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Monday, August 1, 2016

Uncommon thinkers reuse what common thinkers refuse..a tribute to JRD Tata...


There's a saying that goes- "Imagination is more important than knowledge".
But what if they both join hands?. Won't there be magic?.
Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata was sure magical. Born on July 29 1904, the same year Jamsetji passed away, JRD was destined to carry forward Jamsetji's legacy.

At the young age of 22, JRD was called to become the director of Tata Sons. I read somewhere that it bugged him big time not to have studied in a University. Irony though, destiny had it for him to build and flourish many universities!.

Well, destiny could be an overstatement. Like many others, I too believe you make your own destiny.

Come to think of it, do you not know someone who has beaten the odds and made it big?. I'm not saying leaf through the Forbes list for some inspiration. But may be someone in your neighborhood from an average background who made it to IITs or some badly-off person in the past making India proud at Nobel conferences now, or for that matter any small start-up that grew by leaps and bounds in no time.?

Do we pause to take a breath mid way of the rat race that we are in and think what they've got different from other common thinkers?.
Time ?. Money ?. A brain like Einstein's with a more developed corpus callosum?.

I think taking a pause to ponder in itself is the answer. I agree that all of us may not have the same level of IQ. But studies have shown that we don't challenge ourself enough mentally. And I'm sure most of us had some wonderful vision at some point of time that made us think that we were different too. Just that we left it at that. "So many people out there with such imagination. Why would I get there and make a fool of myself right?. Or why fret about something that does not really concern you?"

Exactly!. I mean exactly not the way JRD proposed. You never know, the idea you left half way could make way for someone else to rewrite history.

Did you know that if you have a vision, you have just laid the foundation?. But working around it knowing that failure and success will take its course is more important. Like they say, "Everything you want is on the other side of the fear". And I believe conquering their fear is what led way to many uncommon thinkers like JRD. Not going to any university sure did not stop him from becoming the first pilot in India that gave way to realizing his vision of civil aviation in India !

All through his life, JRD had been visualizing a prosperous and happy India. And he knew people in India had limitations in terms of many aspects. And he set aside his personal time to imagine and visualize a better India. An India with many scientists, artists , researchers, sportsmen, social workers and so on.  And that made way for institutes like IIS, NCPA, TIFR, TFA, TISS and many more. May be he was blessed with a great lineage that motivated him and the base was already set for him. But the question is, did he do the best with what he had?. To a greater extend, YES.

Are we doing the best with what we have?. Do we belong to the club of uncommon or common?. Do we have a choice to make here?



Saturday, July 23, 2016

When I set out to find out what's so special about the place people keep raving about..

I had days when I would take my books and get out to study under the shade of a tree. Study table was never my thing. Even days when I slept over at my friend's for combined study, we would choose to walk around in the rubber trees or sit on the roof. I still remember me dropping off a leaf in a stream at my mom's place and telling to myself, " I will have remembered one complete paragraph by the time this leaf goes out of sight". Revisiting those places bring back so many memories and you love those places don't you?. See?. Feeling good about a place does not just come by it's fame or beauty. It is definitely associated to the amount of love and affection you have built with them over the time.

When I once went to Shimla, the travel was mesmerizing. But would I give it a higher weightage than the places I hung out in during my childhood?. NO. Will the images of the place flash in front of me at times or the memories recur?. NO. Yes Earth is wonderful and there are amazing places for you to visit that may leave you spellbound for some days. But a real connection comes only when you form memories. Meeting a stranger who influenced you in a short time, some unforgettable incident that taught you a valuable lesson. Those are the things that come back later to you.

So would you rather travel to feel alive or just because your friends are travelling?. Honestly, when I see a lot of pics posted by people and when they say how extraordinary the feeling is to visit those places, these days I highly doubt it. Travelling has become a pressure these days than pleasure do you think?. To an extend people leave their loved ones behind to travel and gain enlightenment. Trust me, this is not an overstatement. The scenario exists. And just so you know, if you abandon someone you love to gain wisdom by travelling, I can only pity. What you really need is not travel to exotic places, but may be to some poor African countries so you get the soul you are looking for. For abandoning your love is a no-soul act according to me. Sometimes even I am caught between the right and wrong, because the thin line seems to blur for me. And as they say, you never know "In search of the truth, you often become the lie".

Yesterday, my cousins and I decided to pay a visit to Fort kochi. For a person who has been living around Ernakulam for more than 4 years now, not to have visited this place till now is a shame I know. But Kochi has not been my kind of place. As soon as I landed here, my friends began to disperse to different locations. Yes,you make many acquaintances and people plan team trips. But office trips?. Because you are bound to follow a set of rules during the trip and play games with people you are not really comfortable with. If I have to visit a place, that has to be with some people I am really close to. Your close friends or family. People who will let you stare at some picture without pushing to keep up.

