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Sunday Melancholy

It is weird. This feeling of homesickness.

No matter which country I am in (even if I am in my hometown), come Sunday evening, and I feel a strange sense of melancholy and homesickness. I cannot understand why it is so.

Perhaps in my childhood, it was pre-Monday blues that dampened the excitement of a Sunday evening. Or maybe it was because everything was shut on a Sunday evening as we retired to a quiet, almost isolated existence, in contrast with a normal day that bustled with activity and with the company of friends and neighbours.

Still, that simply does not explain why two decades later, I still feel strangely sad and homesick every Sunday! Even when I am at home. Even when I do not have to go to school or work tomorrow.

For no obvious reason, I have this weird feeling on Sunday evenings. Its like I am choked. Like I’m scared. Of what? I have no clue.

Do you feel this way any time?

Any pointers?

Categories
Incidents MommySpeak Thought and Reason

Reverend Father

Rev. Father

The Principal of a boys only school. He was jovial, old and respectable. The boys loved him. The parents respected him immensely. He was after all, ‘Reverend Father’.

He was kind to the boys, and insisted on meeting the friends and relatives of the boys. So every fun-fair day, or ‘fancy fete’ day, as it was called in those times, the boys would take their sisters and their friends to show them around the school. Rev. Father would call them into his room. Brightly-lit, spacious room, the shelves respectably lined with thick volumes. The children loved the room. It was, after all, the safe haven that belonged to ‘Reverend Father’.

Rev. Father would always offer the children lollipops. While the boys sat on the chair opposite the huge teak wood table, Rev.Father would call the girl over to his side. One hand would go protectively around the back of the little 6 or 7 year old child, drawing her close to him. The huge table almost hiding her, so her brother/friend could only see her neck and above. Rev.Father would stoop to the child’s level, and ask normal questions very kindly, ‘What is your name, my child?’ ‘What does your daddy do?’. You know, the sort of questions any caring, elderly person would ask!

While in the meanwhile, his right hand would creep up the little child’s thighs, get into her panty, and fiddle away, until the barrage of questions stopped. Usually, the child would remain silent. WHAT DOES A 6 YEAR OLD KNOW OR UNDERSTAND?

* First, the child is taken aback.

Second, the child is confused.

Third, the child has no escape!!

Once her turn was over, he would give her more lollipops, and wait serenely for the next child.

So this went on, until one of the kids realised SOMETHING WAS WRONG, and complained to her mother. The mother was SHOCKED. She questioned the other children’s parents. Then, she was FURIOUS.

Reverend Father had molested several little girls who had entered his room. Sadly, some of the boys even KNEW ABOUT IT, and despite that, they went ahead and brought their unsuspecting friends to him.

And then what?

Well, what do you expect? A Bolly-wood style Morcha? A protest or a people’s movement against the sick Rev.Father? A formal complaint against him, after which he was thrown out from his post, or probably even imprisoned and punished?

Ha! HA! HA!

Nothing happened.

It was best to keep quiet. Nobody would believe it. Nobody would talk about it. He was above all this. It was a respectable colony. A respectable school. A calm and wonderful neighbourhood. All that was not to be sullied. It was best to keep quiet, and avoid the sleazy old man.

He was, afterall, ‘REVEREND FATHER’. 

IF YOU THINK SOMETHING IS WRONG , FIGHT IT

This happened two decades ago.

I wonder, had this happened today, will our reaction be any different?

Will we fight child abuse? Will we take up the issue with other parents, will we protest against such molestors? Will we put any effort to get such perverts punished?

Or will we, as always, simply ‘hush’ it?!!!!

To read more about Child Abuse Awareness, please head over here.

Categories
55-er Short story

Sparkling eyes – 55 word fiction

Pick-up time. The children chattered excitedly, as rains lashed.

A little girl quietly waited for Nanny.

‘Sofia!’

She looked up, surprised. Her eyes sparkled.

She ran and hugged the woman.

The woman pushed her away.

‘I only came because its raining. Can’t come everyday Ok?’ she snapped.

‘Yes Mummy’ Sofia nodded.

The sparkle had disappeared.

PS: I actually witnessed this incident when I went to collect my son from school this evening (names have been changed.. rather, assumed). One moment, the little girl was so excited. The next moment, it was all gone. Like a balloon had been deflated.

I wonder how many times we behave like that Mother. Not realising that the absence of a smile, or a hug, can dampen the spirit of our beautiful precious children? Don’t mean to be preachy, but I do hope, we will more consciously try, to reciprocate the wonderful and endless love that our children shower on us….

Categories
Food and recipe

Friday Feast – Fussy eaters!

This one is for mommies and daddies of children who happen to be fussy eaters 🙂 A lunch-box idea that is really and truly easy peasy for the parent, and even easier for your child!

(Apologies for the poor picture quality).

