Saturday, September 27, 2008

Divya Needs...

I've been tagged by the great one blessed with an extra funny bone, Chriz. this is funny, simple and easy, and since i have no new posts in mind, this becomes a reason for you guys to still keep coming.. 
-----> help! i'm dying : (  
here's the thing- i type my name followed by needs (divya needs) and google it and list out 10 of the answers that Google God gives me. 
so here goes!

1) Divya needs advice - Muscle Building & Natural Bodybuilding Forum
    - yes i can do with some advice but err... no not this kinda! 

2) Divya needs to explain everything to Amar.
    Amar who???

3) Madhuri and Divya doesn't need plastic surgery because they were born as the natural beauty. 
    - yeah... well.... *blush blush*

4) Divya needs. submissions. Deadline is first Monday after Spring Break.
    - uh huh! you heard that!

5) Divya's "Helmet Hair Ishtyle needs to go... ASAP!!
    - helmet hair? me??!

6) divya needs a stylist desparately !
     - oh no : (  i don't like the way things are headed now.

7) divya! ur ass needs to come home like rite now!!! I miss you!!!
    - aaaaawwwwww : ) that's so sweet : )  : ) 

8)  Divya needs to slap the shit out of Priya.
    - errrmmm.... priyaaa!!! i'm so so sorry : (

9) Reasonably good-looking Divya needs to concentrate on expressions more, though she did quite well in nrittam
    - you know.. i am selecting the best answers ; ) 

10) divya needs some new hair ...
      - no no!!! i LOVE my hair!! why's everyone after my hair?? :' ( 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Making a Difference...And How!

Girl 1: Sadhana (6-7 years of age)

Father-carpenter. Mother- works as a household maid. Originally from UP. Settled in Chennai. Both brothers study in English medium schools. Father drinks up his earnings and a good share of the mother's money. The rest hardly suffices for brothers' education and two meals a day. Domestic violence is a daily affair.

Girl 2: Keerthana (5 to 6 years of age)

father-passed away. Mother- works as a household maid. 1 brother, 1 co-brother (born of the second wife of father- this fact Keerthana is unaware of), both brothers studying in English medium schools, financial status of the family is too poor to support Keerthna's education.

Girl 3: Kalaiselvi (10-11 years of age)

differently abled by birth. Father- works at a flower shop, mother-works as a household maid. 2 brothers. One working for daily wages. Much of the meager earnings are spent for Kalai's treatment. Not much is then left for her education.

Girl 4: Sridevi (11-12 years of age)

father-passed away. Mother-out of work. one sister-discontinued studies after the 8th std and works currently. Tsunami victim.

Girl 5: Jansi (10-11 years of age)

father-works at a cycle repair shop; chain smoker. Mother-works as a household maid. No steady income for the father. Domestic violence is a routine affair. Brother in the 6th standard. Meager wages for the mother.

And there are so many more similar cases. These girls were among the few who I met at the Olcott Memorial High School. This is a free school for the poor; free in every sense of the word-right from breakfast, lunch and pure drinking water to books, uniforms and bags to a free learning environment. So efficient and loved is the school that it was termed ‘a school for the poor that the rich may envy’ by

I had recently been to the school where I spent an afternoon with some of the girls. It was such a wonderful experience! They were all too enthusiastic to talk to me; to tell me how important the school had become for them, that if it were possible they would continue to study there for the rest of their lives. If it weren't for the school, these girls would've had to probably lead uneducated childhood lives doing household work or grow up, oblivious to the existence of alcohol/drug abuse treatments and get married off to a drunkard, who would then treat them like dirt. Thanks to this school however, now, Sadhana wants to be a doctor, Keerthana- a police woman, Sridevi- a collector and Kalaiselvi, a software engineer. Education, I believe, can turn the world around.

Apart from other things that the children thought were unique to their school, there was one person whom the children held in high esteem and who, they believe, and now, so do I, is the heart and soul of the place- the headmistress of the school, Mrs.Lakshmi Suryanarayanan. Truly speaking, there are very few people like her in this world. Let me tell you why I say this, for instance, take this one case. She gave up her job in a school in Mumbai to become headmistress of Olcott School, 10 years back. She was paid Rs.25000 then. Now she is paid Rs.5000.

