Friday, December 30, 2005

Peeping thru cracks in the veneer...

So here we are at the doorstep of yet another New Year…will be a few days until one gets used to writing 2006 instead of 2005…

I don’t feel particularly inclined to look back at the year that was…

The past few days had me busy trying to blog in my mother tongue- and I was successful- had a bit of a tough time downloading the font and the editor- Jithu helped me with it- and then typing in Manglish which the editor would transliterate to Malayalam like magic- and then tho it was daunting- felt mighty pleased after I posted my first full length blog in Malayalam…the comments too were encouraging…

Tho I think my thoughts in Malayalam, I’m more at ease with English when I need to express in writing and now when I try to recreate them in written Malayalam, I realise its not all that easy…but I’m enjoying the exercise…I learnt the Malayalam script from home- amma taught me during school vacations- and though I did not enjoy the lessons, today I’m grateful to her for having taught me to read and write in my mother tongue too…

DH has gone to Kerala on an official errand- MIL has also accompanied him- (every year during the xmas hols, kids and me would go to my parents' place- this year could not becos of elder son’s half yearlies…)they’ll be attending a wedding too- it is a wedding which I’d’ve loved to attend- we’ve known the groom since his childhood days- his parents used to be my local guardians while I was in college- DH too knew them well- many old friends and relatives would be attending – am quite disappointed…

DH, MIL, BIL, Co-sis-& kids all went for the wedding – felt quite green- and when co sis called to tell me how much fun they were having, how much they were missing me… I didn’t feel too good abt it would be putting it rather mildly and politely... but of course I answered in a cheery voice: "Haffun"!!

And when DH called me later- I threw a right royal “subtle” tantrum over the phone- I do permit immature, childish ardra to peep thru cracks in the carefully, painstakingly nurtured “mature” “understanding”, “tolerant” veneer of ardra- when the occasion demands. btw, only DH is privileged to witness ardra’s tantrums- its his pet prerogative- after all he’s to be given the chance to manaaofy me na? I spoke very curtly- formally- made sure he got the message- and he sure did…he sure has learnt a few things in the 17 years that we’ve been t’gether…

he proceeded to tell me how he did not enjoy at all- how he missed us- ahhh- he’s still good at this…and I let him placate me…how I miss him…

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Nobody has tagged me, but I've just rustled up an amalgamation of random facts about me from the various tags that I found here on blogland:
1.10 years ago:
can't remember anything special- just living the ordinary life. oops, almost forgot, my youmger son was born 10 years ago.
2. 5 years back:
hmmm…The beginning of the new Millennium – nothing special-
3.Last year:
Finally, found something to remember- met a few bloggers- it was a great experience- the planning, the anticipation, the excitement, the actual meet, and then the nostalgia, the memories- every single thing abt it was memorable!
Helped my elder son with his Social Studies project: "Archeological Heritage of India"- made a B'day card for his friend- including the wordings inside, had to remind him to atleast write his name in it.
5. yummy things:
Spicy Samosas
Gulab Jamuns
Vegetable Pulav
Baby corn crispies
Scoop of Strawberry ice cream doused with orange syrup, ½ cup Mirinda, topped with caramel and cashew crips….A ship can sink in my mouth now…slurrrrp!
6. things I know by heart:
Some "puraanaZamaana" Lata hits…
7.things I'd do if I had a lot more money:
Buy books, more books and even more books.
Buy lots of Music.
Splurge on gifts for all those I love…friends and relatives…
Buy the latest model cell phone- unfortunately I don't have too many people to call- but I love fiddling with it and smsing...
-Hmmm, one more to go- ok, may be go on a world tour with hubby?
8. places/ things I escape to:
Into my thoughts.
My room…
As it is I'm most of the time in "manoraajyam"- I don't need to escape as such-
9. things I'd never wear!
Swim suit!
Slip on shoe wear and heels.
Make up. ( only kajal and talc)
10. favourite TV shows:
Sa ri ga ma pa
Saat Phere
11.things I enjoy doing:
Reading blogs, and posts on SL.
Reading books Reading mails/letters.
Singing, Dancing.
Talking to DH, singing with him as we cook.
Talking to a dear, special Friend.
Listening to music, Watching Dance ( Bharathanatyam, Odissi, Kathakali)
Watching certain movies.
Konjifying, playing with babies…
Meeting my cousins.
Spending time with my brother and talking into the wee hours of the morning.
Savouring that feeling of affection while both receiving and giving…those moments of awareness of being cherished- be it in any relationship- are the moments when I feel the Beauty of Life and Existence…and I feel so Happy, grateful and contented….
12.Where did most of your money go this year?
Eating out, Telephone bills.
13.What do you wish you'd done more of?
more of writing…
14.What do you wish you'd done less of?
Succumbing to my moods of anger, sulk mode…morose silences ...
15.Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Har ghadi badal rahi hai roop zindagi
Chhaav hai kabhi, kabhi dhoop zindagi
Har pal yahaan Jee bhar jiyo
Jo hai sama Kal ho na ho…
16.Things That Scare Me:
Illness/Loss of loved ones
Uncertainity of Life
My lack of strength to face crises
17.Things I Like:
Music, Dance, books, friends,my pc, my diary…
18.Important Things In My Room:
My pc, my diary, my husband, my telephone, my books. (not necessarily in that order:-))
19. Random Facts About Me:
I wish I had long hair.
I love to sing aloud.
I guffaw aloud.
I bite my nails.
I clean my toes with a safety pin-
I make faces in the mirror, I act out certain scenes, dialogues in front of the mirror when I'm alone.
I sing and sometimes dance when I cook.
I cry very easily- I express affection without inhibition-
I love loving…
I do not like crowds, functions, cooking…any hard work…
I'm paranoid abt the well being abt my loved ones.
20.Things I Plan on Doing Before I Die:
Read many more books, write a few books,
learn dancing once again,
meet Amitabh Bachhan, Jaya Bachchan ...
Do my M.A in English Literature, then M.phil, then thesis…
( Dreaming is not illegal is it?:-))
21.Things That I Can Do, or Have Done:
I can sing, dance-
I can laugh aloud a lot,
I can cry easily-
I can love and hate with equal fervour- but I'm trying to bring down the latter,
I can rave and rant like a mad hag-
I can scream and screech-
22.Things That I Cannot Or Will Not Do:
I'll not commit murder,
I'll not spit outside,
I'll not wear a swimsuit ( I don't know to swim) ,
I'll not learn to drive,
I'll not speak ill of others to anybody except my hubby and mom!
I'll not insult others, or poke fun at others.
23.Things I Say The Most:
"hayyada" ( the way asin says in M. Kumaran son of Mahalakshmi, but I've always been doing it )
PPP – "Palliyil poyi Paranjaal mathi"- meaning something to the effect of: go and tell this elsewhere, not to me :-)
"Please" and "sorry"…
24.Celebs on Whom I Have A Crush :
Well, I've grown out of the crush- but I still like them:
Amitabh Bachchan, Mamootty, Aamir Khan, Sachin Khedekar, Nana Patekar, Gurudutt.
25.Celebs that I like in an affectionate way:
Surya, Abhishek Bachchan, Arshad Warsi, Sunjay Dutt ( tho he's much older, I can see him only as an adorable, naughty brat like in Munnabhai)
26.And female celebs:
Jaya Bachchan, Shobhana, Hema Malini (tho I don't like her acting), Tabu, Waheeda Rehman , Deepthi Naval,
27.Favourite Movies:
Pakeezah, Guddi, Abhimaan, Saahib Biwi aur Ghulam, Pyaasa, Kaagaz ke phool, Kabhie Kabhie, Parichay, Vijeta, Kalyug, Chashme Baddoor, jaane bhi do yaaron, Angoor, Devdas, Dil chahtha hai, That touch of Mink, Sound of Music, Finding Nemo, Lion King, Jungle Book, Parinayam, Meghamalhaar, Kaanamarayatthu, Kalki ( Tamil), Kaathal, Autograph, 5 Star(Tamil), most of M.T.Vasudevan Nair's screenplays…

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

falling down and picking up...

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall- ardra vamshi had a little fall!

Thankfully- I did not break and there was no need to put me t’gether…

Nothing as grandiose as a tumble down a long flight of stairs- just a fabulous skid on the tile floor in our living room- was in a bit of a hurry- and so my feet decided to take up the responsibility- except that in the bustle they forgot to carry the rest of me and “thud” I landed on my seat- get the picture? For a sec, me, my elder son who was the lucky spectator to this Kodak moment- we just froze waiting for the incident to register…my vallyamma sprang up from the sofa alarmed- hubby came running to rescue his damsel (?!) in distress- and the younger son just watched the spectacle unfold- my left hand, the only alert part of me during the entire proceedings rushed to break my fall- and ended up with an ugly inflammation- I’m eternally indebted to my arm for this timely intervention- I shudder to contemplate abt the condition of my backbone otherwise!

I remember I was terrified that maybe there was a fracture- or that i had dislocaed a disc or some such vital bone somewhere! For me, the fear and anxiety is always more than the physical pain...

