Judging a Book by its Cover



It was a typical Saturday at home. It was around 7.00 am, Dad was out for his walk and no one had picked up the newspaper. The coffee was just being brewed and amma was persuading (read soapifying) me to prepare breakfast. And it was over smell of Nescafe coffee and hot dosa that the discussion about “What do you want to do in life?” proceeded.

This was our favourite game. My amma’s and mine. While discussions between my dad and me tend to be intellectual and earnest – about politics or religion or philosophy – discussions with amma tended to be louder and revolved around more mundane topics like neighbourhood gossip (which I eagerly listen to and then tell her off for spreading), college, studies, marriage, boys…you get the gist. And all these “discussions” invariably end up in me storming off, pissed off by something she said or vice versa, to followed by being exceedingly polite to each other for the better part of the rest of the day. As my mother wasn’t home daily, it was a weekend ritual we seldom missed.

So it was with as much sincerity I could muster in my worn-out PJs and cuckoo’s-nest hair that I responded to my amma’s enquiries about my future plans. All that I said was duly approved or opposed as per her convictions and my declarations of not wanting to continue further studies in engineering was met with a not-unpleasant silence. Strangely, it seemed to be one of those days when nothing seemed to piss her off. 

Wanting to take full advantage of the situation, I settled myself on the kitchen-slab with a cup of coffee and smuggled pieces of hot, straight-from-the-tavi dosa and asked, 
 “Amma, what is it that you really want to do in life? I mean, after you retire and you have a comfortable income and lots of free time at hand and if you could afford to do anything you wish, what would you do?”

I had expected her to laugh it off or say something vague like travel around the world. Anything except what she said. Without a moment’s hesitation, she responded, 
 “I want to do 2 things if I can do anything I want. First I want to learn how to play veena…just for my personal pleasure. I mean, come on, I am too old for me to be any good at it, but it is just one of those things I’ve always wanted to do. And secondly, I want to write short stories.”

I was silent for a moment. The answer had caught me-off guard and I needed a moment to collect my thoughts. The veena part, I wasn’t all that surprised with. I’d once seen her all excited when a music master we were acquainted with said that anyone can learn to play veena, age-no-bar, provided they are ready to slog for it and had inferred that she was interested in it. But the writing part – I hadn’t seen that one coming. Maybe it was just a wish thing, I thought. And so, the conversation continued thus.

Me: “I didn’t know that you were into writing, amma.”

 Amma: “Well, I am. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer like Agatha Christie and Ashapoorna Devi. Speaking of which, have you read her ‘Prothom Pratisruti’? It is one of my favourite stories ever – actually, it is a part of the trilogy. If you want I can get you a copy.”

 Me: “Ah…that would be great. But amma…you never told me you liked writing so much. And I haven’t seen you reading any non-academic books of late.” 

Amma: “Actually…2 of my short stories have been published, you know.”

Me: “What? When? Where? How come you didn’t tell me?”

Amma: “It was a long time back. I was quite young and…erm…the stories reflected my age, you know…”

Me: “You mean…chick flicks?”

Amma: “Not exactly…but kinda the same. Anyways one of my friends sent them to ‘Womans Era’ and they published it.” 

She then proceeded to give me a general idea of those stories. And it struck me that one of the stories seemed vaguely familiar. In fact, I was pretty sure that I had read it a very long time back – it was definitely not a chick flick; I remember being pretty impressed by it back then. But I was also certain that I would’ve noticed if I had seen my mom’s name on it. Which was explained when she said that she wrote those under a different name. “Because” she said, “if my dad ever saw that, he’d have skinned me.”

It did take me a little time to digest that my mother was perhaps much more talented than I have ever given her credit for. Amma was a geek. Her idea of relaxing was curling up in sofa with ‘Sudoku’ and she considered a 500 page textbook on ‘Industrial Psycology’ as light-reading. Moreover, she read Agatha Christie back-to-front. I mean, who in their right minds would do that?? If truth be told, the only time I’ve seen her do something ‘normal’ was reading ‘Vanita’ and ‘Jyothisharathnam’, so while I was incredibly proud of her numerous academic achievements, it had never crossed my mind that she might have some…hobbies.

