Thursday, December 15, 2011


Oh look everybody! It was my husband exclaiming that the “cut out “ had ben brought down – the three of the remaining crew trained our eyes in the direction and found to our utter dismay and disappointment , the wonderful architectural marvel  we had drooled over , gone, vanished in thin air! My husband had  the ‘I told you so’ expression on his face as we stared at the empty horizon in sheer disbelief.
        For a few days now, our dinner table conversations revolved around that ‘astonishing spectacle’ which seemed to spring up one fine day in all its glory. Each one of us had our own thoughts and perception on it . First , it was about the location- my two sons ,who measure the length and breadth of the city in their school bus, shouted in chorus that this monument , though looked near was atleast 7 to 8 kilometres from our home- they even quoted the latitude and the longitude  of the place  and did some navigation on their smart phone to prove their claims. My husband pooh –pooohed their notion and emphatically stated that the distance between the object and the house would be only around 3 to 4 kilometres going by the curve of the elevated highway which formed the background. Not to be left behind , and unsure of whose side to be on, I carefully treaded  the middle path and proclaimed that it would be around 2 to 3 kilometres! The male bastion had only contempt for my views and scoffed at it, fully aware of my inglorious eyesight- I could read their minds when they thought in unison that I was born not with a silver spoon but with ‘spectacles’.
       Then came the shape , for me it was a replica of a ‘poorna kumbh’ which is an ornamental pot with decorations  and mango leaves and a coconut on top- this symbolizes goodness, wellbeing and prosperity as per Hindu beliefs.I was dead sure that the architect was a believer in vastu and the like.
        There was no vociferous disregard for this theory but they added their own ramifications – my younger one who was credited with having hawk eyes put forth a decorated dome with a pinnacle structure on top, we had one long ,hard look and did not deny his assertion  as we did not want to belittle his field of vision!
         My elder one , a  mathematical genius in his own right , added some dimension and articulated that the dome was not spherical but flattened at the sides , the professor fetching his binoculars to prove his point- there was craning of necks and straining of eyes to get a better glimpse and somehow his propounded theory could not be shot down!
       Day after day, we were overawed and delighted by the different shades and hues it presented itself and our speculations continued . On some nights, the illumination around it made us to wonder and ponder, argue and debate more and more- on one such occasion, it was a full moon day  and it bore a resplendent look that I firmly concluded , despite the male chauvinistic clan disapproving in totality, that it was a temple dedicated to Lord Sathyanarayana, an avatar of Vishnu . To support my claim , I argued that  offerings to please the deity are normally held on full moon days and hence the illumination.
       The lack of any consensus , like our political parties , in our household with regard to this structure , it was unanimously decided that on the next available holiday,we would explore , more so as each one of was desperate to prove our theory and assumption right!
        But the very next morning, the piece of marvel had simply vanished and that is when my engineering hubby shouted in jubilation that it was just a cardboard cut out erected for some big fat Indian wedding – for a few moments we all were transported to the world of Band, Baraat and Badhai and not even a monosyllable was uttered!
A couple of minutes later, routine , mundane activities had followed and nobody had the time to stand and stare.
            By early evening, the fog and mist on that  December day had lifted and lo and behold the venerable edifice was back to where it magnificently belonged and a huge shout of hurrah followed!
        The next instant, all of us were huddled in our car for the on site action- hardly had we covered  a mile, when a super imposing view of a Church with a dome  and a shining cross adorning the top came in full glare- we were stupefied, numb and speechless at this spectacular phenomenon , the creator had given us our fair chances to come out ith our takes and each one of was right in our own small way but the Lord had humbled us by the “WE KNOW ALL” attitude ……

Merry Christmas to the lovely bloggers …..  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Relationships hardly matter 
     when money do we cater 
     In a world so materialistic 
      and expectations  idealistic 

   Desires are insatiable 
    hunger for power inevitable 
   Like a glutton with ravenous appetite,
   Longing for more hence ready to fight

GREED outweighing affection 
needs and wants an infection 
Itching to grab, loot and plunder 
The penurious heart never fonder 

A doleful inheritance tale but TRUE 
Bonding only with legal tender glue 
Love,  an empty coffer,  affinity measured by substance 
Bountiful assets and never ending AVARICIOUSNESS! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

120 minutes - the ordinary & extraordinary

12o minutes and the Extraordinary

It was all over the place….on the covers of glossy business magazines and on glamour mags, grabbing headlines in every leading newspaper, on prime time television ,in all news channels, it was also followed , shared and tweeted and my web page had the maximum hits in two hours! A beaming 32 intact woman entrepreneur holding aloft a gleaming and glistening trophy for the “innovative business woman of the year” was  BREAKING NEWS everywhere and that proud lady was me…..

Twenty years ago , the closest I came to business sense was when I grabbed the opportunity , owing to my gift of the gab, to host a management meet called ‘synergy’. I judiciously stole a joke from Readers Digest magazine which went like this- the ‘point’ soap was a phenomenal success largely due to its marketing strategy put forth by the giant advertisement agency, Sully and Sather Associates , simple and plain and dumb , 5 still pictures in a sequence that became a super duper hit generating a lot of revenue and raked in a lot of moolah. The sequence depicted was firstly of a bucket of water with foamy laundry detergent in it, the second frame was of a woman soaking dirty linen (in full public view) in this bucket, the third shot showed the lady pulling out clean clothes from the bucket, the penultimate frame had a shining bright family basking in glory and the last one revealed the name of the detergent. This simple message created waves across the world like a Tsunami and people flocked to the shops to lay their hands except in the middle east desert places where it was a damp squib because like the Urdu language, our Arab friends read the sequence from right to left and the sales there took a nosedive….

