Monthly Archives: September 2006

Navaratri….

I have kept “Golu” at my place. It is the way south India celebrates Navaratri. The day before the festival starts, we scrub our silvers, bring down our dolls from the attic, dust them, paint the sad ones, put up steps using heavy wooden planks and steel rafter like things. We then adorn it with coloured papers, old silk sarees. We arrange our dolls..there are a few common dolls all houses have. Ganesh, lakshmi, saraswathi, Rama, sita, laksmana, Dasaavatharam, A shiv lingam, etc. An odd number of steps are required with 3 being the minimum. So I have three here with a random assortment of whtever I was able to salvage. It is looks simplistic and very rustic, but by doing it I receive a warm feeling in my middle. It gives me comfort by reminding me of home and keeps me connected to my roots.

“Golu” was a mega event in the house. A week before, my Grandmother would wake up from her slumber and quicly order eveything and everyone to remove the dolls, set up the collosal looking 13 steps and a smaller 3 step version to host her ganesh collection. She would then proceed to scrubbing, cleaning and polishing the silver. Then the dolls would come down in a cloud of dust and wrapping paper bits. We would ooh and ahh at the real old dolls that she kept safetly handed down through generations. Then we would scramble to see who could climb the rickety stool to place the first ganesh on top. The real highlight of the event would be setting up the something special at the bootom. It could be a mini version of a park. every house we went to usually had a cricket field with cricketers. To move away from the pack we would bring pot ful of mud into the house, set up a small city full with people cars, temple, etc.. Then dress up and sit pretty till the first guest start arriving. The best part of the function usually came in the evening when we went to other people’s houses to invite them and visit their settings. We would manage about 8-10 houses then rush back home with the loot. it was a cupful of ‘sundal’ usually made with the various pulses in the house. soak the chick peas or pulses, boil them, throw them together in a pan with mustard seeds, green chilli, salt, hing and cocnut and you have the most delicious snack. But then the fun was seeing whose was better. We would arrange the ten bowls in a row and take a bit from each. It was amazing to see how people oculd mess up things as simple as thta. Either the sundal wouldn’t be boiled or it owuld be too boiled, or spicy or without salt. The one with the best sundal would get a visit from another person in the house. We had no problem going and asking htme for more. And that’s how the nine days would pass..ending with saraswthi puja and ayutha puja. It used to be fun with half a dozen cousins and all aunts and uncles. But then this is not about sighing for those days. This is about remembering them and maybe making my own traditions and taking pleasure in the abundance of memories it gave me..memories to last nine life times

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Have some Change..

The dining room is the favourite part of my house. It faces the South and there is a nice warm Sunshine throughout the day. There are lots of plants inside the house sitting by the window, happily chattering and discussing the latest gossip..it goes something like this-“Mr. Mony, mr mony..squeaks Jasmine, Did you see Red robin today. Oh she looks all ruddy because of the cold. Wonder if she is flying to her beach house this winter. Oh Jasmine, no flutters Mony. Mr. Robin has very little vacation this winter. He has to tweak some branches here and there. There is a big project delivery this season. He is building that new nest for Sissy Sparrow. Oh!! exclaims Jasmine. Bamboo sways in, her long gleaming green robe dancing and her long limbs getting in her way. I am suggesting the interiors for the nest. They need a zen atmosphere you know. I have even asked to move the nest to another branch so they might experience the full effect of Yin and Yang from the Powerful rays of the Sun and the stream running past. Oh..oh there goes slinky squirrel. he has got that nut that runny rabbit buried. Oh.. look at him run Chuckled curly cactus. Wonder where Runny went. didn’t see him on his morning walk.”

