Friday, December 30, 2005

When it's a trip that keeps you busy


Well, that's what it is. I almost panicked and fainted when I saw that I had just two posts up in December..:o..Thanks to all the trips that I am making with my parents and my sis, the latest being a visit to Trichy, after about seven years.

An 'after a really long time' get together with cousins, and add a sweetie cutie nephew to the gang..Boy, kids are the loveliest things you can ask for..this one drove me crazy and made me fall in love..:p..

I also landed up watching two movies - "Kanda naal mudhal" and "Waah..Life ho tho Aisi". Liked the first one and found the second one kinda silly!!

And that is that..:)..What's more..Hmm..with the new year round the corner, I guess it's time to start wishing everyone - Happy New Year folks!! May the year ahead be filled with sweet surprises and let it give you countless reasons to smile..:)

Monday, December 19, 2005

From Bombay to Madras

So what if it’s raining? Vani and I today raced through in my scooty pep, as the rain hit hard on our skin and the wind rushed on our faces, dishevelling our hair. It was wonderful, to say the least, to be back driving my dear two wheeler. It is wonderful to meet my sis after about 8 months (and hasn’t she thinned down?). Well, it’s wonderful to be back home.

Happy to be back here, yes..But what’s that? The kind of suspended feeling that I woke up with today morning - a sense of still belonging to a different place and that this was may be a dream, from which I would wake up and rush to take the 9.45 local from Churchgate. It doesn’t take long to see that my being in Madras, is reality, when mom places a cup of steaming ‘Milo’ in my hands. Day before yesterday morning, I was somewhere else, there, where my heart still lies.

I am now reminded of a post that I had written on transitions, a few months back. Transitions – how they rule my life; the last one week at Bombay was one where I found myself engrossed in work, for almost 14 hours at a stretch, everyday. I am surprised, I never complained; somehow, I never felt like. The last day, I walked out, without looking back, as if it was yet another day of going back home and being back the next morning.


Despite all the work at office, I still managed time for things closest to my heart. I walked up to Marine Drive, lost myself looking at the serene sky and the placid waters. I went to my often-frequented Barista at Colaba for a last bite of my favourite brownie and a mug of hot chocolate. I watched a movie at Sterling. I walked down Colaba causeway. I stood for a moment in between platforms 1 and 2 at the Churchgate station staring at the tireless local trains that went up and down, listening to the announcements. I threw one last glance at the Oxford bookstore, a place that I had visited as if it was my second home. Days so full of ‘for one last time’ visits.

Farewell gifts, sweet hugs, moist eyes, seen yet unseen tears, good luck messages and to top it all, a mail from a person who you hold in high regard. It isn’t always that your boss writes you a mail and ones that welcome you to stay back in the organisation, even rarer. I still chose to leave them behind, saying someday I would be back, to this lovely place. The question nevertheless remains. Will I ever go back and even if I did, will things ever be the same again?

It is difficult to fall in love with places; But when you do, it’s even tougher to miss them. When I boarded the train back home, my mind was blank. But as the train pulled out, my heart grew heavier. Isn’t it true that it’s the memories that make a place beautiful? Bombay, where I saw so many of my dreams take shape, where I lived my life to the fullest..She, the queen of my Dreams; She is a tear that hangs inside my soul forever..

Friday, December 09, 2005

Holding on..



"She's a tear that hangs inside my soul forever."
- Jeff Buckley


Isn't that true with places too?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Lyrics that I fell for - III

Now, after this and this, I am tempted to list one more again and this is one song that is very dear to me. It is from the movie, 'Nilaave Vaa' set to tune by Vidyasagar. The song penned by Vairamuthu, is sung very beautifully by Chitra and Hariharan.

The concept used in this song is very interesting. The attachment or the fact that the presence of the other in one's life is indispensable, is put forth through certain wonderful facts - pairs, where you can't isolate one from the other. I can't pick out one of them and say I love this. I love them all! :)..So here it is, for record..

"nee kaatru naan maram
enna sonnalum thalai aatuven

nee mazhai naan boomi
engu vizhundalum endhi koLven

nee iravu naan viNmeen
nee irukkum varai thaan naan iruppen"


"nee alai naan karai
ennai adithaalum etru koLven

nee udal naan nizhal
nee vizhavendam naan vizhuven

nee kiLai naan ilai
unnai ottum varaikkum thaan uyir tharippen

nee vizhi naan imai
unnai serum varaikkum naan thudithiruppen

nee swaasam naan deham
naan unnai mattum uyir thoda anumadhippen" (nee kaatru..)



"nee vaanam naan neelam
unnil naanai kalandhiruppen

nee eNNam naan vaarthai
nee sollum pozhudhey veLi paduven

nee veyil naan kuil
un varugai paarthuthaan naan isaippen

nee udai naan idai
unai urangum pozhudum naan udithiruppen

nee pagal naan oLi
endrum unnai mattum saarndhey naan iruppen" (nee kaatru..)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The gift

Deep crimson, streaks of gold; a bulging cloud coddling the orange ball..Two dozen birds, miniature marvels, gliding across, with messages from heaven..

"Slowly, steadily, you descend and drop,
next to me, you go hip-hop..
Fragile bird, with a pallid wing,
what message do you bring?"


I hear a grumble; What is it? Is it you, my stomach? Nope, nope..it can't be, for I just fed you..this glass, a proof..

Ah, serene, sensual, surreal; succour, I succumb to thee; Bach and Mozart, Masters of the art! Will you forgive me, this son of thee?? - Sinful, sinning, sinner..



"And there sings a distant lark,
thro' the frills of dark..
O'ye lark in mad mood,
what d'ya sing - The Art of Fugue?"


"Ah yet another bereaved lover..," mutters the man in guard, walking by..

"O' dear sir, I ain't lost a lover,
but a lovely, beautiful daughter..
She was born this day,
but fate snatched her away.."


"I raise my violin, play her tune,
gathering memories, that are strewn..
Heavenward wind, carry with you,
this father's tune, to her, my due.."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

For the bookshelf..

Saturday at Oxford
Sunday at Crossword
Four from the former
Two from the latter

Reasons are to be built
For I suffer from guilt
I say, "What for do I earn?"
Oh God, when will I learn? :(

Thursday, November 03, 2005

His better half's monologue..


"All of us love listening to stories, don't we? Well, I have one to offer you too, the story of my own life, the one that I lead with this man, who the world calls my husband.."

"You know what am thinking right now? Why (the hell) do we get married?"

"No, no..now don't start on devising those sermons to be delivered to me.."

"I know why we get married..to fight and blow our tops!!"

"Before you dismiss me as one of those cynical sounding feminist with anti-men ideas, I will give you an instance..Why one, I will give you many.."

"It is one of those rare nights. We are watching a fabulous late night movie with mugs of coffee in our hands. It is pouring like crazy outside and my dear hubby could think of nothing but his car outside.."

"Oh my poor car, my poor car," he goes on and on..

"Finally I get bugged and I say, "Oh God, now go hug your poor car and sleep..""

"And you know, what all we fight for? Which channel to watch, which restaurant to eat at, whose party to attend - his colleague's promotion party or my friend's daughter's birthday party..Oh yes, we also fight on who has to wake up early and cook!!"

"Ok, let me tell you about another day. We are inside the car, waiting at a signal when I can see his eyes effortlessly following a group of five college girls, laughing and giggling. There is a smile that I see unconsciously spreading on his face. But Sir checks himself soon enough, for he knows my eyes are following him as well.."

"And then he immediately has to clear his throat, and say.."

"Now, now, dear, won't it be lovely to have girls, er.., daughters like them, so pretty beautiful and adorable.."

"and he has to crane his neck and look at them, till they disappear round the bend, till I shake him up and say, the signal is green.."

"Daughters, it seems..Sheesh!!"

"God, what do I do with him? The morning following that late night movie, I wake up to see his eyes fixed on me anxiously.."

"Well?" I raise my eyebrows in surprise.

"You know what honey..You look like a beautiful child when you sleep.."

""Amit.." I burst out, finding it hard to supress my giggles, "You just can't get this.." and I go into fits of laughter, holding my tummy."

"And then I see him looking mournful and confused like a kid.."

"Amit, what is it?"

"Suddenly he kneels down by the side of my cot, takes my hand and slips a beautiful ring into my finger.."

"Sweetie, may be there are a thousand stars in the sky, but you are the brightest.." he pauses, "but don't mind the rest.." "

"and there, right there, he gives a wide grin, while I chase him out of the room with his loud cries of "Happy Anniversary baby.." filling the entire house.."

"But you know, I should tell you..Sometimes, I find him so cute, especially when he falls asleep on my lap when I go on and on with my day's stories.."

"Love sometimes shows up most in the most trivial of acts. Like.."

"Like when he massages my feet when I cry out in pain and when he hands over those tissue papers, seeing me weep over spicy food.."

"I am talking too much about him today..All this rambling means that I am going to miss him..:(..he is going on a two week official tour..:("

"Sumi, I think I would need another bag..Where are you? Why don't you come here..Sumi!!"

"There, can you hear him??"

"Coming coming.."

"See, see tension is mounting..I need to rush now.."

"Sumanaaaaaaa..."

"Coming..oh Godddddddddddd..!"

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

What if..

What if I hadn't started blogging?

What if I hadn't called myself Anupama Viswanathan?

What if I had a nick name and blogged?



What if I stopped blogging now?? :O

Geeh..I am in such a crazy mood now..:D..Feel like I am almost drunk!!

Jesus, somebody help me...!!! :|

PS: Happy Diwali folks!! Shall hopefully follow this up with a sane post..:)

Friday, October 21, 2005

A story tree grows..

A branch added to Eroteme's story tree..

