Yes we can…

First Black President of the United States…Yes we can.

Iran.Afghanistan.Cairo.Multilateral ism… Yes we can.

Barack Obama: Nobel Peace Prize Winner 2009…Yes we can.

Even though I agree to have been surprised with Obama’s selection, and agree that he hasn’t really done anything yet to be able to equal the numerous people awarded the Nobel for their lifetime of contribution, I cant help but sympathise with the Nobel selection Committee , ’cause haven’t they too voted for that hope that Obama signifies – the hope of a diverse yet united world working towards a better future? The hope that the impossible can yet be possible…that dialogue and diplomacy can take the place of aggression & war? The hope of a newly humble United States leading the world , together, towards a greener , safer tomorrow?

Maybe I am just an idealist..but well, thats the audacity of hope…

The Red head

A head turner – that’s what she is….a head turning, heart stopping, absolutely ravishing beauty. She bursts on the vision of the unsuspecting traveler who is simply looking out the window, thinking no thoughts, seeing but not seeing, and then…..he catches a glimpse of her – the riveting, glorious red head.

He is unable to take his eyes off her, but he is a traveler, he has to go on. He enters the city, and is a bit put off with the sea of concrete & chrome & glass, when he glimpses her again-there! A flash of red- that’s her, isn’t it? Yes! Standing tall and alone, lending a vibrancy, a pulse of life to the drab city.
Who is she?
Tall…dark…her firm body lending style to whatever pose she holds, long sinewy arms, her crown being gently cajoled by the light breeze, a head of such glorious red as to set his heart on fire……
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THE GULMOHAR.
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My Best Friend’s Wedding

She and I started off as roomies in college. Cliched as it sounds, we couldn’t be more different. She is as outgoing as I am reserved. She calls a spade a spade where I might just keep mum. While music is emotion for me, she is indifferent to it. While I would any day prefer to read than talk, she is exactly the opposite.
But then friendship isn’t really an outcome of analysis, is it? You either click with someone or you don’t. You meet so many people, talk to so many people…while most drift away, a few remain and slowly etch themselves as an integral part of your lives….

So it was with us. I am perfectly comfortable telling her anything…without fear of judgment.Making plans always, she is my Idea buddy.

She is my willing accomplice in all things stupid, and impulsive & fun! If it’s a t shirt I want to paint.. or get drenched in the rain…I know she will join me. I remember our numerous walks to eat Mango Dollies..and drink chai at the tapri…and make ambitious plans to buy & redesign all the houses on our way…

Memories abound…Driving on a rented bike on a hot summer afternoon, gorging on water melons and fighting over a seed spitting contest…Our long chats into the night …sneaking upto the terrace to watch the stars…Visiting a pub for the first time …and together going through the embarrassment & thrill of being in a hitherto forbidden place by ourselves! And on our walk back to college when we pretended to be drunk, singing aloud together on the deserted streets (no, we were not drunk 🙂 )
I know there is some one I can always count on when I want to trek up unexplored paths…go parasailing with me, some one who will love the idea of tree houses ( 🙂 ) & camp fires like I do and dream crazy dreams with me…

Well she is getting married this week and will soon move to another city. With marriage will come a different set of priorities & responsibilities & I don’t know how often it will be possible for us to meet…or even talk but the emotional impractical fools that we are – we have already started making plans for get togethers in the months & years to come ( I remember the plan we made where she comes in with her 5 kids in tow and the 6th on the way 🙂 ) I will be going for her wedding .But between the bustling wedding preparations & the swish of lehangas & jewellery , the pull of relatives, between maintaining proprieties & the plethora of rasms & festivities , I don’t know if i will be able to convey more than a hug and an inadequate wish…

So, Pallavi, this one was for you & for our dosti

I wish you a fantastic life ahead with Abhishek & hope you weave crazy dreams together & share the joy of seeing them come true…

Love, Always.

10..9..8…..

5 more minutes, and it will be 9 days to go. 9 days to go, and he will be back!

I feel light as a feather somehow – his coming back will dissolve the burden of separation that was weighing me down….( The burden of responsibility is yet anothing thing altogether – electricity bills, property tax bills,EMIs & the like 🙂 )

I wonder, will I still feel the same way say 10 years from now? I guess only time will tell..

