Thursday, December 31, 2015

Bahubali


No.  I do not write movie reviews on my blog.
This is yet another real life incident, just that, it was larger than anything that I have seen thus far in life.
But before that, as usual the abandoning of my blog space was not intentional.  Just a result of my utter laziness measuring the size of a dinosaur.  A few posts are in draft version still and never saw the light of their day.  Let me not cry over unwritten posts now.

2nd December 2015 began unusually with many wake up calls in many forms.  I had few calls from my neighbors and lots of noise in the street at 1 am in the midnight.  My neighbors are such lovely people they never do anything crazy like that without a reason.  The call that I picked was that of Priscilla and she informed me about an uninvited guest to our street, the flood waters in Chennai due to heavy rains and opening of Chemparampakkam lake.

It had been a relentlessly rainy day on 1st of December, sheets of water hitting Chennai continuously for more than 24 hours without a break since morning and added to it,  there was no electricity  and we had slept early. After Priscilla’s call, we woke up to a lot of confusion and I just managed to see the water glisten in our street in the darkness from our balcony.  Told J lets quickly move – he gave me that super confident look and said “ No way. The water will not get in to our house”.  That question stoked the wickedness of a typical wife and I gave him the coldest look on a really dark night and asked him, Why? Is the water scared of you?  The Husband in him got the message.
We first took my Mother in law who cannot walk to the first floor and set her up in Dennu’s room. By then the water had touched our Car park and J swung into action.  We moved all our stuff to a 3 feet level carefully balancing everything on top of each other and by around 3.00 am the first drop of water showed its ugly face through the front door.
Panicking, I ran to the altar and told Jesus, I do not deserve any mercy ( I really meant it), but do take care of all of us.  I was sure that water would get in.  Then the water started slowly coming in from both sides,  the kitchen door and the front door. Slowly, Steadily.  Rising to a feet inside the house within an hour.  While moving our stuff to a higher plane I realized it is not going to work as the water would  rise more than we ever imagined. .  I looked at the water now in the hall, bedroom and kitchen  and thought  of all the times I obsessively cleaned this very same floor. I was getting disoriented.
By around 4.30 we had more than 2 and half feet of water inside the house.  And we realized the wooden stuff on which we balanced our stuff was beginning to wobble.  I told J a couple of things then.  The water level is going to rise beyond our expectation.  We need to be prepared for the worst.  J changed his game plan and told Dennu and me to help him take stuff up to the first floor and the rooftop in the second floor.
So, there we were, J taking careful steps in the  water, actually dragging his feet so that he would not slip, ( a marbonite tile and water could be a slippery combo ) and the remaining 3 of us, Dennu, our maid and myself, playing passing the parcel, in the middle of the night, with worried faces.  J was totally in control, instructing us where the stuff should go.
Another hour and the water was at his chest and the fridge began to wobble under the frame of Chest of draws.  That’s when he announced the unthinkable.  I am taking the fridge up.  I honestly thought he was joking. A 265 litre double door fridge bigger than him.  I gave him a very scared look, ( by now I was really worried) and said, J we do not need the fridge.  Let it go.  Your back is more important.
He gave me a huge smile and said, I know your idea.  You have been planning for a new fridge for a long time.  That is not going to happen.  I am bringing this up.  Now I knew this man meant business.  J was calling Dennu, who was as scared as me, if not more, telling J, Pa lets leave the fridge down.  Let it go.
J sternly asked both of us to shut up and just listen to him.  He went on to give ridiculous lessons in physics to Dennu.   This is what he said, Den, look at the inclination of our balustrade, if the fridge gets into the same inclination, and if it can rest on my back with a little push from you, on its behind, we both can get this one up.  Dennu looked so doubtful.  J wasn’t even noticing that.  He secured the fridge with a good rope and he bent down and asked Dennu to get it on his back in the right inclination.  My baby was quivering, yet he just listened.  I saw Joe’s every muscle tremble under the damn weight, the fridge on his back and I was genuinely worried about him. Closing my eyes for a while, hands on my chest and when I opened my eyes, the fridge was in the first floor. I couldn’t bear to see that sight.
Bright red marks on Joe’s hand is a reminder of what he did.  He looked at all of us and said lets sleep now.  By then the water must have risen to 5 and a half feet.  When I looked into the hall that resembled a pool of dirty water, I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. J asked us to get back into our rooms, and sleep. My safest place in the world was threatening me beyond belief. Restless, petrified, sleep evaded all of us.    Heard J waking up, but I didn’t move. I must have dosed for a while.  Woke up within an hour to the lights outside just to realize that the water level had gone up to 8 feet inside the house.  It kept rising very slowly now.
J asked me to come to the rooftop where our swing used to be and I saw a nice kitchen set up.  He got some more stuff from the kitchen, while all of us dosed, removed all other electronic and electrical items, including the water purifiers, my glass paintings  and managed to salvage most of the stuff from the ground floor. I was still reeling at the mental image of J carrying that damn fridge. Unbelievable.
After 20 plus years of marriage, there is always a tinge of contempt, purely bred through familiarity, with your spouse.  That night, I found a new respect for this man.  A man with a strong spine ( literally), completely oriented during adversity,  and most of all, a great role model for Dennu.  My Bahubali. Equally proud of my little Bahubali in the making. J
P.S:
  • Our uninvited guest was with us exactly for a day and left without a trace, only after creating enough damage all around.
  • We didn’t opt for evacuation as we could manage pretty well at home, though we struggled without power. 
  • The flooding had taken away the livelihoods of many people and unimaginable loss to loads of people in Chennai.
  • I am still running the kitchen from the second floor.  Waiting for the ground floor walls to dry up so that we can paint and disinfect the walls.  In spite all the salvaging, we had to throw away a lot of stuff. 
  • The water rose up to 10 feet within our house, missing our first floor roof by a feet or so.  We have to clean every square mm of our house and its frustrating.
  • Having said all this, I am thankful to be alive. I also realize calamities end up being great levelers.
moments more for a new beginning and whole new year to start, I used this space finally after so many months to let go of my worst nightmare of the year.  Let us all,

