Wednesday, September 30, 2009

And the award goes to...

Seeing awards being passed on in the blog world has always made me green with envy. I had always longed for one and finally when the moment came, boy how it has come!!

The lady with The Song of Life has presented me with not one or two, but four awards!!

Thank you so much, Swaram. This is one precious moment I am not going to forget in a long, long time.

Now let me pass these on to some of my favorite people.

The Friends Award goes to...

...the first ever friend I've made in the blog world, an amazing human being, an inspiration to so many, a survivor in the true sense of the word, an awesome writer - Alexis. Wish he wrote more often.

....the Sparkling Chef with an awesome sense of humor, with amazing story telling powers (he gets very humble if you tell him that), the next best thing after God (in his own words), someone whom I adore like my little brother - Mathew . He is a great cook too ;-) (Any eligible girls out there?)

.... the first friend I made after my break from the blogworld, a lady with such a wicked sense of humor, you can almost see that grin on her face when you read her posts. Mother of two cutest girls, friend to many of us - Nancy . I know you have this award from Swaram, but my list just will not be complete without you, my dear,

....a friend in real life first and then in the blog world, my wonderful colleague and partner in crime - Sreeram. My life would be so dull without you, Rum,

....her narration fills your mouth with water and the pictures makes you wish you were there with her-mishmash the lady with the golden hands, one fantastic Home Maker, I am honoured to be considered a friend of hers,

... the new friends I have made -Shilpa the lady who adds masala to our lives, Meira the one who created havoc in Landmark with her husband and Solio whose opinionated mind comes out with such deep soliloquies at times and then have us in splits. Swaram. The rules do not say I cannot give it back to you and you most definitely are my friend

Lovely Blogs...

......the word lovely blog immediately brings this Amazing Gardener to mind. It is difficult to decide which is more lovely- her writing or her garden. Thanks to her I now know the different kinds of birds and animals that inhabits Mumbai (i am not referring to the two legged species here)

....a couple who stays in Italy with their heart in Kerala, who gives amazing insights into life - wild and domestic.

....someone who lives on a wing and a prayer. She writes so effortlessly, yet does not agree when her mother says there is a book in her. amazing lady who makes us think one day and then make us howl in laughter the very next day. Her posts are always so thought provoking. This is one Home Maker whom I absolutely admire

I would like have tea with all my favorite bloggers, so this tea cup award goes to all of you mentioned here ...

Their blogs have become so addictive, even a day without checking them out is pure torture.
The Addicting Blog Award goes to...

Alexis, Mathew, Nancy, IHM, A wing and a prayer, Solilo, Sreeram, Swaram, Meira,Shilpa, Sunita and Rocksea and Sarah.

There are two other celebrity blogs that I am hooked on to. Not sure whether they'll accept this award, but then, what the hell! So this award also goes to...

....the spunky lady whom everyone loves to hate, the one and only Shobhaa De. Mohandas Pai of Infosys has named her 'feamle Al Quaida'

....the one who presents an uncut version of India

Phew!! that was one long speech. Now let me take a break ;-)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Holy Mary!!

"Controversy queen Rakhi Sawant is about to take her love for Christianity to another level altogether. She is turning television producer with a show based on the the Bible for a channel that she calls her maika (mother’s home). The serial is tentatively titled, The Holy Bible. And hold your breath. Rakhi will play Mother Mary in the show. "

Hold your breath still, her wish list of actors to play Jesus - Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan and if they are not available, Kunal Kapur! Kunal would make a perfect Jesus, even Hrithik is passable, but just imagine Salman as Jesus!

Looking at her list of Jesuses, why do I get this feeling that she must have got her Bible stories wrong? I think she meant the other Mary....the one from Magdalene ;-)

(p.s. No offence meant to any Marys :-) )

Thursday, September 24, 2009

In which I am Serene, then go Crazy and finally gets Depressed


Tuesday, 22nd September, 5.15 PM, Bangalore City Railway Station, Platform No.5
Ernakulam Express leaves the station. In it are my m-i-l, maid and the kids. The train has finally disappeared from my sight. Hubby at work, I have a holiday. Ha, the peaceful and serene feeling, how I have been missing this. Nothing to do for the rest of the evening, can read, sleep or just laze around. No one to come calling. That feeling of absolute freedom, no words to describe it.


