Friday, December 24, 2010

a space in time

My cousin S is to arrive from Delhi today. She, her parents, her dodappa dodamma, atte mave, and my husband and I, have been looking forward to this event as we all havent met for a long time.
so yesterday went like this...

  • S says she will come by Meru taxi on her own,...,
  • No no.. let us go and receive her.
  • Go by the airport bus and come back together in meru taxi?
  • Call the RR taxi and keep it for the entire day...
  • Mani, you make lunch, we will stop by your house on the way back.
  • Thumba elaborate lunch maad beda...simple aagi anna saaru maadu
  • OK, I'll cook dinner, u relax with your daughter, and come to our house for dinner.
  • S likes idlis. I will make idlis. you make the rest of the dinner.
  • I want to bring sweets from adyar anand bhavan what would she like?
Everyone got up early....her mom, for she was too excited. she herself, as she had to reach the airport in time...in the Delhi fog, Mani as she had to cook the special lunch, and some of us...just because...

Devaru vara kottaru, pujari vara kodbekalla?
Kingfisher had the last laugh.
The flight was delayed from 8.15AM to 10 AM to 1.15 PM. Now they tell us the expected time of arrival is 3.45PM!!
Suddenly...our mind is blank. Excited chatter changes to tired silence. its like....what shall we fill this sudden space in time now?

------------------
what u doing today
------------------

Saturday, December 18, 2010

vaikunta ekadasi

Yesterday was Vaikunta ekadasi. The number of devotees thronging to temples on this day has been increasing every year. Drive round the city on this day and you will find long lines that flow on to the streets. In a temple in Padmanabhanagar we found the line had extended across two streets.
Some temples like the Devagiri in Banashankari have erected barricades to channel the people in an orderly manner.

Every temple prepares prasad, pongal, puliogare or laddu, that it distributes free of cost to all devotes who come for darshan. For most young this is the purpose of the entire experience.
Women in silks, with jasmine strings in their hair, escort the elderly and the young at home to this darshan.

On this day a special doorway is decorated with flower garlands. It is thrown open with chanting of mantras and shlokas at an auspicious moment.
This is the Vaikunta dwara.
it represents the gate to heaven.

The presiding deity, Lord Venkateshwara is also in finery. the idol is decorated with flowers, leaves, jewellery and silk clothes. the devoted are atleast for a moment lost in trance...in the beauty of the lord. believe me the sight can be mesmerising.
Devotees wait for hours in the line to get a darshan of the lord and then pass through the specially created vaikunta dwara. The devotees believe that passing through this doorway will ensure an easy entrance into heaven when the need arises. (but of course...no one is in a hurry to test this!!)


It is amazing how the entire city of Bangalore seems to be converging to some temple near by. Faith moves mountains...and rivers of people.

---------------------
This time vaikunta ekadasi falls on Friday Dec 17th. that also happens to be Last day of Muharram.

----------------------

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

#reverb10 - Appreciate

Appreciate. What's the one thing you have come to appreciate most in


the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?
 
We came to this city two years ago with apprehension and hope. Apprehension because we are not that young anymore and starting afresh in a new city can be a challenge.
Hope, as we came here to fulfill a long dream.
 
It was barely 10 minutes after we moved in and my neighbours walked in with a loaded tray of tea and biscuits.
It was hot and we had to have an AC. the shop assisstant came over at 9 in the night to fix it for us.
A young advocate offered to help us out by lending his car and assisstant.
Some women invited us over for a chat so that we feel comfortable.
A cab driver went out of his way to take us to a place we knew little about, located the address and offered to wait to take us back as it was getting dark and late.
The officials at the Bank sent people home to help us fill forms and complete formalities.
I signed into a social networking site and loads of precious students bbecame my friends.
I am living my days as a teacher again with renewed vigour!
We have received so much love and affection.

 

I think people are essentially good. Selfishness is an acquired habit. We like to help. We enjoy being useful. I am grateful that I have met so many people who are role models as wonderful human beings.

Monday, December 13, 2010

What is your complaint?


Aaaah it feels so nice again to be able to complain about
the metro woes
the potholes on the roads
the oneways
the hugging the auto bar for dear life as he veers round a bus
the autos that run faster than even thought!
the many many social events that we 'need' to attend
hospitable hosts who kill you with love and over feeding
relatives who have done or not done something
the over expressive kannada film songs
the crowd in hotels on weekends


aaah its good to have things to complain about.

If you are in India you will know Nitish Kumar and Bihar.
there was this line in the papers
that in bihar, where there were no roads, now there are potholes.

So when people complain about potholes...it implies there are roads
when u complain about a bad boss...it implies u have a nice job
when u complain about the erratic driving on roads...it implies u drive and move in your own vehicle


what u complain about...tells a lot about u.
doesn't it?

#reverb10 - Action.

Prompt: Action. When it comes to aspirations, its not about ideas. It's


about making ideas happen. What's your next step?

I have a dream book that I have written. My aspiration is to see it published.
So practically the next step is to contact publishers
and get the book moving.
but here i am on vacation in a different city.
still
i must act on my aspiration.
so i will talk to publishers.
thats my reverberation for the next year.

#reverb10 - Body integration


Prompt: Body integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated


with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn't mind and body, but

simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?
 
In the beginning of this year I began to blog seriously.
I started using water colours to add variety to my blog.
I have taken up brushes and paints again after a long long gap.
Wet paint, the smell of wet colour, white pages filling up, and my thoughts coming alive on paper. that really makes me feel complete.
Yes painting does that to me...though I am not really a trained artist I dabble and find my joy there.