 

No kid can refuse this colourful and balanced meal

 

1- Roughly chop veggies like baby corn, carrot, beans, capsicum (green, red, orange and yellow – really just any colour available), cabbage and a little onion if you please. Stir-fry these for about 5 mins in a teaspoon of oil, add a pinch of salt. Add some cooked white rice (basmati makes a great combination).

2- Complement the rice with a few cherry tomatoes and fruits like apple, grapes or peeled orange.

Voila! Your child has a lovely balanced meal!! And the chances are pretty good, that he/she will gobble this up without making a fuss. Mine did 🙂

Happy weekend, girls and boys 🙂 and uncles and aunties 🙂

Categories
Incidents

On making a difference

Year 2010 just began. And its nearly over too! Where do the days and years disappear? Days filled with insignificant, mundane chores! Days centred around our pretty selves!!

Perhaps, it is time to take some effort to ‘make a difference’ to those who really need help!

The Ojas Trust does precisely that. The Ojas is a Registered Educational and Charitable Trust.

Please do read their website to learn about all the fantastic work they are doing to help people who aren’t as fortunate.

A quick summary of their projects:

1. To mark its grand opening, The Ojas has adopted “Irular Colony”, near Ponneri, 75 kms from Chennai. The colony has about 1000 residents in 120 tiled and thatched huts. They don’t have access to drinking water and electricity. The Ojas is negotiating with the government to ensure that by end of project, the Colony has these two basic needs. Also, for Diwali 2010 – The Ojas is distributing new clothes to all the inmates along with Rice & Grains. The colony still needs lot of work …and we need you to help us with this! Please contact for more information – projects@theojastrust.org

2. The 12th Blood Donation Camp is scheduled to be held on Nov 14th, 2010 between 9.00 am and 12.30 pm at Aditya Ashwin Apts, Dr.Ranga Road, Mylapore, Chennai – 600 004. Additionally, we will be serving food to all the donors and volunteers on this day.
3. In order to spread awareness, The Ojas is also inviting people to come forward to “Donate Eyes”. Forms are available with representatives. The duly filled forms can be returned to us, which will be in turn deposited at “C U Shah Eye Bank, Sankara Nethralaya”.  Interested people may please contact Priya at 98840 36200 or email her- priya@theojastrust.org

4. Another new endevour of The Ojas to increase environmental responsibility is planting 86 fruit bearing coconut trees in Magaral Village, Tamil Nadu.

5. Representatives of The Ojas have personally visited and surveyed 18 homes (including baby-care units, orphanages, old-age homes, etc.,) in and around Chennai. The sum total of the needs have been clearly listed below.

• 2 ton AC for a Baby Care Unit

• 20 Steel Single Cots for a Old-Age Home

• Fans & Tubelights (50 numbers)

• Huggies (Different Sizes)

• Grinders/Mixie/Washing Machine

• Bedsheets & Pillow Covers

• Mike with Amplifier & speakers

• Large sized Aluminium vessels for cooking purposes

• Pressure Cooker (20 ltr size)

• Steel plates and tumblers (Over 500)

• Wax for candle making (Over 200 kgs)

• Tea Powder (Over 100 kgs)

6. The Trust will also be distributing 250 “AkshayaPatra” Bags that contain Rice, grains, pulses, oil, toilet & sanitational needs etc that cost Rs.2000 per bag. Each of these 250 bags will be given to Irular Colony and inmates of Leprosy Village.
7. Rice, pulses and grains in bulk quantities purchased for these homes. The requirement for each home varies from 100 kgs of rice to 50 kgs of dhal, oil, sugar, etc…

I just received this email:

Our first Grama Seva (Village Project) happened on October 24th 2010 in the Irular Village near Ponneri, Chennai. The inhabitants of more than 800 people were each given new clothes and sweet & savories. Additionally, every family (120 families) were given 25 kilos of rice and the Akshayapatra Bags. The Ojas Trust also gave large amounts of used clothes and other usable household things (such as mixie, vessels, umbrellas, etc..etc…) to the villagers. Chairs, large sized cloth mats (to be used on the floor) were given to the school.

About 35 volunteers representing The Ojas reached the village at about 10.00 hrs. The crowd was waiting in anticipation for their goodies. The organised crowd who were given tokens came forward to receive their gifts. Our volunteers went along personally to place the bags of rice in their respective homes. The village roads were in bad shape owing to rain the previous evening. The place immediately needs proper sanitation and that would soon be the area of focus of The Trust.



We sang devotional songs at the end of the distribution, made photographs along with the villagers and bid them farewell promising to come back again with more concrete plans. The school needs PRIORITY attention. The flooring is almost absent and children are often bit by insects as they sit inside the school. The leaking roof adds to the agony.

Those of us who are interested in promising these people better sanitation and a better environment to study – please write to us at –projects@theojastrust.org

Here is a picture update of the project! Thanks to all of you who made this project a reality! We look forward to your continued support!

