Wednesday, December 13, 2006

2006...As It Stands

The journey in life takes you through so many places, situations and experiences you never thought was possible. Following your heart is simple, but the equations that rule your upbringing does complicate matters a lot. Ever since this blog has begun I have had a post in december, dedicated to the year gone by and the one ahead. In many ways this year was a failure on several fronts, i saw my courage melt, i gave up on the Indian Dream a second time in life, if being a man means standing up on your feet, working for a living, having goals in life and all that crap, i find myself today a drifter, so far away and lost to all the people trying to drill sense into me.

Jan - Hmmm...enjoyed the delhi winter, studied all night through streaming cups of hot tea, made with milkpowder, played cricket at dawn on the terrace for an hour with the sun looming on the horizon and a fog hesitant to depart, and then went to bed, only to wake up in the afternoon for classes stretching all the way to night. I remember Rang De Basanti released around that time, and i went thrice to watch it in the first week itself...what a rage and wonderful change that movie was for us youngsters. Another funny thing then was my fascination with orange juice and how i believed drinking lots of it would kill my suspicious intuition of an impending fever...and it happened, though when i least expected it to.

Feb - Feb was the month i screwed up the upsc. Got too close to my roomies, indulged a little too much in fun, movies and non-curricular reading and studies suffered, though i missed not a single class. The night-outs continued but the sting was blunted. The backlog that crept up therein was the Waterloo. But there were good things too...on every sunday i would wake up very early if i slept, walk, take the cylce-rickshwaw, auto anything that came my way and go to the malayalam church some kilometres away. That was the only time i saw delhi mornings out on the road...the temples opening up, its bells ringing, the dairies parcelling out the milk supplies for the day. Like the cows still in slumber, only a handful of the million vehicles that would later buzz like a bee in the huge city were was as peaceful as it could get. That was the last I've been to church, never felt like it after that, even the dozen weddings i attended later on i stood outside waiting for the reception to begin, later i stayed a few hundred metres from the church above, and could only smile at the contradiction i was. Maybe all the socialist, rationalist thinking and readings which the upsc examination demands got onto me at some level. Or maybe its just a matter of time.

Mar - i moved out of my heavenly quarter realizing any time longer spent with these boys was harming all the sacrifices made till then. It had been a good time really...we discussed Tagore, Neruda, reservations, communism, the past, the present, future...a lot. For a long time I had known only friends who could talk movies, drinks and fun. The new place was a room on top of a Sardarji's business establishment. A centimeter thick curtain of dust invited me every day to sweep, the taps wouldnt work, and there was never water in a huge barrel kept for our needs. The romanticism with Delhi was over. wasnt all that bad, a beautiful girl working in a callcenter was the tenant next door, but then thats a story for another day. And well if this blog is alive today it has to do with this first piece i wrote with pen and paper at 4 in the morning...the first of an irregular series of posts i wrote, riding on sheer inspiration which crept in out of nowhere. It was my longest break from blogging, and i hadnt written a single post in 6 months that satisfied me, when this happened.

Apr - One of my classmates, a girl with one of the best south-indian faces i saw and kept admiring despite knowing she was married, committed suicide. We never knew what happened. That night quite depressed and taking a walk, right in front of our eyes the next suicide attempt happened...another upsc aspirant who had not cleared the interview round and exhausted his chances. The Delhi summer had begun and I was just happy to go home. You know there are times you think you have setup everything so well, for that last lap, that things totally off your control happens. Pops landed up in hospital with pneumonia, and with mom away i had to take charge, the viral epidemic began in trivandrum, laid me low and i never quite recovered till the exam got over.

May - It was a valiant but foolhardy attempt. Noone must have cracked the upsc prelims in 6 months but I think I got real close. For me the end of that road had begun and that hated feeling of running-out-of-time-and-steam hit home. Delhi was beckoning again but this time I had a totally different plan in mind. There was a part of me I had yet to explore...a traveller to lands till then unknown to me. Nothing could stop me, i took up quarters in a forgettable part of Delhi, a place i couldnt stay for more than a week without wanting to escape, the only relief was a friend as neighbour, who was a philosopher-orpoet-ordrifter-orgenius which of these, i dont know yet...sometimes alone, sometimes with him in a park that at night was a haven for long conversations, interspersed with equally long moments of tranquility, discussions on life, psychology, literature, the people around us, it was a new experience for me. Thinking of that park, I am reminded of this great poem by Derozio - A Walk by Moonlight, as i write this.

Jun - The wanderer in me had set out...there were classes seven days a week, but despite that on weekends i ventured out, the sights and sounds of Delhi, the hill station of Nainital, it was an exhilerating feeling. It was my vengeance on modernity that demanded i study, work, earn big money all year long, then start a family, then buy a house, then have kids, and all those "set" ideals...i was in some ways now like the characters in books and movies who travelled to exotic lands. I knew it wouldnt money was running out. It would have to be back to the staid old life i abhorred...but i would come back and keep doing this for the rest of my days. There was another new beginning and in no way insignificant, after 12 years i wrote for the first time in malayalam, a translation of an english interview by uncle had done for his novel. It came as a big surprise initially that i could do it, then a feeling of loss, then a feeling of uyrgency, that i had ignored my mother tongue for so long, and i wrote first piece of fiction that i rode out to completion was born, and it was a short story in malayalam...a language i though i was never comfortable in. Today i have brought along a huge collection of malayalam literature to the New World hoping it improves my vocabulary and feel for the language. We will see.

Jul - July continued in the same vein as June. The upsc study continued to fade away, the travelling increased, the classes on the weekdays too became a casualty, this month was to UP and Haryana, if the heat wasnt enough humidity had set in too worsened by the blackouts. We were all getting sick, the tiffin from the kerala hotel which was a relief earlier had begun to loose its glory, the difficult re-entry back into modern society had begun to depress me more than the surroundings, the delhi phase of my Swades journey was all but over. The schooling in life doesnt leave you with any degrees but lots of bittersweet memories.

Aug - Haridwar, Rishikesh, Yamunotri, Mussorie, Dehradun, Agra all seen and relished, still so much of the North and the East and the West and the South to set eyes on...India is a country like none other, even for its citizens the sheer diversity of its culture must be a wonder, i have traveled vastly in america and a little of europe but nothing excites me like those places you get to see all uniformity...all cities look the same, the natural beauty is great but not wild, the people are nice but predictable, Oh...the sights, smells, sounds and touch of India...isn't it all one heterogeneous, mostly discordant,yet congruous mosaic that goes from one day to next knowing not if its a flood, an earthquake, a bomb, a riot or a celebration thats going to rock their life.

Sep - The city of your birth and most of life and hopefully the rest of it, yet a city that holds little promise for your future, its a sad testament about trivandrum i have heard so often...not just from me, but so many others who left it to mould their future, not knowing the way back home is harder than imagined, almost impossible. The one month at home was fun, laidback and memorable. Yet, today i regret i never made a serious effort to find if tvm had some job that i would love to do. I fell into the same anxious cliches of ordinary men running out of money and who had sniffed big cash earlier, going back again out there for another kill.

Oct - A forgettable month. Did nothing other than wavering, pondering over what next to do. Yeah wrote that kite story for a change. And of course a fun trip to chicago for a reunion with schoolmates happened. After a year of hanging around many idealistic young men of a different temperament the career-minded, joke-cracking bunch that these guys were, was a big difference...i wondered how easily i fell back in this circle too.

Nov - Back in action. Back into the "real" world. Goodbye to programming, taking training in data-warehousing, hopefully a less stressful, undemanding job, 2 chapters of a novel which may remain unfinished, a thanksgiving trip on an RV to Arizona and Utah with my still other circle of good friends, married ones...who tempt me to join their jolly band. I can see how happy and contented their life is...but i know failure stalks me down that aisle they walked.

Dec - Out in a job market conked out cold by the holiday season, a new, strange resume with 6 years experience, jobs in unknown places, a new skill-set yet untested, and a whole pack of lies scribbled on it, thanks to desi consultants in whose hands i have once again pledged my career for a 4-month contract despite old mishaps from which i dont seem to learn. The year promises to end on a cracking note though with Viswan, my college mate and closest friend coming from NY, Kicha, my schoolmate and chum in Delhi arriving from Berkeley, and Rajay and Rege, juniors from college all descending on LA for the XMas break...should be back to the kind of mallu parties and drinking i thought was over for good. Well that was the year 2006...sorry for this long diatribe, and if you got this far my heart-felt commiserations. I did mean that!

Res - Oh! Dont worry...this is not a new month in the calendar, how fun/irksome can writing year-end reports be without a glimpse of forecasts for the next year. Well...made humble beginnings in fiction-writing this year...hoping to carry that forward next year with better sense of purpose, A new career seems to be opening now...need to keep my focus on this for the next few years, and if no creativity exercising career options arise in life this might be my ticket to an MBA or doing a business. How much more boring can a resolution get, yeah you bet...india beckons in may for the stated reason of writing the next upsc exam which for now looks a mere formality, though i know what will end up happening is this lonely lost wanderer getting to exercise his goddamn propensity to his heart's content.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Mullaperiyar: The Sad, Sad Water War

As I write this post, the news has come rolling out that the talks between Karunanidhi and Achuthanandan have ended in a deadlock. It is a real sad situation...I never wanted Kerala to be caught in the national limelight on such a divisive issue. I have followed discussions on this issue on, orkut and many other forums and have seen a lot of hatred and heated outpouring of words between indians of two neighbouring states. Politicians in both states have spat out a lot of rhetoric and worrying is the effect it is having on the Tamil Nadu side with men like Vaiko and Nedumaran around. For one, they know they hold a great bargaining chip of being the essential supplier of most food items to kerala...vegetables, milk, chicken, eggs, beef, anything you name which have threatened to blockade and already done though on a limted one-day basis which caused great harm to traders who saw their farm products rotting away at the Valayar check post. The greater threat i feel is to malayalis living in Tamil Nadu who may have to face the ire of Tamilians whose blood is on the boil as they feel another great wrong being done to them after the bitter Kaveri dispute.