The 9-year-old Scout, the female protagonist of Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, once says

Our father didn’t do anything. He worked in an office, not in a drugstore. Atticus did not drive a dump-truck for the county, he was not the sheriff, he did not farm, work in a garage, or do anything that could possibly arouse the admiration of anyone. He did not do the things our schoolmates’ fathers did: he never went hunting, he did not play poker or fish or drink or smoke. He sat in the livingroom and read.”

I was pretty amused to realise that if you replace all the ‘father’ with ‘mother’, Scout had pretty much captured what I had thought of my mom for a large chunk of my life.

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B’lore Diary


Being somebody who is very self-conscious about what I jot down, I’ve spent quite a few sleepless nights wondering what to blog about and quite often, it so happens that I spent so much time analyzing what I SHOULD write that I end up deciding that the topic I chose is too insignificant to actually devote an entire post to. However, now that I’ve decided that it’s time to throw caution to the winds and start blogging fervently (aah… a girl can hope!), I thought why not write about my trip to Bangalore a few weeks back.

Bangalore or B’lore, as it is popularly referred to nowadays, was literally a breath of fresh air for me. So what is the big deal, you might wonder. For one, that was the first time I’d ever traveled alone in my 21 years of strutting around on this Earth. Okay correction – I wasn’t exactly alone; there were 4 of my friends too. Girls (in case you are curious). But the point is it was a girl’s trip. No parents. No sister to watch over. Just me in charge of myself. 

And what fun it was. Right from the train journeys where we got the customary murderous glances from our fellow travelers (Can’t blame them, I guess…I mean, even you would be pretty pissed off if your co-travelers stayed up till 3.00 am giggling and singing really crappy tunes plus munching Laysand Kurkure and fighting over the Pepsi) to the strolling through the streets at night going ‘brrrr..’ in the chill.

However, what I remember most about Bengaluru is its attitude. I’ve often heard and read that in urban cities (especially Mumbai), nobody gives a damn about how you look or what you wear and I’ve always thought of that with a dubious mind. It was when I actually experienced it, that I realised how cool it is to be able to dash out to buy a dozen eggs in your PJs. (Yup, I actually did that and nobody gave me a second glance.) Right from the time I first entered into the city, I was surrounded by all kinds of people – the seedha-sadhafolks, the school girls with rather cute ties and pigtails (speaking of which, how is it that the school kids of these days look as if they’ve come out of Femina? You should’ve seen me in my school uniform. On second thought, I’m glad that you haven’t!) And of course, the super-stylish teens and mommies. To be honest, I’d always reckoned that that super stylish moms, in jeans and tees and shades, swinging their adorable kids into school buses with a kiss on their cheek was a figment of imagination, planted into our heads by evil men in Dharma Productions…but no – they did exist. As did the endearing grannies with their pattu saris and mookutti. In here, everyone had a nook, regardless of their occupation, sex or financial set-up.

And of course, there was the novelty of being able to walk around at 10.00 pm and still being one in the crowd. Not to mention the street shopping (for a self-proclaimed shop-o-phobic, I didn’t do too badly) and the food, which was, hands down, the highlight of the entire journey. As a rule, people tend to return from Bangalore with their pockets considerably lighter and suitcases proportionately heavier. But in our case, heavier than our suitcases were our tummies. Taco Bell, Subway, KFC, Chaat, McDonalds and my personal favourite, Coffee Cafe Day – the list was too long (And yes, we did try to list the places we ate at – very meticulous bunch of folks, we are).

Bangalore also brings to my mind fond memories of the cozy apartment where I spent 3 days with my best buddies, cooking our own food, staying up late watching movies on laptop, and generally making a nuisance of ourselves to Ammu chechi (who was our trip coordinator-cum-associate sponsor-cum-food & accommodation in-charge) and having a taste of life at a bachelor-pad, surrounded by the people you are utterly comfortable with. It still amazes me that in those few days, we were able to soak up the essence of Bangalore – from the posh malls to downmarket streets, the tour through IISc (made me wish for a moment that I was actually into engineering), the glimpse of BEL and what not. 

“Did you visit any pubs? Discos? Chalo at least did u get drunk?? Nope..?? Ayye..pinnendina Banglore poye..” This was how most of my friends reacted on our return from Banglore. And do I even need to say that our negative replies have brought us down a notch or two in many eyes..?

