Tuesday, August 13, 2013

South pause ..

Some where in the world today is still yesterday - International day of the Left handers .

Till we realised our daughters' left orientation , I hadn't paused over the south paw-issue .

Guilty of this .

Our daughter eats , writes with her left and does most of the activities with her left hand . Or atleast tries to , what with most gadgets being made for the 'right' people.

Her frustration with the 'right' scissors makes me deal with some 'wrong ' emotions...

The  health faucet in the toilets ....though we try and get it shifted to the left side at home .

The door knobs , tap movements ..were all struggles till she learnt to do it right .

At the temples ....Sigh.

The priest amidst his chanting will keep saying "valathu " ,valathu" to her and she will look up at me ,helplessly ...

Along with the lord , some 'archanai' in chaste Tambram tamizh willcome my way too, from the priest for not bringing up the children properly and so on and so forth .

Many times I 've tried explaining.  Only to hear more unsolicited advice.

Once a priest assuming the role of a mentor , told her why she should not be using her left hand for taking Prasad etc.. She was about 6 years old and had no inhibitions whatsoever ..And pat came the reply - " But we have health faucets at home " !

What ensued is a much BTDT moment for most of us , with the temple priest lamenting  about how kids these days answer back..and we don't bring them up teaching  temple etiquette etc etc etc..and finally blaming it all on "kali kaalam " .

One of the very very few moments when I used all my will power and restraint to keep my mouth shut .

When will the society learn to differentiate between habits , character and character forming habits ?

She abhors temple visits . If she has no choice, just moves away when the prasad / deepa / Theertham is given out .

"It's okay ma, god will bless me anyway..I dont want that mama to scold me and you also if I stretch my left hand "...

That's not all. The way some mami's and mama's stare at her in disbelief at family functions during lunch and alternate between curious looks at her and accusatory looks at the mother ( ME !) .

After much practice and patience I have perfected the "SO,? " look now after which we share a good chuckle !

While we read up to find out so many celebrities being left handed ..which does help in building better self-worth as they claim to have  sharper brain , artistic talents et al ..

Being "left" out is definitely right for making her strong emotionally and believing in herself .

Awareness . Is the key . Being left is absolutely right . Correcting that could lead to stammering and other emotional problems in children .

This is my bit to spread awareness about left handed ness.

And please don't call them "lefties " .

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Miracles ..never mere coincidences .

We woke up to a beautiful bright sunny morning at Bali. After three days of sight-seeing  and adventure sports, decided just to stay back and bask in the beach .

Right from the moment we landed all of us felt so much at home ..what with the familiar Hindu god's sculptures here and there and the warm friendly smile of the locals.

Didn't realize we had spent the entire day at the beach with the children making sand castles and enjoying the low tide, while we relaxed with a book.

We could have easily bagged the "most -over-dressed " couple award at Bali beach if there were one!

It was five in the evening. We still didn't have the heart to get back to our room. S and  S decided they wanted to go cycling along the shores and went ahead hiring off-roader bikes for two hours.

We decided to follow them ,walking. What bliss, not knowing what to do! And it was a record of sorts without the Cell phones which we had left behind at the room.

After half an hour or so  we realized  we had lost sight of our bikers .. so sat perched on a rock and waited for them , assuming they would come back the same way . By now we had crossed our resort and were at the backyard of the next resort.,all the while enjoying the sprays from the sea and the lovely cool breeze.

Life couldn't have been better.

It was forty minutes past six PM. No sign of my children yet. Suddenly we realized something was not alright, and a chill ran through my spine. Didn't have the guts to verbalize what was going through in my mind.
In these two hours  they must have reached the end of the beach stretch and entered the Bali town ..A crowded market-place, where very few spoke very little English.

We had the same thought in mind and started walking briskly asking every passer-by from the opposite direction , if they saw two Indian children in bikes,with few words and lot of gestures. No one  seemed to have seen Indian Children ..and we were not sure if they understood what we were looking for ....

My husband asked me to wait there ,in the middle of nowhere and started walking faster ahead . By now it had become dark ..Seven  pm. I was totally blank and blinded too. There were very few walkers .. and a few Balinese Snack vendors selling seafood .

The beach, the sound of the waves all reminded me of my early growing up years at Pondicherry, and I thought of ' Mother ' to help protect my children and bring them back safe.

A few more passed by who just wouldn't get what I was trying to say .A group of young lads started teasing me if I knew to sing  'Chaiya chaiya ' . Harmless people, usually. But all alone with no one else in sight up to 50 yards either side sent chills down my spine. .

Saw someone who looked like an American coming from the opposite direction with earphones ... I thought this would be my last chance and stopped her and asked her if she saw 'two Indian kids ' ..all the while wondering if she knew English and whether she wouldn't mind being disturbed .

