Friday, July 2, 2010

My Sins Against Gender Stereotypes.

IHM tagged me and this is the one tag which has became a cult of sorts..and if I don't join in I will be a minority and who wants to be that in this blog world. So here I plunge in, into the sinful world of gender stereotypes and tell you the ten different sins I have committed in the 'she' world.

Here are my ten:
  1. My earliest memories of time spent with my father is of us playing cricket with a cousin brother. And I was good at it.
  2. Amma used to call us (me and my sister) her two boys, as all the banking, bills and all errands of the house was taken care by us both. The fact that there were no guys at home helped.
  3. I have been to the police station twice, to complain about a theft in our house and once got furious with the policemen for not taking sufficient interest in our case.
  4. We both (my sister and me) had to constantly travel from home to work place and always got back late. My mother was quite nervous but we both managed well, travelling in trains and then autos to reach home by 9pm, to be with our mother and then leave early at 6am the next morning.
  5. I have loads of men friends as I have women friends and love talking politics and debating issues.
  6. I love buying things but cannot spend time over shopping.
  7. I love books and love cars and driving.  Have done a couple (or more) of test drives. 
  8. I am not frightened of creatures, cockroaches, lizards etc. But I love animals, dogs are a weakness. 
  9. I hate chocolates.
  10. I love beer.
But having said that, I still cry over movies, emotional scenes, when my kids do well and almost any silly matter and I love cooking, I can embroider, am not good at mechanics...
So I cannot be called a full-fledged sinner but an aspiring one!

For the uninitiated and there must be none for sure, the tag is called ‘My Sins against Gender-Stereotypes’. And you must tag twelve blogging friends or else you will be cursed to wear blue clothes pants if you are a woman and pink shirts if you are a man – for next twelve years.
And I am cursed as all the blogger friends I know have been tagged already.
So see me in blue pants from tomorrow, Yippee!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Can the cane

A cousin was talking about how a couple in Canada lost the custody of their two teenagers, when it was found that one of the two kids had a small wound on her leg, supposedly from a scissor that fell down. The scissor wound was not inflicted by the parents but the school suspected the parents, because of a callous comment the kid made, which was something to this effect, “my mother will kill me; if she knew that I had played with the scissor, so I did not tell her”. A casual comment which set the school into action and the kids are now with foster parents. Shocking and sad, you would say.
That was in Canada.

Picture this scene, in India, where the parents complained about the rising fees, and the students of Vishal Bharti School, Paschim Vihar, were made to sit on the floor of the school in the December winter.
Harsh punishment from the schools for revolting against their systems.
You can find more such ruthless acts here, all from authorities who are supposedly the caretakers of our children.


So what is the right way? What is the median?

Are we being far more lenient on our kids and reacting to absurd logics? Is corporal punishment the way to go? Where do we draw the line and be a guide to our kids, bring in the sense of responsibility, instil the right values, let them see the right and wrong with that occasional tap and a few raps on the hands and bottoms, more verbal (read loud) debates to emphasise a point? Or do we, as parents, just let them be, let them learn from mistakes, grope their way around in this bad world and learn the lesson the hard way?

No, I am not for corporal punishment. But having said that, I have had a few chalks thrown at me, a few raps with the scale, but these acts were never to victimise me. And never ever did it border on bullying.
So where do I draw the line? Where do we, as parents, get up and protest?

The school who sent the girls to foster parents said that there were other ways than caning to bring an erring kid to task.
Most counsellors are unanimous when they say a child must never be punished the first time they make a mistake. If the mistake is repeated, an alternative form of deterrent has to be found—from barring them from watching a favourite programme on television or not being allowed to play in the evening and in schools staying in after class or standing at the corner of the class.
Here is what a counselor, felt about it. She said that there is no knowing just how much is acceptable when it comes to corporal punishment.
She said: "There is no such thing as this much is enough. (Hitting a child once) could be enough to scar or hurt a child."
Having worked with youths aged between 11 and 17, who are often beyond parental control, she believes more in getting the children to reflect on their actions.
"Caning is not going to solve the problem. The more you cane, the more the child loses his/ her fear of it. The wounds eventually heal but the scar it has caused may not go away," she said.

