Thursday, 26 May 2016

Where are those golden days...

As I listen to a good old hindi song "Jaane Kahaan Gaye Woh Din"....I sing along drifting away in thoughts.

Its yet another scorching summer time at Chennai.
Blazing heat and perspiration running down from forehead to little toe.

Sitting in front of my PC in a high rise apartment, I wonder and drown in nostalgia.

Summer vacations meant joy, happiness, enjoyment.
It used to be filled with small thrills, small eats but great excitement and happiness.

All age groups of cousins, friends met up during these vacations. 
Felt as if they discovered new meaning of life with their innovative games and street sports.

Ours used to be an independent house with a massive garden area on three sides.
It used to be checkered with trees, plants and shrubs of all types, shapes, sizes and hues of green. Summer flowers and fruits waving in the breeze. 
Most importantly the mango tree at the front. This attracted maximum stone pelting by street boys for want of mangoes.

Days began with a yummy breakfast of pazhayadhu (basically curd mixed with left over rice) with Maavadu around 8 am.

Moms and aunts were behind us, yelling from the kitchen, to go take a shower which generally fell into deaf ears.
Finally when we couldnt come up with anymore excuses, we used to queue up and fight as to who will shower first.
Those few minutes of waiting used to seem forever with hunger pangs acting up.

Then it was lunch at noon. The best ever cuisine in the world, "Amma kai saapaadu" or the mothers' touch.
Be it simple sambhar and beans curry, it used to taste so yummy that heart felt satiated more than tummy itself.

The happy tummy and mid day scorching sun kept us indoors.
Each of us used to settle in a corner with some comics or story book, slowly drifting into an afternoon siesta.

And yes, we definitely fought as to who will nap on the Oonjal (the swing).
Our swing used to be huge and strong bound to the ceiling with thick iron chains.
As kids, it could almost fit us all. Lying huddled, legs and hands on each other, swinging in a gentle sway felt awesome as if being cradled in mother's arms.

The aroma of pre evening coffee used to tickle our nostrils, when we all used to wake up for more mischief and fun.

Coffee was always accompanied by fried snacks or fruits. This was summer special at our household.
The salivating aroma of the Bajjis, Bondas, Pakodas wafting in the air from the kitchen made us settle down there.

After a day or two of utter chaos and fiasco, moms and aunts became too smart.
They used to complete making the whole lot and then served us all at a time and in equal portions.
This done, again we march into the garden to water the plants and in the process drenching each other completely.
All the running, chasing, playing hide and seek made us tired. 
If not for this, we stay put at the Thinnai playing Carrom, Pallanguzhi, Ammaanai, Aadu puli aattam or Ludo.

As the sun set, it was time for yet another bath or washing up.
Thatha was particular we prayed in front of god. We were asked to sing a hymn or bhajan or recite something we learnt.
The men of the family would be back by then from office.
It was then family time.

The patriarch of the family, my grandfather, sat in his easy chair.
All aunts uncles, dad & mom settled in the Thinnai (cement benches in the courtyard)
We kids lined up in the five steps at the entrance.
These were specially designed by Thatha using red oxide paint to make it feel cool and smooth as butter.

The cool evening breeze would have set in by now making it easy and comfortable.
The chat went on from good old grandma stories to daily anecdotes...
Movies to politics to changing trends...
Believe me, it was much more interesting than all our FBs and Whatsapp...
Hike and the likes...

Evening meant freshly made "manga curry" - specialty of my grandpa.
He insisted on cutting the mangoes in thin pieces, marinating it with salt and chilli powder with a dash of gingely oil. He would make it in a big bowl and come up to each of us serving big spoonfuls. 

Oh My!!! yumminess personified... The sour mangoes with a mild tinge of sweetness, the salt and chilli combination running along, would tickle the taste beds of even a non living thing.

Very soon it was dinner time. It was always light.
Amma or athai or chithi used to mix the left over rice from morning with the sambhar and curry or some Thogayal for the side.
Once we kids lined up in front of her she would make large balls of this mixture and place it in our hands one after the other. We used to gobble up as if we havnt seen food in ages.
The same with curd rice.