I have never, in my entire life, ever, seen so much dedication and love for one’s job. She was a lovely woman, quite unlike the headmistresses I’ve seen in the past, who were either too stern or too busy to meet. A charming woman, her grey hair tied in a bun, she had an aura of sophistication with an unmistakable air of affability about her. Even while I was in her office, I saw a few children who came to her with problems such as no school bag or a bullying brother. I was amazed at how she tended to all of them with such love and patience in her voice, like a mother and her child. Mind you, I’m talking not of a class teacher; but the head of the entire school!

Excited that I had gone to the school to learn about the school and meet the children, she gave me a detailed account of all the schools’ accomplishments and how far the school has come since its start in 1894. She is also a chief trainer with the Asha Foundation. A woman who has truly laid down her life for the service of the poor and needy, this terrific woman doesn’t even consider her life a sacrifice. She modestly claims that her service is no sacrifice for she has been provided with a beautiful house within the campus of the school and above all, she believes that the love of her children and the staff means much more to her than money and material wealth. There was not even a glint of artificiality in her tone when she said so. After tea at her place, she showed me, with such childlike eagerness, all the educational artifacts like puzzles, story tags, etc that ex students of her school had made for use in the school. It was endearing to see her devotion to the cause. And needless to say, very inspirational too.

This post probably does not tell you much. Honestly, I can’t tell you how happy I was to spend time with those tiny tots who have probably gone through a lot more than most of us in life. We, the lucky ones, sitting in our air conditioned offices/homes, commuting by cars, owning cell phones and laptops are unaware of the hardships faced by these tender aged blossoms. I don’t know how to put to words, the zeal and commitment that flickered in the eyes of the headmistress. I really can’t find the right way to tell you how beautiful a feeling it was to be thanked by those girls for having visited them and shared with them an anecdote and toffee or two. Perhaps, if you got the chance to do so too, you’d know too!

photo courtesy :,

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Blessing

Devipradesham is a small village in the interiors of Kerala. Almost all of Devipradesham is green - vast carpets of paddy fields, fresh fruit smelling banana plantations and of course the coconut trees. There are only a few inhabitants; almost all of them farmers, who tend to their fields. The people are simple with simple needs, unaffected by the nuclear deal or the economic growth or fall. Devipradesham is and has always been a fertile land, and that keeps the people happy. They have always had their steady source of income… come rain or sun. For them, life is always normal. The rich people of Devipradesham have sons and daughters in Mumbai and London and America. They never stay in Devipradesham anyway, apart from occasionally sometimes when they like to come for vacations or when they have some property dispute. 
It is a small place; a happy place. The people attribute to the main deity of the region- The Devipradesham Bhagawathi (the goddess of Devipradesham) or simply Bhagawathi. It is said she is a powerful goddess. When happy, She blesses in generosity and when crossed She punishes severely. Evidently, the people of Devipradesham kept Her happy and She saw to that the people were blessed in abundance of prosperity and peace.

The priest of the Bhagawathi temple is the most respected man in Devipradesham. And then there is the oracle, the Velichappadu. With a red cloth tied around the waist, sword and anklet in hand, bells jingling as he enters a frenzied hysteria of movements in an almost mad man like dance, his long hair let loose, the Velichappadu is the messenger of Bhagawathi. He tells the people when She is angry. But things have been peaceful for a long time now.

