Monday, October 01, 2007

Gandhi Jayanthi Specials

Mahatma Gandhi will be remembered if you decide not to watch any TV i.e. There seems to be a relationship of 'You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' between the so called 'stars' of Kollywood and the Sun TV. At the drop of a hat, Sun TV thinks it is expected to come up with a list of 'sirappu nigazhchigal'. 95% of the Sirappu Nigazhigal consists of interviews with film actors, actresses, music directors and choreographers most of whom I havent heard of before. But then I probably do not constitute the typical viewer that Sun TV churns out programmes for. Sirappu Nigazhchigal for everything including Gandhi Jayanthi - and the only mention of Gandhi in the 5-10 minute long advertisement for the day's programmes is for a half hour special about the Mahathma followed soon after by an interview with Vijay Kumar - of course one would think of Gandhi when they saw his interview and heard his views about acting with super star Rajni and some Tom, Dick and Harry.
Atleast dont call it sirappu nigachigal for Gandhi Jayanthi!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Aromas of 18, Gandhi Road

This morning, I was talking to my brother on the phone. We were talking about mangoes, and that lead to talking about my grandparents' house in Salem, where I spent many a summer vacation.
Even though he was much younger, I was old enough and had spent enough time in that house to vividly remember everything about that house including the smells associated with some of those rooms.
The house was 18, Gandhi Road. A house whose architect was my grandma. A functional house - but a very comfortable one which was loved for reasons other than its architectural excellence. My grandfather was a lawyer, he had his office room where he saw his clients. There was a big table, a bench for clients to wait on, shelf after shelf of big fat law books and tons and tons of paperwork. That paperwork referred to as "Case kattu" for some reason, were folded vertically and tied together with strings. The room distinctly smelt of that paper.
The living room was an airy well-lit room. My grandmother had a very functional sofa-set. The cushion covers were hand-made. She had a bead curtain that separated the drawing room from the dining room and i distinctly remember enjoying walking through them.. pulling them along as if they were my veil. I used to get it from my grandmother for that. Also remember staring into the showcase at all my mother's medals and cups - prizes she had won in school and college and wondering if I would ever be such a good student.
The front room or the tv room - had an old dyanora tv. Salem was far behind places like chennai those days and the only programming on tv was doordarshan from delhi. So only hindi programming which I never understood those days. The room also had a dresser. I distinctly remember the coconut oil that used to be kept in an alumnium container (i think) and the smell of emami talcum powder which my grandma used. There used to be a window by the corner of that room which faced the old car garage some distance away and the mango tree nearby. Early in the morning, I could hear the sounds of birds twittering and I would look out of that window to try and spot them. Right outside that room on the wall of the living room was a picture of my parents taken when they were newly married. My parents looked great in that black and white picture. I used to look at it when I missed my father during the holidays.
The master bedroom which I think we used to occupy during the holidays. That was the room, in which I remember seeing my brother as a baby. Always smelt of Johnson's baby powder those days or "Sambrani" which was used to dry his hair. I used to enjoy playing with the full-size mirror in that room. Also used to love to stare at the pictures of my mom on the walls. Somehow I used to think, I resembled her in those pictures.
The kitchen hmmmm.. I loved my grandmother's rasam. Somehow nobody including her is able to reproduce that same aroma or taste these days. She used to make kai-murukkus sometimes. They would start from powdering the rice in the traditional way with the help of Viswanathan - the man servant and his wife Lakshmi. Hmm.. I remember the smell of that cupboard in which she used to keep all the bakshanams. It was a mixed smell of all kinds of stuff. That smell has been alive in my memory for years.
The pooja/store room attached to the kitchen - tripled for a mango ripening room during summer. It was a really dark room, where my thatha did his morning pooja. Always smelt of that really good agarbathi which I remember to this day. When there were mangoes in there, wow.. you can imagine how good that room would have smelt.
Then there was the dark, not-so-interesting guest room. I think my grandpa ended up there when we were around. The attached bathroom which was used only for bathing. The service area which could be reached down the stairs at the end of the house. I think there were 4 or 5 steps, cement ones. We have eaten tons of mangoes sitting there. I remember my hair being combed while I sat on those stairs. I remember listening to neighbourhood gossip sitting on those steps. Right outside there were a couple of cement tanks used to store water. I used to love playing in that water.
Beyond that was the garden with a guava tree, jasmine plants, cocunut trees.. a well that as far as I remember was always dry.
Above all, I remember waiting for my grandfather doing his morning pooja, getting ready for court, leaving for court in his white shirt and pant and black coat. I remember waiting to see his double colored Herald car coming back from court. I remember the Masala vadai he used to bring back sometimes from the court canteen. I remember sitting at his feet while he drank his evening coffee. I remember the times he spent listening to my karnatic music, and his appreciation in the form of a kiss on my forehead. I remember the efficiency with which my grandmother ran that house. The love with which she celebrated our birthdays at Salem. I remember the daily mango feasts, the home-made kai-murukkus she made while we were there. I remember how my mom would weep when we boarded kovai express back to chennai.
Those were lovely times spent in Salem during the summer holidays. I sure am lucky I had a place to go to, a place like Salem, a home like my grandparents', year after year every summer. I sure am lucky that I have such lovely memories. I sure am lucky I had such wonderful grandparents to pamper me as a kid. I wonder if my daughter will have as much fun. She will probably spend her summer holidays at day care, attending summer courses, waiting for weekends so she can be with us - atleast as long as we are in this country.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Personality tests

