Thursday, December 25, 2008

Marching Past

I recently went to my daughters annual day celebrations and was caught up in the excitement which seems to emanate from each of the participants, my young ones included. It took me back to my school days, about which my class mate, whom I met after a long gap of 20 years, just recently, who is also a great fan of my blogs (so he claims), has been constantly egging me to write about.
We were one of the first batches of the school so we were pretty passionate about the school. We were also in the school band, though now I feel embarrassed thinking how silly we would have looked, me clashing the cymbal and my friend, T, blowing the bugle! I used to alternate between the symbol and the flute and then it was a matter of pride for us but now when I think of the sight of me clashing the cymbal, I can’t help but laugh! Then, we were a privileged lot, we the band who always used to bring fame to the school, who had uniforms stitched every alternate year and could escape class hours for practise sessions under the hot sun! It was like a legacy of sorts, which I passed on to my sister, who also went on to become the band leader!
Of course, we had to bear the cost of the uniforms, but then the teachers would remind us, it is only those who are talented who gets chosen. (Talents for cymbal clashing! But I believed her then) So we would go home, implore, explain and then beg for the money which would be handed over after countless objections.
We had constant practises in formations and in March past and from what I could remember, we really used to enjoy all of it! The outings that we had, the competitions that we attended, the church functions, all in the heat and some even had hours of marching and long hours of waiting.
So the next time you see a band performing, don’t laugh it off, ponder on the hours of practice, the amount of money spent and then maybe even imagine me clashing the cymbal…(but I warn you, don’t laugh)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And Finally Recognition

Today is Christmas and I woke up feeling happy for no obvious reason! I drove to office listening to music I love and hummed or rather sang loudly, boldly, as I always do when there is no one to listen! I entered office and whoopee! I was greeted by the Christmas decorations in office, and I almost hugged N, the person behind this cheer, this selfless soul, about whom, I should blog later…
But coming back to the decorations, there is a brightly lit X’mas tree, balloons, festoons and small gifts for all on our desks!
Well, I put on my computer, check mails and go to blogger and there lies another surprise, an award from Deeps…
It has made my day…the efforts have paid off…
I scrounge for time to write here and sometimes when I find the time I lack in ideas. Accepting my award I want to thank all my faithful readers, firstly my family, who have become my loyal readers, K for checking everyday whether I have scribbled anything about him, then friends who read and comment and then other blogger friends who so loyally read and encourage and here I want to thank Deeps and Reflections for the comments, because, honestly, ultimately it is the comments that you look forward to, when you sign in everyday! And both of you are so generous with them and it motivates me to write more...
Here is the award:

This award is given to a blog that invests and believes in PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind of bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.
I pass this on to three bloggers whose blogs I try not to miss…
Umm Oviya

I also wish to pass on the award to one more blog which has huge potential but due to the responsible job of feeding and taking care of my sister, this blogger cannot dedicate much of his precious time to this world...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This is Heavenly...

Waking up to the sounds of chirping birds and the occasional shriek of crows
To temple bells tinkling rhythmically
Sniffing whiffs of strong and freshly brewed coffee
And drinking it from your favourite easy chair
Stretching out comfortably and gazing out at nothing in particular
Dreaming of the rest of the day spent in pure laziness…
Till interrupted by urgent calls from your little devils…

Being coaxed to eat a little more and being served a lot more, lovingly…
You are forced to go to bed to give your tired bones some respite!
The kids being admonished for troubling you
For taking long naps when the sun is shining down
Forget the process of cooking
To remember it only when it is time for your meals!

Where else is all this possible, but at Home…
Who tends to you like you are a kid once again, but your Mother…

P.S: Thats my fav 'charukaserra' or Reclining Chair...

Friday, December 5, 2008

The first stage show of N's

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This was the younger ones first stage appearance and both of us (K and I)just about managed to identify her before the show got over. Can you imagine, we were focusing on another kid who beared a resemblence to ours and focused all our energy, clicking pictures, smiling and waving at her till our elder one pointed out the right kid!We instantly shifted attention and thankfully we had some pictures of the 'right' and our very own kid.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Looking Back

It is at the time of diversities that stories of courage, determination, selflessness and even patriotism comes to the fore. Such events like the Mumbai Terror Strike also highlight cowardice, lacklustre performance of our very dear politicians, the slipshod treatment of our security and our casual approach to humanity and mostly it puts light on the lack of crisis management in the country. I have tried to identify the good and the bad reactions to this crisis…I tag all who are reading to add on to the list…

A Kick in the Rear to
1. Lack of a plan to move forward. How come the NSG had no copy of the floor plan of the Taj when they went in for the rescue operation? How come there was no strategy in place…
2. Border security, do we have any? I wonder…
3. The state police face a major problem of shortage of firearms. One official said that although the state government had requested ammunition for training purposes, the Centre’s response was dismal. Why so?
4. The protection gear for NSG and also for the local police. Do we have a safety system at all? Are their lives of no value?
5. RR Patel and his insensitive reaction , ‘Hotharahthahe…’ Bullshit, is this how a leader who has the responsibility of the whole state comments…on such a serious matter!
6. Vilasrao Deshmukh for his thoughtless act of including filmstars and directors to the tour of Taj…and even later for not understanding what the entire furore was about!
7. Some media personnel, Barkha Dutt, in particular for being crass in the way she spoke to the victims or their relatives and also for sensationalising the whole issue.

A Pat on the Back to
1. Those faceless brave hotel officials for keeping their cool and guiding their valuable assets…their guests. Shouldn’t we be taking lessons from them?
2. NSG , what they lacked in planning they made up with their brave actions.
3. I also laud our Mumbaikars for keeping calm and not let their emotions guide their actions but verbally expressing their disappointment in the country and its leaders.
4. The announcer at CST for warning the civilians from keeping away from the platform as he saw the shooting from his vantage point and thereby saving numerous lives.
5. To the policemen, who killed one of the two terrorist after they ran out post the CST incident and the killing of 55 innocents, at Girgaum Chowpatty, and injured the other who is now the only alive and caught terrorist.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I am devastated. I am not a Mumbaikar, not in the true sense of the word. I have lived and worked there only after my marriage, so it would be apt to call it my sasural! But I love the city, I love the efficiency of the people, the systems, the public transport. I love the way the city embraces all yet leaves you to be yourself, giving you the freedom yet drawing you into all its activities. It is a city you can’t help but love.
And I am shocked into inaction...
Wwhy target the wonderful spirit of this beautiful city (or any city for that matter) and the innocent people? Why?
I salute all the officers, from all over the country,( and not just the Marathi’s) who have laid down their lives fighting the terrorists, heroically. My deepest sympathies to all those who suffered, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, rich and poor, and I hope this will not have any major repercussions resulting in more lives being lost over causes long forgotten. I hope Mumbai rises above all this…stronger, resilient, secular and of course secure.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Of Great Projects and Greater Minds

