Thursday, December 29, 2011

Making Saraswati Flow Again

I picked up the book - Sarawati's Secret River - for my daughter hesitantly. Another story based on Indian mythology? Should I just pick up a fairy tale instead? Oh well, let's see how she likes it, I thought.

Her reading is far from what I would like it to be. So one rare night, when I agreed to read a book for her, I picked this one up. By Devdutt Pattanaik, I was suddenly caught up in the story and read some 8 pages instead of the promised 4. Then, of course, I didn't pick it up again for a while, hoping my daughter would tell me how it read. But I ended up reading it again.

I wondered - is this book for children or adults? Of course, the style is simple and the story straightforward, but it is adults who must read this book. For, children probably already instinctively know what Pattanaik is writing about. It is we adult who go against the grain!

Goddess Saraswati visits a school principal and takes her on a journey to the past when children learned what they were interested in. And so, the River Saraswati flowed big and strong. But over time, rote and forced learning began, and the river shrank.

In the princi's own school, there is a boy who questions, and is discouraged... The lesson being, don't discourage him and let other students think independently too.

Now, tell me, what is the use of making this a children's book? Isn't the greatest tragedy of our times the fact that adults decide what and how children should learn? Isn't it we who cut down curiosity and encourage rote? By telling children about the need to pursue their interests, isn't Pattanaik doing them a great disfavour? By sowing such thoughts, they will only meet with frustration as they go back to schools all enthused, only to find lessons forced down their throats!

Mr. Pattanaik, it is not enough to write great books. Please make them realistic. Don't raise hopes in children without preparing them for disappointments.

Or, maybe he is hoping that children when they become adults will bring about the necessary changes? Hmmm... but by then, they will be 'house-trained' too!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

One Earth: The Highest Being

One Earth: The Highest Being: The birds and animals first scout for the ideal tree or ground to build a home for their little ones. The man scouts for the best spot for...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Of Childhood

The noise the children were making slowly increased in volume. Simran, resting in her bedroom, got up and went to see what they were up to. She saw her nine-year-old daughter Madhu and some neighbouring children playing Monopoly. She saw her friend's daughter, Lalli, sitting quietly, slightly away from the rest of the children.

"What's happening?" she asked.

"Mamma! Ankit is not letting us play! He wants all the money!" Madhu said.

Simran frowned. She did not like to get involved in kids' scrapes. "Well, don't make too much noise. I am trying to rest," she said and turned to go.

But, it was not to be. She heard someone crying. She rushed back to see Ankit's sister Priya crying. "What happened!" she asked exasperated.

"Mamma, Ankit hit Priya!"

"Ankit?" she turned to the boy. He was a perennial nuisance, hitting other children if he thought he was losing. But for sometime now, he had been better behaved. What had come over him now? She turned to Priya, pushing Ankit to the background for a minute. "Come here, let me see..."

The girl's cheek was swelling. Ankit had hit his sister with a car he had been holding in his hand. Simran decided that it was best to call their mother, who came running down. "Ankit!" the mother said just one word on hearing what had happened. The 11-year-old boy walked to her with his head hung. She lifted his face up, and gave one tight slap. All around, Simran included, stood in stunned silence. "Go up!" she ordered the boy, who went away without a word. The mother held her daughter and asked, "What did you do?"

Nine-year-old Priya, clearly mortified, said defensively, "I bought the state he was eyeing for..."

The mother's no-nonsense look stopped the girl. "He likes to win. Can't you let him, in a game?"

Priya hung her head and went away, silent tears wetting her cheeks. The mother looked up at Simran and said apologetically, "He has exams coming. His exams are coming, you know, and he seems to become very aggressive then? I keep telling him - Priya gets better marks than him and he does not even put in the effort he can! This time I have warned him I will not give him chocolates if he doesn't score well! ... I am so sorry for the bother. I will warn him not to misbehave."

Simran just stared open mouthed, nodded because she didn't know what to say and turned to look at her daughter, who was busy playing with the remaining two friends. Madhu had exams too but seeing her, no one would have thought so. And she did well - not the top of the class, but not bottom either. Simran shrugged. She was fine with that, and so was Madhu.

She caught sight of Lalli, still not part of the crowd, busy writing something. Simran walked up to her and asked in a friendly tone, "What is it?"

"Some math... I have math Olympiad coming up."

"Oh...? That's nice," Simran said.

"Is Shruthi also giving the test?" Lalli asked.

Simran looked at her daughter, who seemed blissfully unaware of everything except Monopoly, and asked, "Does she look like?"

"No..." Lalli drawled, a dissatisfied look on her face.

"So... is this the first time for you?" Simran asked.

Lalli shook her head. "No, I have been giving this for the last four years. And Science Olympiad. And Spelling Bee..."

"Oh really!" Simran exclaimed, wondering if she was doing something wrong. Her daughter, the same age as Lalli, had given Math Olympiad only once - the previous year - and then declared that was it. And here was this child... "Some of the portions have not been taught yet, right?"

"Yes, but my mother insists that I learn those up. She helps me... Here, these are practice sums for HCF - which we have not learnt yet."

"Oh!" Simran said and was silent for a moment. She wasn't sure if she was so keen on her daughter rushing through portions just to give a test. "Hmmm. But do you understand it?"

Lalli shook her head. "But my mother thinks I am..." there was a pause before the child said in a slightly nasal, adult voice, "CAPABLE!" Simran burst out laughing and finally, the child smiled. "So, I go for dance class twice a week, swimming, thrice, and music twice a week. Of course...I come to you for Hindi. And mamma teaches me science and maths at home. Weekends, she wants me to go for tennis, but because I have to prepare for this, I have not started yet... Maybe once this gets over..."

Simran's head reeled. But trying not to show it, she asked, "And you enjoy it all?"

Lalli shook her head emphatically. "I want to play... and dance, maybe. But the other things? No."

Simran pursed her lips sympathetically, and the girl imitated her expression. Both nodded at each other, then smiled. Lalli was bright, no doubt. "So... when do you play?"

Lalli shook her head. "I don't. If I do well in the Olympiad, my mother has promised that she will get me a video game to play when I want to relax."

Simran got up, feeling the child's heavy heart affecting her. Her daughter and her friends got up suddenly. "Mamma! I am going down to play. Lalli, will you join? Oh math? Okay, you do that." And she was off.

Simran watched her daughter bouncing down the stairs and play with her friends, whose parents were obviously as neglectful of their children's future as she was. Well, they will find something they will enjoy doing, she decided and went back in to take the much needed rest.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Enough

I want this and that
Grabbing them all up close
When one slips through
I cry, not wanting to let it go.

Even when I have all
That I could want
Why does that one
Bother me more?

Within reach
And yet not so!
The soul longs for it
Yet so much more!

A spark itches within
Wanting to light a fire
When that fire is lit
The spark itches again

Is there no end?
No word in my dictionary
Called "enough"?
Giving contentment and peace?

Why then this desire
That burns bright
Burning all within
Focused only on new goals?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Another First - Time

Tamil blog was for a lark, to see if I could write, could refresh my knowledge of Tamil. It is a trial - for Tamil, to be caught between my mind and fingers, and sometimes be mangled.

But it opened a strange door for me - that of translation. Seeing my Tamil blog, a friend referred my name to someone looking for a translator from Tamil to English. And today, I received the copy of the book - The Story of a Seed, original by TJ Gnanavel, translated by me, and released on December 5.

It was a thrilling journey - to come closer to my mother tongue, to interpret the lines in a meaningful way in a foreign language that has become the second tongue, and also to read the story of the founding couple, their travails and how they overcame the challenges. It was a time to learn - Tamil as well as how to live life with a smile always. I had heard about Santhi and Duraismy, but while translating, I almost lived with them their high and low moments.

Now I am like the man-eater, having tasted blood, raring for more such opportunities.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Backhand

Suchi stepped into the manager's cabin. She was the manager now! She would sit on the manager's seat.

A small smile lit up her face. It had been a tough year, but she had worked - oh how she had worked to reach here.

She sat down and swiveled gently. In the heart of her hearts, she knew that all her hard work could have been bypassed if it hadn't been for Priya. She sighed - Priya! She closed her eyes for a minute and thanked lord. He had tested her and she had proved her worth, thanks to Priya. If it hadn't been for Priya, her work would have gone unnoticed. Priya, her classmate from college, her junior at work, the woman who hated her. The woman because of whom Suchi had been made the manager with a good hike.

Suchi remembered the day she had entered the office to get her offer letter and had found Priya already there, an offer letter in hand. On seeing Suchi, Priya had hung on. That day had set the tone for their relationship at work.

*
"Hey, nice to see you here!" Priya greeted her. "I am joining here as the executive assistant. You too?"

Suchi was dismayed to see Priya here. Even during their college days, they had not shared a great rapport, each preferring her own group. It was an intrinsic dislike not founded on any strong basis but strengthened by the events over the next three years. Minor things, nothing much to write home about... But still ranklers.

"How come you are here?" Suchi sidestepped Priya's question.

"Oh, I did company secretaryship. But I am not keen on a career in that so when I saw this advertisement, I thought I will give it a shot. What about you?"

"I did my post grad in marketing and worked with a product marketing company for three years," Suchi said, hoping that this would indicate to Priya her seniority at work.

"So you are joining as EA here?" Priya demanded again. The smile did not soften the question in any way.

Suchi shook her head. "As Assistant Manager." She didn't want to add that Priya would be reporting to her.

