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