He thought it would be an ordinary journey. Standing behind the pillar he watched the train snort arrogantly into the station. With each snort he was reminded of his grandfather's words "You will fail in the city and return penniless"; with every heavenward whistle, he heard his cousin, "Don't worry. Come here and I will get you a job at the construction site." Now he had a 34-hour journey to prove one of them wrong, and he expected the excitement at the end of the journey. He looked at his ticket once again: compartment S9 berth 23.

Pushing his luggage under the seat, he sat close to the window. "Papa, when will you be back?" - his four year old daughter Munni asked innocently. He stared into those soft brown eyes of the motherless kid. He held her frail palms in his, through the window. "Munni, Papa will get you a nice gudiya from the city..Say tata," his sister spoke to the kid, to avoid an emotional outburst. In a minute, the train pulled forward, and Munni's little fingers parted from between his. "I need to go..", he thought, "I have to, at least for Munni's sake.."


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(Everything below the dashed line above should be copied and pasted with every accepted tag)

This is a Story Tree and is best nurtured as follows:
1. A blogger can add only 90-100 words (not more or less) at a time
2. All previous snippets of 90-100 words need to be copied before the new set of 90-100 words are appended.
3. Each entire snippet should be linked to the respective author (and not just the first sentence or so)
4. Characters, scenes, etc. can be introduced by an author
5. Bizarre twists, sci-fi, fantasy sequences are best avoided.
6. A tag must be accepted within 7 days else the branch is a dead branch
7. After appending 90-100, the Story Tree can be passed on to at most 3 bloggers.
8. If more than 1 branch leads to a blogger, s/he is free to choose any one of them but cannot mix the snippets of the individual branches.
9. The Story Tree is best left to grow than concluded
10. Please attach the image of the Story Tree below with each accepted tag (the link address can be copied and used).



I would like to tag Rathish, RS and Ammani, to continue this story..

Friday, October 14, 2005

To BITS, with love

Today, I talk of a small place that housed many dreams, aspirations and a single spirit that bound many people together. It housed me, a tiny dot in that big ocean.

Some months back, Amrita asked me, "You are still rooted to that place, aren't you?" That shouldn't come as a surprise. The place she was talking about, is a speck in the Rajasthan map: Pilani. That day, she was the victim of my rambling.

What would you call this - Irony? I talk of a place that has almost been shadowed, after the turn of events in my life. I came out an engineer, and now I am a writer. I think of this place and all the events linked to it, everyday, even if it means, in a trivial way. It's almost four years since I graduated and the bitsian slang still refuses to slip out of my routine..

It simply isn't easy to forget. The moments of pride that came with wearing those bitsian tee-shirts, the hungama in the trains, when travelling from Madras to Delhi and back, the group of friends that came together in the most unusual way, the first birthday at BITS with people painting your face, the corridors, the classrooms, the EEE lectures, the never ending list of tests, the mess food, the lawns, the 5 maddening days of OASIS, the spirit of our cultural departments, the innumerable treats, the blooming romances, the crushes, the trips, the laughs, the smiles, the sighs and the tears, the affection of the sweetest friend, her never ending support, the solitary rides on my bicycle round the campus, the chilly winters, the warm razais, the lazy wintry afternoons, the beautiful february spring,


the miserable summer heat, the tired PCs, the gossips, the small monthly budgets, my room, my cupboard, my table, my bank account, the home sickness, the letters (no, not mails), the night outs, the gatecalls, the professionalism that grew in you, the small successes, the heart breaking failures, the spirit to fight on, the 'just for the heck of it' pictures, the farewells,the second home, the people, their variety, the place, the place made most beautiful by the people in it..It's they who carved the beautiful memories that I cherish now..It simply isn't easy to forget.

Talk about reflections. Now, hasn't it really been a while?

Sometimes I wonder why I resist change so much, why I find it so difficult to go with the flow. Friends, with whom I have spent almost every minute of my time, now seem so distant and far away. In no time, our lives have taken totally different paths, from a period where we flowed together.

Change, it is so hard to live with. But, that's the way life works.. It's tough, but I just move on, holding these memories along..

This is to BITS, with love..

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

When every word counts..


Dreams. They rose like high tides, crashing against my heart, dying as silent whispers on my lips. I watched them play; Beauty, Paradox, Passion, Trust.

Finally, I spoke, you didn’t. You smiled.

Today you bend down, to place roses on my grave. I see them. Tears. My man, don't..please don't..it hurts, worse than death, sweetheart..

(Thanks RS , for the 55 word tag..)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

14 days!! :O


I think I have been really unfair to my blog this time. The guilty me has been cribbing about it quite elaborately to my close friends. Anyways, I hope to put up something soon. In the meantime I thought I should cheer myself up and here is a joke that I happened to get from one of my colleagues.

"Friends of Women:

A wife was not at home for a whole night. So she tells her husband, the
very next morning, that she stayed at her (girl) friend's apartment
overnight. So the husband calls 10 of her best (girl) friends and none
of them confirm that she was with them.

Friends of Men:

A husband was not at home for a whole night. So he tells his wife the very
next morning, that he stayed at his friend's apartment over night. So
the wife calls 10 of his best friends and 5 of them confirm that he stayed
at their apartments that night and another 5 are claiming that he is still
with them!! "
Moral of the story: Men always have better friends...They will stand by you, no matter what....!!!


My comment: Ohhhhhhh...Phuleeeeeezzzzeeeee!


(With due thanks to yahoo for the smiley!! :))

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Tagged, yet again!

Ok, am tagged again, by Agnibarathi..so, here I go!!

Seven things you plan to do before you die

Buy a lancer and take my parents around
Get into developmental journalism
Own a small library of my own
Write stories for children
Go on a European tour
put on weight ;)
and of course, freak out!

Seven things you can do

I can..

eat pastries
care immensely for those who I love
write pages and pages of nonsense
crib like crazy and throw tantrums
enjoy sweet nothings in life
be a patient listener
work really, really hard


Seven things you say most

I say..

Nonsense
Shut up
Please..
Very funny
Chalo, gtg
aah..amma
romba nalladhu

Seven things you can't do

I can't..

watch hindi serials
go without sleep
eat non veg
drink coffee
stay without books, music and writing
stand people who act too smart
wear heavy make-up

Seven things that attract you to the opposite sex

Intelligence
Creativity
Chivalry
Humour
6 feet height
Mischevous eyes
deep voice


Seven celebrity crushes

Narayan Murthy
Madhavan
A.R.R
Yanni
Pete Sampras
Kannadasan
Maniratnam

And let me tag..

S m i t h a
Kumari
Vinesh
Biju

Friday, September 02, 2005

Ouch..


The last few days have been tight; long hours at work, plenty of running around; The few 'in-between' minutes were religiously spent on a favourite book and of course, there has been very little sleep. And did I say that my head hurts and I miss something?

Doesn't matter, after all that cribbing, I am still grinning wide..because there is some good news.. Yeh!! I am going home!! :)

Friday, August 26, 2005

Unwanted

Am finally here, I beamed
In a world that I dreamed
When I saw grandma's lip curl
And say it is a baby girl..

Unfamiliar it all seemed
As all the men screamed
This day that I bloomed
They said all was doomed..

Where first cries were treasured
In angry voices they were buried
We want her no more, they said
It's only ill luck I bred..


I meant good to none
Save her, the only one,
One, who would stop to bother
She, my poor dear mother..

Yet, I felt her palm moisten
Momma,not this bad, bitter poison
Momma, give me your goo' food
Pray, why should I be done for good?

Minds crooked and bent, O'Gracious Death
Tell me, is this life's worth?
This world, I know, I shall never miss
Please silence me, with your kiss..

Monday, August 08, 2005

Of brownies, hot chocolate and nut crunch! :)

And add some Kurkure to it, to spice up a perfect weekend delight! I ain't a food connoisseur but

- Isn't it a pleasure when you have a slab of brownie with walnuts generously strewn all over it and when you sink your teeth into it, a stream of thick chocolate flows like nectar out of nowhere. And before you realise, the slab has melted almost magically in your mouth..

- Isn't it a joy when you have steaming hot chocolate sitting inside a Barista outlet to beat the dampness outside..And you get to smell the unbeatable aroma of roasted coffee seeds ( Yeah, I hate coffee but not the aroma!)..

- Isn't it a delight when you have a single scoop of Baskin and Robbin's "Nut Crunch" icecream in absolute silence, sitting at Marine Drive when the cool evening breeze just ruffles your hair reminding you of dad's rare yet most treasured display of affection, as though he watched his young girl merrily finish her icecream off and ruffled her hair to give her that warmth of love..

- Isn't it priceless contentment when you lie down on your bed munching Kurkure and closing your eyes, listening to Sudha Ragunathan's brilliant rendering of "Thaye Yashodha", Kalyani Menon's Thodi Alaap and Rajesh Vaidhya's one minute Veena Performance..

Bliss, in a 'nut' shell. Simple Pleasures, for which I would pay anything..:)

Friday, August 05, 2005

She..

Fluttering lashes
Dreamy eyes
Cherry lips
Flashing smile

Slender waist
Tender hands
Butter skin
Long legs

Dazzling skirt
Jingling anklets
Heavenly grace
Pretty woman



(Only left with..)

Lifeless living
Hurting shame
Unspoken word
Pricking pain

Cloudy eyes
Pearly drops
Deadly void
Cruel fate

Freezing gaze
Healing touch
Dream man
Beyond reach

Caressed dreams
Unfulfilled desires
Everyone's woman
Yet noone's..

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A night to remember

It is one of those really, really rare days where the media house doesn't look like one. In a place which buzzes uncontrollably with activity, a relaxed mood seems to have dawned. While I type this, a section of the office is busy playing dumbC's and mind you, the Ed is also much a part of it!!

