Sunday, December 23, 2012

Back from Vacation

Just back after a month long vacation at Chennai...

Did not expect to be away from my blog but was so super dooper busy that leave alone the blog, I could go nowhere near the internet itself...

It began with my cousin;s wedding and what followed was a fun filled but really hectic schedule....And to my dismay, the internet connection and the computer at home there decided to give trouble and that explains my total disappearance for the past four weeks....I got a chance to peek neither into my own blog nor those that I follow...

I should have put in a line before heading off but I really did not expect such a disconnect!

And I ended up missing the 3rd edition of Indifiction Workshop! :( Despite getting an extension!

Hmm...Now back home and hope am able to get back in full swing soon,....

Friday, November 16, 2012

Flash Fiction(100) - Subdued

His piercing gaze sent a horrifying shiver down her spine. She realized what a grave mistake she had done of venturing alone to the isolated place.  Taking two steps backwards, she turned around and started to flee. In a flash, she felt his burly arms on her back.  Before she could react she was pushed to the ground, and he landed on top of her.  Her screams that pierced through the silence of the surroundings, transformed into whimpers and slowly died as he subdued her under his brutal force.The vultures devoured the zebra carcass after the tiger was done.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sweet and Smoky Memories

Here comes Diwali or Deepavali as we call it down south!
In Singapore thanks to the huge populace of Indian origin, Deepavali is one of the well recognized festivals. It is a public holiday and everywhere one can find banners wishing all Hindu residents a fantabulous Deepavali. Numerous fairs get organized where sweets, savouries and clothes are sold.  So in a way, we don’t miss home that badly during the festival.
I have fond memories of the Deepavalis of my childhood. For women like my mother , it used to be the best occasion to try their hand at various delicacies. There would be two categories of eatables made. One at which they were adept, and there was a very meagre chance of any goof ups. Then there were the first time experiments which would enter the ‘for-distribution-to-friends-and-neighbors’ category depending upon the outcome.  And Boy! A variety of delicacies would be made at home. Half of the telephone lines in the city would be buzzing with dialogues like ‘Oh you made 7-cup-cake? I made laddoo this time.What exactly is the proportion needed for that one?’ etc.  Unlike today when they have been replaced with ‘Hello, Grand Snacks? Please pack three kg of ladoos distributed in 5 boxes!’
I remember I once caught Conjunctivitis (‘Madras’ eye) at school and happily passed it on to my mom just before Deepavali. Determined lady that she is, despite the sore eyes, she completed the mission at hand -  making three big dappas(tins) of murukku(a savoury)  and two three varities of sweets. I remember that time I did not know the word ‘sore’. I thought its called ‘soaries’ a new disease!
Another inseparable component of Diwali – well, do I have to say it? Firecrackers of course!
As a kid when I was in Kerala, ours was the only home that celebrated Deepavali in a totally Mallu neighbourhood. We used to gain the wrath of all our neighbors bursting 100 and 200 walas, in the wee hours of morning. God knows how many curses they would have directed at us for interrupting their early morning dreams!
I remember one occasion when the shopkeeper sold us a latest firecracker called ‘Super atom bomb’. It was almost the size of a cricket ball. My older cousin was about to light it and I got so scared, I went and hid somewhere along with the dogs and cats. It was a super blooper! It peeled itself slowly like an onion and finally when it was the size of a sticker bindi emitted a tiny ‘plop’ and died.  

There was one Diwali which I will never forget. My family and I were standing outside and lighting the flower pots and chakras along with our neighbors. After some time, some smell seemed to come from inside the house that hit our nostrils strongly despite the chemical odours that floated in the smoky air. My dad went in to check out and came rushing out , with blood red eyes, gasping for air , suffocated and almost choking. My mother had left the kadai with the oil on the stove after making the snacks. There are long agarbathis(incense sticks) that the firecracker shops sell. These are used for lighting the crackers that burst a.k.a the lakshmis, hydrogen, bijili etc. My little brother who had gone inside to light that one, had turned on the stove to do so. Happily forgetting to turn it off, he had walked out in glee. The oil had become hot, extremely hot, smoky and had finally caught fire. The kitchen was a small one with limited ventilation and there was little escape for all that smoke. I still clearly remember the way my dad looked after inhaling that. Bloodshot eyes and deep gasps for breath - Almost like an asthmatic attack!
I am sure all of you would have some memory or the other…Do share them in the comments section  !
And yeah, Wish you all a Happy Diwali. J

Monday, October 29, 2012

Yummy - Indifiction Workshop Edition 2

Indifiction Workshop is a story writing workshop for bloggers interested in fiction. This was initiated by 'The Fool' who blogs at and C.Suresh who blogs at

Detailed plot will be given. Everyone has to tell the story using their own narrative style. Different narrative styles will be evaluated by fellow participants and judges.

The plot for the first exercise as part of the same was authored by Sandeep Nair who blogs at Link to the plot:

My version of the plot:

Story Title: Yummy


The cacophony of voices spewing filth and abuse, blended with the clanking sounds of mugs and plates, permeate the entire expanse of the dining area. Loud thuds from overturning tables and falling men rise from a corner. Perhaps a brawl is brewing up again.

Sounds! Extremely loud sounds!

They reach my ears and transform almost instantaneously into nothingness. Some nerves have become totally impermeable now.

A spoon of the tasteless gravy reaches my numb taste buds, and a drop spills on my lap. I watch the red oil spreading slowly, causing a stain on my orange robe.

Orange! Sheryl’s favourite colour! A cringe forms on my face as a memory of the warmth I used to feel in her arms enfolds me. Ironically she was in her favourite orange flowered frock when I had found her that night at the street corner. The stain reminds me of her bleeding stab wounds and the way she had clung to me, fighting as best as she could to delay the closing of her eyelids .Perhaps she knew they would never open again.

