Dec 5, 2011

Childhood fantasies

My brother used to watch hindi films and  he used to say Shashi Kapoor was the most handsome guy from Bollywood.  Those were the days we got to see a commercial based on the song "Pyar hua ekraar hua" from a famous Raj Kapoor movie. When I got to understand that Raj Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor were siblings I really appreciated their parents for choosing such rhyming names.

I had literally kept 'not getting prickly heat' in my prayers! The reason was because I believed that prickly heat was nothing but thorny structures on the back. Courtesy: Nycil prickly heat powder commercial. Do we have such commercials to this date, too?

When I was taken to the bank along with someone from the family, as a curious little girl I got to understand what a 'deposit' or a 'withdrawal' was.  You dont know how much I was upset when there was a disastrous earthquake somewhere (in Gujarat??) then!  I felt too sorry for those who had kept their hard earned money in their savings accounts.  What if they were ransacked after the calamity?

Even now I do not understand the last name/family name/surname concept.  If I were to do a research ever in my life, this would be the subject I tell you!  

Though I have a sensitive skin I had never gotten prickly heat (touch wood).  Until I witnessed it personally I was not sure of how it looked though I was convinced that there would not be thorny branches on the back :))

I do not remember when I figured out that our savings with a bank were not kept as money per se. But working for a financial division for a considerable number of years gave a very good exposure to financial transactions.

Dec 4, 2011

கனிமொழி தந்த கவிமொழி

'அடக்கம் அமரருள் உய்க்கும்'
சொன்னவரை நிற்க வைத்தார்கள் கரையில்.
அவர் சொன்னதை எல்லாம்
பறக்க விட்டார்கள் காற்றில்.

ஒரு கூட்டத்திற்கு 'கொலை வெறி' மீது மோகம்
ஒரு கூட்டத்திற்கு 'எப்போது நூறு' என தாகம்
பாமரன் நிலையோ அந்தோ பரிதாபம்
எப்போது அரங்கேறும் 'சம்பவாமி யுகே யுகே' பாகம்?

பின்குறிப்பு: இந்த கவிதை(???)யை கனிமொழிக்கு டெடிகேட் செய்கிறேன்.

Oct 26, 2011

The driving ordeal

I want to know why we, the south Indian women are so scared of driving on the roads of US.  I thought it was only me (I mean the age factor) but most of the girls who are younger than me also feel the same way.
While owning a car is a luxury in India, it is a must for those that live in the States, particularly in cities like Pittsburgh where public transport is not so great. I got my learner's permit along with DH.  Once we have the learner's permit we do not have to wait for appearing for the road test if we are 18+.  So DH got his license within a fortnight.  I went for driving class.  I have seen people who went for the road test after 3 classes while I had not got the control of the wheel even after 3 classes.  And perhaps I would be the only one who got homework sessions for driving!!! Each class was costing around $55 and I seem to have not progressing at all - I could not turn the indicator on, look at the blind spot and change lanes - all within a few seconds. I decided to learn from DH himself.

"chattunnu brake podatha...gradualla halt pannanum, gradualla accelarate pannanum....kaiya eduthuttu indicator podatha, steeringlaye kaiya vechundu eppadi ottarennu observe pannu..." lectures, lectures and lectures!  "inime inda driver seat-la na ukkaarave matten!" - I retracted with many such mangamma sabathams.

After 3 months I got my license in the very first road test (all credit goes to the tutor though).  It does not end there.  I started driving by myself nearly a year later.  I drove to the nearby Indian shop, Walmart which is slightly farther and had a steadily growing driving experience then on.  Sooner I drove on freeways too but at times I would feel the tension.  My first drive to the SV temple was with no hassle at all but the journey back home was not determined to be so.  It was just 50 feet for me to park the car in the car port - a white boy aged roughly between 10-12 sped from a hidden path and he dashed his bi-cycle on my front wheel near the passenger seat.   He knew he was at fault and waited for DH to get his bi-cycle off the ground and he vanished the next second saying "I am alright, I am alright, I am alright".  Guess he lives in the same community and I have seen him a few times after this incident (or accident?) and he tried to avoid me even though I was not on my car!!

Yesterday, I had an appointment which was around 18 miles away from my place.  I did not want to disturb DH for this.  I was thinking of getting the help of a friend but he was busy too. I was not concerned about the onward journey but was skeptical about the return ride if I would be able to manage crossing two bridges with very frequent lane changes within a short distance.  DH ascertained "You would cross the bridge when it comes" and I did indeed. The good part is that the adrenal glands were not put into use at all :))

But still...I do not have an answer for the question at the outset.

Oct 6, 2011


Pattu pavadai, rettai jadai, mullaippoo, vethalai-pakku-kunkumam, sundal, akanda deepam, maa vilakku and last but not the least, kolu - you know what I am talking about.   

This festival has so many benefits - some dedicated time for the God(desse)s, a great opportunity for socializing, eating different kinds of proteins, fund raising for craftsmen, fun for kids and so on. I am 100% sure that this generation is missing all the fun that we had during our childhood days around this event. 

Interestingly Halloween day(Oct 31st) is observed in somewhat similar manner - kids dress up and get to visit neighbors and friends and collect candies.  For more details wikipedia can help.(after all there was a mention of marappachi bommai when I read about kolu!)

