Thursday, April 26, 2012

In Memory of my Appa....

I lost my father one year ago on 27th Apr 2011. Cliched but true, time flies.

I remember the day when he was in the ICU of Appollo hospitals after having suffered two heart attacks. He had ventilators and other tubes running through his mouth and nose due to which he could not talk. The rest of the family was allowed half an hour's visit during which he communicated to us writing on a piece of paper. He wrote 'My daughter is my life and soul'. That was in 2009.After a by-pass surgery he was with us for a year and a half.

Today as I write this I keep getting reminded of that day. In memory of my Appa, I dont know whether to call it poetry or prose - I just wrote what I felt like

 The hands that held me
The day I first cried
Are gone !
The eyes that cautiously monitored
My steps tiny and big
And always welled up, manliness aside
Every time I had to depart
Are gone !
Advice ,Comfort ,Wishes, Blessings
The voice that gave it all
Is gone !
I lean back and I fall
As my pillar of strength
Is gone !
My Inspiration,
My Role Model,
My Friend, Philosopher, Guide
All Gone!
I miss you pa,
I miss you terribly;
There's nothing I can do.
I am helpless,sad,frustrated;
There is a void inside,
Very deep!
Its very painful;
Nothing can seem to fill it.
Every man loves his daughter-
But no man can shower
Any more love than what you did.
I look back and I see
An epitome
Of selflessness and unconditional affection

It hurts that you are no more around
To talk, to laugh, to joke, to hug!
It hurts that you are no more around
To watch my child laugh and play!
It hurts that you are no more around
To beam in pride at the tiniest of my achievements!
It hurts that you are no more around
And I dont need a reason. It just hurts!

What do I do pa?
I scream, I cry!

'Jai, Kutti' I hear an imperceptible voice
Its inside of me, its my dad - To me;

'I am still there

I am in
Every cloud that adorns the sky;
Every butterfly that flutters by;
Every gentle breeze brushing your face;
Every ray of sunshine enclosing you in warmth
Every dew drop that kisses you;
Every breath you inhale;
Every flower that smiles at you;
Every fragrance that wafts in the air;

I am there!
Always around -
Caring , Loving , Protecting'.

Wishing my Appa peace and bliss wherever he is, in whatever form!!!

I love you appa!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Crazy about (m)i-phone

Mr. Steve Jobs is posthumously causing a major impact in my life.Not directly, but through one of those rectangular things he gave to the world called I-phones.
It's not just me obviously- the entire planet has been infected with the smart phone addiction . I look ahead in the train and lo- eight out of ten people in front are glued to their phones - Facebook, games , mails, browsing and God knows what else. Well yes ,even I, am typing this post using one! At office team lunches, meant to bind the team together people seem to be talking more to their phones than to each other . Even if they do manage to talk it's usually about some app that caught their fancy!
I did not start with this post to discuss the global impacts of smart phones. So coming back to my case- My 3 year old seems to have developed an obsession for this possession of mine . No habits of kids come out of nowhere. It all has a source and usually it's the mommy or the daddy. This one's no exception !
Well it all started when my son got a sudden interest in circus acts and started jumping from a moving stroller . ( I can almost hear the 'what's the big deal ! It's only a stroller not a train') . Well you will know it when you have to face it . To make him remain seated I resorted to You-tube on my phone and played some of the so-called-oh-cho-chweet videos like Lion King . It worked!
Then when we went to India I strategically loaded some of his favorite videos on my phone. Y? Flashing back to my last trip -
The air hostess completed the umpteenth demo of flight safety guidelines and made sure that all seats were upright. The pilot made an announcement requesting them to assume their takeoff positions. As the wheels began to spin at jet speed V released himself from the belt,stood up on the seat with his arms spread wide like a politician in an election rally and started singing Mgr's 'ore vaanile ore Mannile ore geetham urimai geetham paduvom' .(translates to we shall sing songs of rights in the sky and earth that are one) - waving his hands like a conductor of an orchestra !

Now you know why I needed a strategy.

