Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mommys Day out

There was a time, when I used to take my son around everywhere – shopping, for “girls-only” get togethers, programs organized on weekends from office, church and wherever, to office if I had to work on weekends, any party that I was invited then, why even official get togethers. Dennu used to love it and there was a time when my earlier organisation used to allow kids to workplace, especially when the kids had vacations. My condition to everyone around me was, if you want me on the weekend, I come as a package. They had to put up with my live wire and what a dynamite he was!. I was simply helping the guilty soul of a working mother, by this act of kindness to myself.

He continued this until he was in high school and when he reached his 10th grade, he kind of showed signs of disinterest and wanted to stay back home alone, keeping himself occupied with the different gadgets he had at hand. Offlate, he even hesitates to come with us for movies, on the contrary, is very willing to go with his friends anywhere. He is growing up, I know. But as a mother, it is a bit difficult to digest, and I try to remind myself that is no more a little kid.

Having said that, there are many moments, I miss being with him. As a mother, I need to learn to let go, right? I am learning it, but doubt if I will ever master that!

This weekend however was different, we have been planning for Christmas shopping for him, somehow, it just wasn’t happening - either there were some get-togethers at home, or on the days we didn’t, he had classes and it kept postponing. It now came to a stage that we cannot postone it any more and so off we went for shopping after Sunday Mass this weekend, the father had other engagements, and could not make it. He however, dropped us of at the Mall which Dennu wanted to shop.

I realized how nice it was to spend that time together with him. I was enjoying every moment together. As a grown up boy he had his own choices, but was willing to listen to me to try out stuff and once he came back and told me, Ma, your choices are good. I did a mental Yahooooo and a high five for myself, while appearing to be calm and cool. I made sure we took as much time as we could, strolling around the stores, pursuing him to try out stuff, and being there at his beck and call. This may sound simple, but as much as I was a mother, I am a woman too, which means, I had to truly control the reigns my own shopping spree, avoiding even looking at the womens’ section let alone try them, lest my sonny boy would get bored.

As he called out to show me some funny quotes on T-Shirts, and ended up laughing our heads off, I was thinking next year or the year after next, maybe he will tell us, Please give me the money and I will go shopping with friends.  May be!

I thought to myself, let me not worry about it now, and went on with our shopping. I could see he was liking it too, as he was smiling and chattering with me through out without any loss of attention to his gadgets. Oh the word Attention, reminds of a Quote that we both laughed about – I am so broke, that I cant even pay attention!

And then finally we finished shopping, I paid the bills and gave the bag of his stuff to him and the most unthinkable happened. He gave me a hug and kiss, in the store, right in front of all those people around us and said Thank you Ma and Merry Christmas. I will tell you why this simple thing is unthinkable to me, this boy does not like any physical show of affection, I have to bribe him already for a hug and kiss even at home and he hates being touched. So its rare that he will hold hands or hug in front of people.

Now, who kind of initiated the hug is besides the point. But this was a nice weekend memory to cherish for the ( always guilty soul of a working) mother in me. Don’t you agree?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

I had to show this to you all

Most of the time that make up my weekends, are spent in the tiny green space around home, that I am desperately trying to sustain. 

After toiling for a few years and with support from my mom, I had a nice garden couple of years back and I had to let go off this green space, when I shifted home for Sonny boy's schooling.  My biggest sense of loss was losing this green patch, when I shifted to the apartment. I still took with me around 6 pots that had my favorite plants and had to forego the rest.  Luckily my neighbor, offered to take care of my fishes and the tank.

The last six months after shifting back to our own house was struggle without any of my plants. The empty places where my plants used to be, was an eyesore and I began my work on recreating my space.  It took so much effort, and especially since i was an DIY enthusiasit, I started with  painting all my pots and fish tank, making sure the potting soil is fit for planting - had to dry the soil for a week and add store brought organic manure and finally choosing plants and taking care of them.

Somehow in six months time, the plants grew under my care and though it is not as good as I want it to be, I thought I will show you all the little plants that give me so much Joy and much needed stress releif.

I will start with my plants on the terrace, mostly flowering ones.  The Christ thorns ( Euphorbia) is a fighter, she is the only one who has not been repotted and now is in full bloom.  I had left this plant back since it was too big for us to put anywhere in the apartment we had moved in then.

Infact, when we wer back this plant was full of leaves and thorns and in a months time it started flowering and was in full bloom in a few weeks.  and it is continuing to flower.


Let me show you another one from my terrace, yellow roses.  Isnt she a beauty?  At one time, there were more than 7 roses on this little plant. Couldn't take the pictures then. 

This is yet another smaller vareity of Christ thorns which is just growing up.  Its a tiny plant but has decided to flower and I love the bright red colour of the flowers.








This is another shot of the bigger Euphorbia - this was a new bunch of flowers and thanks to Dennu for the pictures.

This is yet another new plant on the terrace called Vinca.  This plant has adapted well to our garden and continues to bloom and comes with bigger flowers too.  At one point in time, this plant had more than a dozen flowers - again couldnt click a picture then.

Let me now bring to our ground floor corner where I mostly some ornamental plants.  here are a few shots


Another of my favorites - Coleus. Earlier I had so many varieties of it, but now I just have 2 of them.
And finally here is my revamped open air fish tank - the big fish there is a homeless shark, a good neighbor passed on to me and two gold fish, need to bring in more fishes in there.  Some more work to be completed in the fish tank and next time when I take you around my tiny green patch, I hope, I will have  more plants and more fishes. 


Friday, December 13, 2013

Shall I call it a short term blessing?

Well, you know the weather in otherwise hot and humid Chennai is really pleasant. It is quite cool and this morning, the breeze that hit me was a bit chiller than what I expected. The sun was just soft and warm – it is rare that the weather in the part of the globe that I live in, Chennai, is so kind to us. Oh! And that’s not the short term blessing that I was going to write about.

Growing up in Chennai, one of the so called Metro’s in India, my home was always in the suburbs ( before and after marriage that is). Living in the suburbs has its own benefits, like for example, I grew up in a community that had a lot of my relatives and cousins of my own age, instead of an apartment we got to live in houses that were individual and had some space for us to play within the compound and ofcourse space for a garden. But it also meant that the schools colleges and our offices were farther away and we had to travel long distances to reach those places.

