Monday, January 28, 2013

Summer Holidays

I keep going back in time to try and relive some cherished moments. I very often wonder whether I'd do the same after 20+ years about the present day..... I wonder what I would think about... there seems nothing so special about the current life. Well....I'll ponder about it some other day.

I am going to be writing about my summer vacation during school, those 2 months of all play, no books, no exams, and no rules. I am sure each one of us has a long story to weave about this one.
We (amma, brother and me) visited my maternal grandparents every year for more than a month during this time. Our other cousins with my aunt came there too. (we called my grandparents ambu ajji and dada and often referred to the home simply as ajji mane)
As my grandparent’s house was adjacent to another close relatives’, more cousins, second cousins, aunts & friends used to join in. In short, it was one huge unending party.

Ajji mane had a huge garden with 2 large mango trees, a jackfruit tree, mulberry plant amongst many other shrubs, plants, trees -small and big. As it was the season of the mangoes, there were at least 2-3 days spent in getting the mangoes plucked, picking them, sorting them and sharing them with neighbours, friends and relatives. Then came ajji's turn in making delicacies with mango one wouldn't have thought of.

Once the mango activity died down, my cousins and I settled down to play games which are both indoor and outdoor. Most often we used to play carrom board (reminds me to tell you that my colleagues in the UK had never heard of this game!), cards, Chinese chequers amongst traditional ones like kunte bille, chowkha baarah, pagadi and more modern ones like badminton and cricket - needless to say that we used to pick the sport either looking at the time of the day or when we had a bad fight on the previous game and had to start something new to forget and move on.

It also used to be the time of torrential rains, you know when it gets really hot, it tends to pour it down on a certain day. Those days were great fun! Play in the rain and have bhaji's in the evening as a treat. I remember this huge tree outside ajji's home which had big orange flowers covered with a shell that resembled a boat, we called it the boat tree (no points for guessing this one). The rains used to bring this down and we loved playing with these in the rain making little rivers out of pathways. 

Ambu ajji was one of the best cooks and the most hospitable people I have ever seen. 
Every night we gathered around her for her numerous stories - the likes of Ramayana, Mahabharata, aesops fables and panchatantra. While she told us the stories, she fed us our dinner by giving us Kai thutthu ( she made balls of rice and each of us get a piece of it in a round robin basis, we carry on doing this, on most occasions until the food runs out - while I write this, I can't help but chuckle at my description in English!) - Of course we ended up eating much more than we would have if it was served separately to us.

The other activity was getting Mehendi on our hands (the western world calls it henna art - something that makes me grin every time I hear it!). My dear mom was the artist, we all got to pick a design from a little book and take turns in getting it done. The next morning's activity was sorted as we spent time comparing designs, the shades, and colour of the patterns on our hands.

Those were the times when TV meant only DD with one movie every week. So, the luxury we received was to rent a VCD player for a few days and rent tapes to watch every night and during hot afternoons. It used to be a mini cinema hall as about 25-30 people gathered in the tiny living room to be a part of this occasion. I had my first Hindi lessons watching the classics ....sangam, shree 420, khamoshi to name a few.

Dada, as we fondly called my grandpa just loved children. Every evening he used to take all us kids out for a stroll either to LalBagh, Bugle Rock, Hanumanthana betta or Gandhi Bazaar ( there is no place like south Bangalore). He often resembled a pied piper with children following him. The evening stroll with him also came with treats in the name of ice creams, roasted peanuts or chocolates.  We used to be thrilled.

In between all this, I came up with this idea of holding entertainment programmes (EPs. A show we put up and have music, plays, jokes, monoacts, quizzes, dance and drama in it. I am quite proud of this little activity which I started. Age-wise, I was bang in the middle of the crowd, the older cousins thought I was too young, however, the younger ones thought I was the big sis they could look up to - I adored the attention. So, I got my younger cousin sis and my brother and we three formed our little entertainment company.  We did, if i recollect it, around 9 such EPs and it was a huge thing, everyone liked it....I wish I can get my hands on the feedback forms which we had asked all to write. 

It was a simple life, with simple aspirations; so generally, we always had a good time. Those days are never going to come back and I guess our next generation will somehow always miss the joys in simple things.  I cherish those days - it was called Summer Holidays for a reason and we made the most of it. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Insanity envelops me

I think I am losing it as I write this. Another set of ramblings which completely relates to the mood that I am in. Looks like I end up publishing frustrating rants after every few articles. 