After graduating from B school, I was placed in reputed companies and the train chugged along sometimes changing tracks and on odd occasions derailing or simply waited at the crossroads!

I was always the tough and strong woman but dreamt to become a “woman of substance”, aided and abetted by our former President Dr. Abdul Kalaam who persuaded all of us to DREAM. In the next few years that followed , I was begging, borrowing but did not have the courage to do the next inevitable thing of stealing, even though I was desperate for the most important ingredient to set up shop, the ‘M’ factor – I chased all banks, financial institutions , petty money lenders and pawn brokers for that eluding big wads of notes!

All my bank accounts overdrawn, fixed deposits broken, I was on my way to Germany , the land of many innovations, they were the pioneers in the soap and detergent industry , a good Samaritan in the name of Tomas Gutenberg became a friend , a guide , a philosopher , an introducer to the big guns and for more than a month I was in and out of factories with all modern plant, equipment and machinery. The more I saw, the less I learnt and it took me a while to grasp the nuances , only grit ,determination and perseverance allowed me to slowly and steadily improve my business acumen.

Back home in India, I soon set up a research laboratory which I am sure will put to shame ” Dexter’s lab”! I burnt the midnight oil, had I been a man, my beard would have touched the ground , studying the manufacturing process of laundry detergent, I was surprised to learn that Babylonians were using soap made out of boiling fats and ashes. In Spain, they used Olive oil for manufacturing and in 1930s , the Americans were making them in their houses! The two vital raw materials that go into the making of soap are Surfactant and builder , the former is the surface acting agent and the latter enhances its performance. The raw materials are a synthetic combination of hydrocarbons and fatty acids. The hydrocarbons is hydrophobic and is repelled by water but have a fatal attraction towards oil and grease whereas , fatty acids are hydrophilic and attracted to water. The detergent is normally derived from crude oil and sulphuric acid is added to processed hydrocarbon which produces a molecule similar to fatty acids and on adding an alkali to this becomes the surfactant. All are blended together in a mixer and then released to a conveyor belt and subsequently packaged.

By this time business sense took total control of me , I was manipulating, maneuvering the tricky labyrinths of trade , destiny allowed me to strike good deals for importing sophisticated machinery and raw materials. Every second, minute and hour “earned” was valuably spent in researching on those extra magical inputs that makes an ordinary soap to stand out, new plans, hypothesis and postulates emerged and those remarkable discoveries are shared here..In modern detergents, builders and chemicals increased efficiency on the surfactant and the sequester minerals in hard water holds them in solution and does not allow them to precipitate out, the oil and grease molecules in soiled clothes are emulsified into tiny globules and the action of chemicals like Sodium Silicate prevents the washing machines from corroding. Whitening agents are added which converts invisible ultraviolet light into visible blue light thus maintaining brightness. Sodium Perborate, another chemical, removes stains with the help of enzymes that breaks these tough stains down and we can add perfumes of our liking to remove odour!

I was literally reaching for the stars , aiming for a large scale production and hence graduated from the blender method to the agglomeration process which could accommodate 20000 kilograms per hour – it was a mammoth leap for the business frog to come out of the well, flourishing, the arrow in the sales chart zooming vertically upward, I also enjoyed a lions’ share in the market pie. My profits increased by leaps and bounds which increased my bank balance and the quality and price of the detergent, brought a smile on every woman’s face. I also cared for the environment and therefore freed phosphates from the ingredients as it was harmful for the marine life.

I “hold” the invitation , emblazoned in Gold , for the launch of my dream , my laundry detergent close to my heart , growing from strength to strength, learning, expanding, innovating and transforming and now I “hold” the trophy in pride , yes this was the Oscar night for me, accolades, handshakes,  embraces, hugs, kisses, (was I wearing a low cut velvet gown studded with emeralds and rubies and matching designer jewellery, I wonder?) showered with confetti ……the only thing amiss was The CHAMPAGNE SHOWER enjoyed by Sebastian Vettel when he won the Indian Grand Prix!


Beware Surf excel matic for providing with two extra hours , be ready to face the consequences in the form of tough competitors like me …….                       THE MYTH!!!

                          120 minutes and the

The huge ball of flaming orange gradually descended from the zenith and lowered itself like our tricolor flag coming down a pole. The bright orange hue changed into a subtle yellow, the fieriness disappeared and was now a tamed lion . The charming ocean turned angry and violent and ready to gobble the golden Sun . In a matter of seconds , the mighty king was dethroned , the ocean emerged victorious with its waves doing the victory laps. The brilliant display shifted the settings of the horizon , a dozen colours painted on the canvas of the sky , a breathtaking sight , my eyes capturing each frame and creating a gallery in my heart…..If only I had more TIME….