While in school, I had to travel 2 hours everyday and when I got to college it increased by an hour and to add to my woes, my college would commence at 8.00 am and I had to leave by 6.30 am. And well this is not a complaint at all, as I got used to travel and infact, have ended up really loving these travels. I had a good group of friends in school and while in College, and these travels turned out to be rather a lot of fun. I read a lot and mastered the art of reading in a moving bus and train, mostly novels and during exam times, I got solid time to prepare for the examination too. How cool is that. So, when people tell me you travelled that long? I am like, yeah, but that was fun. There are many who cannot comprehend to this logic.

So when I finished college and had to travel to office, it didn’t seem a trouble at all. After marriage it was a little better with a chauffer to drive me around.  but things started to change when most IT organisations started moving out of the city and soon I was travelling more than 50kms ( both ways together), a few years back and the traffic was getting worser by the day. When life’s priorities were changing., these long travels were no more fun. One day, after a terrible evening of travelling back from Old Mahabalipuram Road after work, J asked me if it is all worth it? When the traffic was bad I had to travel for more than 4 hours in a day. I quit the organisation I was working in, for 13 years, in a week's time. That probably was not the only reason though.

When I chose my current role in the organisation that I am with, my first requirement was that my travel outside Chennai had to be curtailed –Sonny boy was in std X1 in a new school and me being there when he came back home was a much needed comfort. J also travels a lot and it does not help to have both parents travelling all the while. My travel is curtailed so much that I have begun to long for travel – I do travel though on work atleast once in 3 months which is nothing compared to what I used to do in my earlier organisation.

Restricting travel also meant, commuting less  within the city for everyday work and among the options I had, one of the primary reasons to choose my current organisation was that it has 26 offices (covering probably the entire city) in Chennai and I had the permission to work from whichever office I chose to. A Big blessing right? So when I started at my current organisation, we had moved closer to Sonny boy’s school and chose an office close to that house. A 5 km drive everyday looked definitely like a bliss. When Sonny boys’ schooling was done, one of his requests was to get back to our own house and I chose to go to the office near my current home. Can you imagine my happiness, when I figured out, that my office was less than 3 kms? Blessing was an understatement. So from June I was overjoyed, I could reach my office in less than 7 minutes by car ( if J is driving that is ) and I didn’t have to cross a single traffic signal.

In my entire life in Chennai, I have never lived this close to any of the places that I had to go regularly. Be it school, college or office. But I knew this for sure – My current organisation like every other Indian Software company is consolidating and moving to Special Economic Zones (SEZ”s) to enjoy the tax benefits. And they were closing down the Guindy office. Yes. This week my blessing is coming to an end so rather than Crying that its over, I am smiling that it happened.

And well, the next office I am moving is within the city again and is just around 6 kms. So Until that closes down somewhere mid next year, I will keep smiling, that I am able to beat all the traffic and distance woes that most people in software industry complain about. :-)

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

I got tagged :-)

Seema is my blog friend from Horizon, a very high energy gal and a young mother, who tagged me to these questions that she has for some of her "good" friends ( I hope you have not missed the word within quotes).  Seema, this is the first time I am ever getting tagged.  I am only answering your questions here and not the others and there goes my answers. 

Thank you Seema, I enjoyed going back to some of my memories.

1) What is your favorite word or phrase?

Love you

2) What holiday makes you sad?
How can holidays make you sad?

3) What is the most cheekiest thing you have done till date?
I got to admit that I haven’t done too many cheeky stuff, but here is one – on a day that I was too bored to listen to my friend, after college, while sitting in the last seat of a metro bus, I looked squarely at a pillion rider on a motorbike, parallel to my bus ( which were all moving) and winked. Before I could be content and Smug with the cheap thrill, I realized there was a traffic jam and pillion rider was saying something to the rider, got off the bike and was walking towards my bus. My heart in mouth, I wished the bus would swallow me – he came around climbed the first step, second step, third step and stood there. It must have been the fear and sheepishness on my face, he just got off the bus came around to the window where I was sitting and said “got scared eh! Don’t worry” with the largest grin I have ever seen.

4) What is the last meal that you made for yourself?
Boiled eggs and steamed banana ( Nendhra pazham puzhungiyathu )

5) What was your best birthday ? Why?
My 25th birthday, the one that I celebrated first after my marriage. Joe was in Ooty for a review meet from office and was not supposed to return till the next day. He sent me gifts through courier and in the evening when I reached home, I saw him there (back on special permission), the house decorated for my birthday the cake ready and I thought that was nice a surprise. A little later, my parents and joe’s cousins joined the party. That was a really memorable one.

6) What would you do if you won the lottery?
Faint first and will go crazy later.:-)

7) If you had a warning label, what would urs say?
Chatterbox – listen at your own peril.

8) Have you ever got sweet revenge on someone?
Sweet surprises no revenges.

9) Who was your first best friend?
In the true sense of it, ML was my first best friend. She was my classmate from Std VI and we continued till std XII and then lost touch completely. We found each other again later through FB. I was so touched that she still has a handmade birthday card that I presented her in std VII or VIII. I have written a post about that here

10) What is the most scariest thing you have ever done?
Crossing a Burma bridge. It shook the life out of me. Realized I had a fear for heights.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

With due apologies

I put that title in there and I realised I first owe an apology to my dear readers for being such an inconsistent blogger. :-(

The original apology was intended to the parishoners (people) who sit near me in our church. As usual I was singing loudly and saying all my prayers as loud as I can :-) My son was very upset about the fact that one of his favorite star Paul Walker had passed away and was not into any of his antics that he would do, when he hears me sing. He later told me he prayed for Paul Walker’s soul, which made my heart swell in pride, for I felt that was a good sign of bringing him up in right Christian values. ( ok atleast one !)

