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

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Liebster and 33 questions again!

Three good friends of mine in the blogosphere honored me by passing the Liebster Blog Award. I am humbled by their kind gesture and thank them with all my heart.

Anupam Patra at Reflections has been enriching the knowledge of his readers with regards to the legal system in India. He writes awesome poetry and fiction as well.

C.Suresh  at Life is Like This says humour is his forte but certain short stories he wrote recently dealing with human emotions tugged at the hearts of the readers. A very versatile writer.

Neha at Neha's Journal is the  winner of the Lakme Diva Blogger Contest at Indiblogger and her posts continue to enthrall her readers.

I have to answer 33 questions in all and so I am skipping the facts about me part!

From Anupam :

1] 'Checkered blue n white' or 'black'?
2] Curtains or no curtains?
3] Hardcover, paperback or ebooks?
4] What's your ambiance while writing?
Nothing specific, just that my brain should not be taking a big break :) (which it often does)

5] Do you plan to publish a novel?
I have plans but to realize it few others must plan as well rt? Publishers for a start :D ha ha For now its may be some day....
6] Do you like to make a gift for your loved one or do you rather buy?
Make a gift anyday ...Its always special
7] Which is the most beautiful color according to you?
There is a line in a song in AlaiPayuthey which quotes 'the feet of a child that has not touched earth yet'  the tender pink in that...
The blue in the peacock's neck...
The white of the pristine clouds...
Every color is beautiful in its own way

8] What’s your mantra in life?
Live and let live :)

9] Have you ever thought of becoming a soldier in your life?

10] Do you have stage fear?
When speaking no. But there are times I was asked to sing and then its stage panic ! (And a ear-ful torture for the rest! :)  )

11] ‘Mickey mouse/ Aladin/Duck Tales’ or ‘ Shin Chan/ Doraemon/ Kitretsu’?
Duck Tales
From Suresh:

1. What do you think is your best post?
The tribute I wrote for my dad
2. Which of your posts do you think was most under-appreciated?
Hmm...Those that I published when I just started blogging...Then I was not part of any major blogging networks and hence very less readership
3. What genre are you unable to attempt and wish to?
Murder Mysteries 
4. What is the one unachieved dream that you look forward to achieving?
 Publishing a book :)
5. What is the aspiration that you think you can never achieve?
I like life simple...I wish for small small things...They happen , well and good...Dont , then something better is in store...No huge aspirations...So nothing!
6. What is most important to you - Values, Relationships or Money & Fame?
7. Which do you prefer - a peaceful life or a life of passion and turbulence?
A peaceful life any day....for the latter I take the help of movies
8. Which place in India do you most desire to visit?
I dont think any other country on earth offers so much variety and abundance of colors like India...Its a traveller's paradise....I would probably like to go on an All-India tour covering as many places as I can from Thar Desert , back waters of Kerala, mountain ranges of Himachal, temples of Tamilnadu....Its Incredible India!
9. Which place in the World do you most desire to visit?
I would like to visit as many places as possible...Nothing specific
10. What is it that you like the most about India?
 Culture, heritage and unity in diversity (that reminds you of Social Studies? )
11. What is it that you dislike the most about India?
Political System and Politicians, Corruption, Beggary, Casteism and basically every social evil we all blog about

From Neha:
Have you everfallen  o ff your bed while sleeping?
Yep! :)
Do you still sleep with your teddybear?
Nope, but I love watching my son sleeping hugging his pet soft elephant!
Which celebrity do you have a crush on rt now?
No one! Most of them seem a little too dumb! :) (Hope none of them read this!)
Have you ever done somethingwild and crazy ? If so, do tell.
Yeps! Bungee Jumping! Can read about it at A Not So Bungled Bungee Act
Your favouritesuper hero?
Hanuman from the Ramayana, he is the world's oldest superhero I suppose!
Your favourite child hood cartoon character?
Tom n Jerry
Your hobbies?
Reading(I prefer light humor and murder mysteries), Cooking
Your favourite author?
I like those who can write light humor filled romantic novels and also murder mysteries and all who write that...Just finished a novel by Janet Evanovich...
I like Agatha Christie and am a big Harry Potter Fan
Your favourite junk food?
Pizza, Vada,Chat items
Your favorite music band?
When MTV made its way to my home through Cable TV I used to like Backstreet Boys and Boyzone and Spice Girls and almost every band that played on that channel...I guess I was trying to be cool!! ha ha
Now I listen more to film music...Love melodies of Ilayaraja and also songs with a fast beat...
Are my questions silly and stupid ?
I better not answer that ;) (Nope, they are quite good :) )

Now, I would like to pass this award on to the following bloggers whose posts are always a delight to read

N.S Kirti at Verses From My Heart
PrivyTrifles at Memoirs Of Me
Deepa Duraisamy at Deepa's Kaleidoscope
Rajrupa Gupta at Riot of Random
Jayadev Menon at Sales Coach
R.P.S Ravi at SunByAnyName
Ash at M*U*S*I*N*G*S
Jas at Going Beyond the Pages

I am supposed to ask another 11 questions to these friends , rather I would like to ask one thing...