Surender to what is,
let go of what was, and
have faith in what will be.
New year is on the way.

I wish you all Joy, Love, Laughter and lots of happy moments and memories in the year 2016. God bless.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Mind the Gap!

The nursery Rhyme, "London bridge is falling down” is probably my first encounter with London.  I must have repeated it just like a Parrot without even figuring out what and where London  is. 
 
From there I moved on to Enid Blyton series of Famous five,  during my high school days, I guess. Arthur Conan Doyle through  Sherlock Holmes, Charles Dickens stories influenced my fantasy those days quite a bit.  The Boarding schools, Crisp Whites, the large red and black checked clothing, cobbled stone walkways, pretty flowers that are bright and colourful, serene settings, picture postcard set row houses, fire places, birds, cats, dogs, cattles, horses, green fields, Castles, Guards, trains, boots, large umbrellas and much more that I conjured up in my mind to get the settings of these stories that I read.  
 
Ahh how did I miss River Thames.  I remember sitting in my English class and Miss. Pearly explaining about Thames. And not to mention the poems and poets that I have been through with the help of Sr.Concordia, yet another English teacher. Shakespeare, thou art not forgotten too,
 
It didn’t end there.  I continued my tryst with my fantasizing in college too with Emily Bronte’s, character Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights.  I remember getting good scores in my essays about Wuthering heights and my English Lecturer, Sheela Mathai praising me in front of the class for some great analysis. Barbara Cartlands fiction took me to the days of yore - the kings, queens, Lords and ladies and what not.  I dont remember any title of BC, but I remember i read the entire collection of 24 novels that was available in my college library then adn waited dreamily for my Knight in Shining armor.  How silly could I have been? ( Though I found one later, just that he happened to come on an Ind-Suzuki, and called it, his first wife :-) )
 
Today in the Queens realm, okay pretty close there. next to Windsor Castle,  as I write this post, humbled looking at all those fantasies for real.  My girlhood comes back to me - fully blown :-)
 
I am in love with this place.
 
 
Oh the term “Mind the Gap“ assaults me with its complete meaning.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

An ultimate Compliment

This weekend the only angel amongst the 3 musketeers of grandchildren of my family was celebrating her second birthday. 

Nidhi is my niece and the boys in the family, ( read my son and my twin nephews) adore her like all the elders in the family. She is the youngest, the most cuddled, hugged and pampered little one at present in the family and has the sweetest voice in this whole world.  So we there in Bangalore to celebrate her 2nd  birthday.  