As for me, I am loving this feeling of "all to myself" and I have stopped to look at my blog at such a slow pace that I haven't managed in the last so many months (There is a bonus post too!). Today, the rains beat down like crazy and the whole city of Bombay is flooded, traffic's stuck and I am sitting at office; I seriously don't give a damn to how I will go back to my hostel. I will reach late, may be 12 or 1, in the night. But who is bothered? I just love sitting like this..It has been so long..

It is 10:45 now, and my friend and I plan to go out for dinner and then get back home..God only knows if we would go back. But who cares, because, isn't this a new way of life? And if not anybody else, I am crazily in love, in love with this life!! :)

Updates: Ask for dinner, McDonald's, Domino's, Subway, Barista say they have nothing left!!!

Dil Se..

Sometimes life could give you nothing but pain; it couldn't hurt worse..

For he suddenly landed from nowhere, giving all that somebody could ever give, in unbounded measures; countless smiles, sweet nothings aplenty, a warm presence all time, even without being around, leaving her utterly pampered, letting her be the lucky star, his sweet little kid..



And as the days rolled by, the sweet addiction went on a high, till a drop slowly came upfront; and when every previous day felt better than the present, when silence, emptiness and uneasiness hung over conversations, when what came without asking, now promised to come, but after a demand, she knew things were never the same again..

And what was it but her own ego, that yearned for his attention, but still refused to accept that he was being missed, with all that being left behind to hug were those warm memories, a defeated feeling and the silence that came with it all; and she, who would never blame him but herself for getting so involved, waited and waited, with all her hope, for she still liked him, immensely..

Monday, July 25, 2005

This is what happens..

This is what happens when you buy your dream Titan Raga watch and blogger lets you upload pictures..:)



P.S: This is also what happens when you don't know what to do during weekends!!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Moments to grasp

Shades of change unwound sequentially as I walked down that path, that familiar path that I had paced up and down with unmistakable precision as an eight year old. New shops, some new houses. But amongst them, stood those houses that have endured the test of time. It is a pleasure to watch things that have been stamped with an archaism that would never be victimized by the forces of modernity.

The 2nd cross street of ThiruVika Nagar, in Thirucharapalli, was more than a street to me. It had nurtured my dreams as a child. It demonstrated a freshness about it that had lasted years and beat the gap of 17 years in between. It felt like just yesterday that I had belonged to this place but I had still missed 'its presence and my presence in it' and the unique charm that came with it.

“New door no. 24, old number 72,” I quickly checked that small bit of crumpled paper that was almost yielding to the moisture of my palm. Appa had insisted that I should go and meet them this time.

“Black gates,” I smiled to myself. “They used to be hmm…green.”
I pushed the gate inward and it creaked open. As I set my foot on the stone pavement that had weathered everything in the years that went by, I looked up to that balcony right above, the thatched roof over it still intact. My entire body shook. God! Sometimes nostalgia can just offset you.

For a moment I just closed my eyes. It was the same balcony where I had stood years ago, waving good bye to my father when he left for office. It was the same balcony where I had stood, hot tears pouring down my cheeks, when they got my baby bro home, for the first time. I was no longer ‘the one’ then.

“And Aditya now..” I smiled to myself.

The veranda at the end of the footpath welcomed me with the same warmth with which it had borne my pranks as a mischievous kid. I would tirelessly climb on it and jump off it, in a loop that would end only with a tight slap from my mother.

I thought I would collapse out of excitement when I rang the doorbell.
“Vandhutten (Coming)”, the familiar lady voice came from behind the door. It hadn’t changed much, the voice, just traces of ageing.

As the door opened, I caught myself staring at this lady, who wore her sari in a ‘madisar kattu’. The vermilion, the glittering nose ring, the traditional hairdo with a string of jasmine encircling it; Lakshmi Amma, there she was and..She had aged so gracefully.

“Yaaru. Yaar venum?” (Who is this? Who do you want?)
“Ahh..Hmm..Lakshmi Amma..” I spoke in between gasps of excitement. “Do you recognize me?”
She stared with confusion written all over her face.
“Lakshmi Amma, Shailaja..,” I placed my right palm on my chest. “Shailu kutty..” I paused. “Enakku Lakshmi Amma rasam thaan venum..” ( I want only Lakshmi Amma’s rasam..)

And her face broke into a smile.
“Shailu Kutty, is this you?” She almost jumped and held my hand immediately. “How grown up you look. I couldn’t even make out,” she exclaimed.

I smiled. I was at loss for words.
“Inga parungo” (see here), she called out to her husband. “Come here, see who has come”
“Come in, come in,” she took me in hurriedly.
“Yaaru?” (Who?) a man in a white dhoti and a white cotton half slack shirt and thick rimmed glasses emerged from one of the inside rooms.

Sambu thatha adjusted his glasses, trying to register the image of a woman who suddenly landed in his abode from nowhere.

“Can you make out who she is?” Lakshmi Amma questioned, impatience marking every word. Sambu thatha just shook a no. I watched his lean frame seeking immense support from the wooden walking stick, an addition to the 84 year old man’s personality.

“Shailu kutty idhu, nenavirukko?” (This is Shailu kutty, remember?) “State Bank Ramachandran who stayed upstairs.. from Coimbatore..his daughter..”



“Oh amaam..adi vaalu..” (Oh yes, you mischievous girl!)
“Va..Va..” (Come, come). The warmth in his voice made me melt. How much I had missed it all these years. Though we had stayed upstairs, Sambu thatha’s house was literally where my existence had been. I would play, run around the house, nobody to question, most of the times eat there and fall asleep in Lakshmi Amma’s lap.

The affection that I had held for that house, for the two was special and unbounded. It was marked by innocence so typical of a child and there was no other reason to it. I loved them because I loved them.

“So, what made Shailu kutty suddenly remember these two old hags?” went on Sambu thatha with his characteristic laugh.
“Oh come on, enough of your silly jokes,” Lakshmi Amma cut him short as I deposited the sweet packets into her hands.
“Are you working?” she asked me.
“Hmm..yes, I am working for a software concern in Delhi,” I replied.
“Ohh..soft..” she stopped halfway. “That thing Raju keeps talking about..”

“Tell me how are amma and appa”
“They are good. They keep talking about you,” I paused. “Oh, Appa has retired.”
“Really? Even Chandru joins the old hag list,” burst out Sambu thatha.
I giggled. I really did. Lakshmi Amma wasn’t bothered. She almost sprang her next question at me.
“How is your brother..ahmm..what is his name?”
“Aditya,” I helped in.
“Ahnn..Adi, how is he?”
“He is studying, 2nd year engineering in Madras. He has been pestering Appa for a bike.”
“Really? Has he grown that big?” Sambu thatha questioned the very essence of mankind - growth.

It is funny the way I addressed them. Sambu thatha was thatha because when I saw him for the first time, he had grey (or as I used to call it, “white”) hair. I used to jump at my mom when she called him maama. “He has white hair. How can you call him maama. Call him thatha,” I would order.

Sambu thatha was 67 then. Lakshmi Amma was Lakshmi Amma because everyone around used to call her that way and somehow she never used to look that old then, that I would have to call her ‘patti’. Moreover, Radha akka, her daughter, used to call her Lakshmi Amma. I had liked it, felt it suited her best and let it stick on.

“So, when are you getting married?” Lakshmi Amma continued with her questions as she handed over steaming filter coffee in a “duvrah tumbler” to me and one to Sambu thatha. I had cosily seated myself on the mat alongside Sambu thatha who was resting in an easy chair. A copy of the day’s newspaper and that old transistor was lying next to him. Lakshmi Amma sat down beside me.

“I actually came to tell you some good news,” I said.
Sambu thatha who was busy tuning into odd stations, desperately in search of the “renu mani kutcheri” (the concert at 2), stopped suddenly.

In a minute, both of them were staring at me with all eagerness. “Marriage fascinates old people beyond any scale,” I thought to myself.
“Ah, well, I am getting married this September,” I concluded abruptly.
Sambu thatha leaned forward.
“Who is the boy?” he asked with brimming eagerness.
“He is my colleague at office, in Delhi.”
Lakshmi Amma’s happy look transformed into a resigned one.
“So, it is not an arranged marriage?” she asked quickly.
“Well, it is..” I paused, “Yes, I did choose him but he is like one of us,” I put it forward politely to her. I didn’t know why I was telling her that but I thought I should and hence I did.
“But..” she shook her head. “There is nothing like your parents seeing somebody for you.”
“Did you match horoscopes?” she shot out.
“Oh.ah..hmm..yes, we did, everything is fine,” I mumbled out owing to lack of preparation.
“But still..”
“Lakshmi, these days kids are very mature. They can handle things very well. I am sure Shailu kutty’s choice must be good,” Sambu thatha spoke reassuringly, patting my head.
“Love marriages are fun in their own way,” he added with a wink.
Lakshmi Amma cast a sharp look that almost silenced him.
“Ennavo ma, pathukko” (Whatever, take care), she said, turning her face towards me. Anxiety was written all over it.
“Lakshmi Amma, everything is fine,” I assured her, gently pressing her hand.
“What is his name?” Sambu thatha’s excitement hadn’t subsided.
“Vasanth, Vasant Chandrashekar”


“So, tell me, how has life been for you all these years?” I asked them.
“just going on. We have only few more years left, all I am praying for is that we should pass away peacefully without troubling anybody,” Lakshmi Amma’s voice was low.
“Enna Lakshmi, you don’t know what to talk,” Sambu thatha intervened.
“Thatha please, let her talk”
“Illai Shailu kut..,” I looked up at Sambu thatha. “Shhh..”
“Lakshmi Amma, what happened?”
Suddenly Lakshmi Amma’s voice mellowed down.
“Nothing. Sometimes it is so tough to live when you grow old,” she looked up and blew her nose.
I took her hand into mine and looked intently at her.”Ennachu?” (what happened?)
“Nothing is particularly wrong Shailu kutty. We have everything that we want. We have this house, we have thatha’s pension as a steady income and we do our pujas and prayers regularly.”
“Hmm…”
“But..” she paused, “Sometimes there is loneliness, a lack of direction in life when you turn around to see that there is no one around to share your happiness. When we fall ill, we have nobody to fall back on. It is true that we have each other to confide things in but I am missing the joy of living together,” By that time, her first tear had already made its way out.