So after the Sunday mass, as we were talking to our friends and acquaintances, we had someone come out of the blue and loudly call Joe’s name and my otherwise composed hubby dear going gaga over his long lost friend from his first organisation. They both were completely unaware of any of us around for a couple of minutes, having found each other after some 15 years or so. That’s when J realized that D and I were watching him with amusement and he introduced us to his friend. And this friend whom I have never met, went on and said this, which kind of put me in complete disbelief – he said, yeah I noticed that she sings beautifully and I could hear her so well. These days people hesitate to sing and pray loudly, and I was really impressed that she was doing it. This friend was obviously sitting in the pews ahead of us. Through the corner of my eyets I could see J, looking a bit surprised himself and D trying to compress a smile.

I quitely took in that compliment, got back to my senses and told him, yeah in the church I don’t care that I cannot sing, coz’ it just between me and the lord. And silently apologized to all others who were around me yesterday.

Trust me, I cannot sing for my life and this is first time I ever got a compliment for singing :-) :-)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Going Gaga over friendships.

This post is dedicated to my good friend N, from Relections ( her humourous ways of accounting day to day happenings will keep you hooked to her writing for sure) - It is her gentle reprimand ( BTW, you want to call that gentle? I literally can see her hands on hips and nose in the air, saying that comment, especially the words huh, huh) that made me come up with this post. If you want to read that comment you will have to go here and read the last comment there by N.

But Nancy, you will not know what difference that comment made to me. I felt so good that there was one soul who wanted me to write. And you know what? this comment came when I was physically and emotionally down. A simple ear problem, that led me to the ENT Surgeon, who with all her gentleness tried putting the scalpel, forceps, water jet and suction in and out of my ear to clear my ear problem – can you believe I had to go for four sittings to get all the damn ear wax cleared. The only other option was to surgically remove it under General anesthesia, which was not an option. Two weeks of pain, anxiety and horror ( due to the pain), and immediately a bout of Viral fever for a week and then a relapse of the same Viral after a week. I started speaking about my funeral plans with Joe, who thought I lost my mind. The large doses of painkillers and antibiotics was giving me Insomnia, making me feel creepy in the nights. Ok these are all not excuses, but it was during such a time, I got this comment and now, it is as though I have gotten well all of a sudden. So Nancy, this post as I said is a tribute to your prodding .:-)

Then there was Rekha, from Balancing Act, We have been interacting over the comment section of our blogs, I was so drawn to some of her intense poems and there we were exchanging mail ids, writing to each other and Rekha gave me her number.  I wanted to surprise her and called her on the pretext of offering her a bank loan or something like that and she was a smart one, somehow figured out it was me and we hit it off, like a house on fire. There were so many coincidences in our life, at one point it was getting too hard for both of us to believe. My best memories of Kerala and hers were from almost the same place, we were in sync with each other on many other stuff, and we were talking to each other as if we had known each other for a long time. That warm fuzzy feeling of a good friend comes to me whenever I think of Rekha. Feel lucky to have found you, Rekha dear.

Since I am celebrating my friends, I cannot miss out on a stalwart, who is close to my heart. Ramesh from Business Musings, is a great thinker, with business insights that goes beyond my comprehension, and I truly admire him for what he is. I cannot even fathom the depth of his knowledge in the business world. Such an imminent person, never misses to comment on my blog every time I put up a post, however irrelevant or silly. Ramesh, I did ask for your picture once and immediately after posting the comment in your blog, I googled and got you. Now I have a face to your name. Thank you Ramesh for being you. :-)

Dan is one of my long time friends from the first organisation I started my career in. We lost touch in between and got back to each other after an interval of some 6 – 7 years. He calls me regularly, atleast once a week and most often than not, he is the caller and a shameless woman that I am, never return his calls, in case I miss them. Dan would call me again after a few days, and start the call with a couple of cuss words and I allow him to pour his heart out… The last one and half months there were countless calls of his that I missed, that he really was worried. Once he messaged me saying why the hell don’t you atleast message me back and say if all is well? I am truly blessed to have him as a friend and I know I can depend on as the saying goes – a friend in need is a friend indeed. I truly wish I can be a good friend to him, just the way he is to me. He is in the UK for a few weeks now and wanted to pass on the message to me, since he may not call me from there and I as usual, was not picking his calls, and he messaged me that he is travelled that weekend. The next day he promptly called me and asked me if I had got the message and also told there is no point in talking to me about phone etiquettes. I know I take him for granted, don’t we all take the ones who are really close to us that way?

How can I miss out on Petula – she is my pillar of support. Couldn’t answer many of her calls that she dropped in home one of the days to check in on me. It was a working day and I was getting ready to go to office, that she ended up making breakfast for me. Pets has always been on the plumpier side and had a bone of contention that I am thinner than her. She came in and looked at me and said “Woman, you got to eat well and have some flesh around you, to make yourself strong like me. It does not pay well to look slim and thin” inbetween bouts of laughter and ended it with a wink. Love her for being the mother hen to me even today. :-)

As I put this down here, I feel blessed to have these wonderful people in my life – Nothing wrong in going GaGa over them. Don’t you agree?

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Once more !!!

I must have been 7 or may be 8 or a year more… not definitely more than that. And I distinctly remember the taste. I had never seen that big a chocolate till then. That chocolate was melting in the mouth. And can you believe I couldn’t eat one fully. Though I liked it, I very unwillingly gave the remaining to my brother to eat. By the time, I ate three fourths of it, I was becoming sick of all that sweetness. Strange I remember how I was lying down with my legs on the side stand of our cot, even today.

It was Cadburys dairy milk bar – I didn’t know the name of it, then.

And they were brought to us by my Uncle, my moms brother. We had two uncles and this was the older one from Bangalore. He was a man of few words and we were actually a little scared of him. Whenever he came home, ( be it to chennai or to Kerala, he made sure he visited when we were spending holidays in our maternal home), he brought large cartons of fruits and lots and lots of chocolates.

There was another memory associated with him. I remember he used to bring a bundle of change and we children were allowed to take as much change we could with our hands. Cousins of my age, who used to spend our holidays with, then, fought with each other lovingly, to grab as much as we can, ( which anyway later went to our mothers, as there was no concept of pocket money )

All these memories came flooding to my mind when I was again at my maternal home couple of weeks back. These were memories stashed away in some corner of the mind and I almost didn’t know they even existed.

When I saw him lying there, in the same place, where Ammama was lying, just 10 months back, it all came back from nowhere just to haunt me for having forgotten them all these years. Weird.