Amidst all the fun and frolic, there were so many pictures being taken in everyones mobile so J and I were posing for pictures and pulled our son Dennu in.  Since it was late evening and the light was not adequate, our cameras were not doing justice to our looks and we asked Dennu to pass on his mobile, as he has a better camera on his mobile than both of us. 

And there he went..

Please don’t take our picture together in my mobile pleaaaaasssssssssseeee….. he begged to the one to whom his mobile went.  

So this person asks him, Why Dennu?  

And he says, you know what, an idiot in my college looks at my mom’s picture and asked me if it was my sister and that blind guy is looking at all three of us and says is that your sisters’ husband?  I have a lot of dumb folks with me in college and I cannot stand  such stupid comments.  

J and I went awestruck and smiled at each other in utter disbelief:-)  

Isn’t that an ultimate compliment that slipped through Dennu?

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

With age comes wisdom. Or does it?

1st March - This day has become a special day in my life after marriage – J graced mother earth on this day some 4 and a half decades back.  I  am being very tactful in not revealing his age here – see I am a good wife,  but you guys can be sure he is older than me ** wicked grin**.  Isn’t it the Indian norm in arranged marriages?  Have no doubt and read on.

Anyways, he is not the one to go gaga on his birthdays, like me.  Its just another day for him. In fact, he says he started celebrating his birthdays at home only after our marriage.  I have this great inability to keep my cool on such special days and would have prepared for surprises and would be totally overexcited.

This being a Sunday, the mass was at 9.00 so we do not have to miss our morning walk.  Oh, have I told you that he never allows me to go alone for the morning walk after that accident, if he is in town? I was being extra nice to him since it was his birthday, and truly wanted him to feel special.

So we were walking and we crossed the lily pond, which is my favorite spot in the walking track.  I have many times mentioned to J, that this pond looks lovely and the lilies are so cute and explicitly told him a couple of times that I wanted a lily from the pond.  The first time he gave me that look which said “Are you crazy?”, the second time my pragmatic hubby told me very openly, I should be insane to jump and do all the stuff that you ask me to L.  With the dreams of holding a lily shattering right there, I had moved on long ago. I know my man means business and a No is a No.

That Sunday, we took a U turn at our regular spot and walked back  along the pathway, crossing the lily pond again,  me still talking, I do not remember about what.

Out of the blue, J stopped and said “ I think I should try it today”and did something that totally took me by surprise.

Certain emotions needs no words, and will get the pictures do the talking from here on...


















The diamonds that he has bought me fades in front of this water lily. I feel like a new bride on honeymoon :-) :-) My eyes refuse to stop shining and I am over the moon.  


I guess these random acts of love are what makes successful marriages :-)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Post Valentines day Special

