Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Its Christmas Time

Chirstmas is the season of Love, Joy and Happiness.  This is also the time when we decorate our house, put up stars, lights  and a Christmas tree to bring in festive mood and cheer.

I love putting up the Christmas tree and decorating it, and as a ritual we have been doing it regularly at home. Usually put up during the Advent season, the first sunday of  December, I manage to get the men at home join me in this endeavour. Advent season Focuses on expectation and it serves as an anticipation of Christ's birth in the season leading up to Christmas.

When Dennu was small, he was all enthusiastic about these stuff and now he is kind of aloof.  I still managed to get him into this tradition.  To a comment on FB where my niece asked my son, if he helped in the decorations at home, he has replied stating, If you can consider watching someone do it, I have done lots of help.

So, I thought I will share the pictures of my Christmas tree that we have put up this year.  I had lost our 10 year old tree to the floods last year, so this is a new one, though most of the ornaments on the tree are the ones that i have collected over a period of time.  some are even 20 years old. Wow right?


First stage of assembling christmas tree.
The Ornaments and the silk skirt for the tree.  Most of them are from my collection over several years, packed and stashed away carefully.

Almost done with the help of the two men in the house

There we go with the lights on..

The Advent wreath on the front door

Decorations on the altar

A close up shot of the tree and decorations

Christmas tree at a different angle
Yes, Christmas Joy is spreading and to me this is absolutely amazing.  

May the Peace, Joy and Love of this season be with you all.  Merry Christmas Folks. 

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Coffee Conversations


My blog friend Rekha who blogs at Soul Searching days  had done a blog marathon recently and she had done a post which is titled “ If I were having coffee with you…”

It looked like a nice idea to steal and here I go with her permission. :-) 
  • After all the mental turmoil and misunderstanding, my friend and I had a nice long chat.  We, okay I, started off very defensively, but we graciously accepted our mistakes and that in itself brought in a lot of sanity.  Most importantly we were willing to listen to each other. When something as precious as Trust breaks, it is difficult to put it all back together all over again  but I guess we both after a long after thought and a month of pain and agony,  took a first step in healing.  World looks much better now.
  • The advent season has started – this is the season to have fun and be Jolly.   Holidays are coming up and I will get to see family.
  • Due to the demise of our Chief Minister Dr.JJ, famously portrayed as Iron lady, our Marathon has been postponed. I was so eagerly waiting for it, this is a real dampener, but on the other side, we get more time to practice and improve our time.
  • That brings me to a change in perspective that I am noticing right now about our late Chief Minister.  The world( including me)  that painted her as someone who was Greedy, arrogant and narcissistic now writes a Hagiography in her memory.  Reverence for the Dead ?
  • There is something that I wanted to write, but somehow could not bring myself to put down in so much words.  J has moved to Cochin, on an assignment from his organisation for the next two years, the brunt of which I bear on my lone weak shoulders.  While it is challenging to live apart after all these years, it is a difficult way to realize the value the other person added in your life, which we probably had got used to, over a period of time.  Distance makes the heart go fonder. Yeah.
  • Usually the first Sunday of Advent is when we put up our Christmas tree, but since the head of the house, has to come in and join the ritual, I have postponed it to this weekend and hooray this week, when J comes over,  the tree will be up, wreaths will adorn the door and the stars will announce the season.  The hubby is not very interested in the ritual, but family traditions need to be sustained right?
  • While everyone is worried about the drought and the lack of rains, the pitter patter of the little rains that we have received so far does bring in a painful memory of the past and it does remind me of the last year's deluge when we had around 10 feet of water “INSIDE” our home.
  •  A friend of yore, and someone who had started off with me as a Fresher in the early 90’s, now settled in Trump land, is in town.  We have been in touch with each other all this while and we will all get to see him this weekend at home.  Isn’t that nice?
  • The “No shave November” is over.  So, I asked my Sonny boy, Would you please care to shave and look civilized? And his reply was this, Ma, this is “Don’t Care December".
SSo folks, whats news at your end?  Enjoying the festive / holiday season?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Emotional Chaos