The uniform had been given to me on my first day here at the Arlington State Penitentiary. Now, I have thinned down to almost half its size and it is clinging on loosely to my frail body. I am sitting alone on the dark green wooden bench that feels cold. As usual there is no one by my side. They are ruthless convicts. Yet, they are terrified of some things in life. Like AIDS.

Continue reading at

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Best Things In Life?

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

‘The Best Thing In Life Is’ is supposed to be the starting line of this post. As I sat in front of my pc pondering over this line, little bubbles popped out of my memory and floated all around.
My first day at my college! The day I stepped into engineering and the first day of my stay at a hostel away from home; Almost 2000 miles away from home. I was brimming with excitement and could hardly stand on the ground. My parents were about to start back after leaving me. As he stepped into the car, my father popped his Ray Bans on. I knew he was holding back tears. I had always been his little princess and it was extremely difficult for him to let go; to allow me to venture out on my own into the wilderness. But he knew that I had to find my way, he could not keep holding my hands. After an almost imperceptible ‘Take Care’ he got into the car and sped off.
A few weeks after my wedding, my husband and I visited my parents. I was wearing a new saree and matching jewellery and had decked up with care. I think I was depicting an exuberance of happiness. The moment my mother she saw me, she gave me a tight hug and tears welled up in her eyes but her lips were smiling; an overall expression of contentment and peace; a satisfaction of having made the right choice for me. Wherever I am, whatever I may be doing I know that a fraction of her heart beats purely for my well-being.
The day my C Section happened, my husband witnessed the whole surgery. A few hours later when he held my hand in the hospital room, there were very little words exchanged but his eyes were speaking a thousand words.
There are mornings when I wake up to see my little toddler lying down next to me in bed and wide awake. He would wrap his little hands around my neck and drag me close in a tight embrace and we would spend a few moments cuddled up together. He would land a peck on my cheek before proceeding to run off and start his day. Motherhood offers a new moment of bliss everyday.
There have been some extremely confusing and stressful moments when a few words of support from my brother have given me a renewed energy, a whole new faith and the feeling of a rejuvenated spirit.
When I was in my parents place during the last trimester of pregnancy, some of my closest friends kept aside all their schedules to visit me and spend a day with me. Just to cheer me up and make me feel loved. And blessed! A whole day we spent doing nothing but chatting, gossiping, laughing and feeling one. We are a close knit group of friends in different corners of the globe. Yet whenever we meet there is a feeling of jubilation. There is a bond we share that is unique and special and lifelong.
Life goes on due to relationships and love. It keeps us alive and keeps us going.
The love need not be necessarily from family or friends. Strangers with unknown faces can also bond with us. When my father was in the hospital for his heart ailment, there was a nurse who showered as much love on him as she would on her own father. Every day she would come to him, hold his face in her hands with an abundance of affection and wish him a speedy recovery.
Also, it need not be just from humans. The dog that rushes back to us when we get back home from work wagging its tail fervently and leaping on us to lick our faces speaks a million words of love.
Every step in life that we take opens up thousands of avenues for new relationships emitting tons and tons of love.
There are definitely a lot of unpleasant things on earth. But alongside there is a whole lot of love and warmth brightening up our days and making us feel good. We just need to open our hearts and be ready to receive all of it! From all directions!
Hence the Best Things in Life are the bonds and relationships we have and the love we share. They make life definitely worth living!

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Happy Learning

It has been a really crazy week. Navratri guests and  visits topped with V's viral infection and very high fever I have had absolutely no time to step into my blog or those that I follow. ( Just noticed that Blogger wants to change the Navratri to Navratilova!)

Its Vijayadhasami today.An auspicious day to start learning new things. After worshiping books and all other educational paraphernalia on Saraswati Pooja day, its time to rekindle ones quest for knowledge.

In some homes, we have yawning and sleepy eyed kids reading a few lines from the books they had stacked up for the previous day's pooja after a lot of pushing and prodding from the elders.
Parents rush to enrol their wards in one of the numerous classes they had in mind. Dance, music, swimming, and karate perhaps?

And bloggers? Well, I suppose one should write a new post! And so here I am, trying to type out a few words and as it must be evident from what came earlier, my gray cells have refused to abide by the rules of the day and have remained really tight lipped!

In some communities of TamilNadu 'Golu', an exhibit of clay dolls, is a significant component of Navratri celebrations.
The Golu usually consists of an odd number of steps covered with white cloth (usually dhotis) and the dolls are arranged on these steps.
There are those who do it purely because its customary . There are others who are really passionate about it and spend money, time, effort and energy to make it really creative. Theme based ones are becoming quite popular now. Sometimes people spread some mud at the base of the golu and sprinkle some seeds that would sprout into small saplings - resulting in a miniature park or forest.
Selected market areas are abuzz with doll makers trying to outbeat one another in selling their ware to Golu enthusiasts.

Women invite each other to visit their homes. Sundal (a snack made of lentils/beans) is made every evening as an offering to the Golu and this is distributed to the visitors. Simple , easy and ideal for large groups!

These practices made a whole lot of sense in earlier times when the women were confined to their homes.

  1. It was a perfect chance for the ladies to socialize and visit other homes
  2. It provided great opportunity for tapping and expressing their creative abilities
  3. Its a practice for the visiting women to sing some songs, thus enabling fun and merry making. 

Above all, its a lot of fun if done with interest and enthusiasm.

The visitors are given thamboolam comprising of betel leaves, betel nuts, turmeric and some nice gift. Who does not like receiving gifts? Its like a ten day birthday celebration.

 Having a Golu when you are not in the country is a little difficult mainly because we do not have doll sellers here unlike in India. Yet, its not impossible especially in a country like Singapore where there is a huge Indian population.