( a delayed post - better late than never)
I never thought I will come back to you all with yet another post in a day.  Almost like a blog marathon of sorts.  That reminds me I should try one.  That’s one I am going to add in my “To-do-before-I-die” lists.
I had planned and scheduled to meet my bosom friend Petula on Valentines day. It didn’t happen – I couldn’t make it. Mea culpa – didn’t plan my day well and the letting go part that I was mentioning in the earlier post, was a bit heavy on me.  Anyways, we planned it for the next day and got my son to accompany me, which was real good.
So, the Sunday turned out to be a blockbuster Sunday in more than one way.  We cut the valentine cake ( Petula and me) with our brats around clicking photographs and making us laugh with all their comments.  The children are meeting each other after a couple of years, and they hit it off like an house on fire. BTW, Petula, my friend is a mother to a lovely daughter  and 2 naughty boys. The boys ( brats)  were just out of control. Teaching each other stuff that annoyed the mothers and recollecting the nasty tricks they learnt earlier and what not.  Rosann, the daughter was so well behaved.  She always was.
Notice all of us in Blue?  Blue is the colour of Mother Mary of Lourdes and We wore it intentionally!
I realized it was the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the church that Petula  belongs to and she wanted me to stay back.  I have attended the church feasts and I am not a great fan of them, ( except in kerala, they are real good) here in chennai they are generally crowded,  too gaudy and definitely not my cup of tea.
I was hesitating until she said I am animating the rosary and I will be doing the introduction for the feast.  Like she told me, Vincy I will be on stage and there was no turning back – I knew she wanted me there.
The church feast normally happens in the church grounds and so I was braced for a dusty evening – only to be proven wrong.  The feast was happening in Railway stadium in Perambur and can you believe there were more than 20,000 people, a Bishop, 40+ priests, 50+ altar boys, 100 plus flower girls all in white, School bands from atleast 3 schools and four large LED screens for the crowds to watch.  The stage itself was almost like a live show stage decorated so well.  It was all so organized that everything went on like clock work.   I was so proud of Petula, when she came on all the LED screens while giving the introduction to the Feast day. Petula had got VIP passes for us and we were in the third row from the stage ( or should I call it altar?) 
Petula doing the Introduction :-) - In the background is the Bishop who is waiting to begin the mass
The massive make-shift Altar!!! 
Infact, during the mass, in an open ground there was so much silence, that praying just happened by itself.  The English  choir was simply superb – They were almost like a rock band.  The songs like “ My God is an awesome God” got me into a trance  J  Since this was a bilingual worship, there was the regional language (Tamil) choir too and the mass itself was in both the languages.  A word about the English Choir of Perambur church – they are one of the best in the city, standing first in many competitions.  Petula herself is one of the key choir members and unlike me, sings very well.  She goes Solo during the prime time of mass on Sundays and for that, one has to be real good. I remember her singing songs like “Lady in Red” and effortlessly touching the high pitch while we were in the hostel.  Another one of my favorites that she used to sing among a lot of others is “ Everything I do, I do it for you”.  
sending up prayers in the form of helium baloons
The celebrations went on and it took us a lot of time to come out of the stadium – I reached home like Cinderella, just before the clock struck twelve.  ( What a comparison!! – oh Vanity is not my virtues definitely) thankfully I had both my shoes on  ha ha ha – You know what? that is another first of its kind in my driving.  Driving so late and I also used GPS for the route.  I wasn’t sure of the route to her house, though I had been there umpteen times before.

The Groupfie!!!

Valentines day Cake cutting amidst a lot of funny noises !!!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentines Day!!!

I personally do not believe in special days such as these, but nevertheless, since there is so much hype and ado about these “so-called-Special” days, I was giving it a thought and what this day signifies to me.
 
Well, for a person who remembers the dates so well, ( I remember my close ones birthdays / anniversaries and special dates ) even without a diary or a planner, or the social media sites, that makes these days so impersonal.  I get hundreds of wishes on FB for my birthday, but the calls that some of my loved ones make at probably atrocious time of the day from whichever part of the world they are in, makes my days special.  Some do email / text me, and there are also those who do not even call me, but that does change the way I love them. So, to me, its not these special days coined and marketed so much by the western world that matters the most, but the actual days and incidents that one remembers so well that makes all the difference.
 
For example, I met Joe on September 8th, at a common friend’s wedding, and this was an arranged meeting. We didn’t even talk to each other.   I never miss that date to wish Joe Happy Anniversary, Anniversary of our first meeting.  Can you believe, I still have the saree that I was forced to wear for that wedding?  I have never worn it after that day, even once in the last 20 + years. I am a sentimental fool that way. So If someone asks me how long have you known a close friend, I would have the exact years that I have known that person – Oh I don’t remember the dates of every Tom, Dick and Harry, whom I meet,   I only remember these of the special ones.
 
That does not mean that I totally ignore these “advertised& marketed-special” days.  I do wish people on these days and there are loved ones who wish me too.  The first one today was from, no not hubby dear, from Anita, my friend, at an ungodly hour of 3.30 am IST, she must have just then woken up in Singapore.
 
The whole point is love need not be expressed just on one specified day, but on all occasions and in multiple ways, not just by saying “ I love you”. 
 
I was pondering over this point and thought, while I await Ramesh’s updates every single day, or when I hope that all is well with him, during  his long haul drive that he has undertaken, that I guess is love for a blog-friend.   or while worrying over Nancy who has not updated her blog for the last 9 months or so, I guess that’s also love.  Wanting to talk to Rekha so much, while I keep piling excuses of all kinds, is another form of love.  Dennu saying to me, have fun ma, I guess is love.  Joe kept calling me so many times, to check if was overdoing my weekly cleaning, today,  I guess that is love. A friend was talking to me some time back about some unfortunate events in her life, and half way through we both were crying and I guess that’s love too.  And to another friend I had to speak my mind and say the decision that she has taken to walk away from marriage, is not right ( and I seem to be the only friend against it)  - I did it out of love for that friend. 
 