The last few days have been hectic but they have been immensely satisfying too. First I get to see a building, I have admired and to top it all, I get to see the Architect behind this great master piece, the great IM Pei. Seeing this great man and understanding this simple philosophy in design, I was transformed to the world of architecture, my first love and that made me reflect...and finally decide, that I have taken the right step.
Time and again, I have had guilty pangs, for having made a choice -- for moving away from Architecture, my profession, to Journalism.
But at that moment when I was standing close to Mr Pei at the atrium in the Museum, I felt truly gratified.
Yes, this was what I understand people, their talents and when it is an architectural maestro, whom you try to understand, you feel even more blessed by the profession you have chosen as your own.
Yes, it has its bad moments, but in which other profession do you get to meet such talents?
And I am humbled for all I get to see and experience here.
The angles, the geometry that is not strictly symmetrical, the play of the sun through the roof, the long stretch of space, both vertical and horizontal, the huge window and the calm waters behind...All this and Pei posing for our cameras on the winding staircase, one straight stance before he leans on to his cane (he is all of 92 years) and his simple comment, "This (the Museum) was a learning experience for me."
I had another 'high' that day. I also met my professor (whom I met after 20 years) and we talked about the building, with the same enthusiasm, we had years before, when she was the teacher and I was the student. Only this time around, I explained details and she was listening. It was another humbling moment...

Monday, November 17, 2008


It sure is not great just a 'watchable' one . A movie comprising of 2 beautiful bodies and one great talent, Abhishek...
Entertaining it is but well that is all. A hollow movie with loads of money spent on creating beautiful shots of near perfect bodies. I was confused through out the movie, I couldn't decide where to keep my eyes, on Priyanka or the 'dumb'looking hot body of John. In the end, I decided on Abhishek, he was the only one who really acted! And a much safer decision too!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lets Count our blessings

All of us worry over details, minor ones, money lost or spent, the missing file, the class missed by our daughters, the marks they have lost and the how they react to us or others. I do too, I worry endlessly over minute issues and miss the whole macro picture -- The wonderful day we have had today, the smile from our loved ones, and the sun shining down upon us...
Till this Thursday...when I was jolted out of my obsession over minor challenges in life. We were at a friend's place,enjoying ourselves, just talking, when a lady and her 3 daughters made an entry. The youngest of the three was the most striking with a huge endearing smile on her face, that made you want to hug her. She was in my younger ones class and that made me want to know more about the kid and the mother and hence I started a conversation with her. It seemed difficult, because the lady was obviously very troubled about something. She semed tired, stressed out and even jerky when reacting to any queries.
I asked her how she felt about the class in general, (the perfect way to break the ice) but she replied that her child was not too regular going to the school as she was sick most of the time. I nodded in agreement and told her aout N's constant bouts of cold. She had a pained expression in her face and told us that her 4 year old was suffering from Leukaemia. I felt myself go cold, well, it wasn't just me, I could feel the silence and the shock, moving like a thick blanket, around the room...
And she said that, that particular day was quite bad with her blood count slightly low. Well, yes, I know, this is what happens around us, but ón a 'normal' Thursday night, when you meet a 'normal' four year who is suffering from this deadly disease, you are, struck dumb!
This made me reflect on my list of worries...which looks small, even tiny and worthless...
Life is so precious, lets celebrate each moment of it, enjoy the nuances of life, talk to our husbands, look into their eyes and talk, kiss our kids once more, hug them a lot more and be happy with we have.
Lets also pray for this tiny child, who has no clue of what ails her, just wants to go to school regularly, play with kids her age...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Quirks and so many!

I could fill pages with quirks, mine and of others, but I feel it depends from person to person. A quirky behaviour in one could seem perfectly normal to another. But still here are some weird ones…and they are all mine…
1. Give me a good book and a comfortable sofa, you will see me relaxing on the sofa with my feet tucked underneath, a tilt to my head and my hand twirling a few handful of my hair, while reading. I even twirl my hair when I am thinking hard.
2. I have this habit of collecting titbits with a tissue, wiping any surface clean, even while I go to friend’s house, if I am doing nothing. I just can’t rest my hands.
3. My husband puts the water heater on and I can’t help myself being pulled by that red light and in few minutes I am heading towards it to put it off.
4. Reading in the loo…And that is my favourite, don’t think it is a quirk, it is absolutely normal to many, I am sure.
5. The minute my husband heads out of the house, my hands reach for the cell and I end up calling my mother! Another quirk which I love to indulge in and on the sly…

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Book Tag from Quite Qatar

How old were you when you learned to read and who taught you?My father taught me to read and that is what I want to believe, since he is not around to verify. I must have been six years old and I remember reading a book called Chutput the Train, and it was a beautiful book with loads of illustrations. I still have the book with me but sadly, both my daughters have no great love for books.

Did you own any books as a child? If so, what's the first one that you remember owning? If not, do you recall any of the first titles that you borrowed from the library?My father used to buy me loads from the second-hand books store. I remember them being Enid Blyton books mostly. The Mallory Towers Series were my favourites.

What's the first book that you bought with your own money?A double digest of St Claire’s, if I remember right and I bought it during the book fair which happens once a year in my place. I waited till my holidays to read the book and I loved the waiting period, it augmented the pleasure I had when I finally read it!

Were you a re-reader as a child? If so, which book did you re-read most often?
Of course, I love re-reading, especially ones I like. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was my favourite.

What's the first adult book that captured your interest and how old were you when you read it?I was fascinated by Sidney Sheldon and would guiltily gobble all the details when I was in my eight standard or so.

Are there children's books that you passed by as a child that you have learned to love as an adult? Which ones?
I have not passed by any book, I would read anything that came my way and I still love the variety. Well, Asterix was one comic I didn’t like much when I was young, but I love them now.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Will you tell this to your kids?

