Friday, December 23, 2011

Dickinson's magic, or logic?

Emily Dickinson (1830–86).  Complete Poems.  1924.

Part One: Life


THIS is my letter to the world,
  That never wrote to me,—
The simple news that Nature told,
  With tender majesty.
Her message is committed        5
  To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
  Judge tenderly of me!   
I have enjoyed reading Emily Dickinson ever since she was taught to me in college by my brilliant and accomplished professor Shantha. But this particular poems seem to make greater sense to me now than ever before. Now that's difficult to come to terms with. I am a show off , blogging, face booking and speaking out without restraint to all whom I could bully into listening....trying to put most of my thoughts into words and sharing them with my daughters, students, colleagues and close friends (and not so close friends too at times). Now why would I feel that the above given words are relevant?
It is possible that  assuming the role of wife in a joint family and a mother in a conservative community and city have forced me to lead a double life of sorts. The way I presented myself to the world outside and conducted myself were, at least in parts, influenced by the strong traditions of the place I live in and my home.I may have done many of the important things that I wanted to, in spite of  the constraints of my situation, and failed in some and have kept some projects for tomorrow, but in many small ways , I probably just conformed and to that extent withheld my message to the world. The world has of course reached to me. How else would i be jotting this down for the whole universe to see?
There are of course, the charming twists and turns that create the music of these lyrics. And from this poem we know that although Dickinson never wrote to the world, she wondered if they would judge her harshly...If only she had, she would have known how people of all climates and colors love her verse and celebrate them.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I have discovered the best way to make friends. We have issues with 'friends' because we are often distracted by the happening people. I have read numerous teen novels about girls wanting to be part of a glamorous crowd and trying to fit in with an 'in' set and ignoring real friends etc. But even adults are distracted by noisy nonsensical pretenders.
We believe we can have good fun with those who dress up and speak up. But in reality, they are taking so much effort to appear as if they are enjoying themselves that they really don't have energy for anything else. In contrast, a lot of quiet looking people try their hands at fun stuff like organizing good parties, fund raising, trecking, travelling etc.
So the best way to make friends is to stay connected to the maybe not so cool, but really active people, who have no  interest in putting up a show of being hip. Let me repeat what so many have said in so many ways, "Looks are deceptive"; especially when we are looking for friends.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Some faults od mine that destroy the magic in life

1.Impatience with people i consider to be stupid (later i realize they are just people who are different)
2. Arrogance ; too sure of my ideas and aggressive in promoting my line of thought
3. Being distracted 23 hours a day
4. talking to but not really talking to people who are not like me
5.inability to make genuine small talk
6.assuming things about others
7.talking most of the time
8. talking unnecessarily
9.trying to make a story of life
10.inability to understand what others feel about me.
hmmm the list seems to be growing longer than i intended. 10 is a good number to stop.Sigh!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

movie review

No one wore make up and everyone looked normally healthy, by which i mean they were mostly squat. By  squat I mean that most of the people were five feet tall and two feet wide. The clothes, every bit of material used by the characters, are used ones, mostly faded to the point of being non-distinguishable in colour. It was possible to relate to every single character in the film and observe all their doings with interest. And all through the first half an hour of the film I was conscious of the fact that no main character had been introduced and i was still trying to guess what the title of the film was all about.But I was  watching it with involvement.When a contrastingly good looking pair of young lovers are shown, they seem to be intrusive and their presence is barely tolerable.