Entertainment is maybe an old Prem Nazir or MGR movie that plays once in two weeks in the old run down ‘Nanuttan Talkies’. Everyone in Devipradesham knew and liked each other. One hardly heard of any fights or brawls except for maybe when there is a huge difference of opinion during the daily rendezvous of the males of Devipradesham at the ‘Kallu/Toddy’ hut. But they never carried grudges. They were all good people and everyone knew that.
 Well, this is the case now. And has always been the case except for one time. There was one woman who the people of Devipradesham didn’t like. She had stayed on in the old tattered hut on the outskirts, far behind the temple of Bhagawathi. Mothers told their children that Lakshmi would cut off their noses if they didn’t eat their food. Lakshmi was evil; not one to mingle with.
Veena Warier was a budding psychologist. Her grandfather was from Devipradesham. Her dad had moved to the city after marriage for his job. She had only heard about Devipradesham from her grandfather but had never been to the place. She had heard of the fields and the people and the temple and its festivals. She had heard of the tales of miracles of the Goddess and the Velichappadu who slashes his forehead with the sword smearing it with his blood. A budding writer, she wanted to capture the beauty of Devipradesham in verses of her own. 
She wanted to tell the world about this peaceful simple village and its many tales. She wanted to narrate to her friends, the magnificence of the idol of the Bhagawathi. And so, one day she decided, she had to go to Devipradesham. And so she did.
It was around 7 one morning at Devipradesham. Veena was at the tea stall or ‘chaaya kada’ after her morning walk. She was staying with Unni uncle, son of one of her grandfather’s old friend. The house she stayed in wasn’t a big one but Unni uncle and his wife Janaki aunty did their best to keep her comfortable. He had asked her not to go to the tea stall because girls of her age didn’t do so but a whiff of the early morning milky tea and parippu vada had drawn her  to the place one morning and she was addicted to the place since then. 
Kanaaran, the tea stall owner told her stories about the people of Devipradesham. He was a nice man, well into his late forties. But of course, no matter how sweet he was, free tea was never an option! One such morning when Veena was savouring her milky tea treat, a lady in rags crept next to her. Veena didn’t see her at first. A low, throaty voice had startled her, ‘could you please buy me some milk?’ Before she could say anything, Kanaaran shouted at the lady away from the stall.  ‘Chi, naasham! Go away, shoo! You aren’t supposed to be here. Get lost. 
Go on now.’ She wore a fading grey cotton saree, torn in places. Her hair was a tangled mess. She seemed to have a problem standing up straight. Her hands and legs trembled and she looked very frightened of something. She stood there, looking at Veena, her eyes pleading, ‘Please could you buy me some milk? It’s for my baby daughter.’ But Kanaaran shooed her away before Veena could do anything. ‘Real pain she is’, Kanaaran said after the lady had left. ‘Don’t you talk to her, she is bad omen. Brings bad luck to everyone.’
‘But she was only asking for milk for her daughter.’
‘Oh don’t believe that. She doesn’t have a daughter. I told you, she is mad. She keeps seeing things no one else can see and keeps hearing voices no one else can hear. She’ll try to meet you again. You are new here. But steer clear of her. Cha! She spoilt my morning.’
‘What’s her name?’
‘Lakshmi. Now don’t ask me more questions. I have a lot of work.’
Veena left then. But something troubled her. She kept thinking about Lakshmi. Something about her eyes had deeply touched Veena. Her eyes had seemed so genuine. There was genuine despair; genuine love for a daughter; genuine concern. She seemed in real need for some milk. Veena found it hard to believe Kanaaran’s story. Somehow, to her, Lakshmi was not lying. Lost in her thoughts, Veena was walking slowly towards Unni uncle’s house when someone tapped on her shoulder. Shocked, Veena turned around to stare at Lakshmi’s face. She caught hold of Veena’s arm, her eyes wide, darting from left to right. ‘Please, do something… my daughter… she is crying… no food… crying…help…please’, Lakshmi blurted. Veena stumbled, frightened, she pushed Lakshmi and ran; Lakshmi’s voice still ringing in her ears.
Veena couldn’t sleep for a few days. Lakshmi’s distraught face kept giving her nightmares. She couldn’t write those beautiful descriptive poems she wanted to write about Devipradesham. She found it very strange, but something about Lakshmi struck her as odd. Maybe it was her degree in psychology urging her to look beyond what seemed apparent, to understand the person that Lakshmi was. Then again maybe, she was being overly obsessed with a lady who was indeed hallucinating.
At lunch the next day, Veena asked Janaki aunty about Lakshmi.
‘Lakshmi? Poor woman. The villagers banished her a long time back. Being an outcast can drive anyone mad.’
‘What about her daughter?’ asked Veena.
‘Daughter? She doesn’t have a daughter. Although she thinks she does. She had given birth to a dead baby. People say that drove her mad. Poor woman, she used to be such a beautiful girl, you know? Very pretty and a very nice lady too. Fate, what else can one say?’
‘What about her husband?’
‘She was never married. Nobody knows who did such a terrible thing to her.’
‘Didn’t anyone ask her? No one cared to find out?’
‘That’s all a long story Veena. There were many accusations made. It was all very messy. I remember the day she was banished. Bhagawathi had been so right! Few months after she was banished, she gave birth. And that too to a still born girl child! All bad signs. But Bhagawathi saw it all and warned us. We had to banish her, or else she would’ve ruined the entire village’s blessings.’

