Little drops of rain on trees gladdening my tired heart.

Hungry bunnies chewing away, making me smile their way.

The sudden cackle of birds, taking me by surprise.

The little jump my tummy does,when a special one comes visiting my thoughts.

The fragrance of a simple repast, left lingering on my hands.

The love I see in my parent’s eyes, when they are thinking of me.

The calm in a sleeping person’s spirit relaxing my own worries.

Sweet thoughts of a tomorrow, making my time fly by so fast.

The easy laughter of content souls filling a home.

Those quiet moments when nothing is said but a lot understood.

Little things they are, little things they will be,

All it needs is a look and there it is laid out for me

The smidgen things which matter a mighty lot to me!

Early memories … What is it about them that brings a slow comforting smile to our faces? When my mom and dad talk about their childhood days, they have this soft smile on their faces – as though remembering something tender. The things they did as children, the era that was, their childhood friends – thinking or talking about it never fails to bring on the “smile”.

On one of our evening walks, my parents told me about how they  and their siblings walked back from school together with friends. As I mentioned earlier, there is a railway track that they had to cross before reaching home. There was also a path to bypass the tracks. The elders at home sent them off with a stern reminder to take the road which bypasses the tracks.

But you know how it is with children. They conveniently forget. At school time one would see lot of kids walking the tracks – competing with each other as to who lasts the most on the track. Thank goodness there weren’t any tight rope acts around or they would be on that too!!

All the kids, deeply concentrating on the tracks, forgot to look out for people who wouldn’t miss a chance to tell on them. As each child reached home, a whack or two eagerly awaited their bottoms.

Next day the same old routine began all over again…. :)

When amma told me this, I was astonished. Nobody would dare to do that now, least of all little kids.  Appa said back in those days, it wasn’t really all that dangerous, because you could hear a train coming from miles away. Today, you hear a train come only when its a kilometre or two afar. I smiled to myself – look at the logic of these two defending their acts of mischief from years ago. :-)

Anyways, all the talk about memories made me wonder about mine and in particular my earliest. I always knew my earliest memory but I keep pushing myself to think of something earlier than that. I guess that won’t work unless I am hypnotized! :D

Thinking about my earliest memory is always like seeing it happen in the most sweet and angelic way. One afternoon my mother has me on her lap and we are sitting in the verandah. I must have been 2.5 years old and I start playschool tomorrow. She says, “Phaayi tu ek chaanga schoolantu vatta. Nave boooku, baaga, water bottleh, pencils sagga ghevnu vatta. Teacher astali and bhornu friends astale…. ” (Tomorrow you will be going to a nice school. You will have new books, bag, water bottle, pencils to take to school. There will be a teacher there and friends too…) The magic of her words get lost in retelling this incident but when her words ring in my ears, I feel like I am two and half again. She must have said more but I don’t remember any more of it. Just these tender few moments when my mother prepared me for my first day in school… :-)

Sweet first memory isn’t it? Now I am all ears to hear yours!

Since the last couple days, I have been thinking – why all the hullabaloo around education? What was the original need for education? I am pretty sure it wasn’t for fat paychecks. Seeking education began when a need for knowing more to help more arose . Almost everybody is educated to some extent in today’s world – yet very few show signs of being truly educated.

A recent incident which happened in Bangalore will explain my point. One morning we were held up in a massive traffic jam at Banerghatta Road. A few minutes later, we heard the wail of an approaching ambulance. My sister as well as some other commuters steered their vehicles with great difficulty to make way for the ambulance. To our shock, we see not the ambulance but callous two wheelers and even a couple of cars rush to take up the cleared out space. The ambulance had to wait again.

Where did  the so called education go? Everyone was in a hurry to reach his/her place of work and did not spare a thought to the suffering soul in the ambulance. Who knows, the guy in the car might have been a PhD holder but doesn’t this act of his put him in the hall of shame? How can education obliterate one’s vision and not widen your sense of obligation to humanity?

A couple days back, my father happened to talk about an extremely educated person he knew who advocated high principles and morality to all and sundry. But when push came to shove, this guy called up the local police station asking them not to hassle a friend of his who was caught on the wrong side of the law. I wonder from which angle he sees himself fit for moral education?

Remember the stories that we read as young children – of princes and princesses being sent to gurukul? They not only lived austerely but also served their teachers loyally. Mathematics, sciences, weaponry and the religion weren’t the only classes they took. Lessons in humanity, tolerance and empathy were deeply ingrained in their education too. No wonder, ancient India was far far better – there was no competition and hence people did their best and encouraged their peers to give their best too. Today, if you don’t squash your intelligent subordinate right away, you can be sure as hell he will be your boss tomorrow.