Adieu to the Fountain of Memories


 It was the first day of X’mas hols and I’d already had my fill of movies, movies and more movies. It has been too much movies & facebooking and too little reading. This was NOT how I had envisioned me spending my hols. In my dreams, I’d been engrossed in book after book, and spent the rest of the time updating my blog and indulging in some quality writing (yeah right! *snort*). And let me tell you… the writing part – that has been a fantasy. And the last book I’ve read (or tried to read) is “Emma by Jane Austen”. Given the fact that I’ve tried to complete that book thrice without success, I think it is the most boring book I’ve ever encountered in my short book-addicted life. And I keep going back to it. Emma is kinda like a bug that I’ve tried to swat and swat but keeps getting away and keeps buzzing near my ears. Gosh! That, my dear friends, was probably the worst simile that you’ve ever had to read. My point is, I find the fact that I cannot complete a book, especially a world-renown classic, extremely irritating. And so I plough on. 
Fuelled by that irritation and a fair amount of guilt, I went to the Thrissur Public Library with the hope that I would stumble upon a book so engaging that I can’t put it down once I’ve picked it up. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book like that, you see. Besides, I just wanted an excuse to breathe in the smell of thousands of dog-eared books and to walk around the grounds, plucking leaves, feeding non-existent rabbits and prodding ants into the water lily leaves in the fountain, as I have done throughout my childhood/teenage. 
So I headed to the public library, picked up some books and proceed to make my way to my childhood playground. And imagine my surprise when I found that the fountain (which didn’t work) was missing and in its place was something which looked like a man covered by tarpaulin. Well well… that can’t be true can it be? So I move in for a closer look only to be thwarted by a lungi-clad worker’s evil eye with a beedi and his hoarse-voiced “പണി  നടക്കണ കണ്ടില്യേ പെങ്ങളേ…?” 
It was only later as I headed home that my father told me that the fountain is being demolished and is being replace by Mr.Karunakaran’s statue, to commemorate his death/birth anniversary (I’m still confused as to which). At this juncture, allow me to clarify that I’m a person not affiliated to any political party. The truth of the matter is, like scores of Indians, I’ve not taken the trouble to delve deep into any party’s policies or fundas and so based on their public performance, they all appear quite corrupt and fraudulent, at least to my uneducated eyes. 
Having said that, I must also say that more than the destruction of my childhood memories, what bothers me is that from now on, a politician’s statue is to adorn the entrance of the library. I am aware that the library is not an apolitical body as I had believed before and that there is a fair amount of political intervention in its functioning (I mean, is there any organization free from party-affiliations in Kerala?). 
However, Mr. Karunakarn doesn’t seem to be a person who is to be honoured in front of a library, particularly since not everyone would sing the same tunes about his political journey.  Place his statue in front of his party office – yes that’s alright. But a library is a place where, as clichéd as it sounds, young minds are moulded…ignited. You want to place a statue, the put one of A.P.J Abdul Kalam. Or Kunjunni Mashu. Or V.M Basheer. Well… what is done is done. All I can do is rant about it in my space. And wonder whether I’m the only one who is as disturbed by this as I am.

On a brighter note, wish you all a Merry Christmas!

