Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wicked Joy of having women friends !

A TON is always special.  This is my 100th post and just as the number suggests a special one.

Having been brought up in a metro, (Chennai is definitely a metro, folks) as a person I do have as many men friends as women friends. I was raised in a suburb in Chennai where there was no dearth for families of my own community and having lived with a large set of second cousins and distant relatives only helped foster these friendships. Today some of my best friends are men with whom there is a bond that dates back to childhood and those growing up juvenile years and memories of those days still bring nostalgia. While I studied in an all Girls school and later all Women’s college and the first two years of work (what a ridiculous fate?) were with women, I never felt funny or inhibited to strike a conversation with a boy (those days) or men because of my background and upbringing. Though today I might not be in constant touch with all those so called “men” friends ( in my mind, I realize with these close friends there’s no such distinction) we all can just pick up conversations from wherever, and move along.

A couple of months back, I was going for a funeral and wanted to know the exact location of the church, ( hubby dear gets worked up if he does not have the right directions, or worse still he will stress me out) and was wondering who would know and instantly this childhood friend flashed up in my mind and I knew he lived there. I didn’t even have to think twice, when I had to dial his number and imagine I had not spoken to him for more than 6 months and we could go ahead with a conversation as if we were talking to each other almost every day. Am making a mental note now to call him coz this reminds me I haven’t called him after that :-) The point is with close friends most of us are comfortable regardless of their gender – that’s why they are our best pals right?

Ever noticed I am writing something tangentially opposite to the blog topic that I start – its becoming a habit. Mental note two. Stick to your topic when you start one.

Okay folks this blog is about Women friends – the kind that I have befriended at my earlier workplace and today most of us work in good positions in different organisations. And that’s a pure “women only group” and does not deserve to be trivialized just because we are wicked to each other.

If I were to record our everyday lunch sessions those days that would be great fodder for interesting blog posts every single day and that would be like leading myself to the gallows straight - With all the information and fun going public in a virtual platform. One of the things that each one of us in the group miss these days in our current workplaces, is the lunch sessions laced with entertainment, torrents of laughter, liberal dose of movie dialogues, lots of sarcasm, pun and of course delicious home made lunch from many homes.

On days when there are no incidents that would bring in laughter from outside our group, or when we do not have enough “matter” to strip some of the folks with whom we used to work then, of their trousers, the group directs its energies on one its members and we do not even spare our spouses, children, relatives and even our extended support systems. I (in fact, almost everyone in the group) have been victim of this group-directed-humor many times and any attempts of mild disapproval to the comments will elicit more damage than before, leading to the group’s general sense of cheap gratification. We are so professional otherwise, the lunch room kind of transforms us, into these wicked avatars, squealing in laughter like school girls and unleashing our potential to tickle up our funny bones. I guess that was a great stress buster for all of us.

Another interesting part of our lunch then was the fact that we ate from any lunch box that anyone brings in and we do not stick to strictly our own boxes. It became such an habit that I ( and of course the others in the group) never feel complete when we do not dig our hands into someone else’s plate during a meal, be it at home, office or a five star restaurant. Not too late to pick some good habits(?) if you had not picked them when you were much younger, eh?

The funniest part was that a normal incident that anyone told will be subjected to an extremely wild outrageous imagination, surreptiously flavored with enough spice and will be narrated during the lunch time with so much deliberation, natural flow, and right amount of collateral damage that it sounds completely believable even for the person who narrated it in the first place and after a while everyone ( including the person who narrated it) remembers only the contrived version and not the original one.