So we took a right turn at Kundannur and crossed the Mattanchery bridge.We had a few places in our head to hit in Mattanchery and Fort Kochi. I had heard a lot about Kashi cafe and Dal Roti for instance, but had not been to this place in daylight before. Only GPS to assist. We reached a fork at Thopumpadi and took a wild guess that Mattanchery should be to the right. A hot guy with tattoos and beard stopped in front of us in an even hotter-looking car. With that pride of having-it-all, he took a jerking-show-off turn at the divider. Brrr!. There goes a scratch to remember on his door. "Aww. Poor guy", we cried in unanimity secretly laughing at his awkward moment, totally unaware then that the same something was to happen to us in sometime.

As we traveled a little farther, the alleys began to change their looks to a congested and clustered maze. While I'm the kind of person who would howl back at men who take a dig at women drivers, this time I stayed calm and took care of my business to avoid any kind of future "What-did-I-say-about-dealing-with-people-there?".. A lot of twists and turns and we managed to enter the alleys with brick pavements on them, a sign we have entered the Jew town. We had planned on visiting the synagogue first, but we couldn't stop our car by there, so we headed forward. Managed to park the car in a clear and safe area and stepped out.

The Dutch Palace was on our list too. But to our disappointment, the Palace was closed. Apparently it stays closed on Fridays. 'You must be kidding us' is all we could say. But that couldn't take our mojo away. could it?. Because to the left were the tourist-luring kiosks. Something like these.

Shops like these excite any one with amazing trinkets and knick-knacks at display. But man do they go down in prices?. NO. I thought bargaining was allowed and they'd fall for it. Seems like they didn't want their stuff to sell and were so damn arrogant. But I couldn't return empty-handed and I got myself a souvenir. Never leave a a place without one as they say or as I say :P. 
Pretty right?. in just 20 bucks.
How I wish to have a home of my own and fill it with things like these. If only I had some free money, time and love to go with it. Sigh. But on the upside, the fact that you are travelling at your will in your own car no matter how trivial the place is and that you are alive is a blessing in itself. So no complaints.

The things you see at display will tempt you to the bottom of the ninth. Had I been the girl 3 years back, I'd hog them all and spend with no regrets. But life lessons have been teaching me quite a bit these days and I spend less (comparatively). So, might as well make do with the fancy-looking pen.
There were doilies, carpets, clocks, clothing, what not. But for the price :/. Abstaining is the word:(. But even though you know you may not buy any item, you don't hesitate to enter a store. And the store keepers don't mind too. They are fine as long as some one comes to visit. For a moment I thought these could be stolen items or something they got at a very cheap rate from somewhere else that they might do fine without having to sell them. Hmm, I will come back one day for things like these:
Imagine these guys in a corner at your home.
My dream house as I tell my folks has carpets all around, funny guys like these in nooks and corners, a cottage-like look and wall painted in sponge and designs. I am not a big fan of modern house plans with perfect squares and plain upholstery. Immersed in thoughts and that's when it struck us that the synagogue won't be open after 1 pm. We rushed to the place on the parallel lane and lurked inside the place reading about the Portuguese and the Dutch and the Rajas and looking at the altar that seemed empty behind a curtain.
Chettinad-like tiles?. Please no photographs. "Oh ok". What's behind the curtain?. Time up, Please step outside. "Ok" :/
When you walk around in Jew Town, you will find art galleries. And conveniently you may want to skip them. But don't. If I must tell, you shouldn't miss Sarah Hussain's for the world. The entry may not excite you for you may feel like climbing a ladder to an attic. But boy what's waiting there will sure take you to a different world. Look below and you should know there is no exaggeration.



Acrylic painting. Look at the details. Those rosery beads. Oh wait!. How did she blend those two colors?. I mean why don't I see any visible merging clues? A picture so alive, you stare for minutes and won't realize..


We got so impressed and began to read about her. About how Sachin Tendulkar was drawn to her paintings displayed at his hotel and came over to visit. 
Ok, I want to meet her!. 
And that's when the lady over there told us Sarah sits in a gallery nearby and that she is probably finishing a work now.


With much presumption we walked towards the place, only to find a lady very modest in looks. Every inch of intimidation faded away in a second. The lady herself midway of her lunch got up and greeted 3 not-so-serious-looking girls with so much warmth and humility. As if the fame did not mean anything to her. As if she did not know how talented she is. Imagine if one of us had come up with such masterpieces. Won't we be spamming our fb or instagram page crying for attention?. This lady just did not know to show off. The one thing she knew was to create magic with her hands. Only such a good heart can have the patience and talent to paint her way through.

FYI: The paintings are sold for prices ranging around 30 to 40,000 Rs/-. They are sold in and outside India. They have a webpage. Look it up.
The lady with her master.



Overwhelmed and wanting to come back here and learn a few tricks of acrylic painting, we stepped out from the place. We were tired and decided to have lunch.  