We had a small Golu at home that kind of represented the entire South East Asian region. We had a few mythological dolls that we got at an Indian store. The rest were a combination of dolls from Thailand, Vietnam and Chinese/Japanese art stores.

Happy Vijayadhasami to all.

My wishes that you and your families be blessed with the light of learning and excellence in all art forms that you desire.

Phew! Done with the post! I told you, my brain seems to be in a coma!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

A small reason; A small celebration

It was in Class VII that I first got a glimpse of what a lot of people were talking about suddenly at that time - Computers!
For the whole of the school, two computers were installed and a couple of teachers were appointed to teach the students about what amazing things those machines could do.
When I changed to a new school after that, there were more detailed computer lessons there. DBase III Plus if I am not wrong. All my years of schooling, computer education dealt mainly with writing programs in BASIC. The OS had to be loaded first using a CD every time one booted the machine. It was a bit difficult to fathom why one had to write so many damn lines of code to calculate the area of a square or the fibonacci series. It seemed to be a much easier task done manually at least. And for the sake of the public exams we had to remember who invented this and who invented that. There was one I tried to remember by relating his name to my favourite vegetable. Now who was that? Oh yeah, Charles Babbage !
What we all liked best about the course, was that those were the only laboratories that had Air Conditioning. That was fun!
Oh Dear! With all that I guess I am sounding like a person of a bygone era....Oops! No, this was just about 15 years ago.
I entered Engineering and started getting a fair idea of how advanced computer technology had progressed.
And the best part was - I had my own email id.
My naivete was in full display when I asked a fellow student whether it costed more to email people outside India. After all, was it not like STD and ISD?
Slowly I got introduced to the internet and its wonders. Email, Google, Chat, etc etc.
Out of engineering, my job was with a software company. Design, Coding, Testing, Debugging - on and on and on - computers and I were bonded for life.
Being a SAHM after the delivery of my son, I needed means to while away hours and hours of time that I had. My grey cells had begun gnawing at the inside of my skull for want of activity. My darling computer and the best invention of the century , the world wide web came to my rescue like Spiderman. My first blog was the result of that. Initially I was blogging at a women's online social networking site called IndusLadies and then I moved on to blogger.
As I have mentioned in my introduction, I started it for fun and then it became a passion and now its a part of me; an integral part of me!
The joy and satisfaction in publishing a post and the thrill that every comment received provides is something incredible and incomparable.
The best part is I have now got a lot of friends, some really wonderful friends - all virtual but bound by something unique that only bloggers will understand.
Glad to be a part of this network.
Now why am i saying all this and getting so soap-opera-ish?
Well, this is my 100th post ! Hip Hip Hurrah!!!!
Coincidentally for the first time, the number of comments on a post of mine reached 100!!! (Those includes my own replies to the comments of course, but when there is a reason to celebrate, too much justification is unwarranted!

So here I go again - Hip Hip Hurrah!!!!

I extend a huge THANK YOU to every one of you who has extended your lovely support and warmth irrespective of whether the post deserved it or not. Without readers a blog is nothing. Thanks a ton!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles

Sunday, October 7, 2012


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 32; the thirty-second edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is 'An Untold Story'

I don’t have an exact recollection of the weather that night.
I think it was warm and sultry. May be accompanied by a light drizzle? I am not too sure.
My father and I were on our way back home after visiting some relatives. He was driving and I was in the passenger seat in front.
After cruising his way through the hustle and bustle of Eldam’s Road in Chennai, he brought the car to a halt behind a long queue of Hondas and Fords and Hyundais waiting for the signal to turn red.
We were indulged in a serious discussion. Again my memory fails me with respect to the topic. Most likely it should have been the traffic conditions, probably the most discussed topic in all the junctions of the city.
Hearing a loud rap on the window I turned. The sight that met my eye has remained indelibly etched in my memory for many years until now. It was a beggar woman, her appearance quintessential; Shabby, dishevelled and clothed in an eclectic mix of rags.  She must have been in her twenties.
She held something close to the glass of the window. When I realized what it was, my heart skipped a beat.
An infant; definitely less than four or five days old!
The foetal fatigue had not worn out completely and her eyes were still closed. They had not begun to take in the horrifying truths of her world.
For now, her only requirement was milk which the mother seemed to be providing. Totally oblivious to the squalor into which she had born, she was sleeping like any other baby. Peacefully.
The signal turned green and we had to move on.

That weekend I went to the Marina beach with my cousins.
Chennai’s beaches are very unique. You get to see a lot of children. Some rolling on the sand throwing huge tantrums; they want their fathers buy the pink-colored sugar candy or the cone of ice-cream. Some holding their parents hands tightly and screaming delightfully as the waves rushed in to kiss their tender feet. Some laughing loudly in mirth as the carousel moved fast, round and round. Some trying to smile despite their fear they felt, as the horses galloped along the shore, carrying them on their backs.

Some earning their bread; or their family’s!
Children selling sundal (a snack made out of boiled chickpeas or groundnuts) or assisting their parents in the chat stalls by acting as waiters are a common sight.
Of late, a newer breed has developed. Those selling cotton buds – the ones used to clean ears. Cotton wrapped around two ends of colorful plastic sticks are neatly placed into zip-lock covers and sold. They sometimes also have safety pin bunches or hairpins.
As my cousins and I sat on the sand chitchatting one group of kids came towards us, each of them holding a plastic tray full of such zip-lock covers.
To the “public” at the beach, these kids are just another menace disturbing their peace while they are trying to have a good family time.
One after the other they kept coming to us asking us to buy the buds.  They would thrust the trays in front of our faces and keep uttering “Its only three for five rupees Akka(sister)”
Among the children, most of the  ten or eleven years of age, was a tiny child who left me flabbergasted and frustrated. She should not have been more than three. With her small stature she was carrying her green plastic tray with some difficulty. Her walking had not steadied yet. She was still transitioning from baby steps to proper walking.
I don’t even know if she had any idea of the concept of money or of buying and selling. She was probably just imitating the act of her older brothers and sisters. Her eyes screamed of pristine innocence.
It was an extremely heart wrenching sight.