All I can do now is Pray for his soul to rest in peace. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

The simple Graffiti man of Chennai

It was a text from a close friend who is also an HR head in a non-IT corporate that brought up this barrage of memories about a particular sight that we used to often subconsciously ignore, because we have seen it so many times on almost every free square inch wall of Chennai.

This was the exact text – "Hey hi, Sorry to text so late… Can you pls share any contact for organizing kids events at corporate shows". This obviously was a late night text and I was dead tired, as I was returning home after yet another shopping parade for furnishing at home. This text brought a smile to my face – this friend who texted me was my first boss in the organisation I had started my career first and is a friend, philosopher, guide kind of person and one strong member in my circle of “girl friends”. The number of escapades and the fun we have had together in the organisation we worked next ( oh yes, we worked together subsequently in yet another organisation too, for almost 13 years) is countless.

Infact, the 100th post was dedicated to my “Gurl friends” and you can read it here . I honestly feel this was the most underrated post of mine. ;-(

Dragging myself back to the current post – this message as I was telling you brought this smile because I remembered a name out of the blue and I immediately messaged her back and this was my reply.

P James Magic Show

And we had a great laugh together. Oh not P James and me, I shared the laughter with my good ol'friend.

It was one such kids event that this friend in discussion and I were organizing in our earlier organisation, for the children of employees somewhere in 2003. We couldn’t find a person who could entertain the kids and we actually called P James Magic Show.

I have very clear memories of two things that he brought with him – an undersized coat that he wore during the magic show which had accumulated dust from half a century and a barely alive snake, that even I was not scared of it. The magic show itself was kind of mediocre, for corporate standards, but it definitely entertained the little ones. I remember discussing about helping this guy with more contacts from our corporate friends, he seemed to live in a state of penury with a large family, but I do not remember what we did for him. I remember he was an educated chap, but chose this profession that was kind of ancestral – his father and grand father were magicians. He also told us how he goes around Chennai city in the night, on a bicycle and paints the graffiti himself without any help.

If you have ever lived in Chennai, probably a few years back, you wouldn’t have missed this graffiti of P James magic show along with a phone number on the walls of Chennai. This guy believes in marketing by spamming on the walls of chennai. It was difficult to miss these stuff then on the walls, junction boxes and literally everywhere. I was surprised to see a Wikipedia link to P James Magic Show, that you can see here. Having seen and interacted with this guy, its so amazing to see the crude kind of hard work he puts in to manage his living. And in a way, created one of the sights and memories of Chennai for some hardcore Chennaiites like me.

If you look into the comment section of the posts of  Doing Jalsa Showing Jilpa blog of Krish Ashok, here, who calls himself a humorist and blogger, needless to say he is a very popular blogger, ( and I really like his way of writing), you will find comments, which simply says P James Magic Show. Goes on to show the impact this guy and his marketing technique has had on chennaiites. I am sure that comment is put up there by some mutual fan of P James and Krish Ashok :-)

Wonder what Kennedy aka P James is doing right now.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Laughter – the best medicine.

I am sure we all agree laughter is the best medicine. But the time and place has to be definitely appropriate otherwise the one who is laughing will make a fool of oneself.

Have I told you before, that I rarely miss my Sunday Mass? There was a time when I used to attend daily mass, but for whatever reasons, laziness being the best of all reasons, I have not been able to continue the practice.

A little note to those who do not know about a Mass  is all about – A holy Mass is a religious practice as ancient as the catholic church itself, that I belong to, and is the central act of worship for us. It generally lasts for an hour or so, and includes bible readings, sermon and a communion service lead by a Priest or a deacon. According to the church a Sunday mass is an obligation that every Christian has to fulfill and being raised by staunch catholic parents, I have till date relentlessly followed this practice of not missing a Sunday mass. Of course, I have missed some Sunday masses when I was sick or lets say if I was travelling, but otherwise it is a strict no-no, not just out of practice, but because of the energy and strength I derive out of a mass. A Sunday mass, keeps me going through the week and if I do not attend one, there is this big feeling of guilt that consumes me for that entire week.

The mass is also the time, when I do not attend any calls. To me, it is the time I am with the creator and that time is dedicated only for my LORD. Most of the times, I leave the mobile in the car and never bother to even take it to the church.

Luckily for me, J also has similar backgrounds, and would never miss a Sunday mass, but going for daily mass is definitely not his cup of tea. Oh, and there is yet another thing, Both Dennu and Joe, hate sitting for a mass in the front rows – I am yet to find out the reason for this but they warn me not to sit in the front rows. Given a choice D would be a back bencher, but J would love to be in the centre and become one in the crowd. I prefer to be seated in the front ( not exactly the first row, but definitely in the first five rows). Joe tells D, If you allow your mother she will  be on the altar with the priest :-) which is truly an exaggeration.

The Mass also involves a fair amount of singing songs, primarily by the church choir, and the laity sing along during the service. I am familiar with mass in the latin and Syrian rites ( they are different forms of mass) and well versed in English, Malayalam and Tamil forms of mass. Oh I do actively sing along in the mass. Not that I am good at singing, infact, I am not even a great bathroom singer, but Church is always an exception. Its not to evaluate my singing, but I sing for my Lord and I don’t care who is next to me, because in a church it is just between me and the Lord.

J puts up with my singing, because I give him all these fundas and he is kind of sold on them. Dennu sometimes rolls his eyes and keeps laughing at me, but over the years I have learnt to  ignore his tactics. And he does not get any support in this matter from his dad dearest.

So, this Sunday as usual, I was belting it out in the church. Dennu was next to me, probably rolling his eyes, which I didn’t realize. Towards the end of the mass, during the final song, he came close to me, and whispered, looking at the crucifix on the altar – Ma, he is already bleeding, and if you sing anymore you will find him missing on the cross !!

Took me a few seconds to realize what he was saying and the context, but after that I could not sing ‘coz I was laughing uncontrollably, despite the stares from J :-)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Some trivial stuff

Eat, Pray, Love- the beautiful book by Elizabeth Gilbert has been going with me for a long time now, wherever I went. My son, commented the other day, how long have been reading this book ma? I took an atrocious 3 months or more to complete this book. I enjoyed this book and loved the way Liz could just put down all about her without inhibitions for the whole world to see. This book is an extensive, i guess unadulterated account of her very extraordinary journey for more than a year to three different places.