Love also need not be an action or a word.  I realize the concern in someone’s voice is love.  a smile / laughter / a wink / a look / a mime / a hug  or a loved one simply being there for you,  all these are statements of love.  someone checking on you asking how your day has been, is love.  Letting go can be love too. Sometimes letting go is the best way to show love.  I did that today, and it hurts, like hell.  And I know for sure I did that out of unconditional love. So many ways in which we can love.
 
Here is a wish to you all,  may we all have enough opportunities to show our love to our dear ones and let us do it as much as we can all through the year, all through our lives. And BTW, Happy Valentines day!!
 
And beātitūdō friends.  It simply means Happiness in Latin.  ( for those who know Bible, I am preparing for my Catechism classes tomorrow, and the topic of my session happens  to be “The Beatidues” )

Sunday, February 08, 2015

I did'nt sign up for this!!!!

I was telling you in the last post here how I have signed up for being the Catechism teacher at Church.

It is now mandatory for children who are in school, in every parish to be part of the catechism classes that are organized in the church every Sunday.  The format is very structured, but in certain states like Kerala it runs so beautifully, that a Sunday Catechism is conducted  literally like regular main stream school.  The attendance is marked, every class has a teacher, there is a standard curriculum followed, recommended books, examinations and children need to clear the evaluations, to move from one class to another.  Not so well in any other states I guess.  Chennai is no better.
 
So the whole structure is a little fuzzy and for someone like me who likes being organized and formal, this is a little difficult to handle.  ( I realized I find a lot of stuff that is difficult to handle just last week, but that is fodder for another blog post, maybe)  But I am mentally prepared to manage this and I instruct  myself to fall in place with the madness around these classes when I signed up for this.
 
So today, I walk in for the Catechism class, and I get a message from the senior co-ordinator that two teachers are on leave, and hence between the remaining two of us, we have to manage.
 
And by the way, must be my age, the moment I said I am in for this as a tutor, the senior co-ordinator   at church told me that I have to handle the children coming from the higher secondary classes, and I have been handling the older children till now.  Which means my preparation for the sessions need to real good and I also realized how limited my knowledge is in the religion itself, and I am not mentioning about how much I know of the bible.  Shame on me. My father stands first in Bible Quiz held at a city level, which also includes some nuns as participants and he did that some 7 or 8 years in a row. I digress again.
 
So today while assuring the senior coordinator that I will take care, I realized that the little children, the ones who are in grades  4 and below had no teacher and so I just out of curiosity thought of handling them.
 
First of all I realized if you had to get the attention of these kids, you need to be real good and its not simple.  So I had to add a lot of drama to my sessions. Lots of movements, lot of voice modulation, swaying and headshakes, and using my hands and literally my entire body and all my lessons that I learned over a period of time, as a Learning and Development professional had to put to good use to get it, and I did.
 
As per the lesson plan I had to teach them Creation and once I had their attention, I started telling them the story of creation.   I felt like a pied piper in front of those kids.  They taught me the meaning of optimistic curiosity, pure enthusiasm and sense of wonder -  they were swaying along with me, putting out their hands and loudly emoting when I asked them questions, with eyes that opened out like a saucers when I explained how god created the various animals and living things.  Their Jaws dropped when I narrated how God created Adam from clay and breathed life into him,  and it stayed that way for a long time ( the dropped jaws, open mouthed – you should have seen how cute they looked).  When I told Adam was an unhappy man since he had no company, their brows contracted, lips drooping down and had such a sad face, that I felt no wonder God created Eve for Adam.  And this was so different from the reaction you manage to get out of the grown ups in the IT industry.
 
I was so thoroughly enjoying this and I didn’t see how 45 minutes flew past in a jiffy, leaving me wide eyed, happy, content and blessed.  Infact, I had yet another reason to thank god for, today. Among other things.
 