 'Azhagar samiyin kuthirai' turned out to be a unique watch.  There are some unforgettable characters in the film. The kid who notices everything and questions grown ups with amazing logic; Azhagarsamy, the utterly convincing country bumpkin, with his pot belly, shock of curly hair and boundless energy; the spunky middle aged widow who thrashes the village lecher with a broom stick and defends the main character; the malayala mandharavadi (magician from kerala), the policeman in plain clothes who joins the bogus magician in exhorting money from the superstitious villagers, the smart and sensible Inspector of police. These characters are depicted by actors who not only look their parts but add life and power to them with their realistic portrayal.
You never know what to expect as the film proceeds. The narration seems so real that it is as unpredictable as any given day in our lives. The mystery of the lost horse is solved and peace and plenty are restored and there are two happy marriages. But this story has two romances, one of the standard variety involving the good looking pair, who elope from the village to escape the tension an inter-caste marriage could create. The second one, the cream filling in this cake is undeniably Azhagarsamy's romance with the beautiful girl and their affection for each other.
The locales have been tastefully selected and the camera moves along the winding paths of the hills used by village pedestrians and hovers over village landmarks where the quaint asbestos roofs are held in place with stones in a poor hamlet. A very subtle satire on rural Indian life, this film has you laughing aloud all along. Worth watching was what a friend told me when he recommended this film and to me and I second him heartily

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What is the logic here?

Since my previous post was pretty dumb, I decided to stir up things a bit.

I have a question for transexuals. Why do you claim to be women? Does the lack of manhood entitle you to womanhood?

Lots of sympathies for your not getting your due. Our society should include you in all kinds of group projects provided you are qualified and willing to work. We should be ready to recognize your talents and value your contributions.
On my part, I can adopt you into my family if you are ready to share my values and be responsible, hardworking, affectionate and creative. But I will not accept you as women. Why do you dress like women when you look like men? Those clothes don't suit you.

If you don't have male hormones, does it mean that you have a uterus and can bear children? Is woman hood nothing but the lack of manhood? Is there no other way to draw attention to your plight?  Can't you wear male clothes that suit you better and face your complex issues?
When a woman has her uterus removed due to cancer or something else, does she pretend she is a man? Will you accept her as a man?  NO, because she is not a man. Why do you pretend to be women? Women may wear trousers for comfort or fashion....but not because they have an identity crisis.Everybody has problems , some simple, some complex and some that cannot be resolved. I cannot understand your problem and want to know why you behave the way you do.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A very exhausting week! Reasons could  be as follows.
1. Doing unfamiliar work
2. Working out without a trainer
3. Eating infrequently

4. Inability to sleep
5. Working without a break
6.Working on mundane tasks
7. forgetting to listen to music while doing mundane tasks
8. interacting with emotionally exhausting friends, who have high blood pressure and have a tendency to yell and be rude.
9.trying to make them work on a project together and networking constantly on the phone.
It could any of these and I particularly suspect reason 8, because i don't usually get involved in emotional dramas and now am in the core of one.  Of course, reason 4 is an equally taxing problem... so....

Saturday, August 27, 2011

how i helped two girls

The first girl is a student from a local community college. I teach English for school drop outs who can get a diploma from the university if they did a one year course in this college. ok? This particular day one of the girls seemed to be out of sorts. She is a tall, very skinny and dark girl; a very intelligent and a little unsocial, kinda stubborn girl. ok?
Raji: What's up ? you seem out of sorts
Antony: (that's her name) (looked at me without expression)
Muthu:(that's also a girl's name) her brother beat her
Raji: Why?
Geeta: He wants her to come to thirunelveli and get married immediately

Muthu: She cried all morning
Raji: you refused to go with him?
Anthony nodded
Raji: What did your mother do? She did not stop him?
Anthony: They both beat me. They beat me all through Saturday and Sunday.
Raji: What!!!! How could you let them? How can you allow anyone to beat  you ( I rephrased this several times like, " NO one should touch you, no one has the right to touch you blah blah ) ( ofcourse i didnt say it emotionally  but slowly and dramatically)
Anthony just stared at me. A 15 year old boy sitting next to me kept nodding his head , which encouraged me.
Raji: You should glare at him. Did you try that?
Anthony: If I did that he would beat me for that too. You are a girl and you dare to glare at an elder brother? That's what they would say.
Raji : So what if he still beats you. He will hesitate for a second. If you accept his beatings silently, he would go on beating. You should not let him beat you ....( again repeated this 2 0r 3 times and again the boy nodded, more to himself than to me.)