That night was agony, could not even lie down- the horizontal posture caused a nerve to be pulled and there I was refusing to lie down- and all this without a fracture- I remember stubbornly counting my blessings – that there was no fracture- that it was my left arm, and that I could still manage certain vital movements with relatively less pain. Hubby finally tied up my arm tightly in a cloth splint and that helped a lot…

Suddenly, my left arm morphed into a seperate entity- all those movements that one performed in reflex- without a pause- seemed so difficult-

my brother has tactfully reminded me..." no more running around- we're getting on in age"

The next few days saw me languishing in lethargy- wearing a cloth sling- and watching hubby and vallyamma running around doing the chores- the pharmacist was requested by the ortho doc to get me a sling in the colour of the dress I was wearing while at the hospital- pls get her the oxford blue one-

Neighbours came down to visit- was the centre of attention- and now after ten days- am off the sling now- the pain is almost gone and am back in action!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Floods again...

Nov 26th

the last 2 days have been pretty grim- the power was out- it had been raining heavily- the water levels had been rising fast- there were breaches at several areas- and they say many places are still at risk because of the force of the waters- every time the skies darkened, I was praying… many colonies have been inundated and totally cut out- trichy is marooned - train and bus services have come to a stand still- no schools, offices-

Thankfully our colony has been spared yet again- but those that have been affected are in a really a terrible situation- I dont know whats happenning- people have been cooped up in lofts of homes- old people and people with babies…people abandoning their homes and going off to other places- roads have just dissappeared and water has taken over…fast flowing, muddy water everywhere- y’day nite, power has been restored- but our land lines are not working-

we were to have a family function at grandmother’s tomorrow- but had to cancel becos of the flood - it was really scary … some colonies were totally cut off- hubby and friends were going around seeing if they could help people- but officials have been pretty conscientious and help and rescue operations have been in full swing-
we too had gone to see the kaveri in spate- the sight was amazing - the whole bridge was crowded with people- and people were just crowding to watch open mouthed- I saw a very old lady with walking stick being helped by relatives- she also wanted to see Kaveri- the locals helped in piling sand bags at Amma Mandapam- the banks of the Kaveri- they have cordoned the area off with ropes- becos people were just going to the edge to look- the statue there was almost submerged- and so was the church near by…water was seeping thru the sand bags- onto the streets - the force and momentum of the water was unbelievable! the unbearable part was seeing just the roofs of huts, houses- and inmates holed up in the upper stories of their homes- with no access - "saappattukku enna pannareenga" ( what’re u doing for food?")somebody was screaming to someone peeping from a window…

i saw vessels floating-cant bear to think abt these people …people are just sitting with their belongings on road sides- below the water tanks, in the marriage hall near by - just sitting with vacant looks- and two buses were washed away - bodies are being recovered…

I’m trying to just switch off thoughts and images - one feels the need to have some kind of superior Power to ask to set things right- but in the face of so many natural disasters one after the other-in different parts of the world- one just feels everything is so futile- I mean what has to happen just happens- some are spared- and others well…

Thank u to all those who reached out to know if we were ok…

For a Friend...

Nov 24 Now there is this friend whom I got to know in the virtual world…we’ve met once, and I remember how – we did not get talking much, but then I could sense a feeling of friendship- we were both a bit shy about venturing to talk, but it felt like we knew eachother- we don’t write very often, but still I can feel the undercurrents of mutual concern and affection.

The other day, she called me because she knew that I was feeling down- she did not have my number, and so she called up a couple of friends- and got my number and called me- now the best part is that I “knew” she wanted to reach out- I got the “feeling” earlier-but I did not tell her that when she called because it sounded too uncanny-

Though we kind of skimmed through niceties- and the how’re u – hope u’re feeling better, and there were these moments of silences interlaced- but comfortable silences- Like there was communication without words- it was like we were conversing parallely using silence. I don’t know if she felt it too- but I wouldn’t be surprised if she did.

We may meet eachother perhaps again, and I don’t know if we’ll get the time to go beyond the “how’re u’s”- and catching up with the superficial – and yet I know that inspite of this there is this invisible feeling of friendship bonding us and I’m content with this awareness…

I don’t know if she’ll be reading this, and even if she did, perhaps she might wonder if it is her that I’m talking about- still I’d like to tell her that which I might never tell her to her face- Thank you dear friend, for your friendship…and affection…I cherish it…

Reinventing myself...


It is still raining-

I think I need to have another blogspot- an anon one- not that this place is frequented by many but still sometimes I need to rave and rant- and I need to do this with aplomb without the niggling fear that I might hurt somebody – I first started blogging to assume an anon persona, but slowly, a new persona evolved on its own and the few people that I got familiar with began associating a particular character to my name- and now I’m imprisoned within this image- and there are times when I want to trespass beyond the boundaries of this virtual persona-

I don’t usually have much to rant and rave about- I’m pretty contented with things as they are..but sometimes it so happens that I have so much to say, but I cannot speak out for fear that I might hurt someone- I’m obsessed about not wounding anybody- even when I get angry- so I just withdraw and seethe in silence- I cannot argue, I hate voices raised in conflict- so I prefer silence- and just because I listen in silence with apparent placidity, people do tend to go overboard – they get the impression that this woman will listen to just about anything and we might as well subject her to whatever it is that we’ve to say- it has happened to me umpteen times- the speaker gets carried away with the fervor of their opinions and they don’t notice how it might be affecting me- I’ve often felt that somehow my body language gives the impression that I need guidance- I need to be enlightened and most people – even those younger at times just go on a binge doling out advice, pointing to me how I’ve erred …Its been the story of my Life…
I’ve only me to blame, because I rarely summon the guts to inform them that they perhaps were mistaken- I keep thinking my words might hurt them- and then once in a way when I do explode when things get beyond my tolerance, then the whole issue gets so blown up out of proportion and again I end up feeling that I messed up- and I get labeled “over sensitive”!!

But the voices inside me continue to rage- Thankfully, I can confide in my MIL, amma and DH- and they mostly pacify my raging emotions- they’ve proved to be pretty good safety valves in the past, but sometimes I think the issue is too trivial to create a furore, and yet I want to express the various thoughts- and for this I resort to writing- even when I blog, I first write in my diary and then post it- it is very, very therapeutic and I feel fine…

Blogging to me is a way to cleanse my innermost thoughts- all the conflicts and clashes that collect like dirt...I do not have the courage to express my opinions to others clearly- I try to but when the other person is louder and more vehement, then I just go silent after a time- but the thoughts and words keep struggling to come to the outside- for this purpose I resort to blogging- after shifting to this place, there are very few readers, so that is also a sort of relief... i can be frank...I have this need to be honest, completely honest to myself - I feel stifled with the veneer of politeness that we have to adopt in daily life to avoid confrontations, to ensure peace...and blogging is the outlet for me- it gives me clarity of thought, it helps me sort out things within myself and then move on without pending accounts…

And seeing my thoughts crystallised into words on the coloured template on the monitor gives me a strange sense of high which eliminates all the negativity within me, and I’m at peace with the world :-)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Another rainy day...

Nov 22nd
The whole of today feels like Saturday and not Tuesday- its been raining all day- its grey and dull outside- there is a lethargy about the feel of the day, if you know what I mean- it has the typical weekend feel to it- the schools have declared holiday, but thankfully today my puttars in a more amicable mood- just minor squirmishes- now I should n’t be grudging them a few arguments and shrieks- so ok, no complains from me-

There is a family function coming up this weekend and its going to be a busy one- relatives will be coming down from Kerala- DH is busy with the organizing and the arrangements- the function is to be held at the factory premises- I don’t have much to do- but I expect guests to arrive at home on Saturday.

When I spoke to DH earlier, he seemed rather preoccupied- the rains had poured a damper – we have this ground in front of our factory, and just 2 days ago, we had loaded mud all over- and now it was one huge, slushy mess- what a sight when the guests arrive- and it was this that was worrying DH- what to do- we can just try to lay a row of huge stones to enable people to walk over the slush…

I just hope and pray that the function goes on fine without a hitch…

Monday, November 21, 2005

A Mother to her child...


My child!
You are growing up and I realize it with a mixture of emotions. While on the one hand I’m proud to observe the changes in you as you are on the way to becoming a young man, on the other hand, there is a pang in my heart- that precognition of the void to come when you finally find your wings. A mother’s predicament is strange, she wants her child to become a strong, independent, adult and yet somewhere it hurts.

You, you were my baby, you were born a long, long time ago- in my heart before you came into my lap- you were cuddled, fondled much much earlier_ I heard your gurgles much before you were actually born- you were nurtured and cherished in my dreams before you took form in my womb…
Your lisp, your cries, your sniffles are a part of my life than your’s- they are a part of my existence- memories that I shall cherish long after you have becom that adult with the withering look.