I may not be the best mother around, nor am I a bad one though I still have loads to learn. I want them disciplined for sure, but will not tolerate any corporal punishment.
But when she is in the wrong, I want her disciplined, in a way that makes her aware of her wrong deed, not by inflicting wounds on her personality or her physical self.

(If my elder one sees this, she will remind me about the pinch I gave her earlier this week, when she was sitting engrossed in the World Cup match, completely forgetting her test the next day, even after five (note that, see repetitive) shrill reminders from me.
This also brings to mind what my younger told me, when I was scolding her (rather loudly) for her lack of attention while doing her homework. She told me quite seriously and encouragingly, “Amma, you shout very well, you should become a teacher. You can do it.”)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

No, I am not humming the sexy song...but describing the weather in Doha. I should add it is boiling hot...and we are sweltering in the heat.
The office Air conditioners give up their futile attempt of bringing down the inside temperature, by noon they go off dejectedly and we complain, curse and sweat...
With the outside temperatures hitting 50 degress and climbing, my mind wanders to the construction workers - if there are any outside. I hope the Government jurisdiction passed recently in Qatar on time schedules at construction sites are being strictly followed, for who can venture out into sites and touch boiling hot steel rods or even stand on them?
It is said that though the governments takes action against contractors, there are some scrupulous contractors who in their hurry to make extra bucks, disregard the warning and allow labourers to continue with their work in this unbearable condition. So guys in the blogosphere, keep your eyes open (those in the Middle East) and let’s keep our vigil against these money mongers and get them booked.
On another note, imagine the conditions of gardens and our poor plants, fighting hard to keep their heads up in this blazing fire...
My plants are all withering, I water them with cool water thrice a day, but I know I am waging a losing battle. My plants have lost the will to fight, but I will keep trying.
This is how my garden looked a week back,

And this is how it is now...

and these are the badly suffering ones...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I wish

For a device that puts all my thoughts into words..
I was the tree outside my house, firm and strong against all adversities
I was the river photographed by my friend in the picture above, beautifully calm, safe in the cocoons’ of green to transport people in these valloms to their but never expecting anything in return...
I had a job that gives me two weeks off for every month I work...
I never had to think of money (I am forced to now)
My kids were well behaved...and not the naughty cranky character they sometimes change into (read most times)
I could relive my REC days... I want to learn and read a lot more than I did then...I want to hang on to the friends of those times...
I could read one book everyday
I could go to one beautiful location every month
I could drive into the horizon in my Honda, with music playing...
And come back in time for N's school bus
I could sleep with them (my girls) on each of my arms
I could come up with brilliant ideas at work...ideas that translate into pots of money that can be distributed equally among all my colleagues...
I could blog about interesting topics on a daily basis
I had Swaram's positivity, Nancy's popularity, Vimmu's clever tongue, Smitha's range, Umm’s talent to decipher strong issues...
On the other hand, NO, I want to be me...with my few blogs...and I would rather read their's than wish mine to be similar to theirs
I want to keep wishing...but am sure I will lose the few readers I have...
So I stop writing but keep wishing...

P.S: The picture is courtsey a journalist friend, Bonnie James, who clicks for passion.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Two letters, One intent

The younger ones's card

The younger ones' note inside

The elder ones' letter

I was given two letters of appreciation for Mother’s day from my two. The younger one was so excited about it she gave it to me a day before the real Mother’s day. The elder one was so ashamed of the whole business of thanking her mother, she gave it to me the next day and she gave it to me nonchalantly, saying, “The teacher wanted us to do it, it is so boring...”
The younger one made a big show of it and gave me a hug too with the note.
The elder one watched me, as I read the letter, from behind the book she was supposedly reading...
I knew K (my elder) meant each word she wrote (I also pointed out the grammatical mistakes she made in it and piqued her further)...while the younger one didn’t understand what it was all about...
But the intent of both were clear, though the ways completely different.
That evening, I called my mother; we talked about everything but Mother’s Day...
If I wished her she would have said,”Who believes in Mother’s Day, we are from the older institution.”
I think I belong to that same institution where we don’t believe in displaying our love or concern... just go about loving our mothers the way we have been doing each day, every moment in our life...
So though I didn’t wish my mother, I am sure she understood ....