V used to love the Talking Tom app . Every time that cat talked back he used to erupt with squeals of laughter.

Who does not like seeing a child laugh ? This resulted in the download of various apps that entertained him .

Earlier my husband or I were showing these to him and he would run to us, phone in his hand, with a big grin showing his tiny teeth and saying 'Animals parkkalaama' (shall we see animals) in his baby voice !

Later one day I found my little brat opening the ipod app on his own and deftly moving from one video to another . Boy!wasn't I proud ? And typical dialogues ran in the family 'Kids these days! Born with iPhones and iPad's ' .
Now my kiddo's familiarity with my phone has grown by leaps and bounds. He skillfully moves his tiny fingers like an artist at work and navigates with ease from one app to another - video to game, game to song , song to iPad ! And his favorite of late is You Tube.

In the course of learning he keeps rearranging or sometimes deleting my apps.

One day I got back home after work and was thrilled to see little one come running towards me.'O Darling! U missed me so much!' I exclaimed and stretched my hands out expecting him to run into my arms - he took the phone from it and went and sat on the sofa! Well darling missed my phone so much !

These days, his first words in the morning are 'where is amma's blue phone' 
He has also started expecting everything to be touch-screen. I was browsing the net one evening on my laptop; he came, sat on my lap and tried moving my desktop icons with a swish of his hand! 'To him this is outdated technology' my husband exclaimed.

The best was yesterday . I had hidden the phone from him and had placed it high up on the cupboard.A friend called. As I was speaking he kept following me like a puppy and repeating 'ok bye! Ok bye!' with a cute tilt of his head - translating to 'mama, say ok bye and hang up' . With all the innocence on earth i thought that my son was craving for motherly attention and did not want me to be wasting my time chatting on the phone! The moment I had hung up, like a lightning flash he grabbed the phone from me and quickly ran off to what for him was a safe corner where mummy won't pester him !
I am sure he will lose interest in course of time but for now he is crazy about m(I) phone!

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Role Model

Mohan walked out through the huge iron gates, hands in his jeans pockets. His gaze was directed at the ground, his look forlorn and his stride slow. This had been his thirty-fifth audition; A failure like its thirty four predecessors.He stayed in a rental room on the terrace of a house in Chennai’s Kodambakkam area. Unaware of the bus he boarded, and which way he walked he managed to reach home totally lost in his thoughts.
He climbed what was now left of the steps leading to his room and knocked on the door.“Hey! What happened?” Saravanan who opened the door asked as he entered.
The recognition of a known face and voice plummeted him to the present .
“Wh…What??”“What happened?”
Mohan let out a huge sigh and said “They want a macho muscular man, not me!Its Six Packs era now!”
“But director Kalaimaran makes realistic movies with good actors.”
“Used To. Now he is working for a producer who wants to make an all-in-all commercial movie. His own son is the hero. The audition was for the villain part. They want a new face.”
“Oh!! I heard that producer Devendran of Delta Movies is launching his son. It could be this one. He had produced two of Kalaimaran’s earlier films. Hmm!!”
Mohan slumped into a plastic chair at the corner, the only piece of furniture in the room.
“Don’t get too upset da. You know its not easy to get a chance in this industry. If they did not take you its their loss. Something better is on its way. Let me make some tea.” said Saravanan and proceeded to boil some water on their kerosene stove.
Mohan reminisced through the earlier events of the day. The director had not even thrown a glance in his direction.
The assistant directors who were doing the first level filtering had sent him away with a ‘Better Luck Next Time’. He loathed those words now.