My mother is pleasantly surprised by my mothering instincts, she tells me. I was the independent, selfish one of the family. Independent because I was staying away from home for my Engineering and selfish because I used to miss all those family functions for my studies and even insisted on going on study tours instead of rushing back home.. Nobody in the family understood the importance of sessionals then! (Now we all know how important that can be!)
I was the one who used to shirk filling in Amma’s place at her creshe, taking care of the babies there, when she wanted to go out for some important work. I hated the smells and was bored to wits, feeding the kids there and made my displeasure evident!
And look at her, now, Amma would say, gesturing to me when I followed my younger one patiently to feed her.
Our mothers know we have changed for our kids, but do our own kids ever know? Are they aware of the metamorphosis we go through being a mother?
Well, if they would listen, I could go on listing the changes, the sacrifices, the pains I have gone through all for the joy of motherhood, to see that special smile on their face, to bring that extra twinkle in their eye. Let me list them and hope they might see it sometime or just jot it down for all the mothers who have done all this and more…

I love kids now, just to watch them and surprisingly not just mine and that is a change only my young ones could have brought over me.
Patience, is one virtue, I have gained through all the experience of rearing my two.
The sleepless nights, when I have carried them, trying to put them to sleep.
The younger one was very particular, she wanted me to carry her and walk around the house to put her to sleep and she would kick me, when I stopped walking.
And when I hummed, sleepily, she would say, Amma, please don’t sing, embarrassing the singer in me!
The numerous times when she threw up on my head and shoulders, I wanted to cringe and scream aloud, my frustration, but kept my mouth shut, so as not to provoke K who hates to see me disturbed.
The meals I have missed in my effort to feed them first.
The accidents I have barely avoided, in my hurry to reach home before she does to see her smile when she gets down from the school bus.
Missing the career ladder, the ladder, which I forgot even, existed.

None of this was forced down, well, some were, but all of these changes were my own choice and I still don’t regret doing any of them.
Well, there are many more experiences and some so much personal; I can’t even jot them down. But will they realise this …our kids…ever. But, I suppose, they shouldn’t…for how will they face the world, marriage and their own kids with an open mind.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Engineering Side of it

My hands are itching to compose a letter and give a piece of my mind to this self-absorbed Engineer who has gone to great lengths to bring another guy down. I am part of the engineers yahoo group id, as I too (unfortunately) am part of the Engineering community and have seen various funny mails, from describing events they have boringly conducted with numerous following mails, all echoing, ‘kudos to the team, kudos to Engineers Forum EF’, some forwards of articles by ‘fellow Engineers’. I have been refereed to as Ms S while all the male counterparts are only addressed as Eng K or Eng Z. I have protested (only because I have taken the degree not that I like the ring of Eng before my name) and they have feigned ignorance. But all that is perfectly forgivable but this -- definitely not!
A much elderly person at EF sent a group mail with the CV of his son-in-law and requested others to look out for job prospects for his son-in-law. He also mentioned that his s-in-law had published some paper in IEEE. The next day, our intelligent, concerned Electrical Engineer replied, on the same group mail, that he checked the IEEE paper and the guy’s name was not mentioned. He also went on to say that it is not easy to get your paper published in IEEE as it involves a lot of ‘work’. The senior person instantly apologised and said it was wrong information and gave some clarifications. The point here is, yes, it is wrong to give a false data, but is humanitarian to point it out to that person in confidence, not to humiliate him in a public group mail and cause more embarrassment to him.
But I was heartened to read a ‘very sensible’ Engineer’s comment,
“Obviously you were more concerned for the greater good of Electrical Engineers worldwide. You missed the paper on common sense....Might as well do some research on that.”
I am happy to find that there few Engineers who are sensible, bold and sarcastic too!
Kudos, kudos!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Azad Lane

When I was young, this was something I used to boast about. Imagine living in a lane that is named after your grandfather! I don't think anyone paid much attention then but now I do want to brag and let the whole world (or to all those unsuspecting ones who read my blogs) know, that yes, my grandfather had a whole road dedicated to him.
But this is not just on that but on the things have changed there, at Azad Lane. This was the most peaceful area in Kottayam, we had all the advantage of living right at the heart of town, with the great Thirunakkara temple a furlong away, and yet we were away from the hustle bustle of traffic.
Azad lane connected two main roads and was a broad tarred one with few shops on either side of it. Yes, there was a shop, which kept sweets (the loose ones, no branded ones then) and bananas. This was strictly a residentional area with houses on either sides, the only big ones being our cousins at the beginning of the lane and then Pukalacaut way down. There was only one office here and it was ours, a big building with a press behind. It was called the Cinema Masika Building and this compound was fairly crowded with workers and film boxes. But soon even that became a thing of past. There was a workshop on the left of the office and our Maths tution Sir lived just beyond this. Well, he was one charachter, who didn't opened his mouth (he chewed paan and sometimes he had his mouth full of paan spit!uggh) nor smiled, just scribbled out problems on our notebooks and withered us with his looks. His scribblings ranged from faint noiseless ones when he was happy with our mathematical skills to noisy angry and huge engraving (he has torn pages with the force he wrote) when he was angry with our efforts. Thinking back, he resembled one of the teachers at Harry Potter's Hoghwarts school of witchcraft but he was a good soul and that all of us knew.
Down further was the Chellapaan Bhavani teacher's dance class. All of us girls had to endure the dance classes, though we had varing abilities, from my mother who was a very good dancer, my sister who was good too, to me with my two left feet and always a source of embarassement for I was constantly reminded of moms skills in class.
Well, thats it, this was Azad lane, 25 years ago.
Now this 120meter long road is the busiest road with 2 hospitals, 5-10 shops, lesser residences and numerous offices, facing it. (all this in a 120 meter long road)
It has its advantages, the land price is quite high as there is not an inch available and you can rush to the hospital for emergencies, but they end there, the advantages, I mean.
It is difficult to drive and to walk through this busy 'intersection' with the auto drivers ruling majority of the road space.
Azad Lane has become a difficult place to live with all the facilities available right there and that is the irony!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy 10th Birthday, Bloggerworld

Imagine, bloggers have been doing this for 10 years. And initially it was the world the NERDS used to frequent, an imaginary coccon, which has grown so much that it has ordinary folks like me writing in it and exploring the fun of expressing online. While I have been at it for less than a year, I know of people who have confidently written for years and do it far more professionally.
But then, this world, is one which doesn't require us to be professional, does it?Isn't this one medium where you can write any damn thing? I see it as a diary of sorts, which can be viewed by a select group who love to read it. We are not writing reports, there is no oath of authenticity but a sharing of views or opinions, a sounding board of sorts, where we can sound off our fears, our faults and even gloat over some personal truimphs.
Read this for some great insights into the world of blogs, for some definitions of blogging ranging from the universe of rumours to blogs being only as good as the information presented.
It is this that made me reflect that the world of blogging is not what it is to me, it is also about having diverse viewpoint on a matter of global importance and in some cases have also helped in bringing out to the open many crucial issues like the instance when the sheer number of bloggers writing about public affairs had a transformative impact on Chinese politics. (though not much!)
So for all those who are writing in this medium for various reasons of their own, Happy Blogging for many more years.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Crossing All The Limits

