Sunday, August 27, 2006

Vinayaka Chaturthi

Happy Vinayaka Chaturthi! I know this blog is late, I started it ages ago- but got busy with some work! May Lord Ganesh bless us all, and provide a new beginning to each one of us – a better life, with more peace, friendship and harmony.

Ever Since I can remember, Vinayaka Chaturthi has been one of my most favorite festivals. Part of the reason can be attributed to the fact that Amma made my 1st favorite sweet – Kozhakatai on this day. The other part of the reason being that this elephant-faced god has always been one of my favorite gods. Since ages, he has been the first one to be prayed at the beginning of any auspicious event – Aadhi moola bhagavan.

Vinayaka Chaturthi celeberation at my home has always been an elaborate one. It starts with the buying of the Mann(clay) vinayakar on the morn of the festive day. Appa would go to the market early in the morning and buy the vigraham – sometimes I would insist on getting a colorful one rather than the drab, plain looking clay puliyaar. Amma would be busy in the kitchen, making the poornam and maavu for Kozhakatai and grinding the urad dhal for vadai, while I went out to get flowers for the pooja or making the poonal and ears for puliyaar with cotton. While appa does the pooja, amma and me would make the choppu for kozhakatai and get all the prasadam done – kozhakatai, paayasam and vadai. I would feel so proud that with years my kozhakatai shaped much better. Little did I know what appa did for the pooja, because I always felt it was mostly guy stuff J. I would eagerly wait for the time that it was over – to eat my most favorite kozhakatai.

When we were in Andhra, there was more fun to the day. There would huge pandhals set up all over the town, with huge Ganesh vigrahams and loudspeakers blaring with the latest telugu hits (rarely did they play some devotional songs). While in school, it was a matter of pride to say how many pandhals you had visited on the day.

Amma would light the lamp and put flowers to the small idol – we did puja to – for the following three days. On the third day, we would take the idol and drop it off at one of the pandhals for immersion. Sometimes, when the third day was a Saturday or Sunday, we would go down to Ramakrishna beach and throw the paper bag containing the idol and flowers in it.

Over the years, when I went off to college, I would miss this day and pine for amma’s kozhakatais. When we moved to Chennai, we were so surprised to see the absence of Pandhals in the city (atleast in the area where we stayed). So, one evening we had to roam around for a long time trying to find a pandhal to give the idol – and finally ended up throwing it into our own well itself! One puja that we celeberated in Bangalore, after my marriage was even more bigger an incident – The Apartment committee had put up a small pandhal, with a big idol to celeberate the occasion. When we asked the organizer if he would take our idol also when he went for the immersion, he was so reluctant that we backed off from the idea. We thought we would take the idol along with us to the Bull Temple and see what can be done. On the way, we spotted a mobile water tank which was specifically for the idol immersion, had the auto stop and appa ran behind the auto to drop our idol in it. Initially I thought it was being so unceremonious to our dear god, but later I felt this was a much cleaner option than everybody dirtying a river/lake/well/sea with their own stuff.

Rajesh has never seen a ganesh puja at home, so I thought we would celeberate it (to the max possible extent) this year. I religiously made the kozhakatai and vadai. The former was my first attempt and for a first timer, it turned out to be fine. We set the idol and the photos we had on the table in the kitchen. Rajesh got an idea and created a chain of bells to be hung above the idols and we did our small pooja, me reading out some slokas and him repeating them after me.

Here is a small snapshot of our puja set-up.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Cashew Pista Ladoo


There are a group of food bloggers that I got to know from Indra's Site. They host an event called Jhiva for Ingredients - one food ingredient is choosen, and people are asked to send in recipes using that ingredient. The current event is hosted by Vineela, and the ingredient is Milk. Mine is not exactly a recipe based entirely on Milk, but uses milk to a small extent. It is a recipe told to me by mom. I am very amateur cook and it did not turn out to be exactly as amma said it should be (Jaana tha Japan pahunch gaye cheen samjhe na?), but nevertheless with encouragement and tips provided by hubby dear, we turned it into something tasty :). Thought I would send the recipe to Vineela, I am not sure she would post it in her fest, but nobody got flogged for trying right ? :)

