Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Paati.. I miss you!

She was a woman... full of love, patience and lots of courage. Her childhood was very good. Born to a rich family, she enjoyed every bit of it. She used to secretly like her cousin.. he was a handsome young man... Her joy knew no bounds when he also felt the same and proposed marriage. They were a loving couple. She used to dress up every single evening before he came home... She cooked for him, gave him 6 wonderful children, took wonderful care of his parents. She was the perfect wife. He was a perfect husband. They were a perfect couple. Alas! the world is not perfect... so her world fell apart when he suddenly died of heart attack.
She did not breakdown. After all, she had a HUGE responsibility on her head. Taking care of 6 children, with no income of your own is a hard task. His business partner took advantage of the situation and ate away all the money. Her parents were already dead and the wealth was already distributed among the sons... who obviously refused to give anything to her.,. when she needed it. It's another matter that she never asked for it. But they never offered to help either.
As any Indian woman would do, she sold all her jewels and managed to educate all of her children and sustained the family as well. That sure is some wealth management! Her children understood the situation and joined jobs as soon as they could. Sometimes the family went without food for days.. but never once did they go to anybody asking for help. They managed on their own. It was one mother and 6 children, all for themselves. But not once did she loose her smile nor her temper in all these difficult situations. She was a woman of substance. She managed to marry all of them off to good respectable families. Doesn't she deserve an applause for this task! I am sure she does... If only she could hear me applauding her...
My day never went without seeing her. She was everything for me! I refused to be with my parents! I wanted to be with her always! Since both of my parents were working.. they used to leave me in her house... And I refused to go back with them in the evening when they came to pick me up! NO!
"I have a stomach ache today... I can;t sit in the scooter with that.. I will stay back here...!"
"I am feeling very sleepy now.. can;t ride all the way back home like that.. I will sleep here only today!".
These were my alibis to be with her. Yes I loved her more than I loved my parents. She was my grandmother.. my paati... my love... my everything.
I never used to let my mom touch my hair... it was always to be plaited by paati. All my school books had labels written by my paati. She had a beautiful handwriting... even though she had studied only till 10th class.. her English was flawless. Her Tamizh and Kannada were perfect! She was my tutor at home. My homework was never complete without her nod of approval.
I still remember those wonderful evenings after school... when she used to make coffee and bajji for me.. and we used have our little chat. We exchanged stories.. we went vegetable shopping... we went to visit houses.. we were the best of friends! She taught me how to make koodbale, chakkuli etc.
I still remember the warm feeling of sleeping next to her in the night. The way she used to hug me and put me to sleep... the way she used to tell me stories... she snored sometimes, and I used to make fun of her for that.. she laughed it off... but was concerned if my sleep was disturbed because of her snoring.... why can't i hear the snoring now! I promise paati.. it's not at all disturbing.. it's in fact nice... very nice....
She used to stand near the gate and wait for me to come from school... the smile on her face when she saw me in the corner of the road is unforgettable. So where is that smile now? where is she now?
She took me with her when she went to visit any of her relatives. She bragged about me so much... that I did this and that.. and that I was cute and adorable.... and she always bought chocolates from me after these visits... or ice cream on the way back... who will buy me all these now?
The one above all of us... the supreme God can sometimes be very cruel. Something happened to her. She fell unconscious one day in the bathroom... and there was blood all over. We rushed her to the hospital.. and yes we were late. She was in the last stages of uterus cancer.
That is when I started seeing the other side of her. The smile was slowly fading away. The chemotherapy was eating her from inside. She suffered all night.. the snores were replaced with subtle cries of pain... She was reduced to the thickness of a stick. But she smiled in the day... If I took her fruits.. she would make me eat them first.. because you see I was a growing kid and needed it!
When I was a kid.. she used to bathe me every day. Now it was my turn.. she could not take bath all by herself.. and she let no one other than me to do the job.. I was happy that she chose me... but at the same time I just could not stand the sight of her.. so sick and so fragile... and yes.. the dreaded word... so dying..... I would finish the job as soon as I could and run away to the room to cry my heart out. God! why did you do this to her?
I prayed to God every single day to end her sufferings.. but how was I to know that he would end it by taking her away...
It was early in the morning. I had just brushed my teeth and was having coffee... a call came from the hospital.. it was my mom. She spoke something over the phone with my uncle.. and my uncle just put the phone down and sat on the floor..staring at nothing. Death of your mother is not an easy news to digest. I knew from the looks of it what had happened... but didn't believe it. How could she do this to me? How can she leave me? Does she not know that my life is incomplete without her?
They brought the body to the house.... I fell unconscious... I could not see her that way! No this was not her... this was not my paati. I cried.. and cried.. and cried.. did she listen at all? Why can;t she just get up and come and hug me? I kissed her goodbye anyway... She was as hard as a rock... I put rice in her mouth.. I bid her farewell... after all what am I in front of God's will?
She left me exactly 10 years ago.... I HATE ekaadashi in the month of November! And it is tomorrow! This day of the month took away my paati.... took away my love.. my everything!

