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Archive for April, 2009

Smells, one of the many things that binds you to the past. Be it pleasant or repulsive, smells manage to bring out long forgotten singular instances. A memory, a smile, a hurt, a fight, a person, a name, a time, a day, a promise, a reason, a season, a poem, a thought… why, it can even remind you of entire states and countries!! An aroma once smelt, unique of its own is hardly ever recaptured. We do often get a whiff of similar smells, but I believe no two smells are ever the same.

This post is inspired by a smell. The smell that takes me right back to my childhood, to Kerala and to the cold waters of the ‘kolam’ (water tank/pond) in my ‘ammamma’s’(grandmother) house. Back to a feeling of being nice and clean, and back to a time when I could fit in on my amma’s hips! A smell that I later on started associating with hotel rooms and promptly discarded. The smell of ‘Chandrika’ soap!

Yesterday was a very busy day. After 3 long months, three cheques that had got delayed finally cleared and came my way. Time to pay the bills and do some shopping. After preventing the unpleasant event of having our internet disconnected, I walked into a supermarket to buy a few basic necessary items that I’d been doing without for all these days. I was bored of ‘camay’ and ‘dove’ and was looking for a change. My regular soap, ‘Derma dew’ now cost close to 70 rupees. Even with all that money, I felt the price was still a killing. I went through the mulit-coloured, floral designed covers of all the soaps on the shelf and picked nothing for a long time. I wouldve turned around and walked out and convinced myself to shell out 70rupees. But that’s when I spotted the dull green cover of a very ordinary looking ‘desi’ Chandrika soap, standing shyly in the midst of international models. I hesitatingly picked it up and drew it close to my nose to smell it once again….

 

Frantically swallowing whatever little air I could get, and tears streaming down my face, I splashed around in the water like a fish out of water. Two protective arms curled around me, but I still held with all my life the shaky rocky pillar that supported the small roof above the steps of our ‘kolam’. Amma was trying to teach me swimming, but nothing would get me to float on water. Inspite of having expert swimmers for my parents, I was petrified of the ‘kolam’. Many brave stories could be heard about my mom’s spectacular diving and rescuing skills and achan’s ability to do stay under water for long minutes, and to swim backwards and sidewards. And yet, their child, when put into a kolam always only swam downwards….

Kids in the West had nightmares about the ‘toilet man’. I woke up from my sleep everyday to get tossed into a ‘kolam’, and it later came back in my dreams to swallow me whole. I would cry out and howl until amma sensed the scary reality of a shattered eardrum drawing close and pull me out. I’d spring up from the water shivering, and teeth chattering like a type writer. She would turn me around and splash more water with her hands and then start scraping me clean, mumbling all the while about how her child was a gift from the God of dirt, if there be such a god. The soap lather would run down my feet and flow into the water and invite many small fishes to gather around and start nibbling at my tiny toes, and prompt me to do a jiggly wiggly dance move. This would further agitate my mom, who’d then issue out new orders- “STAND still”, “Don’t dance around”, “or else you will fall into the water now..”

And I’d decide I had had enough and slip myself from her soapy grip and make a dash for it, sending little clouds of froth flying after me. In the confusion, the soap, placed on a small stepping stone, would get kicked into the water. And my mom would be torn apart between saving a drowning soap and chasing a wet child who could catch a cold in a breeze.

“That’s a WHOLE CAKE OF SOAP!! And thanks to you, the FISHES are feeding on it now….” and on and on she’d go later on, rubbing the towel vigorously on my head. I’d put my arms around her and place my head against her soft tummy, smelling sqeaky clean of tulsi and herbs and ammamma’s other oil concoctions, and start humming a tune and laugh to myself by the way the notes of the song were jumping and falling around. Amma would stop wiping my head and stare at me, and I’d catch the warning and run out and climb up the ‘jaambakka’ tree. ‘Mumble mumble’ all the way to the kitchen my dear amma would. And I’d sit on the branch and sing and swing away into the skies.

If ‘Chandrika’ could explore the secrets that lay at the dark bottom of amma’s ‘kolam’, then ‘lifebouy’ made it clear it was capable of much more that in my dad’s house. Although I have two sisters in my dad’s side, their stay abroad allowed them to escape the rough treatment I received from my brothers in Palghat. Amma’s family was full of girls and dad’s family had a majority of boys.

