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squiggly tree

Caption courtesy the ‘chicken soup’ series of books.

This is not really a post, but more of a clarification to Miss Damsel’s question, “Whats that thingy up on the header?”

well my dear Damsel, that is Thoughton’s work of wonder! Its what happens when kids from small towns go to the big cities, get screwed up in their heads and then return to the peaceful setting of their homes for vacations, only to get riddled with excess freetime…

I’d been bored of my header image and wanting to get a new one for sometime now. It was Thoughton who stopped me midway and suggested that instead of just lifting images from elsewhere, I do something really whacky, like create an original work of er… art?, even if it turns out to be ‘toh-tah-lee’ un-inspiring! So my afternoon was spent on making this squiggly tree and terrorising it with a bunch of wandering stray clouds… And we had awesome fun doing it..

And thats not all… We’ve also decided that from here on, we’d come up with such original pieces of “whatever art for the whatever soul” regularly for our header image, every month!! 🙂

“Njyangale manasu alinjyu anugrahikkanam” (please melt your hearts and bless us!!!)

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There is a sense of calm, not a peaceful one, but a sort of calm with a heavier, more condensed emotion underneath. Like the excess cheese that oozes out from a seemingly harmless ‘thin crust pizza’. Heavy and sticky, you know all that cheese is going to just settle at the bottom of your tummy and lie in there, uncomfortably sticking to all of your innards, all through the night.

I’ve always loved the monsoons. That overly loud display of awesome power had me tingling with excitement ever since I was a little girl. But this time around, I sense a difference, a sort of gloomy silence, which makes me want to walk right upon that cloud and burst it out aloud. My neighbor’s kid can sulk better. Yes, that’s exactly what it is this time around. Its not raining, nature’s just sulking, all day long and all night long…. And it’s no fun at all…!!!

Thoughton: Amma is right. You’ve become a Tamizhathi!

Me: What? Now why would you say that?

Thoughton: Yea, look at you, all of Chennai is talking about you enjoying the monsoons in here and you are craving a hot scorch of your bum in the sun!!!

Me: No, I’m not. Im just saying this time around, there is something amiss. I want some action, some real drama. That’s what I had hoped to see… but this is like a bunch of amateurs totally screwing up the show. I wanna fling my 100rupee Pondi bazaar sandals at them…

Thoughton: Yea, but it’s been just two days. Maybe it’ll improve.. Let’s just not get all whiny already.

Me: who is whining? I aint whining

Thoughton: yes you are

Me: am not…

Thoughton.. Yea right! Btw, what’s that thing? I’ve been noticing it for sometime now..

Me: What thing?

Thoughton: That thing sticking up from your back?

Me: God, what’s sticking up from my back?

Thoughton: Hahaha, I think somebody done a sticky note on you!!!

Me: A sticky note? Why would anybody wanna stick up a sticky note on me? I got no enemies?

Thoughton: (rrrippp) Well lady, looks like you just have a secret loather!!

Me: what’s written on it?

Thoughton: It says.. “The girl with the head up in the clouds, YOU’VE BEEN TAGGED!

Me: Why that prick Karsub!!

Thoughton: Don’t you dare utter a word of disgrace against that nice ol boy young lady…

Me: (pooh) But I won’t do it!!!

Thoughton: You shall NOT ignore Karsub’s tag

Me: But he stuck it up behind my….

Thoughton: Stop complaining and start writing right NOW before I start pinching your brains…

Me: ………

(Fake smile) Ah so ladies and gentlemen, the thing with sticky notes as you already know is that you can’t really get it off you. When you manage to take it off your back, it gets stuck onto your fingers. And then you use your left hand to rip it off from the right. And then you gotta roll it around, all the while squishing it and then kill it before you can completely rid yourself of it…

I’ve also tweaked a few questions here and there coz I found them to be a little er, well, boring? So here goes…

Four Favorite things:

 Four places that I have lived in

Calicut, Coimbatore, Cochin and Chennai.