Monday, November 20, 2006

American Football

It seems I am back to blogging after all. People will have to wait a little bit more to hear about my vacation details. In a gist.. it was AWESOME! I will write in detail about each and every day.. be ready for some long, really long posts... till then, lets have some fun with the ball.

This is about football. The American one where there is no "foot" involved in the game with the ball.

I went to watch a high school football game some 3 weeks back. I would have sworn it was a world cup match thingy if I hadn't known before that it was just a high school game. The arrangements, the glamour... you had to see it to believe it.

First they introduced each and every player on the team. There will be at least 60 players on each side. Only 11 can play at a time, they keep rotating people, after all it's a very physical game. Each player was accompanied by his family.

After the gala introductions, the game started. Some things I learned about the game.
  • Physical power is EVERYTHING in the game. People fall over each other, trip each other, beat up each other also!

  • It's like cricket in India, it's a religion in America.

  • The supporters/audience of each of the sides are seated on the respective sides of the stadium. No mixture allowed.

  • Girls wear something called "mums" around their necks. These are basically presented by their boy friends who would have asked them for prom dance the next evening. These things costs no less than $100! These mums carry the respective boy-friends' name.

  • It's a family event.

  • America is a RICH country. The band, the cheerleaders, the dress for them, the band instruments ranging from drums to saxophones, the media coverage... all for a high school game.

During half time, there will be some recreational activities like band playing, cheerleading performance, some music etc.., Some photos and some shark's words to go with them.

My Team : Black-Panther - Band Troupe

The other team : Wild cats - Cheer leading team - They were really very impressive.

The wild-cat band team along with cheer leaders. Please note the short skirts ;-)

My team, performing. Co-ordination at it's best. They would all lift their legs at the same time and to the exact same height... super!

Ok, last but not the least ... some players in action. Couldn't catch too much of the play on camera. One, because I was trying really hard to understand the game and had no time for taking pictures. My camera does not have some fantastic zoom... so even if some pictures were taken, they were far away shots with not much clarity about what's happening out there :)

Update: Sojourner asked as to who won finally. Do I even have to mention? It was MY team... the BLACK-PANTHERS :-D

Friday, November 17, 2006

Vacation time...

I will be off to LA tomorrow for a 9 day trip :) I have heard a lot about the west coast of America, going to experience it!
This weekend is gambling time... you guessed it right! I will be in Vegas.
3 days in LA.. then I will be off to San Fransisco. Golden bridge, Downtown wait till I come there!

I am very excited! Needless to say I will be off blogging.. till then Ciao!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Uravugal Pirinthaalum, Ninaivugal maraivadhillai

  • A & S - As far back as I can remember. My first childhood buddies. Have played endless house-house, teacher-teacher, ice-pice etc etc..,
  • S Rao - L.K.G to 7th Std. The most beautiful girl in my class. Also the most intelligent girl. There was always a compitition between us for the 1st rank.
  • V - 5th Std to 7Std. Extremely orthodox. She used to do ekadashi upvaasam at that young age itself! That too without even drinking a drop of water! Interestingly she was the one who "educated" me about girl-boy things ;-). There used to be one guy in my class who used to say sorry to me every 2 minutes. I used to wonder what's wrong with him. She was the one told me that he is actually "line-marofying" me!
  • S - 7th Std. She was the new girl in class. Never actually talked to her all year. But at the end of the year there was a medical check up, both of us were standing in the queue for around 2 hours. That's when we became friends. Kept in touch for 2 more years. But later lost touch :( She was extremely clean (did I just say CLEAN...*ahem*). She always smelt very good.
  • M - 8th Std. She was a quiet girl and my first high school friend. We didn't remain friends for long though. I don't know why. Now I can't seem to remember what cut us off?
  • P & J - My best high school friends. We used to hang out together all the time :) I am still in touch with P, but not with J anymore.
  • D, G, M and A - P.U.C friends. We bunked classes almost all the time ;-) We used to go watch movies, eat churmuri, or just laze around in one of our houses when all of us were broke :). I am now only in touch with M.

So, what I came to say was... we make lots of friends. Some keep up. Some don't. We keep in touch with some, some not. But I don't think we ever forget them. They always stay in our memory forever.

Friends may depart, but memories never.

Auctioning INDIA... Unbelievable prices…. Any takers?