It was sleep time soon.
Fighting begins as to who will go to bed next to grandpa, and those aunts who were good story tellers.
Finally with that aunt in the middle all kids align around her.

The 10 - 30  days of vacation summed up Ramayana, Mahabaratha and Tenali Raman stories and stayed fresh in our minds in ages to come.

Once in a while it was cinema time or we lined up to go to the Marina Beach. 
The pop corns, samosas and fanta meant way more to us than the movie itself.

Likewise the "thenga manga pattani sundal" and "milaga bajji" at the Marina more than made up for the long bus travel and the crowded atmosphere. Not withstanding the sweltering heat and humidity.

Gone are those days of simple happiness and contentment.
Andha Naalum Vandhidaadho...


Friday, 20 May 2016

That cute little girl at the corner store

All of 3 or 4 years old, in a cute frilled frock, this cute little girl was walking out of her house towards the corner store.

Fluffy hair tied in a pony swaying in the air.
Pink socks and pink and white shoes neatly belted, she was walking brisk.
Her little fingers were tucked in her frock pocket, a shining gleam on her face.

As she approached the corner candy store her face became even brighter. 
Her eyes twinkled like the star. She looked truly a twinkle little star.

As she graced thru the glass jars which were full of candies, chocolates, cookies and jellies, her face was in a state of restlessness. Eyes wandered from this end of the candy jars to the other.

Yea, she was in a fix, what to buy, which to choose, what would each cost and did she have enough? 

It was a sight not to miss. 
Excitement, confusion.... You could literally see her drooling within, at the sight of the candies.

By then the store man asked her what she would like to buy.
She nodded her head up and down.
"Ok, I know you want to buy, but which one? he asked again with a smile.

By then she had somewhat zeroed in on a few of them. Her little index finger pointed at one jar full of cream filled candies in pink and orange.
"This one, ok. How many? store man asked.

By then her finger had moved to the jar at the other extreme which had eclairs in them.
"Those too or that instead of this? the man asked somewhat confused.

She shook her head up and down. The man was slowly losing it but she was so cute he couldnt yell at her.

"I shall give you one of that and one of this, will it be fine?
Is that all? he asked lovingly.

She was somewhat convinced. She is getting the best of the two worlds one each, she hadnt thought of this idea.

"How much"? she muttered in her cute gentle voice.
"A rupee each" the man answered.

She felt even happier. She knew she had a little more than that.
She now had another thought, she had five rupees her grandpa had given her before leaving out of town last evening.

She still has three, why should she shop for only two.
"Shall I pack?" asked the man. she nodded yes.
As he was packing she glanced thru the jars again.

There, her favourite Dairy Milk, small one. 
She had always wanted them. 
She didnt know how to call the store man.
Uncle, Sir...??? 

She held out her hand and waved to get his attention.
"Yes my dear? he said looking at her.

She showed the Dairy Milk and asked how much by voice and thru gesture of the folded palm in question.

"Five rupees" he answered. 
'Oh five each... If I buy that, I will just have that and I wont be able to get these two. 
These look yummy too. what do I do??? pondered the little one.

Looking at her new confusion store man lost it.
"Now my dear, have you decided, I have to take care of other business you see" he said impatiently.

She was a little taken aback. Just a drop or two welled her tiny black eyes.
Now, she had to decide. 

Just then both hers and the store man's attention were drawn a little away, where another store man was shooing away an old lady who had come begging for food at that food joint.

The little angel looked at the old lady, in dirty ragged clothes, her hair all messy and unkempt. 
At first look, she was so scary to even look at her again.
On second look the pretty kid could sense the pain and hunger in her eyes.

Cutie pie blinked her eyes hard once. She had decided.

She turned towards her store man who was back into his business mood by then.
She looked beyond the candy jars at the table top. She could see breads and buns.

She pointed at a bun and asked him how much.
Store man in a stern voice said, "four rupees".

"I want one eclair and one bun" she said in a clear decisive voice.
The man was now surprised but packed it neatly and handed it to her.
The kid took out the eclair put it in her pocket.
She paid the store man and gently walked towards the old lady.

Now she was brave... No, she wasnt scared, after all she is grown up, as mama says.
She handed the brown packet with the bun to the old lady. 
She was astonished. she hesitantly reached out her hand and took the packet. She could see it had a bun in it. 

