Dec 31, 2010

This and That

Chinnu likes "Super Why" on PBS kids. He pointed at one of his toys and told me "Why". His toy boy looked like Whyatt, the lead character in the show, indeed. I was surprised to know how this little brain makes such connections. Here are the pictures of his toy and his favourite animation character.

I have no regret for not being in Chennai during this Margazhi season. I'm watching Jaya TV's Margazhi Maha Utsavam on youtube. Priya sisters rock as usual and this rendition of them was a masterpiece and everytime I listen to it I feel like I am enroute to the Lord's abode. The Bhava, the lyrics, the modulation and everything else are in perfect mix. Vijay Siva's concert was no exception. He has a charismatic voice and his katha-kalakshebam style is well received. I am waiting for Aruna's videos - they are not in full on youtube.

My chef likes Vah Chef and he made this tomato chutney a few days ago. Wow, it was awesome. I bet you will fall in love with this chutney. I also tried my hands at this and it came out very well.

Watched Kamal's interview on NDTV. What an innocent guy? Chinnathambi ellam jujubee. Ivaru thonthi ganapathy nnu (mattum) than sonnaram.

Look at this wonderful pencil drawing. It is a collaboration by two artists - the beautiful drawing is by a "sakalakala valli" friend(she is a painter, craftsperson, a good cook, beautician and so on) and the background sketching is by my dear son. I am sure he is gonna be an artist. I want him to be all those that I am not, like any other parent :))  (1000 Taare Zamin Par vandalum nama appadiye thaan iruppom!)

Had a potluck in a friend's house last saturday, not just the kids but we also had some funtime.   Now, looking forward to welcoming the new year.  Happy 2011 :)).

Dec 26, 2010

Mynaa and my 'no'

What is life without watching a movie over a long weekend?  

With that being said, DH and I watched Mynaa yesterday.  We had to keep the volume under control because we did not want to disturb the little one's nap (in turn did not want to get disturbed), so I started to lose inclination towards watching it further as I had difficulty in following the accent for sometime and within few minutes I saw the protagonist hitting a lady so violently and I walked out to the other bed room, intolerably.  DH stopped me and asked me what I was intending to do - he got to understand from my facial expressions that I did not want to continue watching and he also knew at that point that I might not like the movie.  I told him I would better blog than watching this crap.  By this time the unpleasant scenes rolled and the screenplay got its dynamism.  Yes, you are right, I brought the laptop out and started to surf while I had a watch on the storyline as well.  

When the movie ended, I had a heavy heart and was sympathetic not to the lead characters but to our own selves. Our movie-makers have to understand the basic fact that we want only ENTERTAINMENT for those 2-2.5 hrs and certainly do not want to end up wiping our tears or get any sort of negative impact on us or on our society.  I vehemently believe that the movie-makers have the moral responsibility of influencing the society to a great extent;  Cinema is so much in our blood and culture - we see our illiterate society doing pAl abhishEkam to their super-heroes ( When I was nursing Chinnu, I used to feel quite bad in a situation when a single drop of breast milk gets wasted; honestly, I used to think that the milk that I consume is the calf's birth right and this was the time I wanted to convert to veganism) and the educated ones celebrate movie releases like Diwali, new year - their FB headlines will whirl around the movies during then.  

I remember few crimes that were merely triggered from our tamil movies - a little boy's murder in Chennai and the criminals were minors too; they used red-chilli powder in order not to get traced by the sniffer dogs - seems they stole this idea from a movie, in another case a girl was gangraped just that the accused wanted to experiment what they had seen in the movie paruththiveeran.  There may be so many other cases that did not come to the light.  That being the situation, I think the movie-makers can not just say that they only get their stories from real life.  They may be true but they also feed the ignorant with new ideas to commit crimes(or should I make it a passive sentence here?)  One gangrape in a remote village in Jharkhand or Orissa may be a news for a week but a movie with such a storyline will easily stay in our minds for a remarkably longer period.  

After the movie ended, DH and I did a postmortem (romba thevai!!) and were discussing about the logical flaws in the idea of sending mynaa with the policeman who had a terror-wife.  I see no reason why she was not sent with the older guy.  Secondly why was the former's wife not updated about the accident or further happenings?  Anyways, I made a resolution (new year resolution?) - I am not going to waste my time on watching our movies; at the same time I do not want to miss TZPs, 3 Idiots, Pasangas, Arunachalams, etc. etc for sure.

Lets come to the lighter side of it.  After the movie ended I told DH that the accident scene was well conceived and I had not seen such a thing in other movies where accidents were shot.  He said it was perfectly stolen from a hollywood picture.