Ok...the bottom line is that I am feeling lonely and the details are that it has many faces to it.

I start with the simple conclusion that my hubby made when I spoke to him about it  - "I simply need someone with me all the time" ....which is true to a great extent but untrue too as I think I know myself better than he does. I have spent many an evening, weekend and many other days all by myself. 

Yes! I was always surrounded by people and I never thought there would be a day that would not be the case ( on earth did I conclude this!). When destiny brought me to the western world I saw that at most times there are no one around. Hubby has a terribly busy work schedule, his works demands total attention from him that I don't get to call him too if I feel like it. Ok....let's admit I don't feel bad or cry over it anymore. Friends, Acquaintances are busy with their lives and activities to be around. You cannot always count on someone else to keep you going. 

Friends used to say that the other word for determination is me. I don't see any of it left in me ( i.e. If I did have any!)...I don't seem to have the drive required for doing anything. What am I doing with my work? I feel like a zombie prodding along.What am I doing with my life? I am neither content with the schedule that I'm in nor am I doing something to change it. 

I have become so good at doing things that does not need me to have anyone and though at most times I have no issues with it, I can't help but feel gloomy on certain other days. But more often than not I do things all by myself- I am so used to myself now that I don't know how to react to company! 

One thing about feeling alone confirms the fact about who you have and who you don't. There are some people who walk away from you coz they have nothing good coming out of isn't interesting anymore. 

A few of my friends who read all this will hate me for writing all this - the first thing they might ask is can you not tell us what your problem is instead of being so negative about everything? Sorry folks, the truth is that I just don't know what comes up on me to become so downbeat. I wish I could express better. 

I do know one reason why I am publishing this today as on some occasions the thoughts are so strong that I feel that putting it up here too is totally Normal and a sound thing to do..... 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Filmy Chakkar

I hear myself saying this every time I watch a few movies, which I choose to talk about in this blog.  
I am no different to the many Indians who love watching, talking, reading about Bollywood films. I owe my love for this genre of films from my parents who in their days were huge movie buffs. My mom is one even today. My father fondly teased her and termed her the 'film encyclopedia' and she always loved the attention we all gave her for the knowledge (wink) she has. 

I won't write about the 100s of movies that I like and don't mind watching over and over, but these are always on my mind when I talk about good here we go...

The ones that make me laugh like its a new joke - Golmaal and Choti Si Baat- couldn't choose between them as they are equally good to me. Golmaal is brilliant! A moustache is used to weave the story through and the turn of events depicted is simply hilarious.Choti Si baat shows the simple characters of life.....I'm sure most of us have been through a day when you love someone but just can't gather the courage to mention it. This sensitive feeling is so comical in this movie that it makes me laugh everytime I watch it.

The ones that make me sob and cry as if it's my own pain - Anand and Masoom. I think I can write a whole article about Anand....hard to mention if it's the dialogues, the music, Rajesh Khanna's acting, the simplicity of the characters or all of it that makes me watch it over and over again....everytime, I have a tear in my eye. Masoom - really hard to describe this one. The pain that goes through a little child when he is not accepted by his own father is heart breaking. 

The ones that leave a void every time I watch it - Deewar - Circumstances can make anything out of anyone. It's not being good or bad, doing the right thing or wrong, sometimes as a person, we don't have the control on the flow of events in life and this movie shows that at every stage. It leaves a dent in me and I really feel for Amitabh's character. Don't remember how many times I have watched it. 

The ones for all the lovey-dovey stuff - QSQT and Maine Pyar Kiya - can the girl in me me run away from movies like these? Totally adore these two out of the zillion such romantic, cheesy films that bollywood churns out every year. Both these films had a few things in common - fresh faces at that time (good looking too!), lovely songs, the happiness, the pain that love stories come with and a small act of bravery when 2 people love  - all this might sound soooooo damn filmy, but I admit that I like it for these reasons and none else.

If you haven't watched any of these already  - I recommend it! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dear Mr.Rahul Dravid

Today is Rahul Dravid's birthday and I cannot believe I have never written about him until now.He needs no introduction and so I won't bother giving one here.
My upbringing was surrounded by the 3 cricket fanatic men in the family, my grand dad,my dad and my brother. We have spent many a day and night watching cricket - live, highlights, replays, tapes, on the news, basically anywhere Cricket was shown. I would admit I wasn't always happy having no control over the TV or the remote to watch what I wanted until Dravid happened.