The seed of the whole problem dates back to 1978 when leaking of the Mullaperiyar Dam forced Kerala to curtail the water flow down to 138 feet for the first time. Going back even further is the 999 year lease signed under duress by the Maharaja of Travancore-Cochin under pressure from the powerful Presidency of Madras under the Britishers through which water from the Periyar flowing entirely through Kerala was diverted to irrigate the water-deprived Kambum-Theni belt using the newly constructed Mullaperiyar dam. All was well until the recent earthquake and further leakages to the dam made its safety doubtful and Kerala was forced to cut down the water level to 136 feet from the 142feet it was earlier. To compound the confusion on the Kerala side has been recent media reports on who actually controlled the dam...while some said TN police had taken over the dam, others said it was still safe in Kerala's hands.

Thankfully Kerala has been blessed with good rains for the past many years and it has never hesitated in sharing the waters of the Periyar, but now that the issue of the safety of the people and their property in the five districts of Central Travancore if the dam bursts has come up, it is surprising Tamil Nadu hasnt shown the sensitivity that was expected especially when it is faced with the issue of Karnataka not releasing TN's deserving share of Kaveri Waters after its newly constructed dam has come up. While demands have come up in Kerala to scrap the 999 year agreement and stop sharing the water altogether or to go in for a fresh lease, Kerala's proposals of a new dam being constructed close to Mullaperiyar and decommisioning the current one has not found favour with Tamil Nadu. Further damaging is the fact they have closed their eye on the recent damage to the Theni NH across the border when heavy rains caused the water level to rise above 136 feet at the dam causing water to overflow through the spillways.

The Supreme Court judgement that asked Kerala to implement the 142ft level complicated matters further as Kerala passed an ordinance circumventing it. It must be stated here that while Tamil Nadu showed the CWC report that stated the dam safe the Kerala side failed to argue its side properly despite several reports by its agencies, contrary to the CWC report. Seems like the highest court of the land is looking to review its earlier stand by now requesting both chief ministers to meet to sort out the issue instead of enforcing its judgement. My ancestral home and land in Idukki lies bordering the Periyar river and its not just loss of life and property, many of our valuable flora and fauna too lie under the threat of this disaster. If the Mullaperiyar dam bursts its not just the people of Kerala who will lose, the people of Kambum-Theni can kiss goodbye to their precious source of livelihood, agriculture. Building a new dam might take a few years, and cost a lot of money but if that is the only solution to unneccessary quarrel, i hope our politicians will be wise enough to go that route. Culturally, economically and for humanitarian purposes people can come closer...westernization, globalization, United Nations initiative are valid examples, but where mindless politics drives all meaningful intercourse, political boundaries will remain a hard fact of life. To wind up, it all comes down to a simple question like does not water belong to everyone, and to even tougher posers, what will happen to the National River-Interlinking Project, all this even remotely feasible in this age of fiercely independent meaningless entities like our Indian states.

Diverting totally, read this wonderful short story that is taking shape at this blog-pal's site if you haven't already.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Bhargavi Nilayam...

I am struggling. Day before yesterday's night-out exertion had worn me out. I was sleepy all of wednesday. I woke up yesterday with a sprained neck. Was about to start writing in the afternoon hoping Moov would get me up back and moving. But a pal called wanting to take me out to drink. He had secured for his company a multi-million dollar project and wanted to celebrate. Back at home again got interrupted. The hit malayalam movie, Classmates was running in LA and everyone were going. I couldnt stay out of that either. I am just done with Chapter-2 but need to finish another one today to make up the backlog. The neck is still giving trouble, looks like thailam is the only way out. Maybe novel-writing is just not my cup of tea, but i will strive to complete this one.

The day before, decided to relax by watching a wonderful movie, Bhargavi Nilayalam(1968), the evergreen, first horror movie made in Malayalam based on the great Basheer's novel by the same name. For those who have not seen it, it is about a young writer played by Madhu who moves to a new village, and takes up accomodation unknowingly at a haunted house. He befriends the ghost Bhargavi and calls her affectionately, Bhargavikutti though he is still scared of her. She lets him unravel her romantic but tragic past. Her lover is played by Prem Naseer, who comes to live in the house adjacent to Bhargavi Nilayam. There are almost 10 unforgettably melodious songs too in Bhargavi Nilayam written and tuned by the P.Bhaskaran-Baburaj team. In todays cinema that many songs would have killed the suspense but the milleu and the sensibilities of those days must have demanded it. Both Madhu and Prem Naseer in their respective roles create an aura of classical romance that modern actors of the colour era will never succeed in matching.

I just cant help remarking that the 60's and early 70's were the age of romantic and amazingly good-looking heroes in all languages, be it Rajesh Khanna, Dev Anand and Dharmendra in Hindi or MGR and Sivaji Ganeshan in Tamil and the above-said two thespians in Malayalam, to name a few, though many of them were hampered by limitations on the acting side. Heard that a huge team of today's big directors, who are unfortunately burnt-out now are about to remake this classic together. Hope they get over their mammooty-mohanlal fixation and cast prithviraj and sunil for madhu's and naseer's roles, for one the characters need young, vibrant actors but then does our change-resistant public or film-makers even care, this is the age of 50 year old heroes still running around trees.

I have decided to make this a feature as often as possible. Write on my moods and struggles in this blog for each day i write on the other blog, and add a little bit of all i did...i think finally all i will end up talking here, is about the books i am reading now and the movies i watch. And finally I leave you with the story of a great indian hero. And for loyolites who visit this space, this should make you all proud.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Chapter 1: A Reunion And A Resolution

The tentative title for now is "Finishing School". I though it apt, though i know that is a girls concept but I am really bad at titles...if any of you can suggest a better one I'd be glad to oblige. For the last one year I have been hunting for a name for this blog than "Jiby Starts Blogging" but it eludes definition...i think i may leave it that way forever. Well to start off, here's the link to Chapter 1 . Have decided not to crowd this personal blog with this stuff. The writing took me 5 hours and 2400 words, i am exhausted but glad i stuck with it. With that kind of time and words I would have had 6 posts on this blog and kept it ticking for more than a month. I never expected to begin this kind of serious writing until I was 30, if at all I got to it...glad the process has begun four years earlier.

As you read you may wonder who these characters may have come across a few similar people in my earlier writings. I will talk about them in detail when I conclude this novel. I decided i couldnt approach this like a short story and a lot of planning had to happen ahead. Found this real helpful resource on the net. I now have a lot of it falling into place but not all of it...but i guess that shouldnt bother me. Selecting the number of main characters whose lives play out troubled me. Most novels have two or three main characters but i find mine having 6 and more worrisome is the problem of developing them simultaneously. Would I be able to do justice to all of them or would I leave them half-baked in its wake? The other problem is the worry that so many characters will crowd the plot and pull in different directions. I guess we will all know soon.

For a few spaced out chapters I think I should leave it open to comments to get your feedback. There must be a galore of factual inconsistencies and blunders in the plot. I am treating it as a first draft. I would be glad if some of you have the time to take the trouble of noting them down and letting me know at the end. Well enough of my ranting here. Hope to do justice to your expectations. Thank You all for the encouragement.

Monday, October 30, 2006

A Novel Madness!!!

So what next? That is the question i have been asking myself with regards everything...the future, the blog, the career, et al. Having written that story I was tempted to begin writing another one. The story was the second one I have written in my life, the first was in malayalam...its either inside one of my ias history texts i left back in india or lost. I will have to wait another 3 months when my sis visits India, to find out if I still have it. Anyways the National Novel Writing Month is here and I have decided I am going to write a novel in the next 30 days. Now you guys must be wondering why I would shoot off my hip and let everyone know before I have even penned a single word to it. The reason is purely psychological - it is to put pressure on myself so that I actually sit down every day from this moment on and write one chapter a day and post it on this blog. I wonder how decently it would turn out and hurried the novel would look if I manage to finish in 30 days but for now thats the least of my concerns. I will be disabling comments until its all over.

Actually about 15 years back my childhood buddy, kichlu and i began writing a book on the lines of The Hardy Boys, we called them "The Fidswilliam Boys"(lol!) but after 6-7 chapters we realized the story was developing "quite" similar to a Nancy Drew one we read then, if i remember right called the "Mystery of the Missing Mannequin" or something similar and we gave up. The funny thing with writing stories, i wonder how other people do it, like they fix the story outline and then proceed but for me the story develops as i write it...even I have no idea what should happen next. I have spent the last 2 weeks scratching my head, wondering what theme to take up. A few ideas came up but got nowhere. I even searched on google for "How to Write a Novel". I read The Alchemist just a few months back and was surprised the book couldnt inspire me as much as i expected maybe coz of the fact that I had set course on a journey akin to the young shepherd a year back. But one line in the book fascinated me, If you dont listen to your heart, soon the heart stops listening to you. I have this gut feeling that if I dont try this novel thing out now, my life will soon go on the same track of moneyed madness that I had so much difficulty in coming out of last year.