“Kozhikode’ veettile kolam is scary for her. Lets try out the Palghat kolam, she likes the corner side, where those creepers dangle from Achu ammavan’s house into the water. Maybe she’ll get into the water if we take her through that side….” High words of hope those were from my dad’s mouth. I liked the water and the blue-flowered creepers that dangled from there alright, but to proceed any further than the three steps where I found it comfortable to submerge myself in the water that rose till my hips when I sat down, was impossible for me. All the brothers, even the youngest one had learnt by now to swim. I added to the misery of the ugly-duckling’s tale and spent all my time at the steps, away from the other normal kids who took to the water like little tadpoles. The cousins, rough as they were with each other continued with their games and I was always caught in the middle. And during one of their playful tussles, one of ‘em got real rough and with a ‘splosh’ ended this ‘one’ in the water. I remember having this feeling of a furious river running somewhere inside me. And the giddying smell of lifebouy clogging my head. In the struggle, my arm struck something solid and I immediately caught hold of it and grabbed it. Cant imagine whether it was an arm or a leg, but with another loud “Splosh” came a cousin to join me under the water. Fury of the river, and now fury of a cousin. The ‘kolam’, beauitful as it always seemed, was cordoned off for upkeeping the safety measures and preserving the sanctity and order of the house and its young members.

You’d think its impossible for the mind to go back in time and relive so much. But the mind is an amazing thing, I realize. It has little tricks up in there to take you back and forth in time, and relive whole incidents within just a few seconds. I opened my eyes, feeling lighter, with a gentle smile trying desperately to run deep curves on my lips.

‘Chandrika’ soap was coming home with me. Never mind the hotel bathrooms, the feel of my mom’s warm hands on my frozen body, and the memory of all those days I splashed around in all the ‘kolams’ in vain, could easily erase every other memory associated with Chandrika soap. Which reminds me, I have to join swimming classes now!

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I love that unusual bit of nature’s design which I don’t click intentionally, but gets captured and comes to my notice only after I print or copy them onto my system. They manage to bring out that whacky 4-year old girl in me with the weirdest of imagination, who would go, “I cAn sEE d back of two ‘cocodiles’ painted in bright green in this picture….Caaan U find out wer dey are?”

 

 

 

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Yay, yay, yay and a yay, yay, yay!!!

 

It’s been a long way

Its been a big sway

But hear me today

When I look at you n say

To come along n play

Coz its my day today!!!

 

Ok there have been sadder songs. Like the one we came up with last night. Its called the shitty song and it really was just that…

 

“Oooooooo…. Ooooooooooo…”

Oooooooo, I feeeel like shi**…ing

I feeeeell like shi**..ing

Aiiyeeee feel like shi***…ing

In da moRninnn breeze….

And by dawwwn,

It’ll all be gonnne

I know it’ll leave me empty insiiide

But hey, hey, hey…

Listen to me when I sayyyy

That a new dawn,

(Chorus girls) a newwww dawwn

Will come agaiiiin…..”

Heavy strumming of the guitar… end song, and leave audience disgusted!!!

 

Iyengar maapilai appreciated the effort and gave us a nice title for the album- ‘Flushed’. Debut album of the abomination and her trusted ‘nanban’ will hit the stores soon. Don’t forget to pick it up and turn us into a mega hit. I promise to clean the world of all the shit once I have the money.

 

Ok all of that nonsense apart, I think all of my friends already know this is coming, this little birthday post! Well, its an easy guess, considering how much they made me cry with all those wonderful surprises and love and warmth and goodness and frienship and love and all that and everything and…. Oh sob sob….   Im in a terrible condition now. I don’t think I know what I am writing or doing.

Ideally, I shouldnt be allowed to do anything today, other than maybe just sit somewhere and let me cry and laugh like a madman, to release all of the excess amount of joy that im finding real hard to contain inside me. If you leave me to be me today, then I think I just might sprout out two tiny wings, fly to the skies and rip the clouds and eat up all of the snow and get an indigestion. See me bounce off from the seat now… (Wheeeeeee…..)

 

Truth to tell, I feel sooo touched, humbled, overwhelmed, and blessed that I just don’t think I can use any of my other faculties to calmly sit and write about it. So I wont. Kindly put up with this crazy, incorrigible post. But what did my friends do to get me in this condition? Well, they went and made me feel special again!

Due to recession, we all decided to stick indoors and have a quite time, for a change. Nanban made hot, crispy vadas. Dhara made sambhar and rice. Big dadddy and nanu took care of the chicken. And Gobu made payasam. At the stroke of midnight they covered my eyes and put me in front of the comp to make me listen to the video (charu’s SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS Bday gift) my Mr.Right had uploaded on Youtube(man, that guy can talk!!). He sang our favourite song, one that reminds me of him and him about me (or so he claims….) I didn’t bother much about the chords or his voice or his singing. I was just so blinded and deafened by that overwhelming emotion that all I could let out were a few salty tears. The cutest part of the video is where he brings in these animated figures. Watch out for the 3rd minute where a cupid circles around his head…(god, im so lost in love!!!) Dphat also took time out to make a video and sent it to me… I so wish he was there to make the place all the more merrier…

Guddu ‘stitched’ a real pretty kurta for me, which I’ll be wearing the whole day today! My roomies gave me a beautiful stole from ‘Auroville’that smelt like God. They also gave a complete ‘meditation kit’ to aid me on my spiritual quest. After a very long time, Im finding it difficult to write today. Im so totally out of words and expressions. Its almost as though I cant rememeber anything. I guess you can make it out from the way this post is going.