Some day I wish I could do something like her - travelling for my own sake. :-) I still dont know if I would even enjoy that, but I know if I have to travel it would be across Europe, a back packing trip.

What struck me most was this Italian term Attraversiamo which means Lets Cross over.

I have been lately struggling with a specific relationship with a long time friend. I know we were drifting apart for some time now, but the question is am I giving in too much to keep that friendship just alive. I am not even able to make out if it is an one sided effort. I find myself at an impasse with this friend.

There seems to be a hundred reasons for me to give up on this person, but am I, the only person looking for that one reason to keep this friendship going? To what level should I give in? I keep telling myself, that I do not expect anything out of this friendship, which to a large extent is true. But when you do not expect anything from a friendship, you dont expect to be hurt either, dont you?

I dont deny the fact that there are some wonderful memories that I cannot afford to forget or be thankful for. and the best part is this person has no clue on how I feel, and that is solely because I dont let this person know - my point is may be I am not comfortable with letting this person know how I feel.

Doesn’t that mean, its not a strong friendship? Doesn’t that mean this relationship is falling apart?

I can fight my gut out with my 'true' friends, and go back with a sheepish grin anytime. or I can just decide not to speak and tell my true friends that, and I can undoubtedly believe, that when I make that one call, after months, my true friend will pick that call, even if its midnight and say ' so your time has come baby?' and go on like there was not a break. My true friends figure out there is something wrong with me when I utter the first word.

True friends are a blessing. I try hard to be that true friend to most of the people I believe are my friends.

I wish I could do the Attraversiamo. To just move on, to get to another place, leave behind some good memories of a happy friendship.

Attraversiamo, my friend - Let us cross over. I dont want to get hurt anymore, or dwell on negativity, just trying to keep an one sided friendship alive.

P.S:

I keep most of my confusions / doubts / fears and transitions to myself. Some of them surface in my conversations. Very few come up in my blog.
I would get over this too. :-)  It may take a while longer to get over Liz though!



Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Failures can be sweet too!!!!

This little incident happened  few months back ( took some time to make it to the blog ) - it only goes to show that this failure has been a memorable one.

It was yet another casual weekend at the apartment that I used to live in.  It simply means I am caught up with my OCD ( Obessive Compulsive Disorder) of cleaning and organising my home.  Joe tells me, the only thing you do not do during the cleaning spree is to lick the walls clean.  ha ha ha.  I am glad he notices a cleam home (note to self - you started digressing again)

This apartment where we used to live then,  is a condo, where most of the residents are young parents with children mostly in the age group below 13 or 14.  The best part of living there was when I come back from work, I get flocked by an army of little girls with whom I chat for  a while.  Most of these girls are 9 - 12, with such beautiful names like Kaniskha, Shruthi, Payal, Neelambari ( Neelu in short) to name a few. 

Before going any further, have I ever told you all I love little girls, in any form or shape or size?  My heart goes wobbly when I see them smile and I go completely berserk when I see them chatter.  Maybe, because I do not have a daughter, I go a bit overboard when I see a girl.  I am blessed with a niece last March and I totally adore her.

So, as I said when I get back from work these little girls who are generally chatting up or praticing some dance sequences in the basement car park, adjacent to the Park in the apartment come running upto me, waving their hands with a big smile, and most of these kids have a very good dress sense, Just love the way they dress and walk around - little girls in micro mini shorts are the best.  they call me  aunty and they have all kinds of questions for me, what have I done to my hair to make it straight, where do I buy my clothes to why I am still wearing the ID card - they have even asked me where I have taken the pic on my ID card.

I love that chatter - typical of girls.  Its like the tinkle of the glass bangles, like the pitter patter rain on a tin roof - pleasant to the ears - oh how i miss it these days.  I plan to go one day in the evening to the apartment, just to meet my young friends.

There are also days that I am their referee in their little arguments, some days I got to choose the best step of their dance for their programmes at school, and sometimes I teach them little games that they can play.  Whatever, I used to value this time so dearly.

One of the weekends, during my usual cleaning spree I came out of the apartment to put the garbage in the common bin which is on our floors' lobby overlooking an atrium.  Thats when i saw these little girls outside my door in a huddled discussion and the moment they saw me, they came around and wanted to know what  Iam upto and I had to explain.  I was checking with them on what they were upto ( curious me, becuase all of them had a Dupatta  ( long piece of cloth, worn on top of an indian dress, Churidhar ) in their hands).  and they were beaming to me saying we are practicing for a fashion show, a ramp walk.

And I caught myself asking them, can I join you?  I was in my homeclothes, a denim Capri and a casual t-shirt - and got a few supressed  smiles from the little girls and they said okay aunty magnanimously.  So far so good.  Now one of my littlest of the girls, Neelambari told me you have to get a duppatta, and I was feeling a little lazy and I said my MIL will not give me one, which brought out a big chuckle among all these little ones.

So the judge for the show, I figured out it was Neelambari, youngest of the lot and I guess aged 7 years, gave us the rules, we have to come one by one to her starting from the stairs above our floor, and stairs go round this atrium, and Neelu sits in a chair that overlooks these stairs and when we come in front of her, we have to pose like the gilrs on these shows, and go back to where we started and she will give us marks.  - They were really professional.

So all of us went up to the fourth floor landing and the little ones started dressing up with the dupattas, they draped it on top their dress and they looked so pretty.  Some were so creative, they put a knot with their dupattas on their head, and the remaining fabric was held in their hands, some tucked in around their hips and we practiced how to walk, and finally we stood in height order. 

Obviously I was the tallest, and was the last one in the line - and they  began walking down with a flamboyance that beats a real model, doing the right shakes and steps, fabric fluttering in air ( all others except me), with  nose up in the air, and paused in front of our juvenille judge for a brief moment and walked back up.  I was totally enjoying this.

So our ramp-walk was over - now to the marks.

