Friday, February 25, 2011

Life of Pre

Reading Yann Matrel’s ‘Life of Pi’ is like reading my own story. In a way. Not that my father was a zookeeper or that I crossed the length of the Pacific with a Bengal Tiger at an arm’s length. The semblance begins and ends with the way Pi is introduced to 3 religions at almost the same time!

You see my very first prayer was a ‘Kalima’. My first school being a Muslim school in an essentially Muslim town called ‘Adiramapattinam’ located right at the coast of Bay of Bengal. The morning muslim prayer at school comes as no big surprise. But that being ‘my’ very first recital prayer is!

To me Adiramapattinam seems like a town, as I recall now, far removed from the rest of the world. Yet that was hardly the case. The town thrived among the trading communities who travelled to the Persian Gulf, Malaysia, Singapore or where ever one believed the greener pasture was! It is believed that the muslims from Egypt were the first to arrive there and married the tamil locals and voila, a brand new community is born! Although in my memory it stays as a quiet town next to the sea where nothing ever happens!

It is curious that although we lived there for 2 years, we never once saw the sea. Everyone spoke about the sea and to me ‘the sea’ was a far away place. I thought I had to cross the ocean to see the sea. Or some such muddled up thoughts filled my simple head. It will take another five years and a completely different town to let me in on the secret of the sea, the beach, the ocean and the smell of fried fish which succeeded in violating my very being.

Anyway people of this town however were simple, courteous and extremely friendly. I vaguely remember large uncles in shiny blue shirts and white dhotis smelling like they have just bathed in perfume bringing all sorts of goodies from across the ocean. Translated, Dubai! Via a big white ship no doubt! Cup and saucers made of glass, small bottles of perfume closed with a cork, shiny cloth material, wallet for my dad, shinier sarees for my mom which would eventually be regifted might I add!

Step outside the house and ours being the first on the street one could see the entire street by just craning the neck forward like an ostrich. I even remember the way how our house looked like from the outside. A modest house with a little greet gate on the outside which was perpetually left open. A wide walkway in the middle with tiny gardens on each side leading up to two steps and the door. A green or a blue one I am not sure. The part I loved the most of course was the big, really big open play ground that lay right across our street. I don’t remember ever to have played with ever a slipper on. Bare foot on red mud, drenched in dirt, sweat and glee! I remember running with my brother, breathless and always in the mood for chasing games (Odipuducchu). ‘Tag - you’re it’ my daughter calls them now with her brand new Nike shoes :( (Sometimes she removes her shoes and her socks while playing in the well-maintained playroom vexing all those other mothers who have instilled good habits in their young ones! :P)

And then of course the unforgettable sweet muslim lady Who lived 2 doors down and who gave me dried lemon pickles from that big clay jar one day. Which, I later realised, to my horror, housed dried fish (karuvaadu) at the bottom topped by a pickled lemon layer as a preservative! One of which was in my mouth! I remember the way I slurped on those long juicy twisted lemon wondering why mom never made these for me. The sweet lady asked me whether I’d like some more and I nodded. She filled my open palms with more twisted lemon and my mouth watered at the prospect of eating all of those eventually. I walked towards my house carefully carrying my priced possession, all the while chewing onto one, with a small bit treacherously poking out of my mouth while saliva dripped at its tip. When I reached home however, my mom very gently broke the truth about the pickle’s lifetime until it had reached my mouth. She was very kind about the whole thing and wondered the truth aloud. But it was enough to gag my mouth and forever refuse to eat anything offered by anyone! You see even at that very young age I was a devout vegetarian. I couldn’t bear the thought that I had enjoyed something that had preserved a dead creature!

But I digress, yes the first prayer was a Kalima. I was so proud of it.