One incident I remember dating back to 2005 was the one connecting me and my travel agent. Joe then was in Manila on an assignment and Dennu and I were to join him there for a month long holiday and I was working with this guy named “Salaam” I do not remember his full name or his travel agency’s name. There were a whole lot of issues in my travel because the Filipinos thought I am a potential settler there and were refusing my Visa and I had to interact with Salaam every day. Mind you I have not seen Salaam even once till date. Two of the women friends from the lunch group sit next to me and with the high decibel levels that I speak normally, there is no need for them to eavesdrop at all and after a month’s conversations with Salaam, this topic started surfacing in our lunch meetings – I got royally ragged along with Salaam, whom none of us have seen, and that poor chap was pulled into every conversation and the group came to a conclusion that even if I do not make it to Manila, I have become good enough to write a book titled “Njanum Ente Salaamum” (the title roughly translates to “Me and my Salaam” only that it sounds a little intimate in a regional language), which would easily be a best seller. I never ended up going to Manila, my Visa was rejected finally and we had to settle down for a shorter holiday at Singapore and Malaysia. The group still remembers this book ( see its as though I have written this book) and almost every incident around this after so many years.

There was one person in our group though, who was not very fluent in the regional language and she got lost many times during the conversations that we had, but nevertheless would pick up pieces and tag along with our conversations at right intervals. Sometimes she used to stop us and ask for translations and we realize her inability to follow supersonic speed delivery of regional language dialogues with various connotations from real life, imaginary and from movies and bring her to speed.

Take for incidence a simple conversation that I had with my maid – she was at my flat then. I was instructing her in Tamil to bring down all the curtains and show the tailor, who would come home, for some rework. But later I realized I missed some vital points for my listeners in the next bays. And I was saying “Sulaiman varuvaaru, neenga ellathayum kazhattittu avarukku kaatidunga” which roughly translates to “Sulaiman will come, you remove everything and show him” – I cannot forget how I got blown to shreds for this piece of dialogue thoughtlessly said over phone. The maid understood what I had to say but this group of so called friends indulged in Distortion, disrespect and downright torture. They can be ruthless ( most of the times). And we laughed about it until it actually hurt..

The best part was we had nick names for most people with whom we interacted at office ( other than the group members ourselves) and we were so deft with these names, that anyone else in the room might not even understand the references let alone our sarcasm. We still continue to refer some people with those titles even today, though we do not work with them now.

The dramatization, humor, right references and the accompanied sound effects makes any conversation hilarious. One of the WW ( wicked women) was explaining something she saw at someone’s home or I don’t remember where.. the conversation went like this “ She has big big..” and there was a undue pregnant pause at the wrong moment. The entire group then came forward, all eyes popping out, and in chorus said “ hmm….. big, big whaaaaat” and the person explaining the actual thread of conversation looks very blank at the entire group and says “Ammies” (grindstones). The Chorus then says.. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…. We thought something else.. and there was this high pitched laughter…..whole conversation is dissected and references are made which we cannot forget even today.

One character which got crucified in our conversations those days was a person called CSN. He used to sit in the far end of our wing in the same floor as ours and in a cabin. In fact, he had the corner most cabin in our floor and we do not meet him at all. A very senior person both in age and in position.

Being a “women only group” we notify each other of any interesting “Sale ” that happens around town, at the most trivial opportunity we go out for lunches (our office was centrally located close to shopping malls and restaurants then), and we have even gone for a movie once.

A benevolent member of this group announced the sales at “Naidu hall” - NaiHaa as it is called now is famous for its lingerie collection. And there was a particular brand that a couple of them had picked up and was heavily recommended to the others in the group. I was the only one who could not make it to the sales and that day being the last day of the sales had to leave a little early to catch the sales. But as I was going out of my bay I realized I haven’t told my buddies that and I called out to them “ am going to pick Loveable Acoba”, knowing fully well that none sitting in the other bays will make out what it is. The next day’s lunch topic was how even CSN heard about the sale at Naidu hall (thanks to my decibel levels) and he picked up Loveable Acoba for his family. And our group had this special ability to build on imaginary conversations and make it sound so real… See, how people in no way connected to us, get pulled into our conversations and become an integral part of it?

Recently one of the WW happened to meet CSN in a train, and she couldn’t help laughing because the first thing that came to her mind was “Loveable Acoba”. CSN is a senior head within the organisation and he was very “ matter-of- fact” with this friend of ours and was a little suspicious about the overfriendliness of our friend and must be wondering the reason behind her extra dose of smile.

