Saturday, July 31, 2010

I, Me, Myself

I am finding it difficult to keep my eyes open. I can feel heaviness on my eye lids; as if someone's trying to shut it by force. But I won't give in that easily. Between these moments of fighting with the unknown enemy I could see that the surroundings feel a little eerie. It's not the darkness; I have been in darkness before, but it's this silence which I have not felt before. I try to move my body but there is no response. I try to shout but I do not even hear my own voice. I am starting to get worried. Soon I start hearing voices, though they feel like coming from very far. Suddenly there is light coming from a corner, as if a door has been opened. I can now here the voices much clearly but there are too many people speaking at once. I try to move my head but I feel a weight holding it down. I am now able to make out that I am lying on my back, not on something, but may be suspended in mid air.
Then slowly I am being moved into the light, by the people around me. It's now that I am able to recognize those voices and see their faces. They seem to be lifting me up but I don't feel their hands touch my body. I feel of an invisible space between them and me. It takes time to come to terms with my surroundings and I suddenly feel a knot in my stomach. I have seen a morgue before but not from where I am lying now. What does this mean? My heart skips a beat. I try hard to move my body, a hand, a leg, a finger but they are beyond my control. I feel like a prisoner of my own skin. It doesn't take long for me to realize that I am in a casket and that explains the separation between me and the others. Suddenly I see my father coming forward and looking straight at me, expressionless. I scream out but the voice again just dies in my head. He closes the casket and I am in darkness again. I could not even get a proper look at him; he seems devastated.
I feel strongly about my father. I have been an obedient child to him. Not because I am one but because he is a hard taskmaster. Our relationship is more driven by fear than out of love. I would usually try to stay out of his sight and only approach him if it was about school or about money. It was a matter-of-fact kind of relationship. I am the subservient son and he being the omnipotent dad. He was directing my life; through the script of do’s and don’ts, with very little scope for re-takes.
My thoughts break with a question; am I dead then? What happened to me? I don’t feel hurt anywhere. I don’t remember anything fatal happening to me. Before I could go deeper, looking for answers, the casket opens and light floods around me. I am at home now and I can now hear wailing sounds. I see the fan rotating above me, same as how it used to when I used to lie on my bed. Mom comes and wipes my face. I yearn to feel her touch but I can’t. Something invisible still blocks my senses. I want to touch her hand but I can’t move an inch. She has always given comfort in times of pain. She is like fireplace on a snowy day; warm and accommodating. She is embodiment of God himself, who could take away all my sufferings and fulfill all my wishes. She knows all my little needs and my big wishes. She would look right through my eyes and know that I have been naughty. There is nothing to hide from her. If there’s a bullet for her I will happily take it. Then I want to ask her - what happened to me? And as if she heard my question she starts to weep heavily. I always knew there was a deeper link between us.
My brother grabs her; stops her from falling over in my casket and consoles her. He has always been our support system. From our ‘I hate you days’ to ‘brothers in arms’ years to ‘friends for ever’; the journey has been wonderful. He’s like a bridge between two river banks; providing a solution, dependable and resourceful. We always talk on stuff and share ideas. Sometimes like mentors; often like novices. Friends? May be more; there is so much we share in common that often I feel one with him.
I hear a prayer being read out. There’s no mistaking that it’s for a dead person. My ears want to listen to it but my mind won’t agree that it’s for me. Then I see an apparition standing next to my family. It looks exactly like her. Somewhere in this confusion I had forgotten about her. She is the one with whom I was to spend the rest of my life. We came together as a whirlwind, she then set the sails right and took control of our lives. She had everything to give: love, life, laughter, courage, calm, care, time, temperament and trust. My eyes fill up, but only in my mind. She comes closer and touches me. I feel her, on my face. She embraces me. I feel her. How? Is she also? She looks at me and blinks her eyes and assures me. She smiles, just a little. I smile back. We are finally at peace. No distance separates us now. Alas we are together!