#reverb10 - 11 things

11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn't need in 2011? How


will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things

change your life? _
 
We spend a lot of time thinking of what we do not want. I was just like that too. I would go hot under the collar thinking of all those things that made me angry, upset, embarassed, tired or helpless.
 
Then I had a kind of remaking of my insides.
 
I read SECRET by Rhonda Byrne and it so changed my outlook that now I consciously focus on what I want to see and do not like to think of what I do not want to see.
this habit I have imbibed after a lot of dedicated thinking and hard work.
So
Sorry
I cannot write about this topic.

Friday, December 10, 2010

#Reverb10 - Wisdom.

Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how
did it play out?

You know how it is with children growing, career dreams maturing, social life brimming…………I had my days full.

Well to tell the truth
Actually my days were full and a half!

We moved to Delhi in 2009 and again it was hectic, what with trying to make new friends, getting to know the city and trying to find our place here.
I decided to actually go slow in 2010. The decision made was to connect with ME.

So for that I decided to blog
To write the 750 words every day
To paint
And to read
I also connected with my lovely student world through social networking.

Ma’am do you remember me…?
Ma’am do you remember that time when we….?
Ma’am see this photograph of our class farewell……..



It has been a difficult decision to adhere to
I had to turn down many very fascinating jobs
But in the end
I think I am happy with my Wise Decision.

--------------------------

I connect with ME

-------------------------

Adopt a Habit




Last week my daughter told me.........
It was plant week at office. Lots of plants in plastic covers are brought into office. You can pick one and take it home. She has brought home a hibiscus plant. Now she has put it carefully into a special pot.

She will water it everyday. Shift it so it can get sunlight, Delhi is pretty cold in winter.....Spray it with pesticide....remove yellow leaves.....turn the hardened soil...
whew
That is literally taking on a new commitment.
But what if I am not ready to really commit myself for life? With the little bottle necks I am passing through some one who loves me told me.... calm your mind. Meditate. Read the Ashtotras every day. Pray for an hour.
Welllllllll...
I am not that much into ritualistic religion
So doing that would essentially change me?
But I am not ready to really change life attitudes
We hang on to what we are.........dont we?

Then I tell myself
What if I am only trying it out for some time?
What if I am not really changing my life attitude......only Adopting a habit........and if I like it.....I can make it into a lifetime commitment

That makes me open to try out new ideas


----------------------

So I have adopted this habit.........I chant the Vinayaka Ashtotra everyday. Will tell you if it made a difference to me....

---------------------

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Something new

Hi
I am going to try something new and I need all your encouragement.

I am signing up for what is called ..........  #Reverb 10.

But this is more of a challenge as I will actually be on vacation in Bangalore!
So do look in
and egg me on
and tell me the blog is good
or tell me it stinks

I have missed the first 10 days of Reverb 10.
So 20 days
of writing on what
someone else asks me to
and keeping the blog what it always has been

a rambling talk over cushions..

tough for me

But.....Yes I can

-----------

so help me ganesha ... to adopt this habit

-----------

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Motto of Life - II

Did you locate the guiding light? In blog post Motto of Life? Did you?
???


When we become aware of our life motto the decision making process is that much easier. Let’s say you take a decision.
  • If that decision agrees with your basic motto in life you are peaceful and can concentrate on the action required. Things move fast. Events are smooth.

  • But if that decision is contrary to your basic motto you become restless and stressed out. The actions carried out become that much more difficult. You hesitate. You are slow to act. You keep wondering if you are on the right path.



-----------------


When you identify the motto of people around you, does it become easier to understand why they do what they do?


---------------


I have lots of hats........multicoloured ones

Am I talking through one of them hats?


--------------------------


I do that sometimes....
-----------------

Monday, December 6, 2010

Motto of Life

In all the twists and turns of life there is a guiding force at the center. This guiding force is the motto of our life.

This basic motto defines us. It distinguishes us from others.

This is who we are.







--------------------
 
Can you locate the guiding light at the centre?


--------------------

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Is your Heart in it?

A young friend of mine, Ashwini from Canada, suggested I try painting the same thing repeatedly. I have not done that before. But I try that this time. I have painted 3 trays of Thambulam. What I did was to paint the betel leaves in all pages and then the fruits in all the pages and so on. The basket and the silver thali came last of all.
And yes Ashwini, I think your technique helped me learn.



As a lady from south India, for me this tambula tray evokes happy feelings. A feeling of bounty and wellbeing. The chatter of women, the perfume of fresh flowers, and the rustle of silk .... yes, I feel them all.

Every region has its own time of custom gifting. As we become more global we begin to see the material waste generated. No one else in the world does this so why do we? This question rises again and again.

And suddenly this custom generated gift industry catering to local customs is perceived as very out of place. When the custom gifting no longer serves the purpose of spreading joy, it comes to a natural halt. And other customs take its place.


------------------------

The bottom line is, Is your heart in it?

---------------

Friday, November 26, 2010

Unread Messages

About solicited mails and a custom

I subcribed to updates from some sites out of curiosity or short lived interest. I still keep getting mails from them. Well they are just doing their job.
They actually also have a link that says click here if you wish to unsubscribe.
But I don't unsubscribe. I hover over that line for a second. 'Feel I am somehow betraying them. and I don't click!

When I get a mail from them, I raise my eyebrows and say, Not this one again!
I dont read the mail.