 "All clear in the back ladies?". - YEP.

I took the steering wheel in my hands and stepped on it with overconfidence and a thud followed. :/ . A post out of nowhere scratched the beauty off my car!!!. I know I should have been careful. Shouldn't have laughed at that chap who scratched his car earlier. I rested my head on the wheel for a while, shook it off and stepped on it again like nothing happened. After-all, you should not let one bad thing ruin the rest of your day. 


We reached Fort Kochi and parked our car by the parade road. The lanes were beautiful to walk around on and were given beautiful names like Lilly Street, Burgher street etc. On the burgher street, we located Kashi Cafe.


 

The Restaurant had a wonderful old-time charm to it. But wasn't sure why there was a lot more hype to it than it deserved. May be for the people who hang out here. Mostly foreigners. Or for some locals playing cards who go out once in a while to smoke up some weed. Like Cocoa tree is a favorite hang-out for teens in kochi, Kashi is for Fort Kochi. For the "status" associated. Or as they say. 'Country-side girls can never get it. The freedom, the liberation'.  "OK. IF THAT'S WHAT YOU SAY. OUT OF YOUR WAY". We ate the bare-minimum and got out soon. 






Then we got into St. Francis Church where the body of Vascoda Gama was once buried. Except that there were many tombs on the floor and the walls, the church didn't provide the peace to sit and pray. Got out pretty soon.

On our walk to the fishing net area and the beach, we spotted some actors like Prithviraj shooting for a film. More than seeing him, the way people twisted their phones to get him on the frame with them to get a selfie was funny. The chaos didn't get to him and nonchalantly he got onto his caravan. 

The fishing net scenes were more stinky than picture perfect. And so was the beach. I like beaches in the Malabar area of Kerala than down here. Comparatively cleaner I suppose. Nevertheless, we let the wind talk to us for a while. And for the out-of-the-world experience when you zoom into waves for a long time. Wellington Island may be next time.





And what are my take away?. Definitely Sarah and her paintings and the colors of the Jew town.

And for what I would say - Don't visit for Kashi or the cliches. Visit for the left overs and the remnants.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Thommankuthu...

It's a shame this place is so near to my hometown, and I never visited thinking it could be just another waterfall. And I am not someone who needs to backpack to a place far away to relieve my stress. The rain or the sight of a big mango tree would often do me the trick. So I never felt the big-time missing. But boy ! For someone who expected just a waterfall, could a wild forest and a series of majestic waterfalls inside be anymore surprising?.


After we drove upto the Thommankuthu stop and I got out from the car, I was not very thrilled to be honest. Because up until we stopped, there were houses and buildings along side the roads which barely gave any hint of what was coming. Ofcourse there were sign boards. But the roads don't hint for the big jungle or the waterfalls.

And then when I saw the big entry to this reserve forest area, there was a rush of excitement and I couldn't help but run inside. A true jungle with huge trees that block the sunlight. And the roads seem like taking you to an endless journey. And yes, the forest is literally never-ending if you don't stop where the guides tell you to. I looked around and the wilderness couldn't let me decide what to aim for first. Give the gigantic trees a bear hug or peek at the river that look like white spots through the leaves.? And here's the winner. The tree hangings.:D. I had never had them up close before. I pulled one string and that was so springy. And the roots towards the tips kept me wondering. I kept looking up for a while at the canopy.


I moved forward and could not contain my excitement.
Just a bit ahead of the entry, there is an interpretation room that has the eponym explained and other information about this eco-tourism project.
So, this spot is apparently named after a tribal "Thumben" who died while cutting across the river during the floods. And ofcourse 'kuthu' stands for waterfalls. And there you have it 'Thommakuthu'.

I stepped out from the room and continued walking. Roads are cut out for tourists (till the stop, upto where they can walk without a guide. After that you need a guide and a 1000 bucks to cover the remaining 8 kms or so).
I had the river buzzing in my ears all the while. The trees and the varities of them get you excited. From Rosewood to Jangli to what not. And the trees have name boards which made it easy. I was pretty excited to spot the Devil tree (onto which we nail the possessed in our folklores remember?).
Spot any similarity in the patterns?.No right, And there are tons like these imagine!
Infact there was one tree that had a weird shape with wedges and deep cuts in the trunk. Cuts big enough to hold a person. From the top view, it should look like a star I guess. My cousin suggested- should there be a flash flood, we better hide in there and walk out as cool as ever once it subsides. And that triggered a laugh.There was another one with big branches circling around the main trunk. That was apparently an anaconda fossil.:P
Amazing resemblance to an anaconda don't you think?
Through out the walk, you should be careful not to trip over branches like these that crawl through the ground. You often hear people say they spot elephants and snakes here. Even tigers sometimes. The irony is- though I'm very scared of snakes , with so much hype over snakes and elephants I was disappointed not to have spotted a snake at least.