IN THE NAME OF MALALA

I have often wondered when my fascination with the Middle Eastern community started. And I’m not sure how it started either. It is something that I have thought of in length, over time, in vain. I remember reading The Kite Runner when I was around 14 and being so moved by that book I was that I rushed home and googled Afganisthan (which, until then, was a country I had given little thought to, except maybe as a land of gorgeous men and women), trying to make sense of its chaotic political scenario. One thing led to another and next thing I know, I was delving into the ideology of the Taliban, struggling to comprehend how they justify the murder of tens of thousands of people in the name of God (not to mentions the numerous terror attacks ). For a 14-year-old, this was pretty heavy stuff. I recall reading the Declaration of War issued by the Taliban elucidating the reason behind 9/11 and thinking, the naive kid I was, why all this fuss when you could just solve this like adults. Surely, the people educated enough to actually produce the 3-4 pages of such a complicated document, with its absurd terms and exaggerated (or so I thought) threats would be sensible enough to respond to reason? 
And I remember musing to myself, very smugly “What if they refuse to respond to your threats in ways you dictate? What if the women (to whom most of their “reforms” were directed) of your country wake up one day and realise what utter bullshit you have been feeding them in the name of a sacred religion and decide to take a stand against you? What are you gonna do, just shoot each and every one of them? 
 Little did I imagine that this rhetorical question would actually be answered in booming affirmative. Yes, that is exactly what we plan to do. And they did too – with Malala. Malala Yousafzai. 
The 14-year-old school kid who was shot in her head for speaking up against the educational confines imposed by the Taliban on the girls schools in the Swat Valley. Reading through her dairy for BBC, I was struck by how innocently (but persistently) she sticks to her issue. She was 12 years then. Her persistency paid off, and the school reopened amidst continuous shelling and skirmishes between the Taliban and military. At the same time, Malala managed to catch the attention of the world with a documentary on life at Swat in the middle of its political unrest and her pledge to become a politician to save her country from its “so many crises”. This was followed by numerous accolades lauding her dedication and initiative. With more and more school kids being tuned into her mission, a good percentage of which was the previously-oppressed-school-girls, the Taliban could no longer refrain from acting. And they did. Two shots – once in the head and once in the neck. And that would have been that. 
Except that the reaction that this inhuman act triggered, not just in Pakistan, but around the world was of humongous proportion compared to the norms. Taliban, for once, could not hog the limelight as it usually does. Even in her close-to-death condition, Malala’s loyalty to her cause is highlighted rather than Taliban’s brutal attempt at silencing its non-abiders. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that the entire world is on its knees, praying for her to pull through this. Alive and kicking.
Of course, the shooting is just the tip of the iceberg. This is not the first time this has happened. Malala is not the first person to feel the heat of standing up against the TTP. And the blame cannot be comfortably confined to one shoulder. The interference of America and their continuous aerial attack (reportedly always targeted at Taliban fighters) have left a number of national people maimed, dead and scarred for life, a large chunk of which are innocent children who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. But I’m yet to see any of those kids being catapulted to limelight or the world renouncing their silent support to America or at least issuing a statement “condemning such heinous acts”. Of course, it can be argued that America is fighting for a bigger cause and there is bound to be some “collateral damage” or even better, you can always save the day by bringing up the 9/11 & the slaughter of the sons & daughters of America. To go on about one of the most debated (and criticised) of world events is not my intention and nor do I pretend to be proficient enough to go into it. All I’m trying to drive in is that regardless of the issues haunting Pakistan and the Swat, regardless of the brutal crimes that Pakistan has been witness to in the past, let us not let the attention shift from Malala. Let us not let the crooked intelligent TTP manage to shift focus from the matter at hand and walk away with yet another opportunity which might mark the first of the many baby steps for the liberation of Pakistan. (Again, that might be my naivety speaking up.) 
Either ways, it is amazing to watch the press and people of Pakistan (again I emphasize on the female population) being atypically outspoken in their condemnation of Taliban. Pakistan, they seem to say, is weary of all the atrocities you have inflicted upon us. We are tired of you manipulating our youth in the name of God and twisting the words of Holy Quran. We are tired of being accused of being a terrorist-haven, of being the synonym of violence and terrorism. And so time is ripe for us to deal with the mess that you have dished out to us and our children. And deal, we will. 
Meanwhile, I can’t help feeling humbled by that teenage girl, who is looking forward to a good many years of physiotherapy and treatments not to mention the danger of being “marked” by the Taliban for the rest of her life, on whose honour UN declared November 10th as ‘Malala Day’. 
Way to go girl!

Matrimony.com

Sunday. Sunday, for me, is the official Sadhya day because that’s the day (for reasons still unknown to me) most people decide to host their wedding ceremony. And it’s the same story in all these weddings. There’ll be couples to bless, friends to meet after long time, acquaintances to be made and gossip to be exchanged. Needless to say, my mom loved marriages. They were, in her opinion, an indispensible part of life.

As is the case for almost all Sundays, this Sunday too, we were to attend another nuptial service. The difference was, this was the marriage of one of my immediate neighbours’’ daughter. And this marriage had been the “BREAKING NEWS” for about a whole week. The reason?? Yeah, you guessed it. She was a “victim” of the cupid’s stupid games.

As I did mention, since they were my neighbours, it was quite startling (not to mention bewildering) to wake up one fine morning and to see that view from my bedroom window, which had been a green coloured house had suddenly changed to a blue one. Obviously, the first reaction was soon replaced by curiosity which was swapped for astonishment and delight (Well, at least on my part. What my mom thought was another story altogether) as aunty came in with the invitation card. And the conversation unfolded as follows:

Mom: “Anu* is getting married?? OMG why didn’t you tell me Jaya*? I am so happy for you. How come you never mentioned it when we were talking about all this?”