Today as I mentioned we are in different parts of the globe, in different organisations doing very well but can pick up wickedness where we left if only we can set our eyes on each other, with no less sarcasm and fun in all our conversations. We get to meet each other rarely these days, but if we meet it would be ruckus and fully loaded with fun. God save the souls around us then – we are completely oblivious to anything else.

I sent a picture of my session that I conducted recently announcing to my ex-lunch friends about it and look at the instant responses from three of them.. ( It is important to read it with all the background effects explained earlier)

Response 1: Objection your honor…. Naduvulae irukkara oru vella thols mattum unna paakkaamae vaera engayooo moraikkurraar… how dare…. I’m sure you would have taken some penalty from him… correettaaa… (translation of the regional language bit – the one white person in the centre is not looking at you and is staring elsewhere )
Response 2 : How many AICs ( L2 / L1 Heads ) “Bracketed” so far? Pl update the status :-) :-)
Also how dare to take this snap from long shot…..pl. publish another tight close up snap. :-)

Response 3 : Very impressive .... get them closer to you.. Warmer feel !!! :-)))

Needless to say, I had a mighty laugh and this post is a dedication to the wicked Joy of having women friends and the ethereal connect of our minds, pure fun and laughter that we evoke in each other :-) May our tribe increase !!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Footprints of my Soul

If You can hear my footsteps
Long after I cease to walk..
And know I came visiting
Without having to talk…….

If I can feel the smile in your eye
Long after you cease to see
And know you're looking for me..
And sense the fragrance that I know to be you..
Then I know you love as much as I do..

Then is there a need this tale to tell to the whole?
I know you'd follow the Footprints Of My Soul!

P.S:  
I did not write this poem.  It is pulled out of my archives and am unable to give credits to the author as I do not know the author of this poem.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A slice of Insanity

Silence is painful
can be deafening too
at times

But it is the indifference
that does me in
and makes it unbearable

Thoughts run amok
and makes me wonder
if you would feel the same

I wish the mindbridges remained
the way it was
atleast then I wouldn't be lost

It is at times like these
I rerun the events and conversations
and smile like an idiot

purely a slice of my insanity !

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Coincidences – Are they lucky Accidents?

What is your take on coincidences? Are they Chance, Luck or Acts of ‘God”? ( now I am involving the big man in.. :-)

One thing is certain about coincidences. The phenomenon fascinates believers and skeptics alike. It's a porthole into one of the most interesting philosophical questions we can ask: Are the events of our lives ultimately objective or subjective? Is there a deeper meaning, an overarching purpose to the universe? Or are we the lucky accidents of evolution, living our precious but brief lives in a fundamentally random world that has only the meaning we choose to give it? Are they easily explained, or so improbable they must signify something?

Whether coincidences are meaningful or not is a mystery. But our talent for noticing and manipulating them is increasingly clear :-). To the mystically inclined, however, coincidence is a synchronicity, the purposeful occurrence of two seemingly unrelated events. Can we simply state that “ It just happened and doesn’t mean a thing” and move on? At tleast in my case I cannot.

To me Coincidences are mysterious, important and I revel in the connections the coincidences tend to bring forth. I do take note of them and I am such a silly sentimental fanatic. Yikes.. but that’s what I am and I am being truthful about it.

Like the friend who is connected to me by the coincidence that I am going to tell you says ( Okay, this friend didn’t tell me all these, I have added some flavor to the views) that coincidences are created by us consciously or subconsciously (mostly) because we want it so bad that we somehow make the coincidences happen and most of the time we don't even know it. The Universe only facilitates these coincidences to happen in our favour. The reason is because the Universe is kind and generous and the universe literally conspires getting everything together to make these coincidences happen. Maybe true !