‘What?? Bhagawathi foresaw it? She told you?’ asked a baffled Veena.
‘Yes. Lakshmi was a devout Bhagawathi devotee. One could always see her at the temple in the morning and evening. You have seen the Velichappadu, haven’t you? One evening the Velichappadu of that time got very angry during his thullal. He predicted Bhagawathi was very angry. We were all very scared of course. That had never happened in a long time. All our wealth and happiness is Bhagawathi’s blessing after all. She sent the message through him that Lakshmi had sinned and that if she wasn’t removed from the village soon we all were to suffer. The priest immediately arranged for it all to be done. He was a very strict man. A lot of people were punished and ways set right during his time. And that Velichappadu was the best seer that Devipradesham has had. The priest and he were very close to Bhagawathi. We were all forewarned of the wrath to come because of them after all.’ ‘Amme… Devi… Mahamaaye’, Janaki aunty prayed.
Veena was amused by the superstitions of the people. She didn’t like what she heard of the priest and the Velichappadu. But the people believed so strongly in them and their Goddess! ‘Isn’t all this a bit too difficult to believe aunty?’ she risked the question.
‘You townsfolk will never understand. Devipradesham Bhagawathi is very powerful. She knows everything, sees everything. It is She who gives us in plenty so we all obey her. She talks to us through the Velichappadu so we obey him and the priest of course.’
‘And so you banished Lakshmi which is what drove her into madness.’
‘I’m not arguing with you. Lakshmi was banished because she was a sinner. Her punishment is her madness.’
But Veena had a strange intuition. She somehow wanted to prove her wrong. For some reason unknown to her, she wanted to see justice on Lakshmi’s side. What was wrong with her? Who was Lakshmi? Why did she feel so attached to her?
The next day morning she was at Kanaaran’s chaaya kada again, asking him about Lakshmi’s tale. He seemed a bit annoyed, as though he was reminded of a personal tragedy but obliged nevertheless. ‘The priest and Velichappadu then, were staunch believers. No one has known Bhagawathi the way they have.’
Veena couldn’t get much more out of him. She couldn’t believe him and neither could she completely believe in the Bhagawathi being such a visible power. Blind superstitions, she thought. She was about to leave when he said, ‘but it is queer how they died a very strange death. The priest tripped inside the temple and fell on Bhagawathi’s sword. Freak accident you might say. We found him at her feet, his head drenched in blood. And the Velichappadu died from the wounds on his forehead. That never happens. A Velichappadu always slashes his forehead with the sword in his hand. That’s the ritual.  Nothing ever happens to them but for a wound. No one knows how that could’ve happened to him. It’s as though, Bhagawathi had punished both of them for something… but that’s unlikely, they followed her every command and were very pious.’
Veena shuddered.
She got some milk from Kanaaran. She had to meet someone on her way home.
Lakshmi’s tattered hut was behind the Bhagawathi temple. Veena had an eerie feeling going to the place, crushing thick bushes and wild grass under her feet. The place looked every bit neglected. ‘Lakshmi?’ she called. ‘Lakshmi I have got milk’ and as an after thought added, ‘for your daughter’.