When the sky is gloomy, dark with thunderclouds
Simple conversations with you were my solace
You were my sky full of stars
And a heart full of hope

Like a bird clipped of its wings
Land devastated after a Tsunami
Dense bushes after a forest fire
You have left me with a tattered soul

Memories surprise me with their lightning bolts
Hiding in the shadows and pouncing unexpected
They knock me out and stop the world around me
And shatters the rhythm of my ordinary life’s magic

Lyrics have a completely different meaning now
Shards of glass pierce and shred me
I cannot fathom which I am missing the most
the best friend in you or my solace of a rainy day?

How could we harm our friendship?
Head bowed in shame, I know not what to do
Unable to look at my eyes in the mirror
I loathe myself.

Breaking inside every moment
burying myself in guilt, Insanity grips me tight
In the confines of my loneliness, I scream in silence
While images of a happy decade fade into oblivion.

Vincy Joseph

Monday, November 28, 2016

Run Baby Run


One of the things that I am consistent with is my walking habit that I started some three years ago. I have been walking a good 6 kms every day, well almost.  At least 5  - 6 days in a week.    A beautiful walking track close to the place where I live, that cuts across the OTA, Officers Training Academy managed by the Indian Army is where i do this ritual  and this walking track is on the banks of  the Adyar river and half of the track is running parallel to the Chennai Airport. 

The one thing that persuades me into walking is definitely this walking track.  Its so peaceful, serene and did I tell you, it’s a nice mud road lined by neem trees on both sides at least for a 1 km stretch.  The Chennai floods that devastated all of us last year did a lot of damage to our walking track and it took more than 3 months to restore the path to its original glory.  Recently in preparation for the monsoon in Chennai, the highways department had cleared the Adyar river of unwanted fauna and flora, removed a lot of debris that had deposited in the river after the floods and raised the banks which essentially is our walking track and it looks much better than what it was.

To me, this one hour of brisk walking is more than just a walk – It is my time for introspection, planning for the day, talking to myself and sometimes having those imaginery dialogues with the people I love – sounds crazy?  Yes, I do a lot of talking to myself and engage in these monologues.  Its kicks me up for the day and also provides me the much needed exercise. though i carry my mobile with me, i am not connected to any gadgets.  I love listening to the water flowing, birds chirping and there are a variety of them, frogs croaking, crickets chirping and the wind blowing. since, I start my walk pretty early in the morning around 5.45 am, the day just unfolds in front of me, with the sun coming out announcing the day break. I would rather take in all this and revel in everyday miracles than get hooked to a gadget.

A lot of people in the vicinity come to this place, friendly ones, unfriendly ones, grumpy ladies, cheerful dogs which accompany their owners, old, middle aged and few youngsters come for the morning walk.  Some wave at me, some say a cheerful good morning and some just smile and yeah some just stare.  In return, I give back what I get :-).

It must be all the clean air and the abundance of oxygen, I feel charged up at the end of the walk and I have been able to inspire a handful of people into this habit and have brought few of them to this walking track and everyone feels the same about this place.  Though it is bang in the middle of the city, you hardly see a vehicle and this place I guess is completely devoid of pollution due to the dense growth of plants on either side of the track.  One stretch of the track is 3 kms and  takes you away from the hustle and bustle of the city life and when you return to the starting point, you are brought back to reality.

I normally walk the entire stretch briskly and cover this distance in 60 minutes, give or take 5 minutes, depending on how energetic I feel on that particular day.   A friend who used to walk with me, resident of IPS colony which is the nearest colony to this walking track introduced me to jogging and I graduated from walking to jogging.  Thanks to Susan, I now can Jog continuously for a distance of 3 km or 30 minutes. 