What you need?
1 Cup cashewnuts
1/4 cup pistachios
Milk - enough to soak the above 2 nuts(around 1 1/2 cups for the above measure)
Sugar
Ghee- 2-3 tablespoons

How to make it?
Soak the cashew and Pista nuts in milk for about 2-3 hours. Blend this in a mixer and make a fine paste. For each measure of this paste , take one and half measures of sugar in a thick bottomed vessel.Add a little water and bring it to a boil. Keep stirring occasionally till it forms a thick syrup of string consistency (called kambi padam in tamil). Now add the cashew-pista to the sugar syrup and keep stirring it on medium flame till the entire mixture starts getting together as a single paste. When you scoop it out, it should easily leave the sides of the vessel.
Take it off the flame and spread it out on a greased (with ghee) plate. After it cools down, roll it out into small laddoos. And voila! your cashew pista laddoos are ready!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Colors

I wonder, each day, how beautiful the world looks because of the vibrant colors each entity in the world appears in. How dull and boring life would be if we were to see only one color or maybe two – black and white?

I read up some trivia about color on the Net, not that I appreciated everything I read. I have never been a great fan of Physics and Biology and the theory of color happens to rest on these two pillars of science.

Did you know that the color that we perceive is dependent both on the reflection/refraction of life and also the built of your retina and other components of the eye? This boils down to the fact that no two people can perceive color exactly in the same way! That does not mean if I see blue, you would see the same thing as Red!

When we see something, the color we see is the wavelengths/frequencies of light, the particular object is unable to absorb. Color can be broadly divided as two – additive and subtractive. So, the color that is projected and we see is significantly different from the color that is printed on paper. No wonder – I felt that the colors were more beautiful when I printed out a digital snap, than what I saw on the laptop/computer.
White contains all the colors in it, whereas black is the absence of any color.

So much for scientific theories of color!

Colors have different significances in different cultures. When I first visited the Unites States, I was told that men who wore Pink were considered Gay. And just few days before I landed, I was talking about Rajesh buying a light pink shirt, for I felt it would suit him. White, in most parts of India, is not considered “Shubh” as it was the color associated with funerals and widows; whereas on the other hand White is considered as the symbol of purity and virginity and hence is worn by brides on weddings. For years together, I had arguments with my father for liking the color black. He would never like me using a black ink pen, forbade me from buying black clothes and would never consider buying a black car – whereas I would just simply love the black color, so much that I adored the fact that my pen leaked and I had black ink all over my hands! In India, as far as I am aware, blank is considered “Ashubh”. People will not sign documents in black, would not wear black for good occasions, to the extent that some people don’t even put Black Bhindis! But here in USA, black is considered a very elegant and color of great substance. All the rich folks will have the best car – colored in black. A sleek, long elegant black limousine would be the dream car to ride in for a wedding or an award ceremony. Black is preferred in board room meetings and is worn by the groom to weddings.

Red has always been considered a symbol of energy, valor, bravery.
Orange is considered as the symbol of wisdom and engineering is associated with this color.
Green is unanimously considered as the symbol of nature, by all cultures in the world.
Blue is associated with truth and thus the phrase “true blue”.
Pink is an eternal color of Love. Pink is also said to subdue aggressiveness and bring calm to the mind, and hence used to color the walls of prison.

Did you know that each day is associated with a color? So, if you are the kind who finds it tough to organize your wardrobe and end up wearing the same dress twice a week, you might want to use this to help you.


Sunday - Yellow
Monday - White
Tuesday - Red
Wednesday - Mixed Colors
Thursday - Blue
Friday - Green
Saturday - Black

For some people, colors are made of only Red, Green, Blue, Brown, Black, Yellow etc.– the standard shades. They are insensitive to the slight variations of colors and can’t make the difference between blue, violet, azure ; or red , crimson, scarlet.