I have mentioned this in my blog before, that I  have taken up a new position at a new organisation where I have specifically requested for “No Travel” – I have done so much travel in my earlier job and had resisted travel for my own personal reasons. I had no clue that I would be travelling as part of my current work. But there I was travelling to Delhi, out of the blue, to facilitate a program.

I flew into Delhi pretty late, ( thanks to a delayed flight) and I was not keeping very well that night. Infact my headache ( which is recurring these days very too often) was so bad that I puked a couple of times in a meticulously clean hotel room ( of course in the bowl) and didn’t even have the energy to change into my night clothes, let alone notice what a nice room the new organisation had booked me into. My session  went on well  the next day and I realised that I truly enjoyed facilitation of sessions and was grateful for the opportunity.

It must have been the headache and the effect of puking ( yikes, how I hate it!!), I had the continuous feeling of being in flight… floating senselessly even while sitting in the cab travelling towards Delhi Airport on a hot evening. Temperatures there are at 42 degree Celsius around this time. My headache had not completely deserted me – It gave me the panic attacks of returning anytime. I actually had a headache.

I reached the airport and there even before getting into the airport my friend surprised me appearing from nowhere. Again because Delhi is not very familiar to me (unlike a Chennai, Bangalore and Hyd) I had some time at hand and there we were in an uncommon plan, flying to different destinations from the capital but coincidentally together at the airport. Unbeleivable coincindence or a lucky accident?

It was a good time spent – I was amused by the jokes, the funny stuff, the pranks and it was fun to be with someone who you so rarely meet ( or is it unerring and infallible aim for my funny bone?)  and all through this I was floating around lighter, as if I had a peg of alcohol, that light hearted feeling – definitely the effect of my threatening headache and the after effect of my puking last night, which my friend would never agree to :-). 

I  was in this complete senseless stupor, the effect was almost like stuff hitting me at supersonic speeds and I dont sense it all, and before I react to something, ( my response to stimuli was so slow, almost nil), there is something else coming up and you get the general drift?  ( luckily since i was sane and not under the effect of alcohol, I remember everything and I am making a mental note to get back on all those later, to my friend).

All along I was continuously ( at the back of my mind  - imagine already I am in this senseless stupor and no wonder my responses were slow, I was trying to multitask too) wondering what this sort of chance meeting is trying to bring out.  the reason behind the coincidence? Perhaps there is some sort of message for me?. There must be a reason. Or as my friend said is it simply a fact that when u want something all the universe conspires to help you?

I am deeply religious and I remember when I started from Chennai, I saw a message on the rear side of a car just in front of my cab, which read like this, ‘the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore “ Psalms 121:8 and I remember feeling comforted just when I had started the journey to Noida.

And this coincidence was as though God just winked at me while he sent that friend to Delhi Airport.

Thank you Lord for all the small mercies in life. Life, definitely is better with them :-) :-)

Monday, May 14, 2012

My husband and his toys !!!


My better half constantly tries to reinvent himself and carries on with his single most tryst of impressing me constantly with new stuff every now and then or so I would like to believe. Just because he does not read my blog, unless forced upon him, I am aware I cannot write whatever I would like him to do, cleverly masqueraded as stuff that he does for my sake.

Jokes apart, he is definitely a creative person and does come up with stuff that continues to impress me, even if that ( impressing me) is not his intention. Sometimes I feel I am so easy to please .. whatever.

One of the days, this was a couple of years back, my man came up with me to the terrace of our house, claiming to help me, but engaged himself in making a toy that really amused me. I still have this toy with me, fragile now, after drying and the wear & tear of the years gone by and the shifting of our home we did in-between. I will post a couple of shots of this toy that he made in a few minutes from the sheaves of coconut palm that is at a reachable distance from our terrace, though the coconut palm itself belongs to our neighbor.

So, here goes the process of creation of this Cuboid.