What I have quoted here are just two examples.
Every few steps we take would give us many such glimpses into the harsh cruelties and sinister realities of our world. Each one of them would have an untold story to share, the details of which I dare not pursue.
Scenes that can leave us sleepless for nights and hence we tend to avoid; or push to some corner in the mind where it would remain buried under other personal priorities leaving no space for them to surface and prick at our hearts.
One important change required in society is the development of some empathy towards such unfortunate children. Society should STOP looking at them as something undesirable existing in the surroundings analogous to pollution and noise.
Every child born on earth deserves good food, nutrition and education. There are many organizations working towards it. As citizens of the country, it’s everyone’s responsibility to join hands and assist in providing these children with better lives.
HELP! Whenever you can, however you can! It could be money, it could be volunteering, it could be clothes, books anything!

And whenever possible give them something that would cost you nothing. A little warmth and a big smile! 

It was warm!
Very very warm;
After nine long months in my cocoon,
I was suddenly pushed out into the cold;
Cruel Wicked Cold!
My hands, my legs, and my face – Are still tiny;
Laughter, Play and Glee!
I need these too.
For I too, 
Have only one childhood!

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Introduced By: C.Suresh, Participation Count: 5

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The family, The share

The bus stop was quite empty save the blind beggar who sat in a corner, requesting passersby to increment their own good karma by offering him some alms.

Bus No 110G turned right at the signal and stopped with a screeching noise.

Murugan alighted. His shirt was nearing its eighth anniversary and had now evolved into a permanent dull brown from its initial white. The worn out rubber sandals offered as much support as they could to his tired feet.

As he started walking, the bus sped off , fulfilling its role in maintaining the impurity levels in the air and leaving him in a puff of smoke.

He walked in a slow gait, his forlorn face fixed on the ground below.

As he neared the slum, the voices of his boys made him look up. They were fully engrossed in a game of marble with the other kids. Muthu, ten and older of the two was about to strike and was fully concentrating on his fingers while the younger Kumar, eight , cheered on.

Murugan got reminded of his marble ventures as a kid. He managed to give himself a slight smile despite the heaviness in his heart.

When he entered their hut, Kanaga was folding the children's clothes and piling them neatly in a bamboo basket meant for storing them.

One look at his face was all she needed. She understood. The building contractor had not given him any work today as well. Murugan was a construction worker. The past month had been really tough. Sudden increase in prices of cement and concrete had made the builders stall the work for some time.

Murugan lay on the rope cot and covered his eyes with the back of his arm. He was exhausted . Within minutes, sleep overcame his troubled mind and he drifted into a deep slumber.

Kanaga opened the rice drum. Lighting the stove, she proceeded to boil all that was left of the rice.

The boys were sent to the government school partly for education and partly for the wholesome noon-meal program. These days, they were also giving them an egg per day. That was two meals down from their expense list.

When Murugan woke up, it was very late in the night. He saw the boys curled up their usual places in a corner of the hut. Little Kumar had his legs on Muthu's which the latter kept trying to push away .

"Go wash your hands.Lets eat" Kanaga said seeing that he was awake.

When he sat down to eat , he saw the quantity of the rice in the bowl. In good times it would not be enough for even one of them.

He let out a sigh and sat down crossing his legs.

"Has Mani eaten?" he asked.

Kanaga smiled and said "When has he eaten before you?"

She served one portion for him, and one for herself.

Then she placed a handful of rice on the floor.

"Mani! Mani" both of them called in unison.

A brown colored dog came running from outside the hut and came and stood near Murugan, its tail wagging fervently. He let out a small 'Woof' and looked at him with soulful eyes.

There was a small cut behind his ears and it was slightly bleeding. Murugan chided "Have you been fighting with that white dog again?"

The family  began eating in silence.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Deception in Hierarchy

Indifiction Workshop is a story writing workshop for bloggers interested in fiction. This was initiated by 'The Fool' who blogs at and C.Suresh who blogs at

Detailed plot will be given. Everyone has to tell the story using their own narrative style. Different narrative styles will be evaluated by fellow participants and judges.

The plot for the first exercise as part of the same was authored by TF. Link to the plot:

My version of the plot...

“Ma, I‘ve had a really long day. Don’t get started with eating my head about this whole marriage business, please!” Meghna almost barked on the phone.
“I don’t care what that astrologer says” she continued. “Have to go now. Will call you tomorrow okay. Love you.”
She hung up and looked at the clock on the wall. It was 9.50 pm. The grumbling in her stomach reminded her that she had not had anything since her evening coffee. In another ten minutes, she had to join a teleconference with her team to review the slides for the presentation scheduled for the next day.
She quickly stuffed the chapathis on the table into her mouth simultaneously opening the ppt file on her laptop and logged into the call.
As she was getting connected, Meghna got reminded of her mock presentations at IIM Ahmedabad ten years earlier. “What an amateur set of presentations we used to come up with!” she mused and smiled to herself.
The call started and Meghna assumed a strictly business-like demeanour. She had put in more than fourteen hours since morning. Yet, her concentration and attention to detail were impeccable. This kind of diligence in her work combined with her die-hard passion towards her career had catapulted her to her current position as Vice President, HR at F&T Pte Ltd, an FMCG company and she directly reported to the CEO.
The call lasted for an hour and Meghna’s eyes were a little droopy by then. She stood up, stretched her limbs and got a glass of cranberry juice from the refrigerator. She sat on her bed, and lowered the AC temperature with the remote. She placed her pc on her lap and turned on her bedside lamp after switching off all other lights.
It was time to become Eleanor! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A conversation and dumbfounded!