My father was very excited to talk to guides, especially the ones who were really old. They talked in length about bamboos and barks and medicinal values and so on and so forth. My Dad mentioned, "With so much come and gone in  my life, my childhood memories of hanging out among trees like these were gone. I am thankful they revisited." He was happy to imitate teachers during his days and the way they hang their umbrellas.

Doesn't he look happy?
He told me that I came here with him when I was a kid. And my mom told the story about how that day a guy kept climbing up one of these steep mountains, like that was a suicidal attempt, and how people kept staring. She doesn't know how the story ended though. They were pressed for time that day, she guessed.

We kept walking. In between , we found bamboo chairs , tree houses and resting places. But no food or water stalls inside. And I guess that keeps the area cleaner than the other tourist places in Kerala I have been to. The water is also very clean. Each 'kuthu' is named differently. There are seven of them. I don't remember the names exactly. But I do remember boards mentioning the known death counts at each kuthu. Ranging from 7 to 24. And a warning saying 'you could be next' :/. The warning good though, because there are many shallow spots where we get so tempted to dive in. But there are slippery weeds that could easily let you join the deeper area. Wait, if you are lucky enough, you may hit a rock on the way and have your face hung on the wall forever. :D.. Or the hidden caves underneath that can drown you and devour you. So you know, you have a variety of options for death too if you are not careful ..:D..

One of the many waterfalls:
Also see the clouds swarming up into a darker version?. Because it drizzled on the way back. I know :)
We hung out here for a while. Of course at the watch of the guides. Just the sensation of dipping the feet in water can take you out of the world. The water is cold and gives you chill. You may choose any rock that suits you and stay there with your feet in water. I spotted many beautiful butterflies here. Bigger that we spot at homes.
Like these :
See what I see?
You will realise how the touch of the water can take away your fatigue and pump you up for the backward journey.

We saw the barricade beyond which there is no permission to travel without a guide. I heard from the guide that from there on , we have to walk by the river cutting through the bamboos which I thought was more exciting and jungly. But for we did not anticipate this and did not have any food or water and of course we were super tired , decided to stop. For those who want, they can go with guides with food and other stock.  I said to myself , "Some other day then.."..And that was a day well-spent. :)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

That scent of soil when rain hits after a long time...petrichor...!



It had been two long weeks at work, busy weeks at work. So busy that I had been sleeping at 3 am.
I finally gave sign off on my work and slept peacefully yesterday.

I woke up today to a sunny Saturday..
and I had this lag...shit-work lag I call it..
you ever felt that?..you-had-been-doing-some-crazy-annoying-stuff-for-a-while-and-then-you-forget-what-it-was-like-to-be-on-a-normal-day kind of feeling?..

I tried hard to feel alive, to get the momentum back.
My mother was busy stitching a dress. I thought why not learn some stitching today and then I decided not to.:/. Might as well watch some TV.. I watched the movie 'The next 3 days'. The film was around a husband and a wife. A husband who would go to any extend to have his life back with his wife.? I mean prison-breaking extend?.Certainly not possible in a real world. But still, who wouldn't  kill for a husband like that. My thoughts wandered around the idea of love. Can love be as strong and forgiving as they show it in movies?. Of late , you mostly have movies on no-strings-attached relationships and you-are-allowed-to-cheat-it's-your-life approach. This one, on the other hand, did come as reaffirming. Reaffirming your faith in family and real love.

Done with the movie and still too lazy to get going, and it was afternoon already.

Suddenly, there were clouds covering the sun and a tiny bit of thunder outside. And suddenly, the sunny day went on to becoming a cloudy day. The way the rains call you from a distance and you know they are arriving. Some mood changer they are, aren't they?
Boom! I decided to step out and feel the rain. The rain that hadn't been a visitor to my place for some-long time. 

And they said -" Rest assured, you are not going to have a hard time sleeping through the night".

I couldn't stop humming my favourite song I hadn't listened to for a while.

"Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Never let it fade away
Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Save it for a rainy day

For love may come and tap you on the shoulder some starless night
Just in case you feel you want to hold her
You'll have a pocketful of starlight"


Listen here -> Perry Como - catch a falling star (I insist, you will love it)

Man should you turn this on , on a rainy day and sway as you drive?..


That scent of dry soil when rain falls on it. I could die on this ground right now and feel alright. :). (die and feel?:/..)..
If my niece had been here, she would have danced around in the rain..And I would have watched and filmed her dance. I couldn't remember the last time I danced around in the rain. I think it was when my cousins (mathu & bobina) and I played football in the rain. I think when I was in college.

The yard was sure all to myself. Well mom of course was busy stitching and no neighbours around.
No thinking again. Just run and splash those waters!.

when we dance you have a way with me, stay with me, sway with me...!!!