Mohan belonged to a dynasty of zamindars - heir to the family that owned half of the lands in his village. He had a deep-rooted passion for acting from a very young age. His favorite game as a child was enacting snippets from the various mythological stories his grandmother narrated. He missed no opportunity in school to participate in skits and was an active member of the drama club at the local college where he had graduated in arts. He spent hours reading books on cinema and the various nuances of acting.
His father was of the assumption that Mohan would join him in managing the family lands and businesses as soon as he finished his studies. When he came to know of his son's desire to act in movies he was outraged. He belonged to the group of individuals for whom cinema had only one synonym. Vice.
“Its your age!! You believe in fantasies and waste your lives. You have been brought up with luxuries around you. That’s why you are not serious about money matters. You can do as you please. One day you’ll realize that you were wrong and would give up all these stupid dreams that you have built up. That day you can come back and our riches would still wait for you. Till then don’t expect a single penny from my end for these weird ideas of yours. ”
With these words from his father reverberating in his head, Mohan set off from his village with a hundred rupee note in his pocket and his heart heavy with hopes of becoming an actor one day. Saravanan was his best friend from college and was only too happy to share his room with him.Odd part time jobs provided some money to feed himself and to share other expenses with Saravanan who was already struggling to make ends meet with his job at a local magazine office. The rest of the time he went about attending auditions, trying to meet directors and producers to find himself a chance. He was not interested in commercial cinema. He did not want to become a star. He wanted characters that would unleash his acting potential to the fullest extent. The farthest he had gotten so far was playing the role of a guest at a marriage in a movie. He was one among three hundred and that was what he was paid as well. It had been five years now since he set off from his village. Only his mother would talk to him whenever he called up home.
Saravanan handed him a couple of Marie biscuits and tea in a glass tumbler. They stood on the terrace watching the scarce Saturday evening traffic on the road.
“I think my father was right.” Mohan said as he slowly sipped his tea.
“About what?” asked his room-mate.
“This whole acting dream of mine. It’s all non-sense. Maybe I just don’t have the talent and it’s just a stupid desire that I have”
“Come on!!! Don’t get so frustrated. I have seen you perform . You are one hell of an actor. Don’t ever doubt that. It’s just that luck has not favored you yet.”
“Then, may be it will never favor me. Look at me!! It’s been five years now and I am still where I started. I think I am not destined to do this. ”
“You should make your own destiny my friend.”
“This sounds good in books and movies. Reality is far from that. I think I’ll go back Saravanan”
“You mean…to your village??”
“Yes!!! At least my father will be happy. It’s been failure and failure and failure. If I go back I’ll spend my energy on something useful. ”
“Think well with a calm mind before making any decision. Don’t let your haste and frustration take control”
“No!! This has been in my mind for quite some time. I have made up my mind.”
“But this is what you have always wanted to do”
“And that’s why I never tried anything else in life”
“You need to be practical at times I guess. I have decided.I need to book tickets for tomorrow’s evening mail. Shall we go to the reservation counter in Mambalam station?”
As they stepped out of the reservation center Saravanan’s cell phone rang.“Hello……Sir.....Yes sir….Oh!!!..... Okay sir.”He disconnected the call and turned to Mohan.“It was Mr.Kesavan, one of our columnists. He is not well and wants to submit an article for this week’s edition to our chief editor. He asked me if I could collect it from him. Shall we drop in for a second and then go for dinner?”Mohan nodded.
The editor Kesavan was in his early forties and was a very pleasing person. He welcomed them both and spoke very amicably. As they sat on the couch discussing general current affairs Mohan noticed the paintings that adorned the walls. He had never seen them before and they were all masterpieces.
“These paintings are very beautiful, sir” he quipped.Kesavan gazed at the walls and replied
“They have all been done by my niece. She has great talent and greater grit and determination.”
“They are all amazing.”
“You would be more amazed when you see her. She is actually staying here with us. Let me introduce her to you. Please come”.He led them upstairs.
There was a white door in one corner, 'Divya's Studio' written on it in a beautiful font. Kesavan knocked and called out "Divya, Some friends of mine want to meet you".A tender voice; that of a young girl answered “Come In Uncle”
Kesavan opened the door. It was a huge room partitioned into two by a wooden frame. The completed paintings were on their side and Divya was working on the other side of the frame and hidden from their sight.“I have a couple of gentlemen here who seem to like your work a lot.”They crossed the partition and Divya came into their sight.
The sight struck like a bolt on Mohan and formed a lump in his throat.Divya was a teenager around sixteen years of age. She was seated in a raised chair. A canvas was spread on the floor and she was working away holding the brush between her toes. The full hand sleeves of her salwar hung loosely on either side of her shoulder where her hands should have been.She looked at them and said “Hello” with a very sweet smile.As Kesavan introduced them to her Mohan could not find the right words to say “I….I ….Your paintings are very beautiful” he said in a soft voice.“Thanks. My paintings are getting exhibited at the Madras art gallery next week. Please do come”
“Sure” Mohan replied.“Well, we’ll not disturb you more. You carry on.” Kesavan said and led them outside.
When they were back in the hall Mohan asked "How did it happen, sir?An accident?”
Kesavan slowly nodded his head and swiped his palms on his face and continued“She was good at drawing and painting even before she learnt to read and write.
When she was around twelve years old she fell from a moving train. We were able to save her life but not her hands. Her parents were shattered. But she has an amazing grit. She refused to let the handicap paralyze her life and snatch her dreams from her. It took a Herculean effort to get where she is now. But she has a never-say-die attitude. With the help of a trainer she learnt to draw with her feet. It was clumsy initially. With repeated practice she has mastered it and her feet now listen to every idea, every visualization in her.Even our chief editor wanted to do a coverage about her. She hates that kind of publicity for sympathy and refused”
After a cup of coffee, Mohan and Saravanan bid good bye to Kesavan.That night Mohan stood on the terrace directing his gaze at the millions of stars in the sky. Kesavan’s voice kept echoing in his ears. The image of Divya bringing her imaginations to life, with those magnificent pieces of art, using her feet was struck in his mind.He took the train ticket from his shirt pocket. He looked at it for a moment,tore it into four and held out the pieces. The wind whirled around the paper bits and carried them away from his hand.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