Back in India, when we get to visit friends and relatives for kolu, we would be asked to sing.  And songs on Lakshmi / Parvathi / Saraswathi would be sung commemorating the worship of these Goddesses for the nine days.  Just found out the best song for Kolu - it praises all of these Supremos - "Om Sakthi Om" of Mahakavi.  

This year's new addition is my sakala-kala-valli friend's gift. Her creativity of making the flowers from pista shells is amazing. The rangoli in front of the house is the pinnacle of her meticulous work, I would say.

Now, the fun part - a friend's son asked "amma Devi enge, Andal enge?" when she showed him Rama and Krishna idols.  The message is passed on.  Hope Devi and Andal will make it for next year's kolu :))

Sep 21, 2011

Once upon a time

I generally send "forward" emails to trash but dont know why I opened the particular email and it sure sent me down the memory lane.

OLiyum Oliyum, Tuesday drama, Rangoli, Vannakkolangal, ethiroli, least-liked vayalum vazhvum, sunday movie time et al flashed in the memory indeed.

Aug 26, 2011


I did not like a bit of Dhanyasree's voice all through her super singer journey.  It seemed too childish and I was thinking that her voice would not suit playback singing.  I was proved wrong.  She stole the show with her "paathi kaadal paathi mutham".  OMG! what a song and what a singing!  She brought the silkiness in Bombay Jayashree's voice on the stage.  Good luck Dhanyasree.

I have been playing the song over and over again ever since I heard it for the first time (through Dhanya though). Ultimate composition - evvalavu kettalum pothathu pothathu!!!

Aug 24, 2011

Oothukkadu, Aruna Sairam and Krishna Bhakthi

While I bite a piece of thenkuzhal and cheedai made for the occasion of Krishna Jayanthi, I am also reminded of some of the great compositions of Oothukkadu Venkata Subbaiyar who was an ardent devotee of lord Krishna and a few mind blowing renditions of Aruna Sairam.

Be it AlaipAyuthE or pAl vadiyum mugam or asaindAdum mayil ondru or thAyE yasOdA, the compositions are so simple and realistic and full of bhakthi and connects one with Krishna for sure.  I do not completely understand the sanskrit compositions of him like kalyAna rAma, mani nUpura dhAri, neeraja sama neela krishna etc. but certainly enjoy the songs.

Bombay sisters and Sudha Raghunathan have given many albums but Aruna's songs are more soulful.  Listen to Aruna's kAlinga narthana thillAnA, according to me, this is the best composition that I have ever heard.  And she preludes it with a viruttam describing the scene of Krishna playing the flute sitting on a rock surrounded by a few gopikas. This gathering is compared to that of an emperor and his ministers sitting in a durbar.  And the lyricist pays his pranams to a calf (signifying adiyaar vazhipaadu) that is blessed to be a part of this crowd.  What an imagination? It goes like this -

manamayakkum isaikkOlE senkOlAi 
thamAlathu mara nizhalE arakkudayAi
mAmayilin siragonrE makutamAi
vanam kidantha perum pArai ariyanaiyAi
mAnira andhi siru malargal padavinayAi
valathu amarnda nappinnai arasiyAi 
manam kasindu kAdal uru mangaiyargaL pEravaiyAi
danam perutha pasum kanathin manigalellam gana ganathu dharmathin pEroliyAi olithuvara
punal karutha yamunai nadhi thuraivan ivan amarndirukkum koluvinilE
anavaradam ammE ammE ammE endru azhaithu pala kattiyam sol azhagu siru pasum kandrE 
unakku Ayiram namaskAram

Aruna sings this virutham with full of bhavam.  When she sings manigal ellAm gana ganathu, you get a feeling that the bells actually ring.

VishamakkAra kannan and mAdu mEikkum kannE are two other cheerful songs composed by OVS and popularized by Aruna.  Though the songs appear to have been written for the youngsters, the elders like them more than the kiddos. I am no exception :))

mAdu meikkum kannE is a conversation between Yashoda and Krishna and the way Aruna finishes the song is just wonderful - with a mother's strict No and a son's pleading; kudos to her!

Chinnu will stand still and converge all his attention towards the song when he hears either of them. Look at how focused he is (must be around 7 months then), upon listening to vishamakkara kannan!

Aug 17, 2011

A Prayer

God, give me an open mind!

If he does not want to brush his teeth, it is okay, that yellow tint will not be persistent.
If he precipitates that little milk everyday, it is okay, it is better than wasting a a litre by overheating
If he does not prefer to eat, it is okay, let him skip one meal, not a big deal.

God, give me an open mind!

If he does not get into the pool, it is okay, he will get over his fears
If he does not nap, it is okay, let him play for that extra hour
If he does not listen to me, it is okay, I had not been (always) obedient either

God, give me an open mind! 

Jul 23, 2011

அமுதே தமிழே அழகிய மொழியே

இயற்கையாகவே நான் ஒரு நல்ல கவிதை ரசிகை.  நான் ரசித்த ஒரு சில பாடல் வரிகள் இங்கே...

அத்திக்காய் காய் காய் - விவரம் தெரியாத வயதில் கேட்ட போது பிடிக்கவேயில்லை.  இப்போது கவிஞரின் திறமையை மெச்சுகிறேன்.

முருகன் என்றால் அழகன் என்று தமிழ் மொழி கூறும்
அழகன் எந்தன் குமரன் என்று மனமொழி கூறும்

தன் குழந்தை அழகாக இருக்கிறதே என்று மனதுக்குள் மட்டும் வியக்கும் வார்த்தைகள்.