Sunday, May 9, 2010


This tag is so easy and fun...I picked it up from here...

If I were a month, I’d be May
If I were a day of the week, I’d be the Thursday, waiting for the weekend...
If I were a time of day, I’d be early morning
If I were a season, I’d be spring
If I were a planet, I’d be Earth
If I were a sea animal, I’d be a whale
If I were a direction, I’d be South...where my home town is
If I were a piece of furniture, I’d be a lounge (charukasera, for sure) by the bookshelf
If I were a liquid, I’d be wine
If I were a tree, I’d be the banyan tree near our temple
If I were a tool, I’d be the chisel
If I were an element (of what?), I’d be water
If I were a gemstone, I’d be a diamond.
If I were a musical instrument, I’d be a violin,
If I were a color, I’d be ocher.
If I were an emotion, I’d be love.
If I were a fruit, I’d be a jackfruit...
If I were a sound, I’d be the sound of rain...
If I were a car, I’d be a sports car
If I were food, I’d be a salad (healthy food, ha)
If I were a taste, I’d be spicy
If I were a scent, I’d be Poison
If I were a pair of shoes, I’d be baby shoes
And if I were a bird, I’d be a lovebird...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

This one's for you

What do you say to your partner after 15 years of being together?
That I appreciate you for understanding me much more than I understand myself...or thank you for the support, for being there when I am not, for trying to fill in my place at home when I am away on assignments...
Would it not be an insult to the word, Thank you, if it were to represent so many layers of gratitude?
Would it be hypocritical not to mention the fights, the arguments that helped strengthen the bond, would it be right to talk only of the few and sparing moments of love we have shared in this rush called life?
Would it be right to say that I expect this and a bit more in making this institution strong...
Or would it be just right to say, “I cannot think of a day without having you around in my life...”

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Do you have a favourite?

Last Thursday, we were at a beach party. The weather was bad, too windy to have an outdoor festivity but a few of us did brave the winds to try and enjoy ourselves...
There was good music playing but no one seemed to be listening, two grownups were trying to get more people to the dance floor. And then I heard this vaguely familiar voice, screaming into the microphone, “Come on all of you, come and dance with us...”
I looked around to find my younger one, standing confidently, close to the music system with the microphone in her hands and taking on the self-imposed role of the announcer for the evening.
She wasn’t dancing much but she did get more people to join in and then encouraged them with loud, “Come on move your body” and the louder, “Yes, yes, that’s the way” and some even embarrassing outbursts of, “See all of you, look at my father dancing...he is doing a good job”!
She even pounced on her elder sister, who was trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, embarrassed with her sister’s new flamboyant role.
“There is my sister, in orange T-shirt and blue earring. We always fight at home but she really dances well, K chechi come and join the dancing.”
K made a fast exit...
N also tried encouraging me to join in her new ‘role’.
She told me, “Amma, say something, no problem, you can talk what you do at office and home too.”
I was proud of course, but this set me thinking...why is my younger one confident and sure of herself while the elder, who is much more talented of the two, so shy.
Are we the reason, have I been too strict on her and a bit lenient on the younger?
Were our expectations from the elder one, much higher than for the younger? I know it was...
But it was also because we knew her potential, but did it have its negative effect?
I have read that it is perfectly natural to have favourites in the family. A psychiatrist is quoted in Gulf Times, saying, “It is perfectly normal for parents to favour one child or another at one time or another. It’s what they do with that favouritism that can create problems.”
We did not have favourites; we knew both their flaws and strengths and knew how different both were.
I know we devoted more time and attention to the elder for six years and later when the second one came into our life, the attention was divided...and it was done with conscious effort to make the elder one fit in.
Yes, there have been instances when I was strict on the elder since the younger one is so tuned to what the elder does. But have I played favourites?
There is this theory by another psychiatrist that answers most of my doubts, that says, “But even when parents vow to treat their children equally, they soon find that this is just not possible. Every child is different and parents must respond to their unique characteristics appropriately. You shouldn't react to a 3-year-old's tantrums in the same way as you would to a 13-year-old's. You can't deal with aggressive children in the same way as passive children. Even identical twins can't be treated identically. When it comes down to it, every child wants to feel like they're different, not clones of their siblings. The best parents can do is stay aware of any differential treatment they give and try to be as fair as possible.”
Do you go through these moments of soul searching? Do you have a favourite in the family? Or have you ever felt that your brother always got the best deals in the family?

