Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thought Waves?

Mr.B from the floor above came on Wednesday evening to hand me the key to his house. The woman who cleans the house will come tomorrow morning at half past nine, he said. He was leaving for his hometown, and wanted the house cleaned before he was back. This was the first time he was leaving the key with me. He would tell her to collect it from me.

The next morning at a quarter to nine, as I was getting the five-year-old ready for school, all of a sudden I remembered that Mr.B's housemaid will be coming for the key. I looked at the clock and figured that I have ample time to see the child off to school and return, before she comes.

The thought had barely crossed my mind when the son asked, "When is Mr.B's maid coming?"
Surprised that he thought of it just as I did, I replied: "After you go to school."

"Then I can't see her!"
"It's okay, you can see her another day."

The sentence was just out of my mouth when there was a knock at the door (the darn door bell isn't fixed yet!). It was she, forty-five minutes before time.

Her arrival, my thoughts and my son's question, all occurring together - a strange coincidence?
I prefer to think there was a thought sync.

She must have been entering the apartment gates, at a quarter to nine, thinking of Mr.B's advice to take the key from me, and recollecting my house number...
... when the thought suddenly hit me that she will be coming, and I began wondering if I will be back before she comes...
... when my son wondered out of the blue whether he can see her...

Do these kinds of coincidences happen to everyone?

Friday, November 26, 2010

National Juice

My five-year-old's inquisitiveness knows no bounds. There are times when I painstakingly explain the rainbow to the eager and wide-eyed child, there are times when I am at a loss to explain why Lord Brahma did not offer one of his four heads when Ganesha lost his (he just can't get over the fact that the small elephant had to lose his beautiful head in order to save Lord Shiva's son). And there are also times when our conversation wanders off into nonsense - and neither of us is bothered!

Apologies in advance for any set of emotions that the following conversation may evoke in your mind.

He asked for Coca-Cola and I set half a glass of the beverage before him.
"Is this black coffee?" he asked.
"No, it's Coca-Cola."

He took a sip. As he savoured it, I could tell that he was deep in thought, as if trying to place something. After a while he said, "What do we call the Tiger... not the King, but something else..."
"The King is the Lion of course, not the Tiger."

"What do we call the Tiger?"
"The National Animal?"

"Ah! Yes! Is Coca-Cola the National Juice?"
I burst out laughing. "Oh, no, I don't think so. I don't think there is such a thing as a National Juice."

"National Animal is Tiger, National Bird is Peacock, what other National is there?"
"Err... National Anthem?"

"Okay. So what is the National Juice?"
"I guess it must be Lemon Juice."

"So which country's National Juice is Coca-Cola?"
No more skirting of the question. "America, I suppose."

"Coca-Cola is the National Juice of America?"

"Which country's National Juice is water?"
"Ahhh.. Water? It is not a National Juice. It is an International Juice."

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Remember the perfect, amazing, super software you recently obtained which you believe to be God's reply to all your prayers? How it can do everything you want it to do, and more?
Except that ...
... every time you open a Visual Studio project in parallel, your PC grumbles like the ancient fan in your father's room?
You tell yourself it does not matter that the super-awesome software consumes all the RAM the poor PC is capable of squeezing out. The solution is at hand: while the cool, new software is running, just don't open any other application which requires a large amount of memory. Simple!

Amazing how most of our problems are solved by 'adjustment'.

Like the problem of trusting someone. First you trust them with your eyes closed. You believe that if you're good to folk, they have no option but to be good back to you too. Then one day you suspect that they're gnawing at the firm foundation you'd carefully built up. Once the grain of doubt is planted, there is no looking back. Worse, one day you get an evidence that they were misusing your trust all along.

More often that not, you are not even aware that there is something called trust between you and another, till it breaks. You've just not perceived it in those terms till then. Normally, it isn't easy for trust to shatter - it often tries to save itself by cushioning the fall. But the nastier the fall, the worse it crumbles.

The Adjustment Factor steps in then. You realise that they had been taking you for a ride or two. Nonetheless, you hesitate before dropping the final bombshell. For one thing, you can't muster enough courage - you fear a confrontation may destroy forever what were mere cracks. Your baseless assumption is that the cracks could be glued together. For another, breaking apart means you no longer will have access to a lot of things that made your life convenient. You choose to be prudent. I will adjust a little. After all, good things do come at a price.

The ones that lied.
The ones that stole.
The ones that cheated.
The ones that pretended.

Little by little, you stop trusting people. Once bitten,...