This reminds me of the arshina-kunkuma visits. Down south, ladies are invited to neighbouring houses on festive days. This is a short non-eating happy cultural meet. Ladies dress up in finery. Sit around for some time. Sing a song if possible. Then the host offers haldi kumkum and flowers and a tambula. The done thing is to give coconuts as tambula. Coconuts have become too expensive and they have been replaced by the rolling mosambi. You go to your neighbour's house. Sit there for a short time. They give you kumkum and tambula with a mosambi. So you go to the next house and you think, not a mosambi again!!!

You bring them fruits home and they roll around on the dining table. They might even move to a bowl on the fridge. No one wants to peel them. No one wants to have them. Yet when its your turn to give, you look at the prohibitive cost of the coconuts and resort to the mundane rolling fruits!

I just need to unsubscribe.
Right?
.
.
.

What would you unsubscribe?


tambula - watercolour


This is a traditional thambula.
Tambula - betel leaves with betel nut and fruit. This is generally given with dakshina ie; a coin or a note

-----------------------

What do you think about expressing opinions?
 Do read this one: Want an Icecream?

-----------------------

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Watching it live

It is much easier to watch a cricket match, a CWG opening, a Wimbledon or a Sonu Nigam night on TV.

It is free. You sit back with a packet of chips. The chair is comfortable. You avoid the noise and the shoving. To top it all, you get a much better view.

 
Yet lots of people go out there and buy tickets to watch the shows live.

 
When you watch it there, live, breathing in the atmosphere do you get something more than the mere game-song-event?

 
  • The thrill, the hope, the energy of live performance?
  • The fun of being the first to see a little something go wrong way?
  • Is it all about… been there, done that?
  • About having a story to tell?
  • Or about …
  • Warm looks passed around on stage?
  • A mistake corrected cleverly?

What makes you buy that expensive ticket to watch it live?

 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

How to Peel Mosambi

About how to peel a mosambi among other things

It was one of those days when I got up feeling low. That doesn’t usually happen. But then…that was a day I got up feeling low.

Oh! I already told you that.
My English teacher had told me never repeat words. She would mark the guilty phrases in red. I can see her looking sternly…
Anyway, I got up feeling low and

Oops!

I felt “no one cares for me”, “out of sight out of mind”, etc etc
All not true …. Yella sullu
I know that
But the mind has a movement of its own. And that day I felt as helpless as my neighbour’s daughter who ‘takes’ her black Labrador for a ‘walk’.




But the Universe has a way of telling you, hold on! Let me show you… And that day
I received five phone calls, two visits, two letters (one containing a check), and a large parcel.
A parcel! Now who would send me a parcel?
I tear it open and I smile.
A PG Wodehouse! Specially a Jeeves……..aah! This is the ultimate ……. a book I can curl up and laugh with.
And to top it all I find in the book a hand made card from Ashwini, my fine niece in Bangalore.


Yippee! My mood is back to rocking.
Now I am good and ready to help those in distress….
Let me show you how to peel a musambi
No tearing, no messing. Three simple steps

Step one – Slice off the two ends of the mosambi


Step two – Cut mosambi into quarters


Step three – Peel off the skin

Now run it in the mixer for 2 minutes with a spoon of sugar, a dash of salt and half a glass of water. Strain and enjoy a cooling glass of mosambi juice.

------------------

But just read about what happened the other day
He Crouched in the Shadows

----------------

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Shikanji

About the advantages of fruit juices

A refreshing summer drink, Shikanji is the Hindi name for lemonade (ie. lemon juice) spiced with a dash of crushed ginger. But Shikanji is welcome at any time of the year, except perhaps when winter is at its shivering best.

I wish other fruit juices had such interesting names too. I have heard people referring to cider, but is that a term used for a fermented apple juice? Not sure, must ask Jeeves.

During Ramanavami in Karnataka belada hannu panaka is served with kosambari. Panaka is a special juice made with the fruit called belada hannu (that’s wood apple or bel fruit) mixed with jaggery and tamarind pulp and water. Since making panaka from belada hannu is tedious, nimbe-panaka or lemon juice flavoured with kesari and ginger is the more favoured option. Kosambari is a spicy salad made from soaked moong dal. Come to think of it, kosambari which has dal, coconut, raw cucumber and spices when served with lemon panaka makes a complete balanced diet.


Pardon me, I wander. I want to talk about fruit juices. To remove the toxins which I received as parting gift from Chikan Guniya I was advised to have a lot of fruit juice. My dear husband went a little overboard. I now have 4 tall glasses of juice a day, one glass of fresh juice with every meal.
  • Light shikanji with breakfast
  • Watermelon juice, sometimes spiked with mint during lunch
  • A bottled pink guava drink from Natural or Safal instead of tea with biscuits
  • Orange juice freshly squeezed or freshly poured from a carton during supper
Pomogranate, Sweetlime and Musk melon add more variety. Of these the pink guava drink and the watermelon juice are my favourites. I have seriously decided to invest in a food processor and continue the drinking habit!


 The juice diet has
  • Reduced my craving for chocolates
  • Regulated my system
  • Made me feel more positive and happy
  • Removed much of the tiredness
 I strongly recommend two glasses of fresh fruit juice as a daily habit……. Chikan Guniya or not.


  -----------------------
Would you like to read that one about friends and family?


Monday, November 15, 2010

From Darkness to Light

Deepavali is a festival celebrating the movement of man from darkness to light.
This is the month of Kritika or Kartikai. We light two munnina deepas which my grandma used to call hanathey at the doorstep to invite goddess Lakshmi into the house to lead us from darkness to light. A hanathey is a small mud lamp into which you pour a spoon of oil and place a thread or cotton wick. The lamps are placed on either side of the door. But I like to keep two porcelain lamps in a silver tray in a special place inside the house too...