I like some of the colors that we use to refer to saree colors. If you are in Chennai and associated with a Brahmin family – you are sure to hear these terms while shopping in a place like Nalli / Kumaran: Vengayam color (Onion skin color), Aanai color(elephant color), Molaga pazham color(the fruit of a chilli – probably a reference to red chilli), Mambazham color(the color of a ripe mango).

When on a topic of colors, how can I forget the “Mera wala Cream” ad of Asian Paints!

I could go on and on on Colors, but for now … this is it! Maybe some other post!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Casablanca



Anybody who is a Hollywood movie buff will not have missed this movie which is hailed as the greatest romantic film in the history of movie making – Casablanca.

Set in the times of World War II, it is a poignant two day, three nights story of two lovers, joined by fate and separated by the same – not once but twice. The story is set in the independent province of Casablanca which is like a dark hole. One desperately wishes to get out of the place using an exit visa to America, but has to cross many hurdles in doing so. A strong cast, a solid story and unshakable conviction portrayed by each of the characters make this movie a “Must-See”. After having placed the hold a long time ago in our library, I got lucky and happened to catch this classic yesterday.

Humphrey Bogart – Rick - the protagonist is neither handsome, nor macho. But one cannot but fall in love with him, for the sheer brilliance with which he portrays emotion with just a twitch of the eyebrow or a smirk and his dialogue delivery. Ingrid Bergman reminded me of the eternal India beauty – Madhubala. Soft features and a mesmerizing smile – she fits like a hand in the glove to the character Ilsa. Torn between the love for a man she can never have and loyalty to her husband – she carves a niche in your heart. Claude Rains plays the role of Capt. Renault, the police officer – a friend of Rick’s. A charming middle aged man, bound by duty, yet ready to sacrifice it for a friend in need.

What captures one most in this movie are the brilliant dialogues and outstanding one-liners. There is not a single line you would want to miss. There are many famous Quotes from this movie.

“Here’s looking at you kid”.
“Play it Sam”.
“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine”.
“We will always have Paris”
“Loius, I think this is beginning of a beautiful friendship”.


There is one particular scene that made me wonder. A young couple is badly in need of exit visa. The Capt. Promises one at a “Cost”, and sends the young lady to Rick to see a vouch on the Capt.’s character. The young lady asks Rick “If One loves somebody so much, that one is willing to do a bad deed for her loved one’s happiness and hides the bad deed in her heart forever – is one wrong?”. I wondered …. if I had to do something of this sort for somebody I dearly loved, some deed so dark and wrong that it is totally unpardonable, but cannot be escaped just for the happiness of my love – would I be forgiven for doing it ?....

Monday, August 21, 2006

Rangoli

Groan! It is another Monday. Why does Monday have to tailgate Sunday so close that you don’t even realize that within the blink of an eye the glorious “Sun”day is gone and the “Mundane” Monday is in?

Over the weekend, Rajesh discovered something – which took us back the memory lane to Pre-College days. In those days, when “cable” TV was practically non-existent and all that the “Idiot” box was able to receive was DD, the Sunday morning alarm clock was – Rangoli. Remember that wonderful program of 45 minutes, which later got shortened to 30? I still remember – refusing to wake up until I heard the starting music of Rangoli. Over the years, the anchors changed, the title song changed, the structure of the program changed – but what never changed was the choice of the songs – sweet old numbers, merging into newer ones, and just before the session ended – some snippets of the latest songs – which always left you craving for more. I distinctly remember one or two anchors of this program, names I am not sure – faces I can clearly recall. One of the anchors was the charming and ever-beautiful Hema Malini. Her distinct south Indian accent ringing as she spoke those hindi sentences in between songs, elaborating the situation of the song that is about to come – making you guess feverishly which song is about to be played – so are much a part of the memories associated with Rangoli.