Every year on Palm Sunday, most congregations of Christians celebrate Palm Sunday just the Sunday before Easter Sunday. The feast commemorates Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem and Palm Sunday is marked by the distribution of palm leaves to the assembled worshipers at Church. In Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, that we belong to, palm leaves are blessed during Palm Sunday ceremony and a Procession takes place holding the palms.

The palms are brought home and kept till the next year and returned to the church prior to Ash Wednesday. This year after we came back home, my hubby dear overcome by creativity showed his prowess on the poor palms and the result was yet another interesting piece of art and here goes the process of transformation of these palm Sunday blessed palms. ( not to mention, I have preserved them too..)


Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Mysterious

A poem that I wrote on 14th February 2003. Pulled out from my archives.


Who are you? where are you from?
Are you alive? are you real? Are you an angel ?
or just a figment of my imagination?
Or are you the most beautiful
dream that I have had in years?
Someone I fabricated to fill the void?
To soothe the pain?

You seem to have come out of the blue
leaving me shell shocked
taking me in your stride with ease
swirling me around like a whirlwind
showing me the world in a new light

You brought joy in my life
You made the world look so beautiful
You made my life worth living
and brought a smile to my soul
You made me feel young again
and helped me see the beauty within
to my own surprise.

You made me laugh when my heart was crying
You helped me set new goals when I was dying
You took me dancing when I couldn't take a step
You will never know how you made me feel
or how grateful I am for you in my life!!!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

An author – deep down in my friend!


After reading Arundhati’s Roys work, God of small things, am still dazzled that she picked her Bookers prize for her debut novel and that’s the only novel that she has ever written (till date), though she has other kinds of literary works to her credit.

I was reminded about a close friend who has such brilliant linguistic capabalities that if only he starts writing, he would easily be one of the best in the country / globe. Added to his linguistic capabilities are his creative abilities, a good sense of humour, spontaneity and intelligence. Its sheer ignominy that he hasn’t started to write.

I thought of sharing a philosophical piece of his writing that he wrote to me in 2003 as an email, (with absolutely no modifications, not even spelling corrections ) that I still hold as one of my prized possessions.

….There are pleasant breezes now and occasional rains and I love to walk around now here. This is time of year when all the cobwebs get cleared out of our mind - the old brain seems to work better, evrything seems to be in a kind of harmony. I have a partly superstitious belief that things begin to move and stir at times like this and are building towards something. Its like when you follow a stream (I don't know if you've ever done it) trying to see how far it goes (either upstream or downstream) Tiny signs indicate to you when you are close to the source - the water begins to get clearer, the sound is more like a tinkle rather than a splashing, you can see different types of fish and suddenly you are there.

So too I notice tiny signs right now - it all seems to point towards the fact that I am approaching something important - any moment the veil will be drawn back and I will see the road ahead clearly, far more clearly than ever before.

Or like going out to sea in a boat, you leave the shore and waves further and further behind and reach a calm patch, where you can see almost to the bottom, but it happened so gradually you didn't notice ...... and then again, it can just as suddenly look rough, there are huge swells, and you look down and realize you are over a huge rock barrier.

At such times it seems like you are almost in a trance, walking around in the world in a dream, and all the people you meet are just floating by on other boats, and as you pass each other you notice that they are looking at you and you look at them too, in the same way that boats pass each other at sea, and just for a fleeting moment you wonder what kind of journey they are having.

These are things that I think we experience most keenly as children, and it is almost like a magnetic field around you and around everything else - everything emits an energy you can almost feel and touch. It fades away as we grow older and have too many words for everything. But suddenly on certain days or times of year it comes back and magic happens.

I don’t get such emails these days from anyone, let alone this friend, but now that I have blogged I know I can get back anytime to this.

And to imagine if someone can whisk up something like this for an unthoughtful casual email, how well will he do as an author ?

My friend is the author waiting to be one. Don’t you think so?