I felt this was coming! Call it sixth sense or plain common sense or just knowing your colleagues, I knew this was coming. This issue of ‘understanding’ and being in a multi-cultural organisation, works only one way and it is their way…
All of us work in an organisation and understanding others cultures is a way of life, or at least a way of our working life. We empathise with them on their cultural issues, ask, discuss, give vent to our doubts and genuinely participate in all the regional, religious and cultural events with as much enthusiasm as we can muster. So for once, we thought, it was time we are understood. So we organise a small party for Diwali and call the gang for a small ‘food’ party at our pantry.
And then what I had sensed would happen, happened. Some prominent members of our team just disappeared at that time, conveniently and didn’t answer calls too. And surprisingly, when they came, they just had the food and walked out as if this doesn’t affect them at all; all this party had nothing but the food on offer!
All of us were angry, yes. But some of them felt, well they had the food, so what is the big deal, which is when, a colleague, pointed out, ‘If you are invited for lunch, do you come for dinner?’
Yes, they did this and deliberately, I am sure, and it all shows at their lack of professionalism and maturity to survive in a multi-cultural society.
I feel proud of myself and the small group of ‘US’ here, who have adjusted, forgiven and gone ahead with life, taking lessons from all this and again prepare for future Eid parties! Though I would say, there is a limit to this pampering of egos (I do that too often…) and the limit has been crossed.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Why don’t I feel strongly enough about any issue? Is it that I lack the initiative or is it that I feel being moderate is safe? Why is that I always take the easier way out instead of the difficult hard-to-tread path of oppositions?
No, not that I am afraid of consequences, but I hate to rock a boat that has been sailing smoothly. Is it because I like to see life without major upturns or upheavals and like to peacefully co-exist with all that is going around?
When my colleagues respond about the issues that affect the world or just them, I sit and read and agree silently, most of the time, until I feel so strongly about the matter that I DO react, by blogging…
Why do I have no complaints to take up with my daughter’s teacher? I am happy with the way they have been teaching our kids and just want them (both the kids and the teacher) to be in sync. My husband, went a step ahead and praised the teacher, (at a recent PT meeting) he has taken lessons from his PR department, I guess.
I feel strongly about how single ‘un-kept’ Asian men are shooed away from malls here but my feelings don’t matter, nor do the feelings of tons of citizens, who have been reacting quite openly in the papers, and are met, with no reactions, positive or otherwise. Now I ask quite plaintively, why?

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I am still in awe of all this:
1. The web wide world, how open we have become and how a message is conveyed across the seas with just a click!
2. Planes and flying: Even now when I look up to the skies and see the large aircraft soaring towards the skies, defying all laws of gravity, with all the tiny pins holding those massive giants together...I am wonder struck!
3. Television: How it brings to you news, stories and what not from around the world.
4. Of the Search Engine, say Google: How it gets you all the information you want…
There are much more, but these are the ones I am aware, day in and day out, and that makes me revel on the wonders of mankind!
For all the technological advances we have made, I feel the internet surpasses all, for how else would you be reading this?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A small step for a better future?

I am proud. Proud to be part of a great step taken for a greater good. To be part of a process that is the first of such initiatives take here in the country. I am sure, noone of us, knew the implications when all this started out. This was initially seen more as a marketing venture or a brand building activity and that the awards were much more than that is what makes me proud. The effects of this will bear fruit and benefit us over a longer period and we can hope for positive steps from various insitutions and maybe even from the Governement. I am proud, because this is one cause I believe firmly giving back to the environment, for all the benefits we have reaped from it.
I am proud because as the lights dimmed and the BBC video depicting mankind’s comercialisation of nature, its implications with experts commenting on what is in store if we continue this onslaught was shown, I realised that one of the experts who commented, David Suzuki, an expert environment activist, was someone I had interviewed two years back.
This is what I love about the job, how, through such small steps we continue to positively affect the masses (I know I am going a bit over board but well, atleast the readers).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


This is that time of the year we loved, the two days when we were asked not to study!. Just imagine, mothers, pleading with kids to stop reading…! Well, that happened just once a year and it is during Navarathri, when we keep our books for pooja.
We four, would cover our books, the textbooks we found most difficult to comprehend, in an old newspaper and write our names prominently outside (the thought of not getting the book back was frightening) and then walk to our temple.
The walk was a joyous, carefree one. We contemplated on what to do the next day. We avoided reading huge posters and feigned horror (we imagined the Gods would punish us if we broke the custom) when we did. The jokes were fresh and the laughter uninhibited. We hummed songs and almost danced our way to the temples, where the final act of handing over the books to our Gods took place. Once that was done we breathed even more freely, revelling in the fact that the Gods would take all our issues under his folds and solve towering History and Science problems and with that conviction we enjoyed our redemption from books.
We had also come to the conclusion that the 2nd day was the shortest day of the year. How the day flew past! It was difficult too since we couln't read anything (and the no TV at home too and even if we could watch it Pukalacaut, there was just DD1)...and we invariably broke that rule, imagine how can you not read the paper, atleast the headlines!
No books, no angry looks from our mother or insulting jabs at our irresponsible lazing around. .
And the next day morning, the same ritual walk to the temple, this time the treads were heavier and the looks a wee bit sad. After scrambling for the packet of books from the heap that had collected, we walked back home and opened our books and studied intensely, and loudly, as if making up for the hours we had lost and also in the hopes that the books coming back from the Gods sanctuary would give us extra memorising powers.
Do you remember, M,S and R?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Expressions I love

The gleam of cunningness in her eyes, when she intends to lie and get away
The slight curl of the lips
Then the victory reflected in her eyes…
All of these on my tiny four-year-old’s face
Makes me want to squeeze her and somehow capture all these fleeting emotions into my heart,
But I put on a stern face to scold her
And then the victory gleam in her eyes dissolves into submission
A sad and ashamed expression pleading mercy
I fall prey to her game and leave her
Then I see the cunning, victorious look…
And I know she has conned me again!
But this time I have let her, to see, yet again, all the expressions I love.

Expectations and meeting them

Friends and expectations. Should one go with the other or do they never go together?
Should we expect more because he or she is a friend or less because we understand and vice-versa?
I am confused. Because that is what it has boiled down to, expectations and then when they are not met, disappointments.
You expect friends to remember birthdays, because you keep a tab on theirs too and memorise theirs and their kids bdays too.
Then when you go on trips, you expect to go in a group and when that dosen't materialise, because your husband works, or because the others are going on another trip the next day, you feel left-out. You feel more so when noone remembers to ask you to tag along with kids(more so because you have always been extra careful and sensitive and asked the wives and the kids to join in when the husbands aren't around). Again disappointment!
This is how I see the whole picture, you aren't a S or an A, but a Mrs.K and when the male counterpart isn't around, you just don't exist!
So friends are all good, when you move as a group, but the minute you are just a S, you have few to fall back on.
This is what I meant in my earlier blog on friends and the lack of good friends, friends who like me for what I am and not because I am someone's wife.
Not to forget the lesson learnt from all these -- the lesser you expect, the lesser disappointed you feel. And this goes for all relations, not just friends.