So when friends at office came with the Marathon idea, I wanted to give it a try. And thus I have signed up for the Wipro Chennai Marathon, 10K Run.  A group of 4 women from office, all of us who signed up for the Marathon, then together found a coach within our organisation – who has done atleast 4 full marathons and countless half marathons and was willing to be our Coach.  So on all Saturdays for the last couple of months, the coach has been guiding us for the 10 K marathon that we will running next month. 

Our training started with 1 minute jogging and 2 minute walking for the complete 6 km stretch – yeah all the runners and coach come to the walking track that I frequent.   The last couple of weeks we completed the full stretch and walked back again for 2kms and returned which made it 10 k.  And the last time we did 10K we were able to complete in 1 hour and 45 mins.  We got to improve our timing and run more. 

On 11th of December Chennai, if all goes well, which will, we will do a 10K Marathon.  Wish us luck and pray for the force to be with us.  

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A painful rememberance

When I first got introduced to this friend, there is something that was spoken, and it had struck me as something unique and something no one has said to me, till date.   We both were working from different cities and after the official meet and the chirpy voice came in and said, Hey Vincy Bye for now.  but you know what, I will turn up like a bad penny.

We went on to become best pals for more than a decade and a half.  Unfortunately, things went downhill a week back. Today while I was digging my draft posts, long forgotten, I came across this poem, written with this same friend in mind, and in essence it tuned up like a bad penny, I should say.  

Would you believe me if I tell you
I am in a constant monologue with you ?
Sharing my life’s moments, little aspirations
Memories, dreams, fears and even insignificant stuff?

Would you believe me if I tell you
I live in a make-believe world
And you are a beautiful part of it.
Everything that I have ever asked for

Would you believe me if I tell you
You piece me together when I am broken
Give me new horizons to look for and
Set my benchmark ever high so I can reach them

Would you believe me if I tell you
I feel worthwhile when I listen to you
Often realising my own worth
That has lost its sheen in my own eyes

Would you believe me if I tell you
I am so thankful you are in my life
Though I may not ever say it to you
And there’s no chance you will read this

What I believe in is the fact
That none crosses our path  without HIS plan
and you my friend
are definitely no coincidence.

Vincy Joseph

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Conversations with my Creator


I do not bear witness to this very often, but I do have these little conversations with God and there are signs that I see  during my really troubled times( literally in black and white like for example verses on a car’s rear) that without a doubt confirms to me, that it is an answer from him for the nagging questions I ask him. Sometimes the answers are so precise, that I have to look no further.

I remember writing a post on it here where I heard Him speak to me through the song in the choir.  There are other times when I am down and all sunshine drained out of my life and my favourite song plays in the choir.  It instantly peps me up and life becomes all normal.  If God is there for you who can stand against you.

So there I was, last week in church at my lowest.  I was feeling so unworthy of myself to be there in the presence of Lord for an obvious mistake also  from my side, I had a bad scene with a friend and decided it was good for me not to continue the friendship, with all the sudden negativity it generated.  Losing the friend was itself a blow in the first place, and then the way it all panned out and my part in that made me feel so miserable and low. 

There were a lot of possibilities, which I was not willing to look into and all I felt initially was just numbness.  I so desperately wanted to cry and could not.   The normal loud voice wouldn’t come out during the singing or praying and I was silent.  I couldn’t go in for communion either.  And I decided  that it was certain that God will reject my prayers.  I didn’t even pray except a feeble prayer for forgiveness.

The first reading, second reading, sermon, Communion, songs and I got no special messages.  I confirmed to myself that even God doesn’t want me.

Special prayers over, final blessing and final song nothing that caught my attention.

The final “Mass is ended. Go in Peace” appears on the LCD screen that projects prayers and songs.  I am heartbroken assuring myself God does not want to communicate with me.

And then I see the LCD screen changing.