I realize that I might have nagged you, harassed you, tormented you with my rules and commandments- all I can only say it was with the best of intentions- Please don’t let those anger you against me, please don’t let the bitterness of those random moments make you hate me-

Remember the time when I’ve held you close, the times when I’ve smothered you with love, the times when I’ve wiped your tears… think of those too please…

My child, I’m just a human being with more flaws than perfections. My anger may have been misplaced at times- but then do you know that when you hurt, I hurt even more? There have been times when after a real bitter session of arguments and counter arguments- after all the seething subsides- and all have gone to sleep, I’ve come and sat beside you, gazing at your sleeping form- and I remember the times when you were a baby- your baby talk- a sigh escapes and I long to turn back time- or atleast freeze the present moment- I notice the faint stubble on your chin and I smile- my baby- is no longer a baby… sometimes I cannot recognize the voice that I hear…

And though at times,I seem impatient withyour long winding stories, I know I shall miss those most when you move on- I’m so happy that for now, you want to share your thoughts, ideas and dreams with me- forgive me the times when I shoo you away- I’m a frazzled home maker to with tasks and chores to complete…

Child, I ask nothing of you, when the time comes, I shall set you free- let the bonds that bind us not become bondages- you go ahead and seek your dreams- I wish you success, I wish you happiness to face your Destiny- I can wish, I can pray, but I can’t make your life- If I had my way, you would never falter, never fall- though I know that it’s the falls, the wounds and the scars that will make you stronger… You just go on ahead- and if you look back, if ever you need me, you will find your mother with her arms outstretched- my lap will always be waiting if you ever need to rest- my fingers will try to wipe that crease off your brow- and soothe your pain and worries-

And if I’m far away, even then when you need me, just close your eyes, and you will feel my touch, my love, my care, my prayers enveloping you…

I know how difficult it will be to let go off that finger that I’ve been holding, and just let you move on your own- and now I remember my parents, I understand, and feel their love for me- I realise how they must have felt when they let me go on…

Seventeen years together...

November13th 2005
This anniversary was a beautiful day… its been 17 years together for us…woke up with a feeling of basking in immense love, caring, togetherness- contentedness- gratitude…

We went to the rockfort temple- just the two of us- friends and relatives kept calling to wish us-
After breakfast, went to seek blessings of grandmother, and granduncle- went to v’amma’s friend’s place- she wanted me to sing for her sister- and I sang- I realise that my nervousness while singing has decreased considerably- thank God- otherwise I get so nervous that I cannot enjoy the melody-

in the evening we went to Ayyappan’s temple- I love going there- it is so serene.. then we went to the new shopping mall here- it was too crowded- ran into a lady whom I had seen 20 years ago- she was also a student of my Bharathanatyam Guru- we recognized eachother…it was nice
Then we went for dinner in a cosy rooftop place- it was a wonderful day…


Nov 10th
Does familiarity breed contempt? Why? Sometimes a persons gestures, expressions, mannerisms, the way the fingers move, the lips twitch can all get so irritating…grrrr
And then I look into the mirror- and when I see my own expressions when I’m not in th ebestest of moods- even my expressions, mannerisms are unbearable-
It is so difficult to remain thoughtful, kind, considerate, cheerful at all times…so much easier to just let go and have a blast…

Am scared of jealousy the most- I think it’s a very powerful and potent emotion and can invoke evil! Though I can understand feelings of envy, jealousy- I too have felt such feelings- but I can never understand behaving under the influence of such feelings- I think one should not give into the whims of such thoughts- just acknowledge, accept and then work on eliminating such thoughts- believing in Destiny and faith , I think helps in keeping such feelings at bay- I mean if one resigns to the idea that one gets what is in his/her destiny and nothing beyond that- then that’s it- no need to covet another’s happiness- material or emotional- whatever…

Wishing ill for another is one of the meanest instincts…

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Empty threats

One evening,a few weeks ago, my younger son came home and told me that there was going to be a major earthquake around Diwali time- he had heard the news from school- I nodded sedately- and my elder son sniggered-

The following Monday, a flood threat was announced in Trichy and other areas in and around Tamilnadu. My younger son now said that they must have meant a flood and not an earthquake- he seemed happy that he had scored over his brother this time.

The flood threat was not due to local rains but because of the surplus inflow into the Mettur dam. The prospect did not quite register at first, but there was a vague unrest. On Tuesday morning, the power went out in the morning throwing my cooking plans awry. Not that I had any elaborate menu drawn out- but just enough to inconvenience me- I kept waiting for the power to be restored soon- but the wait went on and on…I modified my cooking plans in connivance with the electricity Board.

Schools and Offices were declared closed- now this predicament arouses mixed feelings in me- while on one hand it means no packing lunch boxes- it also implies that I would be exposed to war zone mileu within the home! No, my sons do not indulge in much of physical violence, but then they enjoy taunting and harassing each other that I go crazy. Anyways, I had no choice.

DH had gone to the factory, but came back by noon. Seems there had been a breach in the Melur sector threatening to submerge Srirangam. Panic was slowly creeping in some areas.

There is this little, dirty canal flowing behind our colony premises, and everybody was going to check out the water levels both by the canal and the Kaveri bridge. The bridge was teeming with people trying to get a glimpse of Kaveri in spate- eventually Police had to use force to disperse the crowd.

Meanwhile water had been rising at an alarming rate in some of the low lying residential areas, and people had to be rescued and evacuated to safer places by fire personnel.

Our colony, thankfully was not inundated. Everybody seemed to be in a kind of festive, adventurous mood. People were excited, curious and even amused but not afraid. Phones were ringing incessantly and relatives and friends were given updates about the water level intermittently amidst much joy. It was only when there were reports of how folks had been marooned completely in a neighbouring colony that there was a slight worry.

There is a surreality about impending danger. A failure to accept facts- atleast until stark reality stares one on the face. At some level, one keeps hoping, and looking out for reassurance.

Our neighbours on the ground floor shifted their valuables to our home which is on the first floor- the DIL of the house kept depositing the boxes and bags giggling embarrassedly. Our hall was overflowing with 2 TV’s. computer, music systems- and we threatened them that they would have to pay us rent for the safe keeping and not bat an eyelid if anything went missing. Actually they were the only folks who actually took any action in face of the flood threat. The other ground floor residents just got their things packed and ready…

However, the flood threat remained abstract and did not culminate into Reality.

And during the uncertainity of those days, I experienced fleeting moments of anxiety visualizing me drowning and shrieking out for my loved ones- tho I knew that was improbable, my thoughts did go to those people who have actually faced such crises in the wake of the recent hurricanes, the Mumbai floods- the panic filled moments of the faceless thousands-

Since 2000, there have been so many disasters, that I cant help wondering if the end of the world is nigh. According to the hindu scriptures, we are now living in the Kali Yuga- each yuga ends with a “Pralaya” – “The Deluge” which perhaps could imply any Natural calamity of gargantuan proportions. Something like the Tsunami perhaps- I still remember the sense of utter disbelief as I watched on TV, how the sea had washed away joggers in Chennai!! – and then as we surfed channels- the same ferocious situation in various parts of the world simultaneously- This couldn’t be happening- I thought!

There had been rumors of the world coming to an end several times in the past- one was, I remember in the year I was to appear for my Xth std Board exams ( ok- the year was ’82)- and my friends and me kept hoping the world would end before the exams commenced or atleast before the results could be announced. Our prayers remained unfulfilled – and we went on to write the exams and receive the not so satisfactory results.

Then there had been the skylab scare- which year was that- I forget. The skylab was falling- and was in the news everywhere those days- there was a vague panic- and finally it fell into the sea!

The Best Gift!

I had been feeling slightly melancholic that day- the climate was also very conducive to my state of mind- besides my elder puttar was burning with fever- and so the day had all the elements of a perfect bleak day! There was nothing in particular to look forward to- at that point I wanted nothing more than that my son recover fast- Moreover there was the flood alert too-

And then came the phone calls, followed by a blog and the ensuing wishes- from then on I was beginning to see the silver lining of the clouds- It is very difficult to remain untouched after such a thoughtful gesture- In spite of having read and still reading about how to try to look beyond the self, the ego, inspite of aspiring and trying my level best to arise above the ego- I found myself basking in the attention lavished upon me time and again by my friends- both Real and Virtual - and I’ve got to admit that its one of the Various Best feelings to bask in- I do miss it when sometimes there is a lapse, and so when on One day, one gets Dollops and Dollops of it- Well, how can I complain? And so I flung away without a care, the charade of equanimity that I’ve been painstakingly trying to cultivate and happily feasted on all the affection that came my way that day- and Was I grateful!

I’ve made several friends online- and some of them, I’ve been lucky to meet in real life too- and yet of late, there has been a marked decrease in terms of interaction quantitatively and qualitatively- and it had been dissappointing. I had been vaguely aware that most online friendships go this way- and yet, I knew I did not want to let that happen- now this is not always just in my hands- some of them reach out once in a way on their own, some of them respond when I reach out, and then there are those who do not respond even then- and that I confess hurts. The mail interaction had been prolific last year, which has now petered down to a trickle- a natural flow of online relationships- and so I miss the frequency and the warmth.

And so, on that one day, when I was overwhelmed with calls and wishes from so many friends- by mail, phone- and online msgs- Well, I could not have asked for a Better b’day Gift…and I’m grateful…

Monday, October 31, 2005

Unsaid words...

When one knows that a friend is distressed, and one doesn’t quite know how to console, provide some kind of solace- tell the friend, that everything will be fine- that this too shall pass- but one just cannot find the right words, then waht does one do?