Religion is another perplexing scenario where the well-educated choose to stagnate in the murky waters of ignorance. I am pretty sure none of the religious books of the Hindus, the Christians, the Muslims, the Sikhs or any religion for that matter  have any verses which quote intolerance to other religions. Our Gods weren’t crazy. Yet, somewhere down the way, we started to leave our rational mind right outside the gate when we discussed religious issues. How does it matter what religion we belong to? All of us have 2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 hands, 2 legs, one big heart and a brain to use, don’t we? How different can we get?

Education has lost its purpose if it has not made better persons out of us. Thankfully, there are a precious few who by their actions restore some sanity in this insensitive world of ours. I am proud of one particular sunshine who is a world-class professional and a humanitarian to boot. Here is her simple account of how she made a difference. You may not have the inclination to take up a cause but as long as you are humane, I would say you are among the forerunners in the fight for keeping the flailing spirit of humanity alive! And of course truly educated too!

Sixer!

November 5, 2009

Jack and Jill went up the hill

to fetch a pail of water,

But they came down with a Sachin

and gave him to me forever!

;-) Okay okay, that was crazy! But what can you expect on a 6th anniversary if your sweetheart is not sharing the day with you? :D Madness, right?

For the light of my life, wishing you a very very Happy Anniversary! :-)

I have always wanted to write stories. But it is just difficult to write at length about an imaginary person. Anyhow, here is one  short story I fabricated  for you to garland or brickbat! :D Please feel free to let me know what you really think!

Awakenings

It always waited for her happy moments to taunt her – when she laughs out loud, while beholding something beautiful, listening to a joyous song or when indulging in delicious repast. It came to remind her of her fragility. She cannot survive alone even if her life depended on it – it said.

The happiness that she felt just a few seconds ago flies right out  before her very eyes. As though, they weren’t meant for her. Sadness settles comfotably on her soul. She goes quiet. It is a while before her group notices her sudden reticence. When they do, they ask “Whats wrong?” She murmurs, “Nothing.” They dig a little more, getting concerned. “Just leave me alone. It has nothing to do with you”, she snaps. They gasp at the unexpected meanness and back away. She regrets it immediately yet is too self absorbed to apologize.

She is by now shedding unseen tears. Such nights she lays awake, pitying herself, wishing things could have been better. Why her? Of all the people? She is seen as weak and dependent on others. She could have been someone famous, she could have been going places if not for her fragility. Such thoughts sends her hurtling downwards till she hits rock bottom. While she sits in the darkest of the pits, looking for somewhere to go, she realizes the only way out is up. She searches for inspiration and the wise old poet, John Milton’s God doth not need either man’s work or his own gifts: who best bear his mild yoke, they serve him best comes immediately to her fettered mind.

The quote sets her free. What she is going through is not easy, yet she takes it on and has kind words for all. Isn’t that something to be proud of? Doesn’t she do her best to wish everyone well, pray for the best for everyone, even for the people of the world? Another person in her shoes might have crumbled, yet she did not. Everyone has a price to pay and this is hers. Given sad moments suck but they make happy ones look happier, don’t they? She sees all the people in her life, the health and wealth blessed on them, the peace and prosperity in her little world. Her heart finds a new song to sing and with a smile playing on her lips, she enjoys her new train of thought till  she drifts into welcomed sleep.

She wakes up next morning and is treated to a glorious day. She thanks God for the little reminders He sends to value all that she has. And with that, she is back on her feet to face the demands of life.

PS: Those of you who liked the quote from John Milton, can see/listen more here. Now, about those feedbacks … :-)

So long, friends!

October 18, 2009

In two days I am off!

To the place I call home.

Where warm hearts abound.

Good food at every corner.

Shopping sessions beckons.

Where one laughs till one’s stomach hurts.

To see those endearing faces.

To hot coffee on dewy mornings.

To noisy streets. :-)

And nosy neighbours.  (How I have missed them! )

The temple bells,

The street processions.

The nonchalant cows on the roads.

Chasing the lamb feeding on our lawn.

The murder of crows,

screaming for food.

And the strays vying with them too.

The movies,

Time catching up with family.

Oh, dear India,

I am so happy to

behold you again!

Munni..