 My case rested. :-) :-) :-) but  I had difficulty controlling my tears.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Some conversations between Dennu and me

Its not like I completely abandoned this place because there are some posts in their draft forms that indicate that blogging has been in the back of my mind.  Here is one post that has some unexpected quirkiness thrown to a very unsuspecting mom by her adult son.  My sonny boy is no more a teenager - he is an adult from last April.  :-) :-)


Mamma: After serving  him Tea in his room sometime back, asks “  Dennu where is the tea cup
Dennu:  I washed it and kept in the sink
Mamma:  almost fainting.. but sees Dennu coming to the kitchen with the cup.  Why did you say that?
Dennu:  Just to give that grateful feeling for a minute J 

Mamma while driving:  Do you like me in short hair or long hair
Dennu:  It doesn’t matter ma, you annoy me all the same.

Dennu: So, you bought chocolate bars for Nidhi.
Mamma: yes
Dennu: Where are mine?
Mamma:  You are not a baby
Dennu:  Then why don't you buy me a bottle of beer?
Mamma: stunned look

Dennu baby is driving the car.  Mamma at the edge of the seat.  
Dennu:  I need to put a special sign on the car when I am driving with you.
Mamma :  what sign?
Dennu:  Don’t Honk.  Mamma in the car.

Dennu speaking late night to a friend.  Multiple attempts to highlight the time. Finally call ends.
Mamma:  Don’t these children on the other end have parents checking on them?
Dennu:  Ma, these Cliched “mom” statements do not suit you.  I keep telling my friends I have a cool mom at home.
Mom wondering whether it is a compliment or something else.

Mamma all excited, shows the picture of her niece Nidhi and herself, hugging each other during their recent trip. Nidhi is his little cousin and his favorite too.
Expecting a sooooo cute.. from Dennu.  Dennu is quiet for a while then murmurs
Held against will?

The most recent one - last evening 
Mamma returning from office after a tired days' work.
Dennu:  Ma, I need to buy something.
Mamma: what baby?
Dennu: Beard oil.
Mamma: What?  (  I heard that for the first time, btw)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Back after a break

Do you look for the old familiar spots when you are stressed out?

Do you feel like getting back to your own space, when you feel the whole world is turning in on you?

Do you  take comfort in the memory of soft-worn things  when you feel intimidated?

Wondering why all these seemingly unrelated questions?

A blend of insanity, loneliness, grief, guilt and  turmoil.  It is all these reasons which brought me here - to my own space, that is a perfect mix of anonymity and familiarity. And looks like much water has flown under this bridge, I mean, a lot of posts written by other blog friends.  My blog friend Rekha has joined the NaBloPoMo and this is her second blogathon this year.  Hurray!!! I am so excited to see the posts.  Looking forward to reading all those.  

Gilsu as usual is on a blogging spree and yes looks like i got a lot to read there too.  Ramesh, ( as Gilsu fondly refers our thala) wanted to let you know, that I miss your enlightening posts.  Especially during this uncertain and troubled times around the world, not just in our nation, your insights would help lesser mortals like me.  and its that time of the year for your trip. isnt it?

Just posting how I feel, has made me feel better.

and yes I know, this too shall pass. 




Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Rajini Fever

Last Friday 22nd of July was the release of “Thalaivar’s”  movie titled Kabali.

I know. 

Old news. 

If you are in India, chances are, you know all about this movie and by now you must have read atleast 10 reviews about it.  I am waiting for my blog friend Gils’ review of the movie.  

My city Chennai, where the Thalaivar belongs  was in a frenzied mode last week  – even the roads, were bubbling with activity.  The RJ’s of every Radio station worth its salt had to run some shows on the movie for at least a week.   I was surprised that the organisation that I work for is also running some games from last week for Kabali fans.  Here is a sample for you.



I just figured out that there was a Movie theatre on my way to work and I have been travelling that route for the last couple of years and have never noticed it, for the life of me.  On 22nd, I saw a big rush in a particular spot which normally goes unnoticed during my drive and I also saw cops there managing the crowd.  Initially I thought there must have been an accident  but only when I saw Kabali posters I realised that was/ is a theatre.

Anyway FB is filled with FDFS for Kabali from almost everyone whom I seem to have in the friends list.  

FDFS you wonder?  First Day First Show.