I let her cry. I didn’t assure her, say things would be fine. Sometimes silence and the mere act of listening could heal wounds much more than words of consolation, so did I believe.

“Sambhu thatha, what about Raju anna and Kumar anna? Where are they?”
“They are both in America, all well settled,” he paused. “Raju has two daughters and Kumar has a son. They come to India with their families once in two years.”
“Hmm..”
“Radha is in the U.K. Seeing her has become a rarity too,” continued Lakshmi Amma.
“Sambhu thatha, don’t mind me asking, but didn’t you want to stay with your sons?”
“No,” his voice was fierce this time. “No,” he repeated, relaxing a little bit.
“Kumar didn’t even talk about it, Raju just made a mention. He told us that we could come along if we felt like.” His voice choked.
“What is this, a formality? Why should parents suddenly become strangers and be treated this way?” the question shot out from him, with all the heaviness of a deeply pained heart.
“I refused. I really can’t spend my life in a country that I don’t know. I am too rooted to this place, to leave it behind. Probably, I can’t blame them too. Their lives have taken that course and I can’t stop it. Once Raju had a chance to come back to India for good. I asked him, but..” Silence.
“I think I just have to accept this,” he spoke his heart out. I knew it was frustration that made them talk and not the hate for what their children did.

Lakshmi Amma was silent. “I think when things become unmanageable, we would go to an old age home. I am praying ambaal she doesn’t take us that far.”

That moment, I understood what emotional torture the two went through. Two people, whose love meant so much to me, were caught in the clutches of emotional insecurity and my heart swelled with pity. I cried; cried within.

In the meantime, Lakshmi Amma had moved into the kitchen and come back with a plate of rasam saadham. (Rice with rasam).
“Have this,” she handed the plate to me. I couldn’t remember how many times I had smiled but I did, yet again.

The rasam had not lost its taste and its aroma one bit. It was just the same. Have you ever experienced a sense of travelling back in time, that the five senses can give you? It happened to me this time. I was back to have Lakshmi Amma’s rasam.

“You know, my grandchildren are so naughty,” she said, sounding chirpy again.

“Kumar’s son is so mischievous. Last time that they were here, he suddenly disappeared out of the house. We had such a tough task locating him. He was hiding behind the well, in our neighbour’s backyard,” Sambhu thatha added with great excitement. “These kids, naughty, very naughty.”

And then they spoke about Kumar anna’s wife and how Raju anna’s wife could drive a car. “It seems they don’t wash vessels, nor does a servant maid do it. Looks like there is a machine for all that. Times have changed so much,” she sighed.

I burst out laughing and Sambhu thatha was giggling quietly. The innocence was too sweet, and I knew their hearts were lighter. No qualms, except for those momentary ones, their love and concern for their children and grandchildren was unbiased and absolutely selfless.

By the time we had finished talking about my childhood pranks and everything else, the birds were getting back to their nests and the sky had turned a reddish orange, signaling the arrival of twilight. It was time for me to leave.

“I don’t feel like letting you go, it was so nice talking to you. I didn’t feel the time pass” Lakshmi Amma said looking at me earnestly.
I stood silently.
“You won’t forget us no, after you get married?,” she asked with grave concern in her voice.
“Ayyo, enna idhu Lakshmi Amma, how can I do that?”

“Shailu, forget her, she is like that only,” Sambu thatha chipped in his comment, “May God bless you with a happy and peaceful married life,” he said, placing his hand on my head.
“You should bring Vasanth here, after your marriage,” Lakshmi Amma said. Sambu thatha turned around, taken by surprise with that mocking smile on his face.
“You both should definitely come for the wedding,” I urged. “Please, I will be very happy.”
Lakshmi Amma pressed my hand. “We will try our best, but our blessings are always there.”

As I reached the gate, I turned around, took a look at the aged couple for whom the best gift I had left behind was the smiles on their faces, which they seemed to have forgotten for days together. For me, it was a feeling of satisfaction that I had made a very small difference to the lives of two people, at least for a day. But the bigger loss was, the helpless feeling at not being able to lend a hand further. I waved at them, walked away carrying beautiful memories and also an aching heart.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Lyrics that I fell for - II

Hmm..how about this? I would possibly call this a running series; this is an add on to an earlier post that I had published..This one is from "Pudiya Mugam" and the song is 'Kannukku Mai Azhagu' ..After great efforts of squeezing my brains in the morning to recollect the lyrics of both male and female versions of the song, I guess I was successful..Wanted to put it down before I forgot the lines again! :)..One of Vairamuthu's best and timeless works and something that I would cherish all my life..(Love those lines in italics).

The Male Version: (sung by Unnimenon):

kannukku mai azhagu
kavidhaikku poi azhagu
kannathil kuzhi azhagu
karkoondhal penn azhagu

Ilamaiku nadai azhagu, mudhumaikku narai azhagu
Kalvarku iravazhagu, kadhalrku nilavazhagu
nilavukku karai azhagu, paravaikku siragazhagu
avvaikku koon azhagu, annaikku sei azhagu..(kannukku)

vidikaalai vinazhagu, vidiyum varai penn azhagu
nelukku natrazhagu, thennaikku keetrazhagu
oorukku aarazhagu, urvalathil therazhagu
thamizhukku 'zha' azhagu, thalaivikku naanazhagu..
(kannukku)

The female version (sung by P.Susheela):

The style of writing is changed a little bit here..(In the charanam the word 'azhagu' occurs only once in a given line, unlike the male version, where it repeats twice)

kannukku mai azhagu
kavidhaikku poi azhagu
avaraikku poo azhagu
avarukku naan azhagu

mazhai nindra pinnalum ilai sindhum thuli azhagu
alai meendu ponalum karai konda nurai azhagu

imai kottum vinmingal iravodu thaan azhagu
ilamaaran kannukku epodhum naanazhagu..(kannukku)

anandha manjathil avizhndhalum kuzhal azhagu
adayala muthathil azhindhalum pottazhagu

pennodu kadhal vandhal pirai kooda perazhagu
ennodu nee irundhal irul kooda oar azhagu..(kannukku)

Again, With due credits to the lyricist and whoever owns the copyright:)

Thursday, June 30, 2005

You may wanna check out..

How would it feel to have a mag brimming with creativity, in your hands? Sounded great to me..You may want to check out this interesting idea, called Alvibest, that is brewing up..

Friday, June 24, 2005

Boondhon se baatein

“Giant gray clouds shrouding the usual blue of the sky, so loaded that they would burst down any moment with a million raindrops” – It is time to witness the monsoons of Bombay and the last one week has seen me scurrying through the rain hit roads of the city, experience the way a routine needs to be tweaked up to fit the monsoon’s requirements. Come whatever may, you need to move on..

Ropes come up within homes to hang those washed clothes. And the clothes are ‘uncomfortably’ dry with a ‘doubt’ of dampness still clinging on, clothes which you wear with the warmth of a hot press, almost become cold and soggy by the time you reach office. The point - pull out the oldest of your clothes and move on unmindful of what the rain does to you!

The shutters come down on buses and you view the rain-hit world outside through the window glass. The innumerable slums, on the way, almost falling prey to the devastation, still stand up and the inmates wouldn’t dare to stop; their lives need to move on.

Rains have an effect on me; they make me go nostalgic. The bus journey till office is filled with moments from the past – the way two years back, I rushed to pick up my vehicle from the dealer, giving a damn to the rain, how I used to look out of the window at my office in Bangalore and regret that the vehicle was getting drenched. How at school, I would long for a day’s holiday when the rarity called rains hit Madras, how a couple of my friends and I ran out to get drenched in the first rains of Pilani and..

Complaints still exist, but brushing them aside, today a small boy, and his gesture made me smile to myself. Two pups were running playfully across the road, and as the bus made its way through, the boy just lifted the two and pushed them into his so called ‘home’. It was wonderful.

Now at office, all I feel like doing is to settle down with a mug of hot chocolate and listen to some great music. But what is blaring now is the TV set next to me; the channel’s life goes on as well!!

This post is dedicated to that wonderful rain that is lashing out outside, settling a layer of moisture on the windows. The rain made me write, (setting aside my work) after a long time!!

The post also goes out to that little boy who enjoyed the rains so much (to my envy) and saved those two sweet pups!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Am tagged, So..

At a moment when the blog starts wearing an archaic look, two people are sweet enough to let me know that I have been tagged. Rathish, Thanks! Am honoured. Anispice, thanks to you too! Oops, I missed Saranyan, who has also tagged me!

So, here is a quick (and rather short) list ..

No. of books I own:

Actually no idea, rather too lazy to count, got some here and many at home!

Presently Reading:

- “Good Muslim Bad Muslim – Islam, the USA, and the global war against terror”
by Mahmood Mamdani (one that i recently got too!)