Neelu asked us all to come down : and announced her judgement.  All of you did well - she said.  So Kanishka asked - how many marks for me - Neelambari says 100 marks.  Next was Keerthana - she gets 100 marks too. two more girls, Payal and Subha gets 100 marks.  I go with a fluttering heart to Neelu and ask for my marks - and Neelu says, Aunty you didnt follow the dress code and so you get only 60 marks, with all the seriousness a 7 year old could muster.

ohhhhhhh.......  I faked a sulk and everyone came to me and said next time, we will get you a dupattah...!!

There are many times this incident has brought a smile across my face and while I thought successes gave me an high, getting acceptance into an innocent group could also give that same feeling and yes, this was a sweet failure, that I will cherish. 

Dedicated to my leetle gurl gang at GT Cholayil Residency. :-)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Its just a number folks!!!

43 is just a mere number not a mile stone. Isnt it an ugly number too?  I hate the very look of it. I don’t like it even when it is reversed to 34.

Why do I have to write about this number today?  Because, I am
                                              
Honestly where have all the years gone?
But wait,

Dont I?  and you better say "YES" cos today is my happy birthday :-)

I also realised today that,

Jokes apart,  I am looking back smugly thanking the whole universe for all the experiences that made me stronger and a better person, for a wonderful family, host of friends who surround me with love, my new found fellow bloggers ( this is the first year I am celebrating it with you all), sanity and contentment in life.

That reminds me,



Hey have you heard this saying, a diplomat is one who remembers a woman’s birthday but not her age. I hope the readers of my blog are diplomats. :-)

and incidentally,



Thursday, May 09, 2013

Yay Yay Yay

Folks, I got to tell you all something..

Actually two.  but I will save the first one for yet another post, and tell you the second one first.
The Std XII results for Tamilnadu Board examinations was announced today  and I  hope you  remember the SOS that I  had put up here in my blog earlier.

I remember vividly that many of you wished me luck and also added that I needed it more than Sonny boy.  You know what,  you were right.

To tell you the impact of the announcement that i am about to make,  I need to give you a little background on how my sonny boy approaches exams and education in general.

Maybe I should  make it crisp - otherwise I will make it a painful read for all of you.

1  All these years in my sons life, he has never come across a difficult examination - every examination is easy and he has done it well.  Period. 

2  Results are for the parents and not for him.  He will do what best he can do and rest is for the parents to figure out and bother.

3  When he was in lower classes, and later when he was in the higher grades too, he would ONLY attempt the one word answers like fill-ups, match the following, one word answers etc, that demands just one word as an answer.  anything beyond that is not worth his efforts.  ( Mind you, even if he knows the answers, they will not be attempted.)  And for the question how have you done your exams, the answer is in point no 1.

4.  He could never understand for a very long time, why I make a big fuss about his marks, when he has passed in an examination.  for example, if i ask him Dennu, you got only 70% in Math, the typical answer is yeah Ma, but the pass mark if 40% and I have got so much more than that. 

5.  An answer sheet does not need margins, date, question numbers, why it need not even need the name or roll number.  It is the teachers job to fill those in.  Atleast one of these will miss out in every answer paper.
6.  The most  important thing  in an exam is how fast you complete the paper.  Nothing else matters.  oh.. while we are at this, the remaining time of the exam should be used to draw really cute cartoons and decorate the question paper.

7.  Once the exam is written, it is over and done.  No discussions about it at home.  Point no 1 is valid and no more questions on that.  Its out of our hands ma, so why discuss about it.

8.  He can choose not to write answers to complete sections in a question paper for no obvious reasons, because he does not feel like answering them.

9.  Reactions to answer sheets bearing 20/20 or 10/50  or 5/ 25   in any subject is similar.  All excitement / frsutation is for Mamma.  Dennu you got full marks in Math today ( Mamma digging his bag) will bring a distant look and yeah, so what? kind of look.  An yelling saying "  What sort of a mark is this Dennu? " will bring the same earlier reaction.  His general policy is Never to be excited in life about marks.

10.  Like most normal mothers, I would ask, Dennu, how much did Abhi get? how much did Rohan / Sam / Eugene get?  and the typical answer would be, Ma, I dont peep into others marksheets.  I only know my marks.  that will not deter me from asking this question again to him during the next examination.

ps:

a. Handwriting just does not matter wherever it is written.  I normally call his HW a fowlscratch.
b. For that matter spellings do not matter either.
c. Just the day before his examinations, most of his books do a walkout from his bag. 

You get the general drift to the attitude of my  little one?

So I had to take leave for a month and a half, and sit with him doing absolutely nothing other than make him study for his 10th Standard board exams.  He managed to get 79 percentile and he was very happy with it.

For the higher education, we knew this is not going to work and so we ( read it as most willy parents)applied a different strategy.  We shifted his school  where the new school (aka Jail) will do the job of the parents.  We only had to feed the school with cash.  the rest would be taken care. 

So when the new school commenced, for std XI, I had strict orders from hubby dear not to get invovled in his studies. No more teaching him at home - he has to fend for himself and teaching him bascially is not a scalable model. I agreed to that point, knowing my limitations

Initial couple of months was an emotional struggle for all of us.  New, impersonal and a stricter enviroment is not too kind with a teeenager.  Acceptance does not come easy.  The students have their territorial issues - new gangs, new friendships.  I could see him wilt some days.  All could do was to silently pray for him and talk to him even when he didnt want to.  He used to clam up and breaking into that silence without aggravating the situation was difficult for me.
We had to shift our house cos the distance to the new school was taking a toll on the little one. Within weeks we were into a new house. That made things even worser.  He lost teh neighborhood freinds too.  The school didnt make it easier either for him.   Their regime was tough.We had to find new ways of entertaining him without going overboard.

He would plead to us to put  him back to his old school  where he had his "real" freinds.  We allowed him to visit the old school and freinds once in a while.  We took turns to talk to him and keep him motivated.  Most conversations will end up with - You will never know how I feel.

J & I had debates on whether we are doing the right thing.