பொன்னொன்று கண்டேன் பெண்ணங்கு இல்லை -  அண்ணனின் நிலையையும் தம்பியின் நிலையையும் நன்றாக விளக்கியிருப்பார் கவிஞர்.

உடலுக்குள் எங்கே உயிருள்ளதென்பதும் உயிருக்குள் காதல் எங்குள்ளதென்பதும்  - காதல் மட்டுமல்ல, உண்மை, நேர்மை, கருணை, கோபம், பொறாமை இதெல்லாம் கலந்த attitude எங்குள்ளது என்று நாம் எல்லாருமே அதிசயித்திருப்போம்.

கண்ணாடிக்கு விளக்கம் தரும் (புதுப்) பொண்டாட்டியின் "அதில் என்னைக் காண்கிறேன், அது உன்னைக் காட்டுதே"

ஒவ்வொரு பற்களிலும் சிரித்தேன்.  இலக்கணப்பிழை இருந்தாலும் இதைவிட சந்தோஷத்தை எப்படி வெளிப்படுத்துவது?

விடியல் வந்த பின்னாலும் விடியாத இரவு எது?  பூ வாசம் வீசும் உந்தன் கூந்தலடி
இவ்வுலகம் இருண்ட பின்னும் இருளாத வானம் எது? கதிர் வந்து பாயும் உந்தன் கண்களடி

இரு எதிர்மறையான விஷயங்களை ஒரே பொருளுக்காகக் கையாண்டதற்காக கவிஞருக்கு ஒரு "ஓ".

இதே வரிசையில் இன்னொன்று -

சித்திரை மாதத்தை நான் நனைத்து கோடையில் உனக்கொரு குளிர் கொடுப்பேன்
மார்கழி மாதத்தை நான் எரித்து முன்பனிக் காலத்தில் அனல் கொடுப்பேன்

வானமகள் நாணுகிறாள், வேறு உடை பூணுகிறாள் - என்ன ஒரு உவமை? ரஜினி பாணியில் சொல்ல வேண்டுமென்றால் "ஹாட்ஸ் ஆஃப்"

கவிதைக்கு பொய் அழகு - உண்மை உண்மை.  கவிதையே அழகு.

இது குழந்தை பாடும் தாலாட்டு - இதை மாதிரி பாடல் எனக்கு தெரிந்து இது ஒன்று தான்.

வளையாத மூங்கிலில் ராகம் வளைஞ்சு ஓடுதே - அற்புதமான கையாளல்.

இது தவிர இரு ஹைக்கூ கவிதைகள் எங்கோ படித்தது, இன்னும் நினைவில் -

கதவைத் திறந்து வை
யார் வருகிறார்களோ இல்லையோ
காற்று வரும்

எதைக் கேட்டாலும் வெட்கத்தையே தருகிறாயே
வெட்கத்தைக் கேட்டால் என்ன தருவாய்?

இன்னும் சில, இன்னொரு இடுகையில்...

Jul 9, 2011

Mommy Blues

I sense an adrenaline rush when I wake up in the morning, I am not able to eat my breakfast, I feel I would throw up and I am able to decipher what my grand-aunt used to say on those days- "sankata aagathe" which means "there is an unexplainable trouble".  Do you think it is morning sickness?  It feels exactly like it but it is not so.  This is called "leaving your child with another caregiver" sickness.  Perhaps I must add "for the first time".

Chinnu goes to a daycare for a few hours in a week.  Now, after 2/3 visits, he starts whimpering from the moment he puts his shoes on.  And he screams when I get out of the place.  My heart stops pounding every time I leave the place and I forcibly exit myself from there not to see him cry.  Ultimately he settles down after 10 minutes and enjoys his stay but those 10 minutes have to PASS THROUGH; not for him but for me.

I felt too disturbed yesterday when he shed tears and I wanted to tell my mom how troubled I was.  For the umpteenth time I felt the void created by her and with a heavy heart I went to the fitness center to engage myself.  I met a friend who is a mother of two kids.  She heard from me about my worry and told me "after 3 years from now, he is not going to turn back to you...thats what happened to is finally me who was upset and they were happy to go to school".

I was thinking that my communication with my amma was one-way but it was not.

On the lighter side of it, here is a sample of what he has been doing there.  And a post class conversation between us goes like this -

Me: What did you do at *** place today?
He:  A FOL Apple
Me: B For?
He: B FOL Dog
Me: C For?
He: C FOL Ball

Jun 29, 2011

எங்கிருந்தோ வந்தான்...

         "எங்கிருந்தோ வந்தான் இடைச்சாதி நான் என்றான்
         இங்கிவனை யான் பெறவே என்ன தவம் செய்துவிட்டேன்"
         - பாரதியார்.

ஒரு மூதாட்டி பால பருவத்திலிருக்கும் தன் பேரனுடன் வசித்து வருகிறாள். அவளுக்கு இறை பக்தி அதிகம்.  பேரனுக்கு உரிய வயது வந்ததும் குரு குலத்திற்கு அனுப்புகிறாள். சிறுவன் குருவின் இல்லம் செல்ல காட்டுப்பகுதியைக் கடக்கவேண்டும். "எனக்கு பயமாய் இருக்கு பாட்டி" என்ற அவனிடம் "கவலைப்படாதே, நீ போகும்போது ரங்கனைக் கூப்பிடு, துணைக்கு வருவான்" என்றாள்.