What to write? I had this story idea of an American who travels to India for a vacation, fumbling into a lot of intrigues, finally falling in love with it, taking his family there and their struggles with assimiliating into the culture but I got scared at the thought of it falling into cliches. Maybe I will take it up later. And then I had this idea of a family story, set across generations from tales I heard of my grandma speak and from the biographical descriptions of some ancestors in the Kattakayam Kudumbacharitram book that was recently published but I have decided anything I write in fiction about Kerala has to be in Malayalam first. Though I havent written anything I have this belief that I can write better in Malayalam than English. As of now I am focussed on a story about schooldays. School is something I still relate with, blessed with a huge repertoire of memories from then, and an interesting array of characters who are still an integral part of my life to some extent. I am wary if the final product will mimic Tom Browns Schooldays, a masterpeice I last read 12 years back. What amazed me most about that novel is the timeless quality and universal appeal of that book. Even 150 years hence, the story of Tom Brown and Jimmy East, the two main characters of the book is one, every child identifies with and lives through, every day in school.

As far as life goes, i am in hiding. Only my closest friends have my number, i hate speaking to my parents coz I feel like a total loser as I go about bashing all their hopes of me finding a steady career, and thankfully all the nagging my sister does is insisting i wash my dishes and watch movies with her. Anyways the next 30 days of November promises to be an interesting time if i manage to keep the novel afloat. If by any chance I loose steam midway and give up please dont hold it against me...that certainly would be embarassing after this loud declaration of intent here. As I wrote the last line i couldnt help remarking here that except for writing on this blog every other challenge I have taken up over the last 2 years I lost. Discipline. The one thing I lack and what I need most now. Coz if I can pull this off I think I will gather the guts to write a script. And the magic that newcomers can do to films these days. Looks what James Albert did with Classmates!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Unlike The Kite…

The kites soaring in the sky made a pretty sight. The thought that he had never flown a kite embittered him, but seeing the city where he never saw birds, now looking like a bird sanctuary, brought a hesitant smile to his puckered lips. A solitary boy sprinted from one end of the park to the other, his kite following closely, threatening to fly. It came crashing down the moment the little boy, slowed down while he looked back to see its progress. Crestfallen, yet hopeful, he tried again and again, finally stopping to rest at the bench, where the man was seated at one side watching the boy’s valiant efforts in fascination. The boy longingly looked up to the skies. He could never hope to reach the heights that rich people flew their kites to, from their terraces. He noticed the man eyeing him intently and started to walk away, his eyes pinned up still, towards the heavens.
"I can take you to my terrace", called out the man who was surprised by his spontaneous act of graciousness. The boy spun around instinctively, but turned away, wondering whether the man was mocking him.
"Come on, I am not joking, I want to see you flying your kite like all the other people".
He rose up and moved towards the boy and placed a hand on his slight shoulders.
"And you could teach me how to fly it too."

The kite flew farther and farther. The light breeze on the terrace was taking it away. The boy's nimble fingers danced around the thread, expertly letting it go a lot and tugging it back a little. He looked up occasionally at the man, whose eyes betrayed his yearning to take control of the string. The man felt a youthful freshness that had eluded his staid life for a long time now. The terrace would be his favorite haunt now on.
"Do you want to try?" asked the boy.
"Yes, but you will have to help me".
Within a few seconds of the man taking charge, the kite swooned, and dipped in a free fall, with the man frantically trying to arrest its descent.
"Oh, I have lost my kite, Ma will kill me now", the boys mourns as he sees his kite entangled on a telephone post. The man yanks at it and with resignation writ large on his face; he realized the thread had snapped.
"I will give you money to buy a new one. Don’t worry", the man says trying to soothe the disappointed look on the boys face.
The kite, which flew proudly like its namesake, a few seconds back, cavorting at each flourish of the boy's wrists, now lay on the wires like a star fallen from the skies.

"Come to my room. Let me get you the money." The man's words seemed to be of scant relief to the aggrieved boy.
"Here. Have some biscuits or better take it with you home." He could see the child's eyes widening at the sight of the food.
"What class are you studying in?”
"I don’t go to school anymore. They stopped giving mid-day meals", the boy replied.
"Where do you live? I need to talk to your mother."
"We live close by. My mother will be very angry. She will shout at you too if you come".
He locked his room and came down with the boy praying the landlady wouldn’t be hovering around to make small talk. They walked past the park, the houses were becoming smaller, the streets narrower, with shanties encroaching the road that shrunk almost to a bylane. The man hadn’t been to this part of the neighborhood before. He never felt the need and much lesser, the curiosity. That is, until today. They arrived at an ancient tenement. The door to enter was shorter than the man. The boy went inside while the man decided to stand outside, uncertain of his place there. Immediately a loud high-pitched voice rang inside, "Where have you been? I come back home tired, slaving at other people's homes, and find you gone, just like your wonderful father. I know you too are waiting for the chance to leave me". A brief silence interrupted by hurried whispers, and a head appeared from behind the door.
"Please come in sir. Has this boy been giving you trouble? I have to beat him more or he won’t straighten".
"No please don’t. He was only playing with his kite. And he lost it because of me," the man timidly responded.

All their living quarters had, was a single room. On one side was what looked like the kitchen with a few bowls stacked nearby. A few clothes and a metal trunk chest lay carelessly on one corner, with a few more clothes, left on a string tied across the room, presumably to dry. The man’s eyes lit up, seeing an old 14" TV. He had remembered this was now a common sight across many slums in the old city and many even had cable tv, wired illegally.
Seeing the man staring intently at the TV, the woman fearfully offers, "Please sir. That is all we have. His father took it from somewhere two years back. He has left us since then".
That was when he got a proper look at the woman. She must be no older than 25. A little dark in complexion, she had a beauty and elegance that he couldn’t quite place, for her surroundings. She was slightly on the plump side; her salwar-kameez clung tightly to her body. He bit back the odd arousing of lust that had involuntarily kindled. Despite bottling his feeling, a telepathic wave seemed to have told the woman, of his need, and she self-consciously pulled on a dupatta lying on the wardrobe.
Slightly embarrassed, he remarks, "I came to talk about the boy's education. You should send him to school again.” And after a brief silence where his eyes mediated casually on the woman, added, “I can help you".
"Thank you, sir. But he is old enough to start working now."
At this the man gets angry and responds, "Do you have to live with his money? I am sure you are capable of earning enough for both. I will bring him books and clothes. I need someone to clean my room and toilet. Can you come?"
"Yes sir. Thank you, sir. Child, say thanks to the good man".

With gentle sweeps of her broom, the woman fanned out around the room, her gaze fixed stiffly on the mosaic floor. The man appeared to be reading a magazine, lying back on his bed, occasionally looking up to watch the woman, hard at her work. She seemed to be uncomfortable with his presence in the room, How would I make the first move? he thought. The hands moved towards the woman, and came to rest on her shoulders. Her back had been turned away, and in shock, she spun around.
“Please sir, Please sir…”.
“It is okay, it is okay,” the man assured as he buried his face in hers. A tear fell from her eye which came to rest on his upper lip. A pang of guilt shot through his body. So transient was everything else before his lust, he thought to himself, as his tongue came out to wipe his lip clean. The broom fell from her hands. Her fingers wandered to his back where they brushed against his wallet. Maybe, he will save me, she hoped.

The boy bounded his way back home. It was nice to be back in school, amongst people his age, to be playing with them, he didn’t understand anything the teachers said and neither had he the courage to ask nor had they bothered to help, a courtesy he expected as a new student, but he would learn all that soon, the good man had promised to help. His mother was not at home. He wanted to tell her a lot of things. “I should go thank the nice man”, the boy thought aloud. As he neared the man’s room, he heard his voice, “Now your boy is like my son.”
“Hmmm,” he heard his mother’s feeble reply, and after a brief pause she added, “I will come back after 3 days.”
”No, I need you to come to me every day, and send your son to me; I may have to help him with his classes”. The door was closed, the boy couldn’t understand, his mother never went to the same house to work every day, he decided it would be better to go back to his house.

She came home, he watched her carefully, only a blank expression enveloped her face. She hadn’t even bothered to ask him about school. She was so talkative, but today she seemed so subdued. He knew from experience, never to ask her questions, because she had only scoldings to give for answers. He walked out of their house, and he thought it odd that she hadn’t even noticed. In contrast, the man, seemed exceedingly happy to see him. He patiently taught the boy, gave him sweets, and sent him away happily. The boy walked back home unable to contain the smile on his face. His mother’s behavior was forgotten, he had found himself a guardian better than his father, and he had a better future to look forward to. In a few days, he was relieved to find his mother back to her cheerful self, and he went to the temple, and prayed hard to god, to make all this bliss last forever.

The Notice of demolition was a rude shock that sent into a tumble, the new life that was budding, for mother and son. Until then, she had consoled herself that her relationship would save her son. She had forgotten all her physical needs in the face of the struggle to survive, and now she had begun to love the way, the man aroused in her the feelings, that had been stoked first by her husband and then left cold to wither away. Her hands trembled, as she struggled to muffle her tears. They had nowhere to go, no relatives who would take her in, no employers sympathetic enough to let them in, except for the man. Taking the boy by one hand, and clutching to the notice by the other, she walked towards the man and knocks at his door.

He looked up from the notice, a look of displeasure, mixed with sadness.
“There is no way you can fight this notice. Where will you go?”
The woman who had looked up until then, lowered her face, her shame had washed away all the dignity he saw there, the first time his roving eyes had fell on her. A brief silence followed, it was obvious to the man that she needed his help.
“You tell us….”
“I am sorry. The landlady won’t allow. My friends and family can’t see you both here. Can I give you some money?” How pathetic he looked, he wondered, to the desperate souls in front of him. His eyes darted to the boy’s to escape the woman’s fierce look. He cringed at the pitiful look of betrayal that wore on the child’s face.
“Come, my son, the gentleman has had his good deed and his hearty meal and he’s satisfied. Remember what he’s taught you now.” He couldn’t bear to face them any longer and shut the door. He turned around. Like a curse, it had to be the mirror he encountered. In it he knew he was seeing the worst coward of his life.