Dec 17, 2010

rEmEmBeR DeCeMbEr...

2010 is approaching its end.  By God's grace I had to throw something off my mind that was worrying me for quite some time and the good deed happened yesterday.  This is the best day of 2010 for me.  In the same lines, I was thinking of the last few Decembers and I had only good things to count.  Here is the chronicle -

2010 - A sigh of relief on Dec 16.  I can stay calm for some time.  Thank you, my dear God.

2009 - Hmm, nothing significant happened but had a good get-together with friends at our place on the eve of new year.

2008 - The most memorable year in my life.  I saw my mom alive for the last time on Dec 9.  Thanks to my FIL and the technology(skype).  I wish SriVaikuntam is web-enabled and I can see her again and talk to her.

2007 - India trip in Nov-Dec.  Just missed (thalai)Deepavali but had fun during brother's wedding.  Unforgettable awful travel through Emirates.

2006 - Had the best touring in my life.  Stayed at sis' place at Tirunelveli and went to Kutralam, Kanyakumari, Navathirupathi etc.  Nellayappar kovil was an architectural surprise for the one who had thought that all temples would be like the Parthasarathy temple.

2005 - First milestone achieved by nephew Hari.  He rolled over as mom anticipated (by end of 3 months).  Second consecutive year of attending Aruna Sairam's concert @ Parthasarathy Swami Sabha.

2004 - Had a cool darshan of Lord Narasimhar at Sholinghur.  It is a special temple for me and DH as we got to know of each other only here.  We stayed at brother's friend's house and had fresh cow's milk for our coffee in the morning.  However we heard the news of MS' demise (Dec 11) on our way back home.  Got mesmerized by Aruna Sairam @ Parthasarathy Swami Sabha.  I still remember few of her renderings from this concert. 

2003 - We moved to Chromepet.  Lots of fun!!!

2002 - Attended my SIL's wedding.  I still have the saree that I wore for the wedding and even my MIL wore it once or twice when she was here in 2009.  I recollect what hubby told me.  As soon as the engagement talks were on, my FIL picked SIL's wedding photo album and showed it to his MIL saying "maami, ido parungo unga peran pathu vechirukkara ponna!!!"

2001 - Memory corrupted.  Vella paper a karuppakkanumna, my father's Bday, Sis' Bday, Sis wedding day, Niece's Bday and New Year eve are celebrated (in every December) :))

2000 - I spearheaded the chris-ma/chris-child game for the fellow BSSLians.  And it helped two girls find not only their chris-children but also their lives.

1999 - Joined BSSL.

I think I have good memory, huh?

Dec 6, 2010

Atlanta Trip - Nov 2010

Chinnu and I had a 10 day trip to Atlanta to visit my friend's family there.  My friend's son was a great company to him while we both would chit-chat about quite a lot of stuff.

I flew by Delta and had a bad experience during the flight.  The crew member that served juice and snack gave me a paper napkin but just passed by me w/o giving the edibles.  It was as though she did not notice that I was there.  I got so much irritated and told myself - "It is all because of you, my dear husband.  This is a foreign land and I am insulted for being an alien".  When one of them (not the one who gave the paper napkin) came back to each passenger to collect the trash, I called her and asked her if the service is ticket-dependent as I hazily remembered that there was no in-flight service in the trip.  She said no and told me that she thought I was sleeping.  I told her that the other lady gave me the paper napkin.  She apologized and later the lady who (purposefully) ignored me apologized as well but my blood was still boiling.  I wanted to complain to Delta.  Later when I checked the Delta webpage, there was no option to lodge such complaints.  I had to leave the issue there - chee chee inda pazham pulikkum.

My friend was very happy because her naughty boy had naps in the noon and his lullaby was our gossip talks.  The weather was awesome there, a temporary relief for us.  We spent the evenings in the community park when the kids liked to play in the slide and the swing.  When his friend rides on his volvo (his tricycle) around the kitchen, Chinnu will follow him like a calf following its mother.  They both had some fun in the backyard, punching the balloons, cleaning the house with the toy vaccum.

My friend was happy introducing me to all of her friends whom we met during one of their friends' son's Bday party.  Alpharetta had good amout of Desis and my friend has a good circle of friends - konjam poramaya irundudu.  Costco, Kohl's, Walmart are within few miles of reach.  My friend drove like a man (I hope I will make her happy when she reads this!!) and I was scared to sit on the passenger seat.  We bought some butter biscuits and chat items from Hot-Breads - sad that Pittsburgh does not have these facilities :((.