During conversations you sometimes get a little stuck.

There are moments when the response of the person you are talking to leaves you a little dumbfounded and your mouth remains open for a brief second. Then you end up closing it after a couple of futile attempts to bring out your voice.

This can sometimes happen when you are in the company of some souls who have been on this planet for less than three or four years, the first of which was predominantly spent in the comfort of their cradles.

Today I went down to the play area in my apartment with my little fellow.

There were a few 3 to 4 year old kids playing and I tried engaging them all in some fun activity together.

All of them screamed out the answers to my questions with a lot of vigor and enthusiasm.

I did not remember that the New moon had gotten over just a day ago.

'Where is the moon?' I asked. They looked up at the sky and told me

'Its no more!'  Okay!! May it rest in peace!

'K for?' and I heard 'King, Kite, Kangaroo' in chorus and in between I heard  'Elkkkkkkk' . Elk is a kind of deer that comes in some of the story books these fellows are exposed to.

'E for?' and I heard 'Elephant' . This time they were all in agreement .

'Is the elephant a big or a small animal?' I queried.

All of them screamed 'Big' with their hands spread wide except one little fellow dressed in a cute yellow TShirt.

'Is the elephant small?' I asked rolling my eyes.

Pat came the reply, 'Its a baby elephant' and he ran off to pick his toy! That makes sense doesn't it?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A No Is A No is a No! - Really?

I just received an email in my inbox from one of the blogs that I follow and it was a contest entry for Indiblogger.

I thought that contest was past the deadline. Have they extended it?

I quickly jumped to the contest page on Indi and realized that the last date was 14th and not 11th as I had thought.

I am not submitting any entry for that contest, I had resolved.

“It was my love for writing and the passion to create magic out of my words that brought me to blogging”. Hmm, if someday someone prods a mike into my face and interviews me on television I might say that he he he…For now, let me be honest! it was boredom that brought me into blogging. I started to blog purely to while away time. Slowly I started enjoying writing and also connecting with people through the blog. It was fun.

When there is no contest involved there is a route my posts take. Something I see or hear or do sparks an idea, and a villainous glow forms on my face, ‘Wow! That’s a new way to torture some more souls ha ha ha‘and I set to write.  

Then there are these contest posts. You see the topic and think ‘Hmm, I can write a post on that!’ and then you kick, prod and beg your intellect to get out of its deep meditative hibernating state and get the creative water, juices or whatever its made of , moving if not flowing. And you eat ladies finger because your grandmother said that it helps!

And it does not end there.

Okay, Post written, Submission Done.

When are they closing this competition?

Ok, now the contest is closed for entry. When are they revealing the results?

There are ones where you know the date of the results. So you try to pretend to your own self that you are nonchalant about the outcome, but the fact is you are not.

‘I just participated for fun. Participating is important’

 ‘Hey results out, and no, that’s not my name there. ‘ Sigh!

‘Oh yeah! There is this other one. That one I definitely stand a chance!’

And it goes on and on and on.

There are the ones on Indiblogger where nobody knows when the results would be announced

I have never won anything on Indi so far and so I do not know how the winners will be intimated. Mail? Indimail? Post? Pigeon?

Everyday one goes and checks the contest page; Then Indimail; Then email;

And of late I stick to checking the forum coz I feel that if the results are out, the concerned topic on the forum would be suddenly super active.

And its not just that, most of the posts you read are also topic specific. Of late I have been dreaming a lot about Dove and Love marriages and Melbourne of course. I mean literally. I go to sleep and these blog posts appear in my head dancing and spinning.

So this time, I decided. Soak No More Jaish. Its enough. These contests have started engulfing you. No ! No ! No! Get out of this cycle! And this newly made decision starts bubbling inside my head like the molecules in the Surf packet.

And I close my eyes. And then I slightly open one of them and peep into the contest page open for quite some time on my Internet Explorer. ‘Hmm, I am not going to participate. I have decided and that’s it. Now what were the prizes again?’  Oh, Apple ipad! ‘WHAT???’ ‘APPLE IPAAAAAD?’

Hmm, it would be nice to have one of those eh?

‘But Jaish, you just decided that all this is enough?’ a version of yours truly in a flowing white dress with a halo on top questions me from inside.

‘Hey ! Shhhh!! You go ahead, darling!Dont listen to her! Apple Ipad! Wow!’ another version red in color with two ghastly horns screams from the other side.

This is Kal Yug  and people are supposed to be greedy about materialistic things. Who am I to stop the flow of world’s destiny?

And here I go.

Now when is this contest getting over? And what was that second prize? Ha ha ha!

And now I need to add something...."This post is part of the Surf Excel Matic Soak-No-More  contest at Indiblogger" ha ha ha again :)


Monday, September 10, 2012

Janmashtami Celebration - Kutti Kal Kolam and Uppu Seedai

On Saturday Sep 8th, it was Janmashtami a.k.a Sri Jayanthi i.e Lord Krishna’s birthday.

‘Saturday? Was it not over a month ago?’ I can almost see all those eyebrows going up dubiously.

Well, it was celebrated in most parts of India a month ago and Facebook was teeming with pictures of little ones dressed up in dhotis and peacock feathers with tilaks on their foreheads. But for a selected few sects in India, including mine, Janmashtami was on Saturday. Now how can the same deity have his birthday on two different days that too a month apart? Well, I guess  only the deity Himself can answer that perplexing question. Anyways it was celebrated at my place on Saturday, period.