There are different kinds of friendships- in some one can say just about anything- finding words, expressions is not a hurdle at all- but then there are those other friendships where though the feelings may run deep the persons involved do not indulge in actually expressing them- the mode of communication is mostly mutual raillery, pulling legs in harmless jest, where resorting to words to express sentiment is embarrassing- though the concern and care essentially remains the same. Where so many things have been left unsaid- the harsher facts of life were left undisturbed- where one pretended like pain and sorrow were mere trifles- well, not pretence exactly – but yes one did not touch topics which could hurt or haunt…

Then how does one use words of solace- She knew her friend was the resilient type- that she would emerge stronger from her tribulations, and still she wanted to let her know that she was there, that she knew, that she understood, but she found no words and so she resorted to silence and hoped her friend heard her unsaid words, prayers and understood...

Fickle thoughts

Another creative attempt

Thursday, October 20, 2005

An article by my Brother...

Kalakeyavadhom in Kottayam
The first kathakali performance that I would like to recount is one I call, Kalakeyavadhom( The Killing of Kalakeya) in Kottayam. It was the summer of either ‘94 or ‘95. I was a young student in Engineering College and I had just returned home after the extended stint of cramming and regurgitating, customary with every semester exam session. A nice juicy kali ( Kathakali performance) was what I needed to off load all of that advanced mathematics and Z transforms junk that I had stuffed in my head. It was time for my cousin’s kathakali class with her instructor Gopi (Kalanilayam Gopinath). Gopi was a fine, talented and upcoming young artist at that time and his reply was “yes there is a fine kali tomorrow but the problem is that it is in Kottayam.” Let me explain the problem part. My home is in Sreekrishnapuram Palakkad district. Kottayam is far far away, especially for an unemployed young student. My father, while he did not disapprove of the occasional play, definitely had strong opinions on the priorities in the life of a youth. But maybe because I had just returned from exams, he didn’t bar me from going and merely frowned while he handed me the necessary road-trip expenses.

I eagerly asked Gopi the details of the trip and was overjoyed to discover that it was going to be Kalakeyavadhom but wonder of wonders, this wasn’t going to be the customary all-nighter. This one was actually going to be held during the day. None other than the grand master Keezhpadam Kumaran Nair was to be Arjunan. His student and expert Naripetta was to be Mathali( charioteer of Indra). Gopi was to be the second Arjunan. Kalamandalam Gangadharan was to be the main singer. Unfortunately I do not remember any more of the cast but just the above mentioned were enough to have me salivating. And then things got better. Gopi said we would have to first stop by Trissur on our way down and pick up a couple more of the artists who were performing that evening at Trissur club, and then continue to Kottayam after that performance was over. Trissur club was having an Ravonothbhavam (The Rise/ awakening (?) of Ravana. First Utbhavam, then Kalakeyavadhom - what more could a Kathakali-lover want?

We arrived in the evening at the club. Ravanotbhavam has always been a favorite of mine. The artiste had curiosity value because he had recently returned from a long exile in North India. I remember that he was pretty good if unspectacular to my limited knowledge. Gopi was not hired for this show but in typical kathakali fashion he made himself useful with the props and equipment and other odd jobs. The club shows are typically ticketed affairs, but I was hushed through as accompanying the artists. That was another feature of this whole trip. I was a fly on the wall. I was a silent spectator watching how the artists got together, traveled, co-operated, ate, prepared and performed and for one day, I was part of their routine.

It was late into the night by the time that performance was over and then Gopi, myself and a couple of other artists made our way to the transport bus stand. Each artiste had his trusted shoulder bag with the implements of his trade. For the actors that was confined to perhaps their murukkan chellam ( the little box containing betel leves, limepaste, and betel nuts) and a personal set of “nakham” the silver nails on the left hand. But one of the artists was a maddalakkaran ( maddalam artiste) and he was lugging along his trusted maddalam( percussion instrument).
The time being well past 12 in the night, I expected an easy journey in a half empty bus. But wonder of wonders all of Trissur seemed to want to travel to Kottayam at that ungodly hour. We let the first couple of buses go by and then decided there was no option but to force our way into the next one maddalam and all. It was no mean feat but we managed to do so somehow or the other. The bus was packed tight. Everybody was tired and sweating and tempers were short. I hadn’t bargained for this. Oh well nothing could be done at this point. The best solution was to bring out the handy Walkman and listen to some music. After a couple of hours, I lucked out and managed to wiggle a seat. I offered to give it up to Gopi or his friends but they refused. So then, I offered them my walkman to at least lighten the journey. I remember the cassette I had that day. It was a particularly impressive concert by S. Kalyanaraman with Lalgudi Jayaraman I believe on the violin. S. K had a couple of impressive pieces in that concert including his trademark Mohanarama in Mohanam and then a brilliant Shanmukhapriya in which he did some sruthibhedam. All in all a brilliant piece! Gopi fitted one of the headphones in one ear and gave the other on to his friend. People all around, both sitting and standing, like exhausted temple elephants, were dozing away. Every now and then one of them (Gopi or cohort) would burst into an “AHA” or “OHO”, oblivious to the hostile stares that those exclamations would elicit from their fellow weary travelers. Smilingly watching them, I dozed off myself. Thankfully they too managed to get seats before reaching Kottayam. (Perhaps an illustration of the troubles that a junior level artiste undergoes in reaching his destination. Imagine performing all night after a strenuous journey like this one, and then undergoing a similar trip back home, in time for the next performance).

We reached Kottayam and after a short nap and an early breakfast, the kali started. What can I say about Kalakeyavadhom? Naripetta Namboothiri was Mathali( Lord Indra's charioteer). I remember listening to Gangadharan ( the main singer) doling out “Mathale” in the scene between Indran and Mathali. I remember not being a fan of the Gangadharan waver in the initial days of my kathakali following experience. But by this time, I was able to discern the music and the “kathakalitham”( the essence of Kathakali) that were cloaked and perhaps even accented by that waver of his. The master was in rare form. And I eagerly lapped it up. After “Maathale”, I was treated to Naripetta’s ( a famous artiste) version of the “theroottal”( the assembling, preperation for a journey of the chariot).

Let me digress at this point for the benefit of those not familiar with this play. Arjuna had just received the “paashupathasthram” from Shiva after Kiraatham( The story of Shiva in the guise of a hunter). Shiva had rooted out the pride that was the only speck in the personality of the hero Arjuna and left him as close to perfection as possible in a human. At this juncture, Indra decided to invite his son to the heavently abode and in the first scene calls his charioteer Mathali and tells him “ My son Arjuna is a great hero. Please go with my chariot and bring him to heaven”. Mathali agrees and in the next scene, creates a chariot.
This is a strange theatrical creation in Kathakali because obviously nobody creates their chariot from scratch just when they want to go somewhere. But the effect when handled by someone as talented and aware of space and dimensions as Naripetta is breathtaking. He builds each pillar of the chariot, then fits the platform, then the wheels and flag post, then decorates the chariot with flowers and festoons and then hitches the horses. Once complete, he proceeds to Arjuna’s presence. Arjuna is shown in all splendor. Mathali proceeds to greet him with effervescent praise. Arjuna in true heroic humility declines the praise saying that it is the trait of fools to be swayed by flattery. This padam called "Salajjoham" is another wonderful implementation in kathakali. The message being conveyed by the words is simple and is what I described above. But their implementation through the mudras and the choreography of the scene and the music and the thaalam (rhythm) is to convey the “Veera” rasa or valor of Arjuna. As the mudra for Lajja blends into the one for hum into the one for thava into chatu into vachana and so on and finally flows into the stately hops of “alambhavam” the effect is complete and you are then watching “Veera rasam” manifested on stage!!!

Arjuna is escorted to Indira’s presence, he meets his step mother Indrani and dances the ashtakalaasam ( a series of footwork that is a visual delight) in ecstasy. He travels around the heavens and describes the various sights of heaven for our benefit in great detail.

At this point of time Kalakeya attacks the heaven with his demonic hordes and then you have the fight scene where Arjuna comes to the rescue of the devas and kills the demon hordes.
Keezhpadam ( another famous artiste) was wonderful in his presentation of Arjunan. His Swargavarnana ( description of the heavens) was a little different from the usual perhaps but my memory fails me as to the actual details. By the time the Swargavarnana was over, I was in a daze. The whole trip was an adventure. I had been fortunate to have more fun than I thought possible. I don’t even remember the half-dazed, trip back home from Kottayam. In fact everything from after that swargavarnana is a haze blurring into the background of all the highs before. I must have slept upright in an uncomfortable seat of a rickety KSTRC bus, but I can only imagine the blissful smile that my face must have worn.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Changing Perceptions...

What does one do? How does one react? What is that intuition trying to warn one of?

Sometimes I wish I could become invisible- behind the scenes at least…why? Because I don’t think I can face head on some situations- some encounters- some embarrassments- it is so much easier to stay away- things are easier- escapism? Perhaps…I realize it is the wayward thoughts of the past that have waylaid me today…Talk of late reactions- but can I help if yesterday’s or the day before yesterday’s queries have been answered today suddenly? When I had almost forgotten the questions- when they are no longer relevant?