State 11 things you think are required for a happy and fulfilling life..Could be things, principles, rules anything! :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mommy and Sonny Visit the BirdPark

Last Sunday my husband was  not in station and it was just me and sonny at home.

My whole family truly believes that the most heinous crime that can be committed against me is asking me to sit all day within the confines of the four walls of the house.

V was actually busy and content.You simply do not get bored when you are three and a half and you just dont need a reason to be happy. An ant on the floor can give as much pleasure as a visit to Disney Land.
Hence though I declared to the big bad world that I was taking him out as he was getting bored, it was actually my own boredom I was escaping from.

Anyways, I have mentioned in some of my earlier posts about my son's addiction, craze or whatever you may call it to fauna. If there is anything that fills him with absolute glee its the sight of birds or animals.

With due consideration to the above fact, bird park was the choice as its close to my place and I decided to take on the herculean task!(Herculean? If you are wondering why, you need to take care of my little fellow for a day. Or for that matter any kiddo in the 3 to 4 yr range.Believe me, it sounds a lot more easier than it is!)

The weather-God smiled upon my quest to spend some quality time with my little boy and made sure that there were no irritating and troublesome downpours.It was bright and sunny throughout.

I just let the day go, moving in the directions he wanted to the tune of his childish pleasures.Whatever he wanted to see, however long it took!

The way his face lit up on seeing the penguin swim, the squeal he gave on seeing the pink flamingoes, it was bliss.

I realized that a simple thing like a hornbill flying from one branch to another could be the source of innocent pristine exuberance.

Every now and then he excitedly pointed at little things that he observed which were huge in his world...."Amma, the feather of the Pelican fell into the water. We need to stick". Luckily he did not insist that I had to stick it back immediately!

He spent almost three quarters of an hour simply watching the storks as they kept wading in the pool trying to find some fish while I sat on a bench nearby observing him. I doubt if any of us adults can get so much joy out of a simple scene as that!

Sometimes, its imperative that we take some time out and be with kids as kids. Just let them be themselves and relish in those little moments.Laugh when they laugh, run when they run and share a cone of icecream .They deserve it and trust me , the happiness it gives can be equated by nothing on earth.

There is a place called Lory Loft in the Singapore Bird Park. Its an enclosure for a flock of very colorful birds called lorries and visitors can feed some porridge-like substance to the birds which can be bought nearby. The last time we went , he was hardly two years. Then I was carrying him and he watched with curiosity as we adults fed the birds. This time he declared 'Vidyut give mum-mum(rice) to the birds' and he took the bowl from me and proceeded to feed his feathered friends. There are some subtle moments in life when the realization dawns on us that 'Boy, he is growing up!' . And I beamed in pride as I watched him carefully feeding the lorries without getting scared or spilling one drop.

The icing of the cake was the Parrot Paradise. For one, I was amazed by the varieties of parrots. Name a color and there was one in it- Purple, Blue, Red and even Black! As we wandered amongst their cages, I heard a familiar note amongst the cacaphony of their screeches. I went in the direction it was coming from and tried to concentrate. A yellow and green parrot was singing some rhyme that was very familiar. I moved closer and listened carefully. 'Haa-ppp-yyy B-urrr-ttt-daay' sang the bird.  I have seen them do in some shows, but on a hot afternoon, this parrot in a cage was happily singing away to glory. Leave alone V, I myself was terribly excited. Both of us pitched in. In the tranquillity of the greenery all around it was mother, son and a parrot singing 'happy birthday to you' without any care about who was listening to us. Actually we seemed to be the only tourists in that enclosure. 

The caged bird seemed to be preaching  "Happiness is the state of your mind, not of your surroundings"

After around five hours, I said to V that we needed to get going. I had been pushing his stroller and was a little exhausted. As I wearily headed to the taxi stand he turned  to me and declared without even an iota of tiredness..."Shall we go to the elephant park ?" I should have thought twice before giving him a name that translated to energy!

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Lost Word!

This is one of the posts I wrote in my initial days of blogging, Thought I will publish again!