She heard something fall inside the hut and then Lakshmi appeared at the door, or what was once a door. She peeped outside first. Veena didn’t miss the mixed emotions on Lakshmi’s face. She looked confused first, then her eyes shot up in amazement, then there was fear in them and then tears.
‘Here, take it.’
Lakshmi hurried towards Veena, snatched the bottle from her hand and rushed back in. Veena followed.
There was nothing inside. Veena saw four or five old utensils, a few spoons and a jug. She saw a mud plate with a burnt wick and a form made of clay in front of it. What sort of mad woman worshipped God and lit lamps for idols? And then she saw a cradle. Hung from the ceiling with a pair of coir, the cradle was an old lungi tied at both ends. Lakshmi was standing in front of the cradle; Veena couldn’t see properly as she had just come in from the sun. As her sight adjusted to the dark room, Lakshmi returned the empty bottle to her and smiled. The smile looked out of place on her rugged appearance but Veena could see what Janaki aunty meant when she said Lakshmi was once a beautiful girl.
‘The baby stopped crying. Thank you’, she said.
Veena smiled. ‘Let her sleep then’. Veena didn’t know what else to say. She wondered why she came there. She felt stupid. What was she thinking? This is a mad woman! What if she just stabs her then? Or hurt her in some way? She was about to leave when Lakshmi spoke, ‘Bhagawathi Herself sent you to me’. No one has spoken to me in 23 years.’
Veena didn’t know what to say. Up close, Lakshmi hardly seemed mad. Tears welled up in her eyes.
‘You are the first one who stands so close to me. I am not mad you know. After the priest banished me, I have been called mad. But I am not. I have not sinned. He did. Why would Bhagawathi punish me for what he did? But she punished him! She took his life didn’t she?’ and she laughed; a strange mad woman like laughter. Veena was beginning to see why people avoided Lakshmi. If she wasn’t mentally deranged, solitary confinement had upset her for sure. She felt scared.
‘Are you scared child? Don’t be! You helped me. You are from Bhagawathi. I won’t hurt you! In fact, I won’t hurt anybody. I never could. But he banished me for fear that I would ruin his good name. And Bhagawathi punished him! People think I am mad because I tell them I have a daughter. But they pretend not to see my child. Wouldn’t I have gone mad if I didn’t have my baby? They told me my baby was dead when she was born. I cried so much that night! I had no one. They had banished me. My parents didn’t want me. He didn’t want me. And now my baby was dead! I cried all night. I asked Bhagawathi what I had done wrong. Did I not pray everyday? Did I not do everything to keep her happy? Did I not go to the temple everyday? I did! Did I not believe in her? I did! Was I not nice to everyone? I was! And yet she took everything away fro me… she took my baby away from me!’
Veena wanted to run away from there then. Lakshmi seemed to be talking to someone after a long time and she had a flurry of emotions coming out of her. Unable to contain her fury and her agony, her feelings that had been bottled up for over two decades came rushing out. Veena didn’t know why she came there, what strange feeling had brought her here? What queer sense of attachment had she felt for Lakshmi? Was it all just the qualms of the psychologist inside her? Or was there some power beyond her controlling her then? What rubbish! Devipradesham and its people have made me superstitious too, she thought. But then, she did feel a weird sense of belonging, didn’t she? What was it all? She tried to edge away from the place but Lakshmi caught hold of her arm.
‘No don’t leave yet! Don’t you want to see my baby?’
‘But you don’t have a baby!’ Veena shouted. ‘For god’s sake woman wake up! Your baby is dead. It always has been!’
Lakshmi stopped abruptly. Her lips quivered. Her eyes darted. Veena thought she was going to either break down or faint.
But suddenly her face hardened. She closed her eyes and spoke, ‘no. they told me it was dead. And they all left that night. I cried all night. I pleaded to Bhagawathi. What sin had I committed? And you know what happened? She told me my baby was not dead. She told me to sleep and I did. I woke up next morning to find my baby fast asleep in that cradle. They had lied to me. My baby was alive. She told me.’
Veena had had enough of this craziness. She was mad enough to come to the woman’s hut let alone listen to her tales of hallucination. She felt stupid to have come. The woman was evidently mad.
‘Ok I’m leaving’, she said.
But Lakshmi tugged at her arm, ‘please come and see my baby before you go. She had been crying for two days. You quietened her today. Please bless her before you go.’
And Veena decided to oblige. She could see herself smiling stupidly and blessing an empty cradle but she thought she might as well do this one last thing before she left Devipradesham the next morning. And as she walked towards the cradle she noticed the bulge in the cloth. She could see the dim silhouette of something inside. There was something heavy inside. The lady must’ve placed bricks in the cradle, Veena thought. And then, to her shock and horror, she saw it and she felt like she was hit by a bolt of thunder. The cradle was empty. There were no bricks; there was no baby- just an empty cradle that weighed down. She gaped, tried to speak but nothing came out. Lakshmi stood by her side, smiling, ‘isn’t she beautiful? She is Bhagawathi’s blessing; her miracle.’
Indeed thought Veena, as she stood there unable to comprehend the situation.   There was something in the cradle that apparently only Lakshmi could see. Was she turning superstitious? Was she hallucinating now? No, she knew she wasn’t. Then? What was the possible explanation?
‘If it weren’t for my baby, I would’ve gone mad, I would’ve died. So Bhagawathi sent her to me’, said Lakshmi.
Had She? Had She indeed punished the priest and the Velichappadu? Had She indeed blessed Lakshmi with the sole purpose of her being? Then why couldn’t anyone else see it?  And what was Veena to do with all this?
‘Wha… what's her name?’ asked Veena in a barely audible croak.
Lakshmi looked at her and smiled, 'Veena'.