Monday, September 29, 2008

We share the spirit, but do you?

Well, Eid is finally here and this year I intend to wish all my Arab colleagues (and non-Arab ones too) and suddenly I realise that I do it every year! So what is different this year!
We eat behind closed doors during Ramadan (but we don't forego food!), we have an Iftaar party, and I get a bout of indigestion after it( for eating at odd hours, my stomach is quite sensitive too, you know), we enjoy the lesser hours at work, and suffer when work has to be completed in these lesser working hours, we go to Sohours and I again suffer from indigestion...all keeeping with the spirit of Ramadan.
But, don't get me wrong, I truly appreciate the spirit behind all of this too, and even know why it is being done, the basics, to get me going...I know that this was the time when the holy Quran was revealed and hence celebrated every year.
After all this, someone has the nerve to comment that many who live here are still not aware of the customs here! Well, I might have stammered while I wished Ramdan Kareem, but that was only because I thought it was wrong to wish when one is fasting...
And have they, ever wished us during our festivals. Agreed that we have too many and it is confusing to remember all, but once, atleast once, take the trouble of wishing us and celebrating with us.
And is that asking for more?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Am I taking the right path?

As a mother, I have left all assignments on the elder one to do it herself. She manages it quite well, I am proud to say, she is responsible. We fill in only when she asks for help, though I do crib about that, too, since she calls us only at the last instant.
And today at the school exhibition, I was stunned, more by the labour parents have put in than by genuine kiddish efforts on the project.
The kids, the poor ones, were good by themselves, trying to explain everything verbally, but some of the projects, were truly the hard work of parents and in some cases even by carpenters or model makers at their best!
In an effort to be better than the rest, it is the parents who take it on themselves to finish the work of the students, and then some efforts like my kids does seem a little childish in the whole perspective of exhibits, though that is what these projects should reflect.The School should give projects, which needs only the efforts of the kids, and different ones for kids of their age and hence judge each kid on purely their own skills...
I am not the one to sermon, for I think it is more of guilt that is speaking, for I have not helped much to make the project a little more professional. Or is this a genuine process on my effort to make her more independent!
I am not sure, but the next project, I intend to do something more, though I am proud with what she did, since it was all her idea and her hard work.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tears...of joy, pain, pride and umpteen other reasons

Hurdles...they pull me down,be it a critisim, a death, an illness at home, a vague comment, an unintentional or intentioanl jab...well all of them affect me and after all these years. Have I not matured, am I too weak, or am I just normal?
Normal, I certainly am not...
Not with the tears, I shed daily, for such mundane things on the Television, while watching a touching movie or even a patriotic one to other more reasonable reasons of kids making me proud and the death of a near relative.
I have tried with the 'I am not bothered' attitude, to the 'this is not real' logical thought. But the tears cant be contained, though I have mastered the art of hiding them from my elder daughters suspicious and sometimes teasing glances. (KK has given up, now he is sympathetic to the point of getting huge towels to wipe them off)
Here I have to tell you about my younger one, who understands my weakness yet comforts me and wipes my tears, when nobody looks our way.
But what do I do when these tears crop up at other instances, when they make me look utterly foolish and unprofessional?
I know all the logical facts, even the cosmic thoughts of being detached is thought of(but not practised...)but the flow dosen't ebb!
Any suggestions?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Amachi...this is for you

For the most beautiful lady, for her knowledge, for her strength, for her small pranks and her smile…this is for you…all our love and may you be happy wherever you are…
She had done it all, and she was waiting to go peacefully, and she did just that.
From writing a book on Saibaba to singing beautiful lullabies, coping with the loss of her elder son and then later a much loved grand daughter, she had gone through all the highs and lows of life…
She had her idiosyncrasies, but at her age (she was 84) even that can be seen as allowable.
She was always up to date on all matters worldwide, she knew all that was happening around her and could read any book, she laid eyes on. Though she never liked the television, for all the gory stories that it portrayed, she didn’t distance herself from it too… She could talk on varied subjects but there was no way one could influence her, for she held to her choices.
She had her faults, she had her favourites, and she lived by her own rules, but she was still so full of love.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Holiday Season

Today a cousin is getting married. He was one of the youngest; we were closer to his mother… He was just a kid to us, and so this day makes me feel quite old…
Chenamangalam, where the marriage is being held, holds quite a few memories, of holiday seasons…of temple utsavs and fun -- complete and pure.
Back then we used to spend our summer holidays there and then Chenamangalam was just a village, an idyllic one where the only activity was associated with the temple, the utsavam and a yearly market festival.
We were four to five cousins all girls together for our holidays and every single day had its highlight. We used to take our daily bath together at the kollam which was beside the house. The kollam is a semi-closed structure with steps leading down to the pond and I can guarantee that none of the swimming pools can evoke that comfortable feel of these homely kollams. And our morning sessions were usually an hour or two long and had to be ended after a long sermon from the mothers. Once we even sighted a small snake floating right past us and I still remember how all of us ran out, without even bothering to look back for our sisters…with just a towel around… frightened out of our wits.
The temple festivals were the next fascination. The daily programmes of Kathakali and other dance drama and the more popular ganamela were feasts we looked forward to. Once our cousin and his friends had come there along with their troupe of singers and we had a field day…sitting next to the musicians, the privilege that gave us over the rest.
Next came the occasional treats to the local theatre, a thatched roof structure with the movie projected on a white background. The movie, oldies, but still exciting for us to sit on benches and watch movies in all abundance, clapping loudly when the hero enters to singing along with the heroine and cursing the villain when he plots villainously.
Oh! such carefree days…were time never mattered and the days streaked with fun and few fights and the nights with lots of gossiping and late night confessions.
Those were the times and as we grew older, the magic reduced and there was no more holiday season fun. The village is no longer a village, technology made its regular imprint and we are left with just memories of the bygone days…

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A matter of restriction

This is what a newly acquired friend Hassnaa who has incidentally written this report meant, when she said, that there were far more important issues that the S government had to achieve than allowing the women to drive, removing the dress code for women. To drive and own a car was not at all important, she said, considering the larger much grim picture. And this is the larger picture she meant, where the mother cannot have the custody of her children in case of a divorce. Even if she is earning and is capable of looking after her wards.
But there are much more that has been not published…and some which have been, but with worse consequences.
Remember the shocking incident when a 19 year old was gang raped and victim was sentenced last year to 90 lashes for meeting with an unrelated male. The seven rapists, who abducted the pair, received sentences ranging from 10 months to five years in prison. When the victim appealed, the judges more than doubled the punishment for the victim because of "her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media.”
Can it get more shocking than this?