September 27, 2009

Munni

Mother of two: She was a young thing – only 12. Yet, it was rather a common sight to see her play the little mommy to my two girls. The youngest among our brood of 6 and might I add – the prettiest? When she came into our life, it was an unexpected ray of hope. She was the cheer we all needed, she was the shade of a tree from a hot day in the sun. She was our dream, our hope and our step into the light. When I had my own two girls, I had a tough time juggling them, my extended family, and my home. That’s when my sister decided to take some of my weight on her little shoulders. She’d often take the girls to my mother’s home – it was not all that far away but it involved crossing a railway track. Her earnest promises of taking the utmost care and to be extremely cautious at the railway line convinced me that my daughters are in safe hands. With the little one snug on her tiny hip and the older one held tightly by her side, off she’d go to her place. Looking at them go, I thank my God for the little angel He sent to help shoulder my overloaded cart. Years have passed, she has a family of her own yet, she continues to be our cheer.Good times are better when she is around and bad times made lighter by her sweet words. She is among the many reasons I believe there is such a thing as God in this world.

The Two: We were too little then to realize how ludicrous it sounds to call her aunt. She is just 10 and 12 years older than us. When we were kids, we always wondered how nobody could see the devil behind her angelic face. Our mother had given her “mommy rights” and she lost no chance to set us right. She could send us cowering under the bed by making her eyes so big. Thank God, grandma was around, else we thought ” We are definitely her dinner!”. She had this weird habit of keeping  our grandma’s house all dark by shutting the windows. She often forced us to sit along with her when she sang the evening prayers and we would squirm and hasten her to sing faster so that we can get back to our play. As children, we though of her as a bossy creature who had a cherubic faced that fooled anyone but us. Then she got engaged. Her fiance was a true blue romantic – he sent her cards, letters, flowers and all. As you may have guessed by now, we were rather nosy. We wanted to see the cards and letters. Only to hear a big NO! That’s when we started spying on her discreetly and found her stash. Our keen observation skills led us to her red coloured notebook, in which she wrote letters to her fiance in rough draft. She copied it out on nice paper once she was satisfied with her draft. So when she wasn’t around, we two would sneak into her cupboard, read all her letters, her cards and her rough drafts. For months after, we threatened her that her fiance is rather mistaken about what he thinks of her and in his best interest, we should set it right! :D She’d laugh it off. Then she got married and really went far far away. As much as we troubled her, we loved her a lot and her absence was bothering us. She had done nice things for us – like taking us to her friend’s homes, teaching us beautiful songs like 10 Green Bottles, Do re mi in her beautiful sing-song voice, dressing us up in saris and false hair. In our teens, whatever she did were our beauty tips. :D Now we have all grown older and cherish each other a lot more. Like our mother says above, Good times are better with her around and bad times don’t feel so bad when she is there. We ll always be a pain in the neck but never forget we love you loads!

PS: Dedicated to my lovely aunt-partner in crimes-the shoulder-buddy-the laughing machine  who turns a year older today! :-)

Awards, Tags and a Catch!

September 26, 2009

There is something special about an award – isnt there? And when sometimes the same award comes  to you from different quarters, you get that spring in your step that can very well land you on Cloud Number 9! Thanks so much LEB, Appu, Shivya, Swaram, and Varun for all the lovely awards. I have displayed them proudly on the right pane of my site.

1.What is your current obsession ? Books! As seen from my last post. :D

2. What are you wearing today? Sachin’s tee which is my favourite Night Dress!

3. What’s for dinner? Leftovers or take out! I’m not cooking tonight!

4. What’s the last thing you bought? A kitchen scale …!!

5. What are you listening to right now? TV noises coming in from the living room…

6. What do you think about the person who tagged you? Ha Ha Ha!! The funny man! :D

7. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be? By the seaside with lots of coconut trees. I hope it comes with a yatch!

8. What are your must-have pieces for summer? A good air conditioner, lots of frozen treats and a pool party!

9. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? Ask me this question on Oct 2nd and I will say to see my dear gal pals in S’pore!

10. Which language do you want to learn? The language of love and peace…

11. What’s your favourite quote? The grass is greener on the other side …

12. Who do you want to meet right now? My parents and my sister … :-(

13. What is your favourite colour? White ….

14. What is your favourite piece of clothing in your own closet? It has to be the two black shawls – one from mom and one from sis!

15. What is your dream job? To pass time chit chatting .. :D

16. What’s your favourite magazine? The good old Readers Digest and Good HouseKeeping. Unlike other mags, I cant make do with the online version of these books. I also wish the long gone Four Seasons makes an appearance!

17. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on? Clothes, shoes and bags, what else!!

18. What do you consider a fashion faux pas? Wearing something just to look what you are not!

19. Who are your style icons? My sister and my aunts!

20. What kind of haircut do you prefer? Layered … Its so awesome!

21. What are you going to do after this? Answer the next question … duh!!

22. What are your favourite movies? I have many but my newest favorite is the Memoirs of a Geisha!

24. What are three cosmetic/makeup/perfume products that you can’t live without? In these times of the dreaded R, it is a wise idea not to be attached to any products as though they are your oxygen!!

