Monday, December 29, 2008

Still there is hope

‘Wanted: A girl with a beautiful mind. Should be HIV +ve’ - read the matrimonial ad of a 29-year-old Ahmedabad youth.

Chandresh Solanki, himself is not HIV +ve, chose to do something positive in life after a failed marriage.

In a desparate attempt to give meaning to his life, Solanki has become a model youth in a unique way which will be hardly chosen by anybody. But will it ever open the eyes of a majority of youngsters who never compromise on money, beauty and the quality of life the bride's parents offer?

Anyway, heave a sigh of relief. All goodness hasn't died down. There is still hope for this world...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Question of survival

It's not any more
the survival of the fittest,
survival of the strongest,
or survival of the smartest,
it's the survival of the loudest...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas smile

Secret Santa game. Varieties of cake. Colourful gifts. Fun, laughter, cheer... Christmas Eve. Ho ho ho... it's all over!

After the celebrations, everybody finished work reluctantly and spent some time expressing our disappointment over editing copies and making pages on a day which was meant to be chilled out.

December is a month which I always loved, though my Christmas celebrations back home were confined to a cake and fun at school. More than the celebrations in my school, I enjoyed in my brother's school where every year we got to attend the cultural programmes apart from a feast for the tummy. I still remember sitting on the vast front yard of the school and watching boys dancing on the stage dressed as angels, gleefully munching the delights presented in packets.
I always loved the misty mornings of December. In Kerala, it is a holy month in another way too. It is the month when people observe fasting before visiting the abode of Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala. Early mornings, you can see devouts visiting the temple for Nirmalyam (early morning pooja before the dawn). One should see to believe the enthusiasm of elderly women, all dressed in traditional mundu and neriyathu and hair still wet after the cold-water bath, walking to the temple, braving the chill.

Why did I say all this? Christmas always reminds me of the love I have for December.
Sitting in the cab, I was holding tight to the lovely aromatic candle which my Secret Santa gifted me, still envying what others got. On the way, we passed through an all decked-up Brigade Road and churches from where we could hear the prayers loud.

Later the cab took us through a place where there were many families living on the roadside in make-shift tents. There I saw a kid with a silver-coloured cone-shaped cap, torn shirt and no slippers, playing with his dog, in front of their plastic house. The dog too was sharing the fun and running along with him, curious about the shining ‘crown’ its little master had got. A moment at midnight, I was ashamed. Perhaps, the cap may be the only new thing he had for Christmas. I was so lucky to have had stomach-full of cake, apart from my usual food, an expensive gift, and still wanting more, with a smile still missing from my face. I sincerely wished I could go to them and share their laughter.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

These are a few of my favourite things

Appooppan thaadi...
Literal translation is grandpa's beard. But I don't know to translate what it meant to us when we were kids. The immense joy I got whenever I saw them flying around, especially during summer, I never got with anything. I still have a collection of those delicate sparkling whites in a box under my table, back home.

The droplets at the tip of the leaves of pine tree just outside journalism department in Kariavattom

A little girl following the footsteps of her white jooba-clad grandpa through the paddy field... That was me, once upon a time...

When my first 'letter to the editor' appeared in The Hindu, well before my tryst with journalism began, my amma told my brother with immense pride: "Look... After all, who made her write a,b,c,d.. first..." A moment I will cherish forever....

A girl, whose fear for crackers only grew with her age, gaining courage to watch the fireworks at a temple, falling flat on the ground with the first burst and watching the rest hiding behind the legs of the curious crowd with her ears plugged tight with her hands...Sigh...

As a bunch of primary kids, we were waiting for the manchadi tree (Coral Tree) in our school compound to bear seeds. It was a long wait as our tenure in the primary school was supposed to end that year. And, the tree didn't disappoint us. Just before the study leave started for the final exam, it gave us a few shining red seeds... They have always fascinated me that I used to pick them from our campus as a PG student!

A 3-year-old Ammu (my neighbourhood kid who became part of our family since she was 1 and still is my mother's foster daughter) waiting on the way to my home with her hands stretched up for my mother to pick her up...

A little girl hiding behing her aunt, frightened by the 'karuppampoochi' (cocroach) in the hands of her naughty little boyfriend. The girl was my Chennai hostel warden Jessy akka's niece Vini and the boy, our "iron anna's" (who used to iron our clothes) son.

Masaladosas at Adyar Ananda Bhavan and baji on the Marina

Walking in the rain. Of course not along a roadside with vehicles splashing all the gutter filth on to my dress, but where I can hear only the drizzle and where only the long threads of water from the heaven touch me...

And, when a laughter outshines the flowing tears...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A drop for them too...

The 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks have left an indelible scar on the minds of all Indians and a few others.

There was so much of pain and agony around. People are at a paranoic high that even a door banging with wind can send a chill down their spines.

Politicians as usual went on with the blamegame round. Frustrated people, especially those who lost their loved ones, once again spewed their venom on the netas. Media switched to a caretaker mode. Analysis on what happened, what more would have happened and what can happen in future filled the newspapers. Panelists fought it out for their points on TV channels. Suggestions flooded the media on how to tackle terror. All at the cost of an appaling number of innocent lives.