So though all of my friends were making fun of how I’d be making a post of all the events of lastnight, I think I’ll just go ahead and dedicate it to all of them.

For all of them wonderful souls in my life….!!!

 

On a more serious note, (my parents might be interested to know) I hope to become a better person this year. Been at it for years, I know. But Im gonna continue keeping at it until I succeed.

Plans for the future now take a more serious turn. Guess the time has finally come to do what I set out to do. The reason why I quit my job, the reason why I am here in Chennai, the very reason why I believe I was gifted with big rounded eggs in my math papers.

 

An ‘art boutique’ through which I hope to create ideas and concepts using the artistry of the absolutely talented craftsmen of our country. The local artisans, carpenters, potters, painters, sculptors and weavers would make my dream team and with our combined efforts, I hope to improve their lives by changing my own. Its going to be a challenge. But one step has been taken. The rest shall follow. I cannot ask for a better day to ask you all to wish me luck and send in your blessings!

 

So that’s all I have time for today folks. The worlds callin me now….

 

Crowded schedule for the day:

Lunch with cousin brother

Temple with big daddy

Beach with Lumi and Venkat

Coffee with Kandan

And dinner with the gang!!!!

 

Happy Birthday to me! J

 

Ps: Karsub wanted a special mention in this post because he thinks he deserves it coz he called me to wish me when I was writing it. I think that’s reason enough. So here it is- a special mention. Thank you, dear Karsub! J

 

 

 

 

 

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In an attempt to save my dear friend, i bit a witch before she bit me and i howled in my sleep and got woken up by my startled roomies only to resume the dream and see ‘big daddy’ taking me to the most beautiful ‘Ganapathy’ temple and stopping by at a local toddy shop to try out their local brew….

Phew, Thoughton is unbelievable!!  Do you guys even realise what Im living with inside my head?

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What nature takes, it also gives back. A week ago, this ‘Peepal tree’ was a story of drought and death with skeletonic branches stretching out in horror. And today, it is almost irrecognisable with its new coat of healthy new leaves.

 

 

 “And the young ones danced merrily in the breeze and under the open blue skies without a care in the world. Ah, what sweet joy is but childhood!”

 

peepal-leaves1 

Im telling ya, all babies are born pink!

 

  

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….and its sema hottt machi…!

 

 The bright young faces of our times started to whine and wither as the Sun God stirred up in his seat and got ready to claim and abuse his power. The cycle of the seasons had come a full round to give him free reign once again on the hapless folks of this lovely city that I have come to call my home.

Summer was in full swing (already) and even in all that dust and heat, Chennai ‘pattinam’ looked radiant in the sun! I’m here to showcase a few summer shots that I managed to capture before the Sun God shot a sun beam and burnt a hole in my head. I intend to run it as a series all along this week!

A kind word: If any of you unfortunate kids are here because Google directed you to my page thinking it can help you with ‘info-searching’ on the various plant species of Chennai for your science project, then please do be sensible enough to close this window immediately and get back to your homework before your mommies spank you for going through the contents of a 23 year old woman’s fantasy filled life. And if you are here by your own free will, then please chuck your notebooks, forget that plants and trees have names and humans have intelligence and proceed only with your visual senses and a happy heart…

 

Q: What do you call a tree that reminds you of another tree but you know for sure its not the tree you know very well and which you also dont know how to search for in Google?

 

 Ans: An unknown tree!

 Though these yellow clusters of flowers resemble the common ‘yellow bells’ flower, this is NOT the ‘Yellow bells’ tree. How do I know that? Simple. The branches and leaves of this ‘unknown’ tree are quite different and I have seen only one such tree in all of Chennai and my life!

 

The ‘Pink Tehoma’ tree (more Google) spends a major part of the year in quite preparation, unnoticed and unappreciated behind elegant bamboos, gorgeous raintrees and popular mango trees. But come summer, and they unleash their lovely creations to push everybody else into the background and inspire many hopeless souls like me to stand in the middle of the road and gape in awe! They strangely remind me of cherry blossoms and manage to convince me everytime rather stupidly that its going to snow in another 2 seconds.

 

 

A lazy ladder leans against a drab building wall and watches with detached interest, two lousy bicycles fighting. One cycle gets disgusted and turns its handle bar away. The ladder wonders if it should intervene and solve the dispute, but decides its too much of an effort and stays put. So the Pink tehoma takes it upon itself to bring back the order of the day, realising that all it’d take would be a gentle flutter, and its rosy tubular flowers would willingly plunge from the branches to spread a pleasant pathway and instantly dismiss all ill-feelings amongst the cycle brothers.

 pink-tehoma1

 

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