photo courtesy: challiyan, jk10976,self

Friday, September 12, 2008

Onam Ponnonam!!

yessss!!! it's that time of the year again :)

new dress, colourful pookkalam, sumptuous sadya (feast) with around 7 to 8 side dishes and 2 payasams, quality time with family, and of late of course, endless programs on the TV... I LOVE ONAM!!!! And I'm so proud of being a Malayali :D
I've uploaded three pookkalams that i had made with my mom and aunt... do tell me if you think thy're nice :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Agnostic, Are We To Be?

Where are you? We ask; has the time gone
for you to undo what has gone wrong?
Good times, blessed ways, those days no more exist;
why did you pay no heed to our calls for a tryst?
Where were you when time was not right?
When the sound of your name made people fight.
Pleas it went up in smoke and as water
Our belief in you, not once did it falter.
Prayers we made to call upon you.
Attempts were plenty, results why few?
Why did you turn a deaf ear, a blind eye?
Was enough not said; not enough did we try?
Where were you when children cried?
When our faith was being tested and tried?
Why did you let evil reign supreme
in a world with people who did believe
in you and your prowess and your deeds
of love and miracle? Why weren’t we freed
from the deplorable darkness of their sins?
Now buried deep down, our faith, it shins.
Unanswered our questions, uncertain our creed;
Unwilling we bend to their unreasonable need.
Unfathomed our trust, unearthed our fears;
Unhappy us in our worlds ugly contours.
We waited to hear your voice for days,
But your silence it loomed and so it remains.
Are we to stop hoping for the good?
Are we to stop believing in you?
Are we to accept the evil of the times?
Are we to succumb to the gross of crimes?
Or is there a day that you’ll come for us
believers amidst the cruel, dirt and dust?
Is there a day as our forefathers dreamed?
At your hands will our fates be redeemed?
Will there be a day when our words shall be stowed
away, for a new sun rise, with our faith in you, restored?

photo courtesy: nick catling, jkburtram

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Trip To Remember

Hello there everyone :) finally! Done with all pending tags! I had gone to Kerala last week for a marriage… yeah, Kerala is an amazingly beautiful place with amazingly beautiful people (hint hint ;) ). But my post is not about the beauty of Kerala, I’ll prolly come up with that later (btw, apologies to all those people who think prolly is wannabe. I use it cuz I think its easier to pronounce than its root word). I had gone to Kerala by train this time, don’t you just love train journeys? I’d say especially if it’s the Konkan rails. Seriously, you’re missing out on a lot if you’re amongst the ‘frequent flyer’ category.
So anyway, let me get to the point, this time the train journey was quite uneventful; just me, my iPod and a book. But I was reminded of this train journey from 4 years back when I was traveling from Mumbai to Coimbatore for the TNPCEE exam (ugh! Those terrible terrible days!) It was quite an amusing experience. I met a few people who were so typical in their mannerisms yet struck me as oddballs :P anyway, I can’t reproduce verbatim, the conversations etc, but I’ll try to give you an account of all that I remember.