The words enter my auditory system loud and clear- I don’t know how to react- It was not unexpected exactly and yet one had presumed that the other person would not have been so audacious.. I responded with silence- I pretended not to have heard- or atleast not to have understood –

But understood I had, every word, every connotation, implication-and I could not believe my ears! I did not like the allusion- but what was I to do? I could not retaliate on a pre supposed conclusion- it was just a veiled statement which could be conveniently denied…I could not tell anybody else- nobody would believe me- I think- they would think I had been imagining the implications- But I know- I can sense the undercurrents- my intuitions have never been wrong in the past.

How do I deal with this? Bu deal with I shall have to, and I will-

It is strange- sometimes one does not approve and yet one cannot react- the same situation in different circumstances seem so different- all a matter of perspectives- It is amazing how the whole perception gets distorted at times- and all a matter of priorities, principles, ideals – Perception changes with experience too…Sometimes there is a bitter aftertaste to even the most simplified instance- suddenly with a single action/ word a whole situation can be wiped out- a thought or a feeling hitherto justified gets negated in a single swipe of changed circumstances…

The Invisible Boundaries...

The Invisible Boundaries...

Thursday, September 29, 2005


the back ache has decreased considerably- the ayurvedic medicine has proved to be highly effective, tho I cannot rave about the taste- but amma always said medicine is not to be taken for its taste but to cure- ok then- I’d rather gulp the medicine than bear the pain and worse the fears and anxieties wondering which terrible malady I’m afflicted with…

I’ve been flitting from blog to blog- from one link to another and then follg other links from there and I keep adding them to my blog roll- I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to catch up with all the blogs but then I do so enjoy reading most of them- the content, the style, the language all amaze me so - yet I’ve to admit- they give me a major complex too- people here are so articulate and express so beautifully- that I shrink from my own… and then I tell myself- it doesn’t matter- I write only to put my thoughts into words- just for myself and I feel a trifle better- and yet I wish I cud put down my thoughts in a better way- precisely how- I don’t know- I cannot stop writing the way I do- I mean that’s me- but I no longer put the thumbs up at dss- simply becos, I feel my jottings are getting increasingly subjective- personal ramblings- I wonder at times if I come across as silly- or something- so let me be .. and I also feel the need to wipe out that little audience in my head to be able to pour out my thoughts honestly- to stop Ardra from monitoring N's thoughts, words- so if I'm left with the feeling that nobody reads these words, I'm able to be more of burden of soundin corect, thoughtful, diplomatic vagera vagera...
and if if somebody drops by by accident- oh- well- poor unsuspecting reader- is all I can say…these are just my thoughts –

And then I see all that jingamajigga- stuff of sitemeter,blog clicker, blog ranking, abt increasg blog traffic- and I keep wondering…

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Emptiness within and without...

And then there are those times when so many things take place together at a time and you don’t know where to begin…no nothing drastic or lifethreatening as Katrina or Rita and yet a flurry of activitites which has sort of tilted the balance of a hitherto placid, eventless existence…

Amma and achhan who had been gone to stay with my brother and family for 3 months are back…I remember how lost I felt when I went to see them off – though I did not get to see them for more than 4 months at times- suddenly the ocean between me and them seemed unsurmountable- but my brother was eager to have them with him for a few months- and I could not grudge him that-

And achhan would tell me what time it was as he was speaking to me from there- he’d say that the sun did not set until late at night- how he could not go to sleep- he wanted to know if it rained in kerala- how much…he bemoaned how there was nobody on the streets- but he relished my brother’s company- amma was more comfortable there- she did not find as much difficulty spending time as achhan- and I realized how they kept thinking of us as they took in the amazing sights at Niagra- Washington, Chicago- as they shopped – as they sped thru the freeways-
They’re full of stories about their grandson- my nephew- somebody who is so close to me- and yet I get to see him only in snaps, the pc, and cd... as I listen about his exploits- his actions, his talk, I feel cheated- that I’d never get to see him as a baby- he’ll be soon grow up and may be I’ll never get a chance to know him as a person…he is my brother’s son- we’re linked by genes and still…

And as I watched the cds that they brought back- I realized I was more interested in watching my brother than the sights- my little brother was now so grown up… he was not little anymore- and when I kept slipping into calling him “kanna”- while his own kanna romped about- that time frame is lost forever- while I’m happy to seem him in his role of a husband and father, why is there this pang in my heart- why do I long to have him near me… why does the thought that our meetings would now only be for a few days in a whole year- only words across the net, only a voice across the seas- and I too am busy with my own family here- with the concerns of a wife and mother, why do I still have moments of rankling??? Why does it hurt so??? While I had believed that I had accepted these facts of life- and that I was flowing serenely along …suddenly such moments overwhelm me- and the realization that those moments of the life we had spent as brother and sister are now on the other side- lost forever-though in the flow of life, one does get reconciled to is at moments as these that the thought of being so far from somebody who was once almost an extension of one's own existence, mind, body and soul....suddenly impinges upon oneself and overwhelms one's being with a strange sense of emptiness and deep sense of loss...that one shall get to see dear ones only for hours/days mebbe once in 2 yeas or so is difficult to accept at such moments.... it hurts…hurts real bad…

And I can see amma and achhan also handling these emotions- wrt both me and my brother- and I can foresee tomorrow- wrt my own puttars…and Life keeps flowing…it’s the way everywhere…nothing new…

Achhan and amma stayed with me for a week and today they left back to their home in Kerala…and I’m sitting here- the house suddenly empty- just me and so many thoughts ..

And yes seems sulekha weblogs are back- hope all the bloggers go back and save all their posts- would be a pity if they lost their thoughts and feelings to cyberspace… anyway everything is transient so then nothing matters I guess…

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

No more....

Sulekha weblogs is no more...

tho I had been a bit irregular visiting sulekha weblogs of late- still I used to read some blogs regularly...
wish they had made an announcement or something before pulling the plug of the weblogs- so that the bloggers could have saved their posts- so many good ones lost to cyberspace void forever-
I do have most of my posts saved in my pc tho, but now that I know there are no weblogs, I wish to go back and read some of the posts that I had liked a lot...

Friday, September 16, 2005

Justjoo- Quest

Yea so first let me begin with the thought that this is not a blog- becos when I let words pour forth as for a blog, then my thoughts which had been hitherto haphazard, random and cluttered just line up like well mannered cadets - and I don’t want that- I want my thoughts to be as cluttered, incoherent- but it has become increasingly difficult- in fact even when I write something totally unrelated to blogging- this sensation of being watched looms up- and thoughts and feelings begin to behave…I long for the spontaeinity- the recklessness the impulsiveness that my thoughts used to assume- I want to think unthought thoughts- charter unmarked territories with regard to feelings- but whenever I get started and the words reach a visible quotient, I experience a kind of smugness of having got something yet again to blog- oh how do I shake off this feeling?

What used to be pouring forth without pre meditation now has to be coaxed, coerced, reminded, persuaded …
I remember how once I had famously claimed to anetra that I never premeditated on my blogs- how it all poured oh- so- spontaneously from my head onto the pc thru my fingers- how spontaneous and off the cuff the whole process was- now, I chomp, chew, and digest all my words that I had uttered nay typed out so pompously- But yes, I must say that when I claimed that I truly believed every single word.

Today penning my thoughts has become so tiresome, so tedious- so prim and propah- so politically correct, like the prospective entrants in the beauty pageants- the perfect smiles, the right intonation to the laughter, the exact dosage of compassion and love sparkling in the eyes…so dull- in fact trying to pen my thoughts as faithfully as they form in my mind has become a deliberate chore. Sometimes I wonder, if I’ve stopped thinking thoughts- I’ve this cute little audience –all lined up in my head- filtering every word in my thought- pruning and sprucing ..I’m tired of Ardra monitoring N’s thoughts and words-

Now I think I understand the trauma of celebrities- I mean they have this huge public life and then their wanting to crouch into a personal niche- and yet one has the overboding sense of being watched- the media is always just around the corner- it must be scary –the real and the perceived fringes would be so fragile- and even the person might lose touch with the “real”.. like an actor was to have said something to the effect that an actor has to be polite most of the time, very careful with every word he utters, evry expression- it must be so difficult to live like that- being able to react spontaneously must be a luxury- I guess- and the public kind of believe that they have every right to know every aspect of the celebrity’s life- the price one has to pay for fame and adulation.

And then there are these blogs that I have been reading- some are so brilliant in content, narration, style- especially those tinged with humour- I cant help wishing I could write like that- I remember how it used to be once like now that I’ve got a computer and internet, I have to blog- every thought, every word was a kind of adventure, a revelation- getting to make friends online was so exciting- and then it was just another kind of diary writing, and now its like while I can’t say I’m bored of it- it does not give me the high that I used to feel anymore- and while I do understand that it is a natural ebb and tide as with all things, yet there is a discontent at some level- something that I cannot quite define- I’m still seeking something more- and since I know not what is it that I’m seeking, I have no idea how to go about trying to find it-

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Listening to songs...