As soon as V got up in the morning, I told him , ‘Hey its Krishnar umaachi(God in toddler’s dictionary)’s birthday today.’ He thought for a second and responded ‘Birthday?Cake,Candles?’ Hmm, not a bad idea!

With a lot of enthusiasm I started my preparations for the evening pooja.

Task One I assigned to myself was a herculean and a very arduous and dangerous one. ‘The making of the Seedai’,  a savoury made of rice and urad dhall flour. Basically small balls of dough deep fried in oil.

Even experienced hands of twenty to thirty years can goof up when it comes to seedai.  On one hand, for various reasons, there is a high probability of it bursting while frying. The kitchen(it belongs to my landlord anyways) and my face (now that’s more personal) were at risk. Every recipe for the same would be accompanied by various tips for avoiding this explosion. On the other hand, if improperly cooked they can become so hard, that without a second thought they could be shipped to dentists all over the world. Tooth Extraction Made Easy!

Anyways I belong to the group that gets inspiration from Vijay films …’Once I decide, I don’t listen even to myself’ (Wanted has a similar dialogue I suppose).

After doing some research for the recipe(my maiden attempt), I prepared the dough strictly as per instructions.

Rolling the dough into small balls....Boy!  That was tiring….It seemed like an endless task which I somehow managed to complete. Someone please invent a machine for that!

Anyways, some sweet soul on the internet had mentioned that, if your pierce the dough balls with a needle they would not burst.

There is a section of the brain called ‘Stupid Idea Zone’. This section has the habit of disguising itself as the ‘Eureka Zone’ and ends up giving really dumb ideas which the remaining grey cells accept after a standing ovation. This section suddenly said ‘Hey, Y needle? You are the symbol of East-West fusion. Use a fork to prick them’. I took out this huge fork and pricked the balls making sure that three four proper holes had been made.

I said a small prayer ‘Look, I am making them for you. So please don’t let it burst!’

Then I started frying them and Wow! They were a darling bunch of seedais that came out perfectly. A beautiful golden brown in color and the lovely smells that came while frying made me nostalgic.  

The thing about the festival is that you get to taste what you have made only after the pooja got over in the evening.

I could not wait that long to display and telecast my pride and so wasting no time, I showed them to my husband with a perfect display of bragging and informed my mother-in-law back home that my seedais came out perfectly without any untoward occurrences.

It was soon evening and pertaining to the tradition I started drawing small feet patterns with rice flour paste on the floor (ezhai Kolam)starting  from the entrance and culminating at the pooja area. This is a tradition that symbolizes Krishna visiting our homes.

As I was doing so, V went to the kitchen, carried the mop much bigger than himself to the hall with all his strength and started vigorously rubbing off the kutti kaal(tiny feet).
’One is not supposed to dirty the floors and should clean it up in case something spills!’ After listening to this innumerable number of times, he could not reason out why mommy was bent upon making the floors untidy.
Finally it was pooja time and once done, I could hardly wait to taste the seedai of my success. 

My husband being an ardent fan of this savoury , quickly popped a few into his mouth.

I waited with an eager expression on my face like those participants of Master Chef awaiting the judges remarks. ‘Hmm, its nice and tasty but not very crispy or kara-kara’ was the verdict. ‘ Ideal for people without teeth’ he added with a wink.  I put a few in my mouth and they tasted like pakodas and vadas that had fallen into water…No crispness at all…and it required an imitation of the cud-chewing of cows and buffalos  to mince them before sending them down the food pipe!

There are moments in life when the memory section of the brain starts flashing proverbs and sayings. ‘Appearances are deceptive, Appearances are deceptive.’ A voice like that of Superstar Rajinikanth repeated in a punch dialogue fashion in my head.

My poor husband tried pacifying me saying that except for that the taste and smell were close to perfection. Anyways, lessons learnt.

1)      Don’t keep referring to the internet for tips

2)      If you do, follow them religiously. Don’t tweak them with your own ideas

3)      If you do that as well, don’t blow your horn, unless you are absolutely sure of the outcome.

Jai Shri Krishna! J

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Congrats Girisha!

A lot was said when the Olympics was going on.

About the lack of infrastructure in India. About the attitude of the players. About the politics that exists in the Sports arena in the country. About the lapses in creating eminent sportsmen. About the hype that exists only around cricket.

Well, I came across this news a little while ago.

Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda  has bagged the silver in the Mens High Jump event at the Paralympic Games in London.

The hype or the noise is definitely lesser!

Photo COurtesy

Here goes a huge salute to EVERY INDIAN

Who motivated him
Who gave him the opportunity
Who gave him the required infrastructure
Who helped in his training
Who encouraged him
Who moulded him

I dont know what happens in the preparation for Olympics. But I have country men who have toiled for a physically challenged person to prove his prowess and shine in the eyes of the world. HATS OFF to all who contributed towards this achievement!


Sunday, September 2, 2012


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 31; the thirty-first edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is 'Strangers in the Night'

The computer monitor cast a glow across Sandhya’s cheeks as she tilted her head to look at her jottings before proceeding to enter the data into the system. She stopped for a second and glanced at the panel next to her desk to confirm that the night arrangement of lights had been turned on.

As she opened her bottle to take a sip of water, her mother’s words from the evening phone call replayed in her mind. Siddharth wanted to take up extra coaching for his board exams.  She wiped her lips with her fingers and thought ‘The bonus should come next week, Appa. Please make it happen’

A beep and a flicker on the call-for-assistance panel indicated  Bed 3. ‘I will check’ Sandhya gestured to her colleague and proceeded to the cabin, her white shoes making soft noises against the cold hospital floor.

