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.