We were listening to “O Saathi Re” from Omkara over the weekend, when Rajesh said why don’t we try to find the video over the net – and showed me this site – youtube.com. This is a cool site where you can play videos/clippings online. Though we did not find this song, we found so many old hindi songs, which lead us to discuss about Rangoli and that made him create our own “Rangoli” program. Starting with a very old hindi song, and a theme so often used in Rangoli – about two lovers, he took me on a musical cruise through “Aaj Unse Pehli mulakat” ( the excitement when you are about to meet your beloved) , “Deewana hua badal” (the happy moments spent with your love), “Are re Are” (Switching over to a song of naya zamana) “Abhi na Jao chod kar”( reluctance to leave your love) , “Tere bina zindagi” (a sad meeting reminding of the missed past) and finally finishing it up with a snippet of naya gaana – Kabhi Alvida na Kehna… With appropriate commentary given in Hema style in between, by Rajesh , I had the most enjoyable breakfast time in ages on a Sunday – with our own “Rangoli”.

A Small snap of the Rangoli we created – though not clear, the memory of it will always be precious!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Happy B'day To Krishna

Amma always told me .. It is start of festival times with the birth of Krishna, as after vishu for about 3 months there is no activity in the department of Poojai and of course eatery :)... This year, I decided, to do something for the festival. So, after 3 days of long calls with amma in "how to make this", "what next", "Which time" and so on .. I armed myself for celeberating Lord Krishna's B'day ....

It started off on the evening of 15th , with the preperations of cheedai. Amma had warned me of the bursting uppu cheedai's , so when I put the cheedai into oil, I ran out of the kitchen - and came back in a few seconds later daring myself for a destruction scene... but :) I was lucky - no such thing happened and all the uppu cheedai were roasting merrily in the oil pan :). Want some sample ? Here you go.


Then began the ordeal of making the vellai cheedai - which is longer than the geetha upadesam that this little balan did when he grew up! Having made a dough as hard as the 'Grand Canyon' (as Rajesh lovingly called) - in the first attempt - I was determined to succeed the second time - but alas! success is indeed the most difficult step! The second time, all the vellam in the cheedai disintegrated into the oil ... Dissapointed and disgusted, I was about to throw away all the maavu, when the "edison" husband of mine suggested something and we ended up creating a new recipe (to be posted later).
In order to invite Kannan, I drew a small kolam in front of our apt(hope the apt guys don't find it out .. don't know if it is prohibited around here) and went to sleep zzzz.....

The Mr. was waiting impatiently on two of his toes till I did naivedhyam of the cheedai to Krishna on the morn of the "bday". After the hectic day at office, I juggled with the 4 gas burners making Vella Avil(rice flakes cooked in jaggery), smabhar and poduthuval for the dinner. The 4th gas burner, in case you are wondering, had the cooker on(as usual).

Fresh after a bath, we prayed to this lil Krishna poster at our house (I did not get a Krishna photo/idol from India :(...) before proceeding to the Bharatiya Temple. It was crowded, as always during a festival. We sat through the poojas for about an hour and hour. At the end of the puja, the poojari said we all could swing Krishna's cradle a bit - so form a nice line. But when in the world have Indians known the meaning of a "Line". All of them rushed to the front, as if their very lives depended on it. Some of us, were muttering and cursing others for not forming a decent line. Finally we got our chance - to see the tiny golden idol of Krishna, swamped in flowers and sitting/sleeping with eyes open - it was indeed a blessed sight. Pity, I could not capture a photo.

So, with our heart's content - we slept, having celeberated somebody else's b'day in a much grander and satisfying way than we celeberated ours.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Passed ....


Nearly 3 months after getting my temporary driving license, I took my road test on Sunday ---- and PASSED IT! ... Yipee ... Yohooo .... Now I will have a state license and can drive anywhere, even without the Mr. :) .....
We celeberated in style with The Mr.'s special - Pani Puris and home-made Banana Cake.

Marriages - a triggered post!

Disclaimer: all written below are purely my views and are in no way meant to hurt or indicate any particular person/sect/group.

I have never written in my blog anything controversial. I might probably be writing one now.
There was a nice post in one of the blogs that I visit frequently, that set me to think. You can read it here - I really admire and like the writings of this lady and have often felt so much respect for her mature writings.

