Thursday, March 31, 2011

Seven random facts - a tag

Gils - has tagged me and awarded me 'The versatile blogger award'. He is a veteran blogger(6 years and 450 posts).His light hearted posts bring a smile on my face while his serious posts are touching and sets me thinking. Thank you gils for the award and tag, making this tag was introspective.

RULES about the award:

1. Thank the person who awarded you and link back to them in your post
2. Tell 7 random facts about yourself
3. Pass the award.

Random facts about me and here it goes.....

1) When I'm angry or excited, my speed of thought and speed of speech do not match and I end up mixing words like in spoonerism.

2) On weekends, I sip my early morning tea listening to the chirping birds and awaiting the early morning sunrise from my balcony.

3)I love haggling/bargaining while buying things.I can reduce the rates to 3/4 or even 1/2 the quoted rate. (this happens only in street market/mela)

4)I adore Indian culture,traditions and rituals. I like all things Indian like in arts, architecture, textile,crafts etc. I am an unofficial ambassador for Indian artisans.(the reason I started blogging, now I have deviated)

5)I’m not a fussy eater and can eat the humble pazheyadu(left over food) to the exotic global cuisine like tex-mex, continental, oriental,etc( but only pure vegetarian).

6)Cooking and baking are therapeutic for me. I experiment with food( Indian and global). I toss, tweak and add my own twists to any original recipe to suit my family’s taste.

7)I shun plastics and am a eco-friendly person. The newspaper,carton,plastic covers of my house go for ITC recycling.

and i can write a few more..... I did'nt realise I could write so many things about me until this tag came up.

Now the 'versatile blogger award' and tag goes to SSStoryteller, Raji aunty, Ms. Chitchat and Uma.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Years pass by........

As I sat watching my daughter sort, wrap and label her new books with so much care and go around getting all things set for her new academic session and very eager to attend the final year of school , she said ’Amma, naan indha varusham innum extra efforts podanam, (Mom, I should put more efforts this year), ‘Ranjana mam’s teaching is very interesting’ ‘Chandra kala mam’s math classes are fun’ I could not help but think, how fast time flies and my children have grown up so fast. Memories of their first days to school flooded my heart.

It seems as though it was just yesterday that I dressed her in the school uniform of a small checked black and white box frock and shiny black shoes , the 2 year and 6 month old was carried to the school by me on the first day which was just a km away from home. She did not voice her feelings of not wanting to go to school but her misty eyes gave away. To cover her feelings, I told her to recite the shlokas on the way to school and she repeated them as best as she could when she suddenly stopped her prayer and pointed to the poster of ‘Stuart little’ and told ‘Naan pathirken’(I’ve seen).

I dropped her at her school (Carmel) where she was lost among the kids playing see-saws, slides all under the TLC of her first teacher Mrs. Suma Lokesh. Thus started her school journey in Bangalore, which after our shift to Hyderabad brought her to present school and now as she goes around independently doing her work, and as she puts her best foot in all scholastic and co-scholastic areas,and her English teacher tells me ‘Ive suggested her name for the editorial of the school mag’ I can’t help but thank all her mentors and teachers who have taken care to shape up my girl.

And my little boy who is always on a highground in technical areas as compared to me (this inspite of me being an electronics graduate) and who simply consider his appa’s word as the final word on all matters.

At the age of 3, all dressed in blue and white he was taken to the school by his hero (his father). He did’nt throw any tantrums but he showed his displeasure through his misty eyes. His appa put him on a rocking horse in his school and told him he would be away for just a few minutes and he can sit there, he would pick him back home from the same horse.

Two hours later when his appa went to school , he found his little boy still rocking on the horse. His First teacher Mrs. Jayashri Lahiri said he did not dismount from the horse even during the short break. From a shy boy who would just not open up to say ‘ hello’, share or greet anybody to a boy who is now nicknamed ‘Radio city’, his mature thoughts now just stump me and boy, was I elated when his teacher told me ’He is an asset to the class’.

How time flies!

They are no more the little ones, they are now almost reaching my height . They are growing up real fast in this fast world! How I wish I could freeze and hold back time, because even before I know few more years will pass by quickly and they would be away on their own to build bridge to their destinies.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Malgudi times

R.K.Narayan’s ‘Swami and friends’ a most loved novel was staged by Madras players very recently. I was eager to watch this play along with my children, but being a busy weekday we could not make it to the play.