Monday, September 8, 2008

The treats we miss

Todays eating interlude at office took me back to my grand mothers kitchen! The treats she used to keep ready for us when we got back from school. Diamond cuts dipped in sugar syrup and fried to perfection, ada's , two covered in leaf and the other as kozhukatta, which was my favourite. These were the evening treats while the afternoon lunch had all the mouth watering dishes and in huge quantities to feed an army, well, almost. And an army of guests we had, then...
There were workers from the press, who used to eat here must have been their working contract! To have home-made food at the boss's home along with the paypacket, is indeed a good deal, but I wonder if this was a deal but just a convenience which was used by the most needy ones. These were the constants and we had so many other unannounced guests, who my grandfather used to bring along, unannounced and my grandmom, serve them as generously as possible. From agents, well-known filmstars to aspiring ones, directors - young and old, all frequent guests for lunch or dinner and my grandmom, the perfect hostess. I can't actually recollect her eating, she was the last person to eat and there was never a complaint for all the work done.
But all good things come with a time limit...they are then better as memories...
With the death of my grandfather and the closing of the press and the magazines, the constant guest list ebbed. Soon everyone who had either eaten from our kitchens or used my grandfathers contacts to go up the ladder in life, forgot the good food and the helpful gestures from the finest person ever in the film fratenity (not my words, exactly, but words from P.Bhaskaran, the erstwhile lyricist and director of yesteryears) and went on with the life of fitting into other roles in the cellulioid screen...
But how can we forget our grand mother, who later lived a bitter life. The effects of that sudden change --from a being the provider to a reciever...
Through all this, she didn't disappoint us, her grand children. Till her death, she made it a point to cook these perfect small rounds of kozhukattas, whenever I went home for my holidays and the taste lingers on my tongue...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Precious Two

I am amazed daily. By my two daughters and how each incident, each gesture carries a different message to both of them. The girls both somehow a part of me, but so different, in the way they think, act and even look.
The elder makes me proud, while the younger makes me laugh, at her, and at others and life in general.
The elder one, so creative, she amazes me with the curves of her confident strokes, how she uses each second of her time to make something new, ideas that bring tears of pride in my eyes.
The younger one, always active, runs about, destroying the very efforts of her sister and then says apologises, ever so convincingly that her sister forgives her too!
The elder one with her dress sense, so correct, that I can't but help myself learning from her.
The lessons the younger one trys to give to the elder while she goes about following none.
The elder one, so absent-minded and insensitive, that I wish I could get her to emote a little more.
The younger, the constant helper, who spills and at that instant gets the broom to wipes it all clear, her face so full of remorse that you fall prey to her charms.
Both of them, so different yet at some instant, when they hug and laugh at their pranks, so similar...
Gems, two sparkling ones and they are mine, more precious than all the diamonds...

A New Beginning

When the last bit of sunshine flows out
Then seeps in the mysterious dark
Like a veil of gloom, shrouding the colours
Bright greens washed by rain, slushy yellow mud ponds, endless blue of the sky
All now just a pit of unfathomable depth

Streetlights cast shadows long and shaky
The yellows casting a pattern on the road
Of shadows light, dark and sinister
The far longer ones dancing in anticipation
Baffling and hesitant they frame the picture of night

But, worry, I will not
For there right behind, comes the sun
Bringing with it the light of life
Kissing the buds to flowers, drying the tears from the stalks of green
A new beginning of happiness and shine.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Most Cherished

I am trying to recall all the wonderful moments in my life and the list seems endless…
But there is one memory that is crystal clear, even with the passage of time...a memory that I hold dear and that surpass all …

This is when I was studying in Kudremukh, so I must have been in my 4th std.
As I was walking outside my classroom, I get a small tap on my head
I turn around surprised and find my father smiling down at me…

That was and still is the happiest moment in my life.
Though I wish with all my heart…it could happen again…just once I wish…

As they say, life is in the small gestures that leave an impression, even when and maybe more so as the person is so far away from you…yet the memories are strong and they seem to live on.

Words that click

Parts from ‘Vanishing Acts’ by Jodi Picoult on losing your daughter…could associate so much with it that I had to write it down….

When you are pregnant, you can think of nothing but having your body to yourself again; yet after giving birth you realize that the biggest part of you is somehow external, subject to all the dangers of the world, so you spend the rest of your life trying to figure out how to keep her close enough for comfort.
That’s the strange thing about being a mother, until you have a baby, you don’t realize how much you are missing one.

Beautiful words, isn’t it?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Giving way to Tempation

But I gave way to temptation, I did...I sat under the sun, gazing at the sea (in-between the overt peeks at the bodies in abundance, both male and female...)and I loved it! It sure was bliss!
And I have to train my mind to do this difficult task of just doing nothing...
Us women are constantly on our toes, all our lives, be it tending to homes or the husbands and later on the kids... constantly on the move, home, in office and we completely forget to enjoy ourselves.
Living lifes for others, have become our way of life, so much so that we have forgotten what it is to just let go...
But let go I did and enjoyed each moment of it...
Finally and without an inch of guilt...I enjoyed the sun and the ambience. Thank you Chedi and Amouage and finally my job... for giving me this...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Perfect Setting

I have always asked myself, what would I love to do, and in between the chaos at home I used to think of loneliness like a thirty crow dreams for a puddle of water...
And here I am in the most comfortable setting, The Chedi Muscat, and I yearn for the comfort of the sounds of fighting.
It is not the surrounding, it is just what I would have designed, I think...the interplay of the inside with the outside, long courtyards, surronding water space and the link to the sea through these water bodies, it is heavenly...
Unlike the tall towers in Doha, this places takes up more land, spreading itself comfortably into the shape of the landscape at ground level. It is at night though that the beauty is truly exposed through lightings, placed in intelligent is one of the most romantic setting, that i have ever seen...
But there is one is in the wrong place...and I am here at the wrong time...It is so humid outside u can't even take a single picture without the lens getting misty...
For the westerns, the heat and the sunshine is pure joy, ofcourse, coming from a land where the sun is a luxury, but me, coming from places where there is no shortage of this commodity, I have more than I want. To endure the heat and sit gazing at the sea and the surrounding though tempting, coz of the scantily clad bodies already there, is not my cup of tea...
And so here I am in my room, freezing, on my computer and talking about the sounds that I miss, already.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Comfort comes with a tummy