In one of the numerous training sessions I attended, the trainer shared an anecdote. An Indian lady who was training a bunch of Americans, in an attempt to make a friendly conversation, started telling about herself and proudly stated that she had a "Love" marriage. She was swamped by incredulous expressions as the audience asked - "How else does one get married?".

In India, since ages - and to a large extent even in the changing generation - "Love" marriages have been a serious taboo. To be truthful, yours truly was also a serious adherent to arranged marriages, till she was swept off her feet by her Prince Charming. But, after the always-on-cloudnine chapter of "Falling In Love" passed, ground realities stepped in and we found that a "Love" marriage is not all that "Love"ly, especially if you belong to different castes/states/religion(this is considered blasphemy) - some cases I know of had trouble marrying a person speaking the same language and from the same sub-caste too (god only knows what objections the parents and paraphernalia family had!). Well, after a lot much trouble/drama/lectures etc. etc, we are finally married - very happilly that too and so are our families too.

But then, today when I take a small step back and away from my married relationship and think from outside "myself" - can I accept all the objections that my parents/in-laws had provided? To a certain extent, they were not entirely wrong - I feel. Does this make me feel upset that my marriage was wrong. No, my marriage taught me to appreciate their concerns.

Marriage, above everything else, is a demand for compatibility - which means giving up more than what you get (atleast one person has to give more than what he/she gets). No two people can have clear win in a certain situation, unless you are willing to ammend yourself a bit. It is also a blending of two families - not the in-laws ; but the new couple and each of the two sets of parents. (It is too much to be asks two sets of totally different set of parents to start loving and accepting each other just because their children fell in love.) But if there is no love/affection/respect/admiration etc.etc. between the new couple and the parents - then i feel the purpose of the marriage is not fulfilled completely. When a daughter marries, a new son is added to the family and vice-versa ; and not that the daughter is lost to the family.

The former requirement for a successful marriage is a very very touchy thing I feel. When one hears above divorces becoming more common, and movies like "KANH" being made on a touchy subject like incompability in marriages - one really tends to think. What makes two people compatibile enough to lead a life with each other for nearly half a decade, if not more, withstanding all sorts of pressures, problems - solving each one of them together, changing priorities, changing behaviors/attitudes - I can never find an single answer to this question. Maybe it is that magical thing called "Love". Inspite of knowing my husband for more than 6 years now, I find new things about him, new traits - which sometimes are not to the best of my liking. Then, how many such things would my mother have found in my father - whom she hardly met before the marriage day - or my mom-in-law who got married after just having seen my father-in-law's photo?


This is not the bone of contention now! It is something bigger than that - two people, brought up in entirely different sorroundings, differnt cultures, different social backgrounds - getting together in the bond of matrimony - is this important or not. One of the words that rings in my mind when I think of all that my father told me before marriage is - "base is not the same". Base - in his words, meaning religious practices, eating habits, economic differences! And, even when I was arguing with him saying we can adjust - I was aware that he was right! If I, who has been brought up in a semi-orthodox environment of not having non-vegetarian food at home/cooking it, going to temples on auspicious occasions, chant some prayers - am married into a place where all of the above are not done/appreciated, if done/not given a company - would I not feel lost?


Women, more than men, I have felt, have an inclination for tradition. If not immediately after a marriage, atleast after a kid is born. In many cases of parents speaking different languages - I have seen that at home it is the "Mother's" language that is spoken. And she is more comfortable in doing what she has always been doing at her "Mom's" Place, than what is followed at her in-laws' place, unless forced to/she feels the latter is easier to do so. In a traditional south indian brahmin family - it is the unwritten norm for every kid to attend some kind of classes - slokas, dance, music - almost all of these having a leaning towards hindu gods. If an individual who has been brought up in such an environment marries a muslim/christian, who has no inclinations what-so-ever for the above - how much would one be willing to comprimise with one's kid?