‘Swami and friends’ from the series Malgudi days was televised in the late 8o’s. It dealt about the simple little 11 year old boy Swami aka Swaminathan and his friends Mani, Rajam and Pea. Swami the main protagonist is not academically oriented but his enthusiasm to play cricket, the impulsive innocent fun and mischief he and his friends wreak, his bonding with his grandma made an interesting watch. The series was deftly crafted and executed by Kannada actor Shankar Nag. Master Manjunath as Swami (for those of you who don't know kannada actors he was the junior AB of Agneepath), Girish Karnad , Girija Kasaravalli amongst others lived through their roles. The story was set in a fairy tale place called Agumbe in Shimoga district(Karnataka).

The village and the house are so similar to my husband's grandparents house @Lalgudi(near trichy in Tamilnadu)which we visit regularly. I wanted my children to watch these episodes and get a taste of the bygone times but could not find the CD’s in any shop. But googling for the same led me to the site

Now, they are enjoying 2 episodes of Malgudi days and the above novels while the other TV shows, Artemis fowl and Hardy boys have taken a back seat. What's more they even invite their paati(grandma) to watch with them.

Little wonder, this book by a celebrated Indian author and its excellent tele version is keeping everybody glued with its effortless narration and depiction of the olden times. I'm glad I introduced Malgudi to them.

This mini vacation, we are literally living @ Idyllic Malgudi with Swami, his friends and his family.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Nostalgia on the fast lane

"When we recall the past, we usually find that it is the simplest things – not the great occasions – that in retrospect give off the greatest glow of happiness” .- Bob hope

The new virus which has struck most of us seems to be that of Nostalgia. These days, I find articles on nostalgia every where. In the newspaper (especially in open page, letters to the editor and magazine section of the Hindu), in blogs, among conversations, in week-end parties, TV shows…. almost every where and even psychologists seem to be recommending this as NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) technique.

They say reminiscing people are healthier and report higher self-esteem and feel more positively about friendships and close relationships. Studies also reveal that the occasional detour down our memory lane can pep our spirits significantly.

When you are having one of those down times, think of an happy incident in the past like the memories of your simple childhood, vacation, the growing up, friends, food, simple times with your cousins, grandparents etc., and you will be uplifted.

So, It’s nostalgia fever everywhere….

And why not?

The best challenge to escape the complexities of our fast life is to cling to the sweet memories of our past despite the oft-heard advice to live in the moment and enjoy the present etc…

Most of us seem to be blaming everything in today’s shrinking world about the culture decadence, moral values , the hurdles of fast life, fast food, fast mobility, fast communication, today’s generation, the compromises etc…….

But what is to be marked is that ……….

Till a few years back it was only the privilege of elders to talk about their ‘zamaana’or their 'kaalam'(time). Now, when I see Times of India, student edition (exclusively printed for school children as part of newspaper in education) even the teens want to turn back their clock. The students write about their past memories, some thing which happened 5 years back and yearn for their school life……Looks like even nostalgia is travelling at a fast pace in this age of faster lifestyles and faster and shorter childhood.

Time seems to change everything even the feelings of the young. Nostalgia virus has struck the young ones too and the cure it seems is to romanticize the past.

It is very natural…. The little costless luxuries of our past gets magnified and comforting to our soul and mind in this nothing seems to be constant world….but we are still making memories for our future. Aren’t we?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

'Relaxing' - as defined by a tween

The current CBSE system of evaluating a student through continuous comprehensive evaluation (CCE) totally eases the so called examination pressure/ tension/stress or whatever. I’m for it.

Fortunately, I have never faced a difficult situation with my 14 year old who is very disciplined, meticulous and organized with her work, an all rounder every year at her academics and extra-curricular, I don’t have to repeatedly ask or nudge her to study but my 12 year old needs to be told that every time there is an exam, he has to atleast study or open his books or rather check his books for a while.

All my calls for pinning my 12 year old to prepare for his final exams falls on deaf ears or are met with a ‘konjam relax panikkren ,ma’ ( I will relax a while, mom).

I just ask him to sit and revise for half an hour, nothing more, but can I blame him he has so much of work/activity at hand.