Scores of words were criss –crossing the super highway , my mind thesaurus acting like a navigator and in a instant many answers falling into their slots just like musical notes from  a violin – cryptic, quick, anagrams , brainteasers all were running riot and time had a DO NOT DISTURB sign stuck on its face till the magical square was completed , a swarm of bees in a beehive.
Logical reasoning or trial and error ,the numbers in a grid must have from 1 to 9 without repetition horizontally and vertically in a 9x9 square , the creator was crafty, crooked and stingy in giving clues in certain grids and I was left powerless, then twilight changed into night sky and a million stars lighted up to grant me the wish of finishing a Su do ku puzzle at one go, for a brief moment I was the ‘Eureka’ screaming Archimedes, well the only difference being the water already displaced from the tub the very instant I entered it! If only I could lay my hands on another one but the time bomb was TICKING AWAY….

I was surrounded by sound , the rhythm of life, the strains of a strumming guitar, the soulful drums, the Rudra veena reverberating, decibel levels high like thunder, in high definition each note crystal clear , transporting me into the world of Pied Piper, I followed the resonance, fantasizing the musical composition and romancing the talent. The lilting symphony coming close to nature’s bard- chirping, tweeting and warbling but the date with the creator ended sooner than I dreamt , the ANTIQUE CLOCK standing the test of time , giving grim reminders…..

The mighty Scorpio, flexing its muscles , burning rubber on the roads , the swell wind on my face , clouds on a magic carpet atop the gigantic mountains, undulating , gurgling streams charting its own course with rounded pebbles bordering its path, deep ravines and thunderous roars emanating , spraying and soaking me in delight , rising like a phoenix, a magnificent architectural marvel- God’s happy abode amidst nature , blessed ,afresh in body and soul , an energy that keeps me going like monks in a Monastery . In the heart of hearts , I hoped and prayed that this voyage would be eternal as the lush green fallows that stretched and stretched and I could ramble in the foothills of the towering mountains , folded and faulted over the years but TIME AND TIDE waits for no man….

Delving into the world of gastronomical delights – relishing hot steaming dosai and vadai with chutney and sambar , stuffed paranthas with dollops of ghee , fresh luscious fruits in an ice cream , lip smacking payasam tickling my taste buds , the sugar and spice to last a lifetime , savouring a hearty meal with ones kith and kin talking of good old days – manna dropping from heaven but the TICKER flashing…..

Curling up with a book on fiction, mystery or adventure on a rainy afternoon , uninterrupted , adrenalin pumping climax, or a twist in the tale gets me on a high , stranded on a desert with sand dunes as far as the eye can see and lo and behold an oasis emerging bringing alive all the myriad characters in the stories.
I am no movie buff but to put up my legs in the cozy comforts of my home , watching a light hearted film and forgetting it even before the end of the show is adorable , an ideal way to de stress , works wonders as laughter is indeed the best medicine , oh ! how often I have ‘carried on’ and exalted in joy and split my sides!

TICK TOCK TICK TOCK.. did I hear the clock? no I live in a digital and mechanized world racing against TIME… the panic alarm button is pressed, it is a manic Monday , one hand on the tava ,another on the iron box, wheels on the feet , always in motion ,roller skating from one medium to another , packing lunch , last minute touches , no not to my make up , but to the son’s assignment , adding a sparkle or a glitter to the activity , never ending chores in and out of the house , shopping, freelancing, banking, insuring, driving , oh yes writing …… every second, minute , hour is a bonus just to douse the fire on my wheels or  at least “ GASP” …to catch my breath and do my favourite things!

Thank you Surf Excel Matic for giving me a chance to pause, stop, dream, think, ponder and ink……                                                          THE REALITY….

Friday, November 4, 2011


For  one  fleeting second, I put myself in her shoes…..

                    Her story begins in a nondescript village  in Palakkad in Kerala. Born in a reasonably well to do Iyer family , as tradition demanded, she was married off at the tender age of 14.( even 10 years added to this number did not equip me mentally to accept the intricacies of marriage hood!)
                      Doing the mundane household chores in a large joint family, lending her helping hand in drawing water from the well, cooking, grinding and serving was the order of the day and this would have taken a massive toll on her body. Early motherhood resulting in abortions added to her untold misery .Well this may have been the first physical scar on her. Life is a seesaw with ups and downs and the birth of two lovely children brightened up her life. The middle ages saw a downturn in her health as she developed uterine problems finally resulting in hysterectomy. Soon she developed arthritis in her legs and body showed signs of slowing down .This may have been scar number two.

                      But she pulled along popping pain killers and the like as life had to go on and she was the pivot. Her daughter got married and settled abroad. Duties and responsibilities beckoned her to take care of her grandchildren. This docile lady cocooned in her own protective shell , unexposed to the harsh outside world travelled abroad alone to be with her daughter when she needed her most. The strained relationship that her husband had with her daughter – is that scar number three I wonder?

                       She came into my life in the year 1991, I vividly recollect the day when this fair , charming, rotund lady with a bewitching smile held my hand for the very first time . On my wedding day , I was put in a spot of bother as she along with her three sisters stood together in resplendent silk saris and dazzling diamonds looking strikingly similar!

                       The events that followed my marriage for 5 long years remains a blur and a blot on my image and this delicate darling was caught in the crossfire – helpless , feeble and defenseless. On the one side , her domineering husband, who drew the line , the obstinate, unyielding  me on the other, maybe  yet  another  scar!

