Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Athiti Devo Bhava

Todays headlines have an ominous tale to tell, India has been declared as one of the 20 most dangerous places for tourists to visit. The tradition of India says Athiti Devo Bhava, which means, the guest is considered to be God. We have grown up believing this doctrine which ma had iterated again and again. As a child I considered the chief of the Thieves in the story of Alibaba to be really really villainous since his strategy was to vanquish the family of Alibaba by befriending them. He deserved to die, thats what I thought then, now, when I look at the pictures of the terrorists, mutilated and lying in a pool of blood, the rage is similar, they deserved to die too. The only difference in the story is that, In the Alibaba story, they were nabbed before they could attack, in todays story, hell has been let lose with the havoc they have wrecked on innocent public. Having targeted the posh hotels of Mumbai, they have instilled fear into the minds of the public about the Hospitality which we Indians are so proud of.As a mother of a growing teenager, my heart also goes out to the terrorists who in their impressionable age have been brain washed to believe that in destruction lies the joys of revenge. They may have been promised heaven on earth for their deeds. Now with nine of them dead, and one begging to die, the traditional Indian in me doesnt wish the live terrorist any harm. On the other hand I pray that he realizes his grave mistake, and lives with the guilt of his ill deeds, a conscience that will prick him for the rest of his life and rob him of his peace of mind. Let this be an eye opener to all impressionable youngsters that integrity of soul is the prime gift of God. A Margina in the present day may have averted a great deal of tragedy, but the likes of Margina exist only in fairy tales I guess.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

creative juices have taken a sabbatical

What else do I say, why this long silence? Too much has been happening and not happening with my life, at this age to be at cross roads is not very comfortable at all, every day seems to add on to complexities and unraveling them and moving ahead in life is a daunting task.
People's insensitivity hurts me the most. I have grown up with the lesson ingrained in me that treat others as you would like to be treated. have to the best of my knowledge incorporated this dictum in my dealings with one and all. It amazes me to see people so caught up with themselves that they have no time to realize the hurt they cause to the other by their selfishness. Generation gap seems to be the major problem with me, having a large number of young friends really doesn't help. I just have to be my mature self I guess to tide over this predicament.
With a mind thus disturbed, its not at all easy to be creative, so I thought to myself, let me pen down the reasons for my vexations, maybe that will help me to flush out the irritation, and start afresh. Writing is a passion with me, wouldnt like some stupid emotion to hamper it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Age is just a vague number

Age is not in the years we have walked the earth, it is in the mind, and I do believe in this adage. Have been a teacher for donkeys years so to say. and dont seem to have grown a single day since the day I began teaching. The youthfulness of the crowd I breathe with for the best part of the day I think never lets me grow old.The child in me never died ever. Just a while ago a good friend of mine commented on my previous blog, saying that I sounded like a kid opening a parcel that came to me all out of the blue, but thats exactly how I felt at that moment. An excited kid tearing up the stairs to get into my room to open the parcel.
My recent visit ti Chennai to meet my classmates at the 25th alumni meet, I realized how we only suppress the child in us, with all the worldly cares and responsibilities that life brings on us. We were like wild teenagers for that one day, no cares in the world.It made me sit up and and think that life is too short too waste away with tears and cares, let the child in me live till the day I die.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Assam silk saree

The arrival of the long awaited Assam silk, the typical dull gold Assam munga with gold thread work and a hint of red made my heart sing.It came last afternoon,a big white parcel, packed most meticulously, even unpacking it was a herculean task, or was it my excitement that made it so? i really dont know. It was beautiful in every possible way.
A little history on the purchase of this saree. I went on a sojourn to upper Assam last October. Even before I could begin on this trip, I had decided that I will not get tempted to make any purchases there. Keeping my promise to myself, i didnot visit a single saree shop during the six days that I spent there. We traveled extensively through Digboi, Shib sagor, Tezpur and Tinsukhia, passing by lush green tea gardens of Dibrugarh on the way. I was most facinated by visiting the ruins of the Ahom kingdoms, none of which were described in our Indian history books that I had devoured as a student since I was a great lover history anyway. The Jia Bhoreli river took my heart away, saw it from Bhalukpung and later moved towards the Eco Park and saw the river with high banks, more powerful. its amazing how the same river can look alluring and calm at one end and so much more virulent in another part. The Kaziranga trip was the most hilarious of the lot, we could only travel the outskirts of the sanctuary, but he kind of fun I had on the elephant back would require one entire blog to describe. Tezpur and its parks were fascinating. In short I came back with a love for Assam, its people and its rich history and culture that I had never ever felt earlier. On my way to the airport at Dibrugarh, I gingerly made a request to my companion if he could get me a traditional saree and post it to me back home. He did answer in the affirmative, but I was not sure if he really meant it. Back home, I got a shouting from my mom and good friends for not having invested in saree from there. I had almost lost all hopes of the saree when it finally came and thus this tremendous excitement.
This saree encompasses the 6 days of absolute delight that I had traversing the most beautiful parts of Assam. It carries within its folds a lot of fond memories that will always be a part of my life.