Priya's eyes indicated her displeasure though the lips continued to smile. Suchi made good her escape. She joined a week later and found Priya working furiously. She stepped in to meet her manager who welcomed her warmly. As she was leaving after the formality, he paused and said, "I would have preferred if you hadn't discussed your role and salary with Priya."

Suchi looked at him in surprise. "She cornered me... Any problem?"

"Yes, she didn't take it well because you both are the same age. But you have experience, and we expect that to be of value. Please don't discuss your salary or role with anyone unnecessarily." The hunted look in his face suggested that Priya was giving him a tough time. Suchi could guess, from past experience, that it wouldn't be easy for him to handle her. She wondered if she was prepared for it either.

She discovered, as the months progressed, that she wasn't. Priya was an untiring source of venom, poured out within the hearing of all colleagues. Suchi hesitated to put her foot down. When Priya was slack, she stepped in to complete the tasks.

Her manager called her one day, clearly tired. Suchi could smell Priya's perfume in the room and guessed that she had here just before Suchi was called. The hunted look on  his face - she recognised it as a symptom of having been grilled. Why did he put up with it! "Suchi... I know you are an efficient worker. But Priya feels you are upstaging her. Why don't you give her space to finish her tasks?"

Suchi's eyebrows shot up in shock. "But, if I do that, then I end up working late and in the early hours wrapping up after her! She believes in waiting till the last minute to finish what can be done earlier."

"Yes, yes!" he replied hastily. "But she feels she is not getting the exposure."

Suchi shrugged and left. She tried playing it Priya's way. But Priya's tendency to take every break and stretch them was really getting on her nerves. Not getting her boss's support was depressing. She withdrew to herself and focused on getting her tasks done quickly, so that she was able to look beyond her work and take on other things. She tried to ignore the dead weight on her feet. But every crisis that Priya faced, she had to find a solution. She became good at anticipating them. She was surprised when a colleague named her "Smart Solution Suchi"! She glowed at the compliment.

A small reward was when her seniors - especially the Senior Manager - from the head office called her specifically when they needed a job done - sometimes even bypassing her manager, who didn't seem to mind.

This, of course, didn't go down well with Priya. When Suchi made a trip to the HO for a meeting and returned, rumours about how - specifically how - Suchi had the senior manager in her pocket spread. Suchi was shocked. She had an uphill task reestablishing her reputation. She was viewed as fire now... Yes, that is what she became. Not easy to approach. Whatever the view others had about her and the senior manager, she saw respect for her work and for her as a person.

That was all she could do. She could do nothing more about speculation.

*

And here she was, unexpectedly the manager of the branch office. She realised that it was because Priya complained so much about her - Suchi - taking all the initiatives, unwittingly advertising Suchi's work that the management had decided on this move instead of bringing a person from the HO. Her manager had as good as told her that. Otherwise, at 26, how could she hope to handle so much responsibility!

Yes, now she knew why it was said - forgive thy enemy. She made sure she included Priya in her prayers, for without her, she would never have been able to talk of her achievements. Priya had done it for her when complaining to others. After Priya left in a huff because of Suchi's promotion, Suchi could forgive her, and enjoy the relief of finally finding the peace she sought at work.





Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Wall Post to Kapil Sibal

Dear Sibalji
You fear that seditious content on the Facebook can cause riots?

But then, anti corruption slogans have not made one whit of a difference in our politicians! Why do you think it will change the balance between the different sections of the society?

Aah! You have greater faith in people's sensitivity to comments than that of politicians? That makes better sense, of course! But we would like to see some effect on the thick skins of the politicians as well! Maybe you can get them to read the posts online, if it really is so powerful?

Hoping for the winds of change...

An FB user. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Empty, Drifting

Like a vein cut
body drained
of all the blood

Words poured out
in one long flow
as if there is no tomorrow

The mind tired
empty, needing rest
devoid of all thoughts

The computer
a constant companion
Now averse to touch

Saturated, brimming
bed beckoning
to give rest to thinking

To be, just to be
lazy and drifting
in a world of fantasy.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

'Age of Seth' - So Aptly Named

I am one of those who diligently does not read the newspaper, does not watch news channels and does not have headlines updates from any of the newspapers. And so, if Suhel Seth is a well known name, then... I am not among his friends (no surprise there!)

When I was reading a review of his book Get on Top - oops, Get to the Top - by Mihir Sharma, I did laugh heartily at the man Suhel is. But, I wish he were really one of his kind! The poor fellow has stuck his neck out and written a book on what many silently continue to do. He, of course, is a man of many words. He believes in that and likes to be heard. So hardly surprising he should write about it.

He is not alone, though, is he? This is what people set store by: brand building, projecting oneself, of seen to be doing, of influence, of currying favors? Doesn't mediocrity win, with some support from money?

How do we change our own attitude to that? 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Cosmic Dance

You put your foot down
The world trembles in fear
You raise the other one
In awe we say, "Oh dear!"

Your two eyes
The third on the forehead
Angry one moment
Laughing the very next

The world vibrates
admiring your grace
Moving when you do
Standing still to be with you

My heart
Filled with deep desire
To be one
With the raging fire

The snakes coiled
The tiger skin, a foil
The broad shoulders
Dependable like a boulder

I long to merge
In that cosmic fire
Past, present and future
Burning with the body in the pyre.

Pure energy
Sheer joy
That is all I ask for
Grant me that, oh my lord.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Visiting Past Life

I once went for a past life regression exercise, because I have been immensely curious to know what I was in the previous birth. Maybe Jhansi ki Rani, Joan of Arc... someone like that? I drew a complete blank, remembering not even much of my this life except some very light moments. As I was supposed to leave this life and enter the previous, a crow cawed outside and the image that rose in my mind was that of a crow. The lady leading me along realised the futility of letting me continue the exercise and packed me off.

I went to a palm leaf reader, but the first time, I didn't have the guts to ask about my past. The second time, since I was with my husband, the astrologer - not realising I was more curious about my previous births than the present one - said it was enough if we read my hubby's as my life will get included in that. My hubby had had more success with the past life regression, and much of it was confirmed indirectly in the palm leaf reading too. Only I came back empty handed.

So when I read Paulo Coelho's Aleph, it drew me in immediately. Initially I thought it was a spiritual journey... Or rather, to be truthful, didn't really know what it was about. I was almost dismayed when I saw it was autobiographical. But, the journey he took - a physical one - also caused him to travel back on time.

Lucky he... Or is it unlucky? Maybe he could handle what he discovered. But the girl who he travels back in time with is unable to. It is not always good to know. But, reading his work, there were a couple of things that set me thinking.

One - about how he talks of death and compares it to people traveling in different compartments. Years ago, when a cousin of mine died unexpectedly, the thought that kept running through my mind was - how do I know she is not back at home in another city? That was the only way to reconcile to it.

The other thing he talks of is meeting people from past lives. Sometimes, you feel a connect. There is certain bonding that happens. We say "poorva janma bandham"... maybe that is what it is. But if we knew it, probably our present lives and relationships will go haywire.

I am reminded of my conversation once with my daughter, when she wanted to know why she doesn't remember who she was before. And I wisely told her "because then you will want to go back to that mother..."

Remember that, my dear girl, when the next time you want to visit your past... And since there is nothing that bothers or pain in the current birth, why not go along with your thought - that this is your first birth, really?


Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Circle

I admired the circle
Perfect and round
And stepped in to see
It circle around.

No beginning
Nor an end
No confusion
Joined from end to end

I pulled it in
I pushed it out
I played with
The shapely contours

Sometimes big
Sometimes small
I admired how it remained
Always perfect and round.

The world outside
Changed and changed
But in my small circle
It all remained the same

Like a fortress
It kept me safe
But of new things
There was not a whiff

I chafed suddenly
At being confined
But knew not now
How to step out of the line

No start no finish
No gates to show
Where the circle
Had a weak link to blow

It had me trapped
In its narrow confines
Narrowing my thoughts
Narrowing my mind

Open the gates
I cried from within
But the circle of safety
Had me in its grip

Yes its perfect
Yes its round
But never step in
For you can never step out.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Anubavangal: இந்தக்காலத்துப்பசங்க!

Anubavangal: இந்தக்காலத்துப்பசங்க!: ஒரு பெரிய தொழிலதபரைப் பேட்டிக் காணச் சென்றிருந்தேன். என்னுடன் மூன்று இளைஞர்களும் இருந்தார்கள். முதலில் அந்த அதிபரை தனியாக சந்தித்து என்ன ப...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Vanishing Home

He is creepy, crawly and scary. But doesn't he deserve a home still?

The deer from the garden of Eden in my backyard have been transferred to another safe place. The birds will find another home if these trees are cut off. Squirrels and mongoose - no one will mind if they frolic around in the gardens of residences. But what will this fellow do? Burrow deep till he thinks it is safe to come out, or be detected earlier and killed by the labourers? Will it be ever safe for him? Whenever he is sighted - whether in the metro office or in my complex - he is bound to be hunted and killed. A certain death awaits him.

But today, he majestically slid across the tree, baring his fangs at the birds objecting to his presence. An unpopular guy... To be cared for still from the preying man.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Warning Bells

Yesterday's newspaper said:

* Sale of two wheelers in rural areas coming down because of dropping purchasing power.
* Kingfisher plunging into deep sea, and not to catch a fish but to be caught in the net.
* Spicejet - problems

And the other usual stories about not enough medical care reaching people in the rural areas. Not enough schools, infrastructure...etc.