You close your eyes. You bite your lips. You pretend it never happened.
You wish you hadn't seen it or known it - there was peace in ignorance.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Bird with clipped wings...

As far as I know, this story has no relation to anything or anyone living. 

But whether it has any connection to an entity that once existed...? Quite likely, I dare say.

And oh, yes, this story is taken from the Ramayana. In case you had any doubts. 

In the Hindu epic Ramayana, Jatayu (Sanskrit: जटायू Jatāyū, Tamil: Chatayu, Thai: Sadayu, Malay: Jentayu or Chentayu) is the son of Aruna and nephew of Garuda. A demi-god who has the form of a vulture, he was an old friend of Dasharatha (Rama's father). He tries to rescue Sita from Ravana when Ravana is on his way to Lanka after kidnapping Sita. Jatayu fought valiantly with Ravana, but as Jatayu was very old Ravana soon got the better of him. As Rama and Lakshmana chanced upon the stricken and dying Jatayu in their search for Sita, he informs them of the fight between him and Ravana and the direction in which Ravana had gone (i.e., south).

While Jataayu was wounded and laying on the ground when Lord Rama arrived, Lord Rama sensed the end result and decided that Jatayu get moksha. Lord Rama hit an arrow in the ground so as to call all seven sacred rivers, called teertha. Six rivers' waters arrived, one river water failing to obey Lord Rama's call. Since Lord Rama was himself an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, He forced the Gaya teertha to arrive at the spot. Finally Jatayu was given the waters of seven rivers and He attained moksha.

The above text is taken from Wikipedia

Monday, November 22, 2010

If you dread it, you'll love it

I confess I dreaded it. To say I was terrified would not be too far off the mark. Twenty-five screaming children running amok in my house?! I tried my best to avoid it. But my motherly heart would not let me see the disappointment in my son's eyes. After all, he had been waiting for this day for months.

Till last year he did not know the essence of birthdays - that there was a relation between growing a year older and the noisy fun called birthday parties. The connection was made early this year. From then on he began asking quite regularly, "Will all my friends come to my home for my birthday?"

At first I gave non-committal replies. Soon I was forced to change it to a firm "Yes", though it was followed by a silent groan. By then I knew I had to give in. I decided that I just wanted to get it over with. Somehow.

As the day approached, I made a list of things to do: arrangements to be made, items to be purchased, children to invite. Hey - that's when the fun began. For my son, it was just a matter of 'waiting for his birthday party'. For me, it was the whole excitement of 'making it happen'.

Birthday Cake courtesy Sweet Chariot

Having the children over was funn-er (is there such a word?) than I imagined. I was not in the least worried about the place becoming a mess - in fact, when it was over I was quite surprised to see the room more or less tidy.

Did the children enjoy it as much as we did? Ah, there is no way I can answer that, but the way they made noise during the party ('the louder the merrier'?) and played with their gifts the whole weekend, I believe they did.

My son found himself overshadowed by the older children present, and chose to stay silent, quite unlike his usual self. As soon as the party was over, however, he got his own little crowd together and began playing.

So, as I was saying, the more you dread something, the better - because it can only turn out to be much better than in your wildest nightmares!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Passage of Time..

Time often hides its wrinkled face 
Behind the thread of nights and days:
We fail to behold the quiet passage, 
till one day we are stopped short 
by a sight that plunges us to the past...

The sight that does plunge me every now and then to the past is that of the clothes-line that holds my son's t-shirts, shorts and pants and I remember the seventeen pint-sized cloth diapers that used to adorn it, daily...

I remember the time when he did not know one letter of the alphabet from another, one language from the other, and today he clubs syllables together, reads sentences, speaks Malayalam, English, and a spatter of Hindi and Kannada as required...

Every day I learn things I never knew about him...


... A couple of weeks ago, when I went to fetch him from his four-year-old friend's house right next door to us ("Play-time is overrrrrrr"), I saw that he was rubbing his forehead, with a weird expression on his face. I looked at the 4yo's Dad who had opened the door for me.
The gentleman said in a bewildered tone, "He hit his head on the edge of the table, and began rubbing it with water. I have no idea why he did that."
My smile was wide. "Oh, otherwise it will bulge," I said and took my son home. 
Maybe what we're doing is right, after all. The little fella seems to have learnt how to take care of himself, even if his Mamma is not around.