It was raining for 4 days or so and the temperature was quite low in the nights.  Chinnu got accustomed very well over there.  DH came online to see his DS.  Chinnu did not bother to look at him.  I knew DH must have been crestfallen then.  

My friend did not want me to leave at all.  She was persuading me all along the day - she would suggest that my husband better move to Atlanta. (not a bad idea as Hot breads was within reach).  She also made a variety of food items for me to enjoy my meals.  She was quite satisfied and moved when I commended her dosa (I told her it was like my mom's dosa and it was so too).

I met one of my ex-colleagues from BSSL.  Went to her house that was 2.5 miles from my friend's place.  She has a new born boy and my friend bought some nice gifts for her kids on my behalf.  We talked about a few other friends in the states and got back home after an hour or so.

Did not know how time passed by.  We had to leave on the 18th.  Chinnu did not want to leave that place, he was throwing tantrums when we were about to leave.  I dumped some food inside amidst his tantrums and we headed to the airport.  I checked in online as suggested by my friend's husband and that gave us enough time for security check though we reached the airport little late than we thought.  Chinnu behaved well in the airport and there was again a bad experience and this time it was the confusion with my seat #.  The one at the counter gave me a new aisle seat with an unoccupied middle seat as I was having a baby on lap, but she was too considerate that she gave the same seat to somebody else as well.  I had to again wait and got another seat and the wait time for take-off was almost 40 minutes (thats why you should not live in such big cities) and we reached Pittsburgh at 11.40 pm.  Dad was eagerly waiting to see his son and when they met ore paasa mazhai than.

I was fully charged during this break.  It was a wonderful time well spent.  I am hopeful of having her and her family here in Pittsburgh during summer 2011.

Nov 8, 2010

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Twinkle twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky

Do you think I am crazy? Well, may be!  I was collecting Chinnu's favourite rhymes to copy them onto a CD, and found this version of this nursery rhyme from youtube.  Until this point, I did not know that the song has many stanzas and I was so curious that I landed at Wikipedia to know more details of the song.

Love the way it is picturized in the youtube version and I have become a great fan of this rhyme (may be more than Chinnu is).

Nov 5, 2010

தங்கச்சிய நாய் கடிச்சுடிச்சு பா...

I'm irritated.  By a lady, by her questioning.  She asks me the same question every time we meet or talk.  She called me today to wish for Deepavali.  Then she immediately asked me "Why are you not seen at all?  I thought you must have probably been to India or so".  The weather is getting worse and she lives pretty much in the same city and I certainly dont know why is she expecting me to be wandering outside in this single digit temperature. 

When I meet her next time, I'm going to ask her myself "Wait, you want to know if I am in the city or not because you did not quite meet me all these while, right?"

Deepavali is here

It's Deepavali.  One day that every one irrespective of age, waits for!  A day full of events, full of fun with crackers, new clothes, sweets and snacks, festive food, family get-together, TV programmes etc etc.  Something to entertain everyone.  And it is one festival that every Hindu celebrates so a nationwide festival.  

How wonderful were the yesteryears? Until 16 or so, I would wait for my brother to apportion our share of crackers, would keep my share safe, would check it everyday, would admire my new clothes, would talk to friends about the purchases.  For the next ten years, it was more of a family celebration.  Around 9 in the morning, a Nadaswaram troupe would go to each house and play some songs.  By the time they would leave, kith and kin that live closer by would stop by to seek blessings from parents.  A short exchange of details of new clothes and batchanam would take place amongst the ladies.  Amma would bring in the batchanam to all.  All of us would have idli for breakfast (only day in the year when we have a breakfast-lunch routine).  Amma would go to the kitchen and make her yummy bisi-bele-bath.  And we would yell "amma amma, it's time for patti mandram".  Half of what people talk would not be heard because of neighbours bursting crackers.  And most of the celebrations of the day would end with the sumptuous lunch.  We would wait for the late evening so that the flower pots and chakkarams are bright and colourful in the dark.  Amma and appa would sit on the thinnai to watch them glow in the dark.  And the day would be gone; we would have to wait for another year for that fun.

Talks of Deepavali started by end of Vijayadasami, and believe it or not I started hearing that "dasu busu" sound of a new saree worn by amma.  This is the 4th year for us to pass through Deepavali away from home and 2nd Deepavali without that divine lady.  

However I want Chinnu to enjoy this day.  I hope we would be home for the next Deepavali at least so that he enjoys.  We got up late, but took bath early, cooked early and prayed early.  Chinnu is having some cold so he did not get a ganga snanam.  Its only a prokshane for him today.  He wore his first jeans pant and was not able to enjoy much because of his stuffy nose. He's having a nap now.