Business Options?

We are all aware of Halal food products but here comes something new...Halal sex products...
Welcome to the new age of innovative businesses! Now we also have a Muslim only online sex shop, created exclusively for those who have been deprived of pornographic sites, as it is against the Islamic religion.
Read all about it here...
I am amazed...constantly at how people find soutions to satisy needs...and have a justification to match it too!
Is this hypocrisy or a smart business option?
What do you say?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Issues Galore

I have realised that I stop blogging when there is an issue that is bothering me. And last month there were umpteen issues.
There was a small niggling one at my work place, small now in retrospect but which saddened me no less. I clamped down on my emotions, and then after a few days of feeling bad, went about justifying to myself the reasons behind the troublesome incident. Now it is all behind me, but not before it taught me more on the complex human mind and the callousness of some. As I tell myself, I learn each day...from each experience.
Then there was this MF Hussain issue that was blown out of proportion by some...
I still maintain, he is an artist and has a free will to interpret what he wants in ways he wants. That he hurt the sentiment of some was unfortunate, that I think was foolish on his part too. When you live in a society you live according to some rules, even if you are a painter or his muse...
But to blow the issue out of proportion was unfortunate; it showed us in poor light, we who have always professed a religion that is based on tolerance and openness.
Like she says and like how Shobha De puts it very articulately, it is eventually our loss...
But there are still people who feel strongly about Hussain taking a Qatari citizenship. I put up this image below on Facebook and I had comments flowing in instantly ...and some mails that did affect my religious sentiments...

I believe that Hussain had the best deal of all, he is a free bird (well, almost and until he plays by the rules of the country he is the resident of now) he painted what he wanted to and when he felt restricted in his country he flew out for safety, he still dreams and professes of everlasting love for his country while he makes money from another...Attaboy!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Sunny Days

She was the one who gave me my first whiff of freedom. Light yet nimble we manoeuvred the roads of Trivandrum. She was my silver coloured Sunny , the first major purchase I made with my own money. Cousins advised me to buy a second hand, heavier, more powerful two wheeler but I was adamant, I wanted a new vehicle and I wanted to buy it with MY money. The choice was limited with my meagre salary, only the RS10,000 Sunny could be afforded. And hence in the year 1993, a year after I graduated, I bought my first vehicle.
After days of following the huge red coloured state transport bus, stopping when it stopped and waiting patiently while passengers got down and then again following it up to the Museum, where I had to take a 100 meter detour to my office, I learnt the ropes of riding my Sunny around town. We literally flew around, she was so tiny that we would hurl down the slopes, weave through traffic and park in the tinniest of gaps. I thought of her more as an accomplice than as a vehicle, she had an identity of her own, one that was so tuned to my likes and dislikes...
But manoeuvring the heights (and Trivandrum is a city with quite a few elevations in road pattern) was where she showed her stubborn side. I started coaxing her a few 100mts before the road climbed in elevation, gathered all the momentum she offered, but as if reinforcing the fact that Bajaj had built a 50cc scooter and not a supernatural powered one, she slowed down... embarrassing the life out of me. Others in bigger vehicles would sail past me and pass jeering comments. Not that it fazed me, I would row past (I had to use my two legs to see me through such situations), without giving them a second glance proudly astride my tiny carriage.
But I have to say this, even with her stubborn streak, she did not ever let me down, she never broke down when I was in a hurry nor did she stop in mid ride. Starting her, though, was always an issue and then she was invariably helping me, getting attention from good looking blokes around, so she did serve me quite well...
When I left my job to come to Kottayam she came with me and was used by my sister and we are to date known as the sisters in Sunny.

p.s:This is just a file pic from google image, my Sunny was more beautiful in silver...

We (Sunny and me) both were at the receiving end with a few jokes made especially for us, thanks to my (then) young cousins in Trivandrum.