Monday, September 22, 2008

the frightening face of society

Am terribly disturbed, was on chat with a first year student and she narrated to me about how she was ragged by senior boys, who barged into her lab when the professor was away, inserted a pen drive into her comp, played a porn clip for her and asked her to comment on it. The entire exercise may have lasted 3 to 4 minutes but to her it seemed like hours. She sounded quite blaise when she said, "it was ok, managed somehow." She went on to tell me about her friend in IIT, who was asked to strip naked, and was given a handkerchief to cover any part of his body that he wanted to hide. The boy didnt take long to decide that what he needed to hide most was his face...I want to hide my face from the world on hearing of this too, the act of hiding his face is subject to psychological dissection. His face is his identity, he never wanted to identify what would make him stand out. It is a natural reaction to shame. We often see pics of convicts, being dragged by policemen who cover their face from public view. They are shamed to face the public because of their act. Here the scene is a little different. The ones who should really be ashamed of their act were in fact laughing with glee, and the poor boy who was subjected to humiliation was ashamed to face the public. His crime? That he studied hard to get into the most prestigious Institute in India and the world over, made his parents and well wishers proud. What makes the seniors, who are also from the intelligent populace, who had in their time, worked hard to join the same prestigious institute. get into this sadistic frame of mind. Cant believe that this mirror of society is actually the new citizens of the country, on whom the country banks to make the nation proud!


A visual news caught my eyes the other day, it was one of a mother, in her attempt to save her son from the tumbling rubble during the recent Chinese earthquake, wrapped herself around him, perishing under the onslaught.The bodies were recovered days after the incident, under tons of debris. The rigormortis of the body showed a little gap between her body and her child's, an attempt on her part to save her child till the last...
I remember my mother, would sit with me awake the entire night when I had an awful attack of allergic wound on my palm. I was so much in pain that I would sleep , if at all, only on her lap. She would have to sit to accommodate me and would do it most ungrudgingly. The next day would be another hectic day for her, the trails of the night forgotten. This is just one stray incident that I mentioned. I could tells millions of stories of her unflagging commitment towards motherhood.
Today, I am a mother of an adolescent son, and I see the same trait in me, fierce as a tiger when it comes standing for him, I can negate myself completely for his comfort. Thats the quality of a mother universally, be it a human being or an animal. Fathers too are biologically linked to their children, but do they also feel so strongly for their off springs? A recent news to hit notice was that of a father, who deserted his child and wife because the child was born with a hole in the heart. A mosque adopted the mother and child and with a little publicity, sponsors have poured in to help the hapless child...thanks to the timely help, the child will at least get adequate treatment.What we need to see is the mother, who stood by her child who she bore in her womb..what do we say about the father? I sound gender biased I am sure, but I have stated only facts!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Lunch Breaks and more!

Gosh Jolly!who would say u are a bengali after tasting your authentic sambar? "have some more" I would reply pompously, biting into her delicious alu wadi, so delightfully tasty.The ever meticulous Nishi would add dash of chat masala to her salad before setting it on the table for all to taste. Veni and Kalpana would open their lunch boxes to stir our tastes buds further to typical south Indian delecacies. I try to maintain a strict diet, but with sweets around on festive seasons as is now with Ganapati utsav, lunch break is guilt ridden for me with modaks, puran poli and the mouthwatering sweets, the temptations are too rampant to ignore!Love this little gathering we have during the lunch break, though all of have class at different times, we try to be together in the afternoon to grab a bite together and de stress ourselves. My recent visit to the WCC campus brought back live visions of my times there as a student. Niru, my best pal since college days, and I would often go on these no eating binges whenever we thought that our waist lines were increasing, and then we would sit at the clock tower for the entire hour talking only about food. It was a way of satiating our appetite I guess. And then we would have those total eating lunch breaks, with not a care in the world for increasing waist lines where he would gorge on all we could set eyes on. Lunch breaks at VJTI, where all english faculty would meet to correct university papers was another memorable event. It was like a veritable picnic with loads of food to binge on. Basanti would serve us kehwa in cups brought from home, mrs Rao's potato halwa with oodles of ghee and dry fruits, Rohini's Idli Sambar and mothewatering coconut chutney to go with, Usha's potato stew, Christy's crispy chicken and my mustard fish and bangla chumchum as grand finale...lunch breaks will always be cherished moments for the love and care packed in each morsel, the chats and the gossip flavouring every bite...I can already see Nishi adding salt and chat masala to the dahiwada she has brought today, I will have to run before its devoured by the hungry souls.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Happy Teachers Day!