The casket is closed and there is darkness again. I am being lowered into my final resting place. I feel my eyes becoming heavy again; I don’t fight this time and let it close. I am at peace with myself now.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Animals are beautiful people

The new entrant in our hostel i have christened him Kunjoose :P thats my nickname . Ain't he cute?????? He is playful and a mama's boy and lovesssssssss chocolates. That's Kunjoose

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Candid Confessions

He said I am scared of being lonely and I am a loner
You would never find me alone for I am always in the world
But I was never of this world, and I knew I was a misfit
Perhaps it is because I am estranged from my loved ones
The ones who know me yet do not for they are of this world too
I prefer being hideous
when things are perfect I withdraw into the oblivious
I fight a lot and argue even more but
what my friends you do not know
is that i buy everything you say and get hurt
though I never show it
They have the power to hurt me and
yet they beleive I am invincible.
I still cannot sleep without lights on and
I am scared of the darkness.
I love animals more than human beings
and my books more than my friends.
I can be very demanding and nasty at times
and I am labelled possessive.
And why am I writing it here?
because its my catharsis and
I am supposed to be venting here
rather entertaining readers alone.
Yeah I am melancholic but we all have the right to be so.
What will I gain by not writing it here?
A pain noone can fathom and bear
What do I gain by writing it here?
I can soothe my soul and wipe my tear
Fallen have I many a time
But never felt so hurt and grime
Worthless I feel not worth a dime
Something's changed forever and this is no rhyme
Someone has broken my heart and I can tell no soul
Someone has changed me forever and I am no whole.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I am a teacher

For those who love being with children, who love teaching them and learning from them. For those whom patience is more than a virtue. An excerpt from Mr Done's 32 third graders and one class bunny.

I read Charlotte’s Web and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory every year, and every year when Charlie finds the golden ticket and Charlotte dies, I cry.
I take slivers out of fingers and bad sports out of steal the bacon. I know when a child has gum in his mouth even when he is not chewing. I have sung “Happy Birthday” 657 times.
I hand over scissors with the handles up. My copies of The Velveteen Rabbit and Treasure Island are falling apart. I can listen to one child talk about his birthday party and another talk about her sleepover and another talk about getting his stomach pumped last night – all at the same time.
I fix staplers that won’t staple and zippers that won’t zip, and I poke pins in the orange caps of glue bottles that will not pour. I had out papers and pencils and stickers and envelopes for newly pulled teeth. I know the difference between Austria and Australia.
I plan lessons while shaving, showering, driving, eating, and sleeping. I plan lessons five minutes before the bell rings. I know what time it is when the big hand is on the twelve and the little hand is on the nine. I say the r in library. I do not say the w in sword.
I put on Band-Aids and winter coats and school plays. I know they will not understand the difference between your and you’re. I know they will write towhen it should be too. I say “Cover your mouth,” after they have coughed on me.
I am a teacher.
I examine new braces and new blisters and holes in mouths where teeth have just fallen out. I can spell vacuum. I know the magic word.
I wear four-leaf clovers and dandelions in my shirt pocket that have just been picked with love at recess. I pray for snow days. I pray for Stephen to be absent.
I spend Thanksgiving vacation writing report cards, Christmas vacation cleaning my classroom, and summer vacation taking classes on how to relax. I know the difference between a comma and an apostrophe. I can say “apostrophe.”
I buy books about cats and dogs and sharks and volcanoes and horses and dinosaurs. I turn jump ropes and am base in tag. I am glad you can only get chicken pox once.
I correct pencil grips and spelling mistakes and bad manners. I push in chairs all the way, push swings higher, and push sleeves up while children are painting. I can touch the paper cutter.
I own one suit, two pairs of shoes, and eight boxes of graham crackers. I have every teacher mug that Hallmark ever made and every Save the Children tie too. I say, “Use two hands!” when they carry their lunch trays. I say, “Accidents happen,” after they did not use two hands.
I wear green on Saint Patrick’s Day, red on Valentine’s Day and my bathrobe on Pajama Day. I poke straws into juice boxes and untwist thermos lids that are too tight. I unpeel oranges that are too tight too.
I sign library passes and yearbooks and new casts. I attend soccer games and Little League championships and funerals for guinea pigs. I answer to both “Mom” and “Dad.”
I am a teacher.
I hope April Fool’s Day is on a Saturday. I blow up balloons that will not blow up. I always blow the whistle too early at recess.
I can borrow and carry very fast. I give them more time to answer six times eight than two times three. I never end a sentence with a proposition. I know what a preposition is.
I draw stars and smiley faces. I say, “Take over,” in four square games when I was not looking. Once I forgot eight plus seven.
I know when to say “can” and when to say “may.” I have worn green marker, red paint, yellow chalk dust, glue stick, and glitter all on the same day. I hate glitter.
I always begin a sentence with a capital and end it with a period. I always walk in line. I always lose at arm wrestling.
I leave “shugar” and “vilets” misspelled on their valentines. I know all my continents and all my oceans. I tape pages back into books. I can find the end of the new roll of Scotch tape. I call on children whose hands are not raised.
I know that colonel is a really hard word to read, and so is doubt and so is gauge. I know that kids will read started, when it says stared. I have spelled outbecause and beautiful and friend six million times.
I am a teacher.
I look both ways before crossing the street. I save balls stuck in basketball hoops. I have given 842 spelling tests and have written “Have a Good Summer!” that many times too.
I collect milk boxes and coffee cans and egg cartons. I know all my times tables. I can type without looking. I know that two pretzels do not equal one Hershey kiss.
I can make a telescope out of a toilet paper roll and a totem pole out of oatmeal boxes. I can make snowflakes out of coffee filters and a space shuttle out of a Pringles can too.
I know my notes because “Every Good Boy Does Fine.” I know my directions because I “Never Eat Slimy Worms.” I know all my planets because “My Very Elegant Mother Just Sat Upon Nine Pickles.” And I can only say my ABCs if I sing them.
I fix watchbands, repair eyeglasses, and search for lost milk money after freeze tag. I know when their fists will make a rock and when they will make scissors.
I know when a child does not understand. I know when a child is not telling the truth. I know when a child was up too late last night. I know when a child needs help finding a friend.
I am a teacher.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Animals are beautiful people