காலை புலர்ந்தது. சிறுவன் புறப்பட்டான்.  காட்டின் தொடக்கத்தில் "ரங்கா!" என்றான்.  "இதோ வந்தேன்" என்று அவன் வயதொத்த ஒரு சிறுவன் வந்தான்.  இருவரும் சேர்ந்தே போனர். காட்டின் எல்லையில் ரங்கன் விடை பெற்றான்.

"மாலையும் வருவாயா ரங்கா?"

"நிச்சயம் வருவேன்"

தினமும் இது தொடர்ந்தது.  குருகுலம் முடியும் நேரமும் வந்தது.  எல்லா மாணவர்களும் குரு தட்சணை பற்றி பேச சிறுவனை கவலை தொற்றிக் கொண்டது.

"பாட்டி! என் குருவிற்கு காணிக்கையாக என்ன கொடுப்பது?"

"ரங்கனைக் கேள் கண்ணா, அவன் உதவுவான்" என்றாள்.

"அட! இவ்வளவு தானா? நான் கொண்டு வருகிறேன்"  என்றான் ரங்கன். 

மறுநாள் ஒரு சொம்பில் பால் கொண்டு வந்து தருகிறான். சிறுவன் குருவின் இல்லம் சென்று தன் காணிக்கையை சமர்ப்பித்தான்.  குரு பூஜையை ஆரம்பித்து, மாணவர்கள் எடுத்து வந்தவைகளைக் கொண்டு அபிஷேகம் செய்கிறார். பாலாபிஷேகம் செய்யும்போது எல்லா சொம்புகளும் காலியான நிலையில் ஒரு சொம்பில் மட்டும் பால் அப்படியே இருக்க, அதை எடுத்து அபிஷேகம் செய்ய, மீண்டும் மீண்டும் சொம்பு பாலால் நிறைந்தது.  ஆச்சரியம் மேலிட, "இது யார் கொண்டு வந்தது?" என வினவினார்.

பயந்து போன சிறுவன், "ரங்கன் தான் கொடுத்தான், என்க்கொன்றும் தெரியாது" என்றான்.  

"யார் அந்த ரங்கன்?"  என்றார் குரு.

"என் பாட்டி தான் சொன்னாள், அவன் தினமும் எனக்கு துணையாக வருவான் என்று", சொன்னான் சிறுவன்.

"சரி வா, அவனைப் பார்ப்போம்" என்ற குருவுடன் எல்லோரும் கிளம்பினர்.

காட்டின் எல்லையில் சிறுவன் எவ்வளவு கூப்பிட்டும் ரங்கன் வரவில்லை.  அந்த நேரம் அசரீரி ஒலித்தது.  "மூதாட்டியின் பக்தியை மெச்சவே இந்த நாடகம், எல்லோருக்கும் நான் தெரிவதில்லை".

கடவுள் இருக்கிறாரா என்ற கேள்வி என்னுள்ளும் அவ்வப்போது எழும். இருக்கிறாரோ இல்லையோ, இருக்கிறார் என்று நம்பினால் நன்மைகளே அதிகம் (போலி சாமியார்களிடம் செல்லாத வரையில்).  தர்மத்தின் பாதையில் செல்லவும், தீய வழியில் செல்லாமலிருக்கவும் இறை உணர்வு உதவும்.  நான் சொல்ல வருவது ஒரு நாத்திகன் அதர்மவாதி என்றோ தீயவன் என்றோ அல்ல.   "God fearing" என்று தானே சொல்கிறோம்? அதை நான் புரிந்து கொண்ட வரையில் சொல்ல முற்பட்டேன்.

இந்த கதை என் அம்மா எனக்கு சிறு வயதில் சொன்னது.  அந்த வயதில் கதை கேட்டபோது, ரங்கனையும், சிறுவனையும் நான் மனக்கண்ணால் பார்த்தது இன்றும் நினைவிருக்கிறது.  இது போன்ற பல கதைகளை சொல்லி ஒரு குழந்தையின் மனதில் இறை நாட்டத்தை ஏற்படுத்த முற்படுவது, பெற்றோரின் கடமைகளில் ஒன்று என்பது என் தாழ்மையான கருத்து.

Jun 16, 2011

Aacharya Devo Bhava (Consider your teacher as God)

Chinnu loves "amma inge vaa vaa".  I learnt the song for him and I got to understand that it is in "Aathisoodi" form.  And remembered reading "pudiya aathisoodi" in Bharathiyar kavithaigal and also remembered Avvaiyaar's aathisoodi.  I still can not correlate why such compositions are termed "aathisoodi" but it was a sad fact that I learnt what an aathisoodi is at a very later stage, not when I first got to learn Avvaiyaar's.  This is not the only thing.  Did you ever know that Valluvar's first name is not Valluvar?  And nobody knows what it is...same is the case of Tholkaappiyar.  

I think we had probability and statistics in our syllabus from class 8.  I pretty well remember that I did not quite understand what a 'standard deviation' is until a few years later, perhaps I only learnt the formula from the sessions and books.  There was a time I detested the very thinking of "History" and was waiting to get rid of the subject; but today it is one of my favourite areas;  There are many many things to cite as examples like these....