A few days later: yet another evening, a steady breeze was blowing, a time for kites, a time for people to escape the confines of their homes. The man trudges up the steps to the terrace. He sees the boy's kite still there, caught on the wires, how long would it survive as a token of his noble gesture of humanity, he wondered. The kite had been played with and forgotten by its owner. The man remembered how he toyed with and discarded the boy and mother. At least, the kite had found a resting place, too high for any man to stomp it down. What about its owners. Have they found an abode, safe from the cruelties of fellow beings?

For those of you who wondered what this is about, this is my first attempt at fiction and writing a short story, on this blog. The characters are drawn from people I have observed in real life, during my stay in Delhi, like the lonely boy in the park who ran with his kite, reminding me of my young days when we used to fly kites with my neighbours, the washerwoman who my landlady contracted to launder my clothes, and who I thought was the most beautiful lady I had ever beheld, and the man…well isn’t he like most of us men!

Criticism is most welcome, this time around!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

On My Blog

I have been tagged by the wonderful Silverine, to write this tag about my blog and its a special occasion too. My blog is turning 2 years old in less than a week's time and I found out that this is my 100th post too. I am really not in a mood to blog but this is another one of those super-tags I just cant shy away from.

1. Are you happy/satisfied with your blog, with its content and look? Does your family know about your blog?
Yes, I am satisfied with all I have written on my blog. Sometimes i get so inspired i cant believe that I really wrote some of those posts. Other times I have had to labour hard to gather my thoughts to even pen down a few paras. My family found out about my blog almost 6 months after i had begun...recently, they just cant resist the urge to leave a comment though I really dont approve of it. The hard part is ever since he's found out, my dad thinks I can become a writer, but he doesnt realize its just my age, my idealism, my frustrations and my experiences that find a voice here.

2. Do you feel embarrassed to let your friends know about your blog or you just consider it as a private thing?
Many of my posts have been about my friends, their heroics, their achievements and their I always thought it unfair not to let them know about my blog. I know for a fact that people feel real happy when others write good things about them...i always think the only good that may come out of my blog is that i have honoured a lot of good people who have contributed immensely to my growth as a human being. To be frank, before I began blogging, I always felt i hadnt done anything worthwhile in life, i craved for appreciation, and then when people began to relate with me from school, college, people who knew my family name besides total strangers, i got scared, i wished I had stayed anonymous, i wished i could be more frank and forthcoming than I already was on my its too late to change.

3. Did blogs cause positive changes in your thoughts?
Definitely. I think I have begun the process of finding out who I am, what I am capable of and how little I know of the world around me. It is when you pen down your thoughts, that realization dawns on you about how age, maturity and experiences have shaped the growth of your personality all these years. I have read so many interesting thoughts and viewpoints, its helped me in my growth as a person.

4. Do you only open the blogs of those who comment on your blog or you love to go and discover more by yourself?
For close to a year I havent had the time, the computer, or the luxury to let myself loose in blogworld. So I have restricted myself to only those people who regularly comment on my blog and yet I dont even find time to visit some of them regularly. Many of the blogpals who were active a year back dont blog anymore, but I have discovered many other talented writers along the way to offset their loss.

5.What does visitors counter mean to you? Do you care about putting it in your blog?
I think I put it on just a few months back. A friend told me I had some fans at the place he works and thats when I wanted to find out how many silent readers pass by my blog daily. It really doesnt matter who reads and who doesnt...i just wish I had a perfect professional life to balance all the happiness I get from blogging to my hearts content.

6. Did you try to imagine your fellow bloggers and give them real pictures?
Reading what they write has given me a mental idea of the wonderful people they are and how they go about their lives. I think appreciating what they write has given the word, friendship a whole new dimension on cyberspace. I havenot and maynot meet any of them, nor will i make the effort and most of my blogpals, i think, have certainly overgrown the fancy of giving faces to each other.

7. Admit. Do you think there is a real benefit for blogging?
Definitely. I began to blog when I quit my first job and was bereft of inspiration. It continued along with me in my quest for professional sucess. All through school and later years, i never could write anyting coherently, but I have noticed how much the way i express my thoughts on paper have changed recently, from the time i began to blog. I think even the courage to pursue a childhood dream of writing the civil services exam came through the confidence i got with being able to write here.

8. Do you think that bloggers society is isolated from real world or interacts with events?
People who think we pale in the face of newspapers, magazines, TV and other forms of media may think so. 5-10 years back i was jealous of the journalists and columnists of India Today, Hindu and Readers Digest. But today I feel so empowered. I can voice my opinion through my blog or leave a comment on another blog on any issue or event somebody decides to blog about. We bloggers are a part of the society we live in and absolutely everything we write is about the people and incidents which happen around us or somewhere in the world. If its our limited reach, that makes others call us a bloggers society, it only shows the limitations of the billions of people on our earth who dont know what a blog is.

9. Does criticism annoy you or do you feel it's a normal thing?
I hate people criticising me. From reading so many other talented bloggers, I know my limitations and try to evolve. But that takes time. I hate people who dont agree with something a blogger has written about but ends up crticizing his/her writing styles and that bloggers very intelligence. Its easy to leave a harsh comment, but they dont realize the courage and skill it takes for an amateur to write a good blog or voice an opinion knowing they could get scorned at or not appreciated.

10. Do you fear some political blogs and avoid them?
No. I try to appreciate what the author wants to say. But if I cant agree I just move on without leaving a comment. Infact two of my seniors from school, MindCurry and Vinod Chetan, have begun two of the best initiatives among kerala bloggers on our politics and society...and sad part is i havent been in a mindset to visit their blogs recently. And ooh, its been a long time since I have written something serious.

11. Did you get shocked by the arrest of some bloggers?
I feel sorry for those guys in China, Pakistan and other Islamic and dictatorial countries who get arrested for blogging in the name of freedom and democratic values. As for those bastards who use it to propogate violence against others, what a shame. Finally, have they realized the pen certainly is mightier than the sword??

12. Did you think about what will happen to your blog after you die?
It will die with me for sure. Then the only people who stumble on it will be the ones who look up trivandrum, kattakayam, loyola or a jiby on google.

13. What do you like to hear? What's the song you might like to put a link to in
your blog?

There are so many songs...i'll just list the ones that inspire me the most
Let It Be - Beatles
Yeh Jo Desh - Swades
Kadam Kadam - Netaji
Naalikerathinte Naatil - Thurakkaatha Vaathil

This is a tag for every blogger. This is a tag for every blogger who has gained something from this pastime. I earnestly hope all my blog-pas will take this one up.

I am not living in India anymore. I am one of those oddities in our 21st century India abounding with jobs who still doesnt know at age 26, what he wants to do with his life. And i think about all those guys in the 70's and the 80's like my dad and others who had to apply for 100's of jobs to get an interview or were desperate to go out of the country to earn a living. A turbulent phase lies ahead...maybe this will be my last post for a long long time or maybe not...its hard to turn my back to this blog. I return to India in May, for next years exam...maybe after that with some more money at hand, which i will make now by goin back to work in the industry i got sick of, i can start on some other saner venture. Adieu!

Friday, September 08, 2006

A Man in the House!!!

The servant returned from her 5 day onam vacation. Both of us blew a big sigh of relief...i was supposed to babysit my ammachi with dad and mom also away. For 2 weeks tension and worry was wrought on ammachi's face, as she despaired over the holocaust awaiting her under my charge...all my efforts to put her at ease hadnt really worked. Until a few years back, she would single-handedly marshall the house, but old-age had caught up...she needed help, yearned for more company and had sadly yet happily and uncomplainingly accepted the reality that her grandkids had grown up and couldnt be around, that her children had begun to also miss their kids, somewhere along the way I am sure she began to feel like excess baggage. Luckily my uncles, aunt, cousins, my parents and sis had resolved someone or the other would spent seperate months of their crowded year with her. Well, that is everyone, except for me...gave her their quality time. Sadly, Trivandrum for me, is also about my friends, cinemas, cable tv, reading and wandering the city...i always get scolded for not doing enough at home.

So ammachi and I began our few days, virtually keeping an eye on each other. She wouldnt trust me with the stove, would always keep checking to see if I had left taps running, had latched the door and locked the gate...sometimes, it was comical, other times irritating. "Ammachi, njan pazhaya aalalla, i have changed", i tried to reassure her, well i failed. Early Morning 7am. My dad had reminded me she needs a bed-tea to warm her frail body. Ofcourse I was blissfully sleeping. She comes over to my bed and softly taps me, "Moneh". "Ayyo chaaya idande", I wake up with such a wild start which scares her. Breakfast. I take the dosamaavu out, of the 8 dosas i made only 5 turned out okay. For one I forgot to apply oil on the kallu, another i tried to flip before it was ready and a third fell to the floor from the chattukam. Of the 5 right ones, 3 had got a lil too disaster! I turned around to see a smile on my grandmoms face, and announced, "naalethotte kaappikke bread, jam and butter"! Lunch. The servant had thankfully cooked 4-days lunch, dinner and left marinated fish in the freezer. Only rice had to be cooked. I didnt remember how many whistles were needed...called up a friend and asked him to consult his wife. I had idled over doing the dishes, and ants had crept up all over the sink...dang, so this is the life of a woman, i turned towards ammachi and asked all dazed, "ammachi jeevithathil ethra dosa chuttittunde, ethra aalukale pottiyuttunde?".