I felt like the odd one out amongst so many hard-core fans around me – workplace, neighbours, friends, relatives.  Some of my elite friends in US were having special screening for small groups of people.  I wonder how they manage that.  I didn’t feel like watching the FDFS – no not even a  remote wish.  Even  If I got a ticket, I want really interested. Not that I attempted to get one.  Dennu, my college kid was just like me.  No talk about FDFS for  Kabali not the later shows.   On Friday evening he was narrating how one of his friends in class was crying because she couldn’t watch FDFS but managed to get tickets at a theatre called Albert the next day and my son apparently seems to have advised her not to go to that theatre as the crowd that normally come there is not their “TYPE”.  ( I should figure out how he got to know that – that is for a later day)

But all these rage for Rajini got me back into my childhood

Wind back to CIRCA late 70’s / early 80’s

I must have been in class 4 or so and I was a true blue Rajini fan.  Hmm yes.  You heard me right.

There were two popular south Indian actors then, my generation of those days of yore, who we would  vie for  - Kamal Hassan or Rajinikanth.  Amongst my cousins who were my bum chums, we had two groups the Kamal fans and the Rajini fans.  Every Sunday after the evening mass, we ( four families) get together in my Uncles house on the way to church and the kids get to play and the elders get to chat.  Television had not penetrated our families and we got to do some real time bonding activities.

One of the activity that I remember was the animated story telling.  My older cousin ( he must have been in his 8th or 9th standard) would narrate to us stories of the movies that he gets to see.  And he was the head of our Rajini Fan club.  He watched only Rajini movies. 

His narration would start with even the title screens  “Tan-ta-daaan”  starring Rajinikanth, the directors name etc.,. Fights go with the “ Dishoom Dishoom “  sound, when there is an animal in the movie then the sound of the animal is mimicked like the Gallop of the horses or the trumpet of an Elephant, hand gestures thrown in liberally,  every shot is explained in detail which includes Rajinis dresses, his unique mannerisms, his hair styles, his accessories, every accompanying sound track and we the Rajini fans would be mesmerised to a point where we had  gooseflesh on us.  The story telling would go on until we get the call from our parents to get back. Usually a movie will go on for more than 4 or 5 weeks and I remember imagining those scenes in my head, much after the story was told. The subsequent Sunday I also remember  helping the narrator with the point where he had stopped.

Memories of my younger-mesmerised-Rajini-Fan-Self came flooding back and  a smile is plastered on my face.  Most Rajini fans around me are relating it to the movie’s release. :-)

P.S: 

I should call Gijo Chetan and tell him how much he is remembered.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Stalker


You hover around silently but deliberately
Rarely making your presence felt
This is certain though
That you will get to me some day. 

Do you spare anyone at all?
But alas like everyone else, I move on
Flouting you in my ignorance
Even when you take hold of others 

You can touch me anytime
As time speeds on as usual
Every day is a step closer to you
Do I even fathom  this ? 

I think of you, my friend
Often these days
I don’t know why
Making me pray for an easy transition 

Your cover now is intact, the mask in place
The quiet predator is on the prowl
An universal truth, yet a mystery
But one day, the cover will be blown!!
 
Vincy Joseph

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Mouse Trap



So as a pre birthday treat we went for this play titled “ The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie, premiered in Chennai for the first time, by the Madras Players and The Crea-Shakthi group.   I got to know about this play from my good friend and a famous multi talented and a well known public figure Karthik TM, TMK as he is known from the EVAM theatre group. 

I had the good fortune of working with this versatile personality in two of my earlier organisations, first while I was with DSRC and then while I was with Satyam Computers.   While at Satyam I have worked very closely with TMK in Organisational Development activities through the training team that I was part of, then.

