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 podanum...na 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 :))