While I do not want to point my finger at someone for the delayed learning I honestly and vehemently feel that teachers do play a part in this.  They spend more time with the children than anybody else and they have the responsibility and the opportunity to mould someone into a better person in all aspects. Today's teachers do not think beyond the books and syllabus and do not impart the 'basic' knowledge that one needs to get.  First of all, no one wants to take up the profession; everybody wants to plunge into software and become Crorepati's in a few years and settle down abroad.  A few of my classmates who are teachers today were forced to these jobs by external factors; they did not take the profession out of passion.  "Aacharya Devo Bhava" says an upanishad (Philosophical texts from the Hindu religion).  Where do we find such Godly teachers?

May 31, 2011

And we lived happily ever after...

This is what I want to say about us after this India trip.  Well, Chinnu and I joined the head of the family(?) last wednesday.  Chinnu's birthday and our wedding anniversary day have to be celebrated during the time we were miles apart. And I prayed to the God on those days that let this be the last year that we are away from each other.  However, Chinnu's grannies were on cloud nine when they got to hear about our proposed trip and they made his bday party a grand success.

On the whole, it was an awesome trip ended with a tiresome journey.  I did not know how the 3 months time passed by.  Chinnu cooperated very well; he let me attend my niece's wedding at Bangalore as soon as we stepped on the Indian soil.  I was happy to see all of the family members.

Chinnu liked to roam around the house.  Lot of things for him to explore.  The park in the community was a great place to meet with his friends.  Manaswini, Surya, Karthik, Vivek, Sriram, Sairam, Aishwarya were his new friends.  His vocabulary had a great rise;  "manni, cheetha, hayi, gaagav, fazi, duduja, visa" became "manasuwini, sreenathu, hari, gaalav (raghav), mahati, sindhuja, vidhaa(vidhya)" one day.

Riding on an auto was his favourite thing.  He also enjoyed car rides.  While his thatha moves out of the driver seat he loved to occupy the same and tried his hands at the wheel.  He was thrilled to see "amba pachu" and doggy on the roads.

Until April the heat was manageable but May was horrible.  We needed A/C during day time as well.  Chinnu became his thatha's pet and used to say "thatha pattu" quite often.  He did not enjoy the visit to beach perhaps it was dark when we reached there.

My niece's wedding and the travel to B'lore, keeping in touch and meeting with with friends whom I met 17 years ago, dining with family, passport renewal after a lot of hiccups (if you are abroad never try to do it in India), attending mom's annual ceremony were memorable events in this trip.

May 9, 2011

வாழ்க தமிழ்!

மூன்று  மாத சென்னை வாசம்.  அங்கும் இங்கும் சுற்றியதில் பார்த்த  சில பெயர்ப்பலகைகள் இதோ - 

ரம்யா அடுமனை (Bakery-ஆம்)

பல் உணவு முற்றம் (multi-cuisine food court-ஆம், தலை சுத்துது இல்ல?) 

கணினி & மடிணி சேவை மையம் (அதாங்க laptop!) 

ரிச் 'என்' க்ரீமி (Rich 'n' Creamy -யின் அற்புதமான தமிழாக்கம்)

எங்கோ ஒரு கடையில் தமிழ்ப்பெயர் இருக்க வேண்டுமாம் , ஊரெங்கும் ஒலிக்கும் திரைப்பாடலில் பிறமொழிக்கலப்பு இருந்துவிட்டுப்போகலாமாம்.  ஐயோ பாவம், செம்மொழி.

Apr 22, 2011

2011 Chennai trip - so far so good

  • Makkal TV started telecasting movies, however with (useful) messages such as "inda padathin nayakan periyaar puththagangalai padippaar"
  • There are commercials for diapers, baby wet wipes and ellipticals which I had not seen last year
  • TV commercials also need a (good-for-nothing) censor board.  Some of them solely depend upon the model(woman)'s level of exposure
  • There are apartments everywhere, every family owns a car and every road is flooded with them
  • It is either upper middle class family or poor family, there is no "Middle class family"
  • Velachery and Chromepet will soon be substitutes of TNagar
  • There are overbridges in almost every major junction
  • There was enough space between vehicles at Panagal park on India-Pakistan quarterfinals of world cup 2011; I wish I were there to witness the situation on the day of finals :)
  • Most women wear Capri perhaps to beat the heat
  • Saw at least 5 obese people in the last 10 days
  • Extravaganza in shows like super singer makes it unworthy to watch.  Contestants wear clothes that are worn by only the heroines of kollywood; dont quite understand how the parents give a nod
  • It is just mid-April and could not sustain the heat waves
  • Indian markets have everything that is available outside India

Apr 8, 2011

Anda naalum vandhidatho?

April 13, 2011 - Tamil Nadu Assembly election to be held.  And each party is trying to make use of the Indian mentality - OSI; it is not an abbreviation of anything, it is a simple TAMIL(?) word, ஓசி.  And they are gifting Mixer grinder, grinder, refrigerator, laptop etc.  But mind you, my fellow country men,  They are not talking about the power cuts that will deter us from using these gadgets.  They are not talking about a free basic education that will enable everyone to use a laptop.  There are many important infrastructure issues such as laying roads, power and water scarcity, non-standardized education systems, education fee structures and more importantly corruption.  எலுமிச்சம்பழதிலேர்ந்து எலி பாஷாணம் வரைக்கும் ஊழலோ ஊழல்.  But who wants to talk about these?  The gathering at their public addressing applauds for their rubbish talks.  Sometimes I feel India is very much cursed  than Japan.  Why can't there be a tsunami to flush off all these politicians?  At least Chennai is a coast, I wish Delhi gets shifted near Chennai or any other coast as Vadivelu claims in a film so that it gets hit easily by a violent tsunami.  