Four TV Shows I love(d) to watch

Heidi

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Whats that lil robo girl’s show called? With an annoying freckled girl for her neighbour’s kid? Damn, I forget. But I used to watch it regularly.

I used to love watching “Surabhi” on Doordarshan

Four places I’ve been on vacation

I’m changing this question to: Four of the best places I’ve discovered during my childhood summer vacations:

The military barracks up the forbidden hill, where we discovered fox dens, sinister caves and the most beautiful of beaming blue skies…

The-three-storey high water tank in the apartment, a climb that got me grounded for a week!

A cycle trip to the beach through the fisher colony and dark alleys of Kozhikode with my two comrades in 6th STD. (A secret I had been hiding for the past so many years. Dead meat I am tonight!)

A full blown tour of the haunted construction site outside our apartment. I encountered a tiny ghost called ‘Guchi’ up a coconut tree, and developed a fear of sleeping alone ever since.

Four favorite food items

Puttu kadala, amma’s prawn fry, cheera (spinach) curry, medu vadai, rasam sadam…. Well there are just too many items. I wouldn’t know how to restrict it to just four of ‘em…

Four Websites I visit daily:

I don’t visit any websites regularly. Although, I do occasionally go to etsy.com, deviantart.com, 52prints.com and many more of such art based websites.

Four places I’d rather be.. I’m changing this question to:  Four places I’d like to visit:

The Himalayas

The Saharan desert

The Pacific islands

And the North Pole

 Four things I hope to do before I die:

Visit the Himalayas

Put on some weight

Adopt a mongrel puppy

And live happy

Four novels I wish I was reading for the first time

Eh, did you mean books I don’t mind reading over and over again? Then I must confess, I don’t like to read a book once I’m done with it. Although I can read Tintin, Asterix, The Coral Islands, and a lot of other books I read as a kid.

Four movies I can watch over and over again

Old Mohanlal+ Srinivasan/ Mohanlal + Jagathy movies

All animation movies

A few Tamil movies

And Pather Panchali

And now the victims of this tag:

Me: Whom shall we attack first?

Thoughton: Damsel’s behind obviously

Me: Shush, dont humiliate me so.. but she and philip have already been tagged

Thoughton: Ok then, lets sniff out some fresh meat. Lets tag the famed ‘Ice maiden

Me: You like her?

Thoughton: Oh yea!!

Me: Ok then

1. Ice maiden gets a sticky note

Thoughton: Next should be Bullshee. Lets stick it up his cuffs.. him and his fancy lil suit!!!

2. Bullshee watch out!

Thoughton: I wanna try it out on Ambareen and cool muslimah. I kinda like the kids… they have this innocent goodness about them…

So there… hope ya all find the sticky tags before others find it on you….:)

 

 

    

IMG_2142

 

….where he drags me to lie down and read when the summershine peeps in, and listen to the sound of music and sleep when it rains…. Today we are reading Rashmi Bansal’s “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”….

Puppy love!!!

Sat beside me this li’l fellah,

To lick his paw comfortable!

But on my feet he saw a li’l black buckle,

And at it he went all ‘wiggle wiggle’….


pondy pup

I am not exaggerating when I say I left a part of my heart there with him when I returned to Chennai from our trip to Pondicherry. He must be leading a very content life with sunny sandy beaches and hot chips and of course, the many leading ladies! He is probably chasing chicken from behind shacks  and winking at pretty women and distracting ’em, and helping himself to the extra large burgers and meat pies on their plates as I write this now…

But every now and then, I go back to this album and try to relive that moment, all the while asking… “Why, why oh why, dint I bundle you in my arms and bring you back home…?”