Anthony has styled her hair with a clip and looks charged
Raji: Hey what happened? Your brother left?
Anthony: Ma'am I bit him when he beat me. First I tried to glare at him. He said," How dare you glare at a brother?" and came to hit me, then I caught his hand and bit it.
Raji: Did he beat you after that?
Anthony: No, ma'am.. they were quiet and didn't beat me.
Raji: That's great. See... I told you...but you should be careful now. If you are careless, they will try to hurt you again.

End of that story
Then again I helped another girl write a mail  to her boy friend and dump him. In this case too the girl was an affected party.  Since I can't give the details, this goes into my CV in the most brief form as possible.Ofcourse, am messaging her a couple of times a day to check if she is ok.

End of both stories. interesting, huh?

Monday, July 25, 2011

personal evolution

I think people in their twenties are the best behaved... teenagers want to impress others... preteens are super smart though...people in their twenties seem to have time for some soul searching as well as the mind set for an objective appraisal of the world. They are conscious that they are adults and underplay their teen tendencies. But people in their thirties are often obnoxious, and more so when they become secure in their careers.I too was a sickeningly right about everything busy body in my thirties. People in this age group seem more prone to make mischief. Even movie villains, particularly vicious ones, are often people in their thirties. The forties and the mellowing.. never felt so comfortable with myself. Not that I am a better person, just a better behaved one, though....

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Self- discovery

8This is a continuous process and as the wise would warn can comprise fascinating finds as well as horrifying heartbreaks. In my case I found these things about myself over the years.
1. When school re-opened in seventh standard, I saw that all my friends had grown taller, all except me...and realized that I would not be tall like Hema Miss when I grew up, but short like Usha Miss.
2. Poetry gives me a high..this I found out in std eight.
3. In class nine I made several discoveries...I could make people laugh, I'd be very happy if I studied English, I could make friends easily...public speaking is not difficult....I loved writing...being vindictive and hurtful to others makes us feel worse, never helps
4. Dirty jokes were supposed to be cool in class ten. I was repelled by them and was an alien among teenagers that year.
5. I discovered Yoga, breathing exercises and the importance of exercise in general in class 10
6. I found out that making people laugh was somehow not as interesting as it initially was in class 11.
7. I also found out that I hated it when others were ragged. I learnt to fight for the underdog in class 11.
8. I was a rebel and knew it in class 12.
9. I discovered that there were thousands of beautiful, creative and talented girls, when I joined  college and that I had the power to do anything i wanted.
10. I understood the meaning of the proverb, "Fools rush in, where angels fear to tread" when I got married.

Let me take a break. Other important things that i discovered could be summarized with the following words: love, love, lots of love, my growing skills of persuasion, awareness of  my poor financial status and that I had been a fantastic counsellor to myself as much as I had been to others and that proper disciplined writing can be more motivating than random writing in blogs. hehehe

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dried tomatoes

Most of the things that i write about in this blog are things I thought of  a long time back. They don't reflect my life or what i do...they don't give the smallest clue to my current reality. It is very difficult for me to treat my blog as a journal. They can be compared to sun dried tomatoes and are tasty titbits...
One of the reasons I dislike writing about the present is the aversion I feel for some blogs that i read, that show the writer to be sane, creative, observant, smart, loving, intuitive, puzzled by the oh so weird others and daring, while he or she would have exposed their crummiest, worm-like and craziest sides to us in real life.
Another reason is my habit of not sharing my private thoughts with anyone. I am not talking about  my numerous opinions that I flaunt around freely for all to hear and see.