Words failed her. Tears welled up. she placed her right hand gently on the kid's head and blessed her moving down to her chubby cheeks caressing them and taking the same to her mouth gently gave her a kiss in the air.

The kido smiled happily.
The store man was stunned and he smiled too. 
He felt an urge within. He reached out for a couple of cookies and handed it to the old lady.

When he peeped out from his store window he could see the cute little darling was walking towards her home with a skip and hop in every step. Her face all lit with happiness and content.
Oh yes!, her mouth was chewing on the eclair enjoying every drop of the sweetness.:)

Thursday, 19 May 2016

So, What colour is your blood??

Is it even a question to debate? you ask...
True, all of us are born with red blood.

But, is it really that uniform, unanimous??

Red has always been associated with energy, passion, ambition, determination etc.
Close home, its always been an imagery and illusion of poverty, hunger, suffering and calamity.

Is that why the same blood becomes so un affordable for the poor...
Is it the reason behind the numerous careless deaths on hospital beds...
On the road side accidents...
Unattended, unhealed wounds and diseases leading to misery for want of blood in turn want of money?

You know what, I presume the rich have it all in blue - yea blue blooded...
Epitome of Royalty, richness, grandeur... They are special... they have it all, they can BUY blood, but can they buy life??

Or for that matter, do those who always writhe with jealousy and greed, usurp land and property, money and gold, as if they were to carry it along to their burial, have it in green? - greeeen blood??. Full of envy, greed, wickedness. Maybe they do:)

White personifies purity, innocence, wholeness and completion. 
Ironically cockroaches have it in white... :)
How I wish all of us had it in white too. 
Pleasure of giving, sharing, living...

Share, you are not going to be able to take it to the other world
While still here and useful, why not share.

Why dont we donate today, not just blood... 
Live and let live.

Shall catch up soon...
Work from Home - Acha Time Pass

Really Guys??!!!

Let's randomly pick men or women in any age group between 20 and 70...

"Oh, you work from home... Oh good for you... Acha time pass hoga na..."

And... here and now, in reality, jostling between household and timelines

Fixed time jobs are meant to be jobs with workloads, targets, office discipline, moods and fancies of superiors and juniors.

Work from home are like take it easy attitude. 
"Everyday is a Sunday for you, why crib?"

Ask those new mothers who take up a second inning job just to balance the budget or earn a few penny to buy a nappy.

Between feeding and changing, between the baby's wailing and giggling, women out there are shoving feeding bottles to the lappy and moving the mouse to feed the child some cerelac.

Still, they do deliver... and deliver the best.

"Need to log in at 10 for a concall" - "come on yaar, relax, you dont need to rush to office in crazy traffic. 
Right, but between the Dal burning on one and cooker screaming on the other
Between the baby crawling and maid brooming... try it out guys.

Try fixing Bugs, create an XL or  give a Presentation on skype.

We feel happy if we even got time just to sip a still hot chai or even run to use the rest room.

At the end of it, while still wrapping up the day's work, 

"What do you do full day sitting at home, watching TV yaar...?
Why is this here, why thats not done, why is the tap still running?
Its not as if you are working non stop. 
You are at home and how much does it take to call for the plumber and get this done." 

Guys, Full time job, you have a cut off time, work from home is seamless... endless.

Before the guys jump on me in defensive mode...

Its even worse for the guys who work from home.

Simply trampled with one word... 
"Oh, you are like a house husband, ahaa!!!.

Acha hai yaar, 
Ghar baite aaraam ki zindagi, kismat yaar...

Poor guys, slogging it out there with the irritant bosses and the time lines
Conf calls and online meetings.

Maids show up in between only to escape like a whiff of breeze.
Men are caught unaware by the already tired wives.
"Didnt you show her the clothes to wash, why are'nt the vessels done, did you really forget to buy milk... Poor souls.

So long... 
Meet you soon. And... pl dont forget to leave a few lines 

Welcome to Breezy Scribbles.

As the name suggests just few scribbles...

Some serious, some useful, some ranting, some breezy...

Come, travel with me and my musings...