                        The saga of her story continued like a stream gurgling and following the course of destiny, donning many roles that of daughter, wife, mother, mother- in- law, grandmother and the latest feather in her cap , great grand mother!

                       She lost her husband, a partner for more than half a century and the ship which was sailing smoothly suddenly seemed to be in high seas tossed on the waves, directionless, leaving a void in the deep. This vacuum silently created havoc in her brain and this was to be the next scar.

                      From her I understood that aging is more psychological than physical. The 70 age barrier that she set for herself had severe repercussions on her mind and body . Once she crossed this threshold , things started going topsy turvy- she became incoherent , disoriented, unfamiliar with her surroundings , amnesiac and lost her bearings. I was shattered with this development , more so as I had been a mute spectator to the sufferings of her father who suffered from Alzheimers during the fag end of his life.

                      A series of consultations with top notch neurologists followed , who put her through lot of tests and scans that did not pinpoint the root cause of her ailment . The doctors refused to conclude that she was also a victim of Alzheimers as the changes were so very sudden and dramatic. The subsequent treatment steadied the vessel but fluctuations in behavior continued. Her mind graph had several points plotted which showed a volatile curve , at times near perfect and on other occasions going awry. Mood swings, hallucination, aggressiveness, losing the sense of time, place and identity, confused and possibly the shortest retention of memory. The nerve cells refusing to send messages to do even routine things like walking, eating, obscuring her, it was as if something was eclipsing the central processing unit, making her unaware, unconcerned and unmindful!

                     Now, it is a period of uncertainty, triggering lot of welcome activities or slipping into OBLIVION  as her  dutiful son  my husband , meticulously takes care , controls and protects. YES , this fragile , gray haired , skeletal frame is my mother- in- law , definitely not a matriarch but a demure, dignified and down to earth personality who not only taught me the nuances of cooking but plenty of patience ,perseverance,  hard work  and humility.
She was once upon a time a plumpy woman with razor sharp memory , a voracious reader ,taught my children Kannada and math tables, could recite shlokas to appease all the Gods, presently in a world of her own , bereft of emotions, not knowing night or day, with figments of imagination and illusion.

It is immensely tough and a mammoth task  to be a care taker and whenever I lose my MOORINGS, I just slip into her brain…..   


Saturday, October 22, 2011


        I sat glumly on the delicate head 
         Deeply distressed, forlorn and uncared for
        Lifeless, dull and in Coiffeur
          Impoverished, desperately seeking attention....

        To cure my malady,
          Many a virtuoso deliberated
        But all attempts futile, love torn apart
           Hairsplitting, on the verge of a breakdown....

        The enduring pain seemed eternal
           In the dungeon, a glimmer of hope and desire
         An aura of radiance emanating,
            In disguise of a " DOVE", came a bewitching Fairy....

         Gently canoodling the tresses
            With the treacle, worked her way like a wizard
          Each strand throbbing back to life
             Rejuvenated at the scalp, I bounced up in ecstasy....

          Back in vogue, permed, styled and set
             Many a haughty head turned
           Admiring the hairdo, going green with envy
             Adulation , was in full bloom....

          Felt, touched,caressed and pampered
             It was a new day in paradise
          The star studded tiara resting
             On the pinnacle of glory, in UTOPIA....  

Monday, October 17, 2011


One bright sunny morning, it just happened- I mean the opening of a FACEBOOK account, more as a measure to keep up with the Joneses.In the beginning , things were moving at snail's pace, I was a green horn and my ignorance came to the fore when I messaged my friend(oops I should call buddy!)through the status and the whole world came to know about it. Slowly I managed to learn the tricks of the trade.

The ignorance, turned to fascination which got converted to obsession and finally manifested itself as a ruling passion, I became a "facebookaholic"!

I was now tagging, poking, connecting ,reconnecting and socializing like never before. Friends and foes, who were scholarly intellectual, dimwit blockheads or plain ignoramus with whom I used to laugh, play, learn, hang around with,buddies who stood by me in my hour of crisis or who left me high and dry  were all jostling to share space with me in cyberland - I was infatuated by Mark Zuckerberg's innovative finding and literally swore by FB!

Life was so precious , as blue as the summer sky and  on my birthday, I broke all my previous box office records for the maximum number of greetings - my inbox was inundated making me feel young and bubbly as a teen would be!Wishes knew no geographical boundaries and poured in from across seven seas- from, pals who greeted from the bottom of their hearts
, some who were reminded to do so, total strangers who were friends to be and those who simply reciprocated my wishes to them . The good old moments were back again and the floodgates were opened for a torrent of memories. The excitement further grew, on browsing the wonderful photographs of old buddies- some who had shining pates and were paying the barber for searching the strands of hair on their heads, thin wiry folks who were now tipping the scales and roly poly figures who looked very affluent in their younger days appearing as if famine had struck them! Somehow I couldn't come to terms with the transformation from the everyouthful photogenic frames that was embedded in my brain.

Each one of them had carved a niche for themselves, become stalwarts or celebrities in their own rights making me to wonder whether to thank Almighty or Almamater or Destiny - all were success stories chartering their own paths ( don't know if it is less traveresed!) probably with magic wands.....The wide gap that existed once upon a time, between the topper and the dullard ,in schools /colleges was indeed a thing of the past.The stage belonged to all!