“Onram Kalima, Abdul Kufri, Laa hi Laa haa, illal laa haa, Mohammedu ra suill ill laa haaa,”

I recited all 5 Kalimas full throttle whenever it was asked of me at home. I knew them by heart in Tamil. My dad’s muslim friends in shiny blue shirts approved and swore that even they did not know all 5. And here I was a 4 year old Hindu Brahmin ‘girl’ reciting Kalimas with such reverence and gait. My school day began with the Arabic class. Writing Aleef, bae, thae…. from right to left, from right to left we got reminded incessantly. And then I forgot. All of it. Just like that!

It seems so abrupt now. My dad’s promotion and transfer to another small town, called Dharumapuri. I promptly transitioned to 1st standard at the best Catholic school in town reciting ‘Our father in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done….’ with equal reverence every morning! All the while unaware of numerous sanskrit prayers available for recitation at my disposal.

I think my parents were super cool about the whole mixed up religion I was growing in. Democracy and liberty at its best!

Today when people here try to scare me saying that my daughter learn her ‘Indian’ language and not be influenced culturally, all I do is nod and pooh-pooh them in my mind. I want to scream and say that it was what one might call, ‘experience’! :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Celebrating Life

Often times, there are words and phrases for which you don't know the meaning.
I don't mean the literal meaning of course.

'Celebrating life' for me is one such phrase.
I have been happy, yes, but, what is celebrating life?
It is obviously something much bigger.
Really big while not being obvious, yes?
A very difficult concept to capture.
It is almost like that particular elusive feeling for which there are no words in the English language.
Refuses to be captured in a bottle.
But here, the words are very much there but the meaning, now that's a mystery.
For which I am glad.

Otherwise people wouldn't attempt to capture it.
In music.
In books.
In movies.
Sometimes in life.

I have written about movies before. A few that manages to capture 'that something' in that unique way.

'Amelie' does it exceptionally well. Like a flower that wilts with deliberation. Like a red balloon that flies at will.

The red balloon moves here and there but it is so red. You cannot take your eyes off its redness. Your heart lifts up and you admire it against the blue sky, the gray building, a sudden rain. The red balloon flies.

I am glad it takes a whole movie to capture life while it is celebrating.
I am glad it is made in a language that I do not easily understand.
I am glad there is life beyond English.....

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

I wish I could hum it here.... mmmmmm

Whether you arrive here by accident or you meant it, take a moment to listen.

Quelqu'un m'a dit - Carla Bruni

You don't have to understand her. I bought the song without understanding anything much. I thought if I knew what the song meant, somehow the magic would die. If you are like me, listen and quit. If not scroll down a bit :)

I’m told that our lives aren’t worth much,
They pass like an instant, like wilting roses.
I’m told that time slipping by is a bastard
Making its coat of our sorrows.
Yet someone told me…

That you still loved me
Someone told me…
That you still loved me.
Well ? Could that be possible?

I’m told that fate makes fun of us,
That it gives us nothing and promises everything,
When happiness seems to be within our reach,
We reach out and find ourselves like fools.
Yet someone told me…

That you still loved me
Someone told me…
That you still loved me.
Well ? Could that be possible?

Well ? Could that be possible?

So who said that you still loved me?
I don’t remember any more, it was late at night,
I can still hear the voice, but I can no longer see the face,
“He loves you, it’s secret, don’t tell him I told you.”
You see, someone told me

That you still loved me
Did someone really tell me?
That you still loved me
Well, could that be possible?

I’m told that our lives aren’t worth much,
Passing in an instant, like wilting roses,
I’m told that time slipping by is a bastard,
Making its coat of our sadnesses.

That you still loved me
Someone told me…
That you still loved me.
Well ? Could that be possible?

Friday, March 05, 2010

How to make money?

Although I'm not crazy about self-help books, it does serve as a constant reminder that one has more to learn in this bad mad world.

But on second thoughts, is there? Really?

Lately I have been observing a few articles on Yahoo! and other popular websites. Let's just take the example of Yahoo! for this particular post.