I am not lazy…

“How much is it?” The medical Rep looked at the reading, & then at me, & then again at the reading. Not saying anything, he re adjusted the pad against my arm & made it tighter & waited for the new reading to come. “Your Blood Pressure is very low, you should get it checked by a doc” he said after the second reading. What , me? I have low BP? I got up & went back to work, not really knowing what to make of it. After all, till now, BP was something I associated with old people, & put in the category of all those formidable new age life style diseases like diabetes & Sugar problems & what not. Nah…I can’t have low BP…., can I?

 

“Mom…do we really have to?” She gave me an exasperated look & simply continued ahead, like she had had enough of her only daughter. We arrived at the Doctor’s place. Well, I was confident that the earlier reading was wrong. After the initial pleasantries, the Doc took my BP again & lo & behold, the reading was the same! She took one look at me, & declared that the main causes for a low BP were low nutrition & high stress (!) I must look really woebegone, I thought, is it the colour I am wearing…?

On asking what the symptoms of this condition are, I was told it is usually drowsiness, lethargy, tiring easily etc.

Now, as a child, and I am being very honest here, I have always been lazy. Other than playing, my most favoured activities used to be( and continue to be) to curl up with a book in a corner of the house or that most magical thing- sleep! I could sleep at any time of day, & be happy doing nothing…Mom & dad used to tire of getting me to do any work at all ( they still keep their fingers crossed now that I am a working professional ) Some people are happiest when they are active & doing things, but that’s wasn’t for me ( Imagine the frustration of my dad who thrives on a Daily To Do List & whose happiest moments in  the day are when he ticks off an activity as done! ) I whine if I have to go out & do chores. I try to wheedle out of doing my routine work. On holidays, I simply turn a deaf ear to all the negative energies around me forcing me to do work.

 

I am therefore, called ‘lazy’.

 

And after twenty seven years of carrying this label, I learn that I am not lazy, no – I just have Low BP!

And the only treatment according to the good doctor herself, is to Eat, eat & Rest!

Escaping from the shackles of the Heat Monster…

Escape!

The heat is so overpowering I could cut it with a knife…no, I think I would need a sword…Each movement I make feels like I m attempting to move the earth…and an unknown counter force seems to be resisting my every feeble attempt.

I am languishing like a lazy lizard…and the bean bag into which I have dug myself is covered in a layer of sweat outlining my body underneath…I feel the little droplets of perspiration trickling one after the other from my neck & down my back and into nothingness- spreading a patch of wet where it gets squashed..

Am I with the living? Do I know how to walk & talk & move….It all seems so far away, is it real?

Up above, there are pregnant clouds looming over me…wait… they are moving away ! …they seem to be mocking me…

I see a blue lake beckoning to me, into its calm cool interior… & I jump into the ice cold water! The cold permeates my being & I become one with it…..ecstatic in attaining freedom at last from the gripping shackles of the heat monster !

I m stuck to the bean bag.

Has the heat addled my mind?

Monsoons…I need u soon…to retain my sanity!

The wish that made a difference

“Good Evening Madam!”

 

The voice jerked me out of my reverie & I realised it was the Lift Man.I responded back with a nod & a Good Morning. “Aap kahan pe kaam karti hai?”, he asked again. Now I started to feel irritated. Why can’t he just do his job instead of asking unnecessary questions which are none of his business anyway? With a hint of annoyance I answered back “Vodafone” and averted my glance so that our eyes would not meet.Thank fully, the lift went down just then & I was saved from further inquisitve questions from the man.

 

While driving homewards, however, my annoyance started to turn into guilt as I felt I was unnecessarily curt to a person whose only fault was to try to bring in some conversation into his otherwise monotonous job. But there was more to it than that. His fault lay in the fact that he was just a lowly lift man. His fault lay in the fact that he was trying to make his presence felt. His fault was that he was a human being stuck in a job that required zombies.

 

How many such nameless, faceless people are continuously, soundlessly working so that our lives may be easier? Door men…Watchmen…Garbage pickers…Parking lot attendants….Cleaning ladies….House Keeping staff…and their eficiency lies in their carrying out their job without people like me registering their presence….after all, how many times have I actually looked the Doorman in the eye & acknowledged him when he says “Thank you ma’am”?

 

“Good Morning Madam !” . It was the same Lift man again, but a new day and a fresh perspective. I looked him in the eye, smiled & said : “Good Morning”

Summer Days are here

Summer time!

The end of exams, & the promise of long days of fun..

You won’t hear me complaining about the sun

 

Summer time!