I saw the difference in the first six months.  For the second PTA, I couldnt recognise my sons answer sheet bunch.  I took one look at an Immaculately written answer sheet complete with name, roll no, date, neat margins ( that too in two colours) and said no, this is not my sons papers.  The poor teacher kept it back and had to do a good search and again looked at this bunch and said Ma'am but this is your sons papers.  Triust me I teared up  just looking at his answer sheets.  With special permission from the class teacher, I took it home to show it to hubby dear and on the way back home checked it a couple of times again to confirm if it is my sons papers.
 
From the time he came into Std XII things started to change.  He had a gang of his own.  Talks and conversations about earlier school lessened.  He started to study on his own.  Didnt want me to stay up late with him. He started discussing about what he wants to do in future.  he spoke about his friends' ambitions  and plans.
 
But, you see, we had 10 plus years of his attitude stuck on to us.  We, the parents, were sceptical.  Not too sure if he will get decent marks. 
 
Today, as I said earlier, Sonny boys results were announced.
 
He has scored 85% - making us gasp for breath in disbelief.
 
From morning Joe and I have been talking to each other atleast 10 times.  ( oh we never do that - once in between in a day would be the max). We are excited.  There are scores of phonecalls congratulating Dennu and ofcourse, us.  I am the happiest woman today - knowing fully well, that 85% is not great marks considering todays competitive world.  But this is GREAT marks for me. for Dennu. He has toiled on his own for this.  Thank God for Big mercies in life.
 
BTW, Sonny boy as usual is a cool cat. Complete serenity on his face.  A smile.  that got a little larger. thats it. After looking at all his marks for around 5 mins, with no excitement and no noise,  back to his pastime - reading.  
 
Should check if this guy is into Yoga or Meditation.

ps 2:

Thank you  all for your prayers and well wishes.  Without it I beleive nothing can happen. 

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Six Months!!!

I close my eyes every evening for prayer
Your face comes to my mind
especially when I say the prayers for dear departed
I never miss to tell God about you.

The pain is still fresh, the wounds are raw
and I miss you ever more each passing day
The lump in my throat, when I think of you
does seem to choke me somedays.

You loom large in my best childhood memories
and I feel not many can fathom my loss
the love is deep, the yearning to hold your hands even more
but with you, these are buried.

Why didnt I spend a week with you,
during all those summers when you were alone?
What stopped me from pushing everything else
and coming to you to watch  that wondrous glee?

I hate to step into that house, that I once loved dearly.
Coz when I run in screaming  "Ammmaame..."
you will not be there to ask me " Ethiyo?"
and I wont have anyone to hug and kiss.

Its six months today that you left us
and when I reach there, an empty house will welcome me
but I have a different place to go now.
I will see you at your new home - your Cemetry.

Love you Ammama,
Vincy.

Friday, April 26, 2013

17

Seventeen!!!

A sweet number.  Oh, not  my age.  Though I feel that way most of the time.  And I do sometimes behave like one.

At 5.25 am, 17 years ago, a nurse put a wet and squishy baby on my chest. I couldnt react.  I didnt even ask what baby it was.  No, I wasnt overcome with emotion to see my little one.  Infact, the nurse said to another one, please take that baby from her, she might push it away.  Actually i was in so much pain and was compeltely drained out to even look at the baby.

I remember swooning soon after that.

So it was actually a couple of hours later, when my dad came to me and said you have been sleeping (?) for a long time.  The baby is crying.  Thats when I looked at a wrinked, reddish and a cute little bundle wailing away and the glee on my mothers face told me it was a boy. 

I remember the 25year old girl transform into a woman, a mother, the time she set her eyes on this little one. and that transformational journey continues and I am so proud of being your mother Dennu.

It was this day, 17 years ago, yet another mother was born.

It was this day, this little one, taught me what parenting means,

It was from this day, I understood what my parents have done for me and what pains they have gone through for my sake.

It was this day, I realised nothing else matters in the world to me and my priority in life was just him.

and to this day, my journey has been great.

It is your birthday today Dennu, and  the day I was reborn as a mother 17 years back.
Love you baby and may the Lord watch over you throughout your life and while is  making you a better human being, let him also make me a better mother !!

Happy Birthday !!!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

a meek SOS to you all

I realized that I have been wearing my heart on my sleeve especially on my blog – oh, it doesn’t hurt anyway. I only get encouraged, consoled, comforted with all the good words you folks got to say, and I may not say this as many times, but I am only too grateful to you all for the interactions, the love and the budding friendships that are emerging in this virtual space.

Ah.. I know I am getting all emotional, sentimental, lost and what shall I say.. in Doldrums? Okay, between you, me and the bedpost, let me tell you a secret.. I guess I am losing my marbles. ( If J was reading this, he would only exclaim, I am not surprised, I knew that 18 years ago )

So, why am I beating around the bush. Let me cut all the crap out and tell you all as to why I act so funny ( and this was the main reason, I dare not write a post for some time now).

Okay folks, you know what? My little one ( well, no so little though ) is writing his board examinations. The examinations are going on right now.. Yes, his TWELFTH GRADE BOARD EXAMINATIONS!. And there are a few, okay a lot of butterflies in my stomach and I am all knotted and twisted – truth be told all worried. There is no reason to be, as Sonny boy, unlike his 10th standard exams is doing a lot of stuff on his own and is focused. But you know, I am a Mommy and I guess mommies (some of us atleast) are made this way.

And I stepped into the blog today to tell you all to say a little prayer for us, yeah US. For Sonny boy to write his exams well and a l’il prayer for me, so that I don’t lose any more of my ..er.. em.. marbles :-) :-)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Longest hour


6th February 2013.

It was yet another ordinary Wednesday. Except that J came home pretty late from work the previous night and I was half asleep when he reached. Was a bit surprised that J was still sleeping when I woke up as I knew he had an flight to catch early that morning. I woke him gently and asked about his trip and he sleepily said that he trip was cancelled.

Since the slightest sound wakes him, made sure I tip-toed the whole morning when I went anywhere near the bedroom and he woke up only around 8 am. He came to me holding his lower tummy saying I wonder what it is but I seem to have pain here. I was checking about what he ate the previous night suspecting flatulence. Mornings are generally busy with working couples and we didnt have time to discuss about it more and I didnt check either.

While dropping me off at work, I felt his face was different from usual, so I asked him if he was fine. He had a grim look and said it is getting late for him.