23. What inspires you ? Generosity, Kindness, Tolerance, Good Humour, etc …

24. Give us three styling tips that always work for you: Just one – be the body weight you are supposed to be! :-P

25. What do you do when you “have nothing to wear” (even though your closet’s packed)? I don’t go out till I find something to wear, even if it takes months!

26. Coffee or tea? Tea – yummy!

27. What do you do when you are feeling low or terribly depressed? Cry – what else does one do?

28. What is the meaning of your name? I am named after a star!

29. Which other blogs do you love visiting? All the ones in my Google Reader …

30. Favorite Dessert/Sweet? Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Mint Cookie

31. Favorite Season ? That depends on the country – Bangalore’s winters, Kochi’s monsoon, NJ’s spring and autumn …

32. If I come to your house now, what would u cook for me? Maggi noodles? :D

33. My question: Another question? :D

Rules for those who are tagged:Respond and rework – answer these questions on your blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own, and add one more question to the list. Then tag eight or ten other new set of people.

If you liked the tag, then you are tagged! It it is too tedious for you, it is alright

The catch:  It is alright except if you use the word “is” in your comment -you are tagged!!


The Urge

September 25, 2009

What is it about books that drives me nuts? The whole process begins with someone dropping a recco, looking it up on Shelfari, GoodReads, Biblio.com, eyeballing all the reviews,  and giving me a high which I fear is more than the one from reading the book itself. My “I plan to read” list keeps getting longer and longer with no end in sight. I wonder if I will live long enough to read the “1001 books you must read before you die“. Will I be a bhatakti aatma, if I run out of time? No wonder, I dread a new recco!

Nonetheless, I love it when someone suggests a book. Talk about contradicting myself. You see, I have no choice in the matter. Unknown forces compel helpless poor me to look up the book, read reviews, add to my list if the forces find it worthy. Once I am done reading, I find myself frantically reviewing the book. If reading books weren’t enough already, the manic forces are now hounding me to look for audio books!

Thus I find myself with no way out but to admit – I am just a simple one celled bacteria puppet manipulated by some whacked out bookworm! If you hear a weak cry for help, you will know it is the poor bacteria being contorted out of shape!!

Very Important PS: If you have any book reccos, please drop in a line in the comment section. Open to all genres, even kiddies. And needless to say audio books too – Regards, the Puppeteer.

Storytime …..

September 18, 2009


Lila’s Happiness

On a bright summer morning, Lila was skipping along on her way to school. Flowers blooming everywhere, the sun smiling down and the glistening leaves after last night’s rainfall added a special charm to that day. “Just perfect for outside fun”- thought Lila. Watching Lila from afar were her parents. Taking care of the 6 year old was a piece of cake – she woke up on time for school, was quick to laugh and brought cheer to anyone who met her. Her cherubic face framed by curly golden locks always gathered in high ponytails, her tinkling laughter, her endless banter made her everybody’s darling cupcake.

Lila loved going to school.. All her teachers were swell and so were her friends. Mrs Johnson gathered all the little girls and boys around her. It is a beautiful day today, isnt it kids? – asked Mrs J. Yes, Mrs J – yelled the children. Mrs J goes quiet for a few minutes and then pipes up – “It is a pity to waste such a day indoors. Lets have a painting competition outside, shall we?” She didn’t have to wait too long for an answer because the kids were out the door already!

Lila was exuberant. She loved to paint. It was a challenge to keep the colours inside the lines but she loved it. More than filling in colouring books, she loved creating characters and bring them to life with her colours. Mrs J asked the class to come up with something that makes them happy. What makes her the happiest? Is it cookies? Pancakes? Swings? Dances? She thought and thought for sometime. The she set to work.

Minutes later, this is what she came up with.

AditiRohanDanushRheaPranaviAyushi

Her friends are her happiness. Though they squabble a lot, they can’t do without each other. Mrs J smiled to herself when Lila explained the picture and the thought behind it. “Very good, Lila. You have done an impressive job. It is a lesson for life too – cherish your friends because they are your happiness.” praised Mrs J. Elated with the golden star Mrs J awarded her, Lila cartwheeled her way home, thinking how happy mommy and daddy will be when she shows them her golden star.

PS: Today my little niece is turning 6. She drew the above picture of her and her friends.Minnie, wishing you a very happy Birthday. May your life be filled with health, happiness and lots of people who love you dearly.

PPS: This is my first attempt at story writing. I do hope it is good!

PPPS: Ok, the story may be a little too sugary for your taste, but my niece is the sweetest!! ;-)

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