- “Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management” by Prasanna Chandra

In the pipeline:

- “M.S, A life in music” by T.J.S George
- “The Remains of the Day” by Kazuo Ishiguro
- “Vision of the greatest mystic unveiled – A scientific perspective to the wisdom of Sri Ramana Maharishi” by Dr.G.K.Pillai

Recently Read:

-A collection of “Bharatiyar Kavidaigal”
-“The (Un)common sense of Advertising” by Sanjay Tiwari


Some of my favorites:

“Sophie’s World” by Jostein Gaarder
“Fountain Head” by Ayn Rand
“Small Remedies” by Shashi Deshpande
“Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte
“Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” by John Gray
“Computer Networks” by Andrew S Tanenbaum
"Digital Image Processing" by Raphael C. Gonzalez and Richard E Woods (for the love of that course that I did)


And let me tag:
Mrgonsings
Vijay Mo
Agnibarathi
Prabu Karthik

Eroteme/Krish had a lovely list in my previous post. But these guys have been tagged already. They have a nice list up in their blogs!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

A month as a journalist

Mark this day. It has been a month into experiencing sea change. Yesterday, the bank sends me an sms that my salary is credited. I am not too excited but this is my first salary as a different professional.

From staring at code windows for hours and hours together, now my closest interaction with software remains MS Word and a little bit of backend to upload stories.

For the last two weeks, I have moved into a new team. And that reminds me, the last time I blogged was the day the shift came. Smitha's comment in my previous post got a silly smile on my face. How irresponsible of me!:)

Work couldn't get more rewarding and exciting. I have been offered the best of opportunities, despite the fact that I am almost new to this entire spectrum of reporting. My ignorance is pardoned and support comes big time. It is a great feeling having done three soft stories that carry a byline to my credit and also having attended two press conferences ,within a month of joining.

*****************************************************************
Press Conferences. You get the royal treatment there. I almost felt like a child gaping at the treatment and all the glamour that surrounds it. It is good to be a beginner, because you can ask dumb questions!

The first one, I missed out on the good lunch because.. (Oh don't ask! The tensions of attending your first official press conf!). The second one that was yesterday, I didn't repeat the mistake and I ensured that I hogged on the three different desserts that they served, between all that stuff on a mutual fund launch. Ain't I learning?
******************************************************************
And then your mobile keeps buzzing as financial consultants and big shots from banks try to reach you and confirm on the interviews and emails. Thanks to the tag, you almost get what you want for your story. At ACJ, I remember how I struggled to get my sources to talk!!

*********************************************************************

I am tired of seeing raised eyebrows. "Oh! So what did you do before your ACJ course?" The answer received a million different responses - "Wow!", "That's interesting!", "You are f***ing mad!!", "Why the shift?" (and I am tired of singing like a tape recorder for this question!). The new kid in the block (well, am new too, but she joined ten days later!) asks me, "Oh so you are the one?" The HR told us during the induction that they have an engineer from .... around. Boy, I almost went red!!

And then the HR manager walks in. She puts her hand around me and asks me, "How are you? Are you settled into this place? Are you liking what you are doing?" and I smile back gratefully, "Yeah, everything is fine, really!!" And What is more, I am busy running away from attention!! :)

I have loads of fun with my team lead. The other day, the backend threw some weird javascript error. "You are an engineer, fix it no?" she said. The next instant, I had a couple of debug windows open in front of me. "D, the problem is here" and I pointed to that yellow block and she burst out laughing! And we are still trying to fix it!!

I am sounding so kid like. Well, well, this is not how journos sound. But that is ok. First this is my blog and second, I am not doing a business report!!


Oh damn, my bus would have gone!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Hanging around in a bookstore..

I had a blissful weekend, and that still doesn't convey the extent of fun I had over the last two days. It's a nice feeling to live through the first few days after you have kind of settled down in a place. It is that time in which a city or a place reveals itself, with a sense of immediacy and you just flow with what it has to offer you.

Of the many things that I did, (amidst being busy visiting Barista and McDonalds), I dropped in at the Oxford Bookstore at Churchgate. The nearly 90 minutes that I spent there, I so completely enjoyed myself. It felt like ages, since I had visited a good bookstore, stayed around for a considerable amount of time and soaked in the scent of fresh, new books. I almost felt like opening my arms wide and hugging the whole bookshop!! (but i realised I was too thin for that!!:))

The last time, I remember having shopped good deal of books, was the month I quit my previous job and the ten months, in between I had felt so tied up, not having visited one bookstore and spent heart out..;)

What or why this great love for books? I can never define that in exact terms. It is the fascination for the written word, the sheer joy that the world of words has to offer.

Recently, one of my colleagues at office, asked me how I spent my free time. "Do you go to discotheques?" was the question. I answered very point blank, that I read books and I listened to lots and lots of music. A very cliched set of hobbies, some may think, but they make a world of difference to me.

Enough reason for me to have found the bookshop experience, amazingly refreshing that I also managed to secure a membership with the store. All set, the Bombay book reading chapter begins with "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown..:)

Oh by ways, how about some inputs? Are you a book lover too? What has been a book that you really, really enjoyed reading pretty recently? Do leave the title/the author's name/the category (fiction or non fiction etc..)!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I call this a "filler" post!

This post has been overdue. I can blame it on two things - one, my laziness and two, the tiring hours of travel in Bombay. Having spent 12 days in this city, I think I am the biggest moron, who hasn't stepped into the local trains still. People who have known Bombay have been viewing me with an element of surprise - "Something is terribly wrong with you."

Having landed here with great plans of finding an acco (read accommodation, henceforth) in the first weekend here, I (namesake/for the heck of it) checked out a hostel acco and left it at that. What do I do? I almost melted at the suggestion (I prefer to call it a sweet request) of my uncle and aunt, to continue to stay at their place. What's more now? I am happily getting used to the comfort of a fridge, washing machine, TV and a neat audio system!! :). I wonder where all this is taking me!!

And of course, how could I forget the good food? Off late I have been eating pretty well - I don't know if it is the place that has done the magic or it's my aunt's unrelenting effort to keep pushing plates and plates of goodies! :)

Two things make up my day otherwise - travelling and work. The first few days that I was getting used to the bus routes, I successfully managed to get down two, three stops before the scheduled stop, despite supposedly being "hindi literate"..Is this what they call learning with experience?? ;)

Work - yeah work, hmm..ah, uhh...Oh come on, it's been just one week! But I actually attended two edit meetings!:D

My cousin, who asked me whether I was going to come up with a "Bombay" narrative - well, a huge chunk of the puzzle is missing!! There isn't an Arvindswamy like guy around, to complete the romantic bit..:(. Probably, he stays at the Indian Express office and I still gotta check that out! ;)

Bombay is yet to reveal itself to me or rather, I am yet to discover the place. It all is a matter of time and I propose to begin exploring next weekend. For now, the Bombay I know of is that which exists between home and office. There is a world beyond that, that still needs to be discovered..

Saturday, May 07, 2005

What Bombay has to say..

Lots actually...But, am piling on to my relative's comp for a few minutes..I haven't checked my mails for three whole days!! After the convocation on May 3rd evening, I landed in the big city on 4th morning, reported for work on 5th, saw a live newsroom that has left me dazed..

Lots to see, lots to learn, and lots to blog..I hope i get to do that soon..:)

Friday, April 29, 2005

Someone is back!

Hey Hey...Vani is back!!
She landed at 1 last night and the first thing, she whispered into my ears was, "hey I got a blue kutty top for you!!" :)

Now I am pushing her to go for a bath asking her to come back and read my post and drop a comment..;) Heights!! But it is thrilling to think that we would both be blogging from the same comp, taking turns!! ;).(not for long though!) And that is something that we have been planning and discussing over the last one month as a matter of great excitement..

Great plans for the few days ahead,yet to see how much of it would materialise.For all i know we would be sleeping away to glory! :)

Otherwise, I hope everyone out there is doing great!

Cheers,

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Bangalore Diary

Weekend and holiday hangovers are terrible! When I was back at Madras on Tuesday morning, it was humidity and the round the clock briskness of Central that welcomed me. I hated it, I don’t know why; I wished fervently I could run back to where I boarded the train the previous night. But there wasn’t time to even think; I had to rush to Park to catch the metro at 5:30 AM.

Park station. As I got into the metro and secured a seat for myself next to the window, it wasn’t difficult to switch to a different world. People around wouldn’t matter at all..



What do you do when a train that usually runs on time, reaches an hour late only on the day you are travelling? Well, actually, nothing. I cursed my luck and got down, when this lady about 55 years old, came up to me. “Hi, where are you going?,” she asked. “Airport Road,” I replied, very matter - of – factly. She paused for a moment and looking earnestly at me, queried, “Oh, are you travelling abroad?”. I was puzzled, for I had barely woken up and was still, very much confused.
“Uh, sorry..but?..” I muttered.
“No, are you travelling abroad? You are going to Airport road”
I realised what was going on.
“No, no. I am just going to Airport road.”
“Oh, Airport quarters?”
I sighed.
“No, Airport road is a place where there are other things other than the airport. My friend stays there. I am going over to her place.”

The metro train screeched to a halt at the next station. I caught myself smiling over the conversation. Well, why was I explaining to her so patiently about the nuances of Airport road? I mean, just why? Couple of seconds, I began swaying to the rhythmic and perfectly tuned motion of the train..

“I have to go to Vivek Nagar, are you working here?”
I didn’t know where that place was and I walked quietly.
“You look so much like my daughter. She is doing her M.com in Ethiraj College”
“Oh!” I reacted to the remark and smiled, “Ok.”
“Do you work with Wipro?”
“Man, why does she want to know that? And why Wipro?” I thought to myself.
“Ah, actually no. I am not working here now. I was working here before.”
“Why have you come here, then?”
Uh, excuse me!!
“Am here to meet all my friends,” I said hurriedly.
“Oh, that is really nice of you,” I heard her meek voice as we reached Cant’s entrance. She waited with me at the prepaid auto-rickshaw counter. The sleepy state that I was in, I was all in a mood to get into some rick and rush off. I was about to climb into the rick (My eyes and the mind were busy altering the template of a rick inside my head. Replace yellow ricks at Madras with black ones in Bangalore, replace yellow ricks at Madras with black ones in Bangalore..)
“THANK YOU..” I was jolted out of my dreamy state.
I turned and she was there.
“Oh, no problem, “ I smiled.
“It was very nice meeting you,” she said.
“No problem.”