Much to my relief, she asked me in English why I was crying and asked if she could help?  That was the tipping point ..I didn't realize I was literally in tears all this while ( So used to crying all these years and not just shedding tears .Sigh )

I barely managed to tell her what had happened. And she dropped a bomb saying that she has been walking from the town end and hadn't seen any Indian kids.
My children lost.My husband gone behind them. I was on the beach side all alone with nothing to aid me ..no purse ..no phone ..the room keys with husband ..and the resort far behind for me to walk back alone .
It was 8 pm by now .
The kind soul who was god sent ..assured me she will stay with me till I find them all as if reading my mind pleading her to be with me and not go.

The dark beach looked a little scary now. The waves were angry ..The darkness isturbing . The same beach that looked so innocent and warm and beautiful ????

She put her arms around me and said "I am a mother too " ..Just when I had mentally surrendered to 'mother ' ( Pondicherry Aurobindo Ashram ) and started chanting my Buddhist prayer .

I am a mother too . These words still ring in my ears after Three years.

For a moment, I wanted to believe it was 'mothers' message to me. The lady suggested that we walk back to the resort .and take the help of the front desk or Police ..Not a mere coincidence that she was put up at the same resort as we were.

I had no option and thought it best to call the Police. ...So turned around and started walking along with her .. in Total Silence.

8.30 Pm .. Reached where I started so happily ..Life had turned upside down in a matter of two hrs.

I showed  the God sent 'mother ' where the kids had hired bikes by pointing to that place ..and I saw The two Indian Kids sitting quietly so close to each other and watching the Balinese Dance that was going on at the Seaside restaurant .

I just took a sprint ( PT Usha would have lost to me for sure ) and went to my Children. Who seemed okay till then, but started howling the moment they saw me. Nothing else mattered at that moment. And ever Since.

They became more precious than before.

"Where did you leave us and go ?" They spat out at me ..mmm. Why is it that everyone always asks me what I want actually to ask them ??

By now my husband had also reached back and saw me with the children.

And for the first time we saw him crying ..not the time to tease so reserved it for later )

The lady who gave me companyand strength in that hour of dire need - was watching all this with a smile and so very fondly said "there , that's a lovely family reunion " and told us  she is part of the Intel Delegation there and left .

I am not even sure if I appropriately thanked her ...with words. But for her  I would have been utterly devastated in the strange situation. Truly God sent. She is always in my prayers ever since along with all 'mothers '.

DH and I had lost the power to speak by then ..while we listened to our kids narrate they had taken a curve along the end of our resort and got back to the resort. Why ? Because they didn't want to pay fine returning the Bikes late .Phew !

While we had missed the curve and went on and on walking ...crying ..imagining all things that could go wrong ....

My children  even went to the room to check if we were there. Came back to where we would search for them and sat  . Wonder how they found the way to the room without getting lost in that huge resort.

Smart kids .
Foolish Parents .
Kind Souls.
God sent messages.
Happy moments .
Panicky moments .

Miracles ..never mere coincidences .

PS :
Would you blame my DH for those angry , hopeless look when I said , I would like to go along the same way and tell the person about "Chaiya chaiya" song !

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

ROTFL ..me and my hum-suffer

It happened precisely 19 years back when verbal flourishes like 'LOL' and 'ROTFL' were non existent. Wonder how I survived without these linguistic leanings, given my demonstrated skills at getting into a giggling fit every now and then  Now.

A genetic disorder which runs in the family for sure. I  just cannot articulate in a polite / politically appropriate way , what havoc it can do to the over-the-hill female family members!

Just married, and dreamy and still with full hope that one day 'my newly married husband' will come home with flowers humming a Rafi song, which I want him to hum.

Sigh ..he still hasn't figured out the song.Never mind. I can manage with the original one.

Being a firm believer of "Do unto others what you would have done to you ", way back then,  decided to surprise my husband. Subtle hints, Broad statements - Declarative, interrogative ..nothing ever worked. Nothing will work. ( Doing English grammar lessons with my 4th grader !)

Flowers ..??? Nay, He would most probably ask 'wow! Who gave you ?" Arghhhh..

Food ?? Very complicated and tricky way to reach a mans' heart through his stomach. Given my sense of direction, I am sure to get lost/ stuck midway.

Finally decided on surprising him with wearing a saree that he had gifted me before our marriage, all the while praying that he remembers that fact and hoping he doesn't  deflate my spirits by asking, " Is this your sisters ?"  or something more blasphemous.

All set. Came back home early from office and made sure he started from work and was heading home. It used to take exactly 45 minutes those days from Airport road ( old ) to Vijayanagar where we used to live, in his Suzuki Samurai.

And I used to know exactly when he arrives from the sound of his bike.So timed it accordingly and stood behind the door. ( All the drama club experience from school days came in handy ).
Heard the Suzuki Samurai sound,.Parked. Climbing the stairs now. Anytime he would be here .. ready, steady, opened the door .and waited behind the door.Thankfully I didn't yell " surprise " LOL !( I feel utterly silly now ..and ROTFL ..wonder how I felt then standing behind the door all decked up.)