This year's deepavali will be ever in my memory.  As soon as we got up I was only thinking of getting things done quickly, so I attended to Chinnu's needs and went to take bath.  I cooked, offered my prayers and got DH's lunch ready, called up a few people that I missed to call last night, gave Chinnu a bath, put new pant and shirt on him, took his photos.  There was something missing...and I just then realized that I did not brush my teeth in the morning.  That's the special for this year's Deepavali :-).

Happy Deepavali.

Nov 2, 2010

Letter to Chinnu - #1

Dear Chinnu,

I started telling you stories this week. I have narrated the "kulla vyabari" and "singa raja" stories this week.  You did not want to pay the slightest attention to it.  Half the time, you were screaming to get you off the armless chair.  To calm you down I was singing wherever possible - we can call them as situational songs.  But the experience was nice.  I love to tell you lot many stories this way.  I hope you will soon understand what this is all about and will start to bug me "amma, katha sollu".


Westernization - for good cause

Chinnu dialed 911 yesterday.  Not just 911, but a number like 911PPP1111PP and so on.  And he knows how to press the speaker button.  So I got to hear the ring on the other side and immediately went to the phone and see whom did he dial.  I saw the number with 911 in the beginning and and immediately hung up the call - I wanted to disconnect before it get connected.  Unlucky me  - it was too late and it appeared that someone was on the line already.  I said "Hello"  and was answered "Whats the address of the emergency site?" I replied to him "Sorry Sir, there is no emergency, my son has pressed the number by mistake".  He was kind enough to excuse me not just once but thrice as I kept on getting incoming calls (dont know why) from the emergency and I had to get the battery off to put an end to it.

Later in the day, I was browsing the NDTV site and got to know that the bollywood stars had some Halloween party and was wondering how westernized Inda has become in the last few years.  We have imported everything from West to our culture - right from celebrating birthday, wedding day and any xyz day by cutting cakes and blowing candles to wearing all sorts of western fashion even in the least developed village in India.  The younger generation loves to listen to pops and rocks and their orkut, FB profiles list bands that I have not heard of, as their favourite music. The nerves in their hearing system are deaf to Indian classicals such as Carnatic, Hindhustani, Ghazal and the like. Change is the only constant thing in the world, is it not?

I dont know why we fail to see the other side of it and import some western procedures and policies as well that will improve the service rendered to the society.  Emergency service (though we have 100, we dont know how effective it is), Social security, the idea of school districts, library services, health insurance etc etc.- oh my God how nice it is to envisage an India with such facilities!!

It was in the news that the Manmohan Singh Govt. is trying to bring a system of identification numbers for the Indian citizens.  Dont know how far they have come along.  I do agree that it is very difficult to implement such huge changes considering the population that we have to deal with.  But I think we should plunge into action than keep worrying about the population.  I know there are so many of you who think like me and want to live in a healthy and wealthy India.  Until our politicians do it, let us day-dream about it living in America.

(Posts like this should end this way, ain't they?)

Oct 28, 2010

New age "Ganga"?

I was shocked to read a news article from the NDTV site.  In Mumbai, a new mom had abandoned her twin baby girl - she flung the baby from the bathroom vent.  I dont know if it was because of baby blues or if she thought she could not manage 2 babies...whatever be it, its unimaginable.  When people long for an offspring, someone does not want the baby - after all she bore it for all those weeks with great difficulty.

May be she is the new age Ganga?  River Ganges  took a form of a woman to give birth to Bheeshma in the story of Mahabharatha.  Bheeshma is one of the ashta vasus that are cursed to be born on earth.  The remaining 7 of them are dumped in the river as soon as they were born as the curse for them was only to be born on earth.

Sep 12, 2010

The TIME factor

A scene from Mahabharatha.  The yadhava clan ends up in a dispute and people are killing each other.  Krishna and his brother Balarama decide to go on a penance until their last breath.  So Krishna sends a note to Arjuna about this and comforts the people comprising the elderly, women and children that Arjuna would come and would help them relocate to a safer place.

Arjuna comes to Dwarakapuri (Yadhava kingdom's capital) and meanwhile some ransackers plunder whatever they can from the innocent people. Arjuna guards the yadhava people by fighting with the ransackers.  He sees himself on the weaker side of the war and is surprised why his "Kandeepam" (his bow) is not as powerful as it used to be.  Then the divine sage Vyasa says that the Kandeepam's (in turn, Arjuna's) power is going down and Arjuna realizes then that time changes everything.  

There are so many things that one can learn from the great epic and I consider this one as the best amongst them. I am correlating this piece of the story to what my father was saying nearly a year ago.