But the bubble had to burst, every peak had a trough, what goes up had to come down and I had to CLOSE the BOOK of FACES , take a sabbatical from the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder- so I bid adieu and moved on from one oasis to another as something else happened on a bright summer day......

The counter is up and running for the 'thumbs up ' and 'thumbs down' on this composition , so what are you all waiting for ??? 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Stalker

To laugh or cry, to rejoice or sulk 
at this looming shadow 

Omnipresent knight... 

I am the princess 
and he the palanquin bearer 

The Sun playing truant with the clouds 
appearing when least expected 

Vanishing ... 
but leaving its golden rays 
the glare piercing through... 

To laugh or cry,  to rejoice or sulk 
at this haunting ghost 

Overbearing Phantom... 
can sense the masked apparition 
from the corner of my eye 

That palpable obscure spectre 
haunting me every moment 


For the defenseless prey 
like a crouching stealthy TIGER..

Monday, October 3, 2011

The best s(m)elling secrets

The aroma of freshly ground coffee for a coffee totaller like me- so very invigorating..aha. this word itself gives energy. Flip the pages of a new book and the whiff of that transports us to another world ... oh for that odour of the new bedsheet giving a hypnotic effect on my slumber ... Sniff the air around you when nearing a bread factory- the olfactory senses winds its way into your stomach ... Feel the earthen fragrance when rain falls for the first time on the parched land- simply heavenly...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


             For a person obsessed with spellings, the innumerable hoardings and sign boards across Indian cities is indeed a treat to the bemused eyes. Over the years, a plethora of these 'MISSPELT' words and phrases are like bees in my bonnet, constantly buzzing!

              One word so very grossly 'misspelt' and sure to make a glorious etch in the Guiness book of world records  is 'PUNCTURE' - it is a miracle that I am still writing it correctly without any aberration, after all the myriad ways it has been spelt . And now did you know that a tyre repair shop has 'pancreas' repair facility, if only our organs could so easily be fixed!

               A tailor shop located near my house made me to boldly venture in to get a blouse stitched. All the formalities done away with , the lady asked me to come and collect it after a week. On the day of reckoning, my husband also joined me on my walk to the tailor shop, while he waited outside the shop,I eagerly went to collect the piece. After a few minutes, when I came out, my husband had a bewitched look on his face and he navigated me from head to toe and exclaimed "oh! no black eyes and still in one piece ah?"On my questioning look, he pointed to the board kept outside the shop which read like this"BLOWS TRADED" and  now you know why!!!
               Another sign outside a condiments shop went this way"CODEMENTS SHOP"- no prizes for guessing what different codes he sells!

               Two ladies were talking non stop at the top of their voices in an autorickshaw and all attempts by the driver to silence their banter fell on deaf ears until he pointed to an advertisement on a passing bus,painted in bright red colour ,"" and this time he succeeded!

                 My son's first Hindi lessons started with a bang. On one occasion he had a test wherein pictures of articles were printed and he was asked to write the word in Hindi. One such picture was the human leg , he simply filled in the the letters  L and G in Hindi to read as 'LG' and little wonder his Hindi lessons ended in a whimper!

                  The never ending relationship that a real estate agent establishes with his client is clearly exhibited on his name plate"DREAMS RELATOR" .
                    If instead of qualified teachers conducting classes, some touts are arranged then the pamphlet circulated  will read as "HOME TOUTOR" available for teaching English!

                    In order to satiate a voracious appetite, you can head towards the 5 star "RESTORRENT" for appeasing your hunger- Iam sure there will be a torrent of food as well as the bill! 
                     The inappropriate punctuation marks are also a matter of grave concern like this name plate in front of a bakery- Iam sure the cookies and pastries will have to be pushed inside from the wrong end, as the board says "ANUS BAKERY"! Such consumers are called "END USERS"!

                      There was this warning notice put up by the traffic police in the ghat section which said 'DANGRUS place- it is strictly WORNED not to BE TRESSPASS FROM this place'- spot  all the errors and the winner takes them all!
                       While multitude of Indian children, with their flawless and impeccable spellings, excel in competitions the world over, making the nation proud, this is the other end of the spectrum where the petty shop owners try to match shoulder to shoulder with these stupendous spellings!
                         The BRITISH have long left us but these blooming blunders in the name and sign boards are a commemoration  which  stand as testimony to what they forced upon us!

                         As I stand mesmerized by these captivating words and phrases, please "FALLOW" me on a word hunting spree across cities ,towns and villages and not gaze  and admire  the enchanting sunflower fields!!!


Sunday, July 17, 2011


     Tall tapering coconut trees swaying in the lagoon

     Caparisoned elephants flapping their ears in tandem

     The cool breeze hugging in a tight embrace

     Nosing its way through the weedy green carpet


     In unison a hundred voices echo
     A chant rising and falling as the waves in symmetry

     Navigating the shimmering aquamarine waters

     Raising its hood majestically

     Up ,above, over and swift

     Its oars in absolute synchronization

     Causing ripples here,there and everywhere

     Loud heart throbs,drum beats and triumphant faces as

                             the beak pecks at the finish


     The SERPENT in a magical gaze enraptures the crowd in a                                                      frenzy.