Some of them are here for a few laughs:
1. SINDHU didn’t need to fill petrol in the Sunny, she just took it around the petrol station and its tank would fill with the whiffs of petrol.
2. SINDHU didn’t ride she rowed her Sunny.(This was true).
3. The person who opened her petrol tank was confused...he couldn't find the engine!
4. Sunny could travel miles, if she travelled behind a car with the fumes feeding it.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Mythological trip

This is a travel piece, a different one...
A bit long...but hopefully interesting to some...

A Mythological trip

Walking through the streets at Guruvayur is like walking through a busy market. Shops line both sides of bumpy uneven lanes and savvy marketing lads from shops overloaded with clay figurines of various Gods and Goddesses, beckon you to their wares.
If it weren't for the glaring loudspeakers playing devotional songs of Lord Krishna, (the deity at Guruvayur temple) you could even imagine that you were in one of Kerala'a shopping districts. It was for this very reason, that the name of this feisty town, some 29 km off Trichur, evoked memories of childhood pleasure trips.

Now, 20 years later, I walk through these streets, holding firmly on to my daughters' arms, and guide them through the labyrinths of mythology, but find them mesmerised not by the story of the Almighty but by the power of merchandise that pulls them away from my grasp to these shops and its wares.

"I want this," says my younger one, gesturing to the toy a gleaming shopkeeper (has chosen to entice her with.

"I will give discounts," remarks the cheeky guy.

I pull my girls away and appease them with a story instead, the story of how a poor hungry boy, while visiting the Guruvayur temple, steals the two bananas kept for the day's pooja (the daily holy ritual with offerings to the deity). The boy was so consumed by guilt that he returned one banana but could not resist eating the other. A priest nearby saw this incident and punished the boy and asked him to go around the sannidhi (the walkway for devotees around the deity) 100 times.

Though it is difficult getting the girls' full attention, the crime and the punishment involved in this simple act, soon make them all ears for the story. I pause to stoke their interest further.

We are nearing the temple now. The temple is located at the centre of the town, and the town is also called Guruvayur. The temple has four entrances on each side, called East Nada or North Nada, according to the direction the main door or the Nada faces. Running perpendicular to the walls of the temple is the main street and the shops are lined on both sides of these streets. So invariably, with the strategic location, anyone who had an intention of visiting the temple could do so only after passing through the shops.

We stand in the women’s section of a long queue that runs parallel to the walls of the temple. An old woman glances down affectionately at my younger one and pinches her cheeks and she lets out a loud wail in protest, embarrassing me in the process. The old woman hastens to make peace and massages the young one's cheeks, which is again resisted with louder wails. To quieten her, I go back to the story.

While the priest was watching, I blabber, the poor boy goes around the sanniddhi and the priest sees something that transfixed him.

Now both of them hang on my words, and implore, "Amma, go on, tell us fast."

As we inch forward in the serpentine queue towards the main Nada, I continue with the story.

Taking the first round, the priest sees the poor boy but as he starts the next round of the sannidhi he sees the Lord in the boy's place, in all his splendour. This was repeated on and on...

The priest finally asked the boy what was happening to which the Lord answered, "One of the fruit was given to me, hence half the punishment is mine."

The priest realised his folly and asked forgiveness for his inhuman deed.

We are close to the main door which is a bit small and narrow and barely just wide enough to squeeze in two people at the same time. With two parallel rows, it is probably the only uncomfortable moment in this whole process of worship .But the story had made such an impression on my young ones that both of them are eagerly waiting to have their first glimpse of Sri Guruvayurappan, all signs of discomposure notwithstanding.

I carry the younger one, tug the elder and push the person in front. That was the accepted method to get in, the deliberate push, the occasional nudge and a calculated pull to get ourselves safely ahead and off the closest body of arms and legs. Some of the men have also bared their torsos, gleaming with sweat in the humid day, but all are here with one puritan intent, to experience the slight but fulfilling glimpse of the Lord at the main entrance. A preview of sorts.

Suddenly there rises a chant which gathers fervour as the line inches close to the deity, "Krishna, Krishna, Unni Krishna (baby Krishna), Narayana, Narayana" .The sounds vary from tones of passionate devotion, intercepted by wails of desperation from some to off key vibrato. The atmosphere is charged. I can see my girls' going through the same emotions, their brows coming together in concentration as they mumble with me, the same chant that is echoing through the small passageway that leads to the deity.