If we see the human life, from birth till about 20 years we are playful and happy and many a times do not know what life and its hardships are all about.  After 50 years till death life is mostly troublesome with physical ailments or other worries.  Only about 30 years we are active and enthusiastic and relish every aspect of life.  We think and act like a superordinate.  Many a times, we repress our faculties that tell us what is right and what is wrong.  At times, we tend to be pretentious, greedy,  immoral, self-centered, miserly, inhuman and what not.  We forget that we will one day become the captives of TIME and our lives will then change topsy-turvy.  

Aug 11, 2010

Motherly thoughts from male poets

Poems and poetical works are one of my passions. I used to admire the way our male poets pen their thoughts which seem quite motherly to me.  I wonder how could such words originate from a man!!  

Let us take the Mahakavi first; "Unnai thazhuvidilo kannamma unmaththamaguthadi"  I could not find ways that can express how you feel when you listen to these words.  Not just this line but the entire "Chinnanchiru kiliye kannamma" is awesome and an incomparable composition in such a simple manner and it turns out to be a great lullaby. 

I love to listen to "Solla solla inikkudada muruga!! ullamellam un peyarai..." from Thiruvilayadal movie.  I think it is Kannadasan's composition.  My favourite words are "Murugan endral azhagan endru thamizh mozhi koorum, azhagan endan kumaran endru manamozhi koorum".  We have heard "Kakkaikkum than kunju pon kunju" but this one is a new thinking and it is indeed a wonderful expression.

And the last one in this series is "Paaloottum annaikkellam thangal pillai marbai mutti paalunnum saththam sangeetham".  Vairamuthu rocks here.  

How can a man express such motherly thoughts?  Are they the "Thaayumaanavargal"???

Jul 29, 2010

Scintilating Suddhasaveri

There are innumerable raagas in the world of carnatic music and each one is rich in its own way.  Some of them express a particular mood and make us feel elated when a perfect lyrics is tuned in that raaga.  I'm writing this post now because I happened to listen to a film song that is based on suddhasaveri raaga.  Those who learnt carnatic music may be able to recollect that "Aanalekara unni..." Geetham is set in this raaga.  It seems to be light, easy going and very melodious one - hence suits for light music.  I feel that suddhasaveri brings out the excitement quite nicely.  It is a bubbling raaga.  In my opinion, this raaga goes very well with both vocal and instrumental. 

When I first heard the song I was impressed by Chinmayi's singing and suddenly I realised that it is Suddhasaveri.  Then I found out that it is ARR's composition.  Ilayaraja has set some popular songs in this raaga such as "Kovilmani osai thannai" from Kizhakke pogum rayil, "Idu oru kaadal mayakkam" from Pudumaippenn etc.  But ARR's "En uyir thozhiye" from Kangalal kaithu sei is so pleasing to the ears and all credit should go to Chinmayi as she has done a perfect job singing this suddhasaveri. ARR's idea of suddhasaveri on the piano is cool.  It makes the suddhasaveri a scintilating one! 

Jul 16, 2010

Rain Rain Do not go away!!

Its raining out here!  It was quite pleasant from morning.  Krishna and I enjoyed a ride in this wonderful weather.  And now its raining.  Great to be watching it pour.  I am sipping my tea (pazhayadu :-( ) and watching a movie.  I dont know who composed the "rain rain go away" nursery rhyme.  Is there anyone who does not like rain?  May be our cricket fanatics will not like it during an Ind-Pak final match of a tournament.  Is there anyone who does not like rain, elephants, ice cream, breeze, train, beach, dance and mother's love? 

Jun 9, 2010

செம்மொலியான தமில் மொலியாம்....

என்னுடைய நண்பர்கள் சிலர் ஓர்குட்-இல், நடக்க இருக்கும் தமிழ் மாநாட்டிற்காக இயற்றப்பட்ட பாடல் வீடியோ வை upload செய்து இருந்தார்கள்.  அந்த வீடியோ முடியும்போது அது மூத்த தமிழ் தலைவர் முதல்வர் மு.கருணாநிதி இயற்றியது என போடப்பட்டு இருந்தது.

முதலில் வீடியோ பார்த்த போது பாடல் வரிகள் புரியவே இல்லை.  பாடகர்கள் வார்த்தைகளை வெளியில் விடவே இல்லை...சொற்குற்றமோ பொருள் குற்றமோ (புரிந்தால் தானே சொல்ல முடியும்?) இல்லை...நிறைய உச்சரிப்பு பிழைகள்.  முதலில் "யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் கேளிர்" என்பதை Oscar புகழ் ஏ ஆர் ரஹ்மான் "யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் கேளீர்" என்று பாடுகிறார். 