Todays headlines have a lot of thought provoking lines on teachers,,,"Teaching: Is it a truly noble profession?" "Are teachers Happy?" " Teachers as Mentors","Teachers- make or break young lives". Have been in this profession for donkeys years now and wonder at all that is said of this profession. My experience has been most exhilarating, love being in the class where I forget the world around me. Have had the most unusual encounters with my students years after having been their teacher. One was such in Bangalore, ma and I were window shopping in the stalls at Safina Plaza, when we chanced upon a stall named Rinku's collections. Ma the forceful bong, saw the name having a strong Bengali flavour and dragged me towards it. It was an expensive stall displaying lovely ethnic Indian wear. One of the two girls dealing with the customers welcomed us warmly. We had jsut about begun moving around the various clothes when the other girl came up to me and asked me, " mam did u ever live in jamshedpur?" I smiled and nodded in the affirmative. She came forward and touched my feet."Mam, you were my English teacher in the X std. I am Rinku Sen, and you were always my idol." It was indded a memorable reunion. More recently, I was working in the admission cell of my college, giving the nervous candidates information about the college, when a slightly balding man, may be in his early 30's came up to me and said, "Good morning Jayanti Mam". I said good morning as I would to all others present, his face not ringing a bell, when he identified himself as Punit Jain, my student in 92'. We got talking, he had come for his fiancee's admission. The demure girl acknowledged me and whispered something into Punit's ear. Later Punit told me that she had mistaken me to be his batchmate! Not that we remain the same, but students grow up and become adults. We teachers remain eternally young in order to keep pace with the changing generations we handle.
In the last 22 years, I have more student friends than friends my age. At times the age gap is visible to me, most often not since I do think like them. Thats why I say, I will die a teacher...love my profession from the bottom of my heart.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

its three years since I lost my bro...

My brother who lives within me...I remember his birth, we were at Shantanu's(my childhood friend) place since ma was in the nursing home...baba called up in the wee hours of the morning to tell us that Ranu( my mother) has got a son! He was very clear on the fact that we could go to see the baby only in the evening after school. I was far to excited to attend class with full concentration that day. Before baba could return from office, I was dressed in my finest party frock, a pink lace dress that I guarded like a secret treasure. Baba laughed at my excitement and I was indignant, was it really any less than a party to go to see my new little bro?
He was the most beautiful baby ever, this I say even now. They say a mother finds her own child the most beautiful, when my son was born and I first set my eyes on him, the first thoughts that came to my mind was that he was not as beautiful as my brother. By the end of the evening, my pink lace dress was dripping wet, the baby had chosen to wet my lap all three times that I attempted to carry him! From then on, my biggest delight was to carry my baby brother. Ma had set a stringent rule, no carrying baby unless homework is done. It was hard to believe how this prankster of a girl needed no more motivation and at the end of the term, I stood II in class as opposed to the previous term when I had stood XVII!
Gopal(thats what we called my bro at home) and I grew up with a gaping seven year gap that seemed to widen each day. I was extremely bossy, hated the fact that he slept beside mom, disliked it even more that that I had lost all my importance at home and thus may have in some silly way even shown my favorite emotion- Jealousy. But funnily, when Gopal was im trouble, take for instance, he lost his Chemistry note book one day before submission, and while Gopal happily slept, I burnt the night oil and the note was ready to be submitted on time. His friends used to be petrified of me, for if they fought with Gopal or didnot allow him to bat, and I got wind of it, it would be their worst day...
He didn't attend my marriage, in all probability we may have had a fight just before the ceremony, that was the extent to which we could hate each other...I reached my maternal home on the last month of my pregnancy. Gopal would come back from office everyday with something that I liked to eat. From the day Pablo(my son) was born, Gopal's life kind of changed. He would come home straight from work and spend time with the baby and me. He named my son Abhimanue( with its quaint spelling), a name he had wanted to name his own son. He would tell me later, this is my son, see how proud he will make us...I will realize my dreams through him, he would say again and again.
Gopal came to stay with us when we first came to Mumbai,and I didnot like it much. He was an even more difficult person to handle now and often we would have major quarrels. He went on to live in Mumbai till 2001, when he decided to to take up a job offer in Bangalore. Our visits to Bangalore during his stay there were memorable. On one occasion he took us to Mysore and how we enjoyed ourselves!Our fights were a constant source of delight to my son who always took sides with his mama to irritate me. Gopal decided to move back to mumbai in 2003 with a plush job in LOWE Lintas.he worked in Mumbai only for a year and a half, before cruel fate took him away from us. The last leg of his time with us,we were more close than ever, he would look up to me always, his eyes would say "I am safe when Jolly is around". I was on an assignment to Jordan when the floods happened In Mumbai. Gopal was caught up in the rains. Later he described to me how much he enjoyed holding hands with total strangers and walking home through neck deep waters sometimes. He told me about boys swimming up to them and stuffing wada pav into their mouths since they were all holding hands. This he found to be very endearing. He didnt last too long after the floods. He contracted meningitis. and all of a sudden he was no more. Today it is 3 years since I lost my bro...his childhood pictures flood my mind and tears blur my eyes as I share this blog with u...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A postscript to' Friends Indeed'