                 This poem is an outcome of enchanting emotions on seeing the magnificent "chundan vallom"(the elongated beaked boat) race in Kerala's lovely backwaters.                                                    


Sunday, July 10, 2011

The cascade

      A thunderous roar from yonder,
       Nestled deep in the ravines,
            Like a rabbit from a magician's hat I wonder,
            This is nature's marvel with its trademark sign.
        Thick foamy lather dropping from heaven,
         A sight to savour and behold,
              For leeches, reptiles and crawlies, a safe haven,
              Emerging ,gliding and falling from the mountain fold.

        The Creator's symphony starts with a crescendo ,
         Utmost bliss, calm and solitude at the bottom,
               A torrent at the top turning into grace at one go,
                The mysterious , gushing cascade, a symbol, a totem!


Me and my brother
Birds of the same feather
Adored by my father
Loved by my mother
The games we play
Night and day
Try as we might
But ending up in a fight
Like Tom and Jerry
Always making merry
There is no sibling rivalry
Sailing in the same ferry
The joys and sorrows we share
Coz we are together a pair
Setting our own norms
We are afterall brothers in arms!

Grassroot Marketing

             My husband was profusely thanking with utmost sincerity,hand to heart - well you may be wondering whether he has landed himself a plush lucrative job with an MNC or he is being awarded the prestigious trophy for his excellence in the field of education-No you are absolutely wrong and you will know the reason why, shortly, as you read this narration on buying and selling at the grassroot level !
              The small time street  vegetable vendor selling items like  coriander and curry leaves , ginger,lemon etc on the footpath is all smiles not because she had made a huge profit on the sale but the heartwhelming ''thankyou'' with a wide smile from my husband said it all . Well, this was the first purchase from that lady -the beginning of a  series of buys.After a week or so , while on our regular walks , this lady beckoned us with a broad grin. She managed to sell her fresh local type coriander leaves which makes wonderful green chutney , at a discount even though I had no intention of buying on that day.
              Her selling tactics, no marketing warfare this, subsequently resulted in us buying more frequently- the small discount making our day and the vendor , her prized customer . An intense bond  was established that from ''person loyalty '',it boiled down to ''person insistence'' to such an extent that we  would scout  for her presence on that road  and end up  not buying anything , even though there were scores of people lined up trying vociferously to out do one another. Such a rapport was struck, that  when the vegetables were not fresh she would dissuade us from making a purchase, only to see her selling them to other gullible customers with great ease and aplomb that no marketing giant can boast of!!
             This relationship further progressed and apart from discounts, we even managed to get few things  for free. But one day when I had to go alone to buy at the market, this very same lady appeared to me, a total stranger- the smile was gone, curtly telling me,as it was summer time,she  could give only two lemons for a rupee.I tried smiling , cajoling but all in vain!          
           That was the  moment when it struck me like a bolt from the blue- marketing was not only about the umpteen P's that I learnt in my B-school.The lessons of Philip Kotler telling us how to sell refrigerators to eskimos just went down the drain!
             When I told my husband about the strange behaviour of the vendor with all seriousness, my husband just gave me one of those  flashy grins which seemed to say , watch me in action next time at the market!

Saturday, July 9, 2011


It was 9.15AM- the school assembly session was going on in full swing , all of us standing to rapt attention in our starched and crisp uniform under the watchful eyes of the Principal and the staff. But few of us, blissfully unaware of the happenings, were throwing furtive glances at girls to know who were wearing the sacred turmeric smeared threads around their necks on that day. This was our best chance to know who belonged to the Brahmin community, not that it made any difference to our lifestyles in any manner but the very fact we were standing out from the  rest of the crowd mattered the most. The day was ''Karadayar Nombu ''- the ''karvachouth '' of the south.
       Legend has it, that Savithri , through severe penance , was able to bring back her husband Sathyavan from the clutches of Yama, the Lord of death. She  observed fasting in the forest and as offering made  'prasad'  from mud which eventually turned out to be tasty sweet  with the blessings of the Lord ! This day is observed as KaradayarNombu by girls for getting good prospective grooms and married women ,for the longevity of the lives of their husbands.
       But all we  then knew was that we had to get up early , take the ritual oil bath and wear those  gorgeous 'pattu pavadais'. Mom  would spread the  plantain leaf - on it there would be deliciously prepared "Nombu Adai" made  of jaggery with the deadly combination of homemade  butter to go with it. There wouid also be  betel leaf  with jasmine  flowers and of course  the sacred yellow thread. We would tie those  sacred threads around our necks and eat those lipsmacking sweet. The ceremony over, we wouid change to uniform and rush to school little knowing  the significance  of the day. The only thing that related to us was the fact that the women folk got the chance to lay their hands on the  'prasad ' before anyone else and there would be hush hush  talks in the class amongst us giving description of the  event and a feeling of one  upmanship and elation  of looking different on that day - a welcome break  from the routine !!
                                            Sunita sriram                                  


The children were all revelling , making merry in their exotic costumes on the annual day function of their school. The whole atmosphere was electrifying , charged up on the occasion. As I sat watching with pride ,my children bringing the stage alive with  innumerable twists and turns, memories of my own school day came flooding like a torrent.....the year 1977, I was selected to play the part of the magnificent maharaja Mahabali in a dance ballet not due to my ability to shake a leg, but because of God's gift in the form of natural curly tresses that suited ideally to adorn the looks of a king.My mom, like any other proud mother would be, went honky dory and news spread like wild fire that I would be playing the generous and benevolent Mahabali.
                On the day of reckoning, the participants came from the side of the dias and I was supposed to sit graciously in the middle facing the audience but much to the dismay and the amusement of many, I sat with my beautiful back to the curious onlookers. My mom threw up her arms in despair and tried some damage control measures by showing gestures to turn around but all in was all Greek & Latin to me .