Bidding starts… 500 million dollars for INDIA, base price. 500m ONE, 500m TWO 500m THREE…… It appears as if there are no takers! Howz that possible? After all we are the land of elephants (and they are heavy and expensive). We are the land of snake charmers… if we are capable of taming a snake we can achieve anything right?
We are the land of brainy computer engineers, though it’s another matter that most of them are currently outside India. But come on… the resource pool is here. So why are there no takers?
Ah, I get it. Nobody wants a “complete” package. Everyone is interested in bits and pieces.

After re-consideration, bidding starts again.

10 million dollars for Kashmir… 10m ONE…10m TWO **bhang** (sound of a gun shot). The bidder is killed by a militant. For the fear of getting shot everybody agrees that Kashmir will go to Pakisthan. No cost…free… as a token of “friendship”!

5 million dollars for Arunachal Pradesh… 5m ONE… 5m TWO… wait! Wait! A Chinese representative comes to the dais. “Arunachal Pradesh was an integral part of China from the beginning, how can you even sell it now? It belongs to us. Period.If we don’t get this, we won’t send anymore Made in China goods to India.”
For the fear of not having plates to eat, mobile phones to talk, bed to sleep (all products made in China).. people give Au.P off to China as a token of “Thanks” for providing us with cheap house hold goods.

100 million dollars for Bangalore… Forget it, the bidding won’t even start. If Bangalore is not handed over to the US, then all those lakhs and lakhs of ABCDs will be sent back in 10 days… oh my God! That would be disastrous. Who will marry them if they are not in America? Ok, Given. Bangalore sold!

100 million dollars for Mumbai (or was it Bombay?)… **bhang** **bhang** **bhang**!! The underworld goons won’t let anybody else sell Bombay. They have already sold it to some Dubai Sheiks!

Chennai – LTTE all over it… it’s difficult to even set a price for it as it is no longer in our control.

So, that’s it. INDIA sold in parts to all the interested parties. After all we are a peace loving secular nation. Who cares if parts of it are ruled by different nations? Who cares if someone invades us? Who cares if someone claims some part of us as theirs? They are free to take whatever they want. It’s available for general public!

Do you think I am weaving a sarcastically funny story here? Wait and watch, this will happen really for sure. With the kind of apathetic administration that we have… this day is not very far off. With people like Abu Salem ready to contest elections, with people who are in power bothered only about vote banks and not the welfare of the nation, with leaders who are too scared to take any aggressive decisions, with terrorists being pardoned, with rapists and murderers let go scot-free, what more can we expect?

Hey Bhagwaan… is din ko dekhne se pehle mujhe uthaa lo!!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Of Criminal Lawyers and Child Labour and Motherly Love

Criminal Lawyer:

What makes a person take the side of a criminal? Is it money? Is it just plain professionalism? Is it the urge to do something wild?
I know, a criminal is not one until proven so. Agreed. Also, as a constitutional right, everybody has to get a fair trial, be it a criminal or a poor person, or an influential person. I understand the legality of it. But as a lawyer, if you “know” that somebody has committed a crime (be it small or big), what makes you take the side of them and “fight” to free them?
I know in this materialistic world of complex laws, human rights, media attention, money, power and whatever else you can think of, it is too much to expect everybody to be righteous. But isn’t there something called as moral-conscience? A quiet inner voice which talks to you in the middle of the night?
How can a person sell his soul for money or fame? In comparison to people who sell their souls, people who sell their bodies for money are so much better!

Child Labour:

Today is children’s day. A happy Children’s day to all those millions of children out there in the world. Child labour, as we all know and understand and accept is a bad thing. That clearly shows how backward the society is where it expects a child to work and earn bread for the family. The government (for a change) did something good by banning it. We all also know that this law is in place for as long as we can remember, but unfortunately have not been followed strictly. Now I suppose there will be periodic checks and offenders will be severely prosecuted. This is a good move, but is it in the right direction?
I am all against child labour, but what are we achieving by just taking off their means of bread? The child does get free education and food in school, but what about his/her family?
The situation is not as simple as it meets the eye. Poverty leads to lots of misery. Do I even need to say that? These children work hard to fend not only for themselves but also for their family. If they are off the work, what next?
As I said before, it is a good move but in a bad direction. You cannot just expect to implement the law overnight. The grass root problem has to be looked into.
Provide them part time education. Set maximum hour of work that they can do and rest of the time let them go to school. In that way they are able to do both. And believe me once one generation is educated and has a good job, I am sure they will put their children in schools voluntarily. Provide alternative employment for their family members. Or even give some monetary compensation to such families.
Unfortunately all these measures can be put in place if and only if somebody high up there and every single person below him feels from the bottom of his/her heart for the betterment of the underprivileged children of our country. If it is just again the same old story of vote bank politics and other selfish interests, nothing can save us. Not even God!
God also helps only those who can help or atleast try to attempt to help themselves :)
Motherly Love:

In all this misery around us, there is also Love, plenty of it. Came across this beautiful article in
Bellur’s blog

That is called mother’s love. That is called the most powerful strength in this whole world. That is Love. Pure unconditional Love. That kind of love can be given only by a mother and nobody else.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Neil OH Neil ...