You get lost in the rains. The water so pure and cleansing. And so cold.!. Have you ever floated on water at night looking at the stars ?. For me sleeping with stars above is the only thing that can level with this feeling. "Give way to the might rains yo!!! Pennies from the heaven..let them absorb, let me dissolve.."
I was scared that my mom may scold me. Instead, I caught her enjoying looking at me having a little fun, while at the same time reminding me to be careful not to catch a cold.

As the madness subsided, my mom came with a towel. I dried my hair and I went out to take in the after-rains. No missing the dews of course. The unbeatable drops!.

To fall or not to fall?..

No, I won't catch a cold and I'm not dusting myself off ..!!!

..if only there were a line of ants passing through the top.

The little guppies in our pond frolicked around. You could just gaze at them and ponder as to what on earth should their concern be?. Do they know it's raining?.Have you ever wondered how fishes sleep?. Just stop swimming and stay put at a place and sleep..:/..?
Do they know they swim on the reflections?

This guy never looked better!!..Say hello to the ivy leaves climbing behind.
I hope they run wild and cover the fence from all the sides.

Bougainvillea shed the flowers alright.:)
How could people complain for some flowers falling on their yards?. We are not cutting that off because the neighbours complain.

And I shed the hangover from work...:)...


This was one such day where you stop and think to thank God.. May things stay the way they are. I ask for no more, no less  (yes no less..:P)...I am thankful I still get to do things the way I please. I am still at my own home.


Don't forget to tell this to yourself everyday- " Today is the youngest you will ever be."...

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The cat that followed me home everyday...

I strolled alone every evening..
To watch the sun, to catch the setting..

A cat followed me home everyday..
All that purring and stroking.."Ye!!.run" ..I would shout, but it would tag along..

" You keep cats, you step out of line"..the old-fashioned way they taught us..

I would stand in my balcony and look around..
"Those ladies sure keep cats..they pet them and seem happier than me.."

The sunsets continued to excite me..
The cat still followed me back to home..
And I still didnt like it..

More strolls, more sunsets..
I slowly got the hang of it..
The cat became a day-to-day event..

One day, the kitty didn't show up..
I had to be relieved and happier as I thought I'd be..
Much to my surprise, I was worried..
And I missed it so badly I cried..

I know this..I know this!!
I should get rid of its sight..or it might just hurt me more...

No sunset it is for a while..!!!

The monotony started closing in on me..
Time went by ..

That's it..!!.Who would stop me from doing what I want...not the church..not my people..!

I head out the next day for the sunset and there's that cat..

In that spark, I ran to it, took it in my arms and started petting and kissing it..I brought it home..fed it and stroked it as I read in my balcony..

I'd wave at the other ladies and would find myself as happy as them..

Days went by, weeks went by..
The kitty kept growing on me..

It was different..
Not the usual friends, not the old parents, not the fighting siblings..
I would finish off my work soon, so I could go back to my kitty cat...

I stopped stepping out for my usual strolls..
No to sunsets too..
I might as well stay with my domestic love..

Crazily I worked...hastily I finished and hastily I ran home..
"Kitty, Kitty..here Kitty.."
I said again..."Kitty, Kitty..here Kitty..".
My voice feeble and turned down...
I stealthily moved around..
That's the last room...there's no sight of my love there...
It left..it just left..left me numb and left me cold..

I sat in my room not moving...
Held on to my pillow as if it were that soft furry creature I clung onto for a while..
One tear slipped down my lower eyelashes..and then it poured..
My voice echoed in the building..

The balcony and sunsets would only hurt me from then on...
Let it go.. Let it love...my heart would settle down for a while and then abuse for another while...

I wrote a while, I baked a while, I travelled a while..
My crowd were happy and so was I..

I revisited my balcony.. ..unclean and untouched for a while...
I looked around.. the ladies were still happy..I had failed to notice back then that the cats kept changing in their laps..
They are sure more beautiful than me, sure richer ..
But my heart is more beautiful, loyal.....

I would find myself getting excited and loving life like no one else at times..but would find myself shouting out with rage at some other times...
..that balance is missing...that love is missing...

I might walk past my cat again one day, but I might not hug again or kiss again..I might just shout with rage..

Rage like this and people say I may not have loved it ..had I loved it, I'd just let it go, let it find a better keeper..
May be my heart is not that beautiful..

I returned to the church , I returned to my people..
I found my peace again..
It's right when they say,."often people end up from where they started.."..

The cat that followed me home....


 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The day you stumble on some old belongings..



Just another normal day and mundane chores...


I woke up to my messy room.
My clothes lying around. And a table full of cake-making tools, all draped in a rug. I glanced at the office laptop on my bed and looked right away determined not to touch it until it was 2 o clock noon.

