Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Horse,Fish and a Tiny Art Teacher

I have a disastrous little ball of energy at home that keeps running around wreaking havoc all over the place. This little bundle that bears quite a chunk of my genetic wiring a.k.a my son is an animal world afficionado.

Some of the very first words he started uttering are cat,dog...'Well all kids do that' I can almost hear you comment...Let me complete Rhino,Dinosaur, Elephant, Giraffe and believe it or not Iguana and porcupine.

Sometimes it was disaster, like in front of all our relatives I would ask 'Darling, whats amma's name?' and he would reply without thought 'Rhino' ! That was when he was just learning to talk and did not actually get what I was asking. Nevertheless, damage is a damage is a damage!!

His favorite toys are a set of miniature plastic animals which can keep him occupied for hours at a stretch.

 Another of his ardent interests is drawing and coloring. I have a three-year old interiror designer who has uniquely split the walls of my home into two sections, the top half pristine white and the bottom - Well not exactly half, whatever is reachable to his 104 cm height is full of products of his vivid imagination and some abstract art that I am still trying to decipher.

His favorite as of now is what he calls a horse.

Not just to my 'Oh My SOn Is Such An Artist' proud-mommy's eyes, quite a few people think that it does look like a horse but a modern-art version of it. And yes, it has around ten legs.

I went to a parents teachers meeting and the teacher showed me his worksheets from class. Irrespective of the nature of the sheet - Shapes, Alphabets, etc every sheet bears this trademark symbol of his. There is one sheet which had a white,yellow,blue and red versions of this horse.

What took me by absolute surprise and left me a little open-mouthed with amazement was something he did when we were writing alphabets on his little black board at home.

He wrote an A first and then attached a tail and an eye and said 'Fish'

Nobody actually taught him that. Its something he discovered on his own and taught to dumbo mommy. How to Draw a Fish From an A. I beamed with pride at my 3-yr old little art teacher!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Kecak Dance - Bali

‘We saw Ramayana dance in Bali’, my friend who was just back from the island had told me. This roused my curiosity and one of the very first enquiries I made during our vacation to Indonesia was about this dance form.

‘Oh! That is the Kecak(pronounce Kay-Chaak) dance. Its about Hanuman and Sita and Rama’ the receptionist at our hotel had explained.

Kecak dance is promoted widely as part of the tourism in Bali and there are daily performances in some places, predominantly temples. We stayed in a place called Ubud and we got to witness this beautiful art form during our first evening there.

At the entrance , they had stacked some print outs in different languages – English, French, German, Spanish etc. containing a detailed explanation of the structure of the day’s play – the order of the scenes, the different characters in them and a gist of the plot to be enacted.

There were no electrical lights at the venue and the entire place was lit up using oil lamps that did not overdo the illumination and gently sprayed a serene radiance all around.

There were around 50 men seated in a circle on the floor, clothed in a checked robe around their waist.

The main background for the dance is provided by the ‘Caka Caka Caka Caka Cak Cak Cak’ (Pronounced Chak) chanting of these men that takes the credit for the name ‘Kecak’.

I was flabbergasted at their energy levels and stamina. For nearly an hour they kept chanting non-stop with a relentless fervor . Their expressions depicted the depth of their involvement and their dedication to the art form; the synergy of their unified voices reverberated all around us.

Then came the lead artists and enacted one scene after another. These actors have a very distinct costume characterized by decorative head gear, heavy make up, lots of jewellery and unique shiny and colorful clothing. It reminded me of some of our Indian art forms like Kathakali and Yakshagana.

Thanks to the print out they provided it was very easy to follow the scenes, given the fact that we have a basic idea about the contents of the Ramayana. The title of the play was ‘Kumbakarna’s Death’.

Scene 1 – Rama and Lakshmana cross the ocean with the help of the Vanaras(monkeys)

Scene 2 – Ravana brings a fake head to Sita and says that he has slain Rama but he fails to convince her

Scene 3 – Ravana’s son uses his Nagastra (snake-weapon) on Rama and Lakshmana and makes them unconscious. Garuda the bird comes to the rescue

Scene 4 – Rama kills Kumbakarna

The chanting men also play a part in the enactment sometimes as the bridge, sometimes as the snake.

Once this was over, they placed a pile of coconut husks at the center and set it on fire. It was time for the fire dance. The dancer entrusted with the role came charging like a race horse and pranced on the burning husks , sparks flying all around him, his movements scattering the burning fragments all over the place. They gathered them again to a mount at the center and the whole act was repeated. It was mesmerizing.