                  The show finally got over, though  I did not face the audience  I definitely faced the music of all and sundry and it is still ringing in my ears loud & clear.
                   Cut to the present ,my children agog with excitement , discuss whether their attire is proper, make up is in order and they know not only to face the audience but enthrall them as well, hip swinging to the racy numbers adding a dash of aerobics & gymnastics here and there! Giving photogenic poses , not only for the ordinary  flash bulbs, but also for the umpteen number of digital cameras and mobile camers phones these tiny tots are simpiy amazing.
                   The stage has also indeed come a long way with musical  psychedelic disco lights, smoke and glittering decorations adding glitz and glamour to the bubbling young dancers setting the DANCE FLOOR ON FIRE!
                                                                     Sunita Sriram.

The new age Lingua Franca

As  we were awaiting our turn at the clinic,my son was animatedly conversing with his friend who happened to come by.All I could decipher were these words"mom doesn't give me any space".This led me to wonder why his skeletal frame needed more as I had already given him one full chair!That was when he explained that "space" meant freedom & not the literal quantum of place to be occupied!The immediate & prompt response to all our queries to children yields one answer "that's cool" irrespective of how oppressive the outside temperature may be!
           Welcome to the new world of "lingua franca",communication is now really "mind blowing" if I could dare to borrow a phraze very commonly used.Be it nightouts or parties or family gettogethers or simply a concert,the chorus of words uttered at the end of it "yeah,it was rocking"! The rocking that I knew was putting a baby to sleep in a cradle!
             Tune into any television channel,the oft repeated word,be it from the newsreader or the anchor or the host or the video jockey is simply"fair enough" - do they mean complexion,I bemuse,are we still in the age of apartheid! On other occasions,it is "somewhere down the line" - please don't search for the line as it as imaginary as the lines of latitude & longitude!
              The entry of computers in a big way in every walk of life has further made languages more complex as the "webs of the spider"- be it uploading or downloading.You better get the lingo right or else be "booted out"! Now,from grandma's recipes to technical knowhow is being "outsourced"!
               Are you planning to go on a trip,don't say holiday as it "passe" - better "unwind" at an "ecofriendly" resort.If you are on a shopping spree,never go to a supermarket,instead head towards a swanky "mall" replete with multiplexes (not age old movie theatre), food court (I had previously heard of only tennis courts!) & different garment stores(not the place where you stack your provisions)
               If you chance to strike up a conversation with a software professional all you hear are the words - schedules,projects, assignments or deadlines!
               The paradigm shift of the language jargon has assumed dismaying proportions & is now embedded in the society,we have but to adapt to new language formula or else we remain a square
peg in a round hole - a total mismatch! I am practising this latest fad 24x7 - How about you folks?
                               - SUNITA SRIRAM

Oh for a cricket match !

High voltage drama prevailed on that Sunday morning.Probably none of the members of our family had better business that day,than to go hammer & tongs at one another.The verbal dual reached an all time high with each one of us trying to outdo the other,hurtling abuses & making a mountain of a molehill.

I was fervently hoping that somebody would drop in to say hello,normally we would detest the presence of a visitor spoiling our Sunday but I thought a guest would create a welcome change in the charged up atmosphere.But not even a single crow cawed,not a soul turned up.When I had almost givenup hope of bliss returning to our household,my husband switched on the TV only to find our men in blue up in arms against the mighty Aussies,the so called world champions! I cringed at the thought of this maddening sound adding to the already high decibel level.

My father-in-law occupied his favourite chair,there was a big round of applause when our Saurav da won the toss.A quick calculation & my husband predicted that the stars were favourable for India to comeout victorious.Veeru,with his cracking shots,brought a smile on everybody's face & slowly the soaring temperature came down.A sudden bad shot again silenced the house.Then there were curses flying at the white coat for giving a blatantly erroneous decision.My mother-in-law chipped in to say this umpire is racist,a white fanatic.The situation was palpable,the match could go either way,at that very moment,my grand mother prayed to Lord Ganesha that she would break a coconut if mere bharath mahan could pull this one.As if in answer to her prayer,the tide turned in India's favour as our players bowled like men possessed.And I was thanking my hubby silently for switching on the TV at the right time.

The exciting win for India made our day & blind patriotism came to the forefront - all of us forgot how that Sunday had dawned,eventually turning to be a fun filled day afterall!