I went downstairs to have breakfast or should I say to have some taunts from my mom.
The usual - " Look at your room. Do you have any plans to have that tidied up?. I don't want these useless tools in my kitchen.When do you think you can get them off here?. When will you learn to have things together?. Girls your age are managing 2 children (Pfft... honestly I secretly laughed at that statement. Poor girls my-age!..lol. To all those who sympathise me for not having a husband at my age and to all those who sense a resentment in my words as you read this- You are twice as older than me at my age!!!! ha!! ).
:D
Now please don't judge me. The joke's on me. I'm just getting over that depressing phase of mine. And yes I'm recovering. And mom - stop offloading all your piled-up complaints and insecurity on me. Could I be more rude?. I don't care.

Oh there's today's news paper!. *scoffs and moves on*. Remember your college days?. Running to the library after class because you missed the news paper?. Well I had some insight then. I wanted a job. And no one would have covered for me in the group discussions then. All I have today is Arnab. Mr. Goswami of Times Now. When he gets aggressive and all that take-you-down-the-nation-is-watching, I like it!. I feel deep down he was depressed at some stage of his life. *nod my head in approval*.

There's no chore I saw had to be done, especially when I had the liberty of  "let me procrastinate the crap out of it - I will do it tomorrow".  (Guilt attacks and asks - At least sort the clothes you would want to wash?. and I say "No I'm good. Thank you. ")

I roamed about carelessly and that's when I found a cardboard peeking from the top of my almirah. I got curious, climbed over a stool nearby to find out more. That was my fine art!. And it was all covered in cobwebs and fungi. Some one took that off my wall when my sister was carrying my niece, saying the modern art would scare the child out the belly. Took me right to the time when I was all ceramic-art-tidy-up-my-house type. What an irony. Look at me now and imagine me then. I decided to clean up that which I call "art" , nothing compared to those technical stuff though. I am never the professional one. Always the rusty one.

Ain't that some art?. Sure describes me now- putting on a mask that lies and smiles when there's actually melancholy underneath.

The framework brought a sudden swing in the mood. I decided to look around, not at the mess I have been piling up for quite some time, but at the beautiful corners which "I" once created. They go all unnoticed now, because one barely notices some antique in the attic right?.

  • We had a clock which once we got as a compliment from a shop, with some green writing on it that shouted 'I'm cheap'. It could have easily been thrown away. But back those days, I wanted to redesign everything. The frame was wooden though. 'Why not paint it and turn it to something beautiful?' Some brushing and some ceramics. And voila :)

I still have this in my room.
It does not work anymore. Just the looks.

  • There were many cheap pots I collected from the market. Some by my sister. Back then, it was my sister who was the one with the job. She'd take me to malls and buy me stuff. (I'm sure she'll feel bad if she reads this. Not that she is any less happy now. But who doesn't get a little nostalgic about those single and independent days right?). She once bought me a beautiful pottery. I looked at it and thought - why not mimic that and get similar ones done?. The pots that cost me 5 or 10 bucks from the local market - I tried to turn them to a little expensive looking ones. I used some putty, some paints and brushes. And there :)

The blue one has cracks now :(.
 I remember yelling at my mom for breaking
it while cleaning.
  • The main-hall mirror of ours was a little old and plain. (In fact I bought a classy one from Westlife sometime back. But my father just refuses to take the old one away. I have no clue what he sees in that.) I sat for two straight days and came up with something like this from the old plain wooden piece that had no work whatsoever on it.

No excitement uploading this one though. The mirror is back to stage one now.
 No one was careful with the ceramics.
The ceramics were delicate. And it is all gone now. :(
  • The brown mania that had me paint everything brown, from an old Ajanta clock to the aluminium mirror.

  • The pretty corners I personally designed and the fine arts I picked up from here and there.



  • The dried herbs my sis bought, which I painted and fit in a small pot.
Ran through my photos and I found this.
My dear brother who always has this entrepreneur dream took this and
put it at his office he once started.
The office is closed and my little pot just vanished. But don't you dare think he gave up.

Speaking of entrepreneurship, we three (my sis, my bro and I) have always been for it. From my brother's coaching centres to the company he has registered in an IT park now. From my sister's boutique start up to my cake dreams.
I love my cousin for he pushed me
into making this for his kid's christening.

Thanks to Jeena for trusting in me
 for her wedding.
But why doesn't anything click. Why didn't we have a little more ancestral money to chip in?. We could have quit our full-time job and made our dreams come true.
And there's no time now. There's work. There's estimation and management. I am not saying I'm not good at that. In fact I worked my ass off in the starting and bagged the highest rating, only to find out the young achiever award nomination came at the cost of my health. Now I have learnt my lessons and don't work as much.

Honestly, I want to quit and do something I like. But the money factor pulls me away from the idea. Also the taunts.
This quarter-life crisis has just got to end. Or I might just give up. Sometimes I wonder why I get depressed. I have everything that someone else might possibly dream of. But there's a void somewhere inside. I want to figure out what it is.