There would not be anybody who have not shed at least two drops of tears at the pictures of not the dead, but those alive... those who have to live with the tragedy till their life ended.

A young Moshe crying as his parents didn't come to him for an unusually long time, a grieving mother cuddling Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan's face, still in disbelief... Media flashed the images until they made the hearts melt...

But far away in Pakistan, some families are crying silently - the family of the 10 terrorists who carried out the dreaded act, nine of whom were killed and their mutilated bodies making frequent appearances in newspapers, TV channels and websites. The one who was caught alive and is the most priced property in India now, undergoing interrogation.

Ajmal Amir Kasab became the most luckiest and the ill-fated of them all at the same time. Lucky for he is alive, ill-fated as millions of Indians are waiting to spill out even the last drop of blood out of him. During interrogation, he is reported to have told: "Mujhe maaf kar do. Mujhe Pakistan vapas jaana hai... meri ammi ke paas jana hai..."

Miles away, the ammi of this 21-year-old would have been shattered. So are the other families whose sons became puppets at the hands of the real criminals, poverty and circumstances...
While praying for all those whose dreams were shattered with their AK-47s, my heart certainly bleeds for these families too...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Beauty of silence

It was a usual sunny afternoon. I was on way to office in a BMTC bus.

A journey as boring as it can be till two girls got into the bus from Ulsoor. The girls, communicating through gestures, soon caught my attention. I thought it may be it was because they were sitting on two separate rows (one was sitting next to me and the other was on a seat on the other row). It took a few minutes for me to realize that they couldn't speak. Well, they couldn't make a sound. Yet, with amazing ease, they were communicating, enjoying their world, passing comments and laughing their heart out!

The traffic outside was a mess and the bus was crawling. I was already in the bus for 20 minutes and yet to finish a four-kilometre journey. The girls made my time worth spending in the traffic. My eyes, fed up of the congestion outside, sparkled with their happiness. The messy traffic was in fact, painful to the ears. I wished I could plug my ears to help it from the piercing horns, screeching wheels, outburst of the restless passengers and what not.

A moment, the thought of a noiseless world made me float in the bus, through the crowd, a journey of which every bit i would have enjoyed. All movements of life, the market, people finding way through the vendors on footpath, street children enjoying a cricket match at a roadside television showroom, a majestic .... all without any noise.

I realized the beauty of silence...

Ask for a wish

It was my birthday on December 3rd. Friends calling to wish me, some forgetting and I waiting for their calls... all seemed too boring.
Thinking of adding something new to the day, I sent all my friends a message by December 2 midnight asking them not to forget to wish me!!
All of them called me - many of them in disbelief (that a person can ask for a wish!), many of them amused, one calling me "shameless".
Anyway, I enjoyed the novel way. Just that made my day special.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Just let it flow

Have you got the habit of doing what others call 'crazy'? I must tell you, that is the best destressing medicine available on the planet. The joy you get out of it is beyond comparison! Believe me, none else, but my experience is my guru.

Today afternoon, I was walking to office with two of my colleagues. When we reached some 100-150 metres away from office, my friend told me, "How will it be if we have a race from here?" As she counted "Ready... 1...2....3..." adrenalin rushed into our streams and we just ran... least bothered that we are responsible employees of a reputed organization or we have crossed the age of playing on the roadside.

We laughed our hearts out as we ran. I saw popped-out eyes following us in disbelief, of the parking securitymen and pan shopwallahs who see us as decent girls walking in calm and quiet everyday... I was panting like a mad dog when we reached the lift leaving the suspicious faces of securitymen behind.

The outcome was unbelievable. The thought of the crazy run kept me smiling all through the day. Even the boring reports that I handled like 'Gowda bahu entering politics' could not wade it away.

So, never let your crazy drives die down... just let it take its course... :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The clouds are melting...

Finally, I too have a blog. But really don't know how to keep it alive... My thoughts won't flow when I sit in front of the computer. They gush in, rush in and totally jam my network when I'm into something else... very often when I desperately want to sleep! I was a person who always loved to write. How I tortured my friends with my long long letters... Starting the letter with the date, day as well as the time of writing, many letters have taken more than a week to finish; say like 12-10-2001; 11.15 pm to 19-10-2001 9 am, just before I rush to post it. It will have an apology at the end, begging pardon of the addressee to bear with the delay in finishing it and posting. I had a feeling that delay in my letters would disappoint them, although none of them would have really felt that or some would have heaved a sigh of relief that ... thank God, the 'disaster' hasn't come yet! I feel if I start collecting all my letters back from my friends, perhaps I may hold some record of writing long letters. OK... why did I say all these? Just to let you know that even if you don't find much of my thoughts in writing here, I'm a person who loves to write and write... no matter if it interests anybody or not... I write for myself... It was always like that... Even when I was writing letters... The words filled the papers just to my satisfaction. I never bothered whether the person at the other end would have enjoyed it or not. Though my confidence always said they just loved it! :)