At last as the chant gathers momentum, we find ourselves before the deity and I feel electrified and increasingly stupefied by the power of devotion that envelopes me. I find myself crying and look down in confusion to see my girls' praying quietly, the picture of innocence and yet with a trace of awareness, as if they finally understood what the story was all about. All this happens in a fraction of seconds, before we are pushed aside, giving way to the wave of devotees behind. The moment so brief, I am not sure it even existed, where it not for the tears that wash my face.

We move aside silently, and the moment disappears...we are brought down to earth, to material things around. All of us, devotees, seem to have an air of abundance about us, a happiness or a relief of sorts, as if relieved and pardoned of all the sins committed, having handed them over to the Gods to handle.

Legends say that the idol worshipped is more than 5000 years old through there are no historical records. The temple became popular through Melpathur Narayana Bhatathiri's Narayaneeyam, a poetic work of hymns describing the story and mischiefs of Lord Krishna.

The priests are everywhere and both the girls look at them with distaste. The temple is beautiful, with stone carvings on the sides depicting the other Gods of the Hindu mythology.

We go around the sannidhi and come out of the inner sanctorum to the outer part of the temple, where prayer groups and various men and women huddle around, chanting. The outer passage has a roof and supporting this roof are pillars, huge ones with 'apsaras' (Godesses) carved out in each of them, some holding diyas, lamps and others in various dancing poses.

Our senses have calmed and as we emerge back at the outer ring of shops, the girls seem less affected by the wares. I look at them amazed until N, the younger one, gestures to a doll, the same one that was offered to her by the shopkeeper. She looks at me enquiringly.

Relived, I buy it for her...her happy face reflecting mine, and we move away from the temple. This is comfort, this tangible emotion of desire, as opposed to the over whelming power of the unknown that we had experienced a few moments ago.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pure Joy

My daughter wants me to be a teacher. Since I refused quite firmly, she said,"Atleast come to school and talk to my teacher and other aunties after school."
Everyday a group of moms do this dilegently, picking and dropping their kids off at school. This group gathers together and talk while waiting for the classes to end for the day.
They even chat to the teacher occasionally and my younger one wants me to be a part of this group.
Now for me, this is just not possible...
Today morning, I promised her that I would come to get her from school. She was not very sure I would but when she saw me after school, waiting patiently with the group of moms, her happiness knew no bounds...
We came home and when I was going back to office, she came out with me and said formally, "Thank you so much for coming. I had a nice time at the party."
She must have got it all wrong but I understood instantly what she meant...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Two vadas and a chai

I went to the Watches and Jewellery exhibition this time. This was one event I had never covered and was never comfortable attending!
There is no space for the lesser mortals here, the photographers and the journalists were like guests on a spree, looking at the luxury, gaping and gasping...
I felt that the air we breathed would be charged, it was so reeking of expensive perfumes that I was choking...and I even felt that the floor would open up and a model rise out and ask me, "Do you belong here?"
I passed through the pavilions and was horrified with what I saw...
Huge jewels hung precariously to flashy chains and was this art? It could only be called monstrous...
Well, there were good designs too but well, it was all well beyond what I could afford and so I hated everything there instantly...
But then the exhibition was all about being flashy and presumptuous, be it the jewels that were on display, the models who were romping about with a decidedly bored expression, or even visitors who came with their accomplices...
Finally the ordeal was over and on the way back I got talking to a person, someone who is here in the Gulf to make a living while his family is back at his hometown...
He told me matter-of-factly that people were exhibiting millions of riyals worth of jewellery and there seems to be buyers for that when back at work people talked about layoffs and a bonus-less, increment-less year ahead.
He said that what he earned was just enough to send home as education was getting costlier even at his hometown.
To me, this was not complaints of a depressed person, but it was just a happy positive expat hoping that life would be simple and not as complicated as it seemed to him now...
Here was someone who was not at all impressed with the glitter and shine but who was grounded and knew that he could never be part of what he saw just then...
As we neared his office, I asked him," So what will do for dinner?"
He answered ," I have just 3 riyals but it is enough for two vadas and a chai."
Sad...but that is the irony of life...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Singapore Snippets