I was waiting for the next pic and look what I found ? My friend Tessy called me to her room frightened, seeing this humble being. Frankly I was confused too.We could not understand how he/she got in. I even frightened her more saying scorpion would have laid eggs somewhere in her room. Thankfully she did not step on it and get bitten which was quite possible coz we open our doors in darkness.
I consulted 'Who' coz he claims to be an expert with snakes and scorpions. He suggested to take best pics possible before thinking of killing or throwing the scorpion away. I smiled remembering love for animals is something we have in common. But Tessy was hysteric and we had to murder this soul lest he bites someone in the darkness. I guess this corner of our hostel is jinxed we got a snake once and now a scorpion. Will post the snake's pic next time.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Marriage FAQs - Part 1

A lot of people ask us- What’s happening in Iraq? How’s the relation between Bush and Saddam? Are there really WMDs? What were you thinking before you went into war? How can the war succeed from such long distances? Is there ever a good war?
With so many questions around and with so many people getting ready for war, we thought of doing our two cents to help others. So for the first time we are reporting from ground zero, answering the barrage of questions that gets thrown at us. We hope you make the most out of it, because no Bush can understand the scale of this war by sitting in Oval office and no Saddam can hide from the gravity of the war, by squeezing in a pit; a war called marriage!

Q.1: My parents want me to marry and I am kinda confused, what should I do?
A: If your mom still buys your undies then you should definitely listen to your parents. If you consult your friends for the same and check out their styles, then do consult your friends and check out their married lives. But if you try out every new stuff that hits the corner shop then you have probably not reached puberty yet. But do tell your mom about the last one, it sometimes helps keep marriage away.

Q.2: What if I chose the girl/boy and make a mistake?
A: Haven’t you read that mutual funds are subject to market risk, the same applies here. It’s all a matter of your risk appetite. And if you are so unsure please don’t invest in stocks and marriages. Some risks are too expensive and we don’t want you to add stress to the already depressed market.

Q.3: I am doing PhD. I want to marry but I am scared because my guide says my career will be affected if I have kids.
A: Please consult your guide, most probably he/she knows best when you should have a kid. Every researcher’s spouse views the guide as the antithesis just for your information.

The success formula for such scholars is:-
Sum of, Years spent in research and papers published, divided by, the Sum of Total years in research and papers to be published, less, the Guides years of service left, whole multiplied by 100

Q.4: Should I do a love marriage or an arranged marriage?
A: I suggest an arranged love marriage or a lovely arranged marriage would be better than their single cousins. However it doesn’t matter until the marriage, if it’s arranged or love marriage. What you should be more worried about it is, if after marriage it turns in to just an arrangement of marriage or loved happily ever after. But on a more serious note, if you have a lover who’s ready to marry you then get him/her to sign a marriage contract asap, lest they change their minds.

Q.4: Isn’t married life tough?
A: Yes, and so are a lot of other things in life, like learning to ride a bicycle. They say you can’t learn it without falling once. Some fall a little more and some never give it a try again. But if you want to feel the wind on your face you will rise after every fall and will eventually graduate on to a bike or a car. However don’t try the same in marriage!