I have earlier taken Joe and Dennu, while I was at Satyam, for a play titled HAMLET ( which is a hilarious take on Shakespeare’s Hamlet) by the EVAM Entertainment group.  TMK was the heroine of the play and he was just fabulous.  That was a first real life play for all three of us and initially Joe and Dennu weren’t very convinced about an evening of theatre,  then.  But I remember the play was a laughing riot and Dennu and J enjoyed it so much more than me, literally Rolling on the floor with laughter.  

That was the day, when I also saw TMK transform into an ethereal artist on stage, and from then on, I have been his big fan. I have always wondered how poorly he is utilised in Tinsel town, for the measly roles he gets in movies.  He has acted in the tamil version of 3 Idiots, Nanban, as the prospective groom of the heroine. 

So when I told Dennu about this play, Dennu was willing to make time for the play ( amidst his busy fourth year engineering schedule, that is).  The paly was staged at the Music Academy on a Friday and the 1400 seater hall was full to the brim. The crowd was elite, classy and very much the kind who would watch theatre.

The stage was set well, keeping up the vintage English charm of those days when Agatha Christie wrote the play, the costumes and accessories, the acoustics doing justice to the entire cast and crew. I loved the way the storm was blowing and the snow blizzard is depicted on stage. 90 minutes of pure theatrical bliss.  Theatre bigwigs like P C Ramakrishna who has been in the field for the last 40 plus years had a meaty role in the play.  It was amazing to watch him as Mr Paravicini, who acts with an Italian accent.  He enthralled the audience with his expertise in theatre.  That role just fitted him so well.

My friend TMK, was the villain cum hero of the play and presented to Chennai,  the role of Detective Sergeant Trotter, which he did so perfectly.  Didn’t expect anything lesser from him.  The players who portrayed Mrs Boyle and  Major Metcalf did their parts so impeccably that when the director introduced them and said this was their maiden stage, it was unbelievable.  In fact, every one in the crew did justice to their role,  leaving the artists with an astounding applause during their introductions towards the end .

That was the shortest 90 mintues in a long time and an evening well spent. ( Momma – Sonny bonding)

For those who are not familiar with the Mouse Trap, a murder mystery from Agatha Christie here is a little sneak peak. 

The Mouse trap is world's longest running plays and is now celebrating its Diamond Anniversary in its 60th year!

Story goes like this.. A group of strangers is stranded in a boarding house during a snow storm, one of whom is a murderer. The suspects include the newly married couple who run the house, and the suspicions in their minds nearly wreck their perfect marriage. Others are a spinster with a curious background, an architect who seems better equipped to be a chef, a retired Army major, a strange little man who claims his car has overturned in a drift, and a jurist who makes life miserable for everyone. Into their midst comes a policeman, travelling on skis. He no sooner arrives, when the jurist is killed. Two down, and one to go. To get to the rationale of the murderer's pattern, the policeman probes the background of everyone present, and rattles a lot of skeletons.  This story has another famous Agatha Christie switch finish!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

ROFL

This problem started pretty early in my life.  Yes a very real life problem. 

My name always had some issues.  Right from the way it was registered in my baptismal certificate  to the way it appears in my educational credentials, I had some issue or the other.  I have given a really long winding note about the bumpy ride my name has gone through  here

In the days of yore, when rail tickets were booked by actually filling forms and waiting in long winding queues especially during our summer holidays,   never  once was my name printed right on the reservation chart of the trains.  Most of the time the V and Y never changed, but any possible alphabet out of the 24 remaining alphabets would have found their place between them and I always had a fancy name, embarrassing me during my teen years, especially in front of my brother, who called me by that sound, all through the journey. By the time I reached my late teens, I started looking forward to the newest way railways would re-christen me. 

By the time I got married, most problems about my name came to an end, with my Alias in my name gone, and I had a much simpler name – Vincy Joseph.  What a breather it was.  In a decade from then online transactions came  and these days I do not face much issues with my name.  or So, I thought. 

Until this afternoon. 

