Thursday, June 30, 2005

Queues & Lines

Long since I wrote a blog. One very unpleasant incident put me off for a while. Some 'friend' commenting very nastily on my blog. Anyways , dogs will bark , that does not mean that I stop my writing.
Turning to other better matters in life... I had been wanting to pen down some thoughts on the "topic line" for quite some time.
Everyday when I go back home, i notice this phenomena. Mine is the last stop, so the bus stops there for a while for everybody to get down. Even before the stop comes, almost everybody starts to get up and crowd near the entrance. I don't get this - It is the last stop, so even if you are the last to get down, the driver will wait for you. And you are coming back home, so there is no meeting/call you need to rush for. Then why don't people follow an unlaid rule, let the front seat people get down and then get in the line, when it is their turn.
Every single person has a rush, for what? - nothing. Getting home a minute later does not cause any big upset right? And if everybody forms a quiet line and gets down in turn, you are not missing out on precious minutes also.

Everytime I have been abroad I have noticed this - While leaving India, everybody forms a nice neat queue and board the plane in harmony. But on the return in airporst like FFT or London, the moment the announcement for baording is done, everybody nearly runs to the gate, pushing, scrambling, nudging to get in. The only plausible reason I can think of , is to occupy as much cabin luggage space as possible, as on the return, Indians are most "famous" for getting everything they can lay hands on ...

All it needs is a bit of self-discipline for us to prove that we can be as well-mannered as the "whiter" part of the race. Wonder why inspite of being taught so much in school , college, and even office(soft-skills) we can never manage to follow this in real life.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Birthdays

I really have not been feeling like writing since a long time ... but today thought would write this blog in dedication to my dearest husband .... who is celeberating his b'day today ....
Till a certain point in age, b'days are such important events in life, you could call the most important ... For many middle class families, it is one of those very very few days when you get a new dress ...
As a teeny-weeny kid, till the age of 3 one hardly remembers what b'days are .... but it is these years that are celeberated with lots of pomp and grandeur ... I can recall one of the recent b'day bashes that i heard of , where the IT couple spent close to half a lakh on their kid's 1st b'day .... wonder if such extravagance is really needed.... neither the kid nor the parents remember it a few years later ... You get the biggest cake in your life on your 1st b'day when you can hardly eat it ...
I remember the first b'day cake that I cut was on my 7th b'day , which was when my parents could afford such a treat .... a quiet b'day it was , with the kids nearby getting a small pencil box , a magic pencil and an eraser (mind you all of these at that age was something quite BIG for us little kids - not for kids of this age , who have nearly 2 dozen pencils in their kitty even before they know what it is used for).....
In School , b'days were particularly important because i got to distribute chocolates to all my class students and wear my b'day dress to school !!!!! a brand new dress .... And i would distribute them in my favourite period only !!! .... I would always pray for my b'day to be on a Friday/Wednesday (wonder why i had the penchant for those two days) ... and if my date of birth happened to be on a day which did not have my favourite classes , i would insist on celeberating my "star" birthday ....
My "best" friend would get the golden opportunity of accompanying me to distribute chocolates to the teachers of other sections of my Grade ... This often cause me lots of problems , for i had many "good" friends, and if i chose one the other got angry ....
I wanted amma to pack me only pooris or lemon rice on my b'day and nothing else .... plain old idlis or curd rice would not even be looked upon on those days ....
The bestest part of my b'days have always been the wonderful and meaningful gifts that amma gave me ... sometimes it was my fav book, or my fav game, or my 'current' fav soap, or a pair of ear-rings or a wind chime .... amma always had this wonderful knack of knowing what i wanted and getting it for me ... I would love this suprise every year on the morning of my b'day ....
Today , b'days are just another day , where you feel nothing but that you have grown old ... Just after college, almost every friend would remember every other friend's b'day ; but as years passed by very few would call/mail and wish you ......
Growing old certainly is no fun ...