I was listening to those songs that nithya was talking abt and liked some of them- the ones from a-ah, and ghajini…esp "suttum vizhi" and the one that goes “rahatulla’ sung by Anupama- I love the gusto and power in her intonations. Can never forget that song “chandralekha” from “thiruda thiruda”. I saw her singing that song on stage for some award function telecast- she looked so demure and beautiful- and when she belted that vigorous song- dancing along- it was great.

I like to watch the singers enjoying themselves as they sing- somehow it has more effect than when they stand sedately and sing politely into the mike.

I also liked the songs from “oru naal oru kanavu”- the khajuraho song reminded me of “oru pattampuchhi nenjukkulle “ from “kathalukku maryaadai” and “kaatril varum geetham” reminded me of “naam gum jaayega” from “kinara”- My cousin brother says that the movie was lousy.
I saw “azhagiya theeye” y’day on T.V- nice movie- liked it- but kept expecting Prakash Raj to spring up some villainous shock any time- I was not taken in by his nice guy acting at all…but I was happily mistaken- he was indeed a good guy all the while- he looks eccentric to me-even when he is a normal, nice guy- I liked him best in “vidukkathai” where the heroine was the little girl from “keladi kanmani”.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Something to say...

My pevious blogspot got infected and I lost my blogroll links. Neelu got a new one for me, and I painstakingly added the links again. You wont believe the extent I went to get a couple of lost links- I had to track them for hours from another blogger list- but eventually I got those back.

It was Krishna Jayanthi the other day- when I asked the elder girl who comes for tuitions what was special abt the day- she told me it was Krishna’s B’day- and she seemed a trifle disappointed that I did not seem to be doing anything abt it- no celebrations nothing- but then as usual we got all the b’day goodies from the friendly neighbourhood- and I sent them back “puttu and cherupayar kootaan” ( rice and grated coconut steamed rolls with green gram curry).

In the morning I accompanied my Vallyamma ( MIL) and her gang to their friend’s home for a puja- We all sang devotional songs- and got some more goodies as prasadam. Some of them sang beautifully and with devotion I may add, where as there was this maami who sang loudly only to submerge melody and others voices- devotion was farthest from her mind-

I have been having this excruciating back ache for the past two weeks- not continuously tho- just now and then- and while it bothered me, I was like in the depths of anxiety, agony and worry. I mean I have this smattering “knowledge” of allopathy and ayurveda and this really loooooong list of maladies which I kept ticking or scratching according to the whim of the hour- and when the pain subsided, I was so relieved, I had been watching my little student demonstrating the various “asanas” that she had recently learnt- and almost envied her flexibility and agility…I caught myself wondering once while in the clutches of a quite agonizing spasms of pain, whether I would ever be able to regain my agility. I realize it is not always enough to feel young especially when one’s muscles and bones refuse to co operate. It is when one is unwell, when the simplest of movements make one wince, that one realizes the value of being well and without pain-

The other day, the older girl gave me tough time with her Sanskrit pronounciation. I believe that a language’s beauty lies in its correct enunciation. And I would make sure that she got it right- I made her repeat the sounds again and again- and she has improved considerably since last year. She has finally begun pronouncing Bihar as Bihar and not Bigar, Neha and not Nega, Maharashtra and not Magarashtra. But last week, she was not getting the consonants + vowels right and here I was, the epitome of patience- something which my own kids have never witnessed- repeating it over and over again…but she just could not get it right- ka, kaa, ki, kee, ku, koo.. but she would falter repeatedly with kay, kai, ko, kow- both in the written and reading forms- Finally I lost it- no, no I did not resort to corporal punishment- I’d never do that, but I think my voice and expression could be worse. I just told her that I could not teach her anymore, and that we would stop the tuitions. Anyway she cringed in fear, tears lurked in her eyes and I relented… but I was exhausted- I could feel the throbbing in my temples, the nerves tightened to knots in the back of my neck- and I was totally washed out…
I spoke to her mother soon after she left and told her what happened that day. The mother assured me that it was fine, and that her daughter needed a tinge of fear instilled in order to be motivated to study- I was not too happy with the situation, and the girl’s tear filled eyes haunted me the rest of the evening.

I was eager to see her the next day- and when she did , she was her usual bubbly, mischievous self- as if the previous day had never happened- I fussed over her and her younger sister and when we tackled the Sanskrit exercises that day- Lo Behold- she got everything right at the first attempt!! When I broke my head over the lessons- she did not grasp and when I lost my temper, she simply absorbed it at one go- but I did not want to repeat the episode again- It was too much heart burn!

Nothing to say...

Yea, the idea that tragedies happen to other people is fast fading- especially today technology has made the world so much smaller- when I first heard abt Katrina’s approach, my first thought was which of my virtual friends are around the area- and each time I see the News, read the paper, my thoughts immediately wander of to the people living there-

I remember when I first heard of Mumbai floods- I did not realize its impact- as the pictures on TV began to get increasingly disturbing I tried calling my cousin sisters who live there- I could not get through to two of them , while the third had just reached how after wading thru chest deep slush and water for 3 hours- as I held the phone to my ear speechless, a choke in my throat thinking about my little sister in that situation, I was alarmed- that she had reached home safely and I was now talking to her dawned on me only a couple of moments later- she told me how terrified she had been- how her 4 year old son was at the play school- how there was no news of her husband- how she was chanting prayers aloud as she waded through the murky waters holding the hands of 2 of her colleagues- I had no words to say- except thank The Almighty in my mind for looking after her that day.

And whenever I saw the frantic messages being flashed on TV by anxious relatives enquiring abt their near and dear ones marooned in Mumbai- I cannot describe the thoughts that ran through my mind… one is utterly helpless – and recently there has been such a spate of disasters one after the other- it is simply nerve wracking- the tsunami- the floods- now Katrina, and one building after the other seems to be falling to the ground in Mumbai- one is afraid to read the papers-

And like a friend said,

But life will go on, the fallen will get up and walk again, firstslowly then with a faster pace. The resilience of human-beings, as always will prevail.

Sometimes, when I think of the distant future when we will all have been gone from this world- and the magnitude of the present is reduced to zilch- then where does the present devastations, pains, fears and sorrows figure? Why? Why? Why?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Where are the children of yesteryears?

The other day, I was hanging out clothes and I heard the distressed wail of a baby- I craned my neck and saw a baby crying his lungs out- he was lying on a bit of cloth under a tree on the ground below our building. His mother was doing some grinding or some other such work near by- she was talking to her baby as her hands continued toiling. The baby would hush for a while and then again resume crying lustily when he realized that his mother was too busy to carry him. Finally she stopped her work, washed her hands from a tap near by and then swooped the wailing baby in her arms- The infant stopped crying almost immediately as its mother continued talking to it… and I was suddenly conscious of this pang, an ache in the depths of my being...

At some point, I was aware of a longing , to run down and pick up the baby- to hold a baby, to cuddle it, to talk to it- to hear it make gurgling sounds- to smell its baby smell-

…There is this ad on TV( Johnsons baby product- obviously),in which the mother is so moved by the sight of her sleeping baby, and then there is this another one in which this kiddo upon observing a leaky pipe waddles off after swathing the leak with its own diaper! Another one in which the mother is speaking on the phone while keeping an eye on her baby- and suddenly the baby takes its first unsteady steps- she’s left holding the phone open mouthed- totally mesmerized by the magic unfolding in front of her-

My brother sends us the video of his toddler- and I think its so nice to have such memories recorded- I don’t have any of my sons- sometimes, when I read through old diary entries of my sons in their childhood, I feel a kind of loss- and I have less such records of my younger son- be it snaps or diary entries- and I feel so many beautiful memories have slipped beyond reach- and I enjoy reading fizo’s, Priya’s, and ano’s accounts of their babies-

and though I’m relieved that the sleepless nights- colic and other childhood ailments are behind me- still sometimes, I feel like revisiting those memories yet again…

Natasha Josefowitz

Where are the children of yesteryears?
Where is the infant suckling at my brest
I find no traces of her
In that other young mother…

Where is the little boy,
Who crept into my bed?
Is there anything left of him
In that balding young man?

My little children
Are no longer
They live only in old photographs-
Wouldn’t it be wonderful
If all our children
From all their past b’days
Could visit us just once in a while!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

When I'm bored....

Sometimes, when time weighed heavily, I used to pick up a pencil and scribble- but now its been a long time that I did any drawing- I usually copy from some drawing, photograph- I have very less patience and by the time I’m half way, I cannot wait to finish the picture- no finishing touches… Besides I don’t think I have any particular talent, I scribbled away just to while away time…

a few random sketches...

and a few scribbles

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

yet another Independence day has passed us by...

Yet another Independence day has passed us by- this year too we had flag hoisting at our colony. It was the collector – he was scheduled to arrive by 9 a.m and on the dot he alighted from his vehicle. Our association president however had announced that the flag hoisting would be held at 8 a.m and so most of us assembled by 8.15. It was a deliberate ruse, we later heard- to ensure that most of the residents would be assembled by the actual time! We did not know of this ruse, and began grumbling about how the collector was not punctual as usual.

A couple of the residents gave speeches about the country, Independence, about today’s generation not being aware of the significance of the sacrifice of our leaders….when there were no more volunteers to speak, patriotic songs blared from the loud speakers.

