Showing posts with label Leisure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Leisure. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Some Old and New Memories


It was with great apprehension we planned a trip to Delhi and neighbouring cities. Having got used to the hot, hotter and hottest weather of Chennai, having not enough warm clothes even to face the colder temperature, we debated hotly on the need to make the trip. But two school reunions seemed compelling enough to take the risk.

Reunions
Had I continued to live in Delhi, studied in the same school till the end, would I have felt the same way as I did now, about meeting my friends from '86?

I don't know and this line of thought has to be abandoned as speculation that cannot be proved
conclusively. I did leave the first school I studied in half way, and I was immensely thrilled to be reconnecting with my old friends - and even those I had never met in school for they joined later, or our paths seldom crossed even when they were there.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Rain Train

In the year 1986, one of my cousins was getting married. I was in Calcutta that time, studying in school. The wedding was in August, when school had started. My father was on tour, brothers in different cities and it was only my mom and I were to travel. I fell sick the first week, when I had anyway been denied permission to take leave. 104 at night, 102 during the day... But my mother was keen and so we started. Reaching the station itself was an adventure because we got delayed starting, got caught in the famous Howrah jam, but the govt. vehicle took us just in time to see the train starting. The driver and the inspector somehow got us in into some compartment, and the luggage in another.

Anyway, adventure had just begun.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Voices from the Past

"Hey! Aren't you Meera?"

How many times since I left Delhi I must have hoped to meet a friend, an acquaintance, a neighbour, a classmate who would say this to me. You can say that was the only one thing I longed for, but over the years, forgot.

Then suddenly, in 2001 or so, I was accosted by this question. The tall man in front of me looked like no one I knew, and yet something deeper connected and I knew he was a dear friend from school whom I last saw when we were 14. It was almost 15 years, and as expected of boys, he had shot up. But there is something about a person that never changes, does it?

Slowly a few more connections got renewed and the social media lived up to its promise.

But just how much, and how empty the pot still was, I realised when I was added to the whatsapp group of my batch. Initially started to connect the different groups from the different streams, it was suddenly merged. It could have stopped there and the group still would have been substantial. But even those who left in between were added, including me.

Yes, the messages flood the phone. Despite all resolutions, you end up getting caught to see who is saying what.

But the best part - they remember. In a group of 60 plus, not some one or two, but many remember and that is when the pot started feeling full. It meant being able to revive memories, of sharing snippets and laughing at nothing. It was like unraveling a thread and watching a knot come loose!

Whatever our age now (you figure it out), I feel like a teenager, nay, a child.

Sharing what a friend from another similar group sent:
Money cannot buy us our childhood. Only friends help to recreate those moments, from time to time, at no cost.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

On Romance - and Movies

Saw 'OK Kanmani' and, oh god, got thoroughly bored. I am told I am not the right age for watching this movie and that it is meant for a younger audience, and those who are still young at heart.

So I couldn't help wondering why I found it so boring. After watching Piku and enjoying it thoroughly, my thoughts went back to OKK and why I was bored.

OKK was not badly taken, the actors were pleasing, the scenes shot very well. The story too was not bad. But it was BORING! My friend with whom I watched the movie too couldn't sit through it either. And yet, it is not that being married has made us so bitter that we can't enjoy a good romance!

My diagnosis is that there were no ups, no downs. The story set out on one path, stuck to it, but so closely that the scenery did not vary one bit. What little scope there was for drama fizzled off in the 'let's kiss and make up' silver bullet the couple carried with them. On the other hand, I enjoyed the portrayal of the older couple because there was a lot that was unstated, and a lot of what was stated was done with great humour. What little drama was there came from them. It was not melodrama. It was matured, dignified and the tension was created in our minds without having the characters rave and rant or open the dam.

I was reminded of Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya - another movie that bored me to death though it was raved of as a reflection of modern times. Another movie where the ups and downs fizzled off into nothingness, more so because it was repetitive. At one point I wanted to slap the hero and tell him to get himself a spine if it was available.

I am worried about modern times if this is what today's youth is all about. If relationships are taken so lightly that confusion and lack of clarity except that you want to be in a relationship is all that determines who you will go with. I hope the modern youth has more maturity than that. If the anti-thesis to the arranged marriage is a trial and error method... Well, I reserve my opinion. It maybe politically incorrect.

Maybe this blog post already is.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

One Earth: No Tree Frogs, Please!