Bed No 3 at the Intensive Care Unit of Bharadwaj Hospital was occupied by Divya, aged fourteen. The last thing she remembered was walking back home from school on Friday. Her science project had been selected for display at the Inter school meet and she had been eagerly looking forward to sharing the news with her parents. Divya could faintly recollect the speeding van, screeching of tyres, blaring of horns and being thrown into the air. When she opened her eyes she was in the hospital bed. The casts on her legs were very heavy and a weird looking instrument prevented her from turning her face to any side. ‘Urinary….urinary tube…hurts aunty’ Divya uttered in a feeble voice. Sandhya gently lifted her hospital gown, readjusted the position of the tube and said in a soft tone ‘It should be ok now, sweetheart.’

After giving her a benevolent smile, Sandhya proceeded to bed no 6. Mr Krishnan’s eyes were wide open, unperturbed by the tubes that made their way into his body through his mouth and nostrils. Four days ago, he had been sitting in his rocking chair on the balcony of his two bedroom flat, observing the vehicles that endlessly cluttered at the traffic signal below. It was his first evening after retirement. Moments in his thirty five years of service zoomed past in flashes. He had toiled all along and every rupee he earned always had a need even before it reached his pocket – his brother’s education, his father’s debts, marriages of his sisters, his housing loan, expenses for his children; He reminisced how selfless his wife Sharadha had been. A feeling of intense love and affection crept through his mind as he thought of her and he promised himself that he would spend the rest of his retired life entirely with her and for her, fulfilling her little wishes. Suddenly he became aware of a discomfort in his chest. What seemed to be a minor throb gradually evolved into a sharp pain. Cold sweat trickled down his forehead as he started gasping for breath.’Sha…r..adha’ his voice trailed off and he collapsed.

‘Unable to sleep Mr.Krishnan?’ Sandhya enquired as she checked his intravenous drip to verify the flow.   Despite the high dosages of drugs that were administered to his body, he could not get any sleep especially at night. With the ventilator depriving him of speech, he could only silently observe his surroundings – which held nothing save the equipment connected to his body and a wall clock. He mutely followed the minute and the hour hands as they chased each other, simultaneously pleading with his body and mind to drift into sleep. He would storm through a myriad of thoughts; throught the past- glorious days, happy occasions, memorable moments, family quarrels, arguments, deaths, a few insignificant moments and then through the future - worries about his health and his family. He would look at the clock expecting a huge change while he was rummaging through the scenes in his mind. Only ten minutes would have passed. His boredom and loneliness seemed to torture him more than his physical predicament. His only solace was the half-an-hour visitors time every evening when his family came to see him.

As Sandhya walked back to her seat she lifted the curtains outside cabin 6 and took a peak inside. Dilip Chandran was sleeping soundly, his chest rising and falling in a rhythmic pattern. He  had been brought that morning in a very critical condition. His business ventures had gone totally haywire and he was immersed neck-deep in an ocean of debt. Seeing no means to recover the lost money and repay his loans, the only route he fathomed to escape from his moneylenders and their henchmen was to end his life. He had consumed poison. The emergency unit at Bharadwaj had spent three toiling hours to rescue him from the fatal claws of death.

Sandhya returned to her seat. “Who are these people?” she brooded, “They would have had no knowledge about the mere existence of one another so far. Today they have huddled together here within these white walls; Should I call it destiny?Each of a different age and from varied walks of life bound together in their common struggle; A fight against the odds for survival ;A fight for life; Each clinging on tight to an invisible rope – Hope!”

She closed her eyes and started reciting some verses in an inaudible tone. “Om Namo Bhagavathe” – Dhanvantri(God Of Medicine) slogam(hymn) that Appa had taught her  as a kid. As a nurse she did all she was taught and was supposed to. The prayer was an additional effort from her end as a human being, a practise she had stuck on to from day one. She believed that it helped, that it made a difference, though miniscule, in their route to recovery.

Like a reflection in water struck by a stone, the scene around her at the ICU began to vaporize. Divya, Krishnan, Dilip – they all disappeared one after another.
Darkness crept in. A blue hue engulfed her entire vision. She heard a hysterical voice, very feeble and distant.

“Siddhu, Look! Can you see that Siddhu? Her lips are moving, she is saying something. ” It was a woman’s voice muffled by sobs.

“Yes ma, yes.  We will get Sandhya back ma, I promise” a man’s voice followed.

Dr.Siddharth held his mother tightly, as tears streamed down the woman’s face. He looked at his sister’s frail body nested in the white frame of the hospital bed. Sandhya was in a coma. He desperately longed for the day when he would see her again the way she was – confident yet kind, fun-loving yet level-headed, soft yet strong. So far,there had been absolutely no response from her. Today for the first time in two months she was showing some signs. As the faint green glow from her monitoring equipment caressed her face, she was reciting a prayer; A prayer for the strangers in the night in the mazes of her sub conscious mind.
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Introduced By: C.Suresh, Participation Count: 4

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Bullock Cart Yoke

How exactly does one define love between a boy and a girl? Some believe in love at first sight. Others say that its infatuation and you develop love only after knowing and moving with a person for sometime and realize that you like each others company. Still others say that its the intense feeling that you simply cannot live without the other.

Everyone has a different perception about love. Basically its accepting each others companionship and staying committed to it. Coming to think of it, Facebook has a status 'Committed' and not 'In Love'.

Marriage is the process of legalizing that commitment.

For the extremely shy introverts out there it may not be easy to find a person on their own. Friends sometimes pitch in and help two folks, whom they think will get along well, enter into a relationship. If this happens, what do you call it? Love or Arranged? 