Met a leading academician who has made a name for his mentoring, and he talked of how short sighted government employees were, unable to see the value of rural ventures and making their life hell... Not many would want to get into that segment.
Met a social entrepreneur today who wonders if charity is dying in India.
A full page ad asks for contributions for an old people's home...

And then I see Audis and BMWs and Mercedes on the road.
I see monthly food bills from eating out that can feed entire families for months.
We do charity, no doubt. We do as much as we can... No guilt there.

But the disparity is wide - getting wider. Can the system withstand it? For how long?

If one card topples, it brings the entire pack down.

Any thoughts, anybody, how to stop the shake up?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Anubavangal: குசேலர் - சுதாமா

Anubavangal: குசேலர் - சுதாமா: சுதாமாவின் மனைவி அவலை கட்டிக்கொடுக்கிறாள் இந்த கதை கேட்டு/படித்து வளர்ந்திருக்கிறேன். ஒரு பிடி அவலைத்தின்ற ஸ்ரீ கிருஷ்ணா, பதிலுக்கு தன் ...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Siblings

Sham stood at the entrance, in sparkling white pajama kurta, accepting condolences. He blinked as he saw his aunt come up with a stricken look. "How did it happen?" she asked quietly. He hugged her, his heart in his throat, excepting some women would tell her the details.

His wife Rani's voice surely enough drifted through the silent hall. "We were so stunned when we got the call from bhabhi! How could this have happened to Ram bhayya! He was so young...such young children! Sham was devastated! We have been planning to visit him for a long time. So tragic that we should come here and see him like this!"

A new round of lament started. Sham felt he had to escape the oppressive atmosphere.

**
Ranu hadn't been wrong. They had planned several times, he had wanted to plan several times... But it had not worked out somehow. He felt a dull anger at Rani as he remembered how every time she managed to find an excuse for not visiting him.

"Why do you always find a reason for avoiding Delhi!" he had even asked her once.

"Darling," Rani had responded. "Where is the question of avoiding them! But they have never visited us once, have they?"

"Is that a reason!"

"No dear," Rani had put her arms around him. "How silly of you! But maybe they don't like to have people over. Maybe they think they will inconvenience us! If they think so much about visiting you, his brother, shouldn't we respect that? And then," she had looked at him with that innocent look, "What will you gain by staying there for a day or two? We must visit them properly, you know!"

That had sounded so much more logical at the time. But now? Here he was, very much staying for the next 10 days. And what would he achieve? Could he talk to his brother?

But always, head had ruled over heart - the cost of travel, the inconvenience of dropping in, the fear of discomfiting them... how many doubts, how many excuses.

Could he blame Rani alone for his lethargy? Wasn't he to blame too for going with her logic and reasoning? Where was his brain when she gave excuses for avoiding visiting his brother!

The questions plagued him, but even if he found the answer, what of it now? He couldn't unwind time, could he?

**
As they boarded the flight back, Rani sighed, "Thank god we were able to spend the time there and you didn't have to get back in a hurry. You were wonderful, Sham, doing your duty for your brother's family. But I think, rather than calling the children to us and dislocating them, isn't it better that they stay put in Delhi? Bhabhi has her own people she will be more comfortable with. Send them money once in a while - when they need it, if they ask... You know, otherwise they may mistake us..."

She prattled on. Sham stared ahead, his heart and head busy with their own debate not very different from Rani's.




Thursday, November 10, 2011

One Earth: The Power Problem

One Earth: The Power Problem: One of the recent jokes on the SMS that I love: as the mobile, the net and something else compete as to who is going to rule the world, elec...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Anubavangal: Chinthanaiyilla Manam

Anubavangal: Chinthanaiyilla Manam: அலைமோதும் மனதில் இன்று நிலவியது நிசப்தம் சுற்றும் முற்றிலும் பரவியது அமைதி இதைத்தானே தேடி அலைந்தது நெஞ்சம்? இன்று அது கிடைத்தும் ஏன் இப்பொழ...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Peeling the Layers - Meluha

I think no Indian story, especially those on historical/mythological characters, can ever have just one layer. The Immortals of Meluha is no different. A facebook conversation made me expect a fantasy in the Harry Potter category, where I imagined a character like Shiva would be using chants and "magic" to win over enemies.

The book, though, proved that I had been mislead. I had to read it in two days as I had to return the book. But it was not difficult to achieve the task. The book did not "grip" me like some others do. But it flowed easily. The reason I put grip within quotation marks is that in some places... hmmm... it was like that. And, the Sati of Amar Chitra Katha comics kept interrupting my thoughts. Daksha had a goat face in my mind, and somehow, his reaction to Shiva in this book is so diametrically opposite to what I had imagined, again thanks to ACK - that kept intruding too! And is Tarak, another Meluhan, Tarakasur? You know, our half-baked knowledge interfering and logic arguing parallely kind of a thing.

But I loved the way Amish creates an extraordinary character from ordinary events, and vests Shiva with the same dilemmas and doubts that any human being would have. What I loved about the book was, he makes a hero of a man who overcomes those doubts, but is never above them. He is guided from time to time. But for those who are familiar with the Indian thought, the guides will not fog the mind. Instead, the reader will find answers to their own doubts there. Which is why I felt the book was layered - on the one hand, there is the story one reads, that of Shiva, the man with a destiny. But on the other, there is second layer that talks to the reader directly.

In my own fumbling way, I had written a short story earlier called Perspective. What is right for one, may not be right for another. So there are no absolute truths... Kudos for presenting it so neatly. And, considering I am also in a dilemma, caught between  right and wrong, Shiva's dilemma and the realisation that the burden never goes away really made me pause and think. We can only hope to become stronger to bear our burdens. We can only hope to understand the other point of view. We can never be rid of them forever. All we can seek is the strength for it.

Wonder what part II has in store for me.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Anubavangal: Yanthiram

Anubavangal: Yanthiram: மனிதன் தன்னைப்போல வேலை செய்ய யந்திரங்கள் உருவாக்கப்போகிறான் என்று சொல்லும் பொழுது, சிட்டி மாதிரி ரோபோவைத்தான் நினைத்துப்பார்க்கிறோம். ஆனால் ...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Glory

Glorious and radiant
Resplendent and bright
In rode the Sun
Shining with natural light

Dazzling all beholders
With his flashy grin
Burning all who came near
With the heat from within

He crosses in his chariot
Calling people out to witness
His cheer and bounty
Being treated like a deity

The day ends
Plunged in darkness
As the sun leaves
Having proved his greatness

Too less of him
And we ask for more
Too much of him
Never again, no!

The moon enters
In borrowed glory
Sure of herself
Bewitching the weary

The stars follow
Just as bright as the sun
But of their greatness
Who will sing, none?

Tiny and funny
Twinkling and winking
Who thinks that they could blaze
Just as bright as the sun?

Too far away
Too remote and quiet
They are but like extras
Filling up space

And yet some are bigger
Better and brighter
But not in-my-face
Like the sun, my dear.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lifestyle

"Have you seen today's paper?" Nikita asked Sahana.

"Some discount sale?" Sahana asked eagerly. "I wanted to buy a good handbag. Is there something on?" she asked, stretching her hand for the paper.

Nikita shook her head. "No, I wasn't talking about that. Farmer suicides is on the rise," she said.

"Oh! How sad. Do you think for the purple dress I bought last evening, my maroon slippers will do?"

Nikita looked up and thought. "The red and gold?" Sahana nodded. "Hmmm... Maybe your plain gold will be better."

Sahana got up to examine her collection of footwear. She sat down and exclaimed, "Look I even have these purple slip ons!" They were in brand new condition. "When did I buy these!" she thought aloud in wonder, her heart beating fast at this find.

"Hmmm...?" Nikita asked absent mindedly. "It is pathetic!" she exclaimed. "I wonder if at this rate we will still be an agrarian economy!"

Sahana laughed. "We can become an industrial economy in that case. Anyway they are selling their lands to developers. Which reminds me! There is a property coming up in a village nearby. They are developing it like a resort. Would you like to invest?"

They discussed the rates. It looked very attractive. "But maintenance?"

"They have people. And the local populace, of course! Anyway they won't be farming anymore. So they will come for this," Sahana said easily and examined her shoes under the light. Just a bit of dusting and it was ready to go.

She put the dress against herself and preened. "How does this look?"

Nikita smiled. "Very nice. And it is as if the shoes were made from the same colour!"

"Yes..." Sahana smiled. She told Nikita the story of each of the buys and how much they cost.

"It's worth it," Nikita dutifully replied. The thought struck her - just her party wear for a day would add up to a substantial amount. Nikita looked at the paper and wondered if that amount could have helped one farmer face life with new hope.

How did one go about reaching out to them? Is it money they needed, or something else?

Pensive and uncertain, Nikita begged off the party. "Sleep it off," Sahana advised. "You will feel better when you wake up."

Sahana was right. Resting did help. But when Nikita saw the excess food that would go a waste at the end of it, her stomach churned.

Anubavangal: Thayakkangal

Anubavangal: Thayakkangal: தாய்மை என்றாலே தயக்கங்கள் தான். நாம் எடுத்த முடிவு சரியா? நாம் சொல்லும் அறிவுரை சரியா? நாம் கோவிப்பது சரியா? நாம் விட்டுக்கொடுப்பது சரியா? ...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

True Friend

The King's Mistress by Emma Campion is slow moving, going round in circles though with an interesting historical plot.