This was the final act and they thanked us all for being a part of the evening.

As we walked out the performers also started leaving the venue, done with their evening engagement.They seemed to be from all walks of life and apparently the ‘Cak Cak Cak’ was a passionate interest for which they gathered everyday like a game of tennis is to many of us.

Providing a write up for reference before a show is something our dance forms can learn from them and incorporate. Though I could not understand a word of the lyric I thoroughly enjoyed what was being shown. Today if we go to a Bharathnatyam or Kuchipudi concert, except for those who have some basic knowledge about the art form its very difficult to comprehend and appreciate. A similar measure would play a big role in promoting the innumerable art forms we have in our country - a few which need a lot of support to prevent their extinction.

The following is a video I found on YouTube.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Internet - Crazy Fun and Funny Craze

6 pm.

Work just got over..

My bus stop app tells me that the next bus is due in 5 mins.

My walking speed is similar to the steps Armstrong took on the moon and I better start immediately.

6:05 pm

I am holding my mobile with both hands. Hence I refuse to hold on to the bus railings though I am standing. As if I am a gold-medalist in Gymnastics.

Whats on Facebook? I go into my friends group. Eight of us best friends posted in 8 different corners of the globe but huddled together in a cozy virtual group....

'SN has been admitted to the hospital'  the status update says.

The driver applies a sudden brake and I land on my face. The gymnast in me fails miserably.Oops! I quickly look at my mobile. Unhurt!.

6:10 pm

I decide to check my email. A long one from my mom.Aah, I love those. Oops, where is the recipe I had asked her? Never mind , I can google that. Electricity Bill, Water Bill , Gas Bills... all Emails....Huh, I rarely get ones for money inflow...Its always someone asking me to pay for this and that....Irony! ..Air is everywhere and is gaseous but you need a specific type of gas to make your food and you need to pay for it!!!..Hmm!!! These guys are so damn prompt at what they do!! They simply never forget to send me the bill!!! Who on earth coded the software? So Bug-Free?

I browse through old long forgotten emails.

Aah!That fateful one meets my eye.

 'Profile of Mr.Vats' the subject says, email from 2006.  That email that brought me his picture, when I was still single and my parents were desperately going through matrimonial websites to find me a groom. I allow myself that imperceptible smile. That reminds me of a recent matrimonial ad I came across. 'Wanted Bubbly girl.Should be a non-Facebook user' .Huh?

Into the Facebook App again.

'Tried calling SN. She says the pain is unbearable' the status update says.

6:20 pm

Suddenly my stomach starts making noises!

The image of a pizza with overflowing cheese, hot and yummy appears floating in mid air and just refuses to go. 'Please Go Away' I plead. The pizza starts getting bigger and bigger. 'No! Thats too many calories' I try to tell my craving but cra-Wings keep flying higher and higher. Now there is garlic bread on the side as well.
Ok, Where is that Pizza Hut App I downloaded yesterday? Two Veggie Delites, 1 garlic bread and 1 Coke. There I am done!!!

I get down at the train station.

6:25 pm

'Hey Need to transfer some money to my dad. Remind me ' my phone beeps an SMS aloud.

'What is the exchange rate today?' I wonder and go into my Finance App. I am sure almost every Indian outside of India would do this umpteen number of times in a week!

6:30 pm

I am on the train. Everyone looks like they are praying to some distant God as they all have their heads bowed, glued to their mobile phones.

I get into my blog. 2 Comments . I reply and then start going through the ones that I follow. I come across that long word that sounds like it originated from the tribes of Zulu. Huh? My expression should have resembled the one I had during my vivavoces of college days..the 'I  simply have no clue' expression. Anyways there is good old Dictionary website to refer to..And you
know whats good about online matter how many words are in store, they all weigh the same !
Isnt that great?

6:40 pm

'That agent has agreed to show us two houses tomorrow' my SMS beeps again.

Our house lease is getting over.

The Property App reminds me that home rents are sky rocketing and I better cut down all the impulsive buying that I do. Like going to buy a loaf of bread and coming back with an electric oven with the intention of baking it on my own!!! The oven is still in one corner of my kitchen. And we still buy bread, not bake!!

In between I take a look at Facebook again. 'The chief doctor at the SMF hospital has been summoned to examine SN.Awaiting her opinion'  the comment says.

7:00 pm

Its going to be another ten minutes of travel. Movie Reviews Time! One - Boring, Two - Avoid, Three-Average, Four- Dont Miss. All for the same movie? Phew!! Lesson Learnt - Always stick to the same reviewer. Anyways the cinema website says that all tickets are sold out.