Guilt at having forgotten two superb friends wouldnt let me rest in peace and so this postscript. Mythili, my friend of 30 odd years. We met at the school where I had just begun my teaching career.She came in to do her B.Ed practice, I was assigned the task to judge her performance. We built an instant rapport,though older to me by 7 years, she neither looked old nor behaved old. Today she is in London, my mentor and guide in all my teaching assignments,when we do meet up its like as if time has stood still. Very protective and caring, would never be able to find a friend like her.
Turni, am imp of a girl, put her into a uniform, she could still pass off as a school going kid is one friend I made on the train whom I hold very close to my heart. Have been pillars of support to each other every time there was the need, She is one girl I can talk to for hours and not get bored. My list of friends is still incomplete, have not written about loads of people who have left their imprint on my life...even though not mentioned, their memories I hold very close to my heart.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Friends indeed!

I woke up to the ring of the message tone of my cell phone...it was not even 4 in the morning and here was Elizabeth, with her lovely message of what Friendship is all about. I smiled sleepily at the thought of my dear Elizabeth,the most loving any friend can ever be. Its sad that inspite of my best efforts, I could never match her fervour for keeping our relationship alive. We had met long ago at VJTI,we were correcting university papers together,she chemistry and me english, but the chemistry between us was volatile. We hit off as great buddies and what it is today is difficult to describe. She has a kind of sixth sense telling her when J needs her and there she is with her concern and care that would be so hard to replicate. Can go on and on writing about her, but I will have to stop and tell u about some other friends who have made a marked difference to my life.
Niru, my dear dear friend from college days, dont think I ever gelled with anyone as I did with her. We started of on a wrong footing,she didnt like people telling her that the two of us resembled,she thought she was a lot prettier( which even I thought she was, and secretly loved being compared with her). Our friendship has lasted years and years inspite of her settling in France. My dream come true was when I visited her in France. In many ways she has been my mentor, she has groomed me to the style that I always shied away from. She would buy clothes for me that I would baulk to wear, but also taught me to feel poised in the very same clothes. Today I get a lot compliments on the way I carry myself...thanks Niru...
Keya, my friend from childhood,I kind of grew up in her shadow, pretty as a picture, when keya was around, boys had no time for us. We were in different schools but met at the community centre and loved each others company,,,they got transfered and moved to Kolkata, I had lost touch with her and got back with her only a year ago after a gap of almost 25 years, and got back how? as if the 25 years didnt exist at all!
Babua, the hero, knew he had a crush on me all along, but did pretty little to precipitate matters,he left for the US, we would get to hear of him on and off, an ideal son who holds his family together at all times, got in touch with 2 years ago, yet to meet and regale old tales, loved him always ina a quaint sort of way...
Tuntuni, my idol since my baby years, she was everything I could never be, feminine, petite. shy, soft spoken, uff...she still has it all! love her a lot. Had a reunion of sorts with her in Delhi this years and it was oh so wonderful...
Preetha, the lovely lass whom I encountered at Vidyalankar. A demure girl, she has evolved over the years, and is a thorough delight to spend time with. A girl with unusual thoughts and lot of latent talent is my very good friend to date. Amit from the same office was another good friend I made then, who is still one of my best friends and is truly concerned for me. The way he has matured over the years is amazing to believe.
The most amazing friend I made was Popai, we had this instant chemistry, biology and physics all together, we almost fell in love, but the relationship didnt go beyond a few loving letters to one another till we lost touch competely and got in touch once again a couple of yaers ago. Much water has flown under the bridge since then, the chemistry has washed down a lot, but I think we still care for each other a lot in an indescribable way...
Shivraj, my boss at THC, but more friend than a boss. We had so much fun together during my tenure with the office, and till today he remembers to call on me everytime he needs to word a letter or mail! The bonus of meeting him is that u get to eat the best food in town, a thorough foodie, loves to throw impromptu parties and i love him all the more for it.
very recently I got a lil net savvy, and have been making a lot of friends on the net. Atul was my first net friend in the real sense, a delightful conversationalist with abundant humor and wisdom in equal proportions, and above all a great father to his little son Nanha. He has been my mentor at good parenting and often gives me very valuable tips on management studies that I really really need...
Orkut gave me lovely friends, Pratim whom I lost just three days after we got to know each other, and through him a host of lovely friends, Poo who is a delightful girl and truly cares for me, we have super chats on the gtalk, met up with her briefly in Delhi through sheer coincidence and though the meeting was brief, it has left me with a lot of memories. Shyamolima, the tall, beautiful very introverted girl, whom I met up with again on my trip to Delhi. When she came into the Kali bari guest house to meet me, it wasnt like we were meeting each other for the first time, it was like we knew each other for ages!I wish her the very best in her life's endevours.DJ, my closest pal on the net, he has the capacity to hurt me the most because my expectations from him far excede what he is actually capable of. So we have these mad fights and cold wars, and then get back to each other like house on fire.
Have made a lot of other friends on the net worth treasuring, Devil, Mithun, Megh, Raj and a host of others whom I look forward to meeting someday. (Devil, I have met already at Delhi, but I guess we need to know each other a lot more). Parasmoni, whom I met through our blogspot is another facinating character, writes the most touching poems in a very contemporary style and appears really bindaas and carefree on chats, still to figure out the real Paras.
In the process of recalling friends, I may have missed out on some friends who have made a mark somewhere in my life, not that I love them less, but that I cant go on and on and on. This blog I began writing as a tribute to friendship on Friendship Day!With the burden of enormous assignments, both professional and personal, it had taken a back seat.Now in Chennai, in a relaxed atmosphere I hope to have done justice to people who came in to my life, and life was never the same...