No sound. Just a feeble, " madam".

I Was so confused, terrified ..and horrified till I saw the Milkman with the monthly bill in his hand.

The milk vendor's  expression cannot be put down in words, as he saw me come from behind the fully open door-All decked up.

Don't even want to think about what went on his mind.LOL !

Walks in our man, after having a chat with our neighbor and losing a few precious moments in the banter.  And from my looks he knew something terrible had happened!

I must have giggled and laughed my heart out for close to an hour that day ..and there was no "ROTFL"  lingo to come to my aid.

All my man managed to say was, ' you should have warned me about the surprise .'  Do you get the Drift? Sigh .

No more surprises for anyone . Especially the milk vendor. No more warnings too.

Predictably, the milk vendor sent his brother from the next month to collect his dues .. And I used to get the feeling that he was updated about what happened behind the door ..by his smirk and bewildered look, while all I managed to do was ROTFL!

I certainly think I have come a long way,from behind the door. ROTFL !  15 pounds ago probably there wasn't any need to go rolling anywhere!LOL !

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Post Perla - Post !

Perla  Post !

Perla'ed again .. Yes , it has become a verb ! Was fortunate to attend the 25th camp . As always ,had to bend backwards , roll up the world and do a cart wheel of sorts before finally catching the 'about-to-be-be missed Bus .Phew !

Well worth all the gymnastics though.The entire Kasargod belt was rain soaked and was so very lush and beautiful. So good to see the regulars and lots of new faces  ..Was such a fun group , I must say !

Day 1 : Warmed up with Maya malava gowla swara exercise followed by Hoova Tharuvara which was taught last time .

Varmaji ..taught  a crisp, rare , Deekshitar Krithi -Panchabhootha Kiranavalim in raag Kiranavali ( The Deekshidar school equivalent of Keeravani ) with a typical Deekshidar style chiseled chittaswaram. This was preceded  by a brief  intro into Deekshitar’s  Asampoorna Mela system .

Kiranavali…Systematic  Swara exercise as usual ! This kiranavali more than made up for the lack of sun light there.

Very magnanimous of him to teach this as he still hasn’t released this in any of the concerts .

Lalith Gowri  or Manorama ( as christened by Dr BMK ) a dwimadhyama raga followed . Not a concert piece  as Varmaji  explained , a  meditative / soulful  Swathi krithi was taught in this raga . Bhajat murali murari Sundar Jamuna kinare … True to what he said and taught , this krithi and the raga lend itself to lot of improvisation .  

Day 2 : What followed was a real surprise ! A vivadi Raga Ganamurthe ! And it was not Thyagayyar ‘s  Ganamurthe .. Shri S D Batish a Hindustani musician is the only musician to have delved into the Carnatic Melakarta system and has composed and tuned in all the 72 mela ragas . Each of his composition spells out the lakshana of the chakra it belongs to , and about the ragas .

Varmaji , shared his knowledge on vivadi ragas and the absence of g1, r3, and d3 in the Hindustani Thaat or raga classification system vis-à-vis  the Carnatic Melakartha system of Venkatamakhi.

The sweet composition went like this :

Indu chakre mein kanakangi aur ratnangi jab aaye

Tritiya mel bhir Ganamurthiko

Guni jan sab mil gaye …


This krithi too had a chittaswaram. It was like a capsule with raga lakshana codified . Great work by Shri S D Batish ji. ..And grateful to Varmaji for exposing us to such a treasure . Cant wait to checkout the remaining 71.  S D Batish  foundation could help us here .

Friendship Day ! The diverse group at the camp , in my opinion epitomizes friendship across all barriers . Due to the lovely monsoon this time we had lot more friends ..some on 4 legs , 8 legs , creepy , crawly ..slimy Leeches included . Found a very beautiful Snail / Leech variety which when touched would coil up into a Ball with its shell and start rolling down like a polished pebble !

Purano sei diner kotha … A Tagore song on two long lost friends …was taught as a toast to friendship day . There couldn’t have been a more appropriate song .

This being an auspicious month in the Hindu Calender  Yogesh Sharmaji had arranged for Havans at the camp. Ganapathi havan and Durga pooja in the evening . The Perla kids so beautifully rendered Omkarakarini and Kaumari gowri velavali, in total sync. Cant stop marveling their group singing abilities ..you would just hear one voice !

Got to know that Gangeya vasadhara was taught on the last day . A lovely Hamir kalyani , Swathi Thirunal Krithi .

Heart  full.  Mind nourished . The attention seeking , tantrum throwing , tired limbs can cry all they want , While I plan my next trip likely to be on Nov 28,29, and Dec 1st .

Stay tuned . And Plan for Perla’ing !