My Bali Trip 3

Went on a trip to India and could peep into neither my own blog nor those of others for nearly ten days.
Baisakhi Temple:

The Baisakhi temple , also known as the Mother Temple, is situated at the foot of Mt Agung, an active volcano . The temple survived unscathed during an eruption of the volcano in the 1960's and hence it is highly revered by the locals . The volcanic rock used for the construction gives the structure a unique black shade .It comprises of 7 ascending levels, the 7th most being at the summit of the mount and hence not accessible to the regular tourist.There are three main temples here dedicated to the trimurthis Brahma,Vishnu and Shiva. Exploring the temple's premises involves a whole lot of climbing steps , a point to be kept in mind when deciding to go there . A tourguide can be arranged for around 50000 Indonesian Rupiahs . Our tour guide doubled up as our photographer there and was highly helpful in getting some family snaps .Unlike the temples in India the sanctum Sanctorum of the temples in Bali remain closed throughout the year except on selected days when there is a ceremony in the temple as per the Balinese calendar.

Just like the temples in India, their Balinese counterparts have their own sanctity and some rules. People wont be allowed to enter in shorts. If you are dressed in one, you would need to buy or rent a 'sarong' a local garment worn by the Balinese and tie it around your waist. Also, in all temples there would be a board that women are not allowed to enter during menstruation.

The murals of Shiva and Vishnu within the temple were very fascinating. Shiva with a moustache and mounted on his nandhi, Vishnu with a discus on his Garuda.

Picture Of Shiva In the temple

Tanah Lot Temple:

The Tanah Lot temple is located on the West coast of Bali, beautifully located atop a cliff on the seashore. This temple offers some breathtaking views and is a feast to the cameraman's lens.

There is a structure located at the foot of the cliff as well. In times of high tide, worshippers just go to this one at the lower altitude. When we went it was a high tide and the waves leapt to heights I have never seen before. Tanah Lot Sunset is very famous. Our guide told us that the Uluwatu temple is similar and that it offers equally great views. As it was a little cloudy we did not stay back for the sun set. Even with the sun perched high up in the sky during the afternoon it was a beautiful experience.