Friday, July 25, 2008

shifting relationships

I quickly hide the toy car I had bought from Jordon when I heard Gablu's signature knock on my front door. It was an ordinary little black and white car, the doors would open to expose plush red seats and a beautiful steering wheel. what I most liked about it was it had no fancy mechanism to move, it would make no sound at all and all it needed was a little push and it would move most elegantly forward, and stop with similar elegance. It was Gablu's favourite too, he would want it almost instantly that he came into my living room. not that I did not like giving it to him, I was only worried that in his enthusiasm, he would damage the little toy, I had fond memories associated with almost everything that I got back from Jordan.
Gablu looked at the empty space on the shelf, " you have hidden my car?" he asked with absolute indignation. The present day children are too quick at presumptions. I was foxed for a plausible answer. "Its gone for repair" I told him. He looked at me with disbelief and I was mortified. Not very good at lying, I was most ashamed that I was not even able to convince a child! I humoured him with other toys, but could make out that he yearned for the car. In the evening, I went to his flat with the car. Gablu's delight knew no bounds. He almost grabbed it from my hands and began to play with it, making loud noise with his mouth imitating the fast movement of a racing car. Two days in a row he played with his object of desire. On the third day, when I took the car to his house, his enthusiasm was flagging. He did take it and play with it for a while, but not with the same vigour as before. The fourth day was the same...by the end of the week he barely cast the poor toy a cursory glance. He by now had a new car at hand, my Jordanian car looked any day better than his new one, but he was satiated. He wanted it no more.
A lesson for life, we do it all the time with relationships we make in life, the newness of it may take time to wear out, some cases it may take some years, in some, a few months, a few weeks or even few days! The interest I think lasts for as long as one longs for the person. Once the longing is done, we move on in life, new pastures, new friends , new relationships..
Dont know really if my little Jordanian car nursed a bruised ego as much as a human being would have had under similar circumstances...human hearts hurt very easily, they are fragile, the crack remains long after the pain has numbed.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Russet Dawn

Every morning brings in fresh hopes, renewed vigor and a blissful state of negating all bitterness, I prefer to get rid of memories that may have left a bad taste in my mind.
And so I woke up this morning, oblivious to the tears of the previous night. What did I cry about? Oh Boy! Its a long story, but to put it in a nutshell, it is the sorrow of being ignored, being side lined, you know what I mean...
Long ago Lord Tennyson had written- the old order giveth place to the new-loved the lines then, today the practicality of the lines ring a harsh tone.
I always found a strange oneness with the rust colored leaves that cover the ground in autumn. The leaves that were once green and supple to touch, their sprightly dance with the movement of the wind, the intricate pattern of veins that added to the richness of their appearance. Today they lie in a heap on the ground, a jaded orange colour, brittle to touch...I watch a young girl pick up the heap into her gunny bag, probably taking it home to make her hearth burn brighter. Maybe she would add the leaves to her oven over which she would lovingly make fresh bread for her husband...
I smile at the thought that the old too have their use, they too serve a purpose in life...
I look once again at the small wet spot on my pillow. Involuntarily I cover the patch with my palm.Tears? Naah! No tears for me, let me put myself to use to the ones to whose life I do make a difference, my students. With them I am a young girl again, the old rusty leaves of autumn will have to wait, its still spring time!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Rain rain dont go away...