(At this juncture, I would like to mention that my mom and Jaya aunty are a part of a huge friends circle at the temple, which is kind of a substitute for the usual parties and socialising events which my mom cannot attend as she is working woman-cum-wife-cum-mother)

Jaya aunty (With a sombre expression on her face, which if I may say so, seemed quite inappropriate… especially keeping in mind the numerous times I’ve seen her face getting all lit up while discussing the cost of Kaanjeepuram sarees): “Hmm… mm..mmm..”

Mom (Realizing that she is missing something but being able to figure out the exact problem) asks cautiously: “Jaya is everything alright?”

Jaya aunty (Looking close to tears): “Mmmm… everything is fineee… just fineeeee”

(This is when I slowly started inching towards the stairs, as from experience, I had recognized the classical symptoms of a crying spree. And I also knew that when that happened, I wanted to be nowhere nearby.)

Mom: “So where is the boy working? You found him through the matrimonial site?”

Two simple questions. Two seemingly harmless questions and there, the tears were …. gushing would be the appropriate word. And needless to say, I was caught in between. As always. God when will I learn???

By then I was curious to know what all this was about, so I brought them a glass of water and planted myself on the sofa. And tried to make sense of the story being told in between tears and tea and Parle-G before I was banished to my room, where I sat cross-legged on the floor, leaning against the wall, trying to make sense of what I had just heard.

From what I understood, the bottom line of the whole drama was this – Anu was getting married to a guy of her choice. I knew that she had been studying at Coimbatore for MBA and apparently, that is where they met and fell in love. From what I knew, he was a great guy, well-educated, smart, financially well-off, working in a reputed firm. In my opinion it was a great match. Nothing to be ashamed of. And definitely nothing worth shedding tears. As I sat there wondering, trying to figure it out, through the crack of my door, I saw my sis heading for the stairs.

“Hey,” I said, “If I were you, I wouldn’t be heading downstairs right now. Major drama alert.”

“Oh,” she stopped and considered for a moment. “Who is it this time?” she asked a bit wearily, retracing her steps.

“Jaya aunty.”

“Aah… the wedding huh?”

I looked at her surprised. I hadn’t occurred to me that she, of all the people, might have an idea, what all this is about.

“You knew about that?”

“Sure” she said, with her hand on the doorknob. “Everyone knows about it. Anu is getting married. To an Ezhava boy.”

Oh did I mention that Anu is a Brahmin??

Aah… finally everything made sense. The low-profile wedding, Jaya aunty’s grief… everything. Suddenly I kinda felt sad for Anu. In a community where love marriages were a reason enough for eyeballs to roll, inter-caste-love marriages were the ultimate. To feel the people’s eyes on you wherever you go judging you, to not to be able to celebrate your love in a way you want to… it was distressing. And at that moment, I felt an unexplainable rage towards Jaya aunty and her husband for ruining what ought to be one of the best memories of their daughter’s life. So what if the guy was of a different caste? (Lower caste… that’s what others would say) Oh come on, when you fall in love, you can’t be like “Excuse me, are you a Brahmin? Do you have ettil shukran?” Besides, how does all that matter? I’ve seen quite a few arranged marriages between couples, whose horoscope and caste and subcaste had all been perfectly matched, fall apart for trivial reasons. Moreover, it wasn’t as if she had eloped with the guy. (which, I admit, is mortifying) She had simply made it very clear that if she was to be married at all, it would be to this guy and no one else. (I must say, I was kinda astonished that Anu, who was such a soft-spoken thing had said that. Kudos to her!!) All the disgust and intolerance I had for such people was for a split second overshadowed by the ecstasy I felt for Anu.