“No problem?” Eeh..Why did I say that? I wondered. How silly of me!
I was busy fidgeting with my handbag zip. I opened it and amidst other things, I found this small piece of paper – My “to do” list, for the three days. The couple sitting opposite to me were busy moving their suitcase around and gave me a puzzled look – ME, who was looking at a crumpled sheet of paper and smiling strangely.


I landed at M’s place. She was thrilled. She had neatly laid out a bed for me next to hers. “Come, come sleep here,” she said sweetly.
I was just waiting for someone to say that, and flopped carelessly. Two minutes. M’s mobile jingled with a message, enough to begin a conversation. We began talking, went on for three whole hours. (I quite hadn’t realised that). I had made a complete schedule of whom to meet, when and where. People started messaging in, “Anu, shall we meet tomorrow?” or “I have suddenly been called for a meeting, how about after five today?”.
“After five?” I shrieked through a message. “But I have to meet J and B at Brigades”.

“Enna Bangalore poyacha?,” a friend called in to confirm.
“Hmm..yeah, I will call you tomorrow night between 9:30 and 10:15,” I answered after working out details inside my head.

I went messaging and my mobile balance dipped to a negative. A juggling of schedules till afternoon and I finally decided to drop in at Su~’s place. “Ooh..you have put on weight!” I just blurted out as soon as I got out of the rick, in front of my old office.

“Yeah, I know”. Within minutes, we were heading to her newly constructed house. “God, it has been so long no?” she said.
The house. I stared at it in awe. I had seen it as a mere plan on paper when Su~ had got it to office last year, around the same time. “Remember how you rushed to the architect’s place from office?” I asked her in a recollecting tone. “Hmm..yes”.
“Hey the garage, oh, the hall..Oh this room that you were talking about, the stairs..Geeh, Su~, I can’t believe this!”. She just smiled. I was thrilled like a little kid.
“See the window grilles,” she pointed out to one of them.
“Oh yeah. Hey, I still remember how you modified the design through MS Paint and how we went about selecting a design!!” I almost jumped.
She took me to her mom’s place. On the way back, she showed me a road, “Do you remember this place?”
“Oh yes, your in-laws place!” I said.
“No, no. It is my place also,” she replied.
“Su~!! Not bad, you do seem to have changed in ten months! So, you are making an effort to say it is your house too!!” I laughed and she joined me. I just thought, it has been so long!! :)

At her mom’s place, it was like being back to a close one’s home. Aunty was smiling and Su~’s first niece (who once used to shy away when she saw me and who remembered me as one who shared her bday!) came up to me, showing all the stuff that she did in her summer camp. Her second niece – I saw that kid when she was three days old, at the hospital, about 15 months back! Now, the kid stared at me through her innocent, big eyes and within a matter of 10 minutes, she slowly came to me and smiled showing her kutty kutty teeth. “Su~, God, I can’t believe this!!” I just knew I kept saying that. When I was about to say bye, she thrust a salwar-kameez set into my hands, “This is for you.”
“Bye Su~, I don’t know when I would see you next. Hope it is sometime soon,” and I got into a rick, to rush to Brigade road.

The train came to a screeching halt at the next station. Some people were mumbling, some were getting down and the train began on its journey yet again.

J had messaged at 4:20 itself. “Hey, I am already outside CafĂ© Coffee Day, but doesn’t matter, I’ll wait”. I dashed in at 5:15PM. “He-lll-ooo!!” I heard her voice from behind. B joined in late and we rambled on and on about our first six months of training together and about their new offices now. I carried J’s sweet red rose back home. Dinner was fun at Madhuri Grand with “long time no see” batch mates from college and M and V. I laughed like nobody else’s business and there closed the first day.

The next morning, M woke up early, made hot water ready and pushed me for a bath. By the time I was out, she was ready with a bowl of chocos. “So sweet of you,” I muttered through a spoonful of chocos and rushed to my cousin’s place. The proud father, whose kid was just a month and a half old, took me to his in-laws’ place.
“Manas kutty paapa,” he went on, holding his little daughter, Manasvini and swaying gently.
“Shhhyaaaaaaaam…adapaavi! Ennala namba mudila ya!” (I can’t believe this, again!!). I saw the transformation of this guy whom I had known from when I was a child, now playing the role of a father! Time has flown. Oh dear, ain’t I getting old too? My cousin was nice enough to dispel that feeling. “Kozhandai, romba naal kazhichu vandurukka!” (Kid, you have come in after a long time), he said and pampered me with lots and lots of bar chocolates. Ah, ah, I am not that old!! :))

DD was excited when she caught me near BTM bus stand. We had decided to go to our hostel together and give a surprise to people there. I landed at my hostel and An~ was shocked. “HOW AND WHEN DID YOU LAND UP HERE LADY?” she jumped. Mi~ was busy getting ready (as ever). “Edi, Anu kutty!” she shrieked in that heavy mallu tone so characteristic of her. I went to MY room, sat on MY bed and went non stop for almost four hours to An~ and DD. “I almost feel like we have gone back to our days together here. I am so glad you came,” said An~ thoughtfully. “I feel you have come back and you are never going to go back again”. I walked away thinking how true that was. For sometime, I almost lost myself in space and time. I never thought I was going back. DD and I went to Forum (the much hyped up Forum and the PVR cinemas in Koramangala), roamed around for sometime.

The girl sitting next to me was squirming. I wondered why she couldn’t sit peacefully. My mobile was totally shut off. It looked like a dead, good for nothing instrument then.

I messaged M from DD’s mobile, sitting at Forum. “I will come there by 7:30PM, is it ok?”.
“Dear, we are supposed to meet V at 6, do you remember?”, she messaged back.
“I know, What do I do?:(”
I rushed to Raaga on CMH road, landing half an hour late. “Sorry, sorry!” I began even before I got out. M and V had the patience to wait! We went ordering; V watched us with amusement, as M and I argued as to who ate better. “I am caught with two mad girls,” he said with that silly smile on his face. M protested. “Don’t say I eat as badly as she does!”. I wouldn’t open my mouth; I knew the truth. I am sure they would have pounced on me, if I had said I ate well.
“So madam, I don’t know when I would see you next, all the best!” That was V. I said bye, left with a heavy heart. I rushed to the already closing STD booth to call up A~, whom I had promised. Boy! He didn’t pick the phone!!

Back at M’s place, Sw~ and Rag~ arrived in their new Santro. M and I sat inside the car with them, chatting up till 12:30 into the night. “Do make it to the wedding girlie, “ Sw~ said, Rag~ was already dozing and just nodded, “Yeah, please do!”. Oh well, I only wish I could..”I will try my best!” I muttered, as I said goodbye.

The next station had arrived. I had mentally counted the number of stations. One more station and I had to get down. I gathered my bags together and kept them ready. The train slowly pulled out of the station.
Monday morning, I woke up at 10. M was busy inside the kitchen. We had great plans – movie, meet Ru~, shopping, Corner House Ice cream. Movie got dropped, thanks to me, I got up late. We met Ru~ at her office, had lunch at Pizza Hut. Ru~ spoke of how south Indian marriages were lot of fun. We left Pizza hut, went to her office, stood outside and kept talking. I knew I wouldn’t be seeing Ru~ atleast in the next two years. Bye dearie, good luck! M and I took a rick to Shoppers Stop, half way through felt we were tired, and diverted the rick to Airport road. We watched Baazigar (of all movies), Ra~ landed up in the evening, for about 15 minutes, told about his new play, novel and movie. I looked at this extremely creative friend of mine, in awe. I wished all came out well for him.

M put me into a rick at 9:45 in the night. Back at Cant. I waited for my train that was supposed to come at 11. I got into the train, loaded with memories. I carried back with me the pleasure of having relived a lost relationship with that place. The weight had surely increased!

The metro stopped at my station. I got down still dazed and walked back home. Amma and Appa were awake. “Enna kanna, tired aa irukka?” I just nodded and collapsed into the sofa. It was time to alter templates again..Replace black ricks at Banglore with yellow ones in Madras.. Replace black ricks at Banglore with yellow ones in Madras..R-e-p-l-a-c-e..
This post is a record of memories..

Friday, April 15, 2005

The weekend is here!

RELAX! It feels great to look at the word! Yesterday, I enjoyed every bit of that relaxed mood that hung around. I woke up without worrying about what lay ahead and knowing for sure that I could catch a good deal of sleep in the afternoon too. Nobody on planet earth could stop me!!

It was lovely to help amma around with things (tiring though. After all, one doesn’t get to do such goody goody things all the time!) and take a walk with her to the grocery store, talking absolute nonsense while she would quietly listen and then laugh after I paused. It was fun to sit with appa and watch “Spiderman II” when there were host of useless programs running on those cable channels.

Isn’t it a thrill to lose sleep because you are excited about something? Today morning, I woke up unusually early and amma couldn’t hold back her surprise. (Oh well, it is a different story that I went back to sleep again! ;)). The weekend is here and I haven’t looked forward to one, with so much of excitement, in a long time. I have my own reasons; Bangalore, here I come..:)

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Clippings

I begin typing this post. Snap! There is a power cut! I decide to write nevertheless. I am too much in a mood for it today. I pull out one of my old notebooks from my messed up cupboard, frantically flip through the pages and see some empty sheets to my great relief..

Our balcony is Paradise. I cosily seat myself in a chair. The sweltering heat that baked me up a few days back has now given way to a subtle, gentle weather. The Tulsi plant next to me sways quietly and the tender breeze casually turns the pages of this book..
******************************

How have the last few days been?