But of late I have come across some blogs where men and women document some parts of their lives, not just the picture perfect ones, but their ordinariness and the validity of their being important to themselves, in spite of being ordinary, in such simple and touching ways that I realized that there is a freshness to this approach, which is worth emulating. For instance, I saw a blog where a lady is talking about how she baked a cake after she lost her job. She had posted pictures of the process of cake making and explained how the cake turned out as well as it did.Another lady had put up pictures of some rashes that she was getting on her face and how all kinds of treatments had failed to help her.It was so sad. And of course, there is a student of mine, whose writing appears to be such an instant response to things around him that it prompted me to write this blog.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Our national anthem

Our national anthem is in Bengali. No one remembers this, because in multi lingual India, people are free to speak in their own languages and while they tolerate other languages, most of them have no curiosity whatsoever about the other languages.
The point is, every Indian sings this song in the style of his or her state, but is not aware that he is doing so. For instance, in some schools in Tamilnadu, the music teacher picks up the harmonium. and sings it with gamakams (shaking the notes) and pauses that are typical of carnatic music. The pronunciation of the words is 'oh so tamilian', by which I mean that every syllable is pronounced sharply, as an orator of tamil would, in a tamil speech. It's comical for someone used to listening to some other version of the song. There is ofcourse the standard version of the band, which is anglicized and is sung in 54 seconds.Many have heard this, as it is a recorded version, like all things western.
It is a however, a treat to watch Bengalis sing this song. With emotional fervour,  a slow rhythm and the unique pronunciation of the language which does not have the vowel sound /a/ , it sounds different, but endearing and goes like this....jono gono mono athi noyoko joyo he... tamilians have to listen to it to believe it!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

my poems

Actually a couple of my poems have been published. A reporter tore a sheet from my diary and had it published in a newspaper in Bangalore; the Times of India, I think. I don't have a copy of those poems, nor a copy of the newspaper. Another friend of mine, (I think I mailed her the poem) told me that a pop singer had set it to music in Brazil. I vaguely remember that poem, though not the first two.I have a few more in my old diaries, though i have no idea where those diaries are.
I started this blog to record my poems, but somehow never feel like doing it.
My friend Bhooma is the only person who has read most of my poems.She even has a few of them. In fact, I used to write short ones about emotions and they used to turn out well. Bhooma has a few of these poems, coz I would throw them away after writing them. I think she inspired me to write and I miss her.
Actually my poems are nice, I just feel they are private. It's similar to an unwillingness to be photographed, a habit of the mind that i trained myself to change. I pose a lot for photographs these days. When I write more, as I am bound to, I think I will get over this unwillingness to share my poems too.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A modern affair - movie review

This was a romantic comedy that was free on you tube. The 'story' ( we all know that the story of a romcom is: boy meets girl, misunderstanding , then understanding, then love, then confession of undying love)  is about a woman who despairs on her lack of relationships, (she is overqualified, earns well, drives a great car, is a senior manager of some sort, very fit, orderly, serious and is close to middle age, and ofcourse as pretty as a romcom heroine should be) and decides to have a baby through In vitro fertilization. She goes through several profiles and selects a guy, who is anonymous and whose picture she cannot see.
After she becomes pregnant, she becomes curious to meet the male donor. See, this longing for relationships is the back bone of all romcoms. She meets him by hacking a computer and finding his address, and of course they hit it off. and then at a nice juncture when they are kissing and all, she tells him about her pregnancy and he asks her to get out. Then change of heart. ok?
Good choice of actors, suitably good looking not so young people; that's the best part of the movie....some realistic scenes and dialogues.... the heroine and her friend have a first look of the guy and go to an adjacent room and mouth the words, 'bald'  'he's a baldie' and laugh silently. The screen play is also interesting and not boring.Very few characters, non intrusive music. Good location
One thing I must say....the main characters, especially about the female; never, not even once, does she appear in sexy clothes. She never acts or speaks suggestively, even in romantic situations. I was shocked by the length and thickness of her clothes; It occurred to me that a woman from the west, in the exalted state of a film heroine has never been spared the burden of looking sexy, as this female seems to have been. Personally,
I thought the hero looked attractive.
Then there is a best friend, who is like a catalyst, suggesting ways and means for the heroine to take the steps required for the story to progress... Her character is not intrusive. But the unbelievable part of the story is that the hero, a person who makes a side income by donating his sperm decides to stop doing that at the end.