We have a Learning Retreat coming up next week for a large gathering in an external resort, and I am facilitating some learning activities for the team.  In fact, our team is going crazy organising this as the participants are travelling from near and far to attend, and this is an in-house workshop.  For my activities, I have given my requirements to my organising team, which are a bit complex and needs to be created from scratch by some carpenters.  The carpenter had a meeting today with the organising team, in a different office, and the team in turn were confirming my requirements over  phone with the carpenter in tow.

Requirements clarified, dates of delivery clarified, I had to check the sample.  The carpenter seems to live closer to my residence and so I was checking with him if he can come over during the weekend to confirm the samples.  All done.  Just about the disconnect the call. 

I heard the carpenter ask “  Madam peru ??”  ( translation Madam’s name?) 

Our PMO head was saying why don’t you write it down?  Her name is Vincy.

Then some stifled laughter, some sounds that I was not able to gauge. 

I heard my self ask my PMO, all okay?.  Again stifled laughter, Vincy, we will get back to you in a minute, please hold on. 

This carpenter must have gone out and the whole team was laughing loudly.  I am on the other end of the call not getting the hang of it. 

Then came the reply from the PMO  there, Vincy that guy wrote your name in Tamil, and it was misspelt and read as  Whiskey J J J 

Rolling on the floor, Laughing.

Monday, May 02, 2016

The making of a man


Life is one of the greatest teachers (not always the gentlest) that any of us have witnessed.  We can  win, lose, stumble, fail, rejoice and life continues to give us the lessons that we need to take in and move forward.

Most often than not, we have read about great men and how their childhood or their circumstances shaped them to be what they are. And these real life stories are in hindsight or a perception after an incident / series of incidents.

Much to my surprise I was part of the unfolding of some events  which held the story of a boy becoming a man.

Kevin is my sons’ classmate.  A boy any parent would love to bring up – well behaved, most of the time seen around with parents, topper in class, respectful, articulate, calm and composed to cite a few qualities of the boy. ( and I am omitting a lot more that I know of, like he has such impeccable handwriting, his notes are so well maintained, attends mass along with his parents in the front pews of the church, he goes up to the altar to do readings during mass etc., etc.,)

I have known Kevin for probably the last 10 to 12 years especially when he was in the high school, I used to help him with Science and Mathematics, while I taught my own boy.

I did lose touch with Kevin for a couple of years when we shifted our boy to another school in the city, but quickly got back in touch with him as soon as we returned to the locality after my son's higher secondary education. In my conversations with Kevin, after our return, I was sad to learn Kevin’s grades were lesser than my sons’  and I kept repeating to Dennu that Kevin would have scored much better he had changed his school.  Kevin and my son go to the same college these days, though they are in different Engineering Streams.  

Anyway, Kevin’s father passed away due to some ailments on 25th of April 2016 and it was  a rude shock to all us.  Kevin is an only child and his mother a housewife and his father was young. Must be in his early 50’s. 

I had decided to spend time with their family, since I knew them well and also because they are our church members and I represented the youth leader of the church committee.  His mom was thoroughly distraught and was totally shaken. I was watching Kevin  as he was making decisions, making sure everything was taken care of, right from paying for the ambulance, getting the permission for cemetery space, informing the funeral timing to the priest to making all other necessary arrangements. 

What flabbergasted me was the lack of support Kevin received from his close relatives and the poor boy was running all errands, small and big, to get  things done. And none of his relatives seemed to care.   Even to a trip to the church, Kevin would come out of the house and look at his friends and I had to get a couple of friends, who had a vehicle to go with him to complete the tasks.  In some occasions I had to call J, who really likes Kevin a lot, to take him around.

The evening of 25th April, J and I were taking Kevin to the church so that the priest and the catechist are informed about the funeral timing.  Normally this is informed by the elders in the family, but in Kevin’s case, he was doing it.  While we were waiting for the priest, Kevin told me that he wants to sing during the funeral mass, a set of songs that his father likes and so after Kevin confirmed the timing of the funeral, I informed the catechist that Kevin would do the singing.  Peter, our catechist was more than happy to have an helping hand, as the funeral masses do not  have the presence of  altar boys or girls and he ends up doing all the work.