Things really got bad. I misplaced the gate lock and she wouldnt go to sleep until i found it. But I tricked her, found a small lock and got the job done for now...thankfully she wouldnt step out onto the yard at night to inspect . Next morning she found out I had forgotten to keep the aviyal back in the fridge. In the evening she discovered I had forgotten to turn off the Goodknight from last night...i didnt tell her it had been that way for 2 days now! The neighbour had forgotten to turn off an outside lamp facing ammachis room and by afternoon, this was disturbing her...she called over to the aunty but noone could hear her. Finally, she asked me to walk over and tell them...i was cosily ensconsed on the sofa watching something crappily interesting and no way was i going now! She finds a neighbour passing by and asks him to carry the message. Damn, my lazy self! In the evening a few friends came over, they wanted to hit the terrace as the view would be good at sunset. I wondered what to do...until i hit upon an idea. I showed ammachi the locator button on the cordless and asked her to press that to summon me anytime she wanted, i took the handset along and trooped upstairs. A little later the calling bell rang, a visitor must be at the door, i came down, ammachi was frantically searching all over the fone for the button i had shown earlier, but though she was exceptionally intelligent, her memory had faded. Again I feel rotten. Onam, was playing out in the city. I got a boy to sit with her, while i slipped away with Shan for a few hours to see the city and its illuminations, besides guzzling a beer. I got back only at 10, an hour past her sleeping hour...and there she was waiting anxiously for me. I felt an anger rising in me, but that dissipated seeing the happy relief on her face.

"Innokke Onam, TVyude mumbil theerum"...she doesnt talk much, but today she was chattering away, while along i had one eye and one ear on the screen...i was setting records in callousness. "Ammachi samsaarikke, inne muzhuvanum namukke ellaavare kurichum kushimbu paranjirikkaam". So i egged her on to gossip and she complained how mom didnt have enough patience for her, how the servant though a good lady would spent more time chatting with neighbours than her and tell her to massage her feet by herself, and how only pappa, her son-in-law and jancy, our kid cousin had adapted to her helplessness. Anyways the servant is back. The house still stands and ammachi told me she expected much worser things. For the last one week, i got calls from my two other ammachis, one is actually my grand-aunt, asking why I never call and when I'll visit. I turned on the charm, said I was just about to call when they did, assured them I am coming right away, but to little effect. Oh Jibs...tera jadoo chal gaya! All of them were like kids now...charm doesnt work with them anymore but sincerity would...i realize that becoming a man also means watching out constantly for those who got me here. Will I?...and thats the big question.

My Two Sweethearts

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Oru Vattam Koodi Pazhaya Vidyalaya Padimuttathethuvaan Moham...

Today i sneaked into Loyola...some of my classmates are in town besides the guys who work and live in tvm...thought of inviting them along for a sec...felt guilty but i wanted some has been three long years, it maybe years before i come here again...saturday, onam vacation...not a soul in was just me and my alma mater. Deserted look, is the word i am tempted to use, but a thousand memories, hundreds of shiny young faces, a dozen inspirational teachers, all seem so alive and buzzing about, around me. I remembered how troubled, insignificant and mediocre i felt when i walked out of school in 1998...even then i knew i made a wrong choice with engineering, but I didnt know much about life, the world outside tvm, big words like fate and destiny, i was a simple kid without any pretentions, ambitions or big dreams. Today I am back here, again feeling troubled, insignificant and mediocre...under the gulmohar's shade, a soothing gentle breeze, i relaxed, i started dreaming, of good days, of hardships that i would tide with a smile, of all the places on earth i would let loose my carefree spirit.

A Week Back...
The three strapping youngsters with a smile on their faces asked me,
"Chetan Loyolayil padichathalle...njangale ormayondo".
I really felt happy...I knew I should blog on my school soon.
Only a few minutes back, the school-bus had passed me, and as always I turned towards it part in reverence, part in the hope of some junior, teacher or the conductor recognizing luck, i was way too history...i thought.
"Ningal ethe batchileya".(I faintly remembered one of the boys...he was one of the little boys who would hold seats for us in the school bus)
"ISC2006. We just got into engineering this year".
"ISC98. I cant believe you guys remember me. When I came out y'all were just in the forth"!
We talked for a few minutes. They were eager to know about how life treats them after school...I couldnt give them the hard part...told them to enjoy the next few years to the fullest.

As they walked away I smiled...they were yet to realize the magic 12 years of studying in Loyola would people would admire them, how they would begin to believe anything was possible under the sun, how the boys they studied with in school with would continue to be their best friends and would all grow into fine young men. This post is just a celebration...its my way of the school, to the teachers and most importantly to my a space of a fortnight two of the boys are getting married, a third engaged and a forth broke the big news of him about to become a dad. This is a disjointed post...just some old memories, some hilarious incidents and a few personal recollections all thrown in.

This one evening, i overheard Pops telling this cool priest who teaches at the Loyola College, how studying in Loyola made a big difference in my life. Then i heard this wonderful story the achan, who i hope becomes the principal of the school some day, had to tell.
Night Time. Heavy Rain. Frantic knocking at the jesuit residence. An achan goes out to see who it is. A young couple totally drenched.
The guy desperately, "Acho, am an ex-loyolite. Am goin abroad tomorrow. Just wanted to show my wife, my school. Would you have an umbrella?".
The priest stands in disbelief for a second. But the next request floors him...
"Acho, I need a torch too..."
The poor dude was sticking to a long-standing tradition of showing wives the school...this was the place that made us men, endowed us with ethics and liberal attitudes, this was where we learnt to play hard yet fair, work hard yet be carefree, this was where we became rogues, yet imbibed lessons in chivalry and humanity. I can see Shenoi, captain of the basketball team, star-singer, center-forward of the football team, heartthrob to many a tvm gal, hero to many a loyola junior and Sajeev, top-ranker of the class, captain of the school cricket team, unfailing goalkeeper of the football team and Annan to all of us, who are marrying in this Onam season bringing their women here, recounting to them unbelievable exploits, sharing a part of the history that made them the men who appealed to the gals in the first place.

I remember this one evening at Humayun's Tomb in Delhi. My pal tells me, "Dey, lets look at it the way Pulickal would have done, in history class"
"Do you see the perfect symmetry in not just the monument but the surrounding lawns, walls and outlying buildings on either side."
"Do you see the some of the marble tiles are patchworks, done at a later time".
"Did you know, Dara Shikoh, heir to Shah Jahan, was beheaded here by Aurangzeb and this was Bahadur Shah Zafar's last stand during the 1857 revolt".
"Do you notice the steps up to the monument cant be seen from anywhere...on the raised platform...the builders must have thought it hindered the beauty".
"You know what...for this kind of crappy analysis Puli wud have given us a zero"!
We laughed heartily...remembered the old man, and what he meant to us, how he could brutally make fun of us and yet we never felt any ill-will, how he would set the most difficult question paper, how he would be so stingy in giving us marks and fail most of the class, and as if to rub salt on our wounds, would publish our blunders in the school notice board for seniors and juniors alike to mock us...we still loved him, he was our hero, still is and forever will be. We remembered how Paili wrote in Pulickals history paper, "Rani Laxmibai had no natural hair"...instead of "male natural heir" and how the whole class, and from the notice board, the whole school had a nice jolly laugh about it!

A few summers back we decided to have a reunion at school. Two of us trooped into our vice-principal's office. The surprised man was counting a huge wad of currency and my pal snatched it from him and said,
"Achanmaarke enthina kaashe...fees sherikkum kootiyalle".
I was smiling at all this when the poor priest turned to me and pleaded,
"Eda Kattakayam, avanodathinge tharaan para".
I turned to my bud and joked, "Aliya, u shud demand a Refund. Eitherways, u have turned out rotten after 13 years here and still cant speak proper English." (The Refund, a play abt a rogue who goes back to his school and asks for all the money he paid as fees back).
We three broke out into laughter. We had never heard of a Loyolite who got messed up...
Maybe I should take heart from the above...

A friend once asked me,
"Amongst all of us here, why is it that Pappanabhan and you are going back to India?"
I shot back, "Ask your parents why they didnt send you to Loyola".
"They tried, but..."
"Tough Luck, man". While saying that, I couldnt suppress a condescending smile then.
"You snotty bastard. There's one thing you didnt learn to talk your way into a gals heart".
"Thats okay. There's always arranged marriage for losers like me!".
We both laughed...

I arose from the reverie i had slipped into, and headed for my car. A school is all about high spirits, the longing to grow up and become an adult, and "giving your best till the day is done"...i had soaked for a couple of hours in all what my alma mater gifted a few weeks i will become a bird, i will soar, all i need is courage and perseverance, to go the distance, its a promise to be kept. The school will be watching, waiting for me...

Friday, September 01, 2006

Some Onam Movies, A Little Nostalgia, An Odd Thought...

Once upon a time, there was a certain excitement, which drove us, crazed college boys to the theatres...we loved the thrill of bunking class, having a quick beer, pushing and shoving other ruffians like us out of the way to the front of the ticket couter, cheering for our favorite actors, and at the end coming out satisfied at having "studied" another day in college, outside the rusted gates! These days cars have replaced bikes and buses as our means of transport, a hot tea /coffee is preferred to a visit to the bar, we huff and puff our way to the same old theatres, scowling at the rogues who wont stay in line while taking tickets, passing harsh stares to guys who whistle and etc, etc, etc. I guess we come here nowadays for the love of movies, for finding something of the old days in the new. Its funny, my approach to movies has changed, though only subtlely, i still go there deciding i am here for timepass and i wont come out irritated, however horrible the movie is...but nowadays i try to observe the screenplay, the camera panning in and out from the actors faces and visualizing how the script has translated to celluloid...oops wonder if that made sense!!

Keerthichakra didnt disappoint. An average though elegantly made film(discounting mohanlal's tummy) without all the masala that ruins war movies. What we call average movies in kerala these days invariably becomes moneyspinners...that better than anything else signifies the depths to which we have plunged. Mohanlal's dialogues have a punch that gives you goosebumps, Jeeva proves to be a very lively actor, the melodious songs come alive in beautiful picturisations of kashmir and kerala, the movie races to the interval but thereafter the director, Major Ravi loses his grip on the script for a while, before turning on the intensity with a violent climax.