The pitter patter outside my window is like a monotone that every Mumbaite begins to get used to in this season. This year the rains came much before time, the torrents came pouring even before we could gear up to this onslaught.
I love the rains here, there is an amazing tinge of romance in the air, I remember the times I was not working, and would look forward to G's shift changes in work schedule, that would allow the two of us to hit the roads, on our bullet, with the blast of the rain on our faces. Poor Pablo could never enjoy these outings, for one he was too small and could fall ill, and secondly, this was one time when I really felt three was crowd, much to G's relief. He was sick of the fact that Pablo always came as a package deal with me, he could never get me alone ever since the birth of Pablo.
The rains came and took away my dear bro one year, on the day of his shraddh, it rained like there was a hole in the sky, it was poetic justice, tears streamed down my face with the same force as the rains lashed everything outside. Stangely, I hold no grouse with the rains that took away my bro, it was meant to be that way, we had to live with out him, and we are, living...
Today, I walked down through pouring rain from the bus stand to my home on my way back from college. My umbrella gave way and I thanked it for its consideration. I wanted to soak in the rain today, and the umbrella was crowd today. I walked down slowly, often turning my face towards the sky to feel the sharp pin pricks of rain water on my face. Curious onlookers slowed down their vehicles to give me a lift home, I ignored all royally. Funnily, I didnot miss G and his bike rides, the walk in the rain was more tangible, more real than the bike rides. Sorry G, I think u are a part of my distant past. We live, we grow, we adjust...and we move on...love the rains always.
I type this as I drink a cup of hot chocolate, my hair wet, falling on my shoulders and making little wet spots on myTee, my skin scrubbed and looking baby soft...love u rain, will always do so.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

strange friendship...

Talking of unusual friendships, the latest one is really really unusual. It has been my constant companion for almost a month now, every time I step out of my home. I don't know how it would find me out, but no sooner had I taken a couple of steps outside my home and there it would be, its long hairy ears flying in the breeze, a slow trot to keep pace with my not so fast gait. Yes, I am talking about this stray puppy that has taken fancy to me. Like a persistent lover it would follow me on my morning walks and even growl at people who even so much as gave me an appreciative glance! I only had to stop to look at him (now I prefer to call it a he for obvious reasons, have not been able to identify its sex yet!), and such pretense! It would look away as if it did not know me at all, so much so, even chase an imaginary fly! Three days in a row it followed me and I knew I had a friend for life.
Its been over a month now, we share an unusual rapport, we maintain a distance yet the closeness is palpable...the day before, I missed him for the first time, I looked for him all over to find him nowhere. today too he was missing....I really really hope we do meet tomorrow, and God, when we do meet tomorrow, do give me the courage to pat him even lightly on his furry head just to tell him that I am fond of him too? God let me meet him tomorrow please!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Life moves on...

Pratim's birthday yesterday brought in fresh thoughts of grief...his untimely death was major blow to my emotions,a vibrant enegetic life brought to a standstill by this omnious unchanging reality of life. I recall my friendship with him on the net that lasted precisely 3 days. A very interesting conversationalist, I looked forward to chatting with him. I was new to my job those days, didnt really know if we were allowed to go into chat channels during working hours and so restricted myself to small chats. It was a friday when I last scraped to him and was looking forward to a weekend masti which alas never came! By monday my worst fears were comfirmed, Pratim was no more...the frantic search for and his whereabouts landed me with new friends, new relationships, heartbreaks, fun...in short a new bag of emotions. It is really amazing how life really is our greatest teacher.
More recently, I lost a dear student, just graduated from our portals and new into his job, when life held only promises for him, his death on the railtracks was a gruesome reminder of the promiscuousness of life, that plays games with us at all times. I regret that on our last meeting during the convocation, Roshan, the student in discussion, was very keen to click a pic with me. I am most enthusiastic about pics, dont know why, get a childlike glee in posing for photos, but on that particular day, I had no time at all, loads of work, and so had to decline Roshan's offer for another time...time that will never come again. His smiling face surfaces on my minds eye ever so many times...Life can be really cruel.
This year has been one of emotional upheavals, coping with them is a herculean task. My sound professional life is the only thing that holds me together when both family and friends whom I have depended on have let me down. Everytime I dress up to go to work, I think to myself. life just goes on, I smile at my reflection in the mirror which looks like a stranger to me sometimes because of the incongruity of the emotions and the image it portrays, and move on...on this path called life.

Friday, April 25, 2008

just a passing thought...

just a passing thought....we must bite only as much as we can chew, and this holds true for relationships as well. Have never really made conscious efforts at making friends, and this makes me more conscious about keeping friendships alive. I make friends to hold them close for the rest of my life. May be I am so many generations removed, and so can barely understand how relationships change with the passage of time. Orkut has taught me a lot...am still learning how to cope with changing emotions, its really amazing how close we get to people whom we have never met...and how hurt we can be be when they fade away from our lives...amazing paradox the nearness and th distance, so virtual and yet so real!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Everything Happens for the Best!!!!!