I am sure that quite a few of you might be residing in cities where you don’t know the ABC or Ae-Be-Che or rather whichever way the script goes of the local language. People in such circumstances would have a lot of stories to share.

This becomes most problematic when you travel, or go shopping, and in case of vegetarians like me when you hunt for food. During my initial few days in Kuala Lumpur, there were instances when I would walk into a restaurant and ask if there was something veggie. Malaysian food is full of fish, meat and if nothing else anchovies for the flavor. People like me asking for vegetarian were a totally rare sight for them. The lady servicing this mad customer would give a blank look.

Okay! You did not understand, is it? Fine! Here I go again! Do-you-have-anything-veggie? I would stress each word to try to make her understand. She would give me a “Where-on-earth-have-you-come-from?” look and say “Don’t-have” with a wave of her hand. “I have better customers to attend to. Good riddance” I can almost hear the words in her mind.

Now the above belong to the “I know some English” cadre. The experience is best when you have someone for whom English sounds the way a tribal language in the deep jungles of Africa would sound to you and me. One such fellow was sent to do some general repairs in my home by the landlord.

I was alone at home with my three month old son. This guy rings the bell and comes inside and says Hi.

“Obang?” he says.

Now it was my turn to give a blank look.

“I am sorry I don’t know Malay”

“Obang! Obang!”

Well, repeating it twice will not make me a Nobel Laureate in Malay Literature.

“Ladder?” I ask trying to help.

“Obang! Obang!” and he starts walking around the house and exploring

“Bathroom? Yes the heater is not working” I say slowly and firmly trying to make the best imitation of the lady who used to come on Doordarshan at 1:15 on Sundays. News for the hearing impaired.

“Obang” and he shows me his hands with three fingers open and the thumb and index finger closed.

“Yes there are three fixes to be done”
“O-baaa-nnn-ggg” now putting so much stress on each syllable is not going to drill any amount of Malay vocabulary into my head.
He puts his hands on his hips and looks to the left and then to the right.

I stand like a school student whose teacher has just asked her “now what is fourteen times twenty-three”. Not those prodigies who have the answers stored somewhere or the other in their brain.

There is a minute of awkward silence.

Now he looks at me with a “Lets try it again” expression and says “Obang” moving his hands backwards and forwards showing three again and again.

Is he telling me that the interiors are superb? I wonder. Naaaah.Why would he repeat it so many times?

“Obang Obang” and he peruses the walls.

Luckily my neighbor is at home and I rush to seek their help.

“There is a guy out there speaking only Malay and I can’t make heads or tails out of it.”

My neighbor’s son, a fifteen year old gives me a 'Not Again' look and comes with me.

“Obang!” our man in question repeats with a relieved tone.

“Obang means hole. Is there a hole on the wall to be sealed?” the boy asks me.

Oh dear! All this while he was showing a hole with his thumb and finger and I was looking at the three shown by the other fingers.

Now that was a fix that was not there in our initial list and I had not remembered it. Even if I did remember, it would not have made any difference. I would have still been the non-Malay-speaking-idiot-who-has-landed-from-God-knows-Where.

With the help of my fifteen year old translator I managed to get things done.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mammoth Wheels

I turned around to take a glance,
At the bygone history in all its expanse;
Trying to envision, a moment, a phase,
Of no pain, no fear , no cries in the human race;
Like a wind, tearing at all that  it gets to see,
They all roared back lashing at me;
Riots,Wars and Subjugation,Genocides,Violence and Slavery;
Acts  of terror in the name of reign or bravery;
Not a single moment could I find
Of absolute calm in the realms of mankind;
Arrogance, Fanaticism, Greed, Trick and Treason.
Each and every page bellowed its own reason;
Patches aplenty cover the visage of earth
Dark and morbid, or light and in mirth
The hues keep moving, they don't remain the same
The mammoth wheels of time playing their jigsaw game
The grass that is red and sometimes yellow
One day becomes  green, the sun providing the glow
Is this the cycle of of life , Of existence?
A question beyond the reaches of my cognizance!
For now, I close my eyes in obeisance and utter a silent prayer;
For peace  to prevail forever and forever!

The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is located at China Town in Singapore. A must visit place for those visiting the first time.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Meeting Place

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 30; the thirtieth 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.

"I should have changed into something else" thought Akshara. Her blue and white school uniform was a little conspicuous.

The evening wind pushed a strand of hair in front of her face, shielding her vision. Catching it with her nimble fingers, she tucked it behind her ear.

Her eyes were fixed on Raghu, as he walked in the direction of the bhel puri vendor.