பின் பாதியில் western style-இல் இரண்டு பேர் தமிழை கடித்து துப்பி இருக்கிறார்கள். 
கம்ப நாட்டாழ்வாரும்
கவியரசி அவ்வை நல்லாலும்
என்ற இரண்டு வரிகள் காலை எழுந்தவுடன் எனக்கு நினைவுக்கு வருகின்றன.  

இந்த வீடியோ பதிவு "phir mile sur" என்ற தேசிய ஒருமைப்பாட்டை நினைவு படுத்தும் பதிவை விட நன்றாக இருப்பதாக சில விமர்சனங்கள் படித்தேன்.  உண்மை தான் -  ஆனால், இன்னும் பல மடங்கு நன்றாக செய்திருக்கலாம் என்று தோன்றுகிறது. பாடல் பதிவை பொறுத்த வரையில் உச்சரிப்புக்கு முக்யத்துவம் கொடுத்திருக்க வேண்டும்  - எப்படி பாடலாசிரியர் இந்த பிழைகளை பொறுக்கிறார் என்று புரியவில்லை;  "நெற்றிக்கண் திறப்பினும் குற்றம் குற்றமே" என்று சொன்ன நக்கீரனின் மொழி இன்று ஒரு ஆஸ்கார்-இன் முன்னால் கை கட்டி வாய்  பொத்தி நிற்கின்றதா? 
திரை வடிவாக்கம் யாருடைய சிந்தனை என்று தெரியவில்லை.  தமிழை இயற்தமிழ் இசைத்தமிழ் நாடகத்தமிழ் என்று தானே பிரிக்கிறோம்? பாடலும் மொத்தமாக தமிழ்-இன் அருமை பெருமைகளைத்தான் குறிப்பதாக தெரிகிறது (எனக்கு புரிந்த வரையில்) பின் ஏன் இசைத்தமிழை ஒட்டி இசைக்கலைஞர்களை மட்டுமே பதித்திருக்கிறார்கள்?  வள்ளுவர்  ஒரு நொடி வந்து போகிறார்.  "செந்தமிழ் நாடென்னும் போதினிலே இன்பத்தேன் வந்து பாயுது காதினிலே" என்ற பாரதியும் காணவில்லை, "தமிழுக்கும் அமுதென்று பேர், அந்த தமிழ், இன்பத்தமிழ் எங்கள் உயிருக்கு நேர்" என்ற பாரதிதாசனையும் காணவில்லை. சரி ஏதோ சாலமன் பாப்பையா, சாரதா நம்பிஆரூரன்,விஜயலட்சுமி நவநீதகிருஷ்ணன்,புழ்பவனம் குப்புசாமி  போன்ற மக்கள் கூட தென்படவில்லை.  ஒரே ஆறுதல் சில கிராமிய கலைஞர்கள் இருப்பது தான்.

தமிழ் எனது தாய்மொழி இல்லை, இருப்பினும் எனக்கு மிகவும் பிடித்த மொழிகளில் ஒன்று, என் தாய்மொழியை விடவும் எனக்கு தமிழ் மிகவும் பரிச்சயமான ஒன்று. ஆயினும், இது வரையில் ஒரு ஐந்து அல்லது ஆறு முறை இந்த பாடலை கேட்டுவிட்டேன், ஒரு கோர்வையாக பாடல் வரிகள் மனதில் நிற்கவில்லை,செவிக்கு எட்டும் வரிகள் மூளைக்கு எட்டவில்லை. அது பாடல் மற்றும்  இசையமைப்பின் பிழையா அல்லது எனது திறமையின்மையா என்று தெரியவில்லை.  உங்களில் யாருக்காவது புரிந்தால் எனக்கு விளக்குங்கள் ப்ளீஸ்...

Jun 6, 2010

Old wine in new bottle...

This happened last week.  A lesson from the kitchen...

I was thinking of making palidya or morekozhambu for the next day.  So I cut tindora aka kovaikkai and stored the pieces in the refrigerator.  I just then realized (I think Im becoming Americanized...I used to use "s" for realiSe but I inadvertently used "z" here) that I was running short of curd and buttermilk - the main ingredients of the dish.  Then I changed the menu to a simple kozhambu.  I generally make a different masala powder for kozhambu but was lazy enough that morning to roast and grind a powder.  So I decided to use my sambar powder for the kozhambu.  Kozhambu was ready in the next 10 minutes.  However it was not thick as sambar powder did not have a few lentils that make the dish concentrated instantly.  DH is very particular about the concentration part so I thought I made a mess of it.  I also tasted a little bit of it and made sure it was "unsagikkable" from taste point of view as well.  I paused and thought for a moment - my instinct told me to add a bit of jaggery.  Then I packed his lunch and forgot about it for the next few hours.