Q.5: How should I tackle my in-laws?
A: There is no tackling the in-laws; marriage is not a contact sport. You always try to maintain a safe distance, in manner and behavior. In-laws are territorial beings, so you don’t go around pissing and marking your territory in front of them. Just let the alpha male or the ultra female live out their time and then the crown will be passed down. But if you think you can’t wait or you can rule the kingdom better then you should also be good in contact sports.

Q.6: When is the best time to have a baby?
A: It is always advisable to have a baby after marriage. If you are a woman, and if you remember your first root canal and if you are ready to let the same happen to your opposite end, then you are ready. For a man, if you remember the first time you wanted to pull out somebody’s hairs and if you think that you are ready to do that to yourself, then you too are ready.

Q.7: Would long distance relationships survive?
A: Long distance relationship is like deep sea diving. The more farther/deeper that you have to travel to meet your partner/objective the more oxygen you need to carry. But again there is so much oxygen you can carry. So the first thing is to set your objective right. Secondly, deep sea diving is an art, so respect it and don’t go around snorkeling and scuba diving, when not deep diving.

to be continued........but not at the risk of losing the war!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Animals are beautiful people

Now that's a masakali kaboothar. Captured from the window of a friend's house in Bangalore. I love the way they stay white coz none of my Tees or kurtas are spotless.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Death that skyrockets value of Life

He was pacing up and down, since an hour. He had heard the priest read about Jesus sweating blood at the Gethsamene. He had then wondered if that was possible. He felt his face burning now, an unbearable pain as if someone had scraped his skin on gravel.
It was because of her, his nagging wife, he was doing this. She was worried about her daughters lying on the street. Yes, his daughters had grown up; despite all his prayers they looked unattractive but still didn’t fail to escape the eyes of vultures. Your business has boomed since your daughters bloomed, his neighbours said. Bastards, they who had no daughters never had to spend sleepless nights. What worried him more than the metal sheet walls of his dingy house was that he could no longer secure his family from the menacing policemen and rogues on streets. He tried to believe his daughters were not acting promiscuous, like his wife had once. He never asked her how she managed to secure a four cents plot for nothing. He never dared to ask how she managed to get a wrist watch by just cleaning vessels and sweeping houses. He never dared to ask his daughters how they found fashionable clothes too. But he felt insecure when hands groped them in darkness and once he even found his daughter on the street early morning dishevelled.
His solace was his mother. She was blind and deaf but she spoke a lot to him. She spoke about olden days when they were not on streets and when they ate like kings. He believed it all and liked listening to her make believe stories. Her ailments were a big reason for quarrel between his wife, daughters and him. He could not afford her medicines alone. Neither could he take care of an old woman alone. Every time he tried he invited their scorn and was proved useless.
He was used to the fights over deserting his mother but he knew there was no where he could leave her as he was her only son. Mother being deaf was a boon as she never heard the quarrels that happened over her. Her being blind was even greater blessing for she didn’t feel hurt like him seeing her daughter in law and granddaughters walk waywardly. But sometimes he felt she understood.
Things were going out of control for quite some period now. The contractor had assessed him weak to work on site. He could not carry loads any longer and knew no other job. He tried cycle rickshaws but could not pull any load any longer. He was soon left to take care of his home when the women in the family earned. This revolutionised their lives totally. There were new men coming home for dinner in whose presence he was asked to sit inside with his mother. He did not protest because he was too weak to and did not feel like mostly.
Recently they were being nice to his mother, these men, even came in to hold her hand. They looked like doctors when they checked her eyes and pulse and this made him happy. And to his surprise his wife cooked something his mother loved “dal kichdi”; though in the past she always fed her daughters and gave gruel to his mother.
“That boy is very nice and planning to marry our daughter”, she told, rather informed me. “He is an attendant at the municipality hospital’s mortuary”. She said it with pride as if he was a doctor. He had no rights to comment and he did not comment either. “Don’t you love your daughter?” she asked him. What a ruthless question, he thought. Though he had nothing to give his daughters and was not able to fulfil many of their desires he still loved both his daughters. “Well then you need to send her off decently and that needs money”, she said.
She knew he didn’t have any money so why was she talking this way, he wondered. “Well you could make some money, if you cooperated”, she said.
“Dont beat around the bush I am a simple man, not as clever as you are. Please tell me what’s in your mind” he begged.
“The boy was saying medical colleges hire unclaimed dead bodies for a nice amount”. I was scared, did she want me dead? But then she continued, “Amma is of no use, the amount we spend on her treatment is what prevented us from saving anything for our daughter. The boy said her pulse is dropping and she could die any moment so there’s nothing wrong if we help her die without suffering is it? I was too numb to reply. I am not saying because she is your mother If I had a mother, she herself would sacrifice herself for my daughter. What more can a mother do?”
She hated his mother but he knew that. But had he not hated taking care of her too? He never thought this day would come. His mother never would have thought of this day when she gave birth to a son.
“We can give her an oil bath and feed her with 3 or 4 tender coconuts. She will die in 2 days peacefully. It is a practice in many places here, you know that don’t you?” she asked.
“Have you decided it?” he asked accusingly but she took it as a sign of his acceptance. She ran to confirm the news to her daughters. He saw their faces beaming in the neon lights. No one had been attached to that old woman who sang lullabyes to them, fed and cleaned them as kids.
He gave two coconuts to her. He knew his end would be the same, with his son-in-law as the fixer of dead bodies. Maybe his wife does not realise her end would be no different. Amma’s body will be certified unknown and he cannot even perform the death rites. She will be on a table in some college where students will tear and stitch her up. She looked fresh from the oil bath and her skin glistened in the sun. He hesitated handing over the last coconut. She looked into his eyes though blind he felt she could see him.She gestured him for the last one. Does she know it? He tried reading her mind through those eyes, pale and unflinching. “Poverty has no ethics”, she had told him once.