Her hands slowly moved to her cheek and carressed the spot, where his kiss had touched her a few minutes  ago. The red nail polish on her nails gleamed in the glow from the setting sun as a blush formed in her tender cheeks.

Bombay! A few of hours left to catch the train. Raghu would marry her and they would start a new life together. He had even suggested that they could find her a chance in Bollywood.

Pa and Ma would never approve of their relationship. Board Exams, Marks, Studies! Thats all they were concerned about. Her future lay with Raghu, they would never understand.

As agreed, she had attended school as usual and had rushed to him at their usual meeting place at the beach.

As Raghu neared the cart, the mobile phone in his pockets started rendering 'Jai Ho' indicating an incoming call.

"Everything going as per plan?"
" Perfect Vicky. Have I ever goofed up before? She is with me now."
"Ok. Bring her to our usual place once you reach Bombay"

Raghu turned towards Akshara and smiled.

Sixteen year olds were his favorites. He would have his turn first. After all it was his plan that was being enacted. Vicky could take her after that.

Akshara heard some riotous laughter and turned in its direction. A small boy was playing in the water, his father standing nearby."Be careful son. You have fifteen more minutes.We are heading home after that", the man shouted to his boy.

"He must be Atul's age" she thought. A depressing emotion crept into Akshara's mind when she thought about her little brother. Eight years younger than her, he was her only sibling. She got reminded of the previous night when he had been terrified due to some nightmares and had crept next to her in bed hugging her tightly.

A few feet ahead, a little girl was standing near the water, her arms locked in the safety of her parents' firm grip. Every time the  waves touched her little feet, they lifted her up and she let out squeals of delight.
'Once More Mama, Once More' she kept screaming in childish mirth.

Akshara's memories travelled back in time to a day when she had been six.  Goa;Vacation;That afternoon !She had been playing in the water. A huge  wave had enveloped her tiny body.  She felt her feet getting dragged by the currents and she was suddenly getting tossed like a rag doll .The salt in the water hit her taste buds and stung her eyes. She could sense that she was swallowing the water but there was no way she could control it. The next thing she remembered was waking up facing Pa's anxious face, tears streaming down his cheeks. She had never seen Pa cry before. For that matter, until then,she did not even know that Pa could cry.

A gloomy and lost expression clouded Akshara's face.She started getting restless. Guilt, fear, shame - All combined lashed at her mind in rhythm to the splashing waves. Above all , the thoughts about her family bore into her being like sharp arrows.

"Oh my God! What on earth am I doing?" she thought with panic.

"This is wrong, Akshara. Get up.Go back home" she heard a voice pounding repeatedly inside her head.

Akshara rose with agility  as Raghu neared her, holding two plates full of chat in his hands.

"Raghu, this is not correct! I am going" she shouted as she started moving backwards away from him.

"What happened baby? Hey wait Akshara" he kept the plates down and tried to come near her.

"No, I need to think Raghu. I am sorry" she said and ran. He ran after  her, but before he could reach her, she quickly got into an auto and headed home.

She was seated at the sofa when her Pa came back home from work. "Hi sweetheart!" he said and gently ruffled her hair.

She went near him and gave him a hug. When she felt the secure warmth of her father's embrace, she burst into tears. "I love you Pa" she cried!
"What happened Akshara?" 

"Nothing ! Nothing Pa. I promise, I will never do anything that you will be ashamed of."

She rushed to her room as her father stared after her in bewilderment.

Raghu's calls stopped coming after some time.She could not bring herself to respond.

The next morning , the family sat together for breakfast. The familiar music from the local news channel on TV filled the living room.

Distractedly Akshara glanced at the TV screen and her heartbeat stopped for a moment.

"A man named Chander was found murdered near Fisheman's Cove early today morning with multiple stab wounds in his abdomen. He was a criminal wanted by the local police in connection with a sex racket. He is said to have lured young girls to sell them in cities like Bombay and Delhi.A woman named Kavitha has surrendered at the DGG Police Station accepting responsibility for the murder" the newsreader announced.

Raghu's lifeless  body stretched on the sand on the TV screen.
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. I’m thankful to C.Suresh, who introduced Blog-a-Ton to me, and I debuted in the 28th edition.
Credits Image - Shades of Orange by Harsha Chittar Courtesy - Curious Dino Photography via

Thursday, August 2, 2012

F55 - The Ghastly Sight

The knife pierced the woman’s chest and tore its way in, triggering a vehement flow of blood.

Unperturbed by the ghastly sight, the man continued.

A lump sum had been promised.

He had a family to run! It was not his first time anyways.

Hours later they switched off the lamp outside the operation theatre.