In one place, the heroine learns this truth - that others around may provide companionship and be convenient up to a point, but finally, our greatest friend is us.

If I cannot be friends with myself, who else can? If I do not love myself, who else will?

There is a Tamil saying: That a wife walks till the doorstep, the relatives till the street end and the sons till the cremation ground. But no one can accompany us beyond that on our last journey. This is the root of Hindu philosophy, which stresses on detached attachment.

Why then do we crave to "win" friends, to "be seen" with the crowd, to "be pressured by the peer"?

Isn't it a trick of the mind that believes anyone can understand us as well as we can? That we can give others what they seek?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Anubavangal: Vattam

Anubavangal: Vattam: பள்ளிக்கூடம், வீடு. இதுதான் அவள் உலகம். அவள் வயதினர் எல்லாரும் மால், சினிமா என்று செல்வார்கள். இவளையும் ஓரிரண்டுமுறை அழைத்திருக்கிறார்கள். ஆ...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Handy Camera

Well, I have seen the urge for people to stand next to celebrities and take a pic, even if the celebrity will not even remember having seen them, let alone their name or that they took a photo together.

And today, I saw the ultimate madness. Two men in an auto expo, making sure they posed next to every sedan and high end car - and there were quite a few of those: BMW, Audi, even a Porsche. They took turns to photograph the other with the car.

I just wished each had told the other to smile more and not look constipated. I was too amused to be able to suggest that to them.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Anubavangal: Mazhaikaala Megangal

Anubavangal: Mazhaikaala Megangal: வெளியில் எட்டிப்பார்க்கும் பொழுது அப்படியே பிரமிப்பில் உறைந்துபோனேன் நான். ஹெலிகாப்ட்டர் பூச்சிகள் அங்கே பெரிதாக வளர்ந்திருக்கும் மரத்தை மேக...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Finding Heroes

All around me, I sense failing is the flavour of the season. - Or maybe, it has always been, but I am suddenly hearing about this a lot. About how failure is inevitable, and how people bounce back.

Yes, we must draw inspiration from those who met with failure but through sheer will power, creative thinking, will power, repackaging - whatever it took - came back.

When I stare at failure, I am encouraged with the words, "Look at that man/woman. She was like you, but now see where he/she is."

I laugh. My gloom increases. I can't help saying, "If that same man/woman had not managed to succeed finally, no one would even be talking about him/her!"

It is finally only the failures of the successful people that we talk of. Successful = popular, well known.

Even those who don't shine like stars in the firmament face failures. And then bounce back and lead their lives, successfully within their framework. But, they don't become popular. We fail to see inspiration in them. We still look beyond at the distant stars and talk only of how they used failure as a stepping stone.

Me? I think it is easier to admire people who are not page 3 material, but have still faced tragedies, slipped and fallen, got up and walked, or managed to steady themselves before they could fall. They have a steady course, give their children steady families, and maybe help shape them into future heroes. They themselves seem to lead an average life, but are still kings and queens of their homes and hearts. Their uniqueness is in the clarity the eyes reflect, the cheer the smile spreads, and the warmth they give as friends.

They are not kings but kingmakers.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Anubavangal: Cheenargalum Tharamum

Anubavangal: Cheenargalum Tharamum: சமீபத்தில் ஒரு புத்தகம் திருத்திக்கொண்டிருந்தேன். ஜப்பானில் தயாரிக்கப்படும் போருட்கள் என்றாலே ஒரு காலத்தில் தரம் இல்லை என்று பொருள். இன்று ந...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bubbling Heart

You are too busy to talk
So am I!
You have your road to walk
So do I!

We met, and I thought
Our hearts met too
But unspoken though my love
Weren't you swept away too?

Didn't you feel the pain
That is a pleasure
Didn't you want to reach out
And share moments to treasure?

When you left
With not a word
Nursing the wound
I curled up like a hurt bird

Time, the healer
Worked around the wound
But the scar comes alive
Persistent like a hound

Not letting go of that
Deep buried love
Sometimes urging my lips
To utter your name with verve

To talk of you
Like any other person
As if you mattered
Not a bit more than the other one

Shy and scared
I kill that urge
So no one may know
For whom my heart so surges

Like the churning of chaos
Old and new merge
Angry bubbles boiling
Old feelings emerge

Only to be suppressed
And forgotten with time
To be remembered again one day
By this foolish heart of mine.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

New Age God

As my friend narrated this story, I couldn't help laughing and wondering if this is how, in some age, stones came to be worshiped!

A few ladies in my building fasted on karva chauth and congregated in one of the houses to listen to the story that is narrated traditionally on this day. The lady of the house connected on skype with her mother in Delhi, who read out the "paatth". At the end of it, all the ladies in Chennai did a namaskar to the lady in Delhi via the net, physically bowing before the laptop.

My friend laughed and so did I. But I wondered if in some age, the stone was the medium of communication and so became consecrated. Maybe in a few years, when we lose power and the net, the future generations will still bow before the electronic devices which will be passed on from generation to generation because their elders did it!

Anubavangal: Setril Kaal, Vaanatthil Kann

Anubavangal: Setril Kaal, Vaanatthil Kann: வெய்யிலில் நின்று, குனிந்து வயலில் வேலை செய்யும் தன் தந்தையை பார்க்கும் சரவணனுக்கு மனதில் எதோ ஒரு ஏக்கம். குளிர்ந்த காரில் முதலாளி வந்து, வெ...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Following the Light

I was about to open the window after switching off the AC, when I noticed a bee hovering just outside. He was banging against the glass, desperately trying to get in. The light inside was immensely superior attraction over the darkness that covered the land behind him. His friends were probably asleep, or hovering over the queen bee, or doing whatever they normally do at that hour. But this one was the adventurous one, the ambitious one, or maybe, the terribly scared one. He wanted light. He wanted warmth. Though he had grown amidst nature, he found the artificial light attractive.

I kept him out, not opening the door. I tried to tell him this was a world of falsities. With one flick of the switch, the light will vanish. He had no friends here, only unfriendly hands that would try to squash it. He would be safe and warm wherever he was, with his friends, doing what he did best - collecting honey.

My pleas fell in deaf ears. Instead, he had questions to ask: If this is a life of falsities, what are you doing here? Aren't you a creature of nature too? How did you adapt? I will adapt too! Why should I be squashed? Couldn't we coexist?

His questions silenced me. I quietly switched the light off, hoping the night outside would look brighter than the dark room within.

I went to bed, pondering, wondering - what is right for one, why do we assume it is not right for another? Why sometimes it IS not right for another? Or is it that it is convenient to assume it is not right for another?


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thud, Thud Goes My Heart

Every development sends the heart soaring afresh! This morning, as I sat in front of Facebook, I saw my publisher's message that my novel is now available online. Thud, my heart bumped against my chest. It still hearts - is it pleasure or pain? - Written in the Stars in Flipkart

Would love to hear your feedback if you pick up this book to read...

A Game of Elastic

Suddenly, I remembered this game I used to play as a kid. I realised that I had played this when under 13, in Delhi, but never in Calcutta. And yet, it had kept me occupied even when I was alone, using two chairs to place the elastic around.

It seemed like a new game to teach my daughter and her friends. But, I didn't remember it properly. So I went on the net, very sure that it would be impossible to locate anything on this.

To my amazement, I discover that it is a game popular in China, and there are several videos in Youtube - not only of children playing, but even adults, and not only Chinese, but even Caucasians. There is one of three ladies from New Zealand - it brought my heart to my mouth. It is played differently from what I remember, and also called Chinese Jump Rope. There are multiple levels, the elastic being pushed up from the ankle to the calf, knee, hip and waist levels. Our complication seemed easy enough when compared to theirs - they try to jump over the elastic at all levels! All we had to do was to cross the elastic without any part of our body touching the rope!

In the evening, I met a neighbour  who had spent her childhood in Delhi, and was thrilled that she had played it too. I think between us, we will be able to revive the game!

Interestingly, in one of the videos, someone had posted, "An attempt to preserve an old game that is dying because of the media!" My thoughts exactly.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Anubavangal: Nyabangal

Anubavangal: Nyabangal: சிறிய துளிகள் பொட்டுப்போல் மேலே சொட்டுச்சொட்டாய் விழுந்து எழுப்ப சிறிய சிறிய நினைவுகள் அந்த அரக்கு நிற பேனா தோட்டத்தில் காய்க்கும் கொய்யா,...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Growing Up : Part III

When I reach out the top shelf to take out the box with Bournvita packet in it;
when I call up the grocers to place my order for the month;
when I make a snack that my children relish;
when their friend comes home and enjoys a dish I made;
when I decide it is time to throw the old shoe out;
when I wonder if I can wait a day more before taking the children to the doctor;
when I give advise because someone shared their problem with me;
when I explain a concept to my child;
when she hugs me out of the blue;
when he teases my hair and grins;
when my hubby consults me on a decision;
I wonder, when did I stop being the little girl;
turning to my parents, my siblings, my elders for advice;
when did I become the elder;
the adult someone turns to;
for the little girl peeps out still;
wanting assurance, guidance and mentoring.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wishes for The Festive Season

Somehow, if one were to place a year on the balance, the months from August starts weighing down. There is an excitement as Ganesh Chathurthi sets the tone for festivities to begin.

Navaratri, Diwali and then a quieter Karthigai followed by bright lights again for Christmas and Pongal.