500 dead bodies are required annually for medical colleges (allopathy, ayurvedic, homeopathy, sidha and yunani; private as well as public) in Kerala. Despite governments notifying unclaimed bodies over a year can only be purchased, for a prescribed rate, there are lobbies selling bodies indiscriminately. A research conducted recently reveals the elderly in old age homes and in poor families fall prey to this lobby. Elderly considerd useless are now being valued after death. Inspired by a feature in Malayala Manorama.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Animals are beautiful people

An old pic from MSW days some where in Madhya Pradesh. No the cow was not a fellow passenger but an old occupant of the raliway station. It might not amaze us Indians but many of my friends abroad found this quite amusing.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Casa di Giulietta

I never knew Romeo and Juliet existed neither would many of you. Though historically there is no evidence about the tragic love story the characters definitely were alive and was very much alive when I visited Casa di Giulietta. It is believed that Shakespeare through works of Luigi Da Porto, Masuccio Salernitano and Matteo Bandello came to know of Verona and was inspired to write the world's greatest Love story ( I would say tragedy) ever. Shakespeare who never had been to Venice or Verona was deeply impressed by the Venetian painters in the court of London. Hence, his works describes the ports of Venice and romantic heroes from Verona and Venice. Romeo and Juliet and Two gentleman of Verona are works which have their characters situated in Verona while Taming of the shrew has its hero Petrucchio from Verona. The charm of the city evident in his plays still remains the same for tourists who visit Verona.

Juliet's house is the most famous of the lot with the famous Juliet's balcony. Couple's line up to be photographed from this very historic balcony for 16 euros ( yes love comes with a tag). I really don't know much of the history but this definitely was not the balcony I had in mind after the plays and movies I had watched with moon lit staircases and lovers pledging love. I tried imagining a Juliet looking out of her balcony but this balcony looked quite unromantic to me hope some of you have different opinions. Well I didnt have my Romeo so I didnt bother clicking a snap from the balcony ( frankly the lining up for snaps was a turn off too and that too after paying 16 euros !!! )

For the commoners with no money and in bad need for luck you always have juliet's statue. A bronze statue of a beautiful woman rubbing whose right breast brings luck. I tried my luck too but that was the longest line I have ever seen to rub a statue's breast ( quite funny a custom)

Verona tourism runs on this myth or story of Romeo and Juliet and there are theorists arguing they were lovers and while some others argue they were not.But their graves have been shifted and they are now buried together making it a must vist spot for ardent fans and romantics. Makes me doubt if its a cheapt rick to promote tourism but whom do I ask? Well I didnt make it there ( found it too mushy).

But yeah I felt nice having seen what Shakespeare had not but then he is smarter than me to have concocted a whole world without seeing it. "For never was a story of more woe. Than this of Juliet and her Romeo".....