Yeah so well it was sometime in April 2004. I remember it was one of the first train journeys with which I was extremely satisfied. A/C coach, nice new broad switches, all lights in working condition, clean white sheets, spic and span coach- all in all pretty neat! I had thought the place was fine for me to go about my last minute revision. Or so I thought. When my father and I boarded the train, there was this lady already occupying the berth opposite to ours. She looked the pucca tam-brahm kinds and had a nice friendly face (trap #1). No sooner had we locked our luggage in place and settled down did she start her rapid fire session (hello… father daughter eh? Where are you going? Enge poreenga? Mother didn’t come? Whyyyy?? Blah blah blah) courtesy sakes, my dad answered and asked her where she was heading to. Bus! Shuroo ho gayi... “Oh I’m going to Bangalore”. You’d think she’d stop with that but oh no she goes on, “it’s my daughter’s house warming ceremony you see. She’s working with so and so. Her husband is working with so and so. Nice boy. Romba nalla payyan. My son is not coming though. He’s in Hyderabad working for so and so. He gets a very good pay there. Used to be good at studies and blah blah blah blah blah…..” GAWD!!! And I always thought I was talkative! More than half of what I’d say in a day was covered by her in 15 minutes and the train had not even started to move!
There were still 5 minutes left for the train to leave when another lady barged in with her mother (or mother in law). I thought now that all berths were occupied and the place looked full lady1 would quieten a little, but boy was I in for a treat! Lady 2 turned out to be a Marathi- nice looking, sweet face, et al(trap #2) but when it came to the gift of the gab- she could beat lady1!
Now lady2 settles down and starts off with her story of her whereabouts. “I’m settled in Bangalore. I have a daughter. She has gone to America. Nice place it seems…’ at this lady1 interrupts (in an all too audible voice) “my daughter has also been to America” and ignoring lady 2’s slightly offended face continued, “she works with so and so you know, so she has to keep traveling abroad all the time. She finds it so difficult…’ and so it went on and on and on until both our ladies managed (or not) to convince the other that their daughter was superior to the counterpart. Lady2 then turned to dad, “so where are you going sir?’ before my dad could say anything lady1 spoke up, ‘Divya and uncle here are going to Coimbatore for her exam’. My dad looked at me, stunned, “UNCLE???!!’ he mouthed. I tried my best not to laugh and choked on my biscuit instead. Aunty ji 1 was evidently at least 5 years elder to dad. Poor him! Oh well! Their conversation didn’t seem to be getting over anytime soon then so dad finally asked if we could all sleep. Lady2’s mom seemed to be eager to… poor lady knew only Marathi so couldn’t join in the conversations (thank god!).
Next day subah utkar socha ki bhai kuch studies ho jaye… aakhir exam likhne ja rahi hoon, koi pinic manane nahi. But studies seemed out of scope. After tea, I was trying to squeeze some chemistry into my head when lady 2 asked me, ‘you stay in Colaba, nai?’ ‘yes’, I obliged and returned to reading my big fat chemistry book. Any sensible person would take the hint and shut up but sensible people are such a rarity!
Lady 2 – I used to live there. Do they still have strand cinema?
Me- err…
Lady 2 – aapko strand cinema nai pata? Oohhhh you have regal and movie time no?
Me- well... no… err…
Lady 2 - We used to stay behind a tall building in 3 pasta lane. The building’s name was …. Is it still there?
Me- err…
Lady2- nahi hoga, after all it was 37 years back (!!!!).
I didn’t know what to say to that. I was tired of starting and ending sentences in err... so I chose to remain silent. Tab tak lunch aa gaya so escape!
Lunch was quite ok. I mean, it was the Indian railways lunch so standards are pretty low but still, it was decent. Hmmm… or so I thought.
‘Cheeee' - lady1. ‘what rubbish is this? Rice is not hot, sambhar is just dal and salt, sabji has no salt. Is this jail food?? How are you eating it? We need to lodge a complaint. This is atrocious. Kadavule, after all they take so much money!’ and as always… ‘blah blah blah’.
My dad looked like he had had enough of the whole journey and would’ve loved to get off at the next station.
And so the train crawled on and on and so did the cascade of ever replenishing topics. Although the two ladies now seemed to be getting along better, so they kept to themselves most of the time apart from occasionally asking our views on some topic (but their alarmingly loud voices were hard to ignore)
One conversation that I remember:
Lady2 (to lady1)– Nice bangle. Were did you buy it from?
Lady1- It’s pure gold. Bought it from this shop in Matunga.
Lady2 (with that unmistakable smirk in her tone) - pure gold? But stones don’t stay on pure gold.
Lady1- yes yes… little bit of copper is there. But otherwise pure gold. And these are real rubies.
Lady2- ohhh.. must be expensive.
Lady1- of course. Very expensive. But we south Indians love gold. Uncle here is a Malayalee. He knows.
On being addressed as ‘uncle’ again, I could see his ears redden but he obliged with a smile.
And then several hours later, it was night and along came Bangalore (phew!!). Nearly everyone got off there. Our lovely ladies wished me all the best.
(lady2 – hope we didn’t disturb you much.)
(lady1- study well. You’ll also go abroad like my daughter)
(lady2- yes, to America like my daughter)
(me- (sigh) yes. thank you aunty!)
And with a final good bye (and all the best uncle! :P) they left. For once, I appreciated the peace and quiet around me.
Dad turned to me and said – “very silenntt nooooo?” (in that Tamil drawl)

