Categories
Awards

On awards (Thanks, Pix)

I am very much like Aamir Khan..I do not accept awards. The reason: Because I do not receive any. Ha ha ha.

And just when I was beginning to lose all hope of ever being able to reject an award, dear Pixie sent me these. Thank you, Pixie, for the awards… these are my very first awards since I started blogging a year ago. I very much appreciate it.

I would like to award the nice shiny silver cup to Ozzy, Shubha, Moggies, Roopa, Yuva, Ratna, Supriya, Shail, Pavithra.

The ‘Blogger for Peace’ is formally awarded to RituCastelgard, Unchaahi and Ganga.

Categories
Incidents Thought and Reason

Names and more…

Why does Sandhya turn into ‘Sandy’ and Karamjit into ‘Kam’?
Beautiful Chitralekha turns ‘Chitz’ and pretty Padma becomes ‘Paddy’
Why, even Ramya fizzles into ‘Rumz’ !

Why? why? Why?

– Palls

 

😉

Categories
Book review

On people and their bias against India

Just posted this comment here, on the book review of Muslim Portraits: Everyday Lives in India.

I am so fed up of reading about India being UNFAIR to its minorities. Have you ever heard of another country in the world where the minorities and castes categorised as ‘backward’ command a bulk of the reservations in fields like education ?

If India were such a frightening place to live in, the Muslims would have all fled to Pakistan and Bangladesh by now.

We grew up in a neighbourhood where there was a Church, a Mosque and a Temple, all within 5 minutes of each other. And I’ve never seen a problem in the last 30 years!! This isn’t to say that the whole of India is that way. I am sure however, that those who crib and grumble and complain about racism in India, know fully well, that they are most at home here, than in any other Muslim country.

So please, stop inciting/encouraging anti-Hindu and anti-India sentiments.

Let’s work towards fostering peace and love, and not anger and hatred.

To add to the above, only in India, do we have a National Holiday for Christmas and Bakri Id. Do Pakistan or USA have a Bank Holiday for Deepavali ?? What is wrong with the people who claim to be advocating the cause of the minorities? Are they trying to be bullies? Or cry-babies??

Time to ponder.

Categories
Short story

The advent of spring

Bama sat by the window, watching her daily TV soap. It was another hot Sunday afternoon, a day when the family was at home. Unwinding from the stressful week that passed, planning for another one ahead.

Sundar walked in slowly, and sat on the unmade bed. ‘Yenna?’ (‘what) She looked enquiringly. From outside the four walls of their room, came the sound of cupboards being emptied, of sofas being dusted, and the house being hoovered. Bama had heard the noise all afternoon, and was eager to know what was going on.

‘Spring-cleaning’, Sundar said, as if answering her unspoken question. Fifty years of marriage had made them almost telepathic!

‘Oh…’, she nodded.

‘Yes…cleaning. You know, throwing away the old stuff, rubbish…’

‘Goooood..’ she started, but before she could complete, Sundar cradled his head in his hands and wept softly.

Bama raised her hand to caress him, but it failed her and slipped to the side of her leg, just around the brakes of her wheel-chair. Her eyes began to water too.

After a while, Sundar looked up tiredly at her. She had rarely seen him like this. He had always been her rock of Gibraltar. Bama looked anxiously at her husband. He finally spoke, through the almost-deafening noise of the vaccuum-cleaner, ‘I found the old murukku-maker. You know, the one over which you fought with my mother’ Bama smiled. He never lost a chance to take a dig at her. ‘It was thrown with the junk’.

‘Hmm..tch..Ok’ she managed to reply.

‘I miss your cooking, you know. And your presence. I mean, outside these four walls.’

Bama looked at the patterned floor, and smiled sadly. Three years of an extreme Parkinsons condition had left her confined to this room. The wheelchair was a recent addition, but didn’t quite help her.

Sundar raised her hands to his face, and kissed them gently. ‘You were always the stronger one. You know, never falling ill. Always bustling about. Dominating everything…everyone…’, he cunningly added. Bama raised her eyebrows. She couldn’t help smiling. Though, she loved the way he made her smile. And he loved the way she smiled.