7:15 pm

My train pulls into the station with a screeching noise. The song I just selected from the music website jingles in my ear.

I reach home and there is a parcel outside my doorstep. Okay, thats just a reminder for impulsive expenditure. Its something I ordered online. Now what on earth was that? A camera? Book? Cosmetics? Damn!

I pick the parcel and go in.

8:00 pm

My son is running around the house and I am following him with my phone. My in-laws are watching him on Skype. An hour of grandparental bliss for them.

8:30 pm

I have been reading about this contest for weeks and now I realize that today is the last day. I keep typing at the maximum speed that I can. I should tweet 'Procrastination is the thief of time' today.

There, I am done with the post!!

I open facebook again and a smile spreads over my face.

'SN gave birth to a baby boy. Mother and baby are fine' gleams back at me with a picture of a one day old tender baby wrapped in a baby blue blanket beside it.

Internet can be fun as But it can be crazy fun and sometimes it becomes a funny craze. But I am loving it!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

After-School Confusion

It was 4:05 pm.

The school premises that depicted a sacred silence some time back were suddenly abuzz with a clamour of excited voices as children rushed out to head back home.

The little girl was standing near the gate, her hand on the straps of her schoolbag. After a long day, her hair was slightly disheveled and the black ribbons that had now become loose, clung to her two plaits for life.

"Driver anna(brother) forgot to pick me up in the morning and it had gotten so late. If not for that note Amma had sent , that silly teacher would have made me stand out of the class!" she thought.

"Hey !" she heard her classmate Maya’s voice. Maya also happened to be her next-door neighbor.

"My mom asked me to pick you up in our cycle-rickshaw" she said.

"Your mom?" the little girl responded in a perplexed tone.

"Yeah, she asked us to bring you along on our way home"

"B…But my mom did not say anything to me"

"Hey, Your mother was the one who told my mother to fetch you as well"

"Mother Promise?"

"Yes! Mother promise" and Maya placed her hand on her head to swear in the name of her mother.

That was the most supreme of the oaths in their class, Father Promise and God Promise following closely behind.

"Okay" the little girl  replied and climbed on to the rickshaw with some hesitation. She kept looking around to reassure herself that driver anna had not come.

As the rickshaw moved along, she started enjoying the ride. She had never been in one before and travelling like that through the town was so exciting.

The children soon broke into a medley of childish music. Ba Ba Black Sheep transitioned into Bollywood music in a few minutes. The driver slowly pedaled along, amused by the cacophony of their voices.

Devi was reading the latest edition of Mangai.(a Tamil magazine). She glanced at the clock. It was 4:30.

" Hope that driver went to pick her up on time! " she mused. Her husband was out of station. As always he had arranged for his driver to drop their daughter in school, in the morning and to fetch her back. The driver in question had totally forgotten in the morning and it had been a real hassle getting her daughter to school on time.

Then the telephone rang, its tone piercing the tranquillity of the evening.

" Hello, this is the principal of St Joseph’s convent. I have your driver here with me. He has come to pick your daughter up. Apparently he could not find her anywhere and so he went to the class teacher who in turn came to me. We have looked for her in the playground as well as the usual places where the children wait. My staff are still looking for her here. Please don’t panic. I am sure she is fine. I just wanted to check with you if you have made any other arrangements for her"

"No ma’m, she was supposed to come back with the driver"

"Oh, ok. She should be around here somewhere. You know these kids. I will call you back in some time once we figure out where she is. Please don’t worry"

And they hung up.

"Don’t worry? How can I not worry?"  Devi thought.

A million thoughts flooded her mind. "She normally does not go anywhere and always waits at the usual place"

She went and stood outside looking anxiously at the road that stretched in front of her, chanting all the slokas(hymns/divine chants) she could remember in her mind.

She thought of trying to reach her husband but decided to wait for a while rather than plunging him into panic as well.

The rickshaw dropped Vineetha first.

As they pedaled away, the little girl said “Her mummy is so pretty”

“My mom says its all make-up” said Kavya.

“Really? Its not nice to put make up !. My mom says its not good for our skin”

Soon, they came to Kavya’s house.

Now it was just her, Maya and Maya’s little sister.

“Kavya’s house is so big”

“Yes and she has three dogs, two white and one black. The white ones are po..po”


"Yeah Right!They look so cute"

“Thats so cool. I like cats better. My mom can look at new born kittens and say if it’s a boy-kitten or a girl-kitten you know?”

Lost in the stories, about their little world, the friends moved towards home.

As they neared the house, the little girl decided that she would scream “Mummy!”