... On Children's Day, the women in our apartment arranged a few games and activities for the children. All of us - women and children - got together and had a lot of fun. When it was over, one of the ladies called all the kids together to take a snap. It would be so nice to look at it a few years later! Suddenly I realised that my little monkey was not in the group. I requested the photographer Mom to hold it for a second and started calling his name. Getting no response, I gestured to her to go on and take the pic, while I wandered off in search of him.
As expected, I found him at the apartment gate. "Whatcha-doing-here-we-were-taking-pictures-I-was-calling-you..."
"I went to touch the cow," he said, pointing to the road.
"Cow? What cow?" True enough, there were a couple grazing across the road. I looked daggers at the security guard. "Did he cross the road to get near to the cow?"
"I went with him," replied the man. And he continued, "Yeh sabse alag hai. He doesn't always want to play with the others. He hangs around here and wants to see cow, doggies and so on. He is different."


... The day we travelled back from Trivandrum, the lady who stood right behind us in the queue, who was smiling at his non-stop chatter and infinite questions (to some of which I had to answer, "Hush, I will tell you later"), suddenly asked, "Is he in school at Trivandrum?"
"No," I said, "In Bangalore."
She said, "He speaks Malayalam so fluently and easily that I thought he must be doing his schooling in Kerala..."


My son turns five today.
I look at my smart little man, who never ceases to amaze me, even when he is at his mischief-est, un-listening-est, doing-everything-i-disapprove-est and absolutely uncontrollable-est.

Related Posts:
My son turns four
Proud Mamma Brags
Do you know the answers?
Nothing escapes his keen senses

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's okay...

... to find your living room in chaos when you wake up in the morning, because it means your five-year-old was having a good time with his toy friends just before sleep

... to leave your unwashed laundry in the baskets and the washed ones in a pile waiting to be folded, because it means you were inspired to write a beautiful story or two

... to miss going out to work, because it means you're lucky enough to be at home when your child returns from school, to be available at all his functions in school, to be near him to hug him when he cries and to take him out for a walk when he needs

... to find the kitchen unclean after last night's dinner, because it means you got to sleep early for once

... to be envious of your neighbour's always-clean house despite that she has two children and a full-day job, because all people are not alike, all kids are not alike, and all houses are not alike

... to find that your house becomes a mess again ten minutes after the maid cleans up, because it means your child is having fun cutting newspapers into shapes or mixing water colours on the floor or moulding clay into animals, and wiping his soiled hand all over the place, with a twinkle in his eyes that you love to see

... to be jealous of someone, because most often there will be something about you that they are jealous of, too

... to be referred to as a 'house-wife', because it means that your home is your topmost priority

... to be at home all day and meet people only through text messages, phone calls and social networking sites, because it means you don't have to face the accusing glances and slicing words of your juniors, peers and superiors every time you leave office at nine or ten in the night

... to lose your heart over things you'll never have, because if you don't have dreams and fantasies, life becomes downright dull

... to feel alone and lonely now and then, because it means you don't have to daily endure the smug looks of colleagues you are condemned to work with

... to have unexpected visitors when the house is at the messiest, though you have to push the toys and papers aside to make room for them, and endure their disapproving glances with an embarrassed smile, because it means you were playing and laughing with your child just before they came

Sunday, November 14, 2010


"Hello Sir. Good morning Sir."

"Ah. Good Morning."
"Good morning Sir Good morning. You called me? The line got disconnected Sir. I was just about to answer your call and it beeped and got disconnected."

"Yes, I called to ask a favour-"
"Of course Sir anything please tell me Sir."

"Next weekend I need to travel to Kerala; Cochin to be exact. Can you arrange a ticket for me?"
"Air ticket Sir?"

"No, train will do. First or second class, A/C."
"Yes of course Sir. First or second class is better. Third class is quite inconvenient, suffocating and stuffy, really, heh heh."

"Is there any travel agent you might know...?"
"Oh yes Sir, there is someone I know yes there is. In fact we contact him for all our official travels, you know, from office. Very good fellow. Actually, heh heh, I call him up for my personal travels too, ha ha.."

"Good. But do you think tickets will be available, this being holiday season..."
"Well of course Sir it may be difficult but I am sure he will be able to pull a few strings here and there, Sir, it will be no problem at all, I think."

"Indeed. Could you please check with him-"
"Oh yes Sir of course Sir, I will check with him first thing today Sir, and I will call you back, Sir."

"Thank you."
"Oh no trouble at all Sir. It's a privilege, really. Absolutely no problem Sir."

"Yeah.. okay. Bye."
"Bye Sir. Bye Sir."

"Why in the world does he call me up whenever he needs to travel? Am I his travel agent, huh?"