Arranged Marriages of today are way different from yesteryears. Its not that the families decide the bride and the groom and the parties involved merely nod their heads in agreement.
The preferences of the girl and the boy are asked well before the parents start looking for alliances. Once they find a suitable match, the girl and the guy meet and converse with each other, sometimes over many meetings. Only when they think they are quite compatible and will be successful in a relationship, do the parents proceed with the engagement etc.
I also know a few cases where the guy or the girl realized that they had made the wrong choice after the engagement and the whole marriage was called off. What I am trying to say is that, the personal preferences of the bride and the groom are given top prioirity in todays arranged marriages. Its more like a date arranged by parents after considering some of their own priorities like caste, family background etc. which for now  cannot be totally done away with in todays India.

There are cases when the couple know each other for a very long time and their relationship is already well established after going through all the challenges that grow while building one. For them marriage is just a formality. For the rest, there is not much difference between love and arranged. In most cases we may not reveal our true selves fully till we are married. Not intentionally, it just happens. In arranged marriages, the couple enter the marriage without too many expectations and with a more open mind. Of course they take some time to get accustomed to each other and communicate openly. Additionally there is a suspense factor. You dont know everything about each other and there is definitely a thrill in knowing little little facts as we move along. Even in arranged marriages, its imperative that the couple marry only because they like each other and not because they are forced by someone. That is just plunging each others lives into misery!

In love marriages, the couple is already in a very comfortable level of communication.Thats an advantage but having said that their expectations tend to be at a higher level. If its a relationship where their compatibility is perfect there is nothing like it.  But sometimes, certain attracting factors tend to take upper hand in making a decision and the compatibility is overlooked.
Image Source Yann at Wikimedia Commons
Whatever be the path one follows to enter a marriage, life after that is a totally different ball game.

Spending some happy hours and moments with a person, sharing gifts and cards, hanging out together and speaking words of romance, hugs, tender kisses etc ...All these are sweet.But marriage is sharing ones life in all its entirety with a person and its much more complex and much more challenging.

In Tamil Brahmin marriages, one of the customs during the wedding is that the priest places a miniature bullock cart yoke between the bride and the groom and narrates some verses. This is to indicate that in a marriage one needs to move like the two bullocks tied to the yoke. For a smooth ride they both have to re-adjust their paces and walk in unison.

I had an arranged marriage and this is my 7th year in matrimony. When I see old couples walking together in silence , I can feel the million words they share without actually speaking. Reaching that beautiful level of companionship takes time and perseverance whatever be the path one chose to get into the marriage - Love, Arranged, at a temple, in court , whatever. Few points from my view :

Sinusoidal Relationship Curve :

Our feelings and opinions about any person is like a sinusoidal curve. There are times when it is at its positive peak and there are times when it hits the rock bottom. In relationships the same thing applies and when people decide to snap it at the negative vertex, it results in divorces and breakups. People we love may not always act in a way we like. One must learn to either put up with the negatives or get the other person to change. Both are possible but needs patience.

Nobody is Perfect:

Learn to love each others commendable qualities as well as the shortcomings. None of us are perfect. If we meet half of our spouse's expectations there must be another 50% where we fare pretty badly and vice versa. Accept the person as they are and love him or her with all your heart.

Adjust and Compromise:

There is greater happiness in giving than in taking. Similarly there is greater pleasure in giving in to another person's way rather than stubbornly sticking to the way you want. Small adjustments need to come from both ends.

Do Away with the Ego:

"Why should I listen to you?You cannot order me around" etc are sometimes just not worth it. The other person's advice may actually be valid but our big bad Ego will come in the way just to mess things up. Learn to keep it under control.

Dont bond with grudges:

If there were moments when he hurt you real bad (I dont mean physical abuse here) there would be moments when you totally drove him crazy. We are all humans , we are not perfect. There are so many times when our EQ is at its worst best. It serves no purpose to cling on to grudges and make each others lives miserable.

Share responsibilities:

A taxi driver once told me ' You must have kids. They strengthen the bond'(they are the topmost sources of free advice in the world). When the couple stops concentrating on each others likes, dislikes etc and starts sharing a big responsibility the bond becomes stronger. Not necessarily through children alone. Being an active part of each other's families will go a long way.

Love and  nurture:

For a marriage to be successful, it needs a whole lot of love. Not just towards each other but to the very relationship itself. Despite squabbles and misunderstandings, both husband and wife should firmly stick on to the belief in the marriage and work towards nurturing it. To do so, there needs to be lots and lots of open communication. Many marriages fail mainly due to lack of the same. The more open you are, the stronger the bond.

Give it some time:

In many of the posts that I read for this contest, people kept saying that if they went for a love marriage, they would be soleley responsible if something went wrong. Something going wrong and walking out of the marriage is a very easy way out. Its becoming very common today. Relationships need time. Things will not always be rosy. Allow it to blossom , wither and re-blossom.

In short any marriage begins with two pendulums swinging haphazardly in their own directions and getting attracted to each other. It takes some time for the pendulums to blend with each others momentum and then start swinging together in unison. It needs time, love, patience and above all maturity.

This post has been written as part of the Love Marriage Ya Arranged Marriage contest by Indiblogger and Sony Entertainment Television. Do visit

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Who is this revealed! :)

Who is this?
I had posed this question in my earlier post. There were some really interesting responses like Amitabh Bachan :) Most guessed that its a sea creature.
But no, its not a whale or a cat fish or a photographic trick.
This fish is called the GuitarFish or the Shovelnose Gray. And TTT was close when she said Stingray.
Huh, so whats so special? eh?
Well this is how the fish looks...
What I managed to click is the underside of the fish.What looks like eyes in my first pic is not actually its eyes.

The gills and mouth give it a face like appearance.
I had clicked the picture in the aquarium in the tunnel where you can see fish swimming all around you. It felt like the fish was looking at you through that face but its actually not a face at all :)
Strange are the ways of nature

Friday, August 24, 2012

Who Is This?

This time I would like to share a picture
Who is this?
Any Guesses?
Shall reveal the answer in a subsequent post... :)
Answer available in next post