The next day after many confusions the funeral mass started with Kevin’s entrance hymn and the entire congregation had tears in their eyes hearing Kevin’s voice and the lyrics of the songs.  The entrance hymn lyrics translated to “ Give me your peace at my darkest hour”.  Kevin sang solo, all the rest of songs too, and he sang so well,  and continued to tug at the heartstrings of the people gathered for the funeral.  In between the mass, he also read the Gospel reading and while I was listening to his composed voice, with a steely grit, there was this thought that was running in my mind - this is the making of man. This boy is going to do extremely well in his life.

Kevin continued to stay strong until the end, supporting his mom and making sure every ceremony was going on right. 

My prayers were with the boy whom I had known all these years and I was certain that our good Lord will shower upon him all the blessings to do well in life. 

A humble request to anyone who reads this post – say a little prayer for Kevin.  Ask the almighty for strength and wisdom for this boy to do well, learn the ropes of life and excel in anything that he does for he has lost his biggest support in life, his father.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Quirkiness Quotient


Christmas Eve 2015.

Beaten black and blue by the floods that hit my part of the city, Chennai, just 20 days back, I was trying to cope with lot of losses, one of which was, my positive spirit.

Our original plan was to invite my entire family that includes my parents, my brothers’ family from Hyderabad and sisters’ family from Bangalore to our place for Christmas celebrations.  The house had become unhostable after the floods and hence we were travelling to my parents place to celebrate Christmas. Though my parents live in the same city as mine, we were to cover 30 plus kilometers.

The mood was sober in the car and somewhere we realized we haven’t picked up cakes and pastries.  By the time we realized this, we had crossed almost all the best bakeries in town.

There were three pairs of eyes looking out for the next decent bakery and all of us sighted the best one in town.  The only problem was we were on the opposite side of the road where the bakery was.  Reaching the bakery in the car would mean going to the other side travelling another 10 minutes and crossing a bridge, taking a U turn and then travelling back again.  And the traffic was unforgiving  that day especially, making it look like everyone in town was planning to celebrate Christmas.

As usual J had a solution.  Dennu and I will cross that mad road and pick up what we needed and come back.  Meanwhile J will try holding back the car in the space ( on a really busy road), we managed to park temporarily.
Dennu was happy about  being the man of the moment.  There was maddening traffic and I saw my son guiding me across the road till we reached the median  and in one jump he got onto the median.  The median, was about 3 to 3 and a half feet and there was no way I could climb on top of it.
Dennu was encouraging me saying that I can do it, but I was sure I couldn’t make it, but still I gave it a couple of un lady-like tries.  And remember I was in the middle of the road where traffic was zipping by  - two wheelers and car drivers giving me that irritated look, some of them even slowing down to gape at the acrobatics.

That’s when it happened.

A car was slowing down near us.  A silver colored sedan.  Didn’t notice the make.  It stopped next to me.  Window glasses  were already  lowered and the drivers head was out. He had a warm smile. He looked at me and kept his palms on the windows of this car and told me “ put your legs here and climb on to the median”. I couldn’t believe it. I heard myself saying “Sorry that would spoil your car”.  His smile got friendlier and he insisted on me stepping on the window and climbing up the median.  I refused again, he looked at me and said Come on, I will help you.  Here, hold my hand and by then Dennu from up the median said I will hold your other hand ma.  And there I went stepping on his car’s tyre first then on the window, with him and Dennu boy helping me

He waited until I got on, and Dennu was as excited as I was, waving him a big thank you and wishing him Merry Christmas.

Quirky Fellow – Why else would he allow anyone to step on his Cars window?
But I got back my spirit, my cheer and faith in human kind.  The Christmas spirit of Joy and love filled all of us, and back in the car, recounting this, we could forget all we went through a few days back.

Santa Claus does exist and he may not come dressed in red and white with a long white beard on a reindeer, he could come like an ordinary man in  a car with a big warm smile.  Don’t you agree?