Haha.. Some interesting facts I found out about myself !

I am 77% Grown Up, 23% Kid

Congratulations, you are definitely quite emotionally mature.
Although you have your moments of moodiness, you're usually stable and level headed.

I am 37% Addicted to the Internet

Internet? Please. You're definitely not geeky enough to be that addicted.
You have a full life off your computer - and the internet is just a small pastime.

My Dominant Intelligence is Interpersonal Intelligence

You shine in your ability to realate to and understand others.
Good at seeing others' points of view, you get how people think and feel.
You have an uncanny ability to sense true feelings, intentions, and motivations.
A natural born leader, you are great at teaching and mediating conflict.

You would make a good counselor, salesperson, politician, or business person.

Friday, January 12, 2007

A poem from down memory Lane

As a part of the ICSE syllabus that I studied, there was a full book of poems that we studied during class X. One of my favorite poems out of that book, one that I understood and appreciated at that age, and one that makes sense even at this point of time in my life, was the poem "IF" by Rudyard Kipling.

Our English teachers Mrs.Rebeiro did full justice to that poem when we studied it at school.

This is how it goes:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bible College and Me!

If someone who knew me really well, typed out this URL (, they would fearfully quit the site worrying that they may have got a virus on their system. Because what you see on that website is "SO NOT ME"! Well, in case you haven't noticed, the URL above is wrongly spelt - just missed out an 's'.

What happened the other day was that I sent this link with the typo to my friend and asked him to check out my blog. He got back to me saying he read all about Bible college online and that Jesus loves me and stuff. I clicked the link I had sent him and saw the same. Here's what we saw!

So, I immediately tried to log in to, to check out what had happened. Server was down! Tried to go and take a look at on which my previous article was based and all I saw was an XML file in a browser. I was really convinced, that there had been some huge virus attack which had probably attacked all those servers on the Internet. I called my husband at work and asked him to go look at my blog. I tried to see if my friends' blogs had been changed as well. Surprisingly they were all normal! So I tried logging into and then clicked my blog address from my profile. Worked fine! I was really surprised by that time, and that's when I realized I had misspelled the blog address in my browser.

Apparently my elementary school teachers had a reason to frown upon spelling mistakes!

Appreciate any comments on what your blog addresses if misspelled could take you to.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Noida Killings - Are we in the same world?

