "mindful dishwashing" example from then, and still practice it. Makes it (and other activities) enjoyable instead of a chore. Great way to end the series. - Satish
Ah! It was a fun and educational journey with you, Hari! I'm truly sorry that it ends. I'm also truly excited to see what begins in its wake! Tune me in, please. - Chaitu
Harimama, I have read almost all of the articles. They are great. You should publish this as it is great guidance for kids. Eager to see what your next series will be - Ajay
😀-AThe 3R's will be missed terribly but not Hari! Indeed they were peptalks disguised as small talk which are very essential for the teenagers of this generation who are devoid of basic social skills! Thanks, Congratulations & All the best Dear Hari! - Stay Blessed!🤝🌹 Benny
Thank you so much for all the lessons you gave us through these stories Hari sir 🙏🏾 Truly inspiring! - Aditya Jella
Thank you for making me part of the journey. The conversations and the deep messages have been extremely useful and reaffirmed that by being positive and mindful it is possible to live better. I shall be sharing these posts with the kids in the future too and hope that they find answers to problems they may be facing or simply move in a better direction. Thanks once again😊 Looking forward to the next series 👍🏼 - Anita Kiran
It’s pure discipline to write👏 It’s so much kindness and empathy to share your writings with others so that they benefit and get motivated👌 Salute you for your dedication 🙏 - Lalitha Anand
It's our pleasure to go through all your articles sir, thanks for sending us. Looking forward for your upcoming ones - Kumar Datta
Hello sir It has been pleasure receiving canteen Fundas column every week I enjoyed it.It was interesting, funny and very informative at the end. Infact u have put the conversations between the characters at a different dimension. Thank you sir for making me part of this journey looking forward for many more. Best wishes for ur future writings sir. Specially i liked the titles of the column - Radhika DoD
It was satisfying and helpful reading canteen fundas sir....Will eagerly wait for the next one sir.. 😇 - Anuradha Nayak
wow Hari. Was it 3 years. You did fantastic. 150 columns.. 150 topics. All were great and thought provoking. Thank You for taking time to guide the readers. Will be missing your articles. Hopefully you will start something else. - Priyanka Gontla
Enjoyed your articles. Forwarded to my daughter to help her. Learnt many a thing from your articles. Thanks and eagerly waiting for the new ones. - Mukundan
Hari....do bring out a compilation/compendium of all these articles. They need to preserved for posterity. - Bharadwaj
Dear Sir, I have learnt thru your writings a lot. It was very simple n superb. We pray n wish for your good health wealth and abundant of energy n happiness. Looking forward to see your writings again. Thx n regards. - ECS
I'm very grateful for those Weekly Canteen Fundas that you've shared with me. I loved them all. Hope to get your future articles. Kindest Regards! - Nayak
What! Why? I thought they would graduate and the series would morph into work related topics :( - Sheelu
Hey Hari. Will miss Rinku and the gang. Wish them well. - Madhav
While reading all your canteen fundas, I got some insights for doing my daily things a bit better. Also it helped to empathise in a better way with people around me to see things from their perspective. - Malay
👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼another successful completion of teaching and learning😃 Thank you Hari, for sharing this series and journey with me too! Totally enjoyed exploring and learning, as much as Rinku, Rahul and Rakesh with your skillful nudging directing one to explore ones internal ability to discern and deal with concerns thoughtfully! 😃So onward to the next my Friend…👍🏼Best of luck and looking forward to whatever it is you’re gifting this time around to us fortunates! - Anu Naresh
Oh no uncle, this is so sad to hear!! The articles were amazing, the content was very informative and the conversation like format between the four made it very interesting!❤ If there is any similar project you're going to be working on, please do share it as well. I'd love to continue reading such content😄 - Akshar
Dear Sir, It was hard for me to recollect that it has been almost 3 years since you began the Canteen Fundas column. I recollect our long conversations on few things that triggered me to reflect a lot. Your articles always bring an insight, idea or a thought to ponder on. A lot of my Mondays I always began with your article. Thanks for always sharing the article with me. At times, I forgot to acknowledge, but I always read them. Looking forward to catching up with more characters like Subbu, Rahuul, Rinku and Rakesh. - Abhinay Renny
Dear Hari, thank you for sharing all the fundas!!! I enjoyed reading each one of them and honed/unlearned/relearned some of the life skills. Look forward to your new columns. All the best for your future endeavours. - KN Chandrasekhar
Great job Hari .. I enjoyed reading all of them thanks for sharing 😊 - Prashanth Manjrekar
Dear Harimohan garu,
Thanks for making us a part of this wonderful journey. I have learnt several things regarding attitude, time Management, organizational behavior etc through this journey. I strongly feel that you have to publish them as a book. Thanks again and best wishes to you. - Dr Anuradha Jonnalagadda
Thank you Harimohan..Your thoughtful articles have always given me a new perspective towards life..very often I have forwarded your articles to my children and they too have always found important life lessons in them..Thank you so much for your amazing articles. Wishing you all the very best for your future endeavours👍👍 - Suresh Chandra Chibb