So amidst this on going chatter, I see signs of a new season gently shaking in its arrival. No birds sing in this season, nor do flowers bloom. But the happy leaves ignored the rest of the year burst into a riot of colours. They change from the envious green, envious of all the attention that the flowers and fruits get, to a proud red, a sunny yellow and a medley of purples and oranges. They look so pretty that you are tempted to touch the leaves and wish those colours stick to you. You want to sit there and dream on as the leaves gently float to the ground. You see them gently fliting to the left, floating the right and glide into its peaceful existence on the floor of the woods. They lie there giving a small home to a shivering worm or a desperate bug. they comfort the creatures till the season changes again. It is calming to see the seasons change, calming to know that it is not just you or the people around you, but even nature endorses change. Thinking about it, I am easily adaptable to change too. It is kind of fun to know that there might be a new me in terms of thoughts say five years from now. It doesn’t mean that I like change everywhere. There has to be a constant somewhere in life. It makes change more acceptable knowing that one person or many people will actually share the same bond with you and actually grow and change with you. But looking forward to a new day where there might be a new you in some way is what makes life worth living.


Finally…

Oh God!! There is a reason why I feel computers are like women..Their thought process is at a whole different range. They are so secretive, you feel like shaking the secrets out of them. They need so many accesories and other crap to look nice and perform well. Perfomance depnds on mood. They remember htings done long ago. They alwasy are threatning to fall sick and make your life miserable. No ordinary medicines work for them. They are always in need of upgrades. Access depends on your ability to say the right things and punch in the right words. And even when you give them everything you have, there is always something you didn’t do or turn on and that’s it you are a done deal. Like some stupid websites that didn’t allow me access. I begged, I pleaded and as embarrasing as it is to plead to a woman, I had to . She was driving me insane… Flowers, sweets, words, rants…Geez. I finally found a way around. hehehe sneaky eh!! There is a reason why the equipment around the house the house that bears the most of a man’s destructive anger is a computer.


You and I

Remember the long ago when we lay together
In a pain of tenderness and counted
our dreams: long summer afternoons
when the whistling thrush released
A deep sweet secret on the trembling air;Blackbird on the wing, bird of the forest shadows
Black rose in the long ago summer,
This was your song:
It isn’t time that’s passing by,
Is is you and I.
Ruskin Bond

M from Random thoughts revived the memory of this poem in me. And as much as I would love to talk and talk about time, changes and roads, some memories become richer in the privacy of one’s own mind.


The Laurentis Syndrome!!

Ahhhh!!! I have been afflicted with the “Laurentis Syndrome”. It is not curable unless I have some freak accident and forget anything that happened to me before now. But fear not it is but an illness of the mind and not of the physical self. It happens when you watch too much of a particular show on Food network. In most cases it is usually the 30 minute thingy with so-sunny-it-gives-me-a-glare Rachel Ray. In my case, it is from this show called “Everyday Italian”. The host is this person called Giada de laurentis.

I am not sure when I started doing this, but I did some day. My dear “Guinea Pig” came into the battle ground one day with a wierd look on his face and asked me who I was talking to. To my horror I realised “Myself!!!”. I made an effort and actually caught myself doing it again snd again and again until it became so normal that when I don’t talk it probabaly forebodes a spicy dinner from a spicy lady. This is what I do. I start out by tying my apron and describing my dinner to myself. “We are going to have some real tasty basmati rice with roasted onions a little something we call pulao and garbanzo beans with a rich, delicately spiced tomato gravy”. And then I describe how I roast the rice in a dab of buttter so that the nuttiness in the rice comes out and how I spice it with a turn of the ol’ pepper mill. The onions are roasted to a deep golden brown and added to the rice. I then put a spoon in my mouth all the while thinkin to myself ” Mmm..roasting the rice really brings out its delicate aroma and that nutty taste in the rice. I then make my chole, describing how the tomatoes should be nice and ripe and the whole nine yards. I am still describing each and every ingredient and its respective aroma, and flavour. I mean I never knew corinader leaves had an earthy taste or curry leaves had a wee bit of spice in their taste. Or the fact that Shrikand was so creamy it just slides down your throat and the dal in the sabhar gave some texture to it and made it more thick and brought together the spices in it. Geez, who would have thought cooking was so mentally exhausting. Honestly though, I am actually enjoying the whole describe as you go cooking thing I have been doing. I have started taking my time and appreciating each ingredient that goes in and what it does to the food and I have even strted to taste the medley of flavours that each ingredient adds to the food. I know the whole talking thing makes me look like a looney, but hey I’ve never denied the fact that I am one.