Tuesday, 22nd September, 6.15 PM, Church Street, Near Brigade Road, Bangalore
I had to find this shop I have read about, heard about, don't know how many times. The first impression was a little disappointing, not the kind of ones I was hoping for. Then I saw an arrow pointing to the 1st and 2nd floors. On the stairs itself, I almost fainted, would have moaned in pleasure if there were no one around. This was a true paradise. Treasures all around, the kids stuff is awesome to say the least. The grin on my face has not yet disappeared. My friends, after 6 months in Bangalore, I finally discovered 'Blossoms', a book lovers haven. The place is cramped, but who cares when you have books all around, even stacked on the floor, with just enough space for you to walk in between. The deals are amazing, you get second hand books in real good shape and even new editions at a discount. So it is goodbye Landmark, tata Crossword and hello Blossoms. Yes, the chain shops are much more comfortable, but I just love clutter (you just have to see my home to realize how much ;-))
Just went crazy, bought 12 books, including 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' - got it for 80 indian rupees!!
Now I have to find 'Strand'. Mission next weekend!


Tuesday, 22nd September, 8.30 PM, Home, Bangalore
Walking in to an empty house, no tiny feet running to meet me, no one telling me "Amma, amma, in school today...". The house is as I left it, the cushions stay ramrod, instead of the usual supine, everything in its place and I hate it. I miss them already :-(

Monday, September 21, 2009

True Visionaries

Reading the arguments and counter arguments in response to pareltank's post, I knew I had to share this.

Whenever I visit an instituition run by priests or nuns, I have this habit of visiting their chapel. Most of these chapels are very simple, with a light glowing and a Bible and a few prayer books here and there. Being day time, there would hardly be anyone and I get to spend some serene moments just being there.

A few months back, I had to take a cousin of mine for her admission interview to Christ University, Bangalore. We came to know that students had to face the interview on their own and it would take a few hours. So off I went in search of the chapel. I had always seen the Dharmaram church from Hosur Road and both the college and this partiuclar church being inside the same campus, decided to visit it. The walkway from the college buildings to the Dharmaram campus itself is so peaceful. Surrounded by huge trees and plants and shrubs wild with flowers all around, a pond complete with a tree house and absolutely not one human being around, I was transported to another world. The church or chapel itself was slightly bigger than the normal ones and as usual, I sat on one of the benches and started one of my usual conversations with God. My eyes started wandering slowly taking in the surroundings and drifted to the mosaic on the altar wall. Seeing the shape of a snake on the same wall where the Holy Eucharist was kept, I was suddenly jolted out of my content state. It was then that I noticed the pictures that made up the beautiful mosaic on the wall. The pictures were the symbols of almost all the religions in the world- the 'Aum', picture of Mecca, Star of David -were a few that I could recognize and amongst them was this snake, which was supposed to be the symbol of sin according to Christian faith. Remember, this is a church inside a college teaching Christian faith, preparing their priests for tomorrow.

These instituitions are run by the CMI fathers who are well known in the educational field in South India, particularly in Kerala. My son used to go to a school run by them in Kochi and every year the school day began with a prayer session which included first a reading from 'The Bhagvad Gita', then from 'The Holy Quran' and finally from 'The Holy Bible'. I had always thought that this gave the right message to the kids that even though they are in a Christian instituition no one religion can be deemed to be better than the other.

I was mentioning these incidents to a colleague who studied in Christ University and he told me about another incident. The Principal of Christ was invited to the Convocation ceremony at St.John's Medical College which is another Catholic instituition. The prayer started invoking the name of Jesus. He made them stop it midway and had them pray to 'God' instead, whom everyone in the audience could relate to!

Maybe what we need are more visionaries like them!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Way to go, girl !

Retired from tennis two years back, had a baby, came back, knocked out both the Williams sisters and reclaimed a title which she first won in 2005!

Kim Clijsters is the new brand ambassador for working moms :-)

Way to go, girl!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

When is enough, enough?

[Caution :- A long post]

He was suave, flamboyant and known as a ladies man. She was mature, studious and considered to be level headed. They were classmates and acquaintances in the first three years of their engineering and got close to each other in the last year. Both of them landed in Bangalore after getting placed to two well known IT companies. Considered poles apart, when they decided to get married, most of their friends tried to dissuade them. Needless to say, they went right ahead with their plans since their respective families had no problems.

I was the elder sister she had never had, she used to say. We were hostel mates and I knew what was happening in her life from day to day and was privy to the gradual change in their realtionship from being friends to much more than that. We used to keep in touch on and off after they moved to Bangalore and hadn't met for the last 4-5 years. After being here for more than 5 months we finally met last week.

The first thought that came to my mind when I met her was, "She seems to be so releived than happy to see me." The story slowly started unfolding.

"There were subtle hints here and there right from the beginning. Certain phone calls which he used to take in another room, some missed calls late in the night. I was so hell bent on proving everyone wrong who said we won't survive a year that I just ignored all these signs. But for these signs everything was alright between us. Then came our first daughter. I had gone home after my delivery and I could sense a change in his attitude towards me. There was nothing to which I could actually put my fingers on, but something was amiss. After coming back, we were having dinner one day when he got an SMS and I knew this was it. After he went to sleep that day, I went through his phone and my knees just gave way. There were some explicit messages from his best friend's wife. They were having a rough patch in their life and my husband seemed to have been filling the empty space in the other woman's life. I just could not believe that this girl who had poured her heart out to me was having an affair with my husband."