Lunch time – I open my lunch box proud of making the lunch without help from J, and wondered if Sonny boy ate the lunch completely. I took a bite and wondered if J liked the Stir-fry I made. It was almost as if he read my thoughts – my mobile rang and it was him.

The way he called me, I knew something was amiss. There was a pause – so I asked him if he was okay. No answer. He asked me if I was free, and I told him I was having lunch, but tell me, I said, bit more worried. That’s when he said can you come to Adyar, I have terrible stomach pain. a bigger pause.

The world around me blurred. Like you see in movies everything around me was in robotic voice, including his voice over the phone. Where are you? I checked. Malar Hospital, Emergency room. My lunch friend looked at me and asked if everything is fine – I was closing my lunch box and said in hushed tone J is not well I need to go.

J and pain – not to be mentioned in the same lines. If I fuss about a miniscule bruise for a week, he is the type who would bear pain without any fuss at all. And so I know if he says it pains it must be really really intense.

I was still on phone - J who speaks normally in super sonic speed was talking so slowly that I knew he is in terrible pain. I was checking with him if anyone is with him, no answer and I heard the line disconnect.

My workplace is Ambattur (closer to Anna Nagar) and Joe’s workplace is Santhome, two corners of Chennai, roughly around 25 kms. Given the traffic diversions for the metro rail that is coming up it easily takes more than an hour.

I cannot describe to you what I was going through during that travel. I called J’s cousin who is kind of closer to this hospital to reach emergency at Malar. I was so restless. I could not even pray. I counted all the numbers on traffic signals just to distract myself. The events of the last night and the morning was going all over. I brushed every thought aside and kept myself blank. 57, 56, 55, 54, kept counting the numbers that were reducing at every traffic signal. I watched the moving traffic like a zombie. people were fading in and out of my vision.

It took an hour and 15 mins to reach the hospital – The longest one hour of my life thus far.

I ran into the Emergency ward and saw J dosing off. Shirt pulled off the trousers, shoes off. I put my shivering hands over his hair and he opened his eyes – the pain is okay now, he said. By then doctors came with the ultrasound and scan reports. It was a case of kidney stones.

We was on a heavy dose of pain killers. We had to admit him for a day to make sure the dislodged stone is out. J is now back to work and has even resumed his official trips.

I still shudder when I think of that call and that longest one hour of my life. I could only thank god that his official trip was cancelled that day and he made it safely to the hospital ( My brave man walked out of his office and drove on his own and just managed to bring the car to an halt in front of the hospital and staggered into the emergency where he could not even lie down due the intensity of the pain. While driving more than a couple of times he wondered if he will pass out.)

I truly do not know how to thank God for guiding us through this day.  Everyday now, we do not miss out on the litte niceities of every day life.  Every single day looks like a big blessing.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

When did you grow up?


School bag slinging on your shoulders
You call out “Bye ma, Bye Pa”, every busy morning
I feel my heart walk out of me
Behind you, to make sure you are protected.

I see time slipping through my fingers
My little one stands taller than me today
A fine young man in the making
Like his father, maybe.

Your smiles welcomed me home as a toddler
Hugs and kisses and the need to be in my arms
Talking dime a dozen and wrecking havoc
With all the hyperactivity of a dynamite

It broke my heart to let you sleep alone
And it shattered me when you told nightmares
About the dark man in the corner of your room
Dragging your Pink Panther along in the middle of the night.

Homework, projects, studies, exams
Tennis, swimming, Karate, Cricket, falls from bicycles
Cuts, bruises, mischief, friends, crushes and our little conversations
I didn’t realize the years roll by

Today, I melt at the sight of you help me carry heavy stuff
Or when you put a protective hand around when we walk together
And when you ask, you want any help, Mamma?
Do you see me momentarily frozen in time?

In a couple of months’ from now
You will grow out of that school uniform too
And I am still wondering stupidly
When did you grow out of my arms?

Vincy Joseph

Friday, February 01, 2013

Mindless Prattle

I cannot perceive with any certainty
The frequency of your calls
that you make erratically, once in a blue moon

While I want to squeal in childlike happiness, I act casual
As if its just another random call
Although, its the most important one of all

Your voice is invariably calming
Sound of your laughter, my best medicine
And I value you immensely.

I hang on to every word, every sound
Like a rappeller hanging onto the rope
For it makes the difference of his life and death

I am heedful of every word that escapes me
For you are one who’d catch the simplest nuance
And have the ability to get under my skin

It’s all in the mind
And I end up cherishing
Even the silence in our conversations.

In spite of all precautions,

I plunge into mindless prattle
Capitulating to my vulnerability
and you catch me at unexpected moments

Yet, I may not utter any of these in our conversations
Lest I may unleash the sprite in you
And your devilry would be too complex for me to handle.

Vincy Joseph

p.s This poem is dedicated to a close friend, who is a busy entreprenuer, a globe trotter, someone who is a online social networking recluse.  My telepathy with this friend, surprises me to no end. :-)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Its that time of the year - our Anniversary !!!

This is what we told each other today, when we woke up.
18 Years!!! That’s half my age ( well, I missed an almost there ). Yet, Unbelievable.

When we started we never thought we will make it to this many years. Now that we survived the marriage without killing each other all these years ( yeah that was a possibility just with the remote of the telly), we are determined to make it as difficult as possible for each other – oh that does not deter us from living together for another 18 more years or more.

You know what, how ever hard I tried, I could not come up with a mushy mushy post today, but the fact is that 18 years still baffles both of us equally.

Okay Jokes apart, please observe a two minute silence today at 11.00 am.

And what did you think? That silence was for our 18th Wedding Anniversary?

No way. You got me wrong folks. Today is Martyrs day and the two minute silence was for our “Father of the nation”. To know more about Martyrs Day in India, go here..

I am a little disoriented with all the excitement of 18 year completion. Here is a man who grew a beard just because his wife loved men with beards, gritted his teeth and smiled when his wife cut her hair short, when he actually likes long hair, makes sure she is never alone in the kitchen, puts up with her channel surfing and watches all the crap that she watches patiently, allowed her to dream and made sure she is independent and a lot more.

I feel blessed today.  I am sure he feels the same too.  :-)