Moonamathoral - Its a pity keralites have turned their backs on a very talented director who dares to be different. V.K.Prakash who debuted with that brilliant movie, Punaradhivasam gets the cold shoulder again. Malayalam cinema's first complete digital movie, stands out for awesome technical perfection, the camera, editing and sound design at par with the best, the rest of India can offer...but as usual our superstar crazy people stayed away. A horror movie, the first half kept us on tenterhooks, i tried to figure out all along which hollywood movie was being adapted here, but failed...the story seemed original though i am still not sure. What lets the movie down, are the two songs carelessly placed in the 2nd half that kills the suspense and damages the script beyond repair!

Classmates - If Vadakkumnathan was a great movie-going experience in May, this movie by Lal Jose, is my favorite this Onam by miles and miles. It is a must watch for all you people who studied in the tension-ridden atmosphere of Kerala's colleges and student politics and have suffered and enjoyed from it, if you have written loveletters to your sweethearts or to help out your friends, if you have called your best friends "aliya" and last-bit-not-the-least been part of college intrigues. It is also a must-watch for all you people who are looking for a well-crafted film with a riveting climax, with a script which irradiates freshness and stands out different from the cliched campus movies of our age. If Prithviraj isnt accepted as a good actor by malayalis even after this movie, I give up on him...he has given a superlative performances as a fiery student leader. The supporting cast of Indrajith whose comic timing is a revelation, Sunil who plays a crucial role in the film, Jayasurya in a surprisingly subdued comic avatar besides Kavya Madhavan and a whole lot of other actors, wonderfully cast for their bit roles...this movie sure is going to be the big hit this Onam. Just like me, I was sure Shan and Anoop must have been flooded by memories of our eventful college life, watching this movie...i had to drag them out of their homes to watch this one, but the grateful look on their faces when we came out of the marquee, was worth the nagging!

I dont even think Mammootty's Bhargavacharitam, Lal's Mahasamudram, Dileep's Don and Suresh Gopi's Pathaka deserve to find mention here...malayalam cinema's curse today are directors, scriptwriters and actors who are past their creative best but yet refuse to yield ground to a new generation, those who steal from others like Sreenivasan does in Bhargavacharitham, or repackage their old films like Shaji Kailas seems to have done in Don(seeing the trailer reminded me of Aaraam Thampuraan).

To wind up this post on movies, i picked up what i thought is an integral part of the indian male psyche while watching kabhi alvida...I was amused at how viciously people have badmouthed the movie coz i thought it was a decent it i found a karan johar having a keen insight into human emotions, his only fault lay in taking up an issue still taboo to most indians and trying to present it in the by-now-beaten-to-death romantic formula that DDLJ introduced in India. The friends I went to watch it with, came out with ghastly faces, telling others this was a movie about adultery(i certainly felt johar deserved more sensitivity than being called an adultery-panderer), they couldnt understand how people could cheat in their relationships...i asked them, dont you think this can happen to you too, dont you think even your marriages can fail? What i said must have shocked them...most Indian men, seem to think they they are infallible in life...if something unfortunate like this happens in their lives god forbid, i wondered how unprepared these people are for countering that situation and how wrongly they will analyze their position. Most chillingly, I realized I wasnt too different from the people above, until a couple of years back...well enough of my crappy hypothesis...wish all you readers a Happy Onam!!

Monday, August 21, 2006

One Last Travel Diary???

Shan, one of my dearest buddies, took one hell of a risk...he travelled all the way from kerala to join me(i actually lied to him i had all things planned!) on one last adventure to see a part of India, we knew till then only from textbooks. The beauty of our trip was that it was unplanned, we barely knew where we were going, if we realized a jeep was going close to our destination, we would hop in, hoping that another vehicle would take us from there closer and closer to yamunotri. When nothing came our way we hiked, the rain-gods seemed intent on accompanying us for the whole trip and ruining it, the cold fear at seeing landslides on every curve wondering which one would take us away, the happiness at seeing a hotel to rest our tired bodies for the night(there were many, thanks to the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Ltd(GMVN), and having a few pegs of whiskey to call it a day. I know the fotos we have here are not the best...i'll need to start a flickr site to upload the scenic we are the protagonists and our faces had to feature in the snaps...eitherways we both kept squabbling all thru the trip on who was the worser photographer...compressed these pics 20 times over to get it to 50kb!!!

Through Haridwar we reached Rishikesh and the faint beginnings of the Himalayas showed, besides for the first time in my life I set eyes on the Ganga. So majestic from afar, enjoying a position of superiority amongst all the rivers of India, but cursed with a people intent on destroying its aura. The sight of human refuse at the Triveni Ghat which looked so clean in the movies was jarring, the brown colour of the water was disconcerting...just for the sake of it we dipped our hands and feet...will that suffice for my sins to be forgiven?

From Rishikesh, we took a jeep to Dharasu, 100 kms away. The road here diverges into to Uttarkashi, Gangotri and the other to Yamunotri. From Dharasu we get a mini-bus which dropped us at Barkot, the last village/town where civilization as you and i know it sort of ends. From there another mini-bus took us to Hanumanchatti, 80kms away where we decided to cool our heels for the night at a GMVN inn.The snap is from there.

We begin our trek from Hanumanchatti to Janakichatti, 9 kms away hoping a jeep wud pass-by. The scenery from here-on is absolutely breath-taking...the snap here shows Shan all-edgy, next to a cliff, with the Yamuna beneath in all raging fury, with me fumbling with the camera as always. We pass by several locals...all very people, infact we noticed all through uttaranchal the women were hard at work while men mostly hang around tea stalls.

We had walked 2kms and not a single vehicle was stopping for us. The place where we took this snap looked eerily similar to the ones in Yodha. We threw our bags to the floor here and decided to wait for a lift. I saw some kids hard at work here...we had not seen a single school for about 75 kms. Would people in Kerala be able to associate with something like that!

And Behold!...along comes a tractor and the good man in the pic takes us along. It must have been the bumpiest ride of our lives...but we enjoyed it immensely. After all, how many people get to travel on tractors when they are on vacation! The man wouldnt take any money from contrast the rich jeepvalas where charging Rs.15 per head for traversing just 3-4 kms. He lets us off with a warning to watch out for stray rocks falling from above.

Shan mournfully mulls wetting his brand new sneakers...what the hell did he expect...a tarred road!!! The whole place was littered with marble rocks that came down in previous landslides. In that part of the Garhwal, the pavements and milestones are in marble...i sincerely hope quarrying is banned there knowing how expensive marble is elsewhere.

We reach Janakichatti where the road ends, and began a 5km grinding trek to Yamunotri. We huffed and puffed our way up in 3 1/2 hours upto what was a height of 5000mts. Yamunotri is for all purposes a pilgrimage, we had to keep greeting pilgrims with Jai Mata Di, Jai Yamuna Mata, and i forget the other slogans. Young men were taking pilgrims up on their shoulders, on palanquins and ponies which made us trekkers real miserable. The air was thin, we struggled to breathe, the temp must have been 2-5degs, the rain continued to irritate us and foiled our plans to trek further to SaptarishiKund 14 kms away where the actual glacier that feeds the Yamuna and overlooking a beautiful valley of flowers where a mysterious BrahmaKamal flower which has an intoxicating smell and in which Saraswati Devi supposedly resides. We stayed that night at the Kalindi Ashram hotel at Yamunotri and started our return journey the next morning.

If Yamunotri symbolized what must be the most beautiful creation of Nature we set our eyes on, we headed out next to Agra and the Taj where Shah Jahan gave expression to human creativity at its zenith, the sight of which totally blew us away. We were speechless, just gaping at the magnificence in front of our eyes, amazed at the power and the riches the Great Mughals commanded over India...Shan vowed that when he would marry, he would bring his wife here and promise her that he would build her a Taj in 10 years time! I was amused coz my dad used the same line with my mom when he built our home.

The Agra Fort was equally grand, and obviously more subjected to the ravages of consequent invaders like the Afghans, Marathas and the British. Agra was my opportunity to download all my history knowledge on poor Shan, and the good sport he is, was all ears to my chance to show-off! I was dejected to hear that Fatehpur-Sikri the ill-fated capital of Akbar was 80kms away...another place i will have to put off to visit for some other day.

At the end of the trip, the poor guy had lost several kilos, missed his mummy and her food, had got severely tanned, was so sick of roti, sabji and daal and kept muttering he wanted chicken and was crying at the kolam he had become...i was really amused with his woes because i never felt any of it...wandering through so many places and situations, the last many years, had hardened me. I dont know when i'll venture out like this many places still out there that entice me, so many years of life left, yet so little time for things like these. Pops calls me up a few weeks back and jokes..."i tell folks who inquire about you...avan civil service paditham onnumalla, Discovery of India ilaanu"!!!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A Vagabond Comes Home...

Every time I decide to let the blogging habit die in me old friends, family or casual acquaintances show concern that leaves me a little perplexed! I have fed everyone with so much juicy details of my life that its become hard for them to detach from me and even harder for me to forsake one more reason to keep blogging. So I guess its fare enough to blog down both the good and the bad bad days.