Suddenly one of the ladies remembered an old Paatti ( grandmother) in the colony who was a good orator and had apparently taken part in the freedom struggle. A couple of ladies went to call her and she came immediately mighty pleased. However she did not forget to whisper in our years, “if you had informed me about this earlier, I’d have dressed up for the occasion. It is important to be presentable. Clothes make the Emperor and the beggar”.

She marched up the dais confidently- a sprightly woman in spite of her age, and gave a short but inspiring speech without ado. After the speech she sang a song penned by the great poet Bhaarathiyaar.
The collector came on time and hoisted the flag- there were a few speeches, the usual distribution of flags and sweets, and some women who had hurriedly got together sang a patriotic song.
Last year not many residents had assembled for the function, but this year many turned up though some preferred to watch the proceedings from their balconies.

Perhaps one does not often think about the country’s Independence, so many of us tend to take such things for granted- I was born into a free India, and though I am aware fo the problems and achievements of my country at some level, I cannot claim to have raised a finger towards doing my mite. On the other hand it is quite possible that I too have lamented about the corrupt system, I too have complained about the politicians- and then quite complacently resumed reading blogs…

It is true that I very rarely visualize things or incidents at a National level- I tend to think of Humanity at large, the geographical barriers notwithstanding, and yet, I realise that it is important to remember the strides that our country has taken down the years. I am not clear as to what role I can play – may be I can start with just trying to be a good human being, and trying to bring up my children to the best of my capacity, trying to instill healthy values in them. Beyond that, at this point I am not too sure how I can contribute to the growth of my Nation.

an old poem...

Here's an old poem I had penned while in a pensive mood:

Moving on

My son's poems

I have posted a couple of poems penned by my elder son. He is fifteen and had written these last year- after which he has not attempted another...

The Song of Dawn and The Spring Symphony

Shedding the cloak of Invisibility

How does it feel to remain invisible? You can see everybody, hear everyone- and nobody can see you, hear you…sounds exciting, interesting, intriguing- yeah- I too would’ve thought it would be something like that- but now, I think otherwise- it feels strange, and it does not feel too good- nothing amiss-

I have been wanting to throw off this cloak of invisibility for days now- esp since it was thrust upon me I had not wished for it- I had not asked for it- it just fell upon me…and there I was hidden from view- and then there were those random moments, when I was allowed sneak peeks into the world outside- but it was a one way view- I would greedily peek thru- wanting to catch up with everything and everyone- the world was moving on steadily- had I doubted it would not ? Somethings I would understand and some I would’ve no idea- I would whisper…softly- wanting to be heard and yet not sure- but the invisibility had made me feel like an intruder sometimes- just in my mind, I was aware- and yet I could not find my voice- I knew that I just have to speak louder, but it was like I had lost my voice- or may be I had forgotten the language? And then I would get ready to holler after a little deliberation, a little thought- and poof- the cloak of invisibility shrouded me yet again- The world kept moving- hey wait for me…I wanted to scream- wait ., wait…but nobody heard- and I kept gazing into the darkness…

Writing down thoughts, feelings used to be such a personal thing- just between my diary and me- and it did not matter- but this community thing has become a big “nasha”- I want to hear, I want to be heard- now is that good or bad…who knows? It’s the “EGO” in capitals- that’s what they say- my thoughts need to be shared- not to be validated perhaps- yet there is this need to be heard- while I address the community at large- and yet- actually, I feel like I’m talking to each at a personal level…there is a certain expectation, a certain idea as to how each person reacts, responds- an there is a curiosity value- one hears voices in response- be it assent or dissent there is a sense of self gratification- a sense of belonging- while I’m fully involved in the activities of the “real” world- a very satisfying life in its own way- yet what it is that I seek in this sea of voices, words…what is it that gives me a feeling of feeling “left out” when I’m unable to participate- when I do not find a voice/ or the medium to express my thoughts- Is it good or bad- I know not- but it is- that I cannot deny…but yes, I am concerned about this need in me- I can and will find a way around the life of invisibility- if I have to , but then there would be a void…

Today, for now, as I was reading some old posts- the comments – esp abt the world becoming a smaller place and the ensuing comments- suddenly I was seized by the desperate need to scream out loud…I want to be here- I want to hear you- I want to be heard- and I’m not embarrassed by this need…because that is what I am- and I cannot pretend…I like to hear from you- and when I use the pronoun “you”- I mean you, you, you and you…each and everyone of you- you have the power to make me feel happy, sad, dejected- I chose to bestow this power upon you- when I don’t hear from you, I miss you- I wonder about your silences- I like it if you seek me out if I am not around- makes me feel good- I wonder if you missed me when I was not around…

I started this one, on an impulse- I wanted to literally scream- and then I got stuck with words- I kept deleting , rephrasing- because, I was thinking of the your reactions- your responses- and then I thought what the heck- I cannot stop being what I’m- and so that I may not flounder for words- I paused not to think about you, you and you- to whom I’m speaking- I just imagined I was writing in my diary yet again- and then the words kept tumbling …rolling one after the other- falling upon themselves- and here they’re let loose-

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

at the movies...

Saw the movie “Black” with my puttars a few weeks ago. Had been waiting to see this one on the large screen for long- had lost hope that it would ever be screened in the city here we live…but it did happen- DH had promised that we’d go for this one . Long, long ago, very long ago, there used to be a time when we went to the movies every week- sigh…those were the good old days- but that’s lore of yore now- the prospect of setting out atleast a couple of hours earlier, then waiting in the queue, and finally sitting holed up in the theatre for more than 2 hours with the dolby stereo screaming right into the ears, coming home with a headache was very daunting , I manage to let the tear ducts overflow for almost any movie- DH just cannot sit in one place staring into the huge screen for so long- and so we stopped going to the movies!

There used to be time when I’d try to make DH ( dear hubby) feel guilty for not taking me to the movies- I’d point out how Mr. D took Mrs. D to the movies- and he’d reply without batting an eyelid- “shall ask Mr. D to take u along too next time!” Hahaha- Fat joke- tickle tickle laugh laugh…needless to say- I stopped taunting him.

But Black was to be an exception- however when it did come to the theatres, DH could not make it because he was too busy- we were putting up stalls at a Health Exhibition in our city- the experience and exposure was crucial for our company at this juncture- and so I magnanimously let him off the hook- of course, I did make sure that he realized the significance of the sacrifice I was making ( I’m sure I heard a hurriedly smothered sigh of relief) - and so went to see Black with my puttars.

It was being screened in the smaller theatre in the multiplex- there was this never ending queue for the other movie “anniyan” and the “Black” ticket counter was deserted. Now there was three of us- the people from the other queue eyed us as if we were extra terrestrials…Puttars squirmed- the elder one told me we better watch the other movie becos they wouldn’t screen for just three. I refused to budge. Thankfully, soon a few more lonely souls trickled in hesitantly- and eventually, I think there were abt 20- 30 turned up!
Now, there’s not going to be a review of the movie- it would suffice to say that I’d applaud even if Amitabh Bacchhan sneezed- I believe staunchly that it has been my unstinted devotion and adulation that has contributed to AB’s success and glory- ok atleast 75% …

I loved everything abt the movie- have always enjoyed Bhansali’s larger than life visual vistas unfolding on screen- ( yup, loved “Devdas”- there I said it).I loved the shots, the angles, the acting, the blacks, the whites- the colours- or the lack of it, the tears, the water, the snow- everything …I sat at the edge of my seat watching, listening- my elder puttar tried to remind me to sit back a couple of times and then let me be-
And yet, somehow, the moments in the movie did not linger with me afterwards- usually, I keep running over the dialogues, the scenes- the acting long afterwards-

They were changing the posters already as we filed out after the movie- Black ran only for 2 days I think…
After the movie- went to dinner with DH- and came home…

Wooing the wayward muse...

Its not enough to be connected to the net to be able to post something...I realised that one needs to be inspired to be able to write something- it is intensely disheartening to be sitting all poised and ready to post something interesting and the mind refuses to cooperate...I have paper and pen ready ( yup, I first write down my musings on paper and then translate them on to the comp- I'm afraid I'll forget how to write with a pen) but no ideas, words pour forth...:-(
I can only console myself that since I'm definitely afflicted with some kind of a block, then perhaps I am a writer of sorts...I mean only writers are said to have these blocks rite??

Wooing the wayward muse

Back from obscurity...

“ Do you know why a blog is maintained?’- a special friend demanded of me over the phone a few days ago…and as I was pondering deeply for a profound answer..she enlightened me: “ to post blogs madam”…and as I was digesting that tidbit, she proceeded to threaten me with dire consequences if I did not resurrect my dead blogspace at the earliest…

So Neelu, this one is for you, now that you have transformed the look of my page, I really must post something…

I vanished from the virtual horizon thanks to the net service provider- there is this solitary soul handling all the net traffic by himself- and obviously he was unable to handle it on hiw own … I’d be in the midst of reading blogs/ listening to music online and pffffftttttttt….suddenly I’d be thrown out of cyberspace unceremoniously…after counting to ten, I’d pick up the phone to call the solitary reaper…err…net provider…and if and when he came online he’d apologise profusely, promising to set things right at the earliest- he’d also throw some technical jargon at me citing it as the excuse for the lapse. Often his definition of “earliest” and mine differed vastly. After the technical snags were resolved, the solitary net provider was admitted for surgery ( kidney stone). Now, how could one rant and rave at an ill person, so I was denied the option of screaming at him.