But then all said and done, those ladies were sweet. Made our journey a little too noisy but interesting all the same!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

When I become Nature

I've been tagged yet again by Vinay! This one is very creative and something I loved writing. Thank you Vinay; with every tag I'm glad I met you on blogger.

The tag requires me to write a poetry/short prose on what sort of a day I would want to be. I'd say I would want to be a bright spring day in its prime; in all its glory, beauty and 
In fact, I would love to be a beautiful spring day, enlivening the tranquil terrain of a lovely hill station, where the weather is almost always pleasant- where a plethora of flowers bloom, their colours as though carelessly splashed across the green of the landscape. 
I would want to be the rising spring day sun; its early red rays cracking through the black sky like a volcano ready to burst and then slowly turning to golden streaks, bejeweling the darkness. With a warm glow, I’d smile over the mist-clad mystique-mountains; where clouds envelope the lush green mountain tops reminding people of whipped cream on pista ice cream with me, the red sun, like a cherry on top!!
And then I’d slowly fade into the night, enrobing myself in the surreal darkness. Then I’d become the pitch black night sky, embedded with countless twinkling stars and the mysteriously glowing moon; my reflection floating merrily on the sea waves going from places to places, engulfing everything that it comes across- happy or sad, good or bad. While all along, people would look at me and feel the bliss of the blessing that nature is- all through me.
Yep, that would be lovely indeed!
And now i tag:

photo courtesy: sarastra 

Thank you!!!

Yay! Blogging friends forever award came knocking at my blog :) Thank you Vinay :) am honoured!

Here are the rules for the Blogging Friends Forever Award:
1. The winner may put the logo on his/her blog.2. Put a link to the person you received the award from.
3. Nominate 5 blogs.
4. Put links to the blogs.
5. Leave a message for your nominees.


and now i nominte these people who i've met through the blogger... thank you for your support and encouragement too folks :)

Arvind : my first regular blog reader and now a good friend :)
Scribblers inc : his is one of the best blogs i've come across... a simply fabulous writer
River soul : one of my first blog readers who has always commented on my posts and helped me                               improve
Rajesh :  as i introspect, he is a good blogger friend who keeps his word especially when it                                   comes to duly taking up tags :)
Bhai with Chai : apan ka bindaas blogger dost!