It happened yet again. The sly look, the understanding nod and the final question, “are you pregnant?”
I squirm in embarrassment but stoically put on a ‘don’t care’ air and say, “Oh, no, it is my tummy.”
There I get my satisfaction, a revenge of sorts for publically commenting on a private part (a part I hold sacred, for it doesn’t diminish …and it held two wonderful human specimens in its folds…or pinnacles to be more specific).
To see the discomfort of the person who asked the question, is a pleasure…They go overboard with their apologies, their explanations, some of which makes me want the earth to rip open at that instant and swallow me up along with the culprit.
Thankfully, all this lasts only for a few minutes, these remarks don’t even leave a lasting impression on my state of mind (like my husband and some close friends would want it to be). For none of this gets me to budge from my state of laziness, the comfort in being the same me with the same protruding tummy…

Monday, August 18, 2008

A new Love

I really can’t understand this. This sudden love for music. The same person who used to change the channel when there was a song being shown on TV, never hum even in his bath or listen to a beautiful song without doing something else along with it, here he is now sitting still in our living room with an expression of pure amazement! Closing his eyes, as if in a trance and slowly moving with the music. This man who can only sing tunelessly, here he is humming under his breadth, thoroughly enjoying himself…
He beckons with his eyes, imploring me to sit and listen! I comply though my mind aches to protest…
He is listening to the new music system he has splurged on and I am so tense I just can’t enjoy the music. It is not like him to spend on frills like this and music, never, so what has come over him, I wonder!
Finally, I ask him, “What happened, da? Have you found a new love, is there someone new in office.” I can’t help asking the obvious!
Now he sighs and says, “I wish that was true, but it is this,” he says gesturing at the amplifier, “It’s this technology, when you increase the volume, it is the volume that increases and not the sound that increases as in other systems…and isn’t it great?” he asks.
And I can only gape in reply.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

On a Lighter Vein

KK to a family who always insisted on calling us over not giving us a chance to call them over…
“Why are you guys like a bank, just one-sided transactions!”

KK on our house in Vashi
“It is so small you have to go out to change your mind.”

KK on having 2-kids:
“Your role then changes from being a parent to a moderator.”

KK on why a baby suddenly looked down after looking up at KK’s face:
“She is searching for the TV remote.”

Me to KK, just before I left for my first work related trips without kids:
“Take care of the kids as if they are your own.”

Will add on…

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kochu Kochu Sandoshangal(It dosen't sound good in English but it translates to Small things, Huge pleasure..)

We watched Ratatouille on our new LCD screen and it was pure heaven, the screen gave a new depth to the movie, something we had missed the first time??
The comforts of technology set me down memory lane… (there I go again)
As kids we watched our favourite TV serials, (if I remember right, there were only two, Buniyaad and Yeh Jo He Zindagee) at our neighbour’s house, it was also a ruse to get to our close friend’s place. These trips had its dual advantages; we could watch the serial and spend time with our friends. I can’t remember pestering my mom for the luxury of having a TV at home, not that she would listen to our rants too…
But sometime when I was in the 10th standard, (on a condition that studies will not be affected) we did get the most coveted item and on the day that it was supposed to come, I remember how both of us literally rolled down the lane to our house after school to see whether Amma had kept her promise. She sure had. She had her own reasons, one of them was to stop our running over to our friend’s house. Television did have its advantages, but it didn’t stop us from running over to Pukalacaud…
Well, there is no Pukalacaud to run to now nor do we live in the same old house, there is no shortage of Televisions or for that matter, even serials now…
But I still yearn for those days when freedom was just a few yards away, when running down that lane was like jumping fences of restrictions, when the few moments gave us both a sense of freedom.
It does seem like another era, when Televisions were deemed as comfort while now it is just another piece of furniture, one you can’t do without…
That, I suppose is technology with all its advantages, it brings continents closer but takes people further away…

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

To write light...

I wonder, why, I just can’t loosen up and write some lighter stuff, as my well-wishers want me to. All the below blogs does give a grim picture of a suffering, emotionally dependant and maybe mentally deranged person sitting behind her rusty table in a dark, musty smelling old house, jotting away to oblivion! (No, no computers too, it gives the feel of comfort!) Now I get carried away with that image, well, the girl would have her hair spread over her shoulders, and she would use her pencil to scratch her lice-infected hair in-between her scribbling, twitch her tattered cloth around her fingers and mark her punctuations with sighs of pain and discomfort…
Well, those who know me can vouch, I am nowhere close to the image projected, but why the melancholy in the words, wonder others and I do too…
I just have to go home to have a bit, bit would be putting it too mildly, a bit too much, seems more right, of the lighter stuff.
From my younger ones doubts on why her father pees standing up while she has to sit while doing it, to my husbands rejoinders to any word I utter, well, my life is no less dull than an episode of Everybody loves Raymond.
So it might be to give a firmer rein that I plug on to the emotions -- the raw and untouched ones of my life that are instrumental in making me the person I am. But I do intend to add more fun to my writing…

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Re-reading my blog is like re-examining my thoughts...and I felt I did not do justice to my closest soul mate...
20 years or more of friendship, of soul examining, of discussing issues that concern us and others, spiced up with fights followed by making-ups and then again another round of the same...
Well, how could I forget this constant factor in my life...our circumstances might have changed from staying together in a joint family to the jerky life of a shippie, back to sound grounds in Bombay and then later a shift to a ME...but through all this our friendship has blossomed. Storms have been incessant but we have tided through them, and gathered strength to face more.
Well, how could I not mention this important factor who constantly reminds me of the funny part of life and makes me smile (and sometimes cring, when the jabs are directed at well-meaning friends and family).
So to this person who makes me laugh, who has changed the course of my life, who constantly reminds me that money comes only to those who take good care of it...and I yet again forget the advices, here is a toast to our friendship, here is wishing us smooth sailing...