The first few days of net deprivation was tortous- withdrawal symptoms were acute and painful- but when it eventually dawned upon me that this deprivation was to continue indefinitely, I decided I better seek other recourse in the interest of my near and dear ones. I brushed off the dust off my hitherto neglected sewing machine, oiled it …got down to cutting and sewing a couple of blouses and tops. Also resumed my embroidery- began to watch soap operas on TV…did a bit of catching up with real life socializing- reminded them of my existence- gladly they did not look me up and down trying to figure out who I was…and thus I learnt to survive without the net- but yes, I did miss not hearing from my virtual friends…

However, I think that finally my net woes are over… and I hope I do not ignore my blogspace further…

p.s: Neelu- I loved the new look of my blog space...Thank you...and now that I have posted something I hope you will not carry out your threat :-)

Monday, May 23, 2005

At The Temple Festival-2


Other than the usual regular items of Panchavaadyam, Thayambaka- the chenda (percussion instrument) concerts- this years repertoire had Bharathanatyam recital by Rajashri Varier- she was a dancer and singer and also worked at the TVM doordarshan. Her face was familiar to most malayalis- who watched TVM doordarshan- She looked very young and small – her performance was good- but there seemed to be a kind of dissociation as she performed on stage- her movements and expressions were perfect and yet…there was something that I cannot quite put my finger on- that seemed to be missing- she could not complete her last item- Thillana- due to severe cramps- seems she had been down with fever and stringent rehearsals and the travel made her weak.

This year too, there was “Koodiyaattom” the Sanskrit dance drama- and it was much better than last year. The story enacted was a glimpse from Kalidasa’s “Shakunthalam”- and was presented as a visual narration by the “jester”- or the “Vidooshakan”- Each scene was explained in Malayalam and hence there was no problem in understanding the nuances- the narration is generously laced with humour and was a beautiful experience. The scene performed was that of how King Dushyantha sets out on a hunting spree, reaches the forest and there upon glimpsing the beautiful shakunthala is enamoured by her. The Vidooshakan narrates the events with contemporary societal and political allusions making it all the more entertaining.

The flute recital by Sri Kudamalur Janrdanan was very good- melliflous- i've always liked the flute- has an ethereal quality abt the sound of it- but somehow was unable to enjoy Dr. Sri valsans vocal concert much- they said he was good- but somehow I was not moved...Sanjay Subrahmanyan's concert the next evening was a stunning contrast- it was splendid to say the least- I guess he has that quality which can move the connosieur and the lay man alike- that he was having a great time playing with the swaras- added to both his and the listener's enjoyment- liked his rather no fuss air- no gimmicks- (which mebbe the flautist cud be accused of)- there was no "programmish" feel to his presentation either- he came, he sat, he sang to his hearts content, he got up- left- while Dr. Srivalsan, and the flautist had the "presentation" part rather formally- esp the flautist- Sanjay seemed most spontaneous- I liked that- while the flautist had a very neatly charted out "performance repertoire" and Dr. Sri valsan seemed amateurish in comparison- if I may dare to say so- Sri valsan also seemed to slip pitch wise now and then- may be with years- he'd be good- I’m not academically qualified to comment , I can evaluate only based on my ”reaction" to what I heard-

I had heard Sanjay live b4, at trichy- but the crowd was menacing and cud not get to enjoy as much as I would've liked to- the sampradaya bhajan on the last day was good- this same team had sung b4 in our colony in trichy - and it had been a very wonderful experience- here too they were very good- and i think the audience did enjoy it- for me the difference was that at trichy in our colony it was a spiritual experience, while here it was a stage performance.
I did not watch all the Kathakali stories in entirety- just in bits and pieces- this year most of the artistes were unfamiliar- and that did dilute my viewing experience- besides it rained on two days, and the venue had to be shifted from the open grounds to the closed, cramped environs of the agrashala. The puttars were very much at home, and they enjoyed the various programs, I was gratified- they stayed awake for some of the Kathakali stories-
Besides the festival repertoire, I enjoyed the company of my uncles- and their families- I savour my moments with them-

And thus yet another year’s temple festival had gone by…

At the Temple Festival-1

Returning- for now

2 days later, we left for Kottakkal- that special place in my heart- because it was temple Festival time…still I was not too enthusiastic abt going- the reasons- well, there were a few reasons which were not logical enough- as usual I was wary abt the reception, abt feeling welcome, I was doubtful if I’d be interested enough to stay awake thru the nightly performances of Kathakali- of late a strange kind of detachment has creeped over my soul- a a weird kind of disinterest in several things- why, and how, I’m not sure- I discern a sense of inclination towards keeping to myself, a need to dissociate myself from things happening around me- a lack of interest in participation- a need to stay aloof from what and whom, am not very sure, and I have to consciously work at arousing myself from this dumb stupor- simply because I feel that I’m not feeling the right things- I think it is a more selfish kind of instinct than anything else, and I have no idea why I feel this way- and perhaps it is this safe margin of virtuality that attracts me more than reality. Is it some kind of escapism? Virtuality entails lesser risk- risk of what- not sure exactly- may be something to do with space and freedom and privacy…

Anyways, let that be- yea, so here we were back again in my land of memories- yet another had gone by, and once again I was breathing the air of my favourite place. As usual there was a tinge of medicinal fragrance to the air with the Ayurvedic medicinal factory close by…I closed my eyes and breathed deeply- and in my mind I had returned home- I opened my eyes and familiarity vapourised…outwardly everything seemed the same- almost…but there was something different to the feeling of being there- last year too I had felt it, this year even more…what had changed- was it the place or perhaps it was me who had changed. Last year, there were still a few remnant vestiges of an overboding sense of loss- of a sense of alienness ( is there such a word?) a feeling of vague unrest…but today something was different. I had been clinging to a fast depleting sense of belonging, unwilling to let go, insisting on remembered belongingness- a sense of remembered proprietership. and yet today- I did not feel the need to hold on anymore- I was finally ready to let go- I was finally ready to accept that I had moved on- and so had everything else and everyone else- I no longer belonged- I was only a visitor- I had been holding on to a mirage- This place was no more a coming back to- it was just a visit- and that is how it would always be- I belonged elsewhere- atleast for now- until I move on again- why had I been so reluctant to accept the facts? Why did I want to cling on to something so ephemeral? I don’t know…somewhere it still rankles, but I can take it now… of course I still had the memories- nobody can take that away, that which had been- once, long ago…

Some of the older people recognized my face- they remembered how I too had been a part of this place- the youngsters of course were courteous to the visitor- they had no idea how much “their” place meant to this visitor who would return to another place…they had no idea- Until last year, I felt slightly miffed at this feeling of not being accepted as belonging, but this year, I did not. Yet again, a few sleeping memories rustled- caught up with times- made polite enquiries- how have u been? Everything fine? and a whole year got reduced into a single syllable ‘yes’. Where did all the intermittent moments go? What did it matter at this point of time? And finally after the festival was over, the festoons and capers came down- the drums and cymbals silenced, - Farewell…yet again- until may be next year? And what are the moments that await each of us until then?

While on Vacation...

The heat is sweltering, agninakshathram is in its flaming splendour- this vacation has been one hectic sultry, sweaty hols..and I have to consciously seek out the random, cool, memorable moments. Sometimes its amazing that the climate can loom so hugely and detrimentally over one’s experiences…

I’m now finally back after a hectic vacation- once again settled into the ‘routine’ that is Life…and yet for me it is so much fulfilling, soothening and cosy abt coming back into my space. However I’m deprived of my virtual forays, because there is some problem with the broadband access server. DSS seems like another world, another time…esp with the shift to the new space. I had been putting off registering and then pottering with the various options until after the vacations, and now that the holidays are over, I still am out of reach. It has been a long time, and I am thinking over the memory span of the virtual world. As it is I have been into the depths of “real life” these past 2 months…where the virtual world seemed like Alice’s Wonderland… I was among people who had no idea of my “other” world…it all seemed so far away and unreal- like a mirage, an illusion, as I was frantically smothering my face and neck with a dripping towel in a vain attempt to cope with the excruciating heat as our train chugged through the dry, arid tracks of Andhra-

If my last vacation was languorously laid back and relaxed, this year it was quite the opposite- Packing, unpacking, washing, ironing, settling down sums up the hols…and in between, there were these snatches of some special moments…

I first went to my parents home in April- V saw us off…and I had already begun to miss him- I shed tears unabashedly- I always did that- V tried to make light of the situation, the elder puttar was embarrassedly checking if the other passengers were watching. The train lugged off impersonally, and V vanished from my view…I swallowed hard…We bought some books from the Erode station- it was noon when we reached Palakkad- Achhan was waiting for us…amma had lunch waiting at home.

next: at the temple festival....