Everything happens for the best and we love to believe that...just yesterday a good ,God-fearing, devout friend of mine was telling me how I should hold on and all will be well. I nodded without thinking...in retrospect, do we rally have a choice? Life has shown me a lot, and though my mind is turbulent just now, I know how to make peace with this inner turmoil, I know that we mortals have no other alternative but to hold on and hope...long ago, I lost a job because of a transfer that I couldnot take, it was a vindictive method my employer administered to get me out and ease another candidate in...my bro was livid, he reminde me of what he read in a book titled 'When Bad Things Happen to Good People'( my bro after all found me to be a very good soul.. hee hee,.. miss u Gopal), and how each one gets paid according to their deeds. My ex employers are prosperous and I am still a struggling in another private institute, and yet I console myself that whatever happened, happened for the best. I recall the tears and the anguish of later episodes more personal than professional, I am waiting for justice and still consoling myself with the age old adage...have very little else to console myself with...ha ha!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sounds of Silence

The class broke into a loud guffaw when I gave them the example of a classic postive meaning to be derived from a girl's silence when the boy first proposes to her. The boy could take it as a positive reply where the girl is either too shy to comply, or wants some more time before she comes to a concrete reply. It was a class on 'body language' and I had to tell them all the different kind of perceptions one can derive from silence depending on the situation.
How often I have pondered on the silence of close friends of mine, my anxiety colouring my perceptions, coming to hasty conclusions that suits my temperament! My fervent request here to all my friends who resort to silence as their best maens of communication in times of crisis- please say something to undo the mystery of the silence which can be un nerving for the reciever. More than anything, silence is hurtful. We have read the idiom 'Silence is Golden' and know its value too, but what we fail to understand is silence is intriguing, it lend itself to myriad conjectures based on the recievers perceptions, it could haunt the reciever endlessly, causing much anguish...its so easy to tell my class the different ways in which we can interpret silence, in practice I am a total failure to understand the subtle sounds of silence.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

5.41 CST fast

Watching the net work of the local railway lines from the masjid bridge gives u the feel, yes it really is the life line of Mumbai. The trains look bulged out, as is the people on board the train are hanging on to their dear lives and have in the process managed to pull the ceiling of the train down, there are people hanging from all the doorways and believe it or not, there are people atop the trains, bending their head down every now and then to avoid the overhead electical connections, I was a regular commuter of this so called life line for years, it was like my second home, made some friends there with whom I have bonded better than my colleagues and must admit, am closer with them than my own siblings...we spoke about everything under the sun with no qualms whatsoever, the bonding I think came from lack of professional jealousy...many a times I would shell peas for my friend who had to go home and rush into the kitchen, her inlaws wanted to have food made by her only, not the ones made by the cook...or help another friend to knit the sweater she was making for her neighbours kid...we were like one big family and now when I sometimes make a trip just to be with them since I am not a regular commuter anymore, the welcome I get is to be seen to be believed...
These so called life lines are sometimes also veritable death traps. I have often has the misfortune of seeing badly mutilated dead bodies lying under the overhead bridge on strechers, waiting to be taken to the morgue, the thin cloth that covered them leaving little to the imagination of the onlooker as to the ghastly sight of his wounds...one incident was really tragic, I saw this man hanging at the door way, jumping down everytime the train halted at a station and then running back into the moving train at the nick of time, his luck however ran out, his limp lifeless body got down with me at GTB nagar, 4 men carried him on a strecher to the Sion hospital. his left leg dangling at a queer angle form the shin where it had broken.
My personal experience of near brush with death have been many, but the one that put a chill into me was when I was thrown out of the train along with a group of young college going girls, I was lucky to have had external injuries only, my two other companions were not so lucky, one fell into the track, between the train and the platform, and the other had a serious head injury, both did not survive the fall...
the announcement floated across...5.41, CST fast is soon to arrive on pltform number 7, I moved towards the door of the ladies first class, getting ready to jump into the running train...need to reach home fast, Pablo is waiting for me....do we really learn from our experiences???

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

lost and never found....

It happenend yet again! A quick peek into my orkut profile is the most that I can manage between classes, and today yet again it said, acccess denied. My password had once again been hacked. My son is the one I turn to for tech help, but this time even he was helpless, google had disabled my account for what ever reasons...it was like a death of sorts, ever since I lost my only bro during the mumbai floods in 2005, I tend to associate most losses with death, need to really work on this, kind of getting obsessed with death...not good...All attempts to open the account failed. It was tragic seeing my smiling profile pic through Pablo's account and thats about it, couldnot open the profile atall...The immediate action was to open another account and send friend requests to all my friends to become my friend all over again which they all did most willingly. I even went to the extent of requesting them to send me the testimonials they had written to me earlier, which came back too. One person I lost on my friend list and that is Pratim, a friend I had made on Orkut and lost most abruptly with his sudden death...another reason to intensify my obsession with death. I have spent many vacant moments going over the scraps I exchanged with him , reading and re-reading his profile, his blogspot...I did send him a friend request too knowing fully well he is not around to accept it. Pratim is a major loss on my friend list, I miss him...I miss reading random scraps that tell me how new friendships evolved and matured...how it culminated into good friendship that I will hope lasts and lasts and lasts...I read through the tetimonials sent again...some sound incongruous, out of context, lost in a time frame that belonged to the past...its sad but true, we cant turn the clock again, much as we may want to...