In the time when Sachin was the highlight, the star of the game, everyone's favourite - I adored Dravid. There are a few reasons why I started liking him. To start with, he was from namma Bengalooru, he was fairly good-looking (blush blush), he had this I am a level headed serious guy with a no nonsense, not kiddish attitude to him and of course he was the saviour for many a games that India played- the wall who put the team in a respectable position and kept our hopes alive for a win. When everything else failed Dravid was there. 

The more I watched Cricket and understood the strokes, the skills, I was proud of how talented Dravid was and how good a technique he add ( I won't write more about this coz I don't want anyone to start thinking about Mandira Bedi here).

As a typical teenager who had a crush on someone, I started working on being the best fan ( at least I can term myself that!) Dravid ever would have.  I created a scrap book with every single picture I could get my hands on and a cut out of every interview that ever got published in those years. How did I manage that? A few ways- I had a deal with our local librarian that I will buy every sportstar and sports world after 2 months for 50paise ( money was something I didn't have all the time you know), I collected pepsi crowns from outside little stores to make it a 50 or a 100 and exchange it to postcards, posters that were given away. I had also pestered every cousin, friend, uncle, neighbour I could, to collect ' anything Dravid' that they came across and give it to me.

I am a bit embarrassed to say that I was a bit of a stalker too. My cousin ( another Dravid fan -of course not as big as me) and me went to visit Dravid at his home in Indiranagar only to meet his dad which was a tad disappointing. On an other occassion I went to watch a Ranji trophy match ( were told that we didn't need tickets )- Karnataka vs Goa( yeah! They have a team!) at KSCA only to know that you do need to have a ticket to get to the stand closest to the dressing rooms. To our luck we see Syed Kiramani coming out of the club entrance....went up, spoke to him and we have his pass to enter the stadium....we sat just 2 rows from the dressing room- I don't remember what happened to the game - guess we won.

One of the closest encounters I had was at the opening ceremony of the new wing of the table tennis academy that my brother used to go to and Dravid was the chief guest. My dream did come true....however, all I managed was 'I'm a huge fan of yours' and 'good luck for the upcoming series'. 'Shy' got the better of me. But, I was happy!!!!

I was however heartbroken (a bit of exaggeration won't hurt here, will it?) when he got married, though I was happy for him. As the days went by I continued on being his fan and carried on working on my scrap book and my Dravid wall in my room until slowly the girl in me grew up. I admired him and respected him for the player that he was and carried on being his fan in a 'sane' way.
I would admit that people who knew me did know I had a huge crush on him through my school years, I was a FAN of Rahul Dravid and he was my most favourite sports person. 

Years passed and one day last year I received this random parcel at work (totally unexpected) by a friend of mine (who shares the same birthday as Dravid - wow!) and it was a gift for me - the very book that was released, an autobiography of Rahul Dravid ( This is one of the most thoughtful gifts I've received). Needless to say I liked the book, I would definitely not be the correct person to talk to if you are asking me for a review of the book. In short, I liked the interviews and the chapter by his wife the best. we are with Dravid retired and commentating these days. Oh! I so like him in whatever he does!! 
Of course I still miss seeing him playing in the Indian Team and every time we buckle in a game a thought goes by wishing he was there to save us! 

And no matter where I am and what I do the girl in me who adored Dravid will always be alive.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

New Year..... New Resolutions

Typically, this forms the first blog of the year. I struggled a bit to put thoughts through for this and hence it's taken a while. 

What's all this fuss about the New Year? Some arguements here - This is just like any other day of the year. There is a 1st to every month. Nothing really changes just coz it's the New Year.....all of which is true.

However, looking at the other aspect, it's a way of seeing things with a different angle.
The New Year gives you a reason to start fresh, it's like a Blank Canvas to do things you always wanted to, to plan for things that you have been meaning to, to connect with people you always liked to and to make those resolutions, small or big during this time. It's like getting a second chance, a re-take.

I was there when I said I don't make any resolutions, also used cliche's like my resolution for the year is to not make any - all of which I look back and think I was so silly.