Weather Report

"Any day I'm vertical
is a good day"
...that's what I always say.
If you ask me,
"How are you?"
I'll answer, "GREAT!"
because in saying so,
I make it so.
When Life gives me dark clouds and rain,
I appreciate the moisture
that brings a soft curl to my hair.
When Life gives me sunshine,
I gratefully turn my face up
to feel its warmth on my cheeks.
When Life brings fog,
I hug my sweater around me
and give thanks for the cool shroud of mystery
that makes the familiar seem different and intriguing.
When Life brings snow,
I dash outside to catch the first flakes on my tongue,
relishing the icy miracle that is a snowflake.
Life's events and experiences
are like the weather -
they come and go,
no matter what my preference.
So, what the heck?!
I might as well decide to enjoy them.
For indeed,
there IS a time for every purpose
under Heaven.
And each season brings its own unique blessings.
~BJ Gallagher

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Obsession

My current obsession is Arundhati Roy’s God of small things which won her the Booker Prize in the year 1997 and this was her debut novel.

I call this an obsession because after I started reading this book, Ayemenen, Rahel, Esthappen, Ammu, Velutha, Baby Kochamma, Margaret Kochamma and Kochu Maria are characters I am living with in my memories constantly.

Right from the first paragraph of this book, I fell in love with the eloquence of Roy’s writing and because I belong to a Syrian sect of Christianity and my views about Kerala are not entirely different from that of what is portrayed by Roy, I felt the immediate connect with this semi-autobiographical work of Roy. It lingered on and I spent  three to four nights to complete this amazing work. The Novel tugs at your heartstrings – not sure if it is the sadness, cynicism, shades of Irony that so interestingly portrayed or the mystery shrouding all the characters in the novel that pulled me into this book. I could not just leave this book down. I knew I am missing the finer nuances of the literary play Roy employs with the language itself, but I am a Gemini you see and I need to know what is happening so I did a quick read and completed this book.

And I didn’t want to touch another book for some time. Have u eaten your favorite food? When you finish with it, you wouldn’t want to eat anything else that will spoil the after taste – you may want to linger on it for some more time, enjoying that taste until it finally gets out of your tastebuds. The same thing, I lingered on every character, on every event on the emotions that Rahel and Estha ( the protagonists ) went through and the scheming ways so typical of the Antagonist Margaret Kochamma.

Then decided on something that I have never done in my entire life – I started reading this book again this time savoring every nuance of the literary word play the author employs to conjure up magic with words, enjoying every minute observation that Roy so precisely brings forth through the point of view of a small child, the political, communal disharmonies that so evidently exists in the Gods own country and its absolutely scintillating.

I am enjoying the read – and it feels like I am reading a completely different novel this time and I just cant get enough of the first paragraph that Roy starts this Novel with.. I don’t know the number of times I have read this and got into a trance. That’s this book effect on me, I put the book down and the characters are playing in my mind – Chacko, Vellya Pappen, Kuttappen, Pappachi, Mammachi, Levin and pillai and all of Ayemenem. Pappachi’s moth, the Meenachil river, paradise Pickles and preserves, Sophie mol and the list is endless!

Roy has been able to paint the caste differences of that period and engages a reader throughout with her ploy.  and since this is emi autobiogrpahical you are left to wonder which are those incidents that really happened and which part of this novel is fiction. She throws the dark hints about the novel in the first chapter and unravels the events that leads to the theme of the novel finally in the last chapter where Velutha and Ammu think of only the small things the big things never lurked their conversations and their little promise “Naaley” (meaning tomorrow)
Here is the first para of this novel

“May in Ayemenem is a hot, brooding month. The days are long and humid. The river shrinks and black crows gorge on bright mangoes in still, dustgreen trees. Red bananas ripen. Jackfruits burst. Dissolute bluebottles hum vacuously in the fruity air. Then they stun themselves against clear windowpanes and die, fatly baffled in the sun.”

Isnt it brilliant? I am only wondering why I didn’t read this earlier!

I would like to add a Caveat here though - I do not subscribe to everything that is portrayed in the novel - especially the twist that Roy brings to the Twin's relationship.  It looks perverted.