It was time for my lunch.  Instantaneously I thought what DH would have felt after eating his food.   I picked up the telephone, called him and asked him about his lunch.  He said it was good and was wondering why I was so apprehensive about it.  I hung up and started to eat my food and found that the kozhambu was really yummy.  I wished I had more of it on my plate.  That was a simple but satisfying lunch I should say.

It's time to get the moral of the story; we need to find the jaggery that will fix the odds of the kozhambu. For every problem under the sun, there is a solution!!!

May 22, 2010


It has been a year since my mom left us. I am sufficiently grown up to understand that everybody has to bid farewell one day or the other but when it comes to mother, it takes a lot of time to forget the pain of missing her and to get the courage to move on.

Her thoughts were bringing tears earlier but now they are cherished. Everyday, every moment I think of her. She is belovedly called SK. She was a superb cook - cant beat her Bisi bele hulianna (this is how we term bisibelabath in our house), ambat baaji or soppu hulipalya (keerai sambar that is so thick such that it looks like keerai sabji), wheat halwa, varulu avalakki (a snack made out of poha), rasam, rasavangi (a kind of kozhambu with brinjal in it), vaangi bath, karunai kizhangu masiyal and the like. The taste of these items is still lingering in my mouth.

According to me, she was the epitome of patience. I can better understand it now when I struggle to manage my little one while she brought up all of us not having known what mother's love (she lost her mom when she was around 3 years old) is all about. She used to like babies a lot. My nephew Hari is her most beloved grandson. Thanks to the technological advancements - She could see my little one's photos as soon as he was born.

While I was going to the elementary school, she would bring lunch for me to the school. We would sit in a corner and I would ask her to tell me a story. She would start telling Ramayana or Mahabharatha but down the line she would blabber because she would feel sleepy. Every year, she would buy me 2 new clothes when the school starts for the academic year.

When I was doing my graduation, I had invited a lot of my friends home quite often. She would happily serve them meal and was very hospitable. She had offered food, snacks or coffee to those that stop by our house - be it anytime.

I have never seen her relax; she would always be doing some household work or the other. I have not seen any other person making the hoo baththi (you call it as vilakku thiri in tamil) as perfect and neat as her. She had a long hair and she would sit on the floor, stretch her legs and split her hair into two parts and would comb it. That is very much fresh in my memory. And she did not have a single grey hair in her 71 years of life. She used to recite all slokas such Bhagavath Geetha, Raghavendra stothra, Saneeswara stothra while cooking and she did learn all of them by heart just by listening to my father's recital during his daily pooja. She used to say "We have to have a good heart and think of good things and utter good words while cooking as it will have an impact on the ones who consume"

She is a woman who underwent a lot of hardships in her entire life. But I have never seen her lamenting about anything. Simplicity and contentment will keep us and everyone around us happy. She loved nature and was interested in touring. When I had been to the Niagara for the first time I told myself "I should bring her here once". Even when she was in the hospital in the last few days, she did not grumble about her condition; she welcomed her end quite happily after much suffering.

I have inherited few of her characteristics such as reading religious materials, showing interest in music and literature, being patriotic, being respectful to national leaders such as Gandhiji, Rajaji etc. We have never used any bad words in our house and I think it is all because of her upbringing. She liked to listen when I sing "kurai onrum illai". She liked Bombay sisters' Oothukkadu compositions and of course MS' renderings.

I lived my life to the fullest from Year 2003 to 2007. A handful of salary, bachelor life hence no worries or commitment, life was good in the Chromepet house. I enjoyed being with my family. Chennai is famous for its power cuts during summer (that is a perennial one but popular in summer) and my amma and I would play "yaaru manasula yaaru" and the rest of the family will be the audience. I remember the day I took her for a ride in my scooter. That was the first and last time she sat on my scooter; that is one reason why I still dont want to sell it off though it is not of any use to anyone now. Tears showed up in her eyes when I left to my in-laws' place after my marriage; she had not wept for any other sister of mine like that.

Days passed by; months passed by; and a year has passed now. Her first Aapdika i.e. annual ceremony falls on the 31st of this month. This is going to happen to all of us one day and this is what life is all about. We need to move on and that is why we all have a family of our own and have lots and lots of responsibilities towards the family. Brain understands this reality but heart fails to understand and ultimately suffers.