We were sitting around minding our business when suddenly the lights went off . There was a power cut (thanks perhaps to CWG). With the harsh brightness of the tube lights and incandescent bulbs switched off the oil wick lamps spread a soft glow.



I brought out a few more lamps and candles and we sat in that semi darkness.
That moment when darkness suddenly envelopes you. You know that everything around you is the same. You are infact in your own home, familiar room. Still you hurry to light candles and bring in assuring light.
That moment of darkness is a moment of faith?
A moment when your sense of trust is uppermost?
Then the candles are lit, and an illusion of familiarity is created.


In India power cut is the time for families to gather round the lamps and play games and sing songs. To groan over How Much there is to study while secretly enjoying the break! To open a packet of potato chips. To tease. To say things that would not be possible in harsh light.

But….we just took some photographs.




from darkness to light...........

Friday, November 12, 2010

Is That You?

Sometimes

You do little things to bring on a grin.
You buy a gift – for no rhyme or reason.
Your hug is healing. Your smile has meaning.

Sometimes
You’re judgemental and spicy.
You’re opinionated and dicey.
Pure and delightful, gossipy and soulful,

Sometimes
Vigorous at work, daring, ambitious,
Spontaneous, planned, and copy book.
But at all times

Be sure, YOU are YOU.

Your dreams are important
Your hopes are valid
You are PRECIOUS
Imagine!!! We have only ONE OF YOU.

Bikes, Cars and Xbox are for guys
Ribbons, flowers and perfumes are for gals
Huh! Why be caught in ancient shackles?
Why conform when we can be different?
This for you………


and this to take




this too, for the lapel


 one for the road



HAVE A GREAT DAY

Did you like this?
In a mood for a laugh? May be you can read  Engaging Accents.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dhanaulti, natural alpine forest reserve

I like to see this picture when I want to feel happy.
So I share it with you.
Some people, some places and some thoughts bring peace just by being what they are.
Radiating a sense of wellbeing and satisfaction.
This is one such place, the curve of the road, the dipping fence, the green grass and the pine trees.....  I took this picture at Dhanaulti.



Does it make you happy too?
  • Do you have your own set of happy pictures?
  • Pull them out.
  • Put them where you can see them.
  • Will you do that?
For some pictures of the Eiffel Tower click here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Signboards on the Road

 

Signboards are good. There were people, who looked at stars and at the length of shadows and or held a wet finger to the wind and decided upon the direction to move in.

Me, I like sign posts.
Signboards are loud and clear. No ambiguity. No guessing. A Sign post simply shows the way.
Signboards show you your options, allowing you to choose without ill feelings on either side.
Would life be simpler with signboards?
• This guy is only passing time…not really serious
• This share is already on the way down…do not invest
• The salad stinks, order for sandwich instead

Speaking Tree  in TOI tells us we have inbuilt signboards. Our inner mind does show the way. We have to stop cruising, read the signpost and heed its wordings.
Ofcourse it would not concern itself with stinky salads.....but that is besides the point.

But do we like signboards?
Do you think we would read such signboards even if they were actually staring us in the face?
Or would we say
Look I know better
You know what…..I think the signboard should face this way!

Believe me, we have done that with real, hard wood signboards on the road too.
'No need to peer at those dumb things
I have driven to Cafe Biswas so many times
I know you need to turn right here
...
after 20 minutes
.....
I am sure Choomantar Street was somewhere here.........when did it shift?!'
---------------------

Would you like to try another flight? How about this one?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Deepavali Wishes


The festival of lights - DEEPAVALI - is here.
May there be plenty of light in our lives. Like the gentle glow of the oil wick lamp that spreads warm light, may we be able to bring the warm glow of love and respect for those around us.
Let there be light always.

Wish you all a very happy and prosperous year ahead.

Monday, November 1, 2010

PAIN - mind it

It is 1971, I open my books, take out my pencil pouch, resign myself to the HSC guide. The HSC guides contain questions papers of the last ten years. No answers! I begin with problem one and the mike at the local puja pandal goes keeee kuu keee! Mere sapnon ki rani and Roop tera mastana blare into my mind (and soul) exactly when I am supposed to be studying for the HSC board exams. I am quite sure that is the reason why after a page full of calculations  I arrive at the father's age in problem 9 (I underline the answer with flourish) but it turns out that dad is 23 while the son is 21.
In the 70s the endless songs from puja pandals crept into your homes, occupied the chairs and filled every space inside the body too. But somehow the songs from the pandals never disturbed me, actually I couldn't even hear them, when I was reading an Agatha Christie or a Harold Robbins.
Pain is like that too.
Pain overpowers your thoughts and abducts your mind if you do not quickly take up something so interesting that thoughts of pain are pushed out.

  • A job, a passion, an urgent duty become handy tools to forget pain.
  • When you are too busy pain is a luxury.
  • When you are too free, pain is an occupation.
riddle:
What do you call a visitor who leaves painful memories?
answer
Chikungunya

See the title of this post again. Did that remind you of Rajnikanth? Well it was supposed to. Only, ... Rajni Sir is all laughter ........ the only pain you get is by laughing! Want to know what happened when I met an actor? Click and read.