I do not know the details of Anna Hazare and dont know where was he all these days.  Many many thanks to him and those who support him.  It was good of Aamir Khan to have written to the PM in this regard; I am yet to understand the Lokpal Bill that Hazare and his group of activists are fighting for.  But I have a long time dream on how the rulers of India should be.  Read on:
  1. Anyone who is contesting for elections should have had a minimum education of 15 years, in Indian terms  an undergraduate. 
  2. All those that contest should have served the country through Army/Navy/Air Force / Police / ICS or similar departments for a minimum of 3 years.
  3. EC has the authority to disqualify a contestant (may be already existing?)
  4. Only those that file IT returns every year and with clean records can contest
  5. Government will take care of the day-to-day expenses of the MLAs and MPs and the other rulers such as Governors and CMs but their salary will be on term basis and strictly on performance and feedback from the people of the constituency. No performance, no salary.
  6. Only one person from a group of kith and kin will be able to hold a ministry across central and state
  7. No person will be able to contest from his native place or from the area where majority of the people living in the area belong to the the same community as that of the contestant.(I am sorry but India can never ever get rid of caste system)
  8. No contestant should have ever been convicted in a court.
  9. No contestant should have ever been charged with crimes against women and children.
 I know it will only remain as a dream forever...

Apr 4, 2011

Three cheers to Dhoni's men

Well, the world cup fever is all gone!  Every Indian (I count only those that are cricket fans here) is so happy and proud not only for the team lifting the WC but also for making all the knock-out matches so thrilling and entertaining.  Thanks to the ICC group for keeping these matches day-night as I could only watch them after 10 pm IST.  

I had personally lost interest in following cricket soon after few of the Indian team members caught in match-fixing and also when the team's performance was really not up-to-the mark.  Dhoni was getting popular then with his batting and hair styles.  Remember seeing hoardings of his Mysore Sandal soap commercials  in the Central station when hubby and I boarded a train to Munnar.  If at all I liked 'that' kind of a hair style, it was only Dhoni's.  This time when I saw him on the TV, I was shocked to see that he had shed that extra hair and also his batting performance( He scored only singles in most of the matches). Does not matter, he proved that he is the MAN, he is the CAPTAIN on April 2nd, a date that the Indians will not forget for sometime from now.  

When it was 30 required from 30 balls my blood pressure was sure high as the credit history of our men's mental strength is very poor but when Yuvraj and Dhoni each sent the ball to the ropes, it was very evident that Dhoni's men were going to lift the WC.  I read all reviews - the one on the front page, many many on the sports column on the penultimate page of The Hindu and I missed to note one thing everywhere.  Every Indian  knew India will be the champions of 2011 around the 46th over but  what was so enthralling was the six that came from Dhoni on the last ball - I felt it was the best gift that the skipper gave to his men and the country.  I am sure the spectators at Wankhede would have witnessed the best hit of the day!

PS: Very happy that this post comes in April, the month I started my blog last year.  Sometimes I wonder "yaarume illatha kadayila tea aathareno" but Thanks to Major Sir, Krishna, Renga and others who encourage me to keep writing.  Please do continue to visit here and leave your comments :)

Mar 8, 2011


Friday 9:00 PM:
"You can come in to the Hospital now"  I hung up the phone and lit up the lights, did a namaskaram to the God, kept 1.25 rupees (dont know why, I was an obedient daughter then) to be dropped in the Thayumanavar temple and was ready to leave after pranams to in-laws.

10:00 PM
We reached the Hospital and entered via the emergency entry as it was well past 10 pm.  The staff nurse took us to LDR (labour and Delivery Room) 11.  We discussed if 11 was a lucky number :)).  A nurse who resembled yesteryear actor Sharmilee (not to be confused with baby shaamilee) set up the IV line for Pitocin, the induction medicine.  I thought of my mom and got the courage to face everything that was going to follow. The contractions and baby's heartbeat were monitored every 2 hours by the staff nurse.  By this time, MIL and hubby were snoring.  I was not able to sleep and was thinking of so many things.

Saturday 4 AM:
The nurse who was ready to go home wished me good luck and said "I will not be in tomorrow I hope you deliver before I come on Sunday."  My monitors started to show contractions.

11 AM:
Contractions were not closer to each other.  I went to the restroom and noted that my water started to leak.  I alarmed the nurse and was advised not to move then on.  And all this while I was only given ice cubes. Contractions started to get closer and sharper.  The Doctor who was supposed to supervise my case reported to duty and she visited and checked me and said I was not dilating more than 2 cm at that point.

4 PM:
4 cm dilation.  Dr performed membrane rupture around 5 pm.  The water gusted out.  She said she can wait until Sunday morning around 6 am to see if things happen naturally.

8 PM:
No more dilation.  Dr suggested to go for C-section.  By this time, MIL went home. I called up my eldest sister and asked her what to do.  She suggested to take the Dr's direction.  Hubby and I requested to wait for 1 more hour.  We waited for 10 long days, cant we wait for 1 more hour?