Thursday, November 11, 2010

In the meantime...

... I have been writing stories and talking about people, places and other thingies, generally playing with words and stepping back once in a while to admire the effect. As the Alter-Ego bloke warned me the other day, unless I announce from tree tops (roof tops?) that I pretend to know the art of holding a pen, no one will ever even think of the possibility.

My faithful readers, (Are you there? Hello? Anybody home?) please hop over to this link at the Mag, and do let me know what you think of the stuff I made up - Do they make any sense at all?! Don't forget to come back here and let me know your thoughts, because The Mag sometimes takes a while to approve comments, and unless they do, I don't get to read them.

Tell me, should I trash the rest of the unpublished stuff hogging my PC and my work table?

Ah... I see you leave one by one. I'll be right here when you're back.
Why don't you leave your sandals here, so you don't have to take them off at the door of The Mag.

Let me now wait for the brickbats...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Are you one of these?

Wakey, wakey sleepy heads!
Half past five in the morning.
Over half the apartment is snoring, the other half has just begun to stir.
You - tall, handsome, health-conscious, owner of the coolest car on the road, every woman's dream husband - are ready to hit the gym. Because you're up, it does not matter if the others are asleep. Amazingly alert and full of energy, you rev up your engine, approach the closed apartment gates à la Schumacher and ... Blast the horn, startling the life out of the faint-hearted.

Lame, Lamer, Lamest
You're envious of her blog. You've been envious ever since you first chanced upon her blog three-four years ago. You're envious because you can't write as well as she does. And she was only twenty or twenty-one when you first fell in jealousy with her! Then one day you spit out the venom that's been poisoning your heart for years: you post an anonymous comment at her latest, well-written, imaginative blog that it is a "lame, lame" piece of iSht. You leave a beautifully coined anagram of your name that you're sure no one can unearth. You pat yourself on the back at the clever trick. You are relieved, the great big piece of lead has finally been taken off your chest.

You go back to your social networking profile and update your Bio: "Live and let live."

Nothing better to do
Her grammar is perfect, her vocabulary well-developed, her language impeccable. She loves writing but limits herself to extensive and well-written Facebook status messages. They include updates on her family, her take on the world, her thoughts. All in one or two lines.

Whenever you login to FB, you see at least one of her messages and a few comments/replies below them from her friends. You have no idea why these messages or their frequency irritate you, but they do.

One day you find her on chat and ask her if only to embarrass her, "What's this daily Facebook update thing? Have you nothing better to do, haha?"

You're irritated with the guy who blasts the horn before sunrise. 
You're irritated at the one who posts offensive comments at blogs.
You're irritated by the so-called friend who cannot appreciate someone's social networking preferences and tries to belittle her.

You know you cannot do much without entering into a verbal exchange over something that doesn't directly involve you.

You ponder over them, try to ignore and suppress the emotions that surface, failing which, decide to blog about them because the blog is all yours.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Vibhuti Yoga

I am the Self, O Gudakesha, abiding in the hearts of all beings. Of all beings I am the beginning, middle and end.

Of the Adityas I am Vishnu; of lights the radiant sun, of the Maruts I am Marici; of heavenly bodies I am the moon.

Of the Vedas I am the Sama Veda; of the gods I am Indra. Of the senses I am the mind, and of the living beings I am consciousness.

Of the Rudras I am Sankara, of the Yaksas I am Kubera. Of the Vasus I am Agni and of mountains I am Meru.

Of priests, O Partha, know me to be the chief, Brhaspati. Of military commanders I am Skanda; of bodies of water I am the ocean.

Of the great sages I am Bhrgu; of utterances the syngle syllable (Om); of sacrifices I am japa; of that which is immovable I am the Himalayas.

Of trees I am the Ashvattha; of the godly seers I am Narada; of Gandharvas I am Citraratha; of the siddhas I am Kapila.

Of horses know me as Uccaihsrava, born of the nectar of immortality. Of lordly elephants, Airavata, and of men, the king.

Of weapons I am the thunderbolt; of cows, the wish-fulfilling Kamadhenu. Of progenitors I am Kamadeva, and of serpents I am Vasuki.

Of nagas I am Ananta; of aquatics, Varuna. Of the ancestors I am Aryama, and of those who punish and reward I am Yama.

Of demons I am Prahlada; of calculators I am time. Of animals I am the lion, and of birds, Garuda.

Of purifiers I am the wind; of warriors I am Rama; of fish I am the shark; of rivers I am the Ganges.