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Letters

Sundays are 'clean the house' days usually .... That sunday was no exception ... we were cleaning my husband's trunk - a precious collection of every single relic related to our love story - from the petal of the first rose he gave me, to the chocolate wrapper that i gave him upon returning from vacation, to the chits we passed in class, to the folders i wrote for our lab work, to the numerous cards i gave him, to the poster of his favourite juhi - that i bought for him at chowrasta ... to the beautiful handwritten letters I wrote to him over the period of 5 years ....
Letters .... are such special and wonderful memories.. Ones that you hardly see/write these days .... Letters of Nehru to his daughter were so special that they were published ...
Another such cleaning day in chennai once caught me re-reading all those letters my mother wrote to me and vice versa when I was at college .... at about 12:30 in the afternoon, i would come back for lunch ... and rush to the board where the postman would stick our letters .... coming back from the board, i would either be grinning ear-to-ear for i might have got a bonus letter (due to a postal delay two of amma's letters would come on the same day), and on other days would have a dull face for i would not have got even a single letter ... There were days when amma would write to me 10 pages .... days when i would write her one postcard a day ....
My association with letters start from a very young age .... writing to my mama who was in Ghana was one of my fav activities as a kid .... I still remember the thrill i felt at reading his first letter to me, describing in length about his life there, about how he missed his family and about how he loved my letters .... I still treasure that long parchment ...
One loving letter was from my creche teather's teenager daugther - i was her aide in all the mischeif she did - smoking a bedi, stealing mangoes from the next house, roaming all of Port Trust (in vizag) for a particular pastry she wanted ... visiting any exhibition she could hear of ... - she wrote about how she would miss me, how she would love to see me grow into a lovely young lady .... it still touches me and never fails to make my eyes misty even today ....
The art of writing letters is obselete today .... This is the age of e-mails and SMSes ... the age of cutting short every letter in a word so that it fits into the little space you, so that you don't "YELL" on the network ... long letters with flowy flowery handwritings will always be a sight to the eyes and will be seen only in museums i think ....
The other day at Krishna mama's place I was astound to see my great-grandfather's letters... All well preserved. The handwriting was so clear and full of authority. The sentences crisp and precise, and the usage of English was much better than any of the modern writers that i know of .... Those were letters to inform my grandfather the birth of my mother, aunts and uncles....
One rare treasure that I have is the letter my grandfather wrote to me ... written at a time when he could hardly see clearly, but one who sees the letter would hardly feel so .... the love and pride he felt at my getting a seat in RECW was conveyed so well in the few lines that he wrote to me ...
My mother till date treasures the letters Paati wrote to her while we were in vizag ... Paati's letters are a treat to 'feel' ... yes feel not read .... she would press the pen onto the paper so hard, that just by touching the envelope you would know it is paati's letter ...
Nobody writes to anybody anymore .... i tried a number of times to write to my mother, but hardly find time for it ... There were days when i had the interest and patience to decorate the white paper before writing on it ... i was never satisfied with the design of letter pads ... and here are days when all i do is admire old letters ...
There is still one person i know who writes .... My perriamma writes long letters describing everything from the menu at an event, to the saree to the jewellery, to what -who said .... to my grandmother ... Lucky person-my paati ... to be getting a letter even today ....
The next generation would not even see envelopes and inland letters, just as postcards are extinct today .... We are losing something very precious without even realizing it ...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Phon(E)tiquette

Every morning, I think of what would today's topic for the blog be ... There is nothing more to write ... but something or the other happens in the course of the day, and it becomes my point to muse about or ponder about ...
Loud speaking over phones in public place is so irritating .... There is this person who leaves for home in the same bus as mine ... if any day i happen to sit anywhere near him and his cell phone rings , woe betide me. I will get to know everything from what his plans for the evening are , to what his wife is cooking, to what fights he had in the office, to what movies he plans to see, to what he thinks about everything in the whole world ...
Today when i entered the main hallway of my office , i heard a vociferous voice discussing the divorce case of one of her relatives and how the lady of 40 was getting another match and what her opinions on this were.... Imagine discussing private affairs in the mid hallway .... Seriously, it is high time people realised that there are people around you ....
No matter how much you try to shut your ears to these conversations, the decibel levels are so high , that it can penetrate through whatever is in your ear .... I put the volume of my walkman high, but i still could not avoid the "Cholluda machchan ... ennada vishayam ... ", "Ponnu semaya irukada ...", "kalakala irukku da chandramukhi" ... and so on ....
Some people are so oblivious of where they are and what they are speaking , that they start discussing how much savings they have , in what bank, how much money they are carrying .... No wonder there is so much news about robbery in bangalore .. Yeh tho "Aa bail mujhe maar" ka case hua na ??
Phone is an instrument to convey a message to only one person listening on the other side of the line, if people had to shout and let the whole world know of their intentions, thoughts , plans and so on .... we might as well be in the primitive ages and use drums to communicate ...