The dialogues were good. The heroine delivered them particularly well. Ok you can watch it. It's like a serial that's not boring.

Friday, May 27, 2011

the elections.

The results of the state assembly elections have left all of us speechless.There are several reasons that had contributed to the image of  DMK as being indestructible!!!!
Looks like they are not reasons but rumours, after all.
 Let's look again at these reasons why people thought DMK would win.

a. They paid enormous sums to procure votes
b. Villagers never vote against the party as they are grateful to be paid so much for votes.
C. The freebies of DMK had made tamils dependent on them
d. Teachers manned the polling booths and as the government staff always support DMK, they would just press the voting machine in their favor as many times as possible.( a teacher told me this)
e. The machines were rigged
f. The machines were replaced by fakes.
j. The vans carrying ballot boxes were interruped and tampered with.
k. The winning candidate was paid hundreds of millions in order to give up his win and let the loser be declared the winner.
l. ADMK had become too weak.

Now everyone of these have been proved to be rumours, and baseless ones at that; as not only did the ADMK win, but was able to get the required majority.If any of the above mentioned rumours had an iota of truth in them, then the DMK would have atleast got the opportunity to play the role of the opposition. Instead, Vijayakanth got to be the opposition party leader. This clearly shows that the election commission has not permitted any of the above mentioned to happen. The people have voted clearly and decisively and we can see more than ever how negative vibes are spread and strengthened even when they have no basis in reality.

It's not that either of the two leaders JJ or MK have lived up to their potential. The former, a high achiever in school behaves like a rowdy and the latter, a self professed son of the soil is totally bereft of any concern for the back ward classes. But this election shows that a shadow of democracy exists in my country. hmmmm. wish i could say something more inspiring than this about our system Sigh......

Thursday, April 28, 2011

work life balance

It is  so hard  for most peopleto find work that there is no question of work life balance, not in my country. You have to work so hard to get work that you become weary when realize that you have got yourself in to a dead end job just in order to find something to do. Of course there are lots of escape routes but most of us don't even have time to remember them.Sometimes we get lucky and have some genuine fun , but as Frost put it
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Nothing gold can stay. So gold slips out of our hands and we try to work things out so that we have a 'work-life balance'. What is work? Something we do regularly, is quantifiable and is often repetitive. What is life? It is primarily eating resting and sleeping.Eating is also called dieting these days. Resting can also be through exercising or watching TV or a DVD.Sleeping is God's gift to the lucky few.
What about me? I take up too much work with good intention. I relax far too much for the amount of work I have taken up. (am severely handicapped by a poor economic sense) and don't sleep much. Guess should work on these thoughts though it was a relief just to type them here.
Hello don't think I don't know about life being about loving, giving, growing and sharing. These things should happen, shouldn't they? 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

About some kho-kho players.

When Dinesh, a student of business administration, started a project to introduce kho-kho to rural boys as part of his post graduate project, he had no idea what a remarkable change it would bring about in the life of the children involved. The team he formed began to participate in tournaments and he took up the task of  not only training them for free , but feeding them and giving uniforms,shoes and transport charges to them. They won some of the matches and some of the players went on to make it to the state team and later on to win a kho-kho match at the national level.
He then started an academy, which conducts state level tournaments and identifies talent and gives free training to rural students. In the last three and a half years he has trained a thousand students, 40 of whom have got free seats in sports quota. 3 have joined the military, 25 have passed the umpiring exam and of course, all of them are different people who have had glimpses of the leader within them.
Dinesh is in his early twenties and is now working in Chennai and runs his academy from there. Good story of leadership!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tearless and fearless!