I haven’t been blogging to say the least. But, that apart, every day has been packed, that time just seemed to tick away, as I helplessly saw it happen. “No time”, “I am busy”, “Chalo, I shall get back to work now”, I seemed to keep saying them repeatedly and quite unconsciously. Vani would land up for a chat and I would just ask her to go away, “No, no time now.”

I would come back late in the night, curl up on the sofa, when amma would effortlessly lift my head, place it on her lap, and gently stroke my hair. I would hold on to her sari and blissfully doze off, wondering why mothers were so adorable and why their love was so comforting and incomparable. Love you amma..

*******************************************************
Why are people the way they are?

I spent close to a week touching different points in Madras, driving on the maddening roads, as the scorching sun stared down mockingly, “Hey you silly girl, on a puny vehicle!!”. I had to argue and convince my life out to men and women (my sources), to open their god damned mouths and reveal a bit of info. I witnessed the unsatisfied ego of certain people, who would assume an air of importance and shell it out all at two college girls! All this for a project!! By the end of it, I had an answer – people are the way they are and sometimes (or rather most of the times), one had no choice but to accept them that way!

******************************************************
What is this world without friends?

My close pals land up. “Every time that I call you up, you are in college. What is this??!!”, one of them jumps on me. The other comes up with an idea to meet up at 7:30 PM on a Saturday night and tells me that at 6:50 PM, when I am still at college. A flurry of phone calls. “Guys, please understand, Am tired!!” “Ok, ok. Tomorrow 4:30 PM, fine?”, they say. Agreed. We catch up at Barista, and I listen to them go on and on, as I take sips of yummy hot chocolate. We laugh like nuts over crazy things..Boy, what is this world without friends? M and V, I am glad you guys are around..

******************************************************************
And then..

I welcome a new friend into my small world and with it joy and chuckles.

I wonder at the triviality of life, at the loss of a dear soul. I experience the gloom that surrounds it all.

And.. I see my usually silent walks in the nights, being accompanied by a distant voice now..

***************************************************************
Did you know, Vadumangai is back at Madras??

I was overjoyed to see amma empty “pathu padi” (a measure) of Vadumangai into a tub of water. I couldn’t resist my temptation and grabbed one of them for a quick bite. (yum!) With every passing day, I would eye that jar, which saw the Vadumangais transforming into tastier versions..

***************************************************************
So, what the hell am I doing now?

Today, I stand at the brink of yet another transition – ending a phase and moving on to the next. Yesterday and the day before, people at college walked into the lab, hugged me and said adieu. I was filling others’ address books and getting mine filled too. Ten months is not too long to miss a place (and also because, I am not the sorts who would miss something that easily) but it sure is long enough, to leave behind a vacuum, for all the hectic activity that made up the days.

My locker at college needs to be cleared up – a few film rolls, snaps clicked during photo journalism class, negatives, pens that no longer write, chocolate wrappers, chips packets etc etc. I need to hand over the locker key, get the “no dues” signed and I am almost (almost) saying good bye to this place that changed the course of my life in a short time..

*************************************************************
And after all that, I remembered something. My blog. I really need to dust it up. I can already see cobwebs settling all over. Tcch.. I am so careless..:)

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Long time..no see!!

I am pinching myself...I am actually sitting and posting something onto my blog:). Ah, not bad! It feels like getting back home after a long time..

It is that time of the course where you have scary reminders coming up on the notice boards - "Attention, students doing economics elective.." blah blah..submit your assignments by such and such date; The college would dutifully remind us to turn in assignments to clear the course..:(..and you suddenly realise you have all the things coming flying at you. you wishfully hope you forgot that something called sleep existed and unfortunately, it would keep coming back to you the most, when you don't need it!!

Ok, only few more days, my dear blog, don't you feel abandoned..coz' I will be back soon and I love you too much to leave you unattended!! :)..Bye, bye for now!
*************************************************************

P.S: Just a thing to mention, all people who had given their opinion on brand India, have been acknowledged in my "rushed up" dissertation.Thanks people! :)

Monday, March 21, 2005

How many words??

The dissertation mania has caught on and nobody at college acknowledges you with a “Hi, how are you?” anymore; it is just a “Hi, how many words?”. This dissertation fever gobbled up my entire weekend and my work was growing at less than 50 words per hour on Saturday and was literally driving me mad.

Books and papers scattered all around, some stuff downloaded from the net, I sit like an idiot here, staring at all that is lying around and trying to gain sense out of all the intellectual ‘wealth’ (well, not actually, but the attitude seems to be reversing because of over indulgence in the act of gaining knowledge!) that I possess. Ok, this guy says this, that guy says that and after all that, I wonder, “Why should I brand India?” and ultimately, “What is branding??”.:

Type a sentence and I go to Tools -> Word count. “10 words”, MS word shows with earnest. Oh hell! Just ten words, but I spent five minutes writing it!! This is total inverse relationship between time spent and the final outcome! Dazed, I continue; this net is a huge temptation. I vow to myself to stick to google and not go anywhere else, no not even to my blog. I gave myself very few allowances, for the last three days – “You shall visit your blog only to see comments and type some lines, nothing more, do you understand??” And mails, not more than two per day! “Dissertation, dissertation..” Oh dear, this is sad!

After I finish a paragraph, in what seems like ages, I would think I felt tired and I needed a break. A slight desire would pop up there, to probably sneak into yahoo messenger to catch up with someone online or just drop in five lines of mail to somebody saying, “Boy, am going crazy!” or just pick up my phone and call someone, whom I haven’t spoken to for like days together! I would think I am feeling sleepy, switch off my monitor, tell my mom to wake me up after 10 minutes and those 10 minutes would just vanish and I would ask for another five minutes. Now after all this, when I am done, if I had all the time in the world to sleep, I am dead sure I would just be sitting and blinking.

At college, the lab is a sight of utter confusion and tension, people walking in, walking out, and I would wonder inside my head, how many words these people would have typed. (One girl told me it is 8000 over and I almost shrieked and fainted!). Look at me, such a donkey, I have struggled and managed a bare 4000 odd words and I still have thousand more to reach the minimum mark of 5000. I already feel like an exhausted athlete running with all my might towards the finishing line!! Sigh!

Somebody says the deadline is 5PM Monday and there is a word around that the petition that all of us signed for date extension has reached who it was supposed to have reached. I had signed it for solidarity, (sometime mid last week, VERRRY confident that I would wind up work neatly) and now it looks like I join the extension gang in its truest sense.

Tools -> Word count, dissertation, chapter 5, 276. Time spent 45 minutes. (Time spent brooding, don’t ask!). I am thinking and trying to be original.

Tools -> Word count. Size of this post, 507 (already? I feel like I have more to type). Time spent - 7 minutes.Not bad. But I am being original here too. Wonder what the difference is? ;)

Ok, that is my break! I take a deep breath, decide all good things should come to an end now and all bad things will also come to an end soon and I am opening my other window – “I – n-d-I-a-n a – r-c-h-I-t-e-c-t-u-r-e c-h-a-r-m-s .........." (Charms?)

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Answer and help!!

I am gonna make this really short.
Ok, I have a question.This is for one of my assignments that I am working on right now.
--------
When you think of India, as a country, what sort of an image does it invoke in your mind? Let me make that clearer.Usually, When we think of Japan, we think of technology and when we think of Italy, we think of fashion?? So, what do people relate India with? This could be a positive or a negative image.

Also, If any of you (esp. those abroad) has any idea of what foreigners think of India, do let me know.

It would be great if you could also add a line on whatever makes you think, India stood for 'that' particular thing.

-------
I just thought it would be great to have some feedback through my blog apart from other information that I have collected. All help/answers deeply acknowledged. :)

Monday, March 14, 2005

Umm…yummy, yummy!!

I am just back from a walk round our complex. It is rare that I do such good things to feel fit. The reason today, however is quite different. After an uneventful but hectic day at college, I came back home at around 8:30 PM. Today is Karadaiyan Nonbu (a function) and the moment I landed at home, amma was waiting. After I washed my hands and feet, she made me sit in the puja room and tied the nonbu charadu (a yellow colour thread) round my neck. The customary namaskaram sessions followed. First thatha and patti, and then amma and appa (with the usual sarcasm that I show;)).

And then was time for dinner. It was one of the most delicious dinners I have had in the last few days. This is indeed a rare occurrence, me saying that I ate well, given the pathetic eater that I am. Interesting menu there. First, I had two pieces each of Vella adai and Kaara adai (Imagine them to look like medhu vadaas, the difference being that vella adai is made of jaggery and kaara adai is made out of rice). Ah yes, there was also a generous helping of Vennai (butter), as I rejoiced every mouth of that adai that went in.

Now, to the usual course of dinner – there was amma’s famous thakkali rasam. (She is brilliant with it, I should say) with thayir pachadi (raitha) for a side dish. Fine slices of thakkali (tomato) garnished with fresh looking coriander leaves and of course kadugu thallichufied (for the lack of a more fitting English word, I resort to using Tanglish), the pachadi was a delight!

While I was feeling almost three fourth full and contemplating on making the move, my mom, pushed in a copious amount of rice into the plate. As I nibbled away happily, the verum saadham (plain rice) that I am so fond of, amma was back with buttermilk. I ain’t an ardent fan of moar saadham but today there was a nice side dish. Maangai thundam!! I was delighted raw mangoes were back in Chennai. Neatly cut and with a right amount of chilli powder and mustard, Maangai thundam was the gateway to eater’s heaven. After all that, I got up with great difficulty, quite amazed at what I had achieved for the day’s quota of food. Amma was amused and she had to say, “at least with this reason, try walking.”.Too much hmm…..