Can I just go back to recreating that old mirror work of mine?. Can I take oil painting lessons? Or be a member of rifle club?
Has that time just ended?. Will I get married and everything may just end?. Will I NOT get married and everything may just end?. Will I ever make it as a home-based baker?. Not just any, but a well-known one.?

May be there is an expiry date to everything.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Hiraeth - the home you cannot return to..

Some things, some people, some places - they once occupied such a large space in your heart that it's hard to leave them behind you. I have never been able to unravel the mystery around these firsts  - your first laptop, first car, first diary entry, first love, first home...The firsts you can never get the memories of completely off your head.

I once had a home - the kind people say they'd want to get lost to on a holiday ,the kind that has every element of the countryside , the kind I dream of going back to one day. Though I shifted from there when I was very young, my heart still lingers around that place at times.

The house was sold to some other guys. And that kept us from hanging around there, where we didn't belong to anymore, for a long long time. I didn't visit the place for almost 15 years. The only few strings attached are our family crypt and our Ammama (the lady who took care of us when we were children).



Ammama - "Little souls find their way to you whether they are from your womb or some one else's"
Ammama is not keeping well these days. And I decided to pay her a visit some days back. I went alone and the drive was just beyond overpowering. The roads you have not been on for a relatively long time, yet you know every turns and corners of. Snippets of memories flash before you as you drive along.

Your school van that took you from home - the yellow one, occasionally autos, even jeeps and the vomiting tendency which demanded your staying put near the window so you don't throw up on other children. Sitting on someone's lap , who could probably be sitting on someone else's.......
The auto that had the curious small side seat in addition to the normal back seat, which was awesome fun for us tots back then, but no fun when I think back - for how uncomfortable we were in that confined space..........
The new comer boy who entertained my sister and me with the game 'look at each other's eyes without blinking'. He would not stop even when tears trickled down his cheeks and would always win.....
The girl who fell down the auto and whose missing was not noticed until the auto was 100 meters away.......
The huge cliff in Illichuvedu (a place) , the one the auto could not easily climb on. We would get excited and shout 'pull on, go on'. I choked out of breath one time and could not speak for a couple of minutes . I dared not shout again and would be careful on that cliff after that......

En route, I stopped by our church. I prayed before the family crypt. Fond memories of Ammachi , my grandma, hung around my head. I remember her whenever I see any old lady wearing chatta munde (archaic clothing in Kerala ചട്ട മുണ്ട്‌). Every time I see a chatta munde , I get happy and a little sad at the same time when I think that 'that' should be a gone sight after a while.




 
The family crypt. My papa and only my papa is responsible for preserving this.
No one else in his family gives a rat's ass.

On the way out , I stepped on the breaks to imagine a crowd in front of the church. And there's my father, my sis and I stopping by to see what's going on. We find a huge snake beaten and killed by the people. Three of us on a motor bike. Yamaha. Wohoo.
Occasionally my father would pick us from school, help us put on the rain coats and we'd have a jolly long ride. Around 20 good kilometres in the night , in the rain.

Memories around his bikes are countless- from the good ones [the group of five on a bike - papa, mummy, the sis, the little bro, I and the rains!] to the bad ones- [once one uncle got on our bike and got his feet hurt on the wheel. My father took him to the hospital. I  was so scared and asked my father "Will the police take you and leave me here?" He laughed away and said "No". I have a vague memory of me wearing the green and white frock on that day- my favourite one. I held on to my water bottle -  A bunny-like one with two ears and a mouth that could be opened to drink on from two straws inside.]

I drove on and noticed that it is indeed some pretty good distance between the church and the house.
"Seriously ?. We walked all this distance every Sunday to church.?"
That famous saying of my father echoed in my ears- " I walked 5 + 5 = 10  kilometres to my school !!!". You see , we walked too. :-t. In fact, I walked all that distance once with high pride , holding on to my first price ever, a cute plate, from the church for scoring the highest marks from the kinder garten section. I was so shy to receive it from the dais and kept complaining to my mom that I wouldn't be able to do it, but I did just fine :).

I passed by the rock quarry - the favourite halt of my sis and me. We'd write gibberish on our slate with chalk and wouldn't rub that off until we reached the quarry. We'd pluck some stems from there. The plant stem that was so watery , you could literally rub your slate clean. Again a trick our father taught us. I should get the name of the mystery plant from him....
And the ferns. How could I forget them.!. You press the rear side of the fern leaves on your hand and voila - you have a cute design of the leaves on your hand. Making bouquets using them was fun - the leaves stacked on top of each other and some cute flowers on the top.....