When she did scream Mummy, she saw mummy’s face full of worry, anxiety and tension almost in tears.

Devi heaved a huge sigh of relief on seeing her daughter’s face. She quickly called up the principal to inform her of her daughter’s safe return.


This happened more than two decades ago and I was the little girl , that time around six years of age.

My friend’s mother had observed that our driver had forgotten to pick me up in the morning.

A good-natured soul that she was, she had told her daughter “Maya, You bring Jayashree along with you in the cycle-rickshaw, if her driver does not come in the evening".

My darling friend was also just six, so the second part of the sentence i.e. the if clause did not get registered in her mind. Her mission for the day given by mommy was to bring Jayashree along in the evening which she did promptly, just adding the extra part that the request came from my mother.

Then I could not understand why my mother was so anxious and worried. Now being a mother myself, I am able to clearly picture the turmoil my mother would have been in for that half an hour when I was so-called missing.

Every parent undergoes a lot of hardships and challenges in raising his/her kids.

My parents channeled all their effort and energy to give me and my younger brother, a happy life and to realize our small wishes as well as our big ambitions.

My mother has been a great friend and a wonderful guide in my life. She can read me like a book and a few words from her will usually take my confidence level to great heights. She has had her share of ups and downs in life and I admire her and look up to her for many a thing.

I dedicate this post to my lovely amma and I salute all the wonderful women out there beautifully essaying their role as mothers. Not just us the human mothers...the entire motherhood in nature - the cats holding its kittens by its neck, the deer helping its fawn on its feet, the hens giving warmth to its chicks, the linoess teaching its cub to hunt and the list goes on....

‘Happy Mother’s Day’

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Attack

Applause and cheers filled the room as the birthday candles were blown out. The digital camera cast its lighting flashes on all the assembled faces - All displaying mirth- All except one.

No one noticed Shilpa slipping away into a bench in the corner of the room. With her eyes staring away into oblivion beyond the walls, she tightly gripped the teak handle, her knuckles white. She was sweating profusely and taking rapid breaths, almost panting. The clenched teeth and a face that had gone extremely pale by now made her expression ghastly; she held her clasped fists between her legs and started counting inaudibly.
Regaining some composure, she rushed inside the rest room and began splashing cold water on her face as mother had always advised.Her nerves soothened a little. She wiped her face with a tissue, added a touch of make up and came out to join her friends.

It was 9 when she reached home. Chitra was watching the evening news , a glass of buttermilk in her hands.

"Hey baby, you are back! I was just about to call you" she called out looking at Shilpa through her reading glasses almost ready to fall off from the tip of her nose.

Shilpa threw her bag on the coffeetable and slumped on the couch next to her mother.

"How was the party? Had fun? Well, Ritu is the richest girl in your college! It should have been mind-blowing"

'Oh ma!' Shilpa gave out a desperate cry and hugged her tight.

Pulling her back to face her, she asked 'What...What happened?' . The look in Shilpa's eyes explained it all and Chitra's expression slowly transformed from one of concern to one of understanding.

"You had an attack again."

Shilpa nodded sadly. "I think it was the candle mom. I had so gotten over all of that, Its been almost 5-6 months now since the last one.Now again!"

"Its okay sweetheart. Everything takes time. Remember what the doctor said. Not to expect it to vanish just like that? " and she gently patted her daughter's cheeks.

"Hmm. I guess so. It was not that bad this time. I became normal pretty quickly"

"Thats great, isn't it? Go have a bath and come. Lets see if we can catch any good movie on TV today"

An hour later, Rani Mukerjee, SRK and Kajol started singing Koi Mil Gaya on the TV screen.
Shilpa was reclined on the couch, her head resting on her mother's lap. It was her all time favorite movie and she slowly got immersed in it, forgetting everything else.

Chitra gently ran her fingers through her daughter's hair. "She has got her father's face but her mother's hair !"she thought - "Radhika's hair!"
Like  a million times before, she travelled back in time into the memories that would haunt her for life.
Radhika's last telephone call still echoed with perfect clarity in her ears. In between muffled sobs she had said "Atleast earlier he used to promise every now and then, to give up this wretched habit. These days he does not even seem to bother.Its almost like he is not there in my life. He is lost with his bottles. My screams and quarrels are falling on deaf ears. He does not talk to me at all and the silence is all the more irritating. Life is miserable!"
The next evening Chitra decided to stop by at Radhika's house on her way back from the NGO office. She opened the gates and found the husband lying sprawled across the doorstep . Radhika's voice vibrating with fury and emotion could be heard from inside, the child's cries faintly bordering it.
"Why did you marry me? And why father this child? To show us such days?You wont listen to me, no matter what? What will make you stop? WHAT?
Enough Now! We will go..WE WILL GO....Not from this house but from this world..Then may be you will mend your ways..."
Chitra rushed inside and the entire scene unfolded within seconds. A strong smell of kerosene struck  her like a bolt . Two year old Shilpa was sitting on the floor and trying to stand up. She appeared wet and  was howling, stretching her arms out.
A few metres away, Radhika stood still like a statue, staring at her husband, kerosene dripping from her eyelids and hair, a hypnotized look in her eyes and was laughing hysterically.