I could go on and on, and in the process also get confused! There are zillions of things that cross my mind when I think of the topic called marriage - various flavours to it - arranged vs. Love, Love Marriage - within caste vs outside caste, Love Marriage - across religions , across continents and so on. You hear of everything happening these days - and then I finally resign - it is all upto the individuals who are in that situation. There is no written rule in all this. I know of someone, who even in this so-called modern age, got married just having met his/her partner only once ; and also know of someone, who has fallen in love atleast a dozen times(much to the dismay of parents) and is still unable to decide whether he/she wants to have love/arranged marriage.




Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Musical Times

I love music. When I was in my teens, I would jump at the opportunity when amma-appa would leave for shopping, doctor's visit or some party; turn on the volume of our dear old BPL music system and jump around in joy. Many a times in hostel, when I missed home, felt low, I would put on some soulful, sad song and cry out loud - and after all that loss of saline water - i would feel all the more better. I have always felt that music reflects and assists in strengthening your current mood.

Well, all that peramble was to talk about two of the movie albums that I have been listening to since the past few days - "Kabhi alvida na kehna" and "Omkara". I read on the net quite a bit about the review of these two. Thought I would pen down my thoughts too.

KANK - Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna

One person has written that this movie should be re-named as "Kabhi copy na karna". Definitely the tunes of KANH are very much reminiscent of "Kal ho na ho". But then you cannot blame them - the stars are similar, situations where songs are placed are similar , the music directors are the same, the singers are same... and so on. But then does that mean you write it off? No, i feel. The music is still very much nice and pleasant to the hears. And then again, one is always comfortable with what one knows about - most of the times. Just think of how many experiments in music have been a constant success in the past few years ? ARR - the biggest experiment , came - shone for a while - and now is invisible ; whereas the veteran Illayaraja who churns out the soothing similar music is very much in vogue whenever he creates an album.

The title song is almost similar to "Kal ho na ho"... in fact if you close your eyes and listen to Sonu croon ...Kabhi alvida Na ..., you can picture Shah rukh on brooklyn bridge with that silly expression- bordering between a smirk,smile and rooni surat-trying to look mature- look ...

"Its the time to" ...ooops .. is it "Where's the party ..." is a nice rocking disco number, that you will involuntarily tap your foot to and would want to listen when on a long drive. Sure enough it is a chart buster already. I would prefer this to that rasping roar of Himmesh.

Guess these days Shankar mahadevan sings only when he composes ... "Mitwa" reminds you of many of those songs of shankar's that you have always appreciated. Reminds me of how I always felt that Yesudas's voice was so similar in all the hindi songs that he has sung!

The one song that I found very lovely was "Tumhi dekho na" ... though this sounds very familiar , me the sucker for romantic songs - loved to sink into it .... Liberal usage of piano in this song makes it very romantic.

I missed out one - something called "Rock N Roll" - I did not even bother to listen to it twice - a hybrid of "Shava Shava" & "Pretty Women" (though I must admit the former two are favs of mine).

Omkara

Now this is an entirely new and different thing ... Vishal Bharadwaj and Gulzar are definitely a deadly combination. The last time I heard meaningful lyrics was "Fanaa" - it was at a time that I thought all the meaning in poetry was dead. Omkara is at a very high zenith compared to "Fanaa".

My best is "O Saathi Re" - Lata is called the nightangle of Indian music - But I would say "Make way Lata Ji, here comes a serious competitor" - Shreya Ghoshal - while her lilting in "Piyu bole" entwines a musical note around your heart and refuses to let go, her gentle laughing renderation of "Tere meri atti patti" in this song echoes in your brain for a long time ... Bharadwaj sang ? I did not know it ! Then why the hell has he been silent for so long? His rustic voice, blended with the honey-dewed chords of Shreya - topped with sensible and most romantic lyrics of Gulzar take you a lush green field - just wet with morning dew - a haystack in the middle - two lovers lazing around while playfully teasing each other and feeling on the top of the world!

"Jag Ja Re Gudia" - as opposed to what the lyrics mean - can easily put you off to a peaceful sleep. The lyrical beauty of Gulzar, and the pleasant voice of Sudesh Bhonsle is mellifuous. I love the way the song ends with Sudesh saying , instead of singing "Jag Ja ..."