‘Madhavi amma’, mispronounced and later christened by the kids as ‘Madhyamma’, died when I was in 10th std. She was the great nanny of the ‘Chengalam’ house, my ancestral home. She took care of my mom and her sisters when they were kids, and then became a nanny to me and my cousin sisters when we were kids. I remember waking up early in the Chengalam house and walking out with my eyes half open, with lots of sleep weighing down the unopened part of my eyelids. I’d walk upto Madhyamma, who would be sweeping the courtyard and demand to be lifted. She never resented it. She would pick and hold me with her left arm and sweep with her right. And I’d clutch her tight and dangle from her hip, and look down, to see the pattern the broom made on the ground….

I didn’t go for her funeral. But to this day, I remember her by this particular pattern in the sky. It happens whenever Madhyamma sweeps!

sky

This post is lovingly dedicated to my mom, her two sisters and brothers and of course, Mathyamma….

The day has transformed into the night and the night becomes day! No, this is no magical story, but rather a pathetic sleeping disorder Ive developed over the past two months ever since we stopped worshipping the Sun god and are now left to suffer His wrath. Soporific days and restless nights took over my already unsettled life. The problem is that though we have rented out an AC for the summer, I don’t sleep inside the room because I ended up waking almost everyday with a sore throat. It’s a risk an unemployed youngster mustn’t take. So I sleep in the living room, and roll all over the floor, throughout the night and wake up groggy and end up catching snatches of sleep for the rest of the day. That is if I manage to put myself to sleep at all before 2am.

Last night, it rained. Which was romantic and all that, but it shot up the temperature making our house an ideal place to open a hot sauna. While lying on the bed, I remembered ‘Mr.Right’ once telling me of a certain breathing technique that helped you to relax and go to sleep with ease. I tried in vain to remember the sequence. Was it a 6-3-6-3? (First 6 being the count for inhalation, 3 for holding it in, the second 6 for exhalation and 3 for pausing before starting all over again.) Or was it a ‘7-4-7-4’? Or was it something completely different? While pondering, I was interrupted by a very strong sequence near me. ‘Roomie-who-does-not-want-a-mention-in-my-blog’, had slept off in the living room while watching TV and was now ‘snoring’! Instead of getting annoyed, I told myself to relax and try and learn a thing or two from her on how to sleep like ‘that’!

And then it suddenly hit me. If I could repeat the same sequence as her, then I could also possibly fall asleep. I lied down on the floor, stretched and relaxed my muscles, took a deep breath in, exhaled, closed my eyes and observed her snoring rhythm. It was an odd, sort of miscalculated ‘3-1-4-2’. But I followed it anyway and breathed for about 50 counts, before realizing that I was sitting up and straining myself to hear her because she had turned over to face the wall. I rolled all over the floor once again last night. In the morning, when I finally gave up on trying to sleep, the aforementioned ‘roomie’ woke up and moaned: “I had a very disturbed sleep last night….”

“1-0-1-0”

The moon is encircled by a bunch of hooligan clouds. It’s a silent sky. (Gnaw Gnaw) In the dark of the night, a form stirs. (Gnaw. Gnaw) It slithers from under the blanket and moves gently past the motionless bodies. A door creaks open. (Gnaw. Gnaw) The silhouette of a girl appears against the window, behind which is cackling an old worn out tube light. She moves gently and switches a machine on… (Gnaw. Gnaw)…

Me: “Oh stop chewing my head. Im up now, amnt I?”

Thoughton: “Are we gonna write then?”

Me: “Grrr… yes we are…”

Thoughton: “Oh how wonderful! Im gonna let the whole world know how cruelly you tried to kill me and drown me in the seas”

Me: “Yea whatever”

Thoughton: “And they’ll all be mad at you. Especially your dad. For having imprisoned me inside your head and tormenting me so…”

Me: “(Yawn) Man, really, don’t you ever just shut up? Do you realize its 2 in the morning?”

Thoughton: “No, sorry, for us in our world, there is no night nor day. We simply are…”

Me: “Yea, yea, I know… FreAks!!!”