1. It seems as if Singapore was initially a forest and buildings have been carefully placed around without disturbing the natural flora and fauna.
What this really shows is how well buildings and the city as a whole is planned so as not to disturb the natural balance of the environment.
2. Traffic bottlenecks are just not here and it is equally difficult to spot a policeman in Singapore unless of course there is an emergency.
3. If you visit Singapore in the gap of three to four years, the city will look different, there will be new buildings and old ones will be redeveloped to cater to the increasing needs.
This is because the country has so little space, the government has to constantly innovate and build and rebuild to maximise the land utilisation for the increasing population.
4. 25 percent of Singapore is reclaimed...but isn't this against the environment or is this justified?
5. The old buildings in Singapore, the Supreme Court, the City Hall etc is all redesigned to be included in the National Art Gallery. The whole street is being redesigned so that the these old buildings meld into the new forms...a big push for culture and a sight to behold for sure when complete.
6. I love the modern buildings in Singapore...all of them have a character of its own and it seems to me as if I am opening the pages of an architectural magazine, with the who's who in the field of architecture having designed a building to represent them and their design. Be it the big dish like new Supreme Court Building by Norman Foster or the tall residential tower by IM Pei...Singapore has it all...
7. At the Singapore Art Museum I found contemporary art that literally shocked me...A long table with a black cloth hanging over it and words spelt out in locks of hair spread on the floor below the table...Whatever the explanation, this was art that truly left me wordless...
8. After all the culture gupshup, I thought I would love the Opera, after all it was in the Esplanade, the architectural model and a place that has a 'feel' to it...
I had even imagined if Amir Khan liked it in Dil Chata Hai, well I would surely like it...after all I like him a lot and we have so much in common (and that's in by imagination...)
But sadly, I found out that I am just not cut for the Opera kind of entertainment, I had to pinch myself to keep my eyes open and the loud snores from the person sitting next to me, didn't help me either...
9. Malls and restaurants...look anywhere and you will never find any shortage for both...
10. People are so committed to their work...and you can instantly bond with them, they come with a dose of 'goodness', of genuineness ...
A visit to Singapore recommended to those who want to revive their belief in mankind...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Just Friends"

The Singapore visit had many pluses. One of them was meeting up with my batch mates after 18 long years...
Not close friends, but still guys who I was friendly with.
We met at the Changi Airport after my last leg of scheduled appointments and talked nonstop for hours...
We found that one of the hard-core Marxists guys in our batch had migrated to the US and had married an American. We laughed at the irony of that!
Then about a shy, studious guy who had come out of the closet and was writing about inclusion of gay men in the system and that too in our own prude state of Kerala...
We wondered about that ...
We reminisced about the college and the places around it, Pappachan's thattu kada, the juice shop outside, the valley which was privy to a number of budding romances!
It was time well spent. They talked about their children with pride and I talked of mine too...We talked about those who had arranged marriage and those who had to do a bit of talking (read fighting) to make their parents understand and finally agree to it.
At the end of our gupshup, when it was time for me to board my plane, I asked them, "So why didn’t you guys bring your wives along?"
"It was too late," they said, which was true, my flight was at 2am and I could be free only at 10.30pm to reach the airport around 11pm.
But probing further I found that one of them had not mentioned that he was meeting an old classmate of the opposite sex, a convenient omission of sorts...
That pained me and took some or most of the joy away...
I guess honesty is a virtue that isn't prevalent these days and a male-female friendship is still seen with some mistrust.
Is the fault with us women that we view any form of friendship that our menfolk have with a lot of misgiving or that the men can just not have open discussions with their counterparts?
What do you think?

I have been in touch with more males from my college than females and the reason for that is simple, there are fewer of my female batch mates on FB and other social networking sites...
I sincerely wish I could be in touch with more girls of my batch and wish the guys would be more honest.
(P.S: I was honest, I had talked to my husband about meeting these guys, so girls can be honest!)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Who am I?