Sukhwinder takes on the title song "Omkara" and does complete justice to it. Not much was seen / heard of this man after he took the industry by storm with his "Chaiyya Chaiyaa" / "Ramta Jogi"... How can the industry ignore talented voices like his and embrace the coconut scrapper Himmesh...(his voice reminds me of a phrase in Malayalam - Para Porathu cherata orakina polle - meaning, like scrapping the shell of a coconut on a rock).

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan has come to step in for the loss of his uncle(Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) in the industry. And proves his mettle with songs like "Lagi Man Ki Laga" (Paap) and "Jiya Dhadak" (Kalyug). He renders this black, deceptive song - "Naino Tag Jaayenge"... The music is engaging and his voice captivating.

The music bit in the album is also worth hearing. Two other songs - I skipped by are the usual "Jhatka Matka" bhojpuri numbers.

All-in-all these two albums provide some beautiful music for the ears!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Personal Touch - Where has it gone?

To drive away the dark clouds hanging over my head, I was browing through some of the frequest blog links that I visit and chanced upon this article. This piece of writing talks about how modern gadgets have taken over many of the traditional activities - narrating a cute little incident in a bank.
This made me think of how much change in lifestyle has come about.

-- Gone are those days when people would write letters to inform of events and happenings and make enquiries about the other person's well-being. These are the days when you pick the phone, speak a few words , or worse even - send an SMS or an E-mail. No longer does anybody feel the envelope and try to guess who would have written the letter based on the strength of the ball-point pen imprint. The art of recognising the handwriting from the address to identify the bearer of news is no more.

--As a kid, we used to make regular trips to our hometown to meet our relatives - atleast once a year. Even today, most of my relatives make a point to visit my Patti atleast - if not all the relatives, whenever they pass by Chennai. But most of the folks in my family tree are in touch (that too rarely) only via phones / e-mails. Even within the city, hardly anybody visits the other person. Is it diwali - oh! okay let me call everybody and wish ... No longer does one see the happiness on the other person's face when you wish him or ask about something. One is not present to see how fast or quick a kid is growing , or much an elder person has aged. You no longer see the frowns or wrinkles of your grandparents, not the toothless smiles of a relative kid. Amma was just telling me the other day how she was amazed to see Latha(my cousin's) daughter grow up so fast - inspite of having seen her once probably every 2 months. When I go back, I don't know what I would say!

-- For New Year, without fail - we 3 would go out and select choicest of cards (keeping in mind the price also - for we would send out nearly 50 cards) to send across to folks. We made sure that we addressed it to every single person in the family. Slowly, this practice died. It was just calling folks on New Year's Eve and wishing them! When internet was still a new and fancy thing, there would be scores of e-cards floating about here and there - but now you hardly see those too... Some people have people's b'days/anniversaries jotted in a e-address book and when the time comes, the e-address book itself will create a card and send it across to the concerned person. You are not even aware that you wished someone, until the other person takes pain to send back a return card/email.

I am not blaming anybody - even i fall prey to all written above. It is just that it is saddening to see how much the quality of life has decreased with the onset of technology which was invented with the specific purpose of improving our life. The paradoxy of nature!

One of Those Blue Days

Today is one of those blue days, where everything and anything seems just too depressing.
Sometimes I feel I complain about just everything. One of my colleagues used to call me "Ms. Polambal". Nobody likes to be criticised, so even I would feel a bit hurt at times to get this title. But then, when I sit and analyze(which i seem to be unnecessarily doing too much), I think - maybe he was right - maybe i do crib a lot.
From the very beginning of my job shift, I have not been utterly too much happy about what I have been doing. Occasionally I have good periods at work, nice work, nicer folks around and a gala time - but as the saying goes "Everything good must come to an end" - when all ends, it crashes - not like the ending note of a nice song - and puts me into an even bigger pit than I was before the "good" started.