Monday, March 3, 2008

The sea it seems was depressed...

I woke up to a gloomy morning witht the sound of incessant rain. All my plans of a great sunday came to a halt as I opened the window to see the road in fron tof my house flooded. Misty, the neighbourhood cat sat huddled at my window sill soaked to the skin, little droplets of water dripping over her eyes as she tried to look at me. I gave her a saucer full of warm milk which she lapped up in a jiffy, giving a soft pur of satisfaction. Cats are not my favourites, but Misty is an exception.
The sea it seems was depressed...and so this fury of natural calamity. By evening, the rains had stopped, the special quality of Chennai was that the aftermath of rains could never be seen once the sun came out. The roads were almost dry, and to salvage the last bit of a much earned holiday, I walked down towards the seaside which was just a 5 minutes walk from my home. The sea was placid, a cool prussian blue with the white froth appearing like lace trimmings. The seaside wore a thinly populated look, not too many people had ventured out of home after the flooding in the morning. I walked into the water, letting the waves gently lap against my feet...it seemed to be telling me, I am in control, will you be my friend?
Often I get very angry and depressed and unleash my anger on my near and dear ones who I know I can take for granted. The sea too I thinks takes us for granted, and just as no one can delve into my heart and find out the real reason of my sorrow(we have to admit here that most people think selfishly from their own perspective), we too cannot understand what caused the sea to get so depressed.....I really wish I knew so that in some way I reduce its hurt. I imagine it to be the sensitive kind gets hurt easily, but is quick to forgive and extend a friendly gesture...I smiled at the waves and bent down to touch the water with my fingers, smiling indulgently as I did so,,,I see a close resemblance between me and the sea, wouldnot want it to get depressed again...

Friday, February 29, 2008


My blog on small beautiful things would be incomplete without a mention of the small beautiful angel who took away my heart when I was on a longish teaching assignment in Jordan, away from my family for the first time. Cucu, the little one in discussion, was my managers daughter, a little moppet, 2 years and 6 months old. I recall vivdly my first meeting with her, it was early in the morning,Cucu was disturbed out of bed with the commotion of my arrival, she stood at the door holding her mother's hand, her face, a cute little question mark. She had ample reasons to dislike me, I was to occupy her room, later Jaya, her mother told me she had to be cajouled into giving me the room that housed all her precious toys. I was intruding into the privacy of the little girls territory which she closely guarded.
It didnot take me more than a day to break ice with her, and within the next few days we were thick as thieves. From then on, life with Cucu was a series of memorable events that I hold very close to my heart. She would come with me to the office for the day with the maid, and during my class hours would get all restless constantly asking "when Jayanti free?". Once she heard the students at the corridor she would know her time of waiting was over, her peculiar endearmeant would be to hold my face within her palms, bring her face very close to mine and say softly"jayanti had a little lamb"... The expression on her face when she needed support when her parents scolded her is etched in my heart...soulfully she would look at me, wondering why I was not picking her up and taking her to my room!
My return to India was going to pain her, and what was amazing was that she could sense it and became more and more possessive about me, even when I went into the washroom she would hover around waiting for me to come out. I left her stealthily, like a thief, in the middle of the night when she was fast asleep, dreading to even think of how much I would miss her.
Often I sit and wonder, and feel like Tagore's Cabuliwala, who still imagines her to be the little moppet, not realizing that years have rolled by and she is no more the little girl I left behind who sang, "jayanti had a little lamb....".

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Beautiful things come in small Packages!!!

"Jolly!!!". he shouthed from outside my closed door. Had it not been for his childlike voice which quite gave him away, I would have mistaken him to be my grandfather, hollering at me for being late to attend to the door. And then like a Lord he strode in, full 2 feet and 4 inches, walked up to the sofa and settled down with the remore, he needed to watch hs fav channel you see!
Thats Gablu for you, months away from his third birthday, the lord of all he surveys...his size immaterial. Running into my house even as I open the door when I get back from work is his birthright. Today he was delayed and missed his usual entry, and that was precisely the reason for his indignant holler...
I got busy with my usual chores and for a moment had forgotten all about Gablu, who, when I left him, was intently enjoying the Tom and Jerry show. I turned round to find him right behind me, watching me as I grated the coconut..."Dong"...he said...now 'dong' was the alarm bell to indicate that Gablu was cool no more! " What's it baby?" I asked....Gablu took time to swallow his anger and then answer me...'when someone comes home....". he dragged his words, with short little snorts, all body language telling me how angry he was, "you have to give them something to eat!" I couldnt hold back my giggles as I dished him his favourite chips, at the big lesson that I learnt from my little master today!!!