A Summer of Discontent, And...
When I reached home, I peaked into my spotlessly clean bathroom, the first thought that struck me was what a fine place it would make to sleep unlike my 8ft by 6ft dinghy that served as my room in Delhi made worse by 8 hour blackouts that killed the zest for sleep and aggravated by rains that raised the humidity rather than dipping the mercury. Playing hop-skip-jump on cow-dung littered streets and developing batman like skills to traverse those same streets at night, flea infested bylanes, an array of colds, throat infections and dysentry's that kept dogging me and my friends. It helped though...the dissatisfaction with my surroundings fuelled the interest to venture out to the world around. Delhi's ancient wonders, Agra, Yamunotri, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun, Mussorie, Haryana, Nainital and Mukteshwar...some of the many places I have dreamt of visiting ever since I was a kid...lay conquered at my feet. The trek to Yamunotri was an adventure to paradise...a picture post is on the way!

A Sabbattical at 25
Exactly 12 hours since I am at home. The sights on the train right from the Konkan Coast upto Veli Lake have been so colour in the world makes me so happy as green, The weather in tvm is so pleasant, so balmy...i just love this place. Well, Almost!!! What are your plans...enthaanu ninte future plans...i keep getting the same question from everyone except my parents who have continued to be so wonderful and supportive though i just dont deserve it. Everyone wants to discuss with me, help me out, talk me into a firm decision...i dont blame them, the jiby most of them knew was never like this...noone realizes I just cant be helped. I wonder if i should go back to coding, i wonder if i should go back to the US, i wonder if i should continue with this mockery of a civil service prep that I've lost interest in, i wonder what to do next and all i have is a curious optimism that i will somehow strike a absolute vacuum stares me...but i am oddly happy...i realize this is the hard path to maturity...its sad, everybody would have loved my story to end up like Swades but its turning out all like Varavelpu and I have only my personal failings to blame.

Some New Beginnings...
25 years on earth...yet this fine dawn when i should have have been cozy in bed i woke up to a new win back my health. The few earlybirds must have wondered why a 55kilo crackpot needs to jog but man i feel so good now...i barely could run the 1/2 km to Pattom Junction and struggle back today, but in a month by Sep 15 I will be running all the way to Kawadiar Palace and back. The 6km trek up Yamunotri when we were humbled by several oldies was a wake-up-call as we struggled to catch our breaths and egg our tired bodies on...i realized my body had aged almost 20 years over the last few years of inexercise, poor sleeping habits and irregular diets. The hard part is to win back all the pounds I lost in Delhi...

Books, Movies...and Guilt
I am so in love with reading again. On the two days in train I lapped up The Alchemist and Five Point Someone, both books which had a distant echo of similarities to my personal life. Today I have picked up my uncles novel and am just breezing through it...I need to put up a review on the blog and try to get more of you to read it if it releases in India...problem is i am so proud of his work i wonder if i can be objective...he seems to have kicked up some controversy in the US Church but I think its high time more reforms came up there! Today i wandered around tvm and picked up a jhumpa lahiri and tolstoy from roadside vendors. So many good movies too coming up this Onam. Man i really am having fun...oh shit, the last thing i want to feel is guilt...its odd...peer pressure never bothered me all these years in life but now I think of my friends hard at work and here I am lazing away in the comforts of home. Dang! I am seriously messed up or what.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Whats Cooking, Mom???

Picked this tag up from Silverine. Many years back some regular refrains my mom had to bear with from me was, "ithrem currykale ollo", "inne erachiyum meenum onnum ille". My mom would throw her arms up in the air and remark, "ivaneyokke hostelil vitte padippikkaathathinte doshamaanu"!! Cut to these days, every time I land in tvm, as usual she cooks her best stuff, but i just dont have the stomach to eat all that anymore...i try explaining how i need to return to despair-inspiring food and that too just two times a day and how eating all this would upset my carefully calculated rhythm. But who was I trying to explain to 'Her Eminence'...afterall she is the BOSS in tvm. Over to the 10 best dishes she and my ammachi makes.

1. Cashewnut Curry - It is 4-5 years since I've eaten this one. It is so yummy...i would sacrifice chicken for 6 months if i can get to eat this once more. In the 90's before the Technopark started progressively eating into the Kerala University Karyavattom campus the place was full of cashews and my dad would being sackloads home in summer. One lingering memory is my poor moms fingers which would keep burning for a week with all the "kara" from the cashew.

2. Karimeen Fry - Just once or if we are lucky twice a year we used to get to eat the Karimeen Pollichathu of Karimpankala near Changanasseri but moms decided she needed to end our fascination with the place and soon we were enjoying the same delicious stuff at home instead of drooling over the next trip to that shappu! This time I went home I had Karimeen for one month continuously. She had taught our servant how to cook it before leaving and finally beg with the lady to stop making me anymore karimeen.

3. Chicken Cutlet - Cutlets used to be a horror story till my mom discovered the trick of adding a topping of ruskcrumbs with the egg-white and this became the bofors in her armory. Last year one of my classmates and his wife was visiting us, after eating dinner, i was amused seeing him plead with his wife to learn to make the cutlet.

4. Chicken Biryani - The story of my mom's "CB" includes a fascinating competition she had with her brother who is an excellent cook too and is even vain about it. They both made their biryanis and looked to us, to say whose was better. Finally both of them, had to grudgingly agree they were equally good.

5. Chocolate Cake - It takes a few weeks of pepping up my mom to get her to bake us a cake. So what she does is make a week's stock to shut our mouths for some time. What begins is a game of one-upmanship between my sis and I in raiding the pantry. Very rarely have the cakes survived to see a 3rd day.

6. Crab Curry - One of my favorites for all time. Ofcourse I get the fleshy body parts and leave the limbs to my parents. Last year we were in Baltimore with my cousins and our aunt cooked a huge quantity of crabs and laid it out the patio for us to attack. It was such a wonderful family moment...all of us together and we guys getting to be kids again as we feasted on the talk of marriages, careers and ageing!

7. Putte, Payar & Pappadam - Until this combo came into my life, Putte and Kadala was my favorite dish. The first time my mom laid this out for breakfast I gave a look of horror...wondering how on earth i could mix these seemeingy total opposites together! And thanks to a hereditery gas trouble...i have given kadala goodbyes!!!

My Ammachi's Cooking
1. Kumbalappam, Elayappam, Kozhikotta -
Before ammachi came to live with us in 1990, famished evenings after school was all about eating biscuits, fruit bread or some other crap. Kumbalappam is the most delicious thing i have ever eaten in my life. The flavour that the leaf imparts on this cone-shaped appam is one of life's most pleasing aroma's too. Grandpa planted that at one of our properties in tvm long back...i am amazed at the foresight of these kaaravanmaar. The Elayappam and Kozhikotta was almost a daily affair until we started goin to college and both taste so and cold!

2. Banana Chips - Everytime I look back at one of my most memorable academic achievements, the 12th public exams...the taste of my grandma's freshly fried banana chips and the sweet sound of her snippets of naadan pattukal she would breathe into my ears to keep me awake makes me so nostalgic.

3. ChakkaVazhattiyathu - This takes a painful long time to make, but what a labour of love this thing is. Its irreverently called "jackfruit jam" but i love to eat this to the point of indigestion!!!

Ooh I am fighting hard not to salivate by now!!! Ultimately more than all these the rice, morre curry , a fish fry and a payar thorran are all i need my mom to cook to make me in and day out!!! Mummykuttiye, thanks so much for overcoming all that stress from work, clients and frequent guests to cook what ever we greedily wanted me to eat. I would have loved to add more fotos...but blogger is crapping up on me. Many thanks to my buddy Rajay from whose forward i lifted the fotos above! And most of my blogpals havent taken up this tag yet. So comeon...Thanu, Sarah, Pappanabhan, Neil, Arun Hari, Jofu ... give this a shot!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

He Versus Me...

I looked at the adversary sitting next to me in the darkness. Only our voices spoke to each other. We were like boxers trading punches, not yielding any ground to the other. Noone had derided me, questioned my ideals and labelled me ignorant in quite a long time and what began as a discussion between my pal, Sreehari doing his masters at Haryana Agri University in Hissar where I was visiting him ended up becoming a debate, argument or quarrel as our constrasting beliefs clashed, depending on how a third person percieved the situation. I thought it worth to share with you all some of the stuff we talked as Sreehari's ideas and thoughts are on a plane different from many of us and though I couldnt agree with him on much, its nice to read about the alternative socio-politici-economic systems others think should be in place of the one we fortunately or unfortunately have in place now.

He: I dont agree with the IT Boom happening now, the BPO revolution we see now is making India a slave. Instead of asserting our creative energies we are working cheaply for Uncle Sam and his cronies, bcoz it costs them more there.
Me: Look at the number of jobs this has generated. Havent you thought of the huge urban unemployment crisis that would have been created. For 50 years before the mid-90's what creative resource channelling have we done. Atleast the Brain Drain stands reversed today.

He: Why dont you open your eyes to reality? We are being recolonized again. The WB and IMF keeps pumping in funds and we recieve with open arms. Do you know anything about the Chinese Model and that they dont beg for aid.
Me: In 1991 we were on verge of default and about to pledge our gold. The economic reforms we undertook thanks to the conditional aid they gave us has rejuvenated atleast a part of India. It is the West's helplessness of their lack of manpower to leverage the technological revolution that they are turning to India. It is fiction that our billing rates are dirt cheap. I know Infy bill at more than $25 an hour which is more than my first salary in the US.

He: 65% of India is dependent on agriculture. Compare this with US where only 2% lives on agriculture. Ignoring agri and villages in not the way to gun for development.
Me: I agree. But if you put things in proper perspective you will find that coz we have solved the problem of urban unemployement to a great extent the govt has been freed to pursue rural development now. Havent you read how NREGP, Bharat Nirman and PURA are all doing good work.