Friday, October 29, 2010

One More Time

Wommore-time
That's how you say it.
I learnt that from my grandson.
For what he wants he insists endearingly - wommore-time - And we do not have the heart to say NO.
mostly it's to watch a Mickey Mouse video.
Do you remember the packet of Haldiram's roasted moong dal from the photo in my yesterday's blog. Well today I opened that packet, just a little bit and had a small helping. I then took just one more. I promised I would stop at the third. Not much left after that in the packet. No point storing it. I went ahead and polished it all off. It is meant to be single serve sachet. Right?



Just one more time
just one more time
How come I never feel that way when I am exercising or taking a walk or cleaning a shelf?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pickle Sachets

When we were in Jayanagar an amazing ice-cream shop opened in 4th block called Baskin Robbins. What was amazing was that he gave us small plastic spoons and we could taste as many flavours as we wanted before buying one. Dream-come-true for me and my daughters. We would go into this air conditioned shop – a rarity in those days – and take our time. We would try the funny purple, green, red flaked and orange flavours!!
Today large MNCs and local ones all offer trial packs. I think they call it single serve sachets.
Shampoo, soap, water, hair oil, noodles, tea, biscuits and pickle … you name it and you find it, in convenient single use packets. Pantene or Chik or Sunsilk? Can’t decide? Try them all and then decide on the brand you like.

 

 
  • Works well for the traveller who wants something for just a day or two.
  • Works for the thirsty college student in the metro as he picks up a water sachet for Re. 1
  • Works well for the roomies who have a storage problem. Unopened single serve packets are bundled into one shelf and used at will.
  • Works well for the poor rickshawalla who cannot afford to spend a day’s income on the economical 250g bottle of shampoo. His family of 5 makes do with two shampoo sachets every Monday.
Single serve sachets are a great find. An amazing corporate step that finds approving nods from the rich and the poor. Here’s to single serve sachets the great equaliser!
Only, I cant stand the glossy gutka packets lying in nooks and corners of the city. Wish someone would come with biodegradable sachets.
Aah! That would be nice.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Help me

Can someone cure me? I have this malady called ISS. Nah, it has nothing to do with Mallika Sharawat or HISS. I caught it long back. Maybe when I was 10 or 12. It’s called Immediate Slotting Syndrome. I look at a thing and mentally go right / wrong. Way back I would enjoy biting into a white Chicklet. Suddenly ISS would hit and I would give it away with a sigh.


 Find the right place for everything

We are driving down a road and I see MARY QUEEN SCHOOL only the Y has fallen off! So I go bad, that mars the school name!
After that we see a family feeding puri-halwa to the hungry and I smile in approval.
O, look at that boy on the scooter zipping away ignoring the red light … bad.
Lovely decorative lights at the shop. So inviting. Good
Aaargh! Can someone save me? I know this is wrong. I shouldn’t be doing this …
Oops! There I go again.
Actually there was a short one week phase when I was cured. Let me tell you about it. I listened to a very spiritual and inspiring guru. He told us nothing is wrong or right, it is our thinking that makes it so. So actually everything is in a faintly grey zone. 
Ok.
So I am in this all grey mood.
My husband offers to drop me to my friend’s house in Malleswaram. Suddenly he asks me, straight or right? O no, now I need to choose. I need to say right and wrong? I dawdle and he misses the turn. Finally we entered a one way – Bangalore is full of those – and drove around for another 10 minutes before we reached her house.
The next day we had to select two sarees. When I am afflicted with ISS I just go yes, no, no, yes, no, no, no, as the salesman pulls out sarees. After 6 minutes I look at all the ‘yesses’, again I go yes, no, no, yes and within 15 minutes my purchases are made.
That day I was in this grey tone. So the sarees were good, not so good, little good.. Aargh, how do I choose? I picked the beige with red and black border and a pastel green with small buttas but was not very sure I picked the best. What about that maroon one? Or that peacock blue with zari border? Oh! It was all grey.
ISS has its benefits. But really I want a cure from ISS.
Any ideas?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

All thumbs

Who would have thought that this massive, tall, cold, iron structure would symbolise romance and love? The structure by itself is nothing romantic.

But the place has gathered an aura. Everyone who comes there is enveloped by the charm of happy feelings and sense of abandon.

My husband and I were blown away too.

Feelings have a way of gathering.
Every topic of conversation is like glue or a magnet. You start a topic and similar stories will follow… chipak chipakke… back to back. One accident story brings on 6 more. One MIL story brings on 30 more. One office story brings on 100 more.
OK OK
I am exaggerating. But you get the picture?
So that should be true of happy stories too. And jokes. We like to laugh. But not many of us are good at making people laugh. But when laughter is in the air, you can laugh at anything. We just got to place laughter in the air.
It is like this. Yesterday I tried online banking. I know you have done it all many times ... but for me it was my first faltering step in that direction. When it comes to banking and keeping track of accounts I am all thumbs. But this was internet. My field. Safe ground...or so I thought! Well I went through all the motions and successfully logged in and logged out. Then I though I would do it again and transfer a surprise gift to my daughter. Well when I tried logging in the second time I got ACCESS DENIED.
Whaat?
I can login only once a day?? How silly! I was all red and furious ... when coolly my husband suggested 'Check the Password'. Aaargh. I had used my gmail password!
That really set me laughing. Soon we found many things to laugh about. That's when we started looking at our photo collection too.
so here
Logically
One joke should bring 10 more.
Logically it did.
But, Looking at the dismal collection of comments for my blogs, I am all thumbs about more things than internet banking.
Huh?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Kutiyattam

All dances of Kerala are fascinating. During a trip to Trivandrum in 1991 I saw a vigorous Kathakali performance. An artist began by applying make up on stage. The others were ready. There were men who had taken female roles. The kathakali dancers gave an energetic performance. Finally the main dancer told us how the paint is removed with coconut oil. The oil leaves their skin preserved despite the thick paint. The Kathakali dancers appear larger than life. Their flowing clothes, large head gear and colourful face makeovers capture our mind and attention. I have a photo … will scan and upload later. I have left behind the photo albums in Bangalore. If you have a digital one you are willing to share, do send it across.