There comes a time in every woman’s life, when she has to wake up from bed in the middle of the night and tend to things for the sake of her own sanity. No, im not talking about a baby or a husband, it’s my own ravaging mind. So here I am, after several weeks of shutting myself away from Thoughton, who was leisurely sipping away tender coconut water in the summer heat while I slaved like a dog, and is now turning against me and complaining about having imprisoned him inside my head.

It feels strange to know that at some point I didn’t even have a blog. That, even when a considerable chunk of city bred Indian kids were rambling away about their lives and thoughts, I was secretly jotting down dark and vile thoughts in a diary which I am now considering incinerating. Because now that I have a blog, not writing and checking it regularly feels odd. There is this strange sense of guilt, like having abandoned a hapless kid on the road, after promising it to return in a few minutes with milk and biscuits. Ok, maybe not that dramatic, but you get my point? It really, really has been a painful separation from my darling Thoughton, who is er, right now, er, has gone back to sleep….

Ok never mind him. I shall start off from where I left and accept certain honors that were bestowed upon me. (a little late I am!!!)

It all started with Dphat, who very generously hammered down an award on my blog for being a blogger ‘extraordinaire’, he wrote. The buck was passed to several other bloggers.

But to receive the award, one needs to satisfy the following conditions:

a. List 10 honest truths about yourself.

b. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven friends. Show the seven random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.

Now two other bloggers, one miss Damsel and a certain lover of curd rice, for want of names on their list (I think), chose little ol me who was missing in action to feature on their list of 7 exceptional bloggers. Im not sure whether to think it as an honor or an insult anymore… But an award is an award. And since all of these bloggers are people who I nevertheless do admire, love and respect, I think I shall accept it and take the dare-to-bare-all test for this nifty icon: honest scrap

Here goes…

1. I have a habit of shaking my legs in sleep. It has left many people amused, many relatives gossiping and my mom seething in anger. The reason for this behavior is a certain dad, who in the initial days of his career, came home after night shifts to a wailing baby and a tired mother and found an ingenious way to restore peace and calm in the house- by ‘rocking’ the baby to sleep on his legs. The habit stuck. Both on the dad and on the baby. Now on lazy Sunday afternoons, we both ‘rock’ ourselves to sleep and wake amma from hers.

2.  Speaking of lazy Sunday afternoons, I love to lie down with my parents and read. That’s how the three of us end up on the same bed to doze off. Amma, with her book on her and the reading glasses off her nose. Achan, placing the book and his glasses gently beside him and lying in a straight position, and me curled up like a foetus between them with drool all over my book. Those few minutes are enough to dissolve the memory of all of the terrible times I’ve had with them in the past.

3.  I love mangoes. Raw and ripe ones alike, but cannot stand anything made from it or its preservative flavors. Meaning, I don’t like mango juice, mango flavored candies, shakes, ice-cream and the lot. Only just real mangoes.

4.  My two frontal teeth aren’t really real. I broke them when I was 10yrs old, when I picked a fight with my brother and he gave me a little shove to fend off my claws. I slipped and fell on the porch, head first, face down. Amma later showed me two tiny white chips before throwing it away, foiling my plans of preserving them in my pencil box.

5.  I love Chennai. Agreed it’s hot, it’s polluted and is not as happening as the other metro cities. But I suppose that is exactly what I like about this city. This perfect mix of the old and the new. And besides, where else on earth do you get the best of idly-sambhar?

6.  My first ambition in life was to become a postal stamp sealer.

7.  For many, it is the scratch of finger nails on the wall. For some it’s the screech of a chalk on the board. For me its coins. I cannot stand the sound of two coins rubbing against each other. It makes my teeth tingle in a very unpleasant way. And also metal spoons on steel plates. Brrrr….. !!!