While the hubby is planning for bigger things for a better life, I make my little plans for simple things and small joys in life.
This year I made a few resolutions. I am planning to pen a few here, I'll keep some to myself and some others are too embarrassing to publish here.
The idea of publishing it probably keeps me at a better check.....will get to know in a year's time. we go....
  • Try something again- I want to grow plants and NOT kill them. My aim is to maintain atleast 5 pot plants which I hope will nourish under my care.
  • Stay Fit- I still detest going to the gym, however the weather being cold I have stopped doing my runs too. The aim is to do some kind of exercise at least 2 times in the week ( tempted to say 3, but thats the start of things going downhill).
  • Better planning - this is a wide topic. To start with its planning holidays, planning for activities during the  weekend,  planning my time when I go home- If someone asks me what I did when I last visited home, I dont have much to say - I want to change that.
  • Learn something New - I want to learn how to play a musical instrument. The plan is to learn how to play 5 known tunes on it.
  • Do something for someone - Run a 10K -at least 1 for a charity.
  • Do something you like- Write more- at least 2 blogs per month. 
  • Get out of the comfort zone - The Journal - This is a little project I took on myself last year but left it mid way ( like most other things). It's my collection of notes about life and living in London- need to atleast complete 10 chapters this year.
  • Keep the Faith - Visit Subramanya - my most favourite temple on Earth and haven't visited it in more than 5 years. I hope I can manage a visit this time.
  • Keep the Culture - Celebrate at least 2 festivals this year in a simple way. 
  • Set a goal - 100kms in 100days - let's see!
  • Give up something - Alcohol free Month - 2 months....come on that shouldn't be hard! 

I could have made this list anytime,any day, any month, any year,but somehow it seems to have a better impact at this time of the year. So...hoping for little achievements in my simple life and wishing all a very very Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

There's No Science to Superstitions

Being brought up at a home that held together 3 generations was a great experience to learn all things Old and New. Having grandparents around always ensured that we do the right thing at the right time. You know what I mean -see when Rahu Kala is, see what time of the day it is, see what day of the week it is before you attempt to do anything! This got imbibed in me whether I wanted it or not.
Of course my family also thought that I should get a modern education and sent me to a fairly good school. Through my schooling years all I remember was how happy my dad used to be when I scored well in Science or Maths, nothing else really mattered.
This was a game of Superstitions Vs Science in my mind....Still unsure which won! I do see the former having a better hold as the latter never questioned. I am not too good at Science. I will stick to talking about Superstitions....fits the flow of my blog of random musings.
A few to list:
  • Stop playing outdoor sports (in ajji's words they were stop jumping up and down) after sunset. She said that the Mother Earth would have gone to sleep and we shouldn't disturb her....God! What about all the night clubs, Glad that she isn't the person brings rules to them.
  • Don't cut your hair. Period. If you really have to then don't do it on the days of the festivals( I follow that), don't do it on Fridays and some other days of the week. In certain months, it's not allowed to get one on any day!
  • Don't buy something big on Tuesday's (I admit, that I tend to follow this one too!). It could be anything, from a car, to some gold jewellery to a mobile phone. Rahu Kala is something we not only follow but are very serious about. Lets say we need to travel and the ideal time to leave home to catch the train or the flight falls within the Rahu Kala...what do we do? Simple...Take your packed bag, go to your neighbour's house and leave it there. They are of course totally get it! 
  • A black cat crossing your path is bad...something not so good will happen. There are some people who also have deeper ideas about the direction in which it crosses you. Well...what can be done about this one...simple again. Turn around and face the opposite direction of your travel and stay there a few seconds. Now you're ready to go ahead.
  • Cutting nails at night is inauspicious - I never asked why?
  • Taking things with your left hand isn't good as you might lose it something.
  • Seeing a broomstick or slippers first thing in the morning isn't lucky, your day might go bad. Well....I am not too happy if that’s the first thing I get to see in the morning!
  • While combing my hair if the comb fell off my mother always mentioned that someone might visit us at home that day.
  • Choking on food while eating a meal always meant someone's remembering you.
  • Never speak about dreams that you saw while eating a meal - Never asked why?
  • Asking someone who’s leaving home about where they are going is totally frowned upon.
I am sure there are many others, I wanted to write only about the funny ones and if I remember any more will update it here.