O Arjuna, of creations I am the beginning, middle and end; of knowledge I am knowledge of the Supreme Self; among speakers I am words that are unbiased and in pursuit of the truth.

Of letters I am the first (Akaar), and of compound words I am the dual. I alone am endless and the universal dispenser, facing in all directions.

I am death, destroyer of all; I am the source of all things yet to be. Of women I am fame, prosperity, speech, memory, intelligence, fortitude and forbearance.

Of the Vedic hymns I am Brhatsama; of meters, Gayatri; of months, Margasirsa; of seasons, flower-bearing spring.

Of cheaters I am gambling, and influence among the influential. I am victory, effort and the goodness of the good.

Of Vrsnis I am Vasudeva; of the Pandavas Dhananjaya(Arjuna); of the wise I am Vyasa; of poets, Usana.

Of punishers I am the rod of chastisement; of victors I am the guidance they follow. Of secret things I am silence and of the wise I am wisdom. 

Further more, O Arjuna, I am the seed of all existence. There is nothing moving or unmoving that can exist without me.

O conqueror of enemies, there is no end to my divine manifestation. What I have told you is merely an indication of the extent of my opulence.

Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 10: VibhutiYoga
(The above text has been taken from 'The Bhagavad Gita' translation in English published by the House of Nightingale)

Read more here.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Weirdo called Memory

Isn't memory a weird, strange thing? It adorns multiple guises like an actor: sometimes it is a razor, sometimes it is smoke, sometimes it is a blank white sheet, and sometimes it is graffiti.

Sometimes you forget names and places you knew so well, yet...

...every time you hear the mention of a place, you remember your first crush
...every time you hear or speak of a hospital, you remember your little sister was born there be it twenty-five years ago
...every time you talk of school you remember a girl you'd rather forget
...every time you yearn for the road, you remember Wander-thirst, poem that beckons from high school

And East and West the Wander-Thirst that will not let me be;
It works in me like madness, dear, to bid me say goodbye,
For the seas call, and the stars call, and oh! The call of the sky!

Now the darn ol' memory has gone wandering off again...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Annoying Questions

One of the advantages of staying away from hometown is that you're less likely to run into people who have seen you grow up, who remember what fashion sense (or the lack of it) you had two hundred years ago, who mocked you at a wedding when you were fifteen because you chose to wear an ordinary cotton salwar ("Didn't you find anything better to wear?") instead of bedecking yourself for the event and who believe it's their duty to remind you every time that your tastes were so dry and pathetic and different. 

The chances of bumping into them in your yearly visits to hometown are pretty slim. Moreover, you're now better equipped to handle them: you are armed with defense weapons and protective shields before you even plan the trip! But there are always some of them around every nook and corner, if not the ones from the past, there will be some from the present, who manage to demolish your prospects of happiness for the entire visit. They never tire of asking annoying questions or offering unsolicited advices. Even the few good folk you encounter fail to salvage anything from the rubble.

Here are some of the questions and suggestions with the replies they deserve to hear. Nasty, I know. But that's all I can do - blog about it.

You're so thin! Don't you eat anything?
You have no idea. My Mother is a horrid woman who doesn't give me any food. I have to work part-time for the money to buy myself something. With the studies and everything, you know how tough it can get.

My God, your son is so thin! Doesn't he eat anything?
Actually I hate cooking, so I let him starve most of the time. It's okay, he is getting used to it so well.

What! You lose your patience if your son doesn't fall asleep even at the end of two-three hours? You should never be impatient. You should tell him a thousand and one stories, sing two thousand five hundred songs even if it takes you six hours. By then any child will sleep. But don't ever get angry.
Oh, these days I tie him to the bed at sleep time and gag him so he lies still. That way he falls asleep very easily, haha. No trouble at all. You should also try it on your child.

If your son prefers not to waste time on food, there is this great, simple, effective method. Walk after him, like about twenty five times around the house and wherever else he wanders off to, and by the end of three hours and a half he would have eaten five idlis!
Brilliant idea. Why didn't I think of it before! I only have to wake him, the five year old, old enough to eat by himself, at four in the morning so that we can have a jolly ride around the apartment with his breakfast before school, and when he is back it is only a matter of another three hours for his lunch, and another three hours around the apartment at night for his dinner. Wow.

Oh, do you know cooking?!
Not really, but please don't tell anyone. I sneak in something from the hotel through the back door when no one's looking and present them as if I made them. My family doesn't know, the poor fools.

... the Q&A to be continued...