And then I looked across to the big blue house and not for the first time, my eyes were drawn towards the bright beautiful rose plants grown by Jaya aunty. I was reminded of all those days I had spent watching Jaya aunty (usually when I’m supposed to be studying) tend to those bushes with so much love and care. I had always seen how proud she had been of them, how she used to show them off to everyone, regardless of whether they blossomed or not. And then I thought about how similar they were to her kids. I had watched her plaiting Anu’s hair when she was a kid in the evening, seen her drive her to music classes, which were replaced by tuition classes as Anu grew. I remember once seeing Anu and aunty at the mall, arguing over which dress to buy and the pride on aunty’s face when I mentioned how beautiful Anu looked on her farewell day. And I can never forget that day aunty came in a saree that Anu had bought for her, the happiness that was hidden behind a carefully-manufactured-oh-it’s-no-big-deal expression. She had always been with Anu, regardless of whether she was first in class, or the time she had been going through some personal issues. I myself had witnessed the unconditional love aunty had for her daughter. Anu had been her baby, her centre of universe for a long time (ever since her birth to be precise). Obviously, she would’ve dreamed of her choosing a groom for her precious daughter, just like her parents had for her. So when all that dreams are shattered, if crying about it is her only reaction, then I guess she is entitled to do that, don’t you think?

And so I attended Anu’s wedding which was a pretty much low-key affair. Albeit the bride’s parents were a bit subdued and there were quite a few murmurings, but the unmistakable exhilaration on bride’s and groom’s face muted all that. We went on stage, congratulated the groom and bride (now husband and wife) and proceeded to mingle with the other guests. As we sat down, I heard someone behind me say “Do you know that the boy is Ezhava? What was Jaya thinking, marrying her daughter off to such a boy!” Another day… any other day, that single statement would have ruined my mood. But that moment, I took a look at the radiant faces of the duo on stage, told myself “Who cares?” and proceeded to discuss with my mom about the attires of various gorgeous women all around us.

Take care & aabar dekha hobey (Can you guess which language it is without googling it? Clue: It means goodbye in an East Indian state)

PS: The palada pradhaman was lip-lickingly tasty.

* All names have been changed so as to not to intrude upon their privacy (not that they might read this or anything)

Death in 21st century

Yesterday was just another day for me (except for the fact that I had 2 university practicals … it was dismal). As usual I came home from college. What welcomed me was the news of sudden demise of one of my mom’s colleagues. Now this particular woman (Lets call her Ms. X for the sake of convenience) she wasn’t exactly the apple of anybody’s eye. She was unmarried & cranky and was living with her unmarried & equally cranky aunt. She was a professor in English, had been just promoted as the Principal, had a complex about being single & had an additional chip on the shoulder about being a Brahmin. On the whole, she was everyone’s idea of a superlative nightmare. Now you might understand why not many people adored her. Hell who am I kidding?? People actually hated the ground she walked on.

My mom loved her. Coming to think about it, she did get pissed off when Ms.X calls her up at 10.00 pm and ask her to value 150 papers for the next morning or when Ms.X calls her at 8.00 am in the morning and chat for 1 hour about which newspaper to subscribe to, when my sister, me, my dad and mom herself were all scurrying to get on with their day. But still, my mom liked her a lot, maybe because they had been working together for about 10 years. And as strange as it may sound, I kinda liked her too. She was always sweet to me, had nice things to say to me and had this ability to be extremely nice to me just before ticking off my mom on phone (which naturally was a sufficient reason for me to have a grudge against her.)
When she died (yuck… that’s so lame isn’t it?? I can’t really get used to the fact that she isn’t gonna call me anymore and say stuff like “Navmi, amma ende cell edukkatte?? Aren’t u studying well huh??..” and so on), I went with my mom for her funeral, primarily because my mother was pretty close to hysterics and I was actually worried about how she was gonna be affected by this (I know… that was very selfish of me) As a rule I try to avoid visiting the funerals, simply because I tend to get very very deeply affected by them. It’s basically a very depressing and emotionally draining experience.

Ms. X’s funeral was very… hmm… I can’t really express it in words. Yes, it was definitely very different… to an extent that it was actually disturbing. First thing I noticed was that not a single person was crying. There were no tears shed for the departed soul. Her uncle was sitting in one corner, settling the hospital bills and paying for the ambulance and all. There were no women, not a single one of them. The only onlookers were her colleagues, whose life she had made a living hell. They were the only people who had come to say goodbye to her, and I’m glad to say that all of them had something good to say about her. She was all decked up in pattu sari and mulla povu (a Brahmin ritual I guess) when her aunt (whom she lived with and was said to be very ill, in fact so ill that she couldn’t even go to the hospital to say goodbye when her “beloved” niece was dying) turned up and started muttering in Tamil. One of her first questions were “Where is her 1 ½ pavan gold bangle & her diamond earrings??” Needless to say I disliked that woman then and there. She went on muttering something about how many saris Ms.X had and how others used to haunt Ms.X and on and on. (In Tamil) Honestly there were times when all I wanted was to shake her and scream “It’s your niece lying there for God’s sake.” The only people crying were my mom and a few of her colleagues. (I can never squeeze out tears at these much needed moments. I can only cry if my sister broke my pencil or if I lost my 5th standard group photograph. Pathetic… I know) Then she was cremated and everyone went home. Life goes on….