He: Gandhi's call to go back to villages and the self-sufficiency inherent in that model would have saved India. The bastard Nehru's socialist industrialisation programme ruined everything.
Me: Cant you guage the enormous amount of responsibilities Nehru worked under. There were communal riots, states reorganization, the kashmir problem, refugees, etc and then india was lacking in any sort of industrialization and only the govt had means to invest money. Until the 1st FYP and 1957 our focus was entirely on agriculture b4 Nehru changed focus to industries and in 1960's green revolution came and we had a food surplus.

He: Whats the use? They havent implemented land reforms except in WB and Kerala. Kerala has been ruined by joining the Indian Union. We were a self-sufficient state. We had the leading spice trade in the world. Today we have to beg to India for everything.
Me: Would Kerala have been able to pay the salaries of our huge edu and medical and other govt employees with just the spices trade? It is meaningless to conjecture separatism today. No state in India can survive by itself. You are not looking for ways to improve the current system but just ranting and raving at it. I have an Indian identity and there are millions of malayalis like me who are proud of it.

Me: Look at Smart City. So many people would have got jobs. That land lies waste now.
He: We dont need Smart City. It is obvious from T&C's that Smart City is a fraud and eitherway if jobs come from selling our land and resources to foreigners to do dirt-cheap work, we dont need those jobs.

He: You are speaking for your class. I expected you to have a voice for the underpriviledged. You are just another bourgeousie.
Me: You speak from outside the system. Your grouse is you feel frustrated at not being able to be part of the changes the 91 reforms brought about. You havent attempted to see the change through millions of young people who can dream of good jobs now and you doint attempt to find out how we can channel these changes to rural India too.

He: You are ignorant and unable to percieve things better. Your class always wants to keep the poor in chains. You are hiding in the convenience of pragmatism like thousands of Indians and dont want any meaningful change in our feudal system.
Me: You speak of idealism and utopian change when it is so hard to bring changes in present system. Good things are happening and you are blind to it coz the changes are not happening the way yo want them to. You look only at the negatives. I am frustrated at your inability to see even a little silver lining.

We ended it there. It had taken harsh tones. We had to use words that fell below the normal courtesies among friends. Somehow we relaxed. An unspoken agreement to not talk on these issues emered. The rest of my time in Hissar was spent in malayalam songs, old memories of schoolife, a junior of his who entertained us to some soulful rendering of Hindustani vocal and a little sightseeing. Meanwhile I am pissed at Manmohan that while he urges G-8 leaders to take a strong stand on terrorism while the best stand he could do was block bloggers like us from talking to the world. Now I want to take you to another scene, another conversation, what you read may disturb you. All this happens only in India!

First Friend: I am sad man. My mind is telling me to cheat. I know I fall in the creamy layer. Its so easy to get an income certificate and so much easier to crack the civil services through the OBC reservation. What should I do?
Second: I made a mistake. I didnot know my community was notified as an OBC. This time I wrote in the General Category. But next time I'll fix it.
Third(a Mallu): When others are manipulating the system why should we be left behind. I decided long back that I would make use of OBC reservation.
Myself(a little uncomfortable, yet unable to muffle a smile): Do you guys know what Narayanamurthy said, "India must be the only country where people fight to be called backward".

Smiles all around. My point was made for a little time but will soon be forgotten. In India our youth are taught to survive at all costs. Morality can come later!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Lets Beat The Block!!!

This Wikipedia link mentions how to evade the block You guys cud use these proxy servers too We were born free! Lets not yield to these bastards!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Blessing in Disguise...

A chance request heralded in a refreshing change in life. My uncle needed a malayalam translation of an interview he gave for his forthcoming novel. I hesitantly embarked on it, scared of not being able to do justice to something that would be appearing in the papers, 10 years after i last wrote something seriously in malayalam, the 10th ICSE exams and barely escaped from disaster. But the words flooded in, the beauty of the malayalam language manifested itself in me, something that never happened in 10 years of cramming malayalam at school. Oh! I have rediscovered a lost love. All the years of wondering whether I squandered a legacy in the mother tongue has lingered like a permanent scar, several times in life i have rued my overt fascination for the english literature at the cost of malayalam, but this time I am determined to make a new beginning.

And so a new beginning, i think i am making...a friend who has come into life like a whiff of fresh air, a person who has begun to make me think in new dimensions, look at human relationships from new perspectives and introduced me to paradigms in philosophy and psychology i had not cared to observe...handed me a collection of 6 scripts of M.T.Vasudevan Nair. I took it up pessimistically, with a valid reason too...none of the 6 films, Kuttiyettathi, Murapennu, Olavum Theeravum, Nirmalyam, Iruttinte Athmave and Kanyakumari...I had not had the priviledge of watching. I wondered how I could relate with it, but what an experience it has been, scripts as a branch of literature have come to stay!! MT's character have so much life and feeling in them, he invests his simple stories with such multi-dimensional relationships and the beauty of his language just leaves you captivated. As I write this, i am a fortunate reader transported to the banks of Bharathapuzha, wondering if characters and families like this still live, whether time has eroded the values, stigmas and burdens these people carried and so much more.

Its been ages since that romantic feeling coursed through my veins, I never thought it possible again...somehow i have become charged and inspired to pick up my pen and start scribbling in malayalam my thoughts, and the also resume an old habit that i thought had died in me...of writing little stories. Its such a painful, tiring be laboring with the language thats my mother tongue, my diary which had for so long been eclipsed by this blog is coming alive again...i know its now or never. Its like the next few months are all I have been given to do all I want, before I sacrifice myself at the altar of what's still a maddening world to me...of careers, consumerism and monotony. When MT talks of silent, sometimes unrequited love i gush at how convincing and universal his characters still are, i wonder if it will remain so for eternity. I once read of how all of MT's male characters are weak, vacilliating, defeated creatures and how somebody wrote a peice called Shantante Amarsham(An Impotent Man's Rage) deriding him...but i now think no amount of criticism can take this man's genius away from him.

Anyways I just cant wait to head back home, walk into DC Books and come out with a shelf-load of modern malayalam literature. All those years in college of fretting at long, boring homilies at Sunday mass where I was more impressed by the command of the priests over the malayalam language rather than the message they strived hard to impart, and the online reading of Manorama, Deepika and Kaumudi must have struck root in me somewhere. Else I wonder how I achieved my little feat of doing the translation...i was about to give up even before i looked at it, but my dad, my most earnest motivator urged me to look at it as an opportunity...tonite as i pen this post down in my diary to take to the cafe and key it down, i wish you readers could feel my euphoria, my excitement and happiness at discovering a lost love. When life gets too boring and that accursed question mark hovers about you...a blessing comes in disguise.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Getting Personal...

Been tagged by Silverine...and i just love to take up tags...nothing better to lighten the mood at this dreary blog of mine.

My Accent - I believe its neutral but I think I have a little South-Indian tinge to it...but not the mallu version of it.

Booze - Was initially a hard-core drunkard. Restricted myself to beer in later college life. Took to Chabillis and Merlot first and then Scotch with a vengeance in the US. Nowadays its beer once a month. If I didnt keep running into old friends still, would have given it up for good.

Chore I Hate - Cooking! I'd rather be washing dishes or sweeping the floor than cooking. Was the source of several tiffs with my roomies and then my sis!

Dog or Cat - Neither. Infact I am scared of all animals!

Essential Electronics - Nothing these days. I am learning to keep life simple these days...wud have given up my fone if not for parents and friends.

Perfume - lol...not the rite question for me...caught in the sweat and toil of natural body odour most of the time...but if ur already letting out a yuckkk...I take 3 baths a day to compensate!!

Gold or Silver - I hate mom makes me wear a gold chain...i comfort myself that it'll be the first thing i pawn when i get into financial trouble!!! But speaking of others, gals certainly look good with a lil gold on them...thats the old-fashioned mallu in me talking!!!

Home - At Pattom in Trivandrum...the place has been my home forever. Its exactly 4 years and one day since i left the cool comforts of my home to make my life...these days i feel like a guest there if not for my sis has left and taken my mom along and dad is always bedroom is twice as big as the rooms i have lived in over the last 4 years and i just cant get used to it!!!

Insomnia - I can stay up all night at will and go to sleep too with the same ease if i choose. But insomnia scares the shit out of wud be really dreadful to be afflicted.

Job Title - IAS "Aspirant" ...hehe

Living Arrangements - Now...dont make me cry!

Most Admirable Traits - I love kids and am always a big hit with them...yeah I am really proud of that fact...nowadays i wonder if thats my only talent!!! And I make sincere efforts to keep my friends in touch with each other...wherever I am. This website and many of the posts in my blog are dedicated to the fond memories they have given me over the years.

Number of Sexual Partners - I am a "loser" in that department. Blame it on years of male bonding and lovable rogues who have orbitted my life thats ensured i never felt discontented and incomplete.

Number of Times in Hospital - Quite a few times. Once for a bike accident and the rest for fevers.

Phobias - Vertigo!!!

Quote - Kittiyaal Ooty Allengil Chatti

Religion - Catholic

Siblings - One Sister...she is stupid but she's still the BEST!(u reading this jish?...hehe...cudnt resist choriyufying)

Time I Wake Up - 10:30am - 12:30 am now that i dont have to work.

Unusual Talent or Skill - Flatter to Decieve!

Vegetable I Love - Cabbage(Thorran)...Infact I am beginning to like all vegetables except abt getting older!!!

Worst Habit - I am too restless...i think it reflects in everything i do.

X-Rays - Once!

Yummy Food I Make - Though I hate to cook, I make excellent Chicken Curry/Fry. And in university, I once made a sizzling Chilli Gobi by accident, this inspired my friends who joined in to cook their specialities and finally we all had a surprise feast, one night...good days come unplanned!

Zodiac Sign - Virgo/Libra Cusp

People I Tag - Reji, Thanu, Geo, Sarah, Anand.K and all my blogpals if u guys are interested.