Another dance I recollect is a slow moving Onam dance. I saw 8 dancers in traditional Kerala attire moving around a tall lamp. Sorry no photos. But the scene was mesmerising. I remember they sang their own songs too.

Yesterday we drove down to IIC for a quiet evening. While admiring a photo exhibition we got talking to a gentleman who told us about this Kutiyattam by Kapila Venu. We could hear the drum beats and they kind of drew us into the darkened auditorium. I had never seen anything like this before. The stark stage had three drummers, a lady sitting on the mat and keeping time with cymbals and a wonderfully elegant dancer held the centre-stage.

The drums were very different too. Two large pots had taut sheets stretched across the opening on top. The pots were placed in wooden stands. To use their traditional names, Mizhavu was kept in Mizhavana. Two men played on these by beating lightly on the stretched sheet. A man stood with an ornate drum hanging from his left shoulder. A tall brass lamp was the only decoration.

Radiant in a typical white with gold border saree Kapila held us captive. Live music by the percussionists was enthralling. Kapila danced the story of Sita’s exile in the forest, the birth of the twins, the meeting of Luv-Kush with Rama and her trial by fire. With no song or words to help her, with just the rhythmic beat of drums, Kapila with studied attention and grace enacted, danced the entire story. It was truly amazing.


IIC hosts a number of such cultural events. the entrance is free and the experience uplifting.
You know sometimes we see a dance and can somehow never forget it. Have you had such a memorable moment? Do tell me.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Touch the sky

Hi all of you. Did I tell you my grandson was here visiting me? He is two and a half and he has opened up a whole new world for me. There were many things we did together when they were here for a short ten-day-stay.
We listened to goofy baby till I knew every word that was coming. I enjoyed waiting for Goofy to come out of the time-machine as baby Goofy, and then waited for him to cry, and then have yummy milk - my grandson adores milk - and then the little song that goes top-top-bottom-bottom-middle-middle-middle. We took some time to figure out that song, and then Goofy goes Buurrrp.... look why dont you watch the video. HERE
We pulled out all the colour pencils and made a loooong train. See we have used caps and a sipper too to make the train as long as possible. Here he is telling the crayon "Don't fall"

We placed cap on cap to make a tall pillar. Suddenly he held it above his head. He was trying to touch the sky Oops, He WAS touching the sky.

He played cricket and generally waited for one of us to fetch the ball. Here is one of the rare instances when he did that himself!!

He would tell us this story about Diego and the Kuala bear with dramatic pauses and action. He shows us how Kuala crawls in the tunnel.

O We had the most awesome time. Wish we could meet more often. Being a long distance grandma is only a consolation, not the real thing.

This is something I like to tell him. This is perhaps what he already knows. No matter what you do, how crazy your dreams ... You are never alone.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bargaining, How not to

A whole lot of odd jobs needed to be done. I made a comprehensive list.


• New curtain rods fixing
• Nails for artefacts
• Wall mounted fan
• Pulley clothesline to be wired
• A door that did not shut
• Two window mosquito meshes to be fixed

You get the picture? These were small jobs that not many handymen are keen to take on. Finally I got a carpenter who agreed to do this for me. Azad studied the list carefully, made various calculations. He worked out costs for material and labour. Then said that he would do it for Rs. 4200/-.

I am in Delhi and a seasoned housewife … like any self respecting Indian woman worth her salt … I bargained and brought down the total cost to 3600/-.
Fine
Woh bhi khush. Main bhi khush.

Azad promised to come the next day. He did. And began work in earnest at 8 in the morning. It was easily going to take him a few hours. Soon he got busy and I dipped my nose into my computer, checking mails, blogging and completing assignments.

Meera has mailed. She reminds me of our annual contribution to our favourite NGO. What would I want to support? She asks. I dash off a reply, putting my name to one of the causes on their list and hit send.

At half past twelve, the carpenter asks me for a broom. He has completed the tasks.

• New curtain rods are fixed and he has put up the curtains too
• Nails are in place and artefacts adorn the walls
• Wall mounted fan is fixed and working with the wires tucked neatly in metal clasps
• Pulley clothesline is wired and oiled too
• The door shuts and the latches are relocated so that they function
• Two window mosquito meshes are fixed
• A wobbly table is now stable

The work is perfect. He picks the broom and sweeps the places, leaving the floor nice and clean. Anything else? Azad asks me with a smile. I bargained with this wonderful man for 600/- denying him his due while I got my money’s worth. And here I am sending out a few thousands to an NGO which would use a part of what I send for a cause.

I am feeling guilty at my bargaining prowess.
Am I crazy?
I sometimes feel all this charity is a sham to cover up our guilt of not giving worthy people what they deserve.
I say
Don’t give charity.
Don’t bargain.
You employ ten or twelve persons for various jobs everyday. Pay them what they ask for.
That is charity. Not towards them.
But towards you.
towards your healthy soul.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekend goodness

Every weekend the papers carry better-yourself articles. They have wonderful tips about how to think, have glossy hair, woo a girl, get a pay raise and become thin. Do you? like me… devour these articles with vigour? Do you feel slightly dissatisfied with what you are and how you are? Say, ya, this idea is good. Monday you discuss these great tips with friends.
By Tuesday the verve kind of subsides.
Thursday you have forgotten how inadequate you actually are.
It’s weekend again.
And again you read all these wise people and feel
Gosh, I just need to be better than what I am.
Does this happen to you too?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What timing!!