Looks like am not going to be able to blog at all. Simply because am into content writing now. And also more text book writing too, I believe. And this is when work is supposed to be less.
And one more thing about interesting old me! I can't cry. I really can't. I remember my mom hitting me quite a bit and saying "Look at her! Not a drop from her eyes!". Not that my tear glands don't function. When I ride the two wheeler at seventy, my eyes water automatically. You can't call that crying, especially coz it's actually exhilarating riding at that speed.
I remember crying on two occasions though. The first one was when my dad told me on landing in Chennai one morning, that my friend Padma's dad had died. It was a shock to me for this person was a unique individual. Mr.Chandrashekar never scolded his daughter, (infact, I realize now that he had spoilt her a bit) was terribly proud of her and always had something simple and insightful to say. Going back to what happened when I heard the news, I started to cry. Rather it was a body wracking snort, exactly four snorts and I imagine that's how a rhino would snort. And not many drops of tears came from my eyes

Then the next time I burst into spontaneous tears on the return journey from Pilani, where I had deposited my daughter at her hostel. This time there were some tears but it was a single outburst that lasted a minute or so. This happened seven years ago. Even now when am sad, I try to cry. I contort my face and and try to sob but no tears come and then I end up laughing. I sometimes wish I could and get relieved from pain and then tell myself it's better not to cry. What if I end up as a crybaby, addicted to self pity.

And then when my daughter got married, and got into the car with her  brand new husband, my husband burst into tears and my daughter's eyes filled up and my son- in- law's eyes turned sympathetic and moist; a typical scene, that has inspired many a film maker and ad maker, and there I was, dry eyed and throwing furtive looks all around! And why did I throw fearless into the title? Not just because it rhymes, coz am basically fearless too and more about that in another blog. tata

Friday, March 4, 2011

what i have been doing

I was writing textbooks and was unable to blog! So goes the story! I was also helping my family in celebrating my daughter's wedding. But the real reason I did not blog may never be printed. Since I have very few secrets, I don't know how to keep myself from talking about something that I should not open my mouth about. Let me summarize by saying that I had a good time doing something else too. 
Guess with all the big happenings I will have a lot to blog about now that I am done with the textbooks and the wedding went off well.hehehehe. full stop.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


A perverse streak, which tells me to blog when I have other important things to attend to, has prompted me to write this not at all perverse post!
I set goals that overflow with good will; such as scrap a hello to atleast five of my old connections on facebook and orkut, say a prayer for all t hose who tell me, "pray for me", etc etc. Actually apart from this thought coming to me on its own, I have a role model in my dad, who prays for the welfare of every offshoot in his clan ;).Yes, he mouths a prayer in sanskrit for every one born in the family everyday and tells me that he did it on that day whenever I call him.
Inspite of my angelic origins, I conform to neither that or this side of the earth. But this is what I pray for when I do it.

1. First for my dad, that he should regain the glowing handsome serenity that he was born with and somehow partially lost, particularly after 45.
2.Next for my mom, that she should regain her health and effervescence for life and be truly happy
3. My uncle, should get back his zest for life and the dynamism with which he entered our lives
4. Padmanabhan, that he should get out of the circuit of irrelevant self pity and realize the value of his time wasted in it.
5. My brother, that he should be able to do all that he dreamed of and learn to play cheerfully, as he actually did, sometime long ago.
6. My gorgeous twin sisters should start looking gorgeous again through weight management
7.My sister in law should find the space that she seems to be searching for, in life.
8.One person in my family should recognize the bitter streak that is altering his creative intuitive personality
9.Another should learn to imbibe the nutrition that life offers in the form of food and fun and improve in health
10.My daughters, achievers, winners, should continue to dream on and fly forth!
11.The other children in my family, whom I really don't know that well, I pray for your happiness.
12.And of course, people who want me to pray for you from time to time; am not mentioning your names here, but I remember you in  my prayers. Arun prasadh, i know you may read this, I may not pray every day, but whenever I pray for my family, I pray for you too!
13. Sometimes I pray for my school teachers and often for those teachers who gave me lessons of life and moments of joyous illumination.
One day, I will start to pray everyday!!!