Seeing the lighter in her hands, Chitra screamed"Radhika, What ...What are you doi!" . Before she completed her words and took the next step, a blast of fire blinded her for a second.
The flames engulfed Radhika; She let out a bloodcurdling cry and started rushing towards her daughter.
In a swift, Chitra scooped up the child and rushed outside hiding her face in her chest.
Hours later, as she stood at the hospital looking at Radhika's blackened and charred face a thousand questions ran in her mind. "How could you Radhika, how could you? Taking your own life is cowardice.Who gave you the  right to take a child's life even if its your own?" She was not heartless to ask these to a dying woman.
Hearing a loud thud Chitra sprang back to the present. The remote had slipped and fallen on the floor from Shilpa, now fast asleep.
Fire triggered panic attacks in Shilpa. The memory had faded, but her subconcious mind refused to let go of the horror.
'Did I act right that day,Shilpa ?Did I? Was there any chance for me to have saved your mother as well?' Chitra wondered again.
I read recently in the news that a lady had set herself and also her baby on fire after a quarrel with her drunken husband and both had succumbed to the injuries. This inspired me to write this story

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award - Hip Hip Hurrah!

Day before yesterday, as I sat reading and promoting blogs on Indiblogger I wondered how nice it would be if someone would give me something like the Versatile Blogger award and Lo!
Nagini of passed it on to me.


Her posts are very unique and interesting and she truly deserves it.

I am honored and thank her with all my heart.

I love putting my thoughts, views, imagination to words and blogging has been a great medium. I would like to express my gratitude to every one of you who stopped by to take a peek. I get absolutely thrilled every time there is a comment in my blog or a vote for my post.

Now few things to be done!

1) Create a new post
2) Thank the lovely person who nominated you for the award
3) Pass it on to your fellow bloggers
4) State 7 random facts about you
5) Claim and post the award pic

Now that the first two are done,

I am really breaking my head about whom to mention here...

Amit Agarwal ,  Rajagopalan Ratnaraj and D Nambiar first came to my mind but they are there on Nagini's list as well. Also C.Suresh seems to have been nominated just yesterday or so.

So here goes my list

  1. Debajyoti Ghosh
  2. Anupam Patra
  3. LeoPaw
  4. Nanbanita Dhar
  5. Ranjith
  6. Bhavana
  7. Sangeetha Reghu Nair
  8. Ravi Akula
  9. Sujatha Sathya
  10. Akshay Kumar
 7 Random Facts About me:

Now thats not is it?...May be...Well,

  •  Tamil is my mother tongue but I can read, write and speak Malayalam and Hindi.

  • Cooking is one of my favorite activities and I am a foodie too- A vegetarian but I love trying out different types of food - As my father said I get fascinated by names and that sometimes has really disastrous consequences ;)

  • Atleast in looks I was intelligent before i.e. I used to wear spectacles as the moon always seemed full to me when I looked up...Courtesy: Short Sight or Myopia....And along with other experiments on my self I decided to undergo Lasik surgery and now I dont wear glasses anymore

  • I try walking whenever possible and I enjoy long walks. I have learnt some basic Yoga and I do not practise regularly but am trying to.

  • I love to read mystery and suspense novels - One of the stupid few who can stay up all night on the eve of the Engineering Graphics Practical Exam unable to put down Sydney Sheldon's Rage Of Angels!

  • My zodiac sign is Cancer and I seem to possess all of the so-called Cancerian traits. An astrologer once told me that I would not leave the country till I was 40 or so...But I have been staying outside the country for quite some time now in 3 countries US,Malaysia and now Singapore and there is a long way to go for 40. Bad Bad Astrologer!

  • I wear salwars, jeans etc as per my mood and the occasion but I love wearing sarees and I love wearing nine-yard sarees during the functions at home though I am yet to figure out how to tie the nine-yard one correctly!!

And now for the 'Claim and post the award pic' part - Here I go!