Neil Armstrong was the first man who set foot on the moon. (OK. I know you all know about it, just making it clear who am I talking about...).
Undoubtedly he is one of those "special" men whose words are etched in gold. Here are some tit-bits about him :) These are NOT true stuff, just some rumors which were around. Maybe some of you have read it before, but I read it for the first time today. So here it goes ...
  • Immediately after Neil Armstrong uttered his famous "That's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind" quote during the historic first moon landing, he added the cryptic phrase, "Good luck, Mr. Gorsky!". Many people at NASA thought it was a casual remark concerning some rival Soviet Cosmonaut. However, upon checking, there was no Gorsky in either the Russian or American space programs. Not until over twenty-five years later did Armstrong reveal that Mr. Gorsky was a former neighbor, whose wife had proclaimed that she would give him oral sex "when the kid next door walks on the moon."
  • On 21 July at 5:56, the first man, Neil Armstrong, stepped onto the surface of the Moon, after which he was joined by Edwin Aldrin. The astronauts, wearing space suits with automatic life-support systems strapped to their backs, inspected the ship from the outside, set up a television camera, deployed scientific instruments on the Moon’s surface, and collected approximately 22 kg of moon surface samples. They brought to the Moon five medals with the images of deceased astronauts: Yuri Gagarin, Vladimir Komarov, Virgil I. Grissom, Edward H. White, and Roger B. Chaffee.
    Armstrong and his two fellow astronauts, Aldrin and Collins, saw an object on the Moon’s horizon, which looked like an open book, and then they heard some mysterious “music.” They reported this back to Earth. At first, no one on Earth believed them: how could there be a book on the Moon and music in airless space? But the “music” was also heard on Earth over the radio transmission, and the “book” was photographed.
    In February 1983, fourteen years after his flight to the Moon, Astronaut Neil Armstrong went to Egypt to participate in a scientific conference. During the meeting, the azan sounded. Armstrong, sitting in the presidium, went pale and asked: “What is that music?” Surprised by the astronaut’s behavior, participants explained that it was the Muslim call to prayer. “That voice. That’s what I heard when I first stepped on the Moon, hearing it is giving me goose bumps!… O Allah! I found You not on Earth, but on the Moon!… I stepped onto the Moon without praying, but now I will pray, you can consider me a Muslim.” So the first person to walk on the Moon, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, became a Muslim.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I know I am in America when...

  • I jump with joy when I see a 2 wheeler! The other day I saw one which looked almost exactly like our scooty pep! I miss my kinetic... :(
  • No dinner party without drinks.
  • 8 am meetings in the office.
  • 6 pm, have to really search for "people" in office.
  • 60 mph is slow! Zoom past in 80 mph speed sometimes.. and feel happy that you escaped mamas ;-)
  • The winter sets in, you can see lots of desi women in chudidar and sneakers.
  • You make coffee in a microwave.
  • You have the cooler ON in summer and heater ON in winter. - Cotton dresses and woollen sweaters would do in India though.
  • Men at work discuss about bed-performance of their girlfriends over lunch.
  • There are no all-vegetarian restuarants. Maybe you can find a udipi cafe here and there sometimes, that too in big cities.
  • People value their personal time. If you have to attend your child's school function, you can take a day off from work stating the same reason. And nobody is going to deny permission.
  • Men (who are married) accept to work over the weekend ONLY after getting their wife's consent.
  • A child stops crying the moment you put an empty nipple in its mouth. - Try doing that to a desi kid, it will throw that back at your face!
  • A major weekend outing is a movie + lunch/dinner at an Indian restuarant.
  • The office is completely empty by 3 pm on a friday.
  • Anybody and everybody you come across in the street asks you "Hi, How are you doing?". But not one waits for an answer ;-)
  • and only in America, yes ONLY here... Pakistani's and Indians live in such great harmony, it's hard to believe that we are actually fighting wars out there in our own countries.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Enjoy the Dance....

P.S: This poem was supposed to have been written by a terminally ill young girl in New York. At this moment I don't know who the author is, if any one of you know please do tell me.

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day on the fly?
When you ask How are you?Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed...
With the next hundred choresRunning through your head?

You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Ever told your child, We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste, Not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die...
Cause you never had time to call and say,"Hi"?

You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift....Thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.