And then it dips again in Feb-Mar, to peak again in April for the entire country to celebrate the Indian new years. May-June are passable, exciting only for the summer vacation.

Though July has its own festivals to boast of, it still seems like a gloomy month. August and Sri Jayanthi and Avaniavittam sort of remind one that any moment now, the celebrations will begin again.

Is it the weather, the bright lights, the Navaratri visits and the general bonhomie? Is it the new clothes, the promise of sweets, the off days that add to the fun?

Here is wishing everyone a happy festive season... 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Anubavangal: Mithappil oru sthiram

Anubavangal: Mithappil oru sthiram: நூறு கனவுகள் கண்டாலே, ஆறு கனவுகள் பலிக்காதா - ஒரு தமிழ் பாட்டுல வரும். இந்த நிமிஷம் வாழ்க்கையே கனவுல மிதப்பது போல இருக்கு. ஒரு பக்கம் ஜலத...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dream Come True

Prabhat was excited about his promotion. He had worked hard for it, he had worked hard for the job in fact. And now he was a senior manager. He could do with the increased income. With a son to educate and a daughter to marry and no inheritance to fall back on, every penny he earned would help. His wife Kalyani had been a prudent housewife, saving every penny. He had tears in his eyes as he thought of the sacrifices she had made. She had never demanded anything, and so he had never had to find unlawful means to make extra money. He had ensured that the contracts he granted as purchase manager were transparent, above board. No obligations anywhere. No possibilities of a black mark. And that's why this promotion a few years before it was his turn.

The years flew. His children were in a good school. Of course, peer pressure was difficult to deal with. The computer games, the expensive clothes, the car they got dropped in - though his wife and he tried to instill a sense of pride in simple living, it was a losing battle. So there were compromises. For your birthday, we will get you the watch - but no barbie dress, Kalyani had to tell the daughter. If it's beyblade for you, then no xbox - Prabhat had to negotiate with his son. But you got new games only last month, which you have not even touched! What do you need Life for!!

The worst was when his children cried about being dropped on a two wheeler. All our friends have a car and a driver, they lamented. At least a second hand one, they cribbed. Prabhat gave in reluctantly. He was finding the two wheeler difficult too as he aged, and balancing the two grown up kids. But it would have served a while more. Second hand was not a bad idea, and so he checked out. Of course, after the initial excitement, the fact that it was second hand did become a dampener. But a second hand car was better than no car at all.

Prabhat and Kalyani worried that their children had aspirations beyond what they could provide. But, to look for a new school...

Son was keen on engineering. Prabhat was thrilled. If his son could crack the IIT, nothing like it. He put his son for IIT coaching. Over and above the school fees, the coaching fee was a drain. But his son was happy, and Prabhat optimistic.

His daughter, not very keen on studies, had found her mettle in sports. Hockey. Prabhat worried. How would he find a groom? Will the dowry go up?

She remained stubborn and without his permission, joined the school team. He heard of it first when there was an additional fee to pay. There was a showdown, but he had to give in. He hoped she would outgrow it in a year or two.

He waited for his son's IIT results with bated breath. If his son got through, it would be a first in the family. He was disappointed when his son didn't get through. But with all that preparation, he was sure his son would excel in board exams and so getting through another premium engineering institute would not be difficult. His heart stopped when he saw that his son's marks were just scraping through the current cut off.

His son sat dejected. But I want to do engineering, he said. His father ran from pillar to post. He talked to his colleagues, and finally realised that many had paid a capitation fee that was beyond his dreams to get their children an engineering education. He was against it. He tried talking to his son. Do science graduation and then specialisation. But his son, though not being stubborn, became listless and dejected. Kalyani worried about the boy's mental state. Prabhat's getting angry did nothing to improve his mental state. His classmates were going to study engineering. Only he wouldn't. Reluctantly Prabhat paid the amount in lakhs that an IT course demanded.

In a year or two, he worked to refill the dent in his savings. He didn't like to think how he did it. His blood curdled at how he was signing substandard suppliers to make a commission that would help him breathe easy. His daughter threw a bombshell two years later. She wanted to try for state level team. When he refused, she sulked. If it is a son asking for something, you will give in blindly. But daughters... she left it hanging. It was unfair, her accusation. He had never denied her anything. But she taunted him with that time and again. He conceded reluctantly. But if her trying for state level was not bad enough, to qualify, she had to pay a few lakhs. Or else, there would be others who would get the place even if she played well. Some others, who didn't even turn up, who had a clout which he didn't have.

To make good this dent in his balance so that he could provide her with a good dowry... 

Prabhat was no more the man he had been. He was a very worried man.  But not for long. Soon he became an expert at covering tracks as he pocketed commissions that he maybe didn't even need any longer.




Saturday, September 24, 2011

Anubavangal: திறமைக்கு ஒரு சவால்

Anubavangal: திறமைக்கு ஒரு சவால்: நேற்று ஒன்று கேள்விப்பட்டேன். எனக்கு தெரிந்தவரின் மகன் கூடைபந்து கால்பந்து விளையாட்டுகளில் மிக ருசி வைப்பவன். சிறு வயதிலிருந்தே இந்த பந்தயங்...

The Fruit of 25 Years

I graduated from comics to books very late. I probably hadn't started reading Enid Blytons till I was in the fifth. And then I had two classmates who would discuss books non-stop, which made me interested in going beyond EB.

Then came the TV serial Trishna. Tarun Dhanrajgir and the lady who played Eliza Bennett's part had me hooked, and again, I was curious to read the original. I have read it several times since then, one of the few books I can read again and again. In 9th, I remember I even wrote an Indian version of the story with three sisters. But I couldn't get the hero to say "I love you" to the heroine. Laughably, he proposes on his brother's behalf in the end. But there was a parallel story that grew of its own volition, and I have tried to recreate that effect unsuccessfully.

Then sometime in the mid 1990s, I wrote (btw, I literally mean wrote, not typed) a novel. When I had trouble at work and had enough time to indulge in, I typed it in my computer, and discovered that the story turned out to be completely different from the original. I thank Ruchi Rao, my colleague then, for reading through it. It encouraged me to believe I could write, but I was too lazy to approach publishers.

Subsequently, I did, and it was rejected. I mailed it to a few friends, who seemed to enjoy it. And then, I heard from a very unlikely source. One of my friends had plans to start a publishing house and she liked the book. But her venture took another year to take off. Ironically, that book of mine remains unpublished and wallowing on my desktop as it does not fit her genre. Meanwhile I had written a few others, enthused by the thought that someone wants to publish me. But fates willed it otherwise and those too remain awaiting readers.

Then this story line appeared, just right for the romance genre. And here I am, in seventh heaven, announcing my own first work of fiction to be published. Though there are other books to my name, they are are based on inputs from others. This - is my own work of art. It is like a child to me. And for once, I would like to be blessed that I have many more of them.


Written in the stars


Picking up the pieces of her life after a tragic accident kills her parents, Neena Patil requires funding to save the family’s flower business.The mysterious Sahil Shah seems just the right person to help her out. But Sahil himself seems to be recovering from a series of tragedies in his own life.Caught in a plot of her own making, Neena gets further entangled as unexpectedly, she falls in love with Sahil. But does he love her in return?What will happen when Sahil discovers her mercenary motives?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Elves

When I see the trees
Lush, rich and green
Looking washed and clean
After rains heavy

I feel like becoming small
Climbing the trees tall
Running through them
Like squirrels hurrying around

And I think I will find
More than just birds fine
Chirping and fluttering
Singing happily

I will find little fellows
Carrying  arrows and bows
Shooting intruders entering
Their bowers without their knowing

I can see them guarding
Their homes and their darlings
Standing guard on the broad stem
Of the tree that is their hearth

Oh pesky little elves
I long to see thou and thine
In your greens that hide you
From prying eyes like mine

With long ears
Tall caps
Slim waist
Handsome face

Do you exist? I doubt not
In my heart of hearts
When I see the green
Outside my balcony.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Anubavangal: இதில் நான் யார் - Which is me?

Anubavangal: இதில் நான் யார் - Which is me?: பழுத்த பழம் ஒன்று மரத்தில் கண்டேன். கை துருதுருத்தது அதைப்பரிக்க நில் என்று ஒரு குரல் தடுத்தது யார் என்று திரும்பிப்பார்த்தேன். நான்தான் என்...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Longing

I read Memoirs of a Geisha a few months. Happened to watch the movie recently, and it brought back pleasant memories of journeying with the young Geisha as she faces ups and downs of life.

Sayuri is in love with a man who shows no indications of his feelings for her. His friend Nobu, a man with scars on his face, seems to feel intensely for the girl. Highly principled, he wants something deeper from her than the lighter moments in life. The character makes you ache, and at every point, I wished she would accept him.

The journey to finding one's love - so intense and uncertain - is more exciting than when one gets what one wants. Sometimes, unrequited love or love that does not fructify makes for better reading than when it is reciprocated. This book, already a hit I think, would have benefited as a tragedy better, I feel. The knots unravel suddenly and it becomes a feel good book in the end. That would have pushed it to the mundane.

But the quality of writing and characterisation itself are so good that the book makes for an excellent read. The suspense is maintained till the end. For many, the present ending may be preferred after the intense troubles the heroine goes through. The movie too was a great watch, but maybe because the book remained with me in the deep recesses of my mind and I could fill up the gaps that the movie may have had.