What bothered me a lot (other than the detached nature of everyone associated with her) was something the Brahmin priest said. Since one of Ms. X’s elder uncle was in Thiruvanathapuram, the family had dual opinions about who should do the final rites, the uncle in Thrissur or the one in Tvm. When they consulted the priest, his words were “It makes no difference whether the rites are performed by the elder or younger uncle. This woman can NEVER achieve moksha (in other words she can never go to heaven)” The reason…??? Apparently only those people who has had children – to elaborate, people with a son – only such people’s soul will go to Heaven. Now isn’t that fab??

At least now I can be sure where my mom & dad were NOT heading.

Luv & a tinge of despair

PS: I have a sister.

To beloved Ms. X whom I sometimes found difficult to understand and love, may your soul rest in peace. Thank you for appreciating me even when I was fat and idiotic and for making me feel so beautiful and special whenever we met. For all u said and for all that you didn’t, I respect you. God bless you. RIP

Feverish confessions

Ok so I have fever. Again. If there was a Guinness book record for the most number of fevers in say I month, it would be mine. I so don’t like being bedridden for a continuous period of time…

So as I was bedridden because Mr. All-knowing-thermometer decided that I was running a temperature, I had a chance to look out of ma bedroom window & actually see the world… n guess what?? I realised that the view out side my window resembles our national flag… my neighbours saffron parapet at the topmost part, the pure white clouds with a tinge of blue sky in the middle, followed by the lush green trees… sounds familiar?? I so badly wanted to take a snap of it but it seemed like too big an effort… on that note I decided I do hate having fever… but den I thought about the advantages of having fever and was confused… so I have jotted down some of them here.

The things I like about fever

1.When I have fever I get mom to make me black coffee. Usually when I ask her for it, she takes a cup, add like 2-3 teaspoons of black coffee & fill the rest with milk … uggg… (but she’s better than my grandma who believes that by drinking black coffee you become black in colour!!! seriously)
2.It makes you the centre of your family’s world, and you end up being pampered by everyone… which I shamelessly enjoy 😀
3.It gives you a legitimate reason to bunk college. What more do you need??
4.You get to sleep from 10.00 pm to 10.00 am which is normally not very feasible.

Things I not-so-like about fever

1.Fever makes pizza taste bland … isn’t that sad??
2.It forces you to listen to the audio track of too-lame-to-describe serials like “manasaputhri”, “parijatham” etc (which mommas watch) because closing your eyes AND ears can be pretty strenuous.
3.The bloody body ache…aargh…. it spoils everything
4.It kinda tampers with your sense of humour and leaves you cranky 😐

Goanna take my Antibiotics & have a cuppa coffee

My take on 3 Idiots

**Contains spoilers about the movie**

So I saw the movie “3 Idiots” (you know the one which is NOT an adaptation of Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat) about 3 weeks after roughly 60% of our nation saw it. And I hated it. Yeah… I spent about half of the movie cursing myself, my friends, the critics… basically every single person who recommend this movie, who said that it’s a must watch…

I watched a major part of the movie thru my pillows (well thts something I do when I’m embarrassed… strange I know) If that doesn’t explain my exact feelings about the movie, then I don’t know what will. Sure I loved all the show of intense friendship & the ragging scenes (God that is like so authentic) but here’s the thing – I have a big problem with all-knowing heroes especially those who look 40 but act as 19 year-olds n deliver long speeches on friendship & educational system.
But I did realise something loud & clear – 3 Idiot is DEFINITELY NOT a re-vision of FPS, no way – now the reason why FPS was such a huge success, in my humble opinion, is the fact that its characters were real – like the main protagonist Hari… he was someone who was so…hmm… normal, ordinary. He was just this ordinary guy with ordinary friends committing ordinary mistakes (well not all his “mistakes” where conventional… if you know what I mean 🙂 That was the allure of the story – the verity that a huge chunk of the story was kinda identical to our lives… n that’s what the movie lacked in my judgement – lacked big time… that element of reality…

