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  • To Great India and its Incredible People,

    my motherland, which gave me

    the inspiration and resourcefulness to invent email, and much more.


    I love you with all my heart and may this book and the journey of a 14-year-old son of India, free your mind,

    oppressed by over 350 years of British colonialism, which continues its abuse, through modern day “leaders,”

    traitors of India, who oppress and abuse far worse than colonialist masters, long gone.

    Until victory always.

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    © 2015. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, Ph.D.

    Print and distribute freely

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    Table of Contents

    Chapter 1 – The Promise 6

    Chapter 2 – Inventing Email 23

    Chapter 3 – The 7 Secrets of Innovation 39

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    Chapter 1

    The Promise

    I was born on December 2, 1963, a dark-skinned, lower-

    caste Indian, in Bombay, India.

    The face you see on the cover of this book is a 14-year-old

    version of me from 1978. I was just a boy, and only seven

    years had passed since I left my motherland India for the

    United States. At the time, I was working in Newark, New

    Jersey, one of the poorest cities in the United States, where

    I invented email, the email we all experience today.

    Like that face, each of our visages reflects our unique

    journeys across multiple worlds, starting at home to

    beyond and back to our self. The beauty of life perhaps lies

    in our common struggle to find patterns of connection

    across those worlds. While the particular scenes and

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    characters of our journeys may differ, the search for

    meaning to face our self with kindness, love and acceptance

    remains unchanged.

    This book conveys one such journey that begins in India,

    and then America, where a 14-year-old Indian immigrant

    boy invents email, and later contends with the unenviable

    struggle to convey the true source of that innovation to the

    world. From that struggle emerge universal and eternal

    lessons, long hidden by “experts,” about the source and

    nature of all human innovation.

    In this book, I share those lessons as “the 7 Secrets of

    Innovation.” The worlds I experienced on my journey were

    ancient and modern, east and west, science and tradition.

    Across those worlds, I sought connection between the

    magical holism of the East with the scientific rigor of the

    West. Those worlds allowed me to uncover these secrets,

    which I hope will benefit your journey to innovate, create

    and serve humankind.

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    A Land of Chaos: Bombay, India

    My journey begins in India where I came to love chaos and

    diversity. Many religions, classes, castes, cultures, races,

    colors and languages melded into a sensory bazaar. The

    view from our

    apartment offered a

    jolt to one’s senses. I

    saw skyscrapers

    and modern

    buildings made of

    glass, metal and

    steel that stood side-

    by-side huts made from twigs, grass, old tires, straw, mud

    and wires.

    Our neighbors were Jews, Christians, Hindus, Muslims,

    Jains and Zoroastrians. Sadhus and yogis meditated along

    the road. Transvestites, transsexuals, gays, straight men,

    women, and children walked hand in hand. Being multi-

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    lingual was the rule, not the exception. At home, we spoke

    Tamil; in school, English; on the streets, Hindi; with friends,


    The streets were extreme. People walked. Others pulled

    rickshaws. Bicycles and Mercedes rode side by side.

    Beggars crawled. Boeing 747s roared. The smells of

    roasting peanuts, scrumptious curries, exhausts from

    diesel trucks, roadside pooris, and cow dung were all in the

    air. The outdoor markets offered sugar cane juice, goat

    brains, 24-karat jewelry, jackfruits, radios, malas, incense,

    parrots, and fragrant spices. Women in colorful gold, blue

    and red saris strode by women decked out in the latest

    Italian fashion. Men wearing traditional Nehru jackets,

    white dhotis, and hats conversed with businessmen in

    Armani suits.

    From Mumbai t

    From Mumbai to Muhavur

    In the summers, these scenes changed. Bombay

    disappeared. A long two-day overnight journey, on an old

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    Wild West like caboose train took me to the remote village

    of Muhavur, located in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

    This was the land of my ancestors, ancient and serene. An

    emerald landscape of rice and cotton fields, mango and

    coconut groves, where streams and mountains gently

    awoke and soothed the senses.

    Clean air, fresh

    water, small dirt

    roads, a million

    stars, sunrises,

    sunsets, bright

    smiling faces,

    huts of hand-made red bricks, palm leaf roofs, innocent

    cows, calves and adorable temples were the backdrop.

    Minimal electricity, no running water, and a few scattered

    phone booths brought one to a different reality. This was

    the village of my grandparents, hardworking farmers, who

    tilled the fields, awoke at 4AM and slept at dusk. They lived

    simply, devoted to land and God.

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    Their home was a small two-story building. Across it stood

    a smaller white hut, with a thatched roof where several

    cows, ducks and hens resided. From the middle of that hut,

    a Moringa tree grew, up and through the roof. Each

    morning, my grandmother before sunrise, would get up

    and draw

    beautiful kolams

    on the entrance to

    the home.

    She used milled

    white rice flour

    that flowed

    through her hands, like sand passing through an hourglass,

    to make abstract geometric and symmetric designs,

    resembling mandalas. Sometimes I would wake up early

    just to watch her drawing the kolam, a process, which was

    indescribable, with visions emanating from her mind’s eye

    transformed on the red brown earth leading to the home.

    The designs were said to evoke the Gods and put the one

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    who looked upon them into different states of


    As one came home, one could not avoid the kolam, a

    reminder one was entering a special place. Two solid teak

    doors were the entrance into a small 10-foot by 12-foot

    room, which served as the living room, dining room and

    sleeping room. Ahead, one could see the kitchen, where

    something was always cooking. The fragrance of cumin,

    ginger, cardamom, red pepper, and freshly grated coconut

    filled the air.

    Heroes: Gods and Shamans

    Heroes: Gods and Shamans

    In the living room, near the edge of the ceiling, along all four

    walls, hung pictures of great deities and heroes such as

    Shiva, my namesake, who destroyed, created and

    transformed; Rama, the virtuous and noble hero of the

    Ramayana; Devi, the mother Goddess; Parvathi, wife and

    consort of Shiva; Ganesha, the elephant headed one who

    removed obstacles; Jesus, God’s avatar and the Savior of

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    mankind; Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge; Lakshmi,

    the Goddess of wealth, and many others. The smell of subtle

    incense and Vibbuthi, holy ash, was always in the air.

    My favorite was the deity Muruga, who graced the small

    altar, and was known as the teacher of teachers or guru of

    gurus, whose familiar

    was the peacock and

    above whose picture

    hung a beautiful

    single peacock


    My grandmother,

    Chinnathai, knew the ancient arts, could channel spirits,

    was known to be clairvoyant, had knowledge of the great

    herbs and medicines for nearly any ailment, and would do

    rituals and mantras to heal those who requested her help.

    She was the youngest of sixteen children, and the only

    daughter. Her arms were marked with incredible and

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    ancient tattoos. She had a nose ring. Her hair was pitch

    black, she chewed tobacco and betel leaf. Her face was like

    the earth, dark and hues of red, with eyes that extended to

    the beyond and lines that marked her journeys of many life



    Patterns of Health

    Everyday someone would come to her, asking for help

    concerning their health, and on weekends, long lines

    extended from her door. I was amazed by her ability to

    diagnose someone’s problem by simply observing his or

    her face. She had learned powers of diagnosis from yogis,

    monks and adepts including Siddhars, the practitioners of

    Siddha, India’s oldest of traditional medicine, by simply

    observing the face, an ancient practice known as Samudrika


    She shared with me how the Siddhars believed that the

    entire cosmos including the smallest particle to the largest