A friend in need

My editor picked a beautiful Arabic proverb for an article that says, “A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breadth of kindness blow the rest away.”
Reading this made me long for a friend…
My friend-list is limited to my daughter’s friend’s mother or my husband’s friend’s wife…
Well, I do have friends in office… But I am constantly on guard here, where you just can’t let your heart rule over the head and pour the contents out, be it chaff or grain, for there might be someone, who would take offence …
And it is not because I haven’t tried. I had a close friend from REC, with whom I could converse with for hours…but we have lost touch. For years, I tried to find her, a number, an email but all efforts went fruitless and now I just don’t look. And there is another friend and we are trying to go back in time, to be the friends we were then…
Marriage has that effect; it makes everything around look unimportant. I didn’t want anything else but the comfort of companionship that comes with marriage which later and inevitably went on to the role of a mother…
And that is a one role every woman cherishes, that of a mother. The happiness of seeing a part of you in flesh and blood, the innocence, the dependency, the complete trust that you see in the eyes of your child, is all consuming. It obliterates everything else. Who remembers friends, relatives or other duties then?
Well, we all pass through these phases, but it the clever ones who maintains all these the different facets -- the ever encompassing role of a mother, a wife, a friend, a companion, separate each entity from the other, yet bind them together to form the character, that is you…
No, I don’t regret living each of my roles, a little more profoundly than necessary but I surely miss my friends of college… and I vow to hunt them down …

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What I love and hate about living here

I love
The sand dunes and the sight of camels walking past them lazily…
I hate
The monotony of the sands, the bare and harsh brown landscape, that continues on and on…

I love
The absence of relatives and the freedom that gives me to do what I want…
I hate
The detachment that makes me lonely sometimes for the love of relatives and close ones…

I love
The clean roads and organised traffic
I hate
The people who feel they own the road

I love
The sanitised food
I hate
The absence of spicy smells and the lip-smacking tastes…

I love
The absence of chaos
I hate
The same absence of chaos…

I also miss
The chaos, the crowded streets, the smell of the local thatu kada and the green landscape….

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A bond growing stronger

I had all intentions to hate her. My mind was made up. I would hate this intruder who was going to uproot me from my current status as the reigning queen of the family… But the first glimpse of the chubby innocent face melted barriers inside. But, No, I wasn’t going to let go of my intentions, I thought firmly, that is as firm as a 7-year old can.
The tiny plump hands, pink and warm, the smell, did make the resolution weak, but I held on.
When the whole family ooh-aahed over the tiny bundle, I seethed inside and once, when there was no one around, pinched the tiny hands and watched horrified as the smiley innocent face dissolved into wrinkles of pain… I escaped from the scene, but the guilt remained.
But the hate dissolved gradually and was replaced with more positive feelings of love…I couldn’t help it, the smiles specially reserved for me(when she could just do that), the coos of recognition and the spark that lit up her eye when she saw me. The thought of being needed by this tiny figure was indeed a high for the 7-year old, me.
Some memories never fade, like her first day in school, when she wouldn’t let go of my skirt and cried miserably when I went to my own class.
Later on dependency gave way to friendship, when we walked down to the bus stand on the way to school(almost 2km away), the long gap between our ages never a barrier. We amused each other with the jokes we invented, read aloud our lessons to compete with each other and giggled afterwards when mom scolded. When we both were caught red-handed for going to our neighbours to watch TV and came back late, we stood with our hands entwined and took the punishment melted out as stoically as possible and later cried hugging each other.
The instances are many and the bond stronger. From being dependant, the little girl is now on her own and sometimes it is me who takes her council…

Monday, August 4, 2008

A sad picture

Well, Kottayam, the land of letters, has a sad face to present to the world. Awareness and education has always helped man, but not in Kerala...Here, it is not a boon but a burden on the systems.
The centre of the town is the bus stand and the road around it was to be expanded. Some shops had to be demolished or pulled back to give the roads more breadth. And this was being done when a responsisble civic person(they are in abundance here) put a stay to the work which had started in earnest. With the rubble and the garbage collecting over it, the roads are still incomplete and the city wears a untidy look.
The beautiful Thirunnakkarra temple just beyond the bus stand with the long streach of steps and a beutiful facade is now a thing of the past. The beautiful facade is now blocked with some incomplete form of construction. Another aftermath of a stay order. The order could be for a better structure or to solve some issue but then the issue has to be solved not left behind unresolved for years...
I am not a political person, my views are that of a common man who loves her home town with all its smells and sights. And this sight does bother me...

For a reason or no reason at all?

Why do I love the temples in Kerala? I am not an religious person, not in the strict sense of the word. Ofcourse I believe in God and pray, do my morning pooja systematically, but I don't follow all the rituals to the core. And that in part is my religion, the freedom to talk to my God, when I please and not as per a rule written long before...
Coming back to the question, so why do I love these temples? There are enough reasons to avoid going there, like the huge crowd waiting in a queue outside Guruvayoor Temple to get a glance of the Almighty..., the oil mixed with rainwater makes the pathway quite slippery and could well be a chance of getting closest to the Gods, the ridiculous overpass where you climb the stairway with numerous other devottes, all equally anxious to see their Lord. To keep yourself apart from the pushing sweaty mass as well as move ahead in the queue with all your parts untouched and unharmed, is indeed a feat.
With all these hitches, why do I still go there, yearly?
Here I have no qualms in admitting that yes, that one small moment when I get near the main shrine is so divine, it makes me come back again. It could be because of the time factor(you are allowed to stand in front for less than a second) or the skills of the chandam charthal, the sculpture is carved out in chandan by expert hands, or it could be something unexplainable...
This is for Guruyaoor, but what about the temple, I frequent, which is like my next door neighbour!
Here it is the comfort of coming home, the memories of a time gone by, when going to the temple, was part of the morning ritual...
And here is where I talk to God, to my Thirunakkara devar, as I call him...I tell him what I have been doing, what I want him to, no huge want list...just to keep an eye on my mom, who lives close...
Here is where I invented small Malyalam keertans, because I didnt know any other bhajans of the God in question, the paths I had formed, the footprints which later paved way to a concrete path, the water puddles I jumped over and sometimes washed my feet...
This is my comfort place, this temple where I had prayed lightly during a normal day, more frevently during exams and sometimes forgot myself standing there, just talking to my very own God!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A new me?

Life in the Middle East is counted from the day you come back from your hometown after the monthly vacations, to the next year when your vacations start. Everything in between in a blur, as days pass by in a fast forward mode, from a friday to the next. You count months and then weeks, days and finally hours before you go on your next vacations. It is not entirely because you hate the country you work in, but it is a combination of factors. For me the magnetic pull of my home country is hard to resist... the abundant and heavenly nature, the ever friendly country men(even a stranger will want to know more about you and won't hesitate asking you), the aromatic smell of Indian food mingling with the not so pleasant smells of the streets and the sounds of life... The list is endless but the strings they pull are makes you want to go back, yet again. There are other emotional strings attached like family who always pull you back for duties abundant...
Well, I am back from yet another emotional yearly trip! But the effect is obvious, I feel fresh and clean, ready to tackle the pressures of the job, family and even more. I have a lot to do this year, till my next rejenuvation trip.
And this blog is my first step...Hence it is natural that I write about my place, my hometown that yearly cleanses me and fills me with NEW hopes and aspirations, makes me go on with the rut that is life...
Let me go down memory lane... the thoughts, the scenes, the smells...all that makes me the person I am.