Now you see, this is not what I signed up for.  :-)

P.S:
Catechism classes : Classes conducted in the churches of predominantly, Roman catholic churches, to teach the principles of christian religion

Parish: A small administrative district in the catholic church typically having its own church and a priest.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Self Realizations

A caveat before we begin - the following is an unedited version of something I scribbled to be posted in my blog and was in the draft till now. It was written sometime Mid November 2014. Stumbled on it just now and posting it in the same rough and ready version.
Many psychometric tests that I have taken has revealed that I am an Introvert – hard to believe for anyone who knows me. I speak dime a dozen and am a big chatterbox. I realized I was a chronic Introvert after I started driving. I enjoy my company so much that the best thing I love doing is talking to myself while I drive and I seem to thoroughly enjoy it. There are times that I even switch off music because I find that intrusive in my conversations with self.
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Mental blocks are the biggest show stoppers I realize all over again. It took me 12 years to get to drive on my own. Today I guess I fairly manage to drive well. 8 months of driving without adding scratches to the badly beaten around car is my testimony. And to think I let my constraints in my mind to rule me for more than a decade, leaves me disgusted.
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It is not easy to let go off these mental blocks – and my life seem to be crowded with them. I was uncomfortable with music while driving. I got into that discomfort zone often and got over that. Wearing sunglasses was a discomfort while driving – have managed to get over that too. I thought I never had the-time to blog. I think this is the most hectic time of my life, a local travel, wedding of a cousin, niece receiving her religious habit, guests, work, an international travel on the cards next week and I still managed to write a post :-)
Yet another mental block busted :-)
________________________________________________________________________________
Been a lot on an introspective mood of late – not that am enlightened. I guess it is a grace to get answers for all you seek, and am not yet blessed with that grace. Anyways, I realized that I need to do something more for others, as my list included only stuff I do to please myself and my family. I volunteered to be the Catechism teacher at the Church, which means I need to be an hour and half extra at church every Sunday and consistently be there. prepare for the sessions, read bible and be thorough in the topics etc., All these years my excuse was I have a travelling job, and I may not be able to contribute. But what the heck, If I work a bit more towards being organized a bit, I guess I will work things out. Being a catechism teacher is not an attractive position, and someone who was impressed with my volunteering to a lackluster post, gave my name to be the Youth Representative and so that’s another position that I have taken up. I realize I could squeeze in all this into what I thought was an hectic life that I was leading. Now my introspection is on.
What more could I possibly squeeze in?

_______________________________________________________________________________
My dad is a great inspiration for me especially for selfless service for others even at the cost of one’s own troubles. And he is pretty religious (that’s a mild term) So the catechism teacher position comes from his life.

What I realized was, the last week, I had to renew my passport which was supposed to expire in a few months and I need to travel in December, I was really hard pressed for time to apply for a new passport and I got in touch with an agent. I had to meet him to show my documents before he accepted money. It was a Saturday, and I had a meeting at church for the youth in the evening the next day I had classes and hence I could not meet this guy. Earlier this guy was particular about verifying the documents. I was explaining my appointments at church and how I cannot forego that, this person softened up immediately and said – Ma’am, you are so particular about church and I know all your documents would be right. I will go ahead and do the required procedures and you come when all your appointments are over.

Little things in life make your faith grow deeper. :-)
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What a person means to me is not equal to what I mean to that person. Some relationships just do not balance out. Another law of nature :-)
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It has always been difficult for me to be away from family – so much for the travelling jobs J and I have. I am going to the US for around 2 weeks in Dec and I am already missing my family. J laughs it off. The baby who made so much fuss for my first international travel, told me to bring as much chocolates as I can and didn’t mention a word about missing me or didn’t bother asking me when I will be back. Life can be cruel :-( and I will see to the two most important men in my life, after I return, suitably :-)
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Monday, February 02, 2015

Solitude

Serenity is thy name
you provide companionship with my own insignificant self
helping me to cherish my own company
an opportunity to belong to myself
with my own thoughts
I exist in the depths of my solitude
dreaming awake
truly living the moments that I want
 
Thy name is bliss
Strength is what I derive to go on in life
when I get time to spend in perfect solitude
million conversations with myself
with no fear of being judged
contemplating the known and the unknown of my mind
Solitude, I submit myself
unto you, and Implore to seek me often.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ernavur

I am a bundle of nerves today – restless, wretched, perturbed, distraught and what not.  Angry with myself. And that feeling you get when every atom in your body and soul wants to do something and you end up saying just the opposite of it, given the constraints you are in.   I wish I could pour my heart out, since it is a complex story that spans over a decade, I will let that pass. 