I wonder - is it only me or is it that everybody goes thru a similar phase in life? Ups and Downs I mean. How do we handle the downs and still keep our spirits up in the hope for those Ups? I guess, those who have mastered this art, who are triumphant in maintaining a balance in life. And experience also matters. Small trivial things I used to fret about a year or two ago, don't seem to trouble me that much. Maybe a couple of years later, I would not even be worrying about the thing that is depressing me now.

My father always told me, in life priorities keep changing and as they keep changing newer problems will surface and the old problems would seem nothing. He was absolutely true. Just when I think that I have solved one issue and settle down comfortably, another issue pops up - which makes the previous one seem "Dhoosi".

Huh .... definitely a blue-voilet-dark blue-navy blue-gray-a more duller color-day!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Of Tomatoes & Jasmines...

Just as any couple in late 20's, Rajesh and me often keep wondering and thinking of planning for a family. The discussions become more prominent when we visit any friends, having kids - or hear about a close friend - on the family way/delivered a baby. I feel the most and the biggest pleasurable feeling on earth is when you have a offspring of your own - it is even bigger than the feeling you get when you get married to the one "Choosen" for you.
We had a 1/100th of that feeling this weekend - when we saw the first Tomato on our plant(which we have been nursing for like 2 months). Of course, the entire credit to our blossoming little garden goes to Rajesh and Rajesh alone - all I do is supervise it occasionaly, and after having seen a small creepy crawly thing come out from under one of the pots, I have not even dared to step near the plants!!... But I could not resist looking at this tiny little 'baby' of ours... See this ...

About a month ago, when one of our pots became empty, Rajesh dragged a reluctant Me for 'Plant' shopping. And I returned with a happy smile, because we had bought something of my choice - a Jasmine plant! I was so awed, happy, surprised - all-rolled-in-one, on seeing about 6 or 7 of these wonderful smelling plants in the nursery. Each time there are buds, my heart swells in pride :) ... Today morning there were 16 flowers on this tiny little miracle in my house. Here are some of the flowers...

Yipeee!

Just Yesterday I wrote about wishing that I had a couple of friends who blogged .... and here I got a college friend, P.Sirisha, who replied back saying she blogs .... and what more - she visits mine regularly :).
Yippee!! .... Well, actually I was complaining a bit too much I feel. There are more than a couple of people who keep peeping here - Padmaja (who has always ever loyally complimented/commented on my blogs), Sowmya(a dear friend - who became a friend in the strangest circumstances, but has been the one to stick by me forever), Deepti (who promised to start a blog of her own some day, inspired by mine ...), Venu (he is Sirisha Geeth's husband - Geeth is a very close friend of mine ... one day I accidently happened to land on his site and was so pleasantly shocked to see that he had my blog link in his site).
Another office friend cum colleague, recently got in touch - a major blogger - Gomathi - need to add her link to my site - also said she liked my blog :)

So, there I am, all smiles - not as dull as I was yesterday! Sometimes I wonder, when will I quit being so self-centered, but then wanting to have friends who keep in touch, appreciate/support what you do - is this being self-centered?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Nothing Much ....

I have been wanting to write something since a long, but not feeling like penning down anything. I have been visiting some other blogs, which I got accidently from someplace.... And was amazed to see just how huge the blog world is.
Most folks are on a regular go at blogging ... daily experiences, feelings, frustrations, happiness ... everything shared with the entire world. On one hand, the prospect of all this getting into the wrong hands is scary - but the on the other and larger hand - it gives a wonderful sense to read about these multitude things. Someday I am feeling blue, I read a piece of article, where somebody has written about a similar bad happening to him/her and I feel slightly comforted ; or when I read a funny incident/post by somebody - i forget my irritation and get back to normal self.
Many a folks have tons of friends on their blog list also ... Why don't any of the friends that I know of blog, or have me on their blog list :(.... I think it is a nice way to meet one another in a blog !.... Mails are of course there, but then who mails these days - hardly anybody!
Chalo, maybe some other time when I really feel like penning down something I will write something more sensible here.