An architect, with whom I worked during my initial years after passing out from college and in my first years at Mumbai, recently commented on FB, "You have changed so much, wish I knew this Sindhu."
I haven't changed much, except maybe for the superfluous fat I have gathered around by mid riff and that isn't much of a sight, I assure you.
But then he hasn't seen me aside from what I chose to put up on FB, so how did he 'see' this change in me?
He just assumed that the person in FB, the one who puts up status line messages every other day, pastes interesting quips from newspapers or anywhere else is pretty much a hep and happening woman!
That aside, once, a few months ago, the wife of a colleague, remarked that she could never associate me to a journalist, the kinds of which she has seen in her country.
We met at a dinner party, where I was busy running behind my kids, getting them to eat.
Well, I am not entirely the person on FB, nor the persistent brash person associated with the term journalist, not someone who sees a story before the person involved, but a human being, inquisitive, like how journalist should be, someone who is interested in people and is affected by what is happening around her.
But first and foremost I am a mother...

And with that I have written the 100th blog, finally, and after ages, it seems!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Singapore Experience

Have you ever felt so happy in life, a sense of having done it all, seen it all experience? A nirvana of sorts...
I thought I would experience that when I bungee jump or para glide, some day before I die.
Well, I have either got lucky or I am nearing the end of life and I strongly hope it is not the later. Surprisingly I had this feeling not while doing anything extraordinary but by just connecting with good people in a fine country.
The people in Singapore, at least those who I met during my media trip were all so warm, so open and friendly, that it made the five days I was away from home less miserable.
The Uniquely Singapore tag line to attract tourists to Singapore with an animal pictured on its side should ideally have the faces of the natives of the country, the mix of Chinese Malay and even Indian origin Singaporeans.
But it is not just the peaceful people that are to be applauded, the systems are so efficient, the transport system especially. Even before the West started thinking about carbon footprints, Singapore was a step ahead and had dealt with the issue too. The taxes on private vehicles are so high and kept so to discourage people using them and then the govt has made public transport systems so efficient, making it easier for people to travel anywhere within the country.
Housing is also taken care, though it is considered a bit too expensive. The only flaw that the Singaporeans could think about was that everything was so controlled that they had nothing to worry about. The 'mothering' role of the government was sometimes a bit stifling, they say. But isn't that too minor a fault! I would love a bit of mothering from my motherland, instead of the class distinctions, the sharp divide between the poor and the rich and the utter sad state of infrastructure that is the present state of affairs.
Well, as for my experience, these people, their positive attitude, their enthusiasm, their passion towards what they are doing certainly made me more positive in the way I perceive mankind.
I even got a bit daring and have now earned a status of sorts with my colleagues at work...
Singapore has a population growth rate of 1 percent and to encourage families to have kids, office timings are reduced giving couple time to procreate. Among other things, sex shops are also rampant in all the malls. And, the new confident me, not only went into one of the shops, I bought a few things too! Now if that is not one of a kind experience, what is!
And guess who is the happiest person husband! Now keep guessing what I bought from the shop!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It is all about Me

Blogging is a habit. If you are out of it, it loses significance, it grows smaller and smaller in the context of the rest of everything you are doing...
I loved it when I was doing it constantly and am falling out of love since I am not so regular, now.
I loved the freedom it offered me and now am hesitant of the same freedom and feel it restricting me.
The same incidents that seemed like issues to blog about seem too trivial to even think of being written or blogging about.
I know I will go back to loving it once I give free rein to my fingers and thoughts....till then I tinker about with half finished ideas and thoughts that loose significance once I open my blogger page.
This New Year has been different, very controlled, small scaled, with close friends who matter, a huge change from the loud celebrations we normally had...
But this change has made me feel so good within, happy about the few friends I have, cherish the little gestures I receive. Talk openly about things that matter without being judged. Talk normaly about my job and the people I come across, not to keep them under wraps to make me fit in with the rest, which was the case earlier.
There is a part of me that still misses all the hallabulla, mostly for the kids than for me, but well, I can live with that.
More than anything I am happy being myself, be it alone or with company, maybe I have finally found peace with the self, a sort of understanding of the person I am. I have finally realised that I can never be what others want me to be, and that realisation makes me feel happy and feel complete!