I will be meeting my grandson and daughter after 2 years and guess what...
I have fever. My joints hurt. I dint know I had so many!! I walk like a clown as my knees dont bend. Gross  ... What timing!
I can barely walk and the doctor calls it flew
well Ok flu
bad joke I know
anything to keep up the spirit
and tell me why
When every country fends for itself we call it Common Wealth??
hey, you got a joke?
anything to make me smile?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Gandhi Jayanthi

October Second
Gandhi Jayanthi.
How many have you seen?
You know when we were young we would sit before the TV and piously watch re-runs of the Dandi march. The quick walk, the strong movements had us mesmerised.
Then it was Richard Attenborrough's Gandhi. We got confused between the two images of Gandhi. The actor and the real fused and formed a single broad picture.
Today .... We think of Munna Bhai?
And frankly we need some of that happy Gandhigiri in our lives now. That may just be the single panacea for all ills. I plan to watch the movie again.... a simplistic one coat for all kind of solution....a nice world to be in.
and by the way
I think Bapu would be more happy if we drank but abstained from violence in thought and action. Rather than the opposite, as we have it these days.
Ahimsa was the strongest message he gave us. Can we attempt to make Oct2nd Official Non-Violence Day? No police attrocities, no warfare, no dismissals, no wage cuts, no...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ayodhya

Everybody in India is talking and thinking about the Ayodhya verdict. This poem of Prasoon Joshi says just what we actually feel. Please listen to it. I give the youtube link.

I am so overblown by it that I just had to do it in English. My version does no justice to the stunning beauty of his language. I only attempt to convey the lines in English. Aahh! It's awesome.

Kisi ne kuch banaya tha - in English

A thing was built, a thing is built
A temple here and a mosque there
They did not ask me then, they do not ask me now
Always resolutions are made, and we just notified
A thing was built, a thing is built
Where have I the time from the Wheel of daily grind
I know not whose temple it is, whose mosque
I know not who tangles fine simple threads
Whose tactic it is, whose obstinacy I know not
A thing was built, a thing is built
They tell me, it’s yours, take a look, here please
They tell me, go ask, it is important tarry not
But my needs, they are just so different
Stop, Think, Wait, put not us into defined moulds
Tell me, who brings this glowing cinder into my yard
A thing was built, a thing is built
If a storm lies in Hindu, if the tempest is Musalman
If a storm lies in Hindu if the tempest is Musalman
Come then let us, Tempest and Storm, as one, achieve new marvels
Come let us attend to some important questions
Dark corners there are many, let us lamps make, of torches
Now real pain will talk, that lay hidden in our souls
A thing was built, a thing is built

India emerges stronger. Asia emerges stronger.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nehru Park Delhi

We walked into a breathtaking expanse of lush grass. This is the most beautifully landscaped garden I have seen. It is a wonderful treat for the eyes and just as uplifting for the soul. Nehru Park is famed for Nehru Quotations, But naaa we didn’t see any. Must have missed them.
What we did see were interesting undulations causing an absorbing play of sun and shadow.
I get the feeling that it is perhaps reclaimed land. I learn later that it was designed in 1969. It was made this way.
Amazing


 
Interesting corners are made from a strategic layer of stones, rocks and plants.
Rows of splendid purple and contrasting light green, are surprised by a shock of bright yellow ….. leaves, stems and flowers


Nehru Park gets many visitors. Casual ones like us and committed daily joggers. We see many things but register a few. Here is what I registered.

 
  • Two young men and sooooo many dogs on their health walk. The large German Shepherd strode majestically while the little guys (miniscule hairy ones … what are they called?) scampered to keep pace. Oh! They looked so cute.
  • Couples entwined in a private world of bliss
  • Kids raced around hands stretched as aeroplanes, played cricket with a plastic ball and chased each other in rare freedom
  • Elite joggers in designer shorts did their health bit
  • Yoga postures
  • Deep breathing
  • Half-conversations on cell phones
  • Men in power and position with mandatory bodyguards in tow
  •  Squirrels  
  • Birds  
  • Flitting dragonflies


 
Nehru Park has been here since 1969, that makes it 41. The garden is very well maintained and the gardener in charge loves his plants. You must enter Nehru Park in your ‘Must Visit When in Delhi’ list. Located on the main Panchsheel Marg near in the posh Chanakyapuri Diplomatic Enclave the Nehru Park is easily accessible.

 

 

 

Masala Dosa

I serve dosa with bhindi sweet-sour gojju. And sometimes with brinjal-onion curry to the absolute amazement of my friends. A Masala Dosa should be made with potato-onion curry and chatni they tell me. That it is devoured with sambar in hotels is a totally different matter and a mind blowing puzzle. When I tell them...look this is how great inventions are made
They just laugh.
Einstein of Masala Dosa ... they jibe.
As I go around Delhi I get to see Masala Dosa on many a menu ... served with paneer, choley and even non-veg fillings!! Not that I would ever try Paneer masala dosa. I don't like paneer anyway. It's so bland!
20 years ago my friend wore kameez with cotton pants to work. She was at the receiving end of much laughter and a ticking off from her Princi. Today that's the most common dress seen in colleges.
Whether it is a matter of Masala Dosa or Beads in the hair or Camera in a spectacle-frame, someone has to be crazy enough to think of it!
I give a high-five to this article all in support of crazy thinkers.
read and enjoy
Seth Godin

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Hindi Couplet and a Ladder

A Doha is a couplet in Hindi. Couplets are fascinating. Just two lines convey a world of meaning. Read this one. The poet has changed just one word and the meaning of line two is the opposite of line one….just one word!!