‘Weeee…weee cleeeaaaan?’ she suddenly asked, her eyes shone with their familiar sparkle. He looked at her questioningly. She motioned to their old wooden cupboard. He walked towards it, and it yielded to his touch, with a noisy creak. There were small, neat piles of faded clothes. He threw his hands up in the air, and exclaimed ‘Throw them all!!’ ‘Noo’… Bama shook her head sideways. ‘Womenkind!’, he huffed.

Sundar placed the draws on the bed, where Bama could see them clearly. As they sifted through, it brought back a flood of memories. Their wedding saree. A maroon silk one, the thin gold zari almost faded into oblivion. Bama and Sundar giggled as they remembered the crowded hall in which their entire family had slept on the night of their wedding. Brothers, sisters, neices and nephews sprawled across the room. The newly-weds had enclasped tingling fingers, eagerly awaiting the honeymoon they had planned to their uncle’s place in Bombay!

From an old biscuit-tin popped a few tiny small-sized clothes. ‘Shyam’s baba-suit’, Sundar murmered. Bama blinked away a few rebellious tears and smiled. ‘Time flies’, he added. From a tattered cream-and-gold embroidered bag dropped a handful of little wooden toys. A faded blue train. A chipped yellow saucer. And various other symbols of a vibrant past that tinkled with the sound of happy children and saved up pennies.

Hidden beneath the layers was a small black book. Sundar opened the book and lovingly traced his fingers over the pages. There, was a photo of a happily married couple. Young and healthy. A modest white-washed house in the background. Two robust little children hanging by their arms. An infectious sparkle in the woman’s eyes. A grim rock-like expression in the man’s. Stolidly taking on the world, each day, as it came by.

Time stood still, as Bama and Sundar relished their past.

Until there came a knock on the door. Shyam walked in, carrying a bundle of newspapers. ‘Do you have any junk that I can throw?’

Sundar shook his head and looked towards Bama for her assent, as he always did.

‘We really need the space Amma, for Adi’s stuff’, Shyam added persuasively.

Bama nodded, and pointed to the pile of clothes. Sundar quickly hid the photo-album under a pillow.

‘Woaoow…sure you don’t want these?’, asked Shyam.

‘Its OK. Keep the toys if you like. For your baby!’, answered Sundar.

‘Huh!’ Shyam smiled, all the time, staring at his parents. They looked so different.

As Shyam walked out, Sundar gently touched Bama’s cheek, and said, ‘Let’s go for a walk, darling’. Bama nodded happily. Sundar wheeled her out of the house.

Shyam watched as they walked away into the setting sun. And suddenly realised, ‘They look happy today…well, almost young!’

Categories
Incidents

Christmas in Recession

The world may be in recession, but the Christmas spirit is not dampened yet. A walk into Canary Wharf last night proved us right. The sky-scrapers blinked office lights within, while leafless trees outside stood stolidly, with lovely blue-white decorative lights adorning them. At the entrance of every building stood atleast one beautifully-decorated Christmas tree, that did much to considerably liven up the place. And if this isn’t enough to boost your spirit, take a look at the Big Christmas prizes you could win at the My Voucher Codes site. Its worth a click, anyway.

Cheerio!

Categories
Book review

P.S. I Love You – Book review

All the while I was reading this book, I kept wondering if I had read it before. Why was it  ‘Oh! So familiar!’. Until I realised that this was a neat concoction of various familiar movies/books. Erich Segal’s “Love Story”, “Oliver’s story”, Sex and the City, and oh yes, “The Devil wears Prada”.

“P.S. I Love You” is about Holly, a young widow, trying to cope with life after the death of her beloved husband, Gerry.

What I liked about the book was its detailed characterisation and imagery. I feel like I personally know the Kennedys and all of Holly’s friends. Extremely well-described emotions like anguish, anger and desolation made me grab a handkerchief rather often! Equally so, I couldn’t stop myself from giggling at the funnier moments (as in ‘Girls and the city’).