May 3, 2010

A common man's autobiography

It was quite odd for me when I came to know that my father's uncle S.R.R has written an autobiography as he was not a public figure and I should say that I did not quite think that anybody can write a biography of his/her own life until I knew of this. However he was certainly a big shot in the family in the sense that he was highly qualified amongst his contemporaries in the family, a Doctorate.   Also he was an associate of Sir C.V.Raman.

They were 6 brothers and 2 sisters. My dad's father was the eldest (actually second but the eldest died at quite an early age).  My grandfather being the responsible elder brother had provided monetary support for the family. He did his PhD in London around 60-70 years ago and it sure was a great thing for a family like ours then.

My second cousin G.R.R who is the grandson of my father's uncle had the electronic version of his grandpa's autobiography and thanks to him I had the opportunity to read it a few years ago. There were a few things that interested me a lot and some of them made me proud to have been born and raised in that lineage. I have learnt some lessons from it too.

It gives some insight about the previous generation of my grandfather, A.R. My great grandfather S.R is the 3rd of 8 sons in the family. And they were financially doing well. When the sons grew up and individually set up their families, their financial status was on the descent (Most probably because the head of the family unexpectedly died at an early age). There was a need to sell a family property and the first four brothers who were doing better financially, gave away their shares too to the last 4 brothers who were struggling to make both ends meet. It is something that I could not believe at all and am very happy to learn that my ancestors had been so kind and considerate. Secondly, my great grandfather's mother wanted to throw away one of the boy babies born to my grandfather as she expected a girl baby in the family (she bore 8 boys no girl). I pinched my own self when I read it as no parent preferred girl babies during those days.

After reading his autobiography, I sometimes feel that everyone should write a biography or some note to mention about those that help us to be who we are today. Well, I told my mother to write her autobiography and she immediately said "I dont know where my maternal cousins are!! They did so much to me when I was down with jaundice at my grandma's place". I am happy because I made her think of those that helped her, during her last days.

I dont know how much time is left for me so I have also jotted down about those who had created an impact in my life. 

Apr 23, 2010

What's your child's name?

Last week I got introduced to a neighbour through a common friend. She was talking about her experience of a career break due to motherhood and her new job. My son was having a short nap. She peeked into his stroller seat and asked me what was his name. When I responded, she expressed "oh simple-a vechuteenga".And she went on and her hubby too joined with her for the conversation... "We wanted a UNIQUE name for our son and named him so-and-so and you know it is a very uncommon name". But my husband's friend's son has the same name and is probably in his first grade now. He expressed it politely (not to offend them by any means though) and they shurgged and one of them said "But I am sure he will not have it spelt the way my son's name is spelt". And I am sure this would have been their dinner time conversation for the night.

Yesterday I took Chinnu to the play area in our community. There were 2 other kids enjoying their time on the slide. One of them was escorted by her grandfather. He asked me what's my son's name. His response was no different from the young couple and this time I was really taken aback.

Having a toddler causes us to interact with other folks especially those who entered into parenthood recently. And obviously "whats his/her age, name, activities, food habits" etc. are few of the discussion topics that will hang around. Out of such talks I kind of got an idea on how we Indians especially south Indians want to name our babies. The older generation followed these protocols for naming the newborns - 1) Name after some deity or kuladeivam in specific, 2) Name after one of the grandparents or great-grand parents 3) Name after the kshetra swami (the Lord mainly worshipped in the home ground or the current habitat). And they did not bother if there were a whole lot of people with the same name. There are lot of Krishnamurthy's amongst my paternal uncles - each one is referred to as S Kittu, N Kittu, R Kittu etc etc. and there are innumerable Usha's and Shantha's. But we, the today's generation want novel names and unique ones too. I am not against this but I think we should also try not to pass comments directly or indirectly about one's name. I read somewhere that for everybody under the sun it is his/her name that matters the most and no one can bear if someone misspells or mispronounces it. I always agree with this because I hate when people dont call my name properly - probably they breathe out the air when they say my name. Novel names sound good to the ears and may be easy to utter but at the same time we should also, to a greater extent, consider the meaning of the word. Some parents want to name their newborns after applying numerology. All they do is replace certain consonants with others such that it either means nothing or means something unpleasant. And another thing that I have wondered about is inventing new names which mostly are portmanteau of part or full of parents' names. A neighbour had framed her daughter's name from hers and her hubby's and per my father a very slight pronunciation change in the name will mean "A big Zero" in Sanskrit.

It is going to be sun-shine summer soon and I have to get myself ready to receive a lot of comments on my son's name in the neighbourhood, but absolutely no regrets. It was very rewarding when a Muslim lady told me "Oh that's wonderful name - I like it".