And hey! If you know please can you tell me whose lines these are?

Paradhin ko hain nahi swabhiman sukh swapn.
Paradhin jo hain nahi swabhiman sukh swapn.
Paradhin means dependent, but here the word is used with contempt so it would mean clinging. Thus the couplet says
He, who clings, has no self-respect, happiness, hope.
He, who does not cling, has self-respect, happiness, hope

Neat … naa? Brevity is an art. English idioms are smart too. Idioms in a few words convey a paragraph of meaning
Is the Hindi Couplet telling us ... Look here! You want to go places? Carry your own ladder.
This man over the Yamuna Bridge seems to be doing just that!



Here are some idioms and gyaan from the ladder........enjoy!
You want to go places? Carry your own ladder.

That way the bottom of the ladder is always close by and you begin to climb when you are ready!
Just be sure to place the ladder at the correct wall.
After you have climbed up a rung or two, check if your ladder is leaning at the right wall.
Go on. Climb and reach the top of the ladder.
Do you like the view? Move into the garden of your choice. But hey don’t kick the ladder.
Are you wondering WHY! Surely you are smart! Don’t tell me you can’t even see the hole in the ladder? Well you should guess. You may want to climb into another garden. Keep that ladder safe, man!

Did you like it? I think you should try this one  Be Indian Be Fashionable

Monday, September 27, 2010

Endnote or Journey

As a kid I raced through my Enid Blytons and Agatha Christies eager to know what happens in the end of the journey. Then one day in Calcutta at Modern High (my Alma Mater) my teacher assigned us the task of writing a page summary of each chapter. The book she chose was Oliver Twist. (You can read it here online). I began the assignment with reluctance and was gradually hooked to the wit, the depth of description and the many lanes through which the great writer has us travel. I learnt to enjoy the journey.

Modern High - Calcutta

I recall this as we watch our favourite serial Balika Vadhu. As the concluding tune comes we debate on how it will all end. I want lunch on my table without my getting off this computer! The kudos without the hard work. The milestone without the trek. The focus is so strongly on the end that the journey becomes a pain to be endured.

When I tell you that last week my niece bagged a seat in a prestigious institute ... that is like getting the end of the serial without watching the precursors. It surely is more exciting to be a part of the anxious waiting process. Only we are so busy being anxious we forget to delight in the moments of the journey.

'Like I said, the journey is more fascinating'.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Richness

When the means are sufficient to satisfy the needs the man is rich. We are as rich as we think we are. We just need be rich in our thought. How ill equipped we are to judge wealth - that of ours and that of the others.



Silence speaks

Relationships are tricky things. Those that we love the most can cause the greatest joy and the greatest pain.

Poet WB Yeats lays bare his feelings for the girl of his dreams in this poem called  'He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven'. The poem holds within it the courage to express affection and the contrasting fear of hurt. I think this rose and thorn duality holds true for all relationships not necessarily only the romantic ones. The last two lines of the poem are often quoted and summarize the thought.


Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread upon my dreams.


In the Life of Pi by Yann Martel the young boy Pi is with his teacher in the zoo and suddenly he desperately wants to stop the conversation and the argument. Listen to Pi’s thoughts.

‘I said nothing. It wasn’t for fear of angering Mr. Kumar. I was more afraid that in a few words thrown out he may destroy something I loved.’




Saturday, September 25, 2010

These kids

are friends on a bridge. We met them when we had gone into the city to take pictures of the Yamuna. We saw them joking, laughing and having a whale of a time. They reminded us of the carefree chatter of friends in Sholay and Rangeela. A gentleman was clicking with a professional looking camera and the kids asked him in wonder 'Will this come on TV?'
'No' he said. 'No TV'.
They were disappointed, still they were happy to pose.
They say 8 out of 10 in India dream of appearing on TV or a film. How fond we are of being clicked!! Can you see the men in the background? They pose too!
We clicked while they were posing for that gentleman.



Friday, September 24, 2010

Sleep when the alarm rings!

Power Clean your house. Invest in a digital timer. At night after dinner, set the alarm for SEVEN Minutes. Yes...Just 7 minutes. Allot rooms. Pick up things on the floor, dust furniture, clear the dining table, organise your cupboard…well, you decide what you want to do today.

But…halt! Before you proceed further
Know you this
There is but one stipulation!
When the alarm rings you may not continue to
bust the dust. Be thou sure
to drop all work and to stand back

(Yaa…I have been watching Merchant of Venice)

In simple English and to the lazy delight of an unwilling body... stop and sleep when the alarm rings!!
You are not to drag on the cleaning process. Just seven minutes.....
Do this every night.
Sleep more peacefully.
Wake up feeling fresh.
Think with more clarity.
Feel immensely positive about yourself.

Dussehra is at the door! Happy season!

Attitude in everything

There are two ways of meeting with people.


Assume that every person you meet is terrible and selfish till proved otherwise.

Or

Assume that every person you meet is caring and generous till proved otherwise.



It’s just less stressful to live with the second option.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Here we go...

Aaaah ... hmmm...nice breeze

Hmmm Did I forget something?



Got it! I'll be back in a moment


Just hang in there!! I am cominnnng