This morning during our customary phone call, my mother asked if I had read about the Noida massacre. I used to read the news on quite regularly, until it began to get boring with news of politics. She gave me an outline of what had happened, and I got interested and decided to catch up. Since I had the time, and I was intrigued and disturbed by the numbers on the headlines, I decided to read the entire time line on If you dont know what I am talking about check out this.
Two men, abused and killed so many women and children! If that was not hard enough to digest, the police took this long to find out what was going on, when 30 something children had disappeared within a 100 m of this place?? Everyone knows - politicians are selfish, they only care about power, bureaucrats are well bureaucrats, the police are corrupt, inefficient.. but I wouldn't imagine they could let matters get to this!
In a place of that size, if so many people just went missing, which policeman in his right sense could sit easy? Its their job to investigate and make arrests. Its their job to protect the public. I cant believe a policeman can be so judgemental as to dismiss complaints saying "Your daughter must have eloped with someone". How can they make those statement to the poor parent without even investigating the matter. They refused to file FIRs? Why are these people being paid salaries and allowances and pensions - to make those assumptions?
The bureaucrats didnt bother. Some of them wrote to the police, some of them said they would do something, some of them didnt respond. Well, they only work if the politicians put them on a hot seat.
Politicians are so selfish - to them all these missing people are just numbers. Numbers that dont matter to the number of votes. What are the citizens of India - they are mere numbers to them. Some are numbers that will vote, that can be made to vote, that can be bought to vote, that can be brainwashed to vote, that can be aligned with a religion, that can be aligned with a caste! Well, the people in that Noida village came under the "Dont matter" numbers. They were migrants, who didnt have a vote in the place that they lived in. So what if they were also people? So what if they also had children? So what if they were poor? So what if they were worried about one of their family not showing up at the end of the day? They didnt have a vote!
I can only pity the state of affairs in the country. The system has got so corrupt and inefficient that when an attrocity of this nature is exposed, one can but wonder, if we indeed live in the same world!

Monday, November 06, 2006

So much for Regular Blogging..

I really thought when I started that I would be a regular blogger, but now I do notice I only blog at each festival. I really wanted to do a post for diwali and one for halloween, but I've already fallen behind.. Got to combine the two into one now!
Diwali 2006
Well.. How much can you enjoy diwali without being in India (sob! sob!).. To start with, more than a week before diwali, I started making the sweets and karams associated with it. I got really adventurous and decided to make kodavalai(bangalore side snack). I really thought it would be simple - but wow! was i mistaken! went through a lot of trouble to make it - it tasted ok that night. By next morning - it was a sob story - rubbery on the outside, soft in the center. So learnt a lesson there and decided to take a risk with the "american" version badusha. Fortunately, it turned out well (though it seemed to me to be a cross between gulab jamun and badusha). Then, Fatima came over one day to help me make 2 more dishes - Thenguzhal and Coconut barfi (which my mom insisted that I make because it was very simple). Thenguzhal which normally comes out well - started going put-put (quite the sound of my dad's old lamberetta backfiring) in the oil. The burfi for which my mom had emailed a recipe - totally got screwed up because of me misunderstanding my mother's ratios in the recipe. So quite disappointingly, none of it was really impressive.
New clothes for the 3 of us - Smrithi was in a pair of jeans, pink t-shirt and a denim jacket. We also went to the Aurora temple which was extremely crowded.

And that was Diwali!

Halloween 2006
Next came Halloween.. I had nothing much to do, but dress up Smrithi in her cute little pumpkin outfit. I have to admit, I was a lit apprehensive about whether she would feel comfortable in it, but she seemed to be quite happy in it. Sandra and Fatima were also with us. Sandra was in a fairy costume. So Fatima and I packed them up and took them "Trick or Treat"ing.. Smrithi seemed to enjoy it, and needless to say I enjoyed the complements she got..