He is too busy these days with the other 10-14 year olds building teams for the MCL (our colony cricket league), organizing, shortlisting ,grouping and coding colors for volt eagles, super smashing warriors, venom vipers, and doom demons. They are critically thinking to elect their captain , in case of a crisis how to manage, planning strategically ,knowledge sharing, how to reach their targets, handling teams, collective thinking, displaying leadership skills , group discussions,learning to handle failures and successes etc.,

Not that I'm complaining, I know these skills are not taught in any school and is best learnt amongst peers real time and sports is one of them.

As if all the above distractions were’nt enough there is the world cup matches, cartoons and Wii.

Now, you see where is the time to study for these tweens?

Today was his penultimate exam and he came in telling "the paper was ‘too easy’ and with one more exam down I am an ‘Avuthhu vutta kazhudai’(unleashed donkey).

He is already unleashed, I know with excellent mentoring and tutoring at his school,(I don’t advocate private tuitions) he is very good at the concepts and applications, with his bad handwriting and shabby work he has easily worked through the math to get A+ and with his silly mistakes, an A or B in science, Social, English and computer in his previous CCE’s but what about Hindi?. A 'B' grade comes only with some hard work, there is no formula like math, a spelling mistake is a mistake and they are the foundation of any language. But who's to listen?

The vyakaran, anucheddh, shabdharth, nibandh, prabandh and the big q& a are all fine when orally asked but when it comes to writing he becomes the Ishan of TZP. No amount of tutoring at school will help unless you like the subject.

Now , my real challenge lies ahead when I have to pin him down for atleast two hours before the Saturday exam.

When I call him to study after play, I’m met with a ‘ konjam relax panikkren ma’,

… after a cartoon show when I tell him to study, it’s ‘Konjam relax…………….’,

.... .after a computer game, it’s ’Konjam relax……………….”

If TV watching, playing are not relaxing then what is ?

Relax seems to be having a different meaning in this 12 year old’s dictionary.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The science of Mahashivaratri

Mahashivaratri is celebrated on the 14th day of the dark fornight of the magh month as per the hindu calendar. Literally means the ‘the night of of the supreme god principle(shiva)’. Many legends and stories are associated with this festival but there is also a scientific reasoning supporting this festival.

Our ancestors understood the influence and effects of climatic and astronomical changes on the human physiology. The waxing and waning of the moon , the transition of seasons had an impact in the cells of humans. Based on this changes, our wise elders designed festivals, coded customs, traditions ,rituals and stories to help us to adapt to these changes naturally. Of course, some of them may not be relevant in today’s techno age.

According to Indian Knowledge system academy, Mahasivaratri is one such festival celebrated when winter transits to spring. The hibernating flora and fauna during winter start sprouting during spring. We humans are susceptible to lung and respiratory infections. To gradually adjust the body’s physiology to these changes festivals were celebrated/observed.

During Mahasivarathri, pious people fast, assemble in shiva temples, perform abhishekam and offer bilva patra (leaves) to god and chant the panchakshara mantra.

The idol of shiva is made with a special granite and precious metals in a specific design called lingam. This specific architecture is supposed to have a property of resonating cosmic vibrations. Water having a colloidal property, abhishekam is done on the granite structure to yield a powerful medicine.

According to ayurveda, the bilva leaves are powerful preventive medicine for respiratory diseases and cardiac problems. Coming in contact with the leaves by offering to god and inhaling the smell involves aroma therapy.

On this day, the tilt of moon at an angle with the earth has profound influence on the vital organs like brain, digestive tracts, kidney etc. To keep the organs intact and ensure smooth functioning, fasting is prescribed.

Temples are built on the basis of agama shastra ( temple architecture) and hence accumulate the cosmic energy and geo-magnetic energy. This energy is dissipated to the devotees who throng the temple.

So, going to a temple and staying the whole night of Mahashivrathri and inhaling the bilwa leaves helps in charging yourself with all these energies and acts as an antidote to all those imbalances that occur during the seasonal changes.

Powerful vedic mantras like Rudram, chamakam are recited on these days. The vibrations of these mantras are picked by the acu points and radiate infrared band of energies. These energies are distributed to all the systems of the body for their imbalances caused due to the seasonal changes.