One Earth: No Tree Frogs, Please!: Nature, lovely nature. When I saw the three basic but intelligently made bamboo huts in Karadimalai Camp in Chengelpet, I was excited. We...

Saturday, February 14, 2015

With No Cares

The Fort by the sea in Tranquebar (Tharangampadi) has a museum on the first floor. After a quick glance through the exhibits, I stepped out and sat on a bench facing the Bay.

The tsunami of 2004 had claimed a part of the beach. I could see the ramparts of the fort peeping over the water every time a wave receded.

There was a wall closer to the fort building and the waves hit the wall, jumped up vertically, spraying water droplets on the beach.

My eyes fell on two very young children standing safely on the beach side behind the wall, in just their underwear, urging the waves to rise higher and higher. The waves too gamely obliged. Sometimes, the waves felt tired and were more muted, just jumping enough to peep at the children. The boy, who stood in the front, would then wave his hands as if swinging a sword, and challenging the waves to get at him. Fresh and rejuvenated waves would respond with mirth and joy, making the children scream excitedly.

I watched them for a long time wistfully. This is childhood. No cares, no responsibilities, just their imagination and a friendly 'nature'.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

What's in a day?

"Is new year on Dec 13?" my younger one asked, perplexing me completely. Did he mean are we done with 2013 or something else? I nodded mechanically then asked him to repeat the question.

"Is new year on Dec 13?" he asked again, making me laugh.

Oh yes, he figured it out in a few seconds but I was amazed at how completely disconnected he was from the date. Was it because he was on vacation and doesn't need the dates?

Really, what do we need dates for? I hardly feel a day older than I did a few years ago (not from the day I was born. Of course, I have grown since but not like every year, every minute!). Unless there is a deadline or a flight to catch, the date and time all are relatively insignificant (okay, okay, there are the birthdays and anniversaries to remember). And then, deadlines are artificial pressures we create to add excitement to some of our lives and drag others down - life will not end if an upgraded version of a particular technology is not released on a particular day. And emergencies do not announce their date of arrival.

So let's just enjoy this day as any other - the sunshine, the cold, the rain, the day the night... Let's just enjoy every day.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Leisure and Literature

What did I do the last two days?

I had FUN and I learnt Literature. What I hadn't learnt in three years of doing BA Lit, I did in a day. To play this card game...

A break from work I could ill afford, but I decided to make the most of it. A train journey is meant for enjoying, even if it means bearing with sudden, startling, rheumatic breaks by the train. And then, what's a journey without entertaining co-passengers? I was most gratified to see our neighbours' ears glued to our conversations and smiling despite themselves. In the onward journey, the man, fearing he will miss his station early next morning, scooted to the top berth at his bedtime seeing the ladies in full form. Gossiping, teasing, laughing - we need large cousin groups, man...

In the return journey my education began. The old hands agreed to initiate two novices into the game - one a young boy fresh in his teens, and the other, yours truly - who had seen teens many summers back. But it is never too late to learn, is it? Breaking for soup and dinner was hard but we got back with rigour and managed 5 sets.

Now I am wondering how to get this group back to have more such rounds... And that too in train... Train, cards, cousins - a combination nonpareil.

PS: The wedding we attended was fun too... Let me catch up with my work now...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Go Slow

'If you reach out for the smart phone before the toothbursh first thing in the morning,' says an article in Times Life today. Can so relate to it.

Packed days, packed evenings... No stress, a variety of activities, but no time to sit back and watch the day go by either. A recliner, a cup of tea, a book and some oily snacks (no stress there, PLEASE)... And what would I like to give up for those? The list lets nothing go - they are all passion. Nothing is 'work as in work'. "Epicurean personality," someone explained.

Can skating on thin ice be bad? You can fall, break your bones, but the thrill and excitement... Don't they make up for it? And if you land on your feet, do you go back and skate again or say, enough?

And yet, that recliner (the illusionary one) beckons. Not a vacation. Just a day of reclining, a half hour, a 10 minutes, just do it, please... No, don't reach out for the book... Just lean back. Maybe close your eyes. NO! DON'T SLEEP!