My love for the ferns!!!
And the touch-me-not plant. You snip off a stem of any plant (stem that's almost hollow), touch the watery tip of the touch-me-not leaves on the tip of the hollow stem. The water from the leaves gets into the hollow stem and when you blow from one end , you have bubbles coming out of the other end....
And the flowers I don't know the name of, but when we pinched them -they snapped with the sound of killing lice. Our father told us there were lice inside and we kinda believed him...
And thumbapoo (Leucas) , which the father told were duck's feet :/. We often sucked the juice from it. And let them float on water. They'd float with perfect buoyancy.


Thumbapoo :)
The clap leaves which again I don't know the name of. You clench your hands in a fist, place the leaf on the fist and slap on the leaf and it blasts with a poof.

Myriad of memories and I didn't quite realize I was almost there. The home that was once ours.

..The huge gate.
..The stream that runs alongside the gate.
..The long driveway with tall trees on the sides.
..The paddy field around the driveway. 
..The big steps to the house.
..The bathroom outside where we once spotted a snake in the toilet bowl. I know a bit scary, but usual scenes for us back then!. 
..The veranda and the car shed attached to the veranda side. There was a blue colour separation between the shed and the veranda. We'd never step down to the front yard and get to the shed the straight way, but throw our legs around the wall-like separation and get there.
Waiting for my mom on the veranda to get back from town with the nail polish I told her and some fancy items was restless I tell you. The rainbow bangles she got us were the best. She'd get my sis and me the same things. My sis and I had similar dresses too.:).
..The rooms. Especially the small room (the one we called കുഞ്ഞു മുറി ).
..The rear-side veranda. We rarely went to a barber shop, because of course my father did all the hair cutting!. I can still picture me crying on that veranda every time he showed me my hairdo in the mirror. Mostly bob cut.

Oh yea, and plucking our milk teeth with a thread. We were told to keep the teeth below our pillows so they turn to coins the next day. And every time, they did turn to coins. Obviously!. Who else ? The father.
..The cow shed and the cow-dung store towards the back. The room attached to the shed, where I remember shingles were stored. Did you know- when you have blots on your tongue, you could touch shingles on the blots and get rid of them? We go in the room once to get a shingle piece and there goes a huge snake crawling around!.
..The machine room (മെഷിൻ പുര) , where rubber sheets were made. My sis and I used the machines to run leaves through instead of the rubber. We'd get different designs on the leaves.
..The almost-broken-termite-infected bridge to the neighbourhood.
..The chicken coop. The fun of waiting for the hatched eggs to turn chicks and running around them.
..Our land where we grew rubber, mari (മാരി ) as we called it. Once we caught a rabbit from the mari. My brother got so attached to it. That was his first pet. We used to feed the rabbit some cute pasture and milk.
Though the bro was 3 or 4 years old, his company were elder men like Rajuchettan - the guy who made him a toy bus. I can still imagine the brother roam about the yard with his bus.

It's funny how small things, things you thought would never matter again , resurface from your subconscious psyche and let you wonder. Remember Urvashi in Kadinjool kalyanam?. Her first mango tree experience. :D.  Sure I am crazy , aren't I? At least there was someone I knew who thought I was crazy, who hated every bit of my emotional side.

I took a tour of the home and the mari with my Ammama. Ammama had been bedridden for quite a while, but she decided to step out for me. She felt proud in the car and kept asking me to take her to more places. I met some old fellas - from the tea shop wala to the 100 year old grandma. The grandma who wouldn't agree that she doesn't remember any one. If we ask her " Amma, you know me?" and she replies , " Of course I know", but she wouldn't say who. I guess she didn't want to admit that she is senile and has lost her memory.

The 100-year-old grandma!



The house that I saw and the people I met were no much different from my memories, though some inevitable of course.


The gates are rusty now. The stream unclean and messy.
 You have pineapple plantation instead of the paddy. And the house a little different.

I had some food from Ammama's house. You don't have a proper way to reach to her house. Some slippery rocks with brooks around, some structure that looks like steps and there you go.

As I bade good bye and drove back, I kept wondering whether such overpowering emotions will show up if I visit again. May be yes, may be no. The more you visit the less intense they may resurface , for sure.
As my father says ,  " There are a few things that you were once helpless about, that you didn't want to let go but had no choice about, that you may have lost forever. They can only hurt you if you cling on to them. Certain things are meant to be forgotten."


"  It may not hurt you much when you miss someone, it may hurt you more when you know that you are not supposed to be missing them but you still miss them. " - Unknown


I have mixed emotions. Good and bad. Good that I got to revisit the place and relive my memories. Bad that I may not feel this way again. As if something precious that you preserved has just left you. The same has happened with you, hasn't it?. Catching up with your old friend and knowing that they have changed and don't have that kind of warmth now. Meeting your ex after a while and seeing him as a different person sweeping the ground from beneath you.

But yes. That's it. You get past it once and that's it. :)..May be I should do this again. May be it's time to forgive and forget. May be it's time to let go. Your life is too short to be anything, but unhappy.

May be...