Monday, June 06, 2005

Relatively Related - Relatives

Having spent the best part of my last couple of days visiting relatives, I thought this was something i definitely should write about ....
it was quite frustrating to realise that the precious 3 days that i had at home, was mostly spent visiting all relatives i could think of , at the same time , it was soo heart warming to see all near and dear ones, update myself with their news and give my side of news ...
It is always a pleasure to meet my mom's side of relatives in some function/gathering ... Thursday was one such time at Shyam's poonal .... Since I got married just about two months ago, Rajesh and me were the hottest topic of discussion and the most sought after people ...So, we did what the proverb precisely says " Make Hay while the sun shines" ... It is nice to be basking in people's company once a while :) .... I must have answered these questions a million times "Bangalore eppadi irukku" ... "Daily chamakiriya ??? " .... "Mazhai eppadi irundhudhu" .... "Onsite eppo porell ...."; including a host of remarks and exclamations ..."Ennadi idhu, Rajesh elchu poyitaru ... Chamakiraya illai ..." "Nalla karuthu poyitay .... romba ooru chuthala ? " .... and so on ....
Many a folks I was meeting nearly after a decade ... Cute little kids I knew had grown into beautiful charming young ladies or smart handsome teenage guys .... It was so tough to beleive it was the same kid I had seen about 9 years ago ...
I feel, one realizes the importance and need for relatives when one has stayed far away from home for a long period. It often becomes very difficult to determine between where we need relatives in our live and where we don't need.
In this world of increasing nuclear family, kids often don't know anybody beyond their nearest blood relations - this referring to mother , father , siblings, grandparents and a few cousins, aunts and uncles ...
It amazes me to always hear my grandmother talk fondly of her brother's daughter's husband's sister's sister-in-law and remember every single detail of that lady's life ... What an amazing memory and what an surprising interest in the human life ...
As my parents grew old, I could see the increasing need in them to "Be with all our close ones" ... When I spent my entire teen life in Vizag, i never saw relatives more than once a year, and that too for a couple of hours, and would hardly know the details of any of my cousin's kid ... but now as I grow , I keep more in touch with folks, take more interest in who is doing what and is living where and is intending to move how in life ... It makes me feel nice to know that i belong to a biigger family than just me and my husband ....
But as time passes and we go deeper into the moder fast , electronic world , it is becoming increasingly difficult for all people of the same family to stay in the same city , for people staying in the same city to meet each other often ... and for cousins to know new members introduced into the family tree (marriage or child birth) ... Common leave plans often don't materialize , thus not allowing us to attend functions... holidays for kids vary from place to place ...
It is in this time that this most powerful tool called E-mail comes to rescue ... YahooGroups, online photos are all tools that help us keep in touch with our beloved ones ...

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Coming Home To Siyaram ....

Well, I am not going to write an article about suiting and shirting ... but when i thought of the fact that i am going home today .... this is the first thing that came to my mind ... I love this caption and the way it is sung in the ad ....
Ahhhh! Home ... Well i go home every evening from work , but today i will be going to my other home , the home i have been in for 25 years and no matter where i go , when i return to it , i feel so complete ....
"Home" , as a kid was never constant for me .... Every summer vacations i would go to chennai... While leaving Vizag , i would wail in despair , that i did not want to go there ... but the moment i landed at grandparent's home .... i would forget everything else in the world and while coming back after 2 months, i would wail in sorrow that i never wanted to go back to vizag ....
The sense of "Home" actually came full-fledged when i left for college and hostel life .. The first vacations that i came back from the hostel, was when i realised and was grateful to god that I had a home to come to, loving parents' arms to run into ... good food, TV, movies and relaxing days ....
As i grew up, joined office, coming back from office to home was also a great pleasure .. amma would make me hot tea and over the hot cup of tea and my favourite Marie biscuits , i would rattle about every single of the day's happenings - from Manoj's teasings, to Rupa's silence, to Viji's despair about EPASS, to the light fights with Ram, to the heavy work, to irritation about "onsite" folks, to lunch chats with Meens and Subha .... and what nots ... Daily updates about friends , and daily updates about amma's activites made my day .... and home was heaven ...
Today , after marriage, i am visiting my parents for the first time ... I am very happy here in bangalore, very very glad to return to home here daily , to be with rajesh , to make plans with him , to go out , have fun, sit down on quiet evenings listening to music, reading books , discussing life with him .... but yet , the thought of going home to my parents ..... brings a joy like never ....
I am "Coming" to home ....