My only grudge is that the book seemed to drag in a few places. And the names of the lead characters. Don’t “Holly and Gerry” have an eerie resemblance to “Ollie and Jenny” from “Love Story” ?! The sad part is, unlike ‘Ollie’, who was more in control of himself, ‘Holly’ seems to drown in self-pity. Which made me ponder on this: Universally, why should a widow grieve while a widower is expected to move on ?!

Nevertheless, what with the overwheming recession et al, one might as well grab a copy of this book, and enjoy crying over the mush.

—–

P.S: I sorely miss my girlfriends after reading this book!!

Categories
Incidents Thought and Reason

Back home

How do I describe the feeling of returning to a foreign land that has been ‘home’ to me, for the last few years, but still remains as ‘foreign’ as it was when I first landed here?! Despite having established a few precious relationships of ‘friendship’, the fact remains that I’m miles and miles away from that hot, sunny, crowded, polluted and most beloved hometown called ‘Chennai’. So, to those of you who do live in your birthplace, or the place you have grown up in, I just want to say, you are blessed!! Keep happy, people 🙂

Categories
Incidents Thought and Reason

On the Mumbai attacks

This is in response to Kristof’s essay on the recent Mumbai attacks.

Mr.Kristof,

Congratulations on a well-written and politically correct essay. But that’s where the kudos end. And the anger begins.

For the harsh reality of Pakistan hiding behind a transparent veil of self-proclaimed innocence is not brought to light.

As regards ‘the olive branch’ extended by the right hand (of Pakistan) – well… well … didn’t you notice an AK-47 hidden by the left hand, the finger firm on the trigger in full readiness to blow us apart ?

You refer to Hindu extremists provoking the minorities in India. What then, about the Muslim terrorists holding the entire world to ransom ?!

Please note – if India were such a frightening place to live in, the Muslims would have all fled to Pakistan and Bangladesh by now. The reason they still inhabit India is because India is a wonderful country.

A country – where they are as much at home as are the Hindus – where they demand privileges and concessions. Have you heard of this happening in any other country? Does your country, for example, have special quotas (in education/work opportunities) for Hindus in that country ??!!

As regards Kashmir, I am sure, all that the Kashmiris want is to be left alone. But if they are left alone, Pakistan would infiltrate into Kashmir and flourish their machine-guns at India, demanding next for Delhi.

No, Mr. Kristof, there is no end to this tug of war between Pakistan and India.

Tensions will escalate and economies will be battered. Time and again. Until Pakistan GENUINELY leaves India alone.

With regards,
– A frustrated and angered Indian citizen

Categories
Incidents Thought and Reason

Where The Mind is Without Fear

I am (as are millions of Indians around the world) yet to recover from the shock of what has happened in Bombay (I can never call it ‘Mumbai’).

And what shocks me is not just the audacious terrorist attack. It is the sheer lackadaisical attitude of our Indian politicians.

How did they have the ba**s to make the following remarks in public:

…that ‘one or two such incidents happen in big cities’?

…that ‘ladies wear lipstick’ and divert attention from the main cause ?

…that ‘The 2 hours delay caused in the NSG’s arrival did not make a big difference’? (courtesy: Abshiek Singh Sanghvi)

…that ‘even a dog would not go there’!

Today, I am thoroughly ashamed of my government. And completely embarassed to see the knee-jerk and utterly CALLOUS reactions of the politicians to the crisis that has just passed by us like a dark cloud.

Today, I am afraid. For my life.

Afraid to visit the theatre.

Afraid to spend time bargaining over knicknacks in the usually crowded streets.

Afraid to visit the bank. The mall. The bazaar!!

Every time I venture out, I wonder – “what if” the terrorists stormed this very street? How will I get back home to my child ?

 

*****   Is ‘living with fear’ the only road ahead ?     *****

 

I am sadly reminded of Tagore’s poem…Where The Mind is Without Fear

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow
 domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the
 dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought
	and action--
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

      -- Rabindranath Tagore


We are a zillion years away from this dream....