Now am back after the walk and I thought thrice before typing this down, coz I would probably see people steaming (first my sis, hey – I thought of you when I ate the food, ok?). Couldn’t resist. Now, before people pounce on me… am off!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Err… Blogger errs!

Yesterday morning, I opened my blog, clicked on the comments and I got this alarming message, “The blog that you are looking for is not found” or something to that effect and it gave this huge button, that said, “Back to dashboard” and I dashed back to my ‘dashboard’. Strangely enough, it wanted me to login to see my own comments!! How funny!

I thought something was terribly wrong with my blog. Panic!! Worse still, it was intuitions coming true for me!! Just the day before, I was wondering what would happen if the entire blogger system crashed. Mo assured me it wouldn’t happen and I felt safe and secure! And now, it seemed to be coming true! I have seen Orkut going down many times, cutely responding, “Bad bad server. No donut for you.”, but Blogger, this is the first time! (not that I have too much blogging experience, but still..)

On Mo’s advice again, I mailed blogger support too, telling them I can’t comment on my own blog and others as well. I also got my sis to do some R & D on it, at 12 in the night (S’pore time!)

Oh well, in between all that confusion, I managed to do something useful too. I finally (FINALLY) managed to add links to other nice blogs that I visit. (Blogfather, aren’t u happy and proud of me??).

Meanwhile, blogger support mailed me back sweetly today morning and I just couldn’t help appreciating the prompt response. The mail below,

“Hello,

Thank you for reporting this error. We are working on getting the comment
pages up and running normally again as soon as possible. We apologize for
the inconvenience.

Sincerely,
Blogger Support”

Thankie blogger, the comments do seem to be back!!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Standing and Praying:)

This is strange. A mere glance at a book of short stories by Rabindranath Tagore, at home, sent me on a flashback session. Let me explain. I thought of Tagore, then I thought of the National Anthem, and then I "flashbacked" to the prayer sessions at schools. It brought to my mind, so many memories of those morning assemblies.

I have been through seven different schools from LKG to class twelve and at every place, I had this huge task of learning the assembly prayer songs, as a new comer. The only one thing that was common was the National Anthem. And believe me, every school that I went to, the last part of "Jaya hai" would go totally off track, "abaswaram" to say it in music parlance. The pitch of some people wouldn't rise beyond a certain level (and it isn't their mistake, of course!) and while some will be on tune with the "Shruti", the rest would almost sink it to a level of their comfort. The result, well..! It was also the time, when we used to pledge, "All Indians are my brothers and sisters" and some smart alec from behind would murmur, "except one..!"

While we sang the prayer, there used to be the late comers outside, standing and peering through the grills of the huge main gate of the school, wondering how their day would begin, probably 5 rounds around the school ground, or a nice whacking from the PT teacher.

The other interesting part used to be the check whether you were in "full uniform" or "non uniform" (What words to coin?!). I remember in DAV, where we used to have prayers only on two days, I would polish my white canvas shoes frantically those mornings, cut my nails. There were some girls, who would come to class with shoe polish and nailcutters, worse still, some of them used to polish up using white chalk pieces!!

And once the prayer was over, we had the appointments (the captains/prefects/house captians) dutifully sharing responsibilities. Once the first person checked the condition of your shoes, you needed to deposit your palms into those of the next checking "appointment" and hands just used to glide into theirs for checks.

Talking about appointments, I can recollect some of my own experiences with it. Not at many occassions, but I have felt great pride in exhibiting some leadership. During first standard at MCTM, I cried and made a big fuss at home about going to school and my dad had to come and speak to my class teacher. Mahalakshmi "miss" the next day, made me the I-B leader who would lead the students in a line to the prayer session! Crazy?! That's how I was. Then again in class five at Chinmaya Vidyalaya, I used to stand in the front in the assembly and we had this really strange practice. We had to come forward, salute and shout, "Class five - C, 32 present, 2 absent!". I can't explain how proud I used to feel!

There were also the "thought for the day"s and news and prize announcements. It was indeed great fun to have been a part of all this. It would fill me with so much of excitement and pride!:)

And of course, how could I forget those silly people who would faint in the assembly because they haven't had food? (not that I am a great eater, but I never used to skip breakfast;)). Everyday, there used to be at least 3 cases of people fainting and teachers would rush in and drag those kids to the labs (usually, chem and phy labs where we used to have long benches to sleep on!)

Eventful, if something has to be said about prayers in schools. It gave me a sense of belonging to the school, whichever one I studied in, the sense that I was part of this huge group and an arena where you would see laurels and feel proud. It was also a place to giggle and see some funny experiences. To quote one, it was my first day at Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) in Tiruchengode (a rural area near Salem). I had joined class three and was standing in the prayer, the first one in that school. Old students were curious and excited. One of them looked at me and said, "Hey this is not the way you stitch your pinaform (for pinafore!)" and she asked me, "What is your name?". "Anupama", I replied hesitantly. "Anu enadhu?"(Anu what?) she asked and not waiting for an answer, continued, "Uh! what a strange name!" (in Tamil). Ah, Prayers...!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Speaking of unheard voices..

Looks like it’s the docu movie season. Last Saturday, I got a chance to watch Anand Patwardhan’s “War and Peace”, with the filmmaker himself, in college. Today again, I had been to the private screening of docu films by Arun Vaidhyanathan, in Chennai. (Acknowledgments again: REFLEX, thanks for letting me know). More on this in tomorrow’s post.Let’s go on to today’s post, which is fairly long!But do read on..as I always say;)
****************************************************************
Today, the 8th of March is celebrated as world Women’s day. While all the fanfare that accompanies the day (in celebrating womanhood) is something to feel happy about, I just couldn’t help thinking about the thousands of young girls and women, who are faceless and live the most miserable of lives, in India and many other developing countries.

“Kutty”. This is a tamil movie that I saw in Jaya TV on Sunday. The film literally shook me up for its powerful portrayal of certain grave social problems plaguing this country. This movie won the special jury award for the director, Janaki Viswanathan, in the national awards for 2002 and also the award for the best child artiste, played by Shweta.

“Kutty” is the story of a 10 year old girl called “Kannamma” who hails from a very poor family in one of those many, many villages located in Tamil Nadu. Kannamma loses her father, who sells pots for a profession (who else but the versatile Nasser), in an accident and her mother barely able to sustain herself and her daughter, decides to send the girl to a well-off family in Chennai, as a caretaker and servant maid. The girl, who is taken care of very well, by the husband and wife (played by Ramesh Arvind and Kausalya respectively) there, is ill treated by the man’s mother (played by M.N.Rajam) and his son (nearly the same age as Kutty, as Kannamma is so called). Barring a very few bright moments in kutty’s life, she is unable to live there, decides to run away home, only leading to a shocking climax. The guy who spots her at a “Maligai shop” (grocery shop) near her apartment tricks her into flesh trade, by deceiving the innocent girl that he was actually sending her home. And there the story ends.

Kutty sends strong messages to the audience and these are certain problems that the society just cannot ignore. Firstly, the movie highlights a tendency of certain urban upper class members to look down on the servants and treat them in a demeaning way. It is not a generalisation when I say this, but we can’t rule out this caste differentiation, all together.

The next really significant point that the movie makes is the serious problem of child labour that is widely prevalent in the country despite strong laws condemning the act of employing children. There is this particular scene in the college where Kousalya works – the lecturers describe the mental agony of employing children as servants and also the irony that, they as the shapers of the society aren’t doing anything to alleviate this serious problem. During that time, a boy of about 12 years of age, comes and serves them all tea. The paradox is brought out very well.

Following child labour, the other burning problem that the film addresses is that of illiteracy, especially for girl children. This theme almost runs through the length of the movie. For instance, there is the scene where Kutty gets so hurt by the ill treatment of “periya amma” that she runs to the grocery shop, owned by Vivek and begs him to write a letter. The sequence is wonderfully enacted by Shweta and Vivek. The girl is so desperate that she promises her mom (in the letter), she wouldn’t trouble her and ask for expensive food, that she would do all house work without a fuss and still drink porridge. She ends by saying she is unable to stand the torture at this place. All this with a flurry of emotions that the owner of the shop is dumbfounded and overwhelmed by the girl’s situation. When he asks for her the postal address, she just mentions the name of the village and says it is near Madurai, where she reaches by bus. When Vivek asks for the street, door number etc., she says, “Uncle, I don’t know anything, my parents didn’t let me study” and continues innocently to describe the place saying, there are lot of trees, rocks, here, there..What A subtle portrayal of a burning issue. Amazing! That was one point in the movie, where I broke down.

The interest to learn but the lack of a chance, is obvious in scenes where Kutty would eagerly pour into the books of the son of her employers and get beaten up by the fellow. The last scene, she believes that she is going back home, but as the camera moves up, you see that the train is headed to Mumbai from Chennai. Lack of literacy again, isn’t it serious? While we are left to ponder over the fate of the innocent girl, she actually sits in the train and dreams and smiles over the ‘hypothetical’ situation of going back home. The movie ends with a song, “Enga pora thangachi?” (Where are you going sister?)

There is something that is very basic to all these problems, the very core of it all – Deprivation that is deeply rooted in this country. Deprivation isn’t easily obvious, to people especially in the upper layers of the society. Poverty is definitely a serious cause of most of the social ills in India, where the high order benefits announced at the top level and any big gains made, do not trickle down to the poor and reach the lower strata of the society.

The film only strengthened my belief and insistence on the need for basic education for girls from poor economic background. If only they are educated, it would do them so much good. It would only bring down the number of girls like kutty, who are finding their ways into red light areas, unaware of what is happening to them. All this is easier said than done, and it cannot happen overnight. It needs a transformation in attitude towards women in so many sections of the society, especially the lower ones. And I believe the media has a really big role to play in the process. I hope that would give those unheard voices and faceless people, a worthy direction.