8. I love to watch Animal planet, Discovery and Nat geo and can see em all day as long as they are not about gadgets or do not concern physics. I love shows on elephants and lions and everything about India. Also, documentaries of David Attenborough occupy a special place in my heart.

9. My first phone was the basic Nokia model 1100. I used and abused it for so long that I fell in love with it. I still use a basic model (cant remember the name), because I think there is simply no match for it. Its sheer will to survive in spite of the several nasty falls and near-to-death-experiences has won my heart. They made that phone for me!

10. I believe I was born at the right place, at the right time, to the right parents, and met the right people, and got into the right kinda shit, to make whatever is right for me, right now!

And now ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the 7 chosen ones:

  1. Poori: She has two blogs. One where she writes and the other where she uploads her crazy art creations. Now Im gonna choose her art blog here coz I love that unique bit of herself she leaves in random everyday things. She is not the regular artist who’d make you nice pretty wall hanging things, but rather grab your stole or shoes if she finds the fabric interesting and go crazy on em…My favorite is her ‘swampy shoes’ creation. Here is to an exceptionally honest soul, wild and crazy as the winds…!!
  2. Anju: I remember thinking ‘whacky’ when I first came across “the witch of la la land” for a blog name. I came across it a couple of times and continued to ignore it for reasons unknown. And then one day, I landed in that place anyway and discovered that it belonged to my junior from college, whom I had also once tried to drown in the sea! And this is the blog that I’d actually like you all to read. She has 5 blogs and all are like her- mysterious! Well, at least she doesn’t shove everything into one single blog like me!
  3. Deepa: She is a mother of a 6year old. Used to be a SEO writer before she quit her job to make paper-jewellery! She makes intricate pieces of absolutely stunning designs with paper. Her products are available in ‘Dakshin Chitra’ and ‘Vanilla place’ in Chennai and are slowly gaining popularity. Her blog is open to all to take a look at her products and place an order. I know for a fact that she is not going to respond to this award. But I want to feature her in here for the sake of all things art and all humans brave enough to follow their hearts. You can check out her blog to see her talent laden “10 fingers”.
  4. Mr.Editor: Mr.Editor is young, funny and well fun. He could be the ideal Raj of DDLJ, the wittily dumb, yet smart fellow who charms all the girls. But I don’t really know that. That’s just an image I have about him in my head. He is the kinda guy I’d push in front of a Yash Chopra or a Karan Johar for their next film. And he surely does deliver what he promises- timepass! Unfortunately for me, some other lovely lady already hammered this award on him. But heck, here is another one… Mr.Poh-puh-lar!
  5. Bakwaas ji: Now this is the guy they’ve been warning you to stay away from all your life. The guy you should never bring in front of your father. Bakwas ji makes it very clear with his blog name what he has to offer to interested readers. The guy is outrageous and outraged at many of the things happening in our ‘mahaan Bharath’ and loves to debate. I don’t like to debate, but I like the way he writes, even if it is a potential minefield of expletives. He is funny and honest to the point that he should ideally get banged on his head with this award!
  6. Viki: Star photographer of the Chennai Trekking Club! But alas, the hopeless guy that he is, he was wasting it all by uploading it on orkut! So we caught hold him and tried to put some sense into his head. This blog is the result. Although, he is yet to really start uploading his real good captures. Unleash your camera Viki, and strike us with thy magnificent shutter eyes!!!
  7. I thought for a really long time as to who this final victim should be. No amount of calculations and searches on the net delivered fruitful results. So even if the rest of the bloggers decry foul, I shall still do it. You get what you give! And im extremely grateful for the three great souls who considered me worthy enough for this award and would further like to express my gratitude by tossing it back at them. Ladies and gentlemen, this final award shall be shared between 3 outstanding bloggers!

All hail Dphat for a regular dose of ROTFL posts!

A standing ovation for Karsub! His very presence in the blogosphere is a darn blessing for all of us!

And a bling bling photo-shoot and autograph session for the very young and lively lil miss Damsel!