Overall a must read/watch story. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Anubavangal: Kaathal - Love

Anubavangal: Kaathal - Love: உன் அழகிய கண்ணிலா? கூர் நாசி அழகிலா? புன்னகை தவழும் இதழிலா? இந்த மயங்கும் மனதிலா? அழகு மட்டும் போதுமோ? காதல் என்றும் நீடுமோ? வயது ஏறி கூடும...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Golden Shower

The shower
Golden and bright
Making me feel
Blessed and bright

Sometimes hidden
By darkness of mind
When blessings seem
Banes in guise


I clutch at it
But only air I catch
Empty handed
Bare and disappointed

I look up
Cry out in pain
Where are you my lord
Leaving me in vain 


And then the shadow lifts
Parting its heavy drifts
To show the light that was always there
Waiting for me to see its glare

In the mind play
Shadow and light
Hiding and catching
Each other in delight

After darkness
The light is bright
When the light dims
Into dark night it sinks

To remain untouched
By the cunning play
To see light and dark
As they come and fade

To smile always
Be it good or bad
To see the golden shower
Even when in the dark.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Anubavangal: Payanam - The Journey

Anubavangal: Payanam - The Journey: கும் இருட்டு கருவில் இருப்பது போல் அதே சுகம் எதுவும் நம்மை தீண்டாது என்ற நம்பிக்கை அந்தரங்கத்தில் மிதப்பது உடலே இல்லாதது போல் பஞ்சைப்போல் ல...

Monday, September 12, 2011

We Are Our Parents

I stand in the kitchen, shouting at my son. "You know the veggies make you grow tall and strong. How can you make me say it to you everyday!"

Flashback to my childhood, and well into teenage. "Please have this beans. It tastes yummy," my parents and siblings would persuade me, unsuccessfully.

"Greens are important for making your hair grow well," I attack my daughter as she crosses her arms and pouts on seeing palak paneer on her plate.

I can even then remember how I was about greens. For a person whose plate would only accept lady's finger and potatoes, I expect a lot from my children!

"Just spend 10 min doing one subject and you will be fine."

Sigh, I wish I had done that as a kid.

I turn on my children, "You will have children just like you!"

My dad smiles at me and says, "I am glad to see your children are just like you, giving you a hard time."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Anubavangal: Jokesum Feedbackum

Anubavangal: Jokesum Feedbackum: ஒரு புத்தகம் படித்தேன் - பீட்பாக் (feedback) பற்றி. எப்படி ஒருத்தரைப்பற்றி கருத்துக்கொடுக்க வேண்டும், அதை எப்படி ஏற்றுக்கொள்ள வேண்டும் என்று...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Paranormal

Energy balls, ghost, spirits... they don't always feature in my conversations, but sometimes they are fascinating topics. There are people who vouch for their presence. My mother-in-law told me years ago that she can sense suddenly something crossing her, but it has never bothered her. Then last week, my sister-in-law said the same thing. A friend has mentioned that she can feel their presence sometimes.

The worst was when my maid suddenly mentioned a death that had happened in one of my neighbouring flats. "There was an old man in that house. He died. Sometimes when I enter that room, I can see him sitting out there."

Then they talked of the house below mine. "My daughter was working there when suddenly she fell on the floor and her eyes started moving up. I called out to her, but she answered in a different voice."

I swallowed. I neither believe nor disbelieve. But sometimes, too much of such conversation can have my imagination galloping. Seeing my face, my maid assured me, "No no. Your house is clean. No spirits here."

I herded the mother and daughter duo out. I was happier not thinking about the presence or absence of spirits in the house.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Anubavangal: Nizhal

Anubavangal: Nizhal: நேற்று ஒரு நடுத்தர வயதான தம்பதியரை சந்திக்கச்சென்றிருந்தேன். அவர்களுடன் பெசிக்கொண்டிருந்தப்போழுது சில பழைய நினைவுகளை அவர்கள் பகிர்ந்துக்கொண்...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Mind Filter

It is strange,
The mind,
How it filters out
the unpleasant.
Remembering only
all that is best.

The past,
when it was
the present
Didn't it have,
of downs and ups,
its own share?

The future
which is
the present
throws a light
making the past
glowing and bright.

The songs one heard
The jokes one shared
The friends one had
Fights and struggles
Remembered only as
Wonderful days of the past.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Anubavangal: Agatthin Azhagu

Anubavangal: Agatthin Azhagu: அவன் நடந்து வரும்பொழுதே ஒரு தனி கம்பீரம் தெரிந்தது. தன்னையும் அறியாமல் அவள் மனம் அவனிடம் ஈர்ந்தது. காட்டிக்கொள்ள கூடாதென்று அவள் தன் குரலை க...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Throwing Baby with the Bathwater

A year ago, when I was doing the book on Tiruvannamalai, I met weavers from Aarani, a place famous for silk. The chief weaver's wife proudly told us that her children were studying for engineering. Most of the next generation is now moving away from weaving. Who will carry the tradition forward, I asked. "Those who can't study, will," she said smiling.

I have heard of the Kanchipuram weavers struggling but never given it much thought.

In a recent interview with a leading textile shop owner, he mentioned a few things. The art of making Madurai sungudi is completely lost. "Earlier, women would do the tie and die during leisure time. But now, with TV taking up all that time, no one has the time to spend on this. Now what you find is only block prints."

He mentioned that the present day weavers could not produce very fine cotton weaves. Then he leaned forward and said confidentially, "Education for children is important. But in earlier days, the entire family would be involved in weaving. The children would learn from their fathers from a young age, helping them with small jobs then graduating to bigger ones. It was a way to build knowledge base and learn the nuances of the weaving skill. Today, that is getting lost."

It set me thinking. And then, another conversation with another weaver, and I am really wondering. This man has been weaving for the last 30 years. He says, "The government does not support weaving the way it does agriculture. As a result, we earn very less, and pay very high interest rates. We are unable to innovate or improve our equipment and techniques. People left this trade in the 90s and now don't want to come back because they earn better in the construction industries. Those who remained are those who know no other skills."

I remember another man I spoke to, who had pointed out that slums get created when local industries fail and people migrate to cities hoping to find livelihoods. Mr. Kughanathan of Geocare, who said this, has tried to identify local resources to provide alternative livelihoods in their own native villages.

My two bits on this. Basic education is important. But again, does one size fit all? Are all the engineers productively occupied today? Is it necessary to provide fodder to the engineering and professional colleges by making traditional industries look unattractive and old fashioned? If they are given access to the same facilities and standard of living, will they look out for other professions? Isn't dignity of labour to be valued? Isn't it important to make rural areas as attractive as the cities to live in?

Or, is it asking for too much? 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Anubavangal: சுயகவுரவம் - Self Respect

Anubavangal: சுயகவுரவம் - Self Respect: "என்னால் இன்னிக்கு ஒன்ன ஆபீஸ்ல விட முடியாது," ரவி சொன்னான். "ஏன்?" மாலதி கேட்டாள். "மீட்டிங் இருக்கிறது, நுங்கம்பாக்கத்தில்," என்றான். "ஒங...

A Humane Cop Tale


I have been off thrillers for a while. They are nearly as fantastic as fantasy tales. The "never-make-a-mistake-except-to-take-story-forward" strategy bores me to death. The gore can be a put off too.

I picked a book by Ian Rankin - The Complaints. This was my first book by the author and for some reason I missed the "Number One Bestseller" on top - a sure sign that it probably wasn't. Then the summary behind also didn't tune me in to the fact it was a cop story and so a series of lucky breaks that pass off for brilliance.

As I do with all books, I decided to give it a chance. And I was hooked. Mainly because, the cop is a human being - surprise, surprise! He has a family - a father and a sister, and he is not lucky with women - unlike our thriller heroes who only have to look and have women falling at their feet. There is a setting, the good and the bad and the shades of gray. The hero is caught on backfoot, and he fumbles through. Of course, lucky breaks are a must but he is almost always caught on the wrong.

The overall story is told very interestingly. Of course, for a second, I also mistook this to be the original for the Old Fox series, since the cop is called Fox. But that is a German series, apparently.

Overall, my thumbs up for this one. Maybe I will read another of his.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Anubavangal: Vaakjaalam - The Word Trap

Anubavangal: Vaakjaalam - The Word Trap: என் மகள் தமிழ் படித்து முடிப்பதற்குள் எனக்கே தமிழ் மறந்து போய் விடும் போல இருக்கிறது. எழுத்துக்கூட்டி படித்தாலும், அந்த வார்த்தைகளே என்ன என்...

Old and New Bonds

My belief is that after a particular age, as we become involved in our professional life, and establish a relationship with our spouse and his/her family, old relationships start taking a backseat. We seldom have the time, even if the inclination is there, to keep up with old bonds. We make acquaintances but rarely friends. In the initial honeymoon period of our marriage and ascending career, this is all that we can manage, and the rest of the world seems redundant.

But as time goes, the new spouse becomes the familiar other half, we are suddenly left with some vacuum within us. Professional growth may be smooth, or may not be. Personal life may have become routine stuff. We discover that however close, there are somethings that a spouse can understand only so much.

And then we feel the need for friends - to let our hair down, to put our feet up, to chill, to pour out, or listen to stories other than our own.

Social media is a blessing in helping reconnect. But even then, no one can take the place of the people we grew up with - be it siblings or friends, and hearing their voices or seeing their faces.

