Thursday, June 30, 2005

A Last Supper...

It must have been 12 year back. We had all assembled at my dad's tharavadu in our native place, Arakulam in Idukki district. My grandparents, my dad's two brothers and their families were all there.Everyone assembled at the dining room, with appachan at the head of the table and ammachi at the other end, their three sons and the bahus at the other chairs and we six grandchildren on our feet. The electricity was out and there were candles lit.I didnt understand what it wuz all about until my mom said we were goin to celebrate the last supper...a long-standing syrian christian tradition that was getting lost with the arrival of nuclear families. My aunt brought in some appam with a cross made of dry kuruthola on it...if i remember right its called inriappam...i guess the cross placed on it gave it the inri name(my other grandma used to jokingly tell me "ninakku inri appam puzhungi tharaam" when i demanded something different be cooked and placed in front of me and i wud wonder what the hell that was!). Ammachi lead the short prayer followed by which appachan cut the appam in many peices and dipped it in a green syrup(tasted like thengapal with a touch of cardamom and sugar) and handed it to everyone in the order of seniority. The bread was bland but with the syrup it tasted so sweet. It was a magical moment of family bonding and love. I knew I would look forward to this occasion every year henceforth but sadly it never happened...and soon it didnt even matter to me. Our families moved apart irrevocably despite the best efforts of my dad...pretty much like the irritatingly unreasonable sob-story family sagas we see on tv serials. I always wonder if we'll ever be able to sit around a table on a maundy thursday evening with pappa at the head of the table(ouch...our dining table is round) and mummy, jisha, me, our spouses and our kids hovering around...ooh sounds too good to ever become true...the irony is I who write all this has been accused of running shy of family, and of words which speak a thousand noble thoughts and never reflecting in my actions! I plead guilty to the charges.

Friday, June 24, 2005

When Dreams Take Wings...

Well, time to write abt people of mine who keep doing things out of the ordinary. The last few weeks were a struggle to blog...every new post i created ended in fatigue and the writer's block...i even stayed off my favorite blogs out of sheer envy for those superbly prolific writers until today when Arun Hari emailed us this thought-provoking graduation speech by Steve Jobs at Stanford...and this fantastic para lit the spark in me. (Quoting from it - "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.").I couldnt become a sociologist, a journalist or become involved in filmmaking. I really shouldnt be complaining bcoz everyone comforts me saying being a techie has gotten me money quicker while all these dream careers need years of struggle by which time our youth is over. But the ordinary men i write abt below keep proving to me that the only factor that restricts me from doing all I want to do is myself...they may not be blazing the trail yet...they may not be rich or famous yet...but their courage to walk off the oft-trodden path greatly inspires me.

Shan and Anoop, my classmates and fellow-savages in college gave up the opportunity to work with all the tech-majors and did the unthinkable...opened a software of all places...kerala! Its been 3 years since their momentous decision and three years since they have continually laid low all our apprehensions of them not making the grade or giving up and its hard not to feel proud about them. In the first year when the going was tough they slogged on(though i wuz alarmed at the number of bottles that piled up at their house then on my visit to india!!!), completed projects keeping the billing rate low, built strong relationsips with their clients and today their company, Neologix is among the top BPO firms developing ColdFusion applications and have clients in 5, japan, australia, uk and india. Besides employing 8 people, and continually streamlining their processes, they are learning to live the good life...finding time to go trekking, roadtrips to goa, blore and many more places! Way to go guys!!!!

My uncle, Issac Karoor is a priest and he once took to writing to overcome a difficult phase in his life. He ended up writing a book on St.Luke with more than 10 years of research going into it and what followed that was many years of searching for a finally he has not one, but four of them lining up at his door and they are even negotitating for movie rights! With each passing day as I get more and more engrossed in my has become a himalayan task carrying my blogging habit forward...i think i wud have given up on doing some serious writing ever if not for this feat of his!

My classmate from school, Rajakrishnan decided enuf wuz enuf after 4 years of industrial engg, studied MA in linguistics at JNU, wrote a seminal paper on some extinct language in the North-East, prompting a professor from some American university to go down to Delhi to meet him personally,later became a UGC scholar and finally seems to have pooh-poohed an offer from Cornell University for a fully funded Ph.D with travel grants. Meanwhile he made a one-hour amateur film on kerala's suicide phenomenon!!! Another pal, Thomman, my only friend I see as a hero, quit his engineering studies midway to join the Indian Army. After distinguishing himself at the National Defense Academy and Indian Military Academy he is now serving in Kashmir and has been promoted to Captain. A fearless and born leader of men, I wouldnt be surprised if he ends his career as General.Ninan Thomas.

My life in America has infact gotten better which i once never thought possible...i have a job that is finally challenging(hope i survive!) and in a team of great people, my bank account is no more in single and double digits, my little sis cooks the best food i have had in years, i have reconnected with old mallu friends at my alma mater USC and a weekend is too little time to do all the things i want to...travelling to the east coast to see my extended family or the 20-odd ex-classmates from school and college-despite so much of talking on the fone or even manage to drink to the night with my buds here...i guess all these simple desires of the mind need to be brushed aside as we age or i need to just make that one spur of the moment decision(my trip to india this december is one i am expecting to make in a second of madness sometime the summer of '03 a casual fonecall btw viswan and me somehow ended up with us booking flight tickets 4 back home without even getting vacation sanctioned!). The pattalam i wrote abt above once wound up an inter-school cultural festival,LaFest that our class single-handedly organized by telling the assembled crowd of youngsters from the top schools in kerala saying..."If you can dream it...You can do it". Ultimately all our dreams boils down to having faith in oneself...and I guess that is why Shan, Anoop, Achachan, Thomman and Khaja are all role-models for me and the many who know them. Cheers to all of you and one day i hope to slot myself in the genre you guys fall into!