The topics can be from 'How-to-save' to 'How to ask for a raise at work' to 'How to deal with boredom' to 'How to eat healthy ' to 'How to get a job' the list goes on. The topics are varied but the presentation is horrendously similar. And the content states the obvious! I mean really obvious!

Examples: How to get a job -
Suggestion by Yahoo!: Get a linkdin account, write a good resume with all the key words, Make a list of contacts you already know (duh!), send them your resume, float your resume on popular job sites (duh! duh! duh!) What the hell?

How to eat healthy-
Suggestions by Yahoo!: Eat green leafy vegetables, Drink at least 7-8 glasses of water per day, eat a handful of nuts, avoid fried stuff and lastly a 'surprise' bonus point which has nothing to do with eating..... EXERCISE!

If you had clicked on the Ad while you were at it, you just gave them some money for having wasted your time and testing your patience! Yahoo must really think readers are pretty dumb or maybe I am smart! (oooh.... i like that thought!)

Here is how you write an article which could generate MONEY pay attention!!
A very catchy headline. A small introduction. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 dumb points with a follow me on twitter message right at the end. And yes, a small photo of the contributor at the beginning. Sort of gives an authentic look for a really crappy article.

Now comes the big question. Topics to choose.....

1. Have a list of popular search topics that goes on in popular search engines. (use a search engine to get this list! - Do i have to tell you everything??)
2. Select topics which require no prior knowledge or skill of the subject (much like this one!)
3. Or select topics which require very little research. (If you were smart you'll pick one from this post!)
4. Get a thumping headline (ok..... a little creativity is needed here I agree)
5. Now write it as if you know what you are talking about.(Bloggers! we rock at it donchathink)

No, I do not have a twitter account! :D

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Not a subscriber....

I realised I don't like to subscribe to websites, blogs, messages, feeds because I like to visit the pages myself and see if there has been an update! Many a times if there are no updates I like to browse the earlier posts and almost always find something interesting to read about....... The downside of course is that you show up late everytime! which could make you look callous and perhaps miss a post or two ..... but how long can one keep up with appearances! :D I like the clicking and waiting and reading and commenting and clicking and browsing and...... well, needless to say I spend a lot of time hopping .... hop hop hop..... before I forget...

Give it up for 'Tendulkar' folks! :) Congrats!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What do you do?

There comes a time in a woman's or a man's or any body's life for that matter when you don't exactly know how to deal with a particular situation / emotion / feeling ........
I was recently touched by such a situation and I am ashamed to say that I scored an abysmal 0/100 :(

By now you guys would have guessed that I cannot say what the situation was but I can say what it did to me and would like to know what you guys do in a similar situation.

Edit: In a nut shell, someone said something to me and it hurt me badly and I couldn't yell back at this person for whatever reasons!

I was on an emotional roller coaster. I felt terrible, disappointed and hurt. The worst part was I didn't know what do about it. It really ate me up. I had to let this feeling take its course and die a natural death which I am proud to say it finally did. May it rest in peace never to get up!

I tried to keep myself engaged with a few activities that I enjoy but it really didn't help. I was aware of its presence and I lost a lot of time just sitting and brooding.

At one point I realized that I wasn't brooding so much over the situation itself but with the fact that after so many years I was still incapable of handling such things properly..... and it led to more brooding and by evening I was all hunched up and bunched up!

So here ends my story..... what a pathetic post! Well, I just thought I could put it up here either to hear people say it happens to me too or provide me with a magical solution if such a time comes to pass in the future..... (I'm hoping it would be option no :2)

PS: This in spite of the fact that I got my own 'Gucci' sunglasses from dear hubs for 'V' day :D :D :D Cheesy I know, but couldn't let it pass....... BTW if you guys are wondering, my particular situation had nothing to do with hubs.... he tried to cheer me up but i wouldn't budge! (did that just rhyme?! eeeks!)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Let's call him Mr. White!

After the snow storm. Our first ever snowman :)

Did you notice the snowman turning a wee bit of his cheek to Tanya? ;)