Today is neither Friendship Day, nor Brother/Sister/Mother/Father Day. But every day is all of that. In forming new bonds, don't let go of the old. It is a struggle, but at the end of it, when you can talk to one of these for 10 minutes without worrying about being judged, it is worth that struggle.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Anubavangal: Chakrvyooham - The Vicious Circle

Anubavangal: Chakrvyooham - The Vicious Circle: பெண் வேலை செய்ய வேண்டும் வேண்டாம், சட்டம் வைக்க நீ யார்? கேட்க துடிக்கும் நா திறமையை ஒளித்து வீட்டில் அடைத்து பூட்டி வைக்கவா பிறந்தாள் அவள...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Celebrated Dancer

She sat through the program with great difficulty. The dancer had been written about in that morning's paper, which had worked its charm and attracted a lot of audience. The lady in question had talked at length about her artistic blood, the creativity that flowed through her when music came on. Nothing of it was evident in the performance. The crowd this article had managed to pull was more than some of the senior and better dancers got in this city of art and culture.

The music was out of the world, but her critical eye assessed the mudras, the posture, the arai mandi, and found everything lacking. That would have been okay if the artist had been engaging. There was a total disconnect. She looked around to see if only she was being so sore. No, the audience was busy trying to look interested, quoting from the article that morning, trying to justify their presence here.

As the dancer ended the main piece of the evening, the sabha staff placed chairs. "Oh god!" she groaned inwardly. "Why do they torture us with speeches!" she thought miserably.

When the chief guest, also a renowned dancer - spoke highly of the dancer, she got up and came out, nauseated at the undeserved eulogy.

She smiled at the familiar office staff who was standing near the entrance.

"How did you like the program?" the lady asked.

She smiled noncommittally. "Very well known abroad, is she?"

Now it was the turn of the other lady to smile noncommittally. "She has given a large donation," the lady added proudly. "They are very well to do there."

That explained it, she thought as she waved a bye and vanished into the night, trying not to let her dark thoughts affect her. If only she had that kind of money, she thought as she boarded the bus. Who cares how she performed, it was money and influence at the end of the day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Anubavangal: Oru thaai pillai

Anubavangal: Oru thaai pillai: ஒரு தாய்க்கு பிறந்த பிள்ளைகள் ஒரே வீட்டில் வளர்ந்தவர்கள் கூட சேர்ந்து விளையாடியவர்கள் குத்துச்சண்டை போட்டவர்கள் தாய் தந்தையிடம் மாட்டி வைத்...

It is Everywhere

She was fed up of the fever. It had gone undiagnosed for more than a week, but tapered off after she swallowed some antibiotics.When it recurred three weeks later, she wondered if rather than suffer again, it wasn't better to just asphyxiate under the coverlet.

"Let's check out this doctor my friend recommended. He sees in the best hospital in the city," her husband recommended.

Reluctantly, she went to meet the doctor. He checked her, heard her case history and said, "Typhoid and Malaria can go undetected. We will also check for TB. All these can relapse if not treated properly. But we will anyway start treatment, IV this time."

When she found her fever under control, her optimism returned. And when the doctor's speculation was confirmed by the test reports, she felt her confidence in the doctor increasing. This was the third time in a month and a half she was getting all the tests repeated. But so long as she was healed, she didn't mind.

The last dose of IV over, she went with her mother and husband to meet the doctor. He checked her pulse, her BP, her chest and smiled. Then he got up and came up behind her. He touched the points under her earlobes. She couldn't see him now, but she could see her mother and husband, both seemed visibly shaken.

The doctor came around, looking obviously worried. "Swelling - normal during infection, but it seems too hard. Let's get it checked up."

Her mother looked panic stricken. Even without the doctor mentioning it, it looked like she was suspected of having cancer! When her mother opened her mouth to ask, he quickly dialled a number and asked for a doctor. As he waited on the line, he told the husband, "He is a leading oncologist." Then turning back to the phone, he asked, "What? He is not in town! Then get me the hematologist. No, I want this appointment right now!"

The three panicked. Not the C word! "You are lucky. He can see you tomorrow at 6."

"Is it that urgent?" she ventured boldly. From fire into frying pan! Her heart beat fast.

The doctor looked at her gravely. "The earlier the better, ma."

With a heavy heart, husband and wife went to meet the hematologist. The man frowned as he touched the points mentioned. The husband started to ask if it was serious when he was shushed. The doctor asked the wife for a series of symptoms. She had suffered those because of the fever, but how could she be sure now!

Seeing her doubtful, the doctor said, "Let's start with some tests and an ultrasound."

"But I got one done just last week."

The doctor quelled her with one look. "You can pay at the counter and then get the tests done. The moment you get the results... wait." He dialled a number and asked when the reports would be ready by. "Reach them to me directly." He looked at them and gave a date a week away. "Meet me then," he said and the couple noticed he put a star against her name.

The lady submitted herself to tests - which looked very similar to the one she had got done the week before - and then headed for ultra sound, the only new element.

The radiologist asked her for the reason and she said, in near tears, "I had typhoid and now... these nodes."

The man frowned. "This is swollen, no doubt. But that is normal during infection. Anyway, if the doctor has asked you to..." he shrugged. She looked at her husband with some hope.

They went a week later. The doctor looked up and said, "All clear."

"The nodes... do they swell during infection?"

"Yes, of course. Considering she suffered from typhoid and malaria, that was to be expected. But because your doctor suspected tumour, it was only right to eliminate the possibility completely."

A week of agony, uncertainty and futile expenditure. The doctor could have said this before, and waited for her to recover completely!

Little did the couple know that the two doctors received a bonus yet again for referring them!


Monday, August 22, 2011

It Begins Early

"Finally I got admission for my child in the school I was trying!" Father said proudly to friend.

"Oh really! How wonderful! LKG, right?" asked the friend.

Father nodded. "Paid Rs 1.25 lakh."

The friend gaped. "Oh!"

"They have said the moment they have a seat free, they will give my daughter a seat too, in class II."

"And how much for that?"

"Oh, the school is very reasonable. The same Rs. 1.25 lakh."

The friend gulped. His child was eight months old. If he had to try for admission in this school two years down the line, he wondered how much he would have to pay!

When the daughter got through too, the father was ecstatic.
**

A year later, the father came to the friend. "Do you remember a school your sister mentioned - where they have mixed class groups for normal and borderline children?"

The friend frowned. "Yes..." he said puzzled. "Someone looking for such a school?" He noticed the care lines on his friend's face. "Why are you looking so down?" he asked.

The man shook his head. "My daughter... She is not able to cope with the syllabus. She is too playful, it seems, and doesn't pay attention in class. The teacher suggested I consult a counselor. The counselor did a test on her and she said my daughter may be hyperactive."

The friend frowned. The symptoms sounded just like the Father had been when he was a student. "Why don't you get a second opinion?"

"I did," the father said, dejected. "But that lady gave an inconclusive report and the school punched holes in that."

"So?"

"I don't want my daughter to struggle and feel she is a failure," the father said.

The friend felt that she had already been branded one. "So?"

"So, the school suggested I find another school for her. They had the best interest of the child in mind."

The friend inhaled deeply. Whose best interests, he wondered. The school would replace this child with another, and pocket another 1.25 lakh, if that was still the going rate. "So you want to go with their verdict?"

The father turned to him with a haunted look. "My wife is unable to cope with the complaints from school. We are so focused on her that we almost neglect our son."

The friend shook his head in sympathy. "I will find out," he assured the father.

The relief in the father's eyes when the second school accepted the child was so immense, that he didn't even mind paying Rs 50000 for getting admission in class 4 for his daughter.



Sunday, August 21, 2011

Are We Really Against Corruption?

Am I a cynic? I don't know. I should join in the applause to the way the average Indian Middle Class has risen up to the occasion and joined in the anti corruption movement. But somehow, when I see some of the people joining in... I am not sure we even understand what corruption is.

I believe doctors and school students are part of the campaign. And yet, hospitals, the entire medical system, the educational institutions - are they ready to clean up their acts before pointing fingers?

And then,  maybe 200 crores happens in the top levels. But the 100-200 happens at the bottom. It is people like the maids and the other with basic education that end up paying and taking money. Are they part of this movement? Are they aware? Will they want to be part of this movement since this is how they fulfill their aspirations?

Am I justifying bribes then? Or anti anti-corruption? Neither. I am just confused.

I feel it is not only about a change in the system, but also a change from within. Are we ready for this? Are we ready to wait patiently at signals, wait our turn in queues, abide by a law even if it is not in our favour, and not run after loopholes to our advantage? Are we ready not to go for the best hospital, best school, best seat, if it means paying money - whatever its name?

It is good, what Anna Hazare is doing. He is conscientious, and has high personal standards. His wants are  minimal and therefore, his transgressions- if any - would be unwitting. I have no doubt about that, or what he is fighting for.

But I believe that even while we must congregate in large numbers to show our support for the movement, we must also stand up in our own small worlds for causes that matter. We must also say - if this is right, I must and will do it. I am not sure I have that courage still, that I am not prevaricating a decision simply because it may not be convenient for me.

I hope that even while raising the cleanliness level in the political institutions, this movement cleans us up as people and makes us assess our priorities and change them for the greater good.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Anubavangal: Kurangilirundu pirantha manithan

Anubavangal: Kurangilirundu pirantha manithan: மரம் தாவி . நொடிக்கு ஒரு வித்தை காட்டி ஒரு நிமிடம் நேரே மறு நிமிடம் தலை கீழே சாய்த்து இது குரங்கா, மனமா? குரங்குபோல் மனமா? ஒரு சிந்தனையில் ...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

One Earth: Birds Drop Dead

One Earth: Birds Drop Dead: "'Birds began falling out of the sky' This is from a book on Iraqi Kurdistan, 'Love in a Torn Land'. The use of chemicals to kill Kurdis..."