9 PM:
It was decided to go ahead with C-section.

"Do you want him to be born on 7th or 8th?  And we have to get him out before 2 AM as the clocks will get adjusted an hour forward."

"We want him on the 8th as it is already the 8th in India, and we definitely want him to be out by 2 AM"

11.45 PM:
I was ready to be taken to the OT.  Hubby was waiting for MIL to come to the hospital.  And there he was, with a mask on his face and a head cover.

Sunday 00:15 AM
"Is he out?"  I asked the anesthetist who was trying to suck (with a tube) the thing that I disgorged.  "No, not yet"

00:30 AM

Heard the softest cry of HIM.  He was BORN, we heard the second cry.  "He is a big boy"  the Dr exclaimed.  And I saw his image just over the curtain like sheet that covered my sight to the rest of my body. I turned my face to hubby and asked him "How is he?"  there was no strength but a lot of enthusiasm in that voice.

From that moment life has changed a lot, and is still changing and highly demanding. And he is TWO today.  H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y  dear!

Feb 16, 2011


My siblings and I plan and execute an identity theft & robbery.  All of my siblings escaped from the place and when I tried to flee, there was an autowala outside the gate.  I hear somebody's footsteps and give an SOS sort of SMS to my siblings and ...

I woke up from my dreadful dream.  Perhaps my brain is doing mix-n-match with "The Saint" movie that I watched last week and my upcoming Chennai visit and my meeting with my siblings.   

Everything is ready for the travel and Chinnu and I will be departing Pittsburgh tomorrow at noon.  I am really scared for the diaper-change part of the travel as he does not co-operate for this matter.

DH and I have been wanting to watch "Yuddham Sei" for a few days but could not do.  Lets see if we are able to watch it by tonight. If not, he is going to watch when I am not here :))

Feb 9, 2011

The journey of the soul (per Hinduism, per my understanding)

*** Thanks to my father and my siblings who keep enlightening me on subjects like these ***

I read a blog post and that had prompted me to write on this topic.

My mother passed away almost 2 years ago. The religious rites performed for the 13 days post her death brought in lots of discussions on the journey of a soul as per our religion.  There was a quick lecture on Garudapuranam highlights as well on the 13th day.   This is what I gathered -

When a soul leaves a human body(death in other words) it goes to the kingdom of Yama(the God of Dharma) to get a verification done (remember we heard stories of people reviving after being dead).  Once the verification is done, it gets back to the place where it was living and sobs as its dear-ones mourn over the death of the so-and-so person and it also feels bad to shed its body and to leave them. (elders say that this is the reason the cremation has to be done ASAP).  The religious rites are performed from the second day through the twelfth day and the 13th day being SUBHAM i.e. to count only the good things and move on with normal life.

Different people follow different cultural adaptations with respect to performing these last rites.  I am only giving what was being observed in my community.  On the 13th day, the soul leaves to Pithru loka (the world of ancestors) and it goes through various stages depending on its good/bad traits; Hindus call this as punyam/pavam. The family left behind observes monthly shrardha (shradhdha means sincerity, shrardha is the offering of pinda (a special meal) to the departed soul offered with utmost sincerity) apart from performing the same on the 27th day and 45th day (called oona-masika - I dont know the meaning though) The shrardha pinda is offered to Crows which are believed to be the form of pithrus or ancestors.  After the completion of 5th monthly shrardha and before the 6th monthly shrardha a cow with a calf is offered to somebody(generally to temples) and this is called Gho (cow) Dhana (offering).  My father explained to me that the soul on its journey in the pithru loka has to cross a river and this crossing is hindered by many factors.  The Gho Dhana process helps the soul get through this stage with ease.  Then continues the remaining monthly shrardhas and Aapdheeka, the first year's shrardha (on the day of the death in terms of lunar calendar) is performed.  Only after this the soul goes through the swargha/naraka (paradise/hell) phase and is either ready for rebirth or salvation or mukthi (easy to write here :-) ) For a soul to attain salvation it has to have a nil balance of both papa/punya (bad/good).  As long as there is a balance on one of these, rebirth is certain to undergo the repercussions of the good/bad.  The family performs annual shrardha as a routine.

Why does the family have to keep performing the shrardha and offer the pinda (to three previous generations) every year? And how does its effect reach the soul?  My gut feeling is that performing the shrardha is a form of thanksgiving.  The answer to the second question is through the pithru devathas who act as agents.  Sometimes we feel very happy for no particular cause - it may be because of the shrardha performed for our soul by someone (in the lineage of a previous birth).  Also, offering the pinda is only for the previous three generations; if A is performing shrardha for his dad, he also offers the pinda to A's grandfather and great grandfather (if both are dead).  When A dies, A's son will perform the shrardha and the offering will be made to A, A's father and A's grandfather.  May be by this time, A's great grandfather would have taken another birth or attained salvation.

Some people believe that the soul retains its memory when it is in the mother's womb but the memory is flushed out when it is born. While on the earth, the soul does not retain the memories of its kith and kin from one birth to another.  What a gift?  Else Karunanidhi will have to have the entire assembly seats for his bloodline and there will be perunidhi, sirunidhi and all sorts of nidhi's ruling the kollywood of course with English names for their production companies. 