But this despair  made me come to my own blog that even I have abandoned for the last few months.  Now that is not new. Abandoning I mean. Coming back is difficult. And I am making an effort.  And I know the few hard earned blogger friends are no more visiting my blog.  When I don’t visit this page,  they don’t have any reason to. right?

This post is about an unusual commitment of a group of childhood friends and one guys’ persistence in making  things work.
 
Wind back to Circa 1990.

I come from the notorious suburb of Chennai called Ernavur.  Most true blue chennai’ites do not even know this place.  My parents did a good job of shielding us children from the elements of this place which are not praiseworthy.  We studied in schools and colleges far away from North Madras and were monitored on our friendships and were cloistered within our community and to note all of us cousins and friends have done well in life is a great testimony to that.

I remember vividly, in my first job, I was asked by a very senior colleague, while being praised for some good work that I was doing, which place in chennai do I come from. As always I proudly said Ennore ( which is a more popular place than my own place) and he said something like this “ oh God Ennore, I have been there, and what good can come from that place?”  I was instigated and was very young, just out of college so with all that callousness, I looked straight into his eye and said  “Why do you even say that ?  Look at me”  he got the point and I saw my RM brimming with pride at my reply.

So there was this very community that I was referring to, and we had a whole large group of friends and cousins who were very close to each other as we attended similar schools, churches and the same social get togethers such as  weddings and receptions and other community gatherings.

Amongst us was this family who was well off,  4 children, mother in the Gulf as nurse ( big thing those days), and a grandmother looking after the children along with the father.  The second son who was called Kuttan at home, was my age group, and we were good friends.  Kuttan lost his father first when he was in high school and after that there was a series of deaths in his family in a short span like as though someone had cast a spell on this family.  Mother left them followed by thier father and then the grandmother and the final straw was kuttan’s younger brother Joy, who  left them when he was barely 18 or so. 

It was around this time, after Joy’s demise, few of us got together, led by kuttan and we decided that we will spend a day, 26th of January in memory of Joy at an old age home in Ennore which had around 200 plus inmates, most of whom were physically and mentally challenged. This old age home was run by the congregation of Mother Theresa and the year 1990 we all got together, funded this initiative from our pocket money, and we provided lunch and tea and spent our day with them, talking , singing and dancing and playing skits for the inmates. The best part was that we started early in the day, divided ourselves into groups and there were guys who purchased food items, groups that  helped in cutting and cleaning, a cook  who prepared food, and a group that distributed the food to the inmates.    It was a substantial effort then and a fulfilling and satisfying  experience for all of us.  Surprisingly, no elders were involved in this initiative, but each of us had a lot of support from our families. We got back the next year with more people and Kuttan was the perseverant guy kept this going year after year.

Marriage took over me by surprise and I still managed to go in the initial years, and later my priorities shifted with Dennu growing up and my job and even though Kuttan never missed to call me, I couldn’t make it to Ennore  for the last few years.

Wind Back to 26th January 2015

This year I realized all of a sudden when Kuttan posted a message on facebook that it is our 25th year and he had a detailed post on how we started this initiative.  I was touched by the post and changed that logo as my facebook profile picture and was also  determined to make it to Ennore, this year. And did keep that promise to myself.
  
The number of inmates in the home have reduced and we did all the stuff we used to do in the past years,  Kuttan and family was present and a lot of new members who help in the initiative were also present. We cooked, we distributed food, we had our children do a lot of stuff that we used to do when we were young and got the inmates to sing and dance and every participant were given  gifts.  The Joy on the faces of these inmates when they receive a small gift in appreciation to the act they do is just unexplainable.  Pure bliss.

There were professional dancers and singers who entertained the inmates and it was so nice to meaningfully spend this day at this home. The founder members, we were more than 15 people originally, but only 5 of us were present and we shared our experiences with the gathering.  It was so  humbling just to be there, to meet all of them, get back to the memories of my younger days.  I was so immensely proud of this guy Oommen Abraham ( Kuttan). 25 years of consistence is no joke.

Felt Blessed to have friends whom I can start off with, from where we left, even if it means we are connecting up after years together. And this notorious Suburb in North Chennai,  Ernavur still binds us together.

Putting up some pictures for you to see for yourselves.








There we are the founder members - Kuttan is the one in black shirt.