If any of you would like to volunteer your services (or money too), please email priya@theojastrust.org


If any of you would like to volunteer your services (or money too), please email priya@theojastrust.org

Priya happens to be my ‘schoolmate’, and I can completely vouch for her genuineness!!

Categories
Humour Incidents MommySpeak

A for appal, B for ball

R’s school serves the kids a few pieces of fruit every day, at snack time. Milk too, which R promptly pours out into some other child’s tumbler! Fruit, he eats, I presume!

Every day, I ask him the same question: ‘What did you eat today?’ And every day, he gives me the same answer: ‘Appal‘. Today was slightly different. This is how:-

Me: What did you eat today?

R: Appal. A for Appal.

Me: Wow! (Clearly impressed, that the school is teaching him to relate alphabet to objects)

R: B for Ball.

Me – excited, wanting to hear more!: Well done! And ‘C’ is for…. ?

R: C for Cider!!!

***@@@%%% WTH??!!!!***@@@%%%

Categories
Incidents Thought and Reason

On weather and forecasts

Back home (and to me, home always means my maternal home. And that, by the way, is a small 2BHK in Chennai, and not some sort of ‘ancestral property’ as the words ‘maternal home’ might unwittingly indicate 😉 )…well, back home, we never EVER checked weather forecasts. It was always hot. Hot, hotter, hottest (as my Mum would describe our Chennai weather). So the question of looking forward to hearing the weather forecast never occurred! To me, ‘weather forecasts’ simply meant a sweet smiling bimbo (sorry!) with absolutely straightened hair, smiling from an NDTV news channel and talking about rain or sun across different parts of India.

So when we moved to the UK, it came as quite a cultural shock to me, that the weather could change practically every hour!! In the peak of summer, for instance, we would step out of our apartment, wearing nothing more than a Tee and jeans. Halfway down the road, the sky would turn dark grey, and strong winds would threaten to fly us away like kites (well, not me, but some of the really thin folks out here!).

Or BBC would forecast ‘heavy rains’, and so we would go out of the house, fully prepared, bundled up in a thick jacket and scarf! Only to realise that it is a really hot day, and yours truly reaches her destination, sweating like a pig (like my friend Pushy says, I haven’t seen a pig sweat, but hey, that’s how the phrase goes…).

 

So what made me write this non-post today? Two things.

One, my friend back in Chennai updated her FB status with something to the effect that her son’s school declared a ‘rain holiday’ but there were no rains!! This took me right back to my childhood.

We lived a stone’s throw away from our school. So whenever there were rains, my sister and I would be almost the first few kids to get to know if school was ‘open’ or ‘closed’. We would wade through the water (yeah, half a day’s rain would flood our narrow lanes. Infact, its pretty much the same situation even today! 🙄 ), reach our school, and look around for a small black notice board, that would announce that school was closed!!! On days when we didn’t find the board, we would trudge sorrowfully back home, pack our bags and head back to school.

Pic courtesy: school.discoveryeducation.com

But on the days that we did find the ‘School Closed’ board, we went ‘Yippeeee’!! We would ever so happily skip back home, announcing loudly ‘Girlie, school closed!‘ to every schoolgirl we found on the way. Since many schoolmates lived in our apartments, if one kid got the ‘good news’ she would often make sure everyone else knew too, by yelling loud from her verandah 😀

And THE BEST PART – Once we were back home, warmed and changed into fresh, dry clothes, the rains would magically disappear!!! Not a drop, half an hour from the ‘rain holiday’ declaration 🙂 So my sis and I used to spend the day, playing quietly, reading or bickering! The walls and ceiling would leak (no, we did not live in a hut, but the walls did leak.. they do even today 😯 ), and the freshly washed clothes wouldn’t dry, but all that was my mother’s concern. For me and my sister, ‘school rain holiday’ meant a ‘free holiday’ 🙂

Schools, however, are quite a bunch of sadists. They would always compensate the holiday by making us work a subsequent Saturday. That was kind of irritating. But hey! We cannot have everything, can we?

Its been raining all day long, and quite appropriately, BBC had predicted we would have ‘sunny spells’, which are yet to happen!

So that’s that about rains and weather forecasts!

The second reason for me writing this post today was Deep’s comment – again on FB – about Blogworld being so quiet these days. I too, find the old-timers 😉 lying low. I miss the fun we used to have during days when Solilo and Indy girl were around. The masti we had on Hitchy Bhai’s blog. With lil Pixie adding sweet comments. And Swaram throwing in some vile ones 😉 Quirky writing some exceptionally tongue-in-cheek posts! Someone called someone else a ‘Comment Monster’ 😉 And it was all just so much fun 🙂 Sigh! I miss those days. Some folks have just taken a sabbatical (from blogging 😉 ), some got married, some just disappeared!

Come back, you all!!

Cheerio folks… like I said, its been raining all day out here, and I need to figure out a way to get hold of some bread!!

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