The belief per Hinduism is that when a soul is relieved of the body before the stipulated time(age) it wanders without the body until the remaining time is elapsed. For some reason I do not believe in the existence of ghosts.  I too do not know why some people were able to recollect the memories from previous births (as reported by newspapers) - this may be because God wants us to develop a belief in all these!!!

Jan 27, 2011

இங்கிவனை யான் பெறவே...

You tube-ல்  ஒரு வீடியோ லிங்க் கிடைத்தது.  அதனுடய விளைவே இந்த போஸ்ட்.

"மாசானாம் மார்கசீர்ஷோ அஹம்"  (மாதங்களில் நான் மார்கழியாக இருக்கிறேன்) என்று கண்ணனாலும், "மாதங்களில் அவள் மார்கழி" என்று கண்ணதாசனாலும் பெருமை பெற்றது மார்கழி மாதம் (அவதார புருஷனுக்கு பிடிச்ச மாசத்தில தான் நான் பிறந்தது - என்ன கூட 'அவதாரம்' னு தான் சொல்லுவாங்கன்றது வேற விஷயம்).

அப்பாவின் அதிகாலை பூஜை, பார்த்தசாரதி கோவிலில் ஒலிபரப்பும்  MLV யின் திருப்பாவை, தெரு பெண்களின் கோல மீட்டிங் என்று காலை தொடங்கி மாலையில் கச்சேரி, பகல் பத்து / இராப்பத்து என்று அரை இறுதி விடுமுறை இன்பமாய் கழியும்.

தாத்பர்யம் என்ன என்பது தெரியவில்லை, ஆனால் பகல் பத்து என்பது வைகுண்ட ஏகாதசிக்கு முதல் பத்து நாட்கள் கொண்டாடப்படும், இராப்பத்து என்பது ஏகாதசிக்கு பிந்தைய பத்து நாட்கள் கொண்டாடப்படும்.  அதனால் எப்படியும் மார்கழியில் இந்த உற்சவம் வரும்.  பகல் பத்தில் பார்த்தசாரதி உற்சவர் திருவீதி (மாட வீதி ன்னு சொல்லுவாங்க) உலா வருவார்.  இராப்பத்தில் கோவிலுக்குள்ளேயே உலா வருவார்.   ஒரு ஒரு நாள் ஒரு ஒரு அலங்காரம் - நாளொரு மேனி பொழுதொரு வண்ணம்.  காண கண் கோடி வேண்டும்.     நாதஸ்வரக்காரர் டேப் ரிக்கார்டர் மாதிரி திரும்பத் திரும்ப 'எந்தரோ மஹானுபாவுலு', 'அலை பாயுதே', 'வெங்கடாசல நிலயம்', 'பாவமுலோன', 'சாமஜ வர கமனா', 'குறை ஒன்றும் இல்லை' தான் வாசிப்பார் - ஆனால் கேட்டுக்கொண்டே இருக்கலாம், அந்த சூழ்நிலை அப்படி.

உலாவின் இறுதியில் உற்சவர் நாட்டியம் ஆடியபடி மண்டபத்தில் சேவை தருவார். அவர் ஆடும்போது பின்னிசையாக வெஸ்டர்ண் ட்யூனில் நாதஸ்வரம் ஒலிக்கும். ('காடு திறந்தே கிடக்கின்றது' பாட்டில் வருமே ஒரு பிட்) அந்த அனுபவம் சொல்லி விளங்காதது.  அந்நியன் படத்தில் வருவது போல் நரம்பெல்லாம் முறுக்கி மூளையில் ஏதோ ஒன்று ஆகும் - விவரிக்க இயலாத ஓர் உணர்வு.  

மேற்படி நாட்டியம் முடிந்து மண்டபத்தில் எழுந்தருளிய பின் நாம் அந்த திவ்ய மூர்த்தியை மிக அருகில் சென்று தரிசிக்கலாம்.  அப்போது நாதஸ்வரம் 'குறை ஒன்றும் இல்லை' என்று நம் மனதில் இருப்பதை அப்படியே பறை சாற்றும்.

இதோ அந்த வீடியோ.  பச்சை கலரில் ஒரு கதவு பார்ப்பீர்கள் - அந்த வலப்புறக் கதவு பக்கத்தில் நின்றால் அருமையான வ்யூ கிடைக்கும். மறுபடி எப்போது அந்த பாக்கியம் கிட்டுமோ தெரியவில்லை.


Jan 23, 2011

The God of small things

Appa: A
Son: blink...
Appa: B
Son: C..Dhi
Appa: E
Appa: hmm
Appa: hmm
Son(in a finishing tone): Nunn... (i.e. ten)
Son: Yeeeeah........(with clapping hands)

why does a week have just one Sunday?

Jan 22, 2011

Wanna go to yesterday?

I am extremely poor in Geography and I regret for being so, too.  I got to know of this piece of information from a little extra googling after watching "Who wants to be a Millionaire?" show.  

Well, the fact is that at a closest space, US and Russia are only 2.5 miles apart.  We can imagine to go to tomorrow and get back to yesterday if there are no Cross-Border issues; how sweet!!

The distance between Little Diomede, an Island in Alaska, USA and the Big Diomede, an Island belonging to Russia is just 2.5 miles. The two islands are situated within the U.S.-Russian maritime border.  During winter, when the water body (Bering Strait) surrounding the area freezes, it is possible to walk between the two islands – from America to Russia and vice versa.  And we can juggle between today and tomorrow or today and yesterday