Instead of that what do we get?? We get a hero who is always 1st in college without even attending the classes … bravo!! He uses his brain (yeah coz we left ours at home before coming to hostel naah…) to escape from seniors on the ragging night … but what happens after that night?? I mean come on, any1 who has passed out of college does know that seniors aren’t that easy to escape – or are you telling me that this dude is Godzilla’s grandson to elude 3 years of seniors in that pretty big hostel not to mention college?? Considering the events in the rest of the movie, this is an almost practical-sounding explanation.

And then there is “All izz well” … I must say that I pretty much luved that – until UNTIL that scene in climax when the baby becomes alive on hearing “all izz well”… I did contemplate committing suicide by shoving my beloved pillow down my throat (apparently it can b very painful ) but then the insincerity of the whole movie struck me and had me doubling up with laughter. What does Raju Hirani think the audience is?? Sack of potatoes?? And don’t even get me started on how a vaccum-cleaner can be used to deliver a baby… ewwww…..

This post will be really incomplete without mentioning that I did enjoy quite a few moments in the movie… as did I adore sharman joshi and r. madhavan for trying to lend an ounce of genuineness to the movie… I agree that the movie did portray accurately the frustration of an engineering student… also the pressure of fulfilling expectations of your parents teachers and every Tom, Dick and Harry (ask me, I ought to know), the inability to choose between friends and family an all… all I’m saying is that all that was not enough to cover up what appeared to me as an attempt to boost the superstar image of Aamir Khan… as for Kareena Kapoor, she wasn’t even there in the movie.. I wouldn’t comment anything further about her coz I basically dislike her and hence it would be difficult to judge her impartially…

Now you really wanna know how campus life is, try watching “Happy Days”… originally made in Telugu, it was also dubbed in Malayalam and is being remade in Tamil and Kannada… it’s on of the most authentic and original campus-based movies I’ve seen.. and I have seen quite a few, trust me…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy_Days_%282007_film%29

Adios n so longggggg

The renaissance

So this is it. My blog. My own space to share my completely wacky n unfathomable musings. Hmm… that does have a nice ring.

For someone who adore writing – I know this is one of the most clichéd terms in the blog-world – oh and by the way, I always do this: that is, gets distracted – I’m always jumping around from topic to topic. Ok, so as I was saying, as someone who finds writing a second nature though not effortless – (besides that effort is something I find very soothing and productive) – combined by the irresistible urge to converse every single moment of life, starting a blog was natural course of action. Only one catch: I find the idea of others reading my piece of work disturbing… even terrifying. Weird huh?? I know. Coz the stuff I jot down are pretty individualistic and maybe petty. Writing is an outlet for my opinions – to vent them with a tinge of humour as in sarcasm/irony/spoof whatever you call it coz life isn’t life without a little absurdity. Sense of humour plays a significant role in the complex-process of making up my mind on whether I am gonna read a blog or not.

And many a time I don’t write WRITE – like I don’t write in a paper or anything… I just form stuff in my mind n modify it & as time flies, I usually forget about it. I guess writing is just my way of dealing with the clutter called life. I mean, people do all strange kinda things to be HAPPY (another controversial topic – what do you really mean by happy??) – like I’ve heard there are people who shop a LOT (seriously??) so that they feel all light n happy (duh!!). And I know a few who open the “water-tap” at the slightest provocation (oh come on… crying is totally over rated – not only you have to face the problems but that too with one hell of a headache – trust me, I ought to know)

Which is why I was quite surprised when one of my really good friend suggested that I start letting other people into my Disneyland. (She happened to “stumble” upon one of my works – in plain English, she snooped through my folder) On top of that the numerous tweeple whom I met on twitter – btw I’m a self-confessed tweetaholic – all of them with amazing sense of humour & some of them with blogs that don’t let you tear your eyes of them really kinda “inspired” me LOLz.. If I can, I’ll try to link some of my fav pages. So then, after the initial rebuttal, I thought “Why don’t I give it a shot”. Whew!! N this is just the beginning… a revival of I, me, myself…

So long & Ciao till the next post…