Monday, August 15, 2011

All for Big Bucks

I am not a political writer, or too savvy about developments in the political world. My newspaper reading is cursory at best, and many a times, comics are the only things I read.

I received a mail today from an organisation that conducted a debate on the need for Lokpal Bill. The summary points further summarised - we already have laws to deal with bribes. Implement them. Lokpal Bill only adds a layer and can go the same way as CVC and the investigative agencies. It ends by lauding Anna Hazare for bringing the issue of corruption to the forefront.

Indeed, today he is in preventive custody. The government - the president and the prime minister - are playing with words. The government is finding excuses, digging up dirt just to weaken the movement. But the question is, to what end? Will the people of India, now coming together as India Against Corruption sit quietly if Hazare is removed? Well, in one way, the government has added teeth to the movement. Talk of cutting one's nose to spite one's face!

What shakes me up is the question - is the government so weak that it is scared to tighten its belt, take action and deal with corruption? Is it enough to put Raja and Kalmadi behind bars?

Again and again, only one image comes up in my mind... the dhoti clad Indian politician rolling in wealth and then dying amidst all that money in sheer joy. How will he transport it to the next world then! If we Indians believe in destiny and fate, weren't we also taught about karma - the other, bigger ledger maintained by Chitragupta? Maybe it is unfashionable to believe in gods these days, but at least that kept us in check to some extent. Now we neither believe in gods, nor our own conscience... It's all about money, honey.

Anubavangal: Porulaathaaram irunthum manathil ethu thaaraalam? ...

Anubavangal: Porulaathaaram irunthum manathil ethu thaaraalam? ...: "நான் நமது நாட்டு தலைவரின் சுதந்திர தின பேச்சை நான் கேட்கவில்லை. ஆனால் ஹிந்துப்பத்திரிகையில் தலைப்பு படித்தேன். லஞ்சத்திற்கு எதிரான போராட்டத..."

Friday, August 12, 2011

One Earth: Social Entrepreneurs

One Earth: Social Entrepreneurs: "They are highly educated, have worked in MNCs, and have a high earning capacity. Continuing in their professions would no doubt give them a ..."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Anubavangal: Poo Malarattume - Let it Blossom

Anubavangal: Poo Malarattume - Let it Blossom: "ஒரு போர்வைக்குள் மூடப்பட்ட அந்த பூ காற்றுக்கும், வெளிச்சத்திற்கும் மன்றாடிய அந்த பூ ஒரு அன்புப்பார்வைக்கு ஏங்கிய அந்த பூ தன் மணம் பரவ அல்லா..."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Inner Space

I stretch my hand
To reach out to you
But away you step
Leaving me to rue

I look up and smile
See you look away
A knife twists in my heart
Unsteadily I sway

Others hand me a bouquet
Clap and pat and say
How wonderful! Good job
Keep it up always

You smile wanly
Amused at others
And me for being thrilled
As if I had done wonders!

When I slip and fall
And look to you for help
You clap your hands
As if this is what you expect

This space between us
Love fills it, I thought
Clutching it with both hands
Not seeing there is naught?

Is it the mind
That plays this trick
Making me feel love
Making me tick?

I turn inward
Breaking all contact
Find love has seeped in
Filling up my heart.











Tuesday, August 9, 2011

One Earth: Energy Conserving ACs

One Earth: Energy Conserving ACs: "Two Sundays back, an article I had written Star cooling, trim bills , appeared in The Hindu Retail Plus. Someone called me and pointed out ..."

Monday, August 8, 2011

Anubavangal: Vithiyin Vilaiyattu - The Conspiring Destiny

Anubavangal: Vithiyin Vilaiyattu - The Conspiring Destiny: "அது எப்படி? சில நேரங்களில், சில கேள்விகள் நம் மனதை பாதிக்கும் பொழுது, நம்பளையும் அறியாமல் நமக்கு பதில் கொடுப்பவர்கள் நம் எதிரே எதேச்சியாக தோ..."

The Power to Hurt

Though it is the turn of my Tamil blog, the comment on my previous post on sealing the breach made me think. "Friendship means never having to say sorry." But that's for the person who feels hurt to say! I was thinking about it and I felt it means something else. Friendship means never doing something for which you have to say sorry.

A friend is one whom we trust with our secrets, our emotions, our thoughts, plans...etc. Therefore, the person has a tremendous responsibility towards us. If this sounds ego-centric, let me turn it around. A friend is one who trusts us with his or her emotions, secrets. It is our responsibility therefore to preserve and protect the trust and the person. The hurt happens when one breaks that trust. A stranger does not have the ability to hurt us. Only a loved one can. Therefore, I feel any break of trust causes even deeper hurt than otherwise.

Therefore, to say a friend does not have to say sorry doesn't fit in right. What it may mean is, when they genuinely regret it, probably we would be the first to realise and forget. But that prerogative lies with the person who has been hurt. If one realises that one has caused a hurt, to realise what it means to the person and apologise right away would be very important. I believe all those who have experienced being hurt by a friend would agree.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sealing the Breach

I loved Rock On for the most part. Farhan Akhtar was cool, and Arjun Rampal a darling. But somehow, the way their friendship breaks and the way they meet after years and just move on as if nothing had happened left me feeling dissatisfied. The hurt had gone deep, especially affecting Arjun's life. Would just a hug have been enough, I wondered.

Then came Luck by Chance, where Konkana Sen sends FA off. Though startling since in Hindi commercial movie that's a difficult call for the heroine to take, it was believable but again, dissatisfying. Shouldn't the hero get the girl in the end? (No satisfying us, is there?)

And now comes Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, and though at the obvious level, this is not what the movie is actually about, I think this getting hurt and apologising were handled best here. Just saying sorry is not enough. Meeting after years does is not enough to overlook the past. There is a mindset that is needed in both the persons - the one who causes the hurt and the one who was hurt. Till both are ready, the seeking and bestowing forgiveness cannot happen.

Of course, all three movies, and FA's first venture with Dil Chahta Hai establish him as a great story teller. He seems to linger around this theme of making mistakes and forgiving, forgetting at least a part of the story. There are two-three story lines running parallely, and each handled well.

I will def watch out for more of his movies.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Asterix - Timeless Magic

Picked up one after a long time. Asterix and The Banquet... Despite the distractions of family life, enjoyed the puns immensely. "Why are thanking him. It is we who took him on a ride," says Obelix, literally and figuratively as the duo hijacks a boat a Gaul is holidaying in, in Nice, and Obelix rows it like an express.

"I am not fat! I have a powerful physique, that's all" he protests. That's a good line we can use :)

And the names, of course - Unscupulous, Nervus who runs a breakdown service, Cesar Drinklikafix who runs a pub...

While most comics have great nostalgic value though we tend to outgrow, this is one that anyone from teens to old age can enjoy. I think very young children may miss the puns.

Here is to Asterix.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Anubavangal: Oru Ekkam - The Longing

Anubavangal: Oru Ekkam - The Longing (sirukathai): "சூரியன் அஸ்தமிக்கும் நேரும். அந்தி வேளையில், ஜன்னல் அருகே நின்ற நான், ஏதோ ஒன்றை தேடினேன். ஒரு இனிய ராகம், மெல்லிசையாக என் மனதில் ஓடியது. அல..."

The Wait

The wait, the long wait.
At the window of life.
For a whiff of fresh air
For an exciting sight
For fragrance sweet
For golden light
For showers blessed
For visitor awaited
For changes to life
For love destined
For exciting youth
For comfortable old age
Something, anything
Different and bright
At the window of life
The wait, eternal wait.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Turnaround

I greeted it with warmth
Making sure it was all there
After all it had grown
With so much love and care
Fed on delicious sweets
And luscious oily fare
All the wrong foods
And exercise rare

And then one morning
Clothes refused to cover
Stretching tightly across
Making me shiver!
Has this come to this then?
The thought made me tremble
And disgusted I thought
I saw it also quiver!

Ambitious and determined
I put on my shoes
Walking long stretches
In the faint hope
That what I had nurtured
I can now undo
So that I can wear
All the pretty dresses

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Anubavangal: Tharaasaippola vaazhkkai - The Beam Balance

Anubavangal: Tharaasaippola vaazhkkai - The Beam Balance: "தராசைப்போல் வாழ்க்கையும் போகும் மேலேயும் கீழேயும் இதைவிட தாழ முடியாது என்று வருந்தும் பொழுது திடீர் என்று ஒரு மாற்றம் வானை நோக்கி ஒரு ஏற்ற..."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wholesome Venture

I met her for the book 'Pathbreakers'. She had wanted to make it big in the IT world, but circumstances made her take a break, and then husband encouraged her to become an entrepreneur. She runs Jute Emporium, a shop that deals mostly with jute related products, and has other eco-friendly products too.

An article also appeared in The Hindu Retail Plus - Say Jute. I was amazed when my editor told me about the response to the article - several calls with people wanting to know more about it. There is awareness, we only need to know where to source alternate products from.

I liked the way she said - most people have to make extra efforts in CSR. I am glad my venture itself is socially responsible.

There are many like her, and many who would like to use products from people like her. I am glad I am at least getting to meet such people and write about them
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