Sigh! This seems like more work! Let me go back to my straight backed chair.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

First Love

She taught him to laugh.
She held his hand as he floundered through his first steps.
She showed him the world, standing by him like a rock.
She let go when he was ready.
Even she didn't know how much he loved her.
When she returned after a four-day trip, he asked, "Can we join our pillows?"
"I am so tired," she murmured and lay flat on her back. "But you weren't here for four days!" he said and she agreed reluctantly. He tried hard to make her turn. Then she gave in, and the two embraced. "I missed you," he said.
"I did too," she replied sleepily. "I felt bad about the times I fought with you," she added softly. Then she was asleep.
When I entered the room a few minutes later, my six year old son exclaimed, "Amma, that was the longest hug we shared. It ended just now." His elder sister was again on her back, breathing evenly as she was fast asleep.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

In the Clouds

Fly as high as you can dare
But on ground you have to land
Dream as only you can
Feet on earth firmly you plant

Reality on the ground
To anchor us through ups and downs
Floating is a pleasure but brief
Time will steal it away, the thief

Like day and night they come and go
Sorrow and joy, two sides of a coin
Head in air, feet on land
To live in joy, and remain strong.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Please Skip

Years ago, a friend of mine mentioned a photo she had seen of what human beings will look like in the future. Emaciated limbs and a swollen head because that is the part he will use the most.

According to a Times of India report yesterday, we still are grappling with well-fed bodies - and especially the children. Parents may by gymming and losing weight, but children are still "cute and chubby", to their detriment. Their self-confidence is low, as they are not taken for any school activities, and it is a vicious cycle they get into.

As a dance teacher, I find that when I ask children to jump when doing one of the steps, they don't know what the word means. I demonstrate repeatedly, but their body - not fat, but heavy - refuses to lighten up for the spring action needed to do the step.

While teaching Nagaland folk dance in my children's school this year, we decided to ambitiously teach class 2 and 3 children the bamboo dance. To avoid getting hit by the stick when jumping over it, it requires again that spring action, a certain nimbleness and agility. To my horror, out of the six girls - and again, four not even fat -  only 1 could execute it with ease. One of them didn't know how one jumps, lifting the entire body and tripping, instead of bending the leg at the knee.

According to the Times report, 60 percent of the children do not know to jump... There were other such statistics, but this one, I could so relate to, since I personally see it happening.

I am sure parents are struggling today with heavy schedules - tuition classes, tennis classes, why - even leadership classes. But where then is the time for free play? I remember running, skipping, elastic, hopscotch and the like taking up my evenings. While specific sports maybe good exercise, it is free play that gives us a lot of skills - right from how to manage our time to holistic physical exercise and even interpersonal skills. It is a time when the children are on their own, without parental intervention, dealing with peers in a fun atmosphere. What can replace it ever as a means to learn the basics of life and living?

My current mantra to my students' parents is to get their children a skipping rope. Even if there is no play area, that is a game that is fun, can be played indoors and yet give physical activity for the children.

We need good brains, no doubt. But all work and no play... we know where that one leads to...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Watery Vacation

It was a weekend of water and birds. Though the birds seem to have gone back and could be seen only in small numbers, just being next to the calm waters, wooded banks and amidst the birds was very relaxing.

Children did get a bit fed up. "Not the same birds again!" they exclaimed... But as the sun started setting, there was much excitement and laughter. The good roads made driving a pleasure in itself.

And then we found the lake with green grass that seemed like a haven away from the bustling city life. Except for the three men who seemed intent on having a drink party in the middle of the afternoon. Though they were quiet, we probably spoiled their mood by going there out of the blue at a time when no one was expected.

Surprisingly, one of the children also felt scared of all the water and wanted to be carried uncharacteristically! But at another spot on the way back home, he managed to perk up and enjoy watching the birds through the binoculars.

What is it about the water that calms one so! The gentle breeze made me wish I could picnic there, thus enjoying the setting a bit more.

More importantly, I am so glad to have journeyed to these places. Calm is never very far if we take the trouble to get away from our routines. It was also heartening to note that there are places where nature still has a sway.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Amusement Park

Two families went to an amusement park in Chennai. The group consisted of three under 10s and four around/over 40s. The latter was above (read: too scared, too sick) to take most of the rides. The under 10s couldn't go to many, or were dragged away because the elders didn't want to accompany.

Cut to a week later, one of the adults rides her bike on city roads and wonders why we have amusement parks. The bumpy roads give enough jolts befitting a dragon train. The vehicles around simulate dashing cars and Arabian Nights ride where the cups and saucers manage to miss each other by a hair's breadth. The heart is always in the throat as we navigate through these chaotic roads.

The only thing missing is the enjoyment factor. If we can convince ourselves that being dropped down from the skies is fun, then why not this! It's all in the mind, baby!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Anubavangal: Thayakkangal

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

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

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.
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