"Why didn't you confront him then and there?", I asked.

"Whenever I have confronted him on anything, it has always turned out to be a major fight ending in listing out what is wrong with me and how he made a mistake marrying me."
I just could not believe my ears. This was a couple everyone considered ideal. Both of them well settled in their careers, two beautiful and smart daughters, is this what was happening inside their closed doors?

She continued with her story, "I checked the messages which were going up and down for a few days. Then I asked him. He didn't say anything for a day. He then said it was an old friend of his and it was nothing. I knew he was lying but wanted to believe that it was not so. Next day I called up the number and one hello from her and I knew he had lied. As soon as I confronted him, he apologized for causing me so much pain and like a fool I thought that was the end of it."

I still could not believe this was the same girl whom I knew years back, who used to be so strong willed and not willing to compromise on anything that was against her beliefs. In her own words, "I loved him so much and I was so desperate to make my marriage work. I just could not accept the fact that my husband loved someone else. Somehow, I used to feel that all this happened because I had failed him some way. Moreover, he was a very good father to his daughter and she was also very attached to him. Anyway, one day I just told him that I cannot accept the fact that he had someone else in his life. His answer stumped me- "Why are you so worried? I am not going to leave you and marry anyone else. I love you just the same and you are the most important person in my life." Like a fool, I did not argue any further. Somehow, days went by, I used to get upset whenever I thought about it and sit by myself and cry."

A few months after this, she got selected for a six month assignment in the US. She did not discuss this with her husband, just informed him that she will be out of the country for the next few months and that her mother would be there to take care of their daughter. He didn't say anything. The day she landed and called him, he again started to blame her for everything and even said he could not put up with her mother. The verbal trauma went on for two months, finally she could not take it any more and she came back.

Things were kind of calm for some time after that and they had a second daughter. This time she didn't go home after the delivery. A few months later she again sensed something amiss. One day she got to see a few mails of his by chance, he had forgotten to log off. She saw a mail which he had sent to the same female telling her how the day spent with her was one of the best days in his life, how much he misses her etc. What shocked her even more was another mail to a friend of hers whom she thought was very close to her. She had discussed almost everything in her life including her husband's affair with her. And now she sees some mails going up and down between them. She was shocked beyond words. That was not the end of her shocks for the day - the same evening she got a call from her brother. A massive heart attack had snatched away her till then hale and hearty father.

The next few months passed in a numb state. When I met her, she still hadn't got over her father's sudden death. I asked her, "So what happens now?"

"Chechi*, after my father's death, I sat and thought a lot. Finally I have decided that I do not have to take it. But for these mails and messages, I don't have much to complain in my marraige. He loves me, depends on me for everything and will never leave us. But then, is that enough? What if I had done the same things to him? Would he still have continued to love me? I don't think so. I have decided to give my life one final chance. This time I am letting it go. The next time something like this happens, he is out of my life. I will never poison my kid's mind against him since they adore him, but I have had enough. I am so glad I met you today. What would you have done in my place?"

What answer do I give this girl who was so full of life, brought up as the darling of her three brothers? But I knew I did not even have to think before replying to her question. However someone might profess to love you, if he or she does not care about hurting you, the answer will always be a no. Beacuse it is never love, just a convenient way of living. There might be people who are happy with that, but not this girl. She would be crippled for life, she was half way there anyway. Yes, it might be unfair to her daughters but then it is more unfair to bring them up in a place where the trust is lost between their parents. I don't know whether anything that he does can make up for the pain that he has caused her. She will never look at anyone with the same innocent eyes.

For her sake, I keep hoping she does not have to take that final step. It is so obvious that she loves him so much that the mere thought of leaving him almost shatters her.

Why do people hurt the very same ones that they love? What exactly is this thing we call love? Is it really death do us part in spite of anything that happens? Why does someone risk some very precious things for momentary pleasure? What makes a husband or wife seek something out of their marriage? Where do kids stand in this equation? When is enough, enough?

* Chechi - Elder sister

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Praying Hands

Most of us pray with our hands folded as in the picture above. Whenever we think of a prayer, an image of these folded hands would most probably come into our minds as well. But did you know there was a story behind this picture?

Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen!

In order merely to keep food on the table for this big family, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighbourhood.

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of Albrecht Durer the Elder's children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.
After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by labouring in the mines.
They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg.

Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht's etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.
When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honoured position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfil his ambition. His closing words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you."
All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over, "No"

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look ... look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother ... for me it is too late."

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver point sketches, water-colours, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love "The Praying Hands."

The next time you see a copy of that touching creation, take a second look. Let it be your reminder, if you still need one, that no one - no one - - ever makes it alone!