Ok Got to go, My take is coming up..hehe


Making Memories, Fulfilling Dreams.

I was away for a month (Hopefully the absence was noticed!!!) Went home. Given the fact that my grandparents haven’t been doing very well, I wanted to go. I wanted to get a taste of my grandma’s Mysorepa and tamarind rice. I wanted to feel the soft fluffy beard of my Grandpa. I wanted to give my Grandma a leg massage and sit next to my Grandfather’s rocking chair and hear his stories. I wanted to be there. And now that I am back I want to go back again more than ever. Life is funny.
I had a nice time. I guess there is some added pleasure in everything that I do when I go back home. Everything I do , or say I have to make sure I file it in moments to be remembered. It is like “Cud chewing” I eat in everything at one go and then once I get back I bring back each and every moment and slowly squeeze the memories, smells and sights in them till they are dry and colourless. But then by that time it is time to go back again. I do the darndest things when i go there. I take some sort of an apparel and get it ironed there. The person uses the old coal iron and the smell it leaves brings me back memories of school days. I bring back a packet of meera shikakai. It reminds me of Sunday mornigns at home and hw my dad used to rake his fingers through my hair every time I clean my hair. I bring back something from my mothers dressing table to remind me of her. I guess I am a little wierd. hehe.

I do have good news. I am finally going to take a critical step towards my dream. I am going to study political science. I have got admission and I am starting next week. Yey!! The thing is it is not one of those straigthforward dreams, or something that I have had all my life. I took interest only about 5 years back. The complication was that I was a major in Biology. So I had to work from the bottom up, little by little and claw my way to this step. And now that I am here the view is hazy, a lot scary and totally thrilling. I think of it as a huge achievement in terms of what I have done so far with my life and my dreams. It took a lot of guts to get here and I am crossing every finnger to make sure I come out the other end more alive than I have ever been. But for now I am just glad I am back warming my seat, coffee in hand and clacking away in my shoes…..


Holidays, Home sickness and Everything else.

I was away for a month (Hopefully the absence was noticed!!!) Went home. Given the fact that my grandparents haven’t been doing very well, I wanted to go. I wanted to get a taste of my grandma’s Mysorepa and tamarind rice. I wanted to feel the soft fluffy beard of my Grandpa. I wanted to give my Grandma a leg massage and sit next to my Grandfather’s rocking chair and hear his stories. I wanted to be there. And now that I am back I want to go back again more than ever. Life is funny.
I had a nice time. I guess there is some added pleasure in everything that I do when I go back home. Everything I do , or say I have to make sure I file it in moments to be remembered. It is like “Cud chewing” I eat in everything at one go and then once I get back I bring back each and every moment and slowly squeeze the memories, smells and sights in them till they are dry and colourless. But then by that time it is time to go back again. I do the darndest things when i go there. I take some sort of an apparel and get it ironed there. The person uses the old coal iron and the smell it leaves brings me back memories of school days. I bring back a packet of meera shikakai. It reminds me of Sunday mornigns at home and hw my dad used to rake his fingers through my hair every time I clean my hair. I bring back something from my mothers dressing table to remind me of her. I guess I am a little wierd. hehe.

I do have good news. I am finally going to take a critical step towards my dream. I am going to study political science. I have got admission and I am starting next week. Yey!! The thing is it is not one of those straigthforward dreams, or something that I have had all my life. I took interest only about 5 years back. The complication was that I was a major in Biology. So I had to work from the bottom up, little by little and claw my way to this step. And now that I am here the view is hazy, a lot scary and totally thrilling. I think of it as a huge achievement in terms of what I have done so far with my life and my dreams. It took a lot of guts to get here and I am crossing every finnger to make sure I come out the other end more alive than I have ever been. Will be doubly glad to have your best wishes. (Smiles).
I am back and it feels good to be in my seat, blogging….