End of exams, beginning of holidays

Long afternoons & even longer evenings

Board games, made up games, badminton, & truant play

 

Summer is Mangoes!

Raw Mango pickle & cool curd rice

Mango shake, Mango ice cream, Aam ras – & paying the price!

 

Chilled Melons , ganne ka ras

Driving mom crazy till she gets vexed

 

Summer is my Birthday!

A shower of new clothes & gifts & love

 

Summer is reading (novels)! , undisturbed by homework

Lending Libraries & visits to the bookshop

Reading every second of the day

That I am not playing, or sleeping or eating!

Dreaming…

About Secret Islands & Faraway Trees,

Murder mysteries, & tales of chivalry

 

 

Summer is that visit to my hometown!

Cousins, aunts & uncles, grandparents

Lots of noise & food & joy!

 

Its summer time!

 

Now that I am grown up & working & responsible (at least I say so 🙂 ) its somewhat different –

Summer is work, work & no respite

Heat, perspiration & no lights!

 

How perspective changes when you grow up….Which is why I still like to associate summer with the colours & feelings when I was young…& carefree!

 

I do love summer !

That day of the year again!

My birthday is just around the corner again. I am turning a really grey-with- strands-of-white twenty seven ….I have just come back after finally hitching a tailor to stitch my blouse since I have promised to wear a saree on the DDay…And I cant help thinking, why do we make such a fuss out of it? ( not that I don’t love it! )

In my school days I remember it was the one day when people used to wear a civil dress to school & bring toffees for everyone. The teacher would call the particular kid to the front of the class & we would all sing a noisy “Happy Bday to U” . I, somehow always bunked school on my birthdays because the very routine mentioned above that made people wait for this day used to scare me to bits ! I always used to take toffees on the next day for my close friends though…The only time I did go to school was in the 11th ( by when thankfully u were too old to really go to school in a color dress 🙂 ) and my friends gave me a good scare with an unknown gift from a mystery guy !

My most special birthday would be the one in which he & I met the first time in the capacity of ‘sweethearts” from being “friends” …We were back in college after a 3 month long hiatus & decided to go for a walk… he gave me a book – my birthday present. It was a very well worn ( & torn ) James Hadley Chase, an author whom my father denounced as ‘trashy” since the time I remember and therefore considered so all along by me…& I didn’t know what to say. I looked at him somewhat confused while at the same time rifling through the pages of the book, and, right in the middle in a carved out crevice, lying in a bed of cotton were the most beautiful pair of coral studs….My first gift from him & the one dearest to my heart. Since then he has bought me gold & diamonds & what not…but those- those were truly precious!

Well he is not here for my birthday (again) and well…I just thought a subtle message is in order… don’t u think? 🙂

About Kolams & native places…

We tamilians ( may be all South Indians) have this practice of adorning our door ways with a Kolam (Rangoli). The early morning ritual of washing the doorway & making the kolam is followed without fail by every lady of the house. Kolams are supposed to be made early in the mornings after bath and are supposed to welcome Lakshmi into the house & generally bring good luck.Its however not the same when you are in a flat…you don’t have to sprinkle water & wash because it’s a concrete floor after all…and you don’t want to drown the verandah with water …plus of course there is only so much space.. but even so, people like my mum continue the tradition with much enthusiasm.

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My kolams are mood dependent ( To make or not to make, then what to make-too many questions!) – Some how I can never stay satisfied with the standard floral or geometric motifs ( Some would say just an excuse for not knowing them so well 🙂 ) Anyways I make just about anything from a scenery to flowers to people to smileys to…well just about anything that I can manage to draw – its fun & I do enjoy them ( As long as I manage to wake up , of course!)

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I think of kolams and I think of Sri Rangam…In fact ,the one unforgettable picture I have of my native place Sri Rangam, which is a little temple town in Tamil nadu is that of one day early in the morning when we had just arrived by train ( from Hyderabad I think, for my summer holidays). It was 5 am in the morning & dawn was about to break…and the little town was just rousing itself…

We took a maattu-vandi ( bullock cart) that day to get home from the station… …The early morning quiet was only broken by the intermittent jingling rhythms of the bullock cart – as if peace had conquered that moment and spread contentment in the air. All through the way home I saw many entrances already adorned with kolams – beautiful, intricate designs, some plain white & some bursting with colour , mingled with the smell of the freshly washed earth…they managed to etch a permanent place in my memories…Sri Rangam never was and never will be , what it was for me that morning….