                                                                 SUNITA SRIRAM                 


So,it is that time of the year again,when ladies & young girls in resplendent silk arrange the lovely dolls of different hues,idols of myriad gods in all sizes on specially erected steps with a whole lot of decorations.It is a 9 day long festival usually occurring in the month of Oct/Nov starting with Mahalaya Amavasya,the new moon day,though the actual pooja starts from the next day onwards.Each day is dedicated to the different "avatars" of Goddess Durga  culminating in Vijayadasami,the day  on which she vanquished the demon  Mahishasura.Being in Bangalore,it is a delight to see the city of Mysore all decked up for the beautiful event with the grand procession of elephants carrying Goddess Chamundeswari.
                    I am transported back in time,we as  young children longed for those 9 days - accompanying our mothers to various households who arrange these 'kolus'.There would be lots of lovely things to munch like 'chundal' etc.More  than the savouries we would relish the small momentos which were given away as souvenir.These usually assumed the form of small combs,fancy "kumkum" boxes,tiny mirrors,colourful bangles & if we were lucky enough,we would even end up receiving miniature brass idols.For the males in the household,the work was to prop up wooden planks to form steps which were odd in number & indulge in flashy decorative lighting up of the mantap.The young brigade's craftmanship came to the fore when the artist created models of gardens & the play areas with clay.Our main job was to count the number of Ganeshas,Sivas & Krishnas on the step.Then came the "Ayudha Pooja" - the day when all tools were dedicated to the God & not to be used.We had to neatly arrange the books on white silk cloth & not to read the whole day - well that was the most enjoyable part but was shortlived as the next day was 'Vijayadasami',the day when all things had to begin afresh to have a wonderful & productive year ahead!All vehicles were also washed & garlanded.Lemons were kept under the wheels & driven over them.Even our bicycles would be all gleaming & glistening & looking as new as ever!
                Such was the joy of Dussehra festival & merely thinking about those good old days bring much enthusiasm,happiness & cheer.                    


One lazy afternoon, I got a call from my Appa ,who sounded very exuberant & thrilled - "Hey Suni,you know what,Amma & myself have cleared the interview!" Interview,what interview for this silver haired couple hitting the 60s,I wondered.Before I let my imagination run loose,to my amusement,Appa went on to elaborate that they had managed to get visa from the American Embassy for their long awaited trip across seven seas.The stern looking American officer at the Embassy appeared to be satisfied that they had no idea of settling in Bush's ranch since both their children were not domiciled in that part of the globe.
    So the first hurdle crossed,the house "SYAM" was  abuzz with activity.Appa with one hand on the mobile,another on the world map,precariously hanging on the newly whitewashed walls of his humble domain,probably he could do with another hand to type in instructions on his PC for online reservations of Airline tickets, accomodation,planning his itinerary etc. I set the clock back & vividly remembered the scene when we were kids standing in front of the very same big world map & Appa like a Geography teacher telling us the various hotspots across the world."Here is the great barrier reef, the next moment it would be the Niagra falls & on yet another trip it would be our very own chilka lake".These Geography lessons were embedded in our brains & stood us in good stead in our future mapping of the continents.This map has withstood the test of time & Appa still enjoying globe trotting & drooling over it!
      In another part of the house,Achoo! Achoo! my Amma cursing her nasty cold & hoarsely crying out " this lousy cold had to come only now".I paused to think at the ruckus she was creating over this,as normally she doesn't care for any of the diseases dogging her,least of all an influenza.The reason I soon found out was the fear of a strict scanning by the Americans literally down to the innerwears.If they find her with some antibiotics,they may refuse entry for fear of spreading an epidemic! Not to mention the umpteen number of fatal diseases they bring to our India!
     The dust & the storm finally settled & the decks were cleared for a smooth takeoff from " nammalude Nedumbassery" , Appa&Amma equipped with digicam to instantly capture the golden moments.The delay in takeoff removed all obstacles in the onward journey,like how we say "Pillayar chuzhi" .This also meant a chance meeting with the parents of my old chum Minu,who passed on the good news of Minu giving birth to a baby boy after many years of marriage.
     The whirlwind tour of the Americas,the world's largest democracy, finally began with a real bang & Appa's esteemed toy manufacturing company taking over the reins completely,arranging for the stay,good Indian vegetarian fare in friends' places (they were wary of food which contained crawling & creeping creatures tickling their palette!),sightseeing tours on the "city's  airconditioned spic & span buses" to put it in Amma's words & finally not to speak of glow on Amma's cheeks drinking apple juice,orange juice all the way.
     However,the moment of reckoning came when Appa stood in awe at the stupendous Empire State building.For few breathless moments,I think he reminiscenced the days,when as a young of 10 carried his little sister on his tiny shoulders & enjoyed the magnificent Chidambaram Temple of Lord Nataraja! It is hard to compare the stature of the Gopuram  of the Chola temple built with love & toil of 100s of labourers with that of the technologically advanced tower of America - both unique & distinct in its own rights.
     Then came the torrents,the gush of the Niagra & the omnipresent rainbow in all its wonderous hues & one could findout from the snaps,the child like enthusiasm bubbling on the couple's faces! They could manage to squeeze in couple of other important destinations & also the long lost meeting with old colleague's daughter Papu.
     The second honeymoon over,it was back to ground reality,they even managed to beat the deluge at Mumbai as they landed a few hours before the sky opened up.In a flash they were home & dry,Amma back to her routine Narayaneeyam classes & daily visit to Trikkakara Temple.
     When I asked my Appa about one incident that stood out in the whole trip - he told me, it was,when he received his old trousers misplaced by the launderers in the hotel,safely returned to him via courier.I presumed that the reason for this honest service would be that nobody could fit into his diminutive trouser size,not to mention the age of the same!
     This piece is dedicated to Shri.M.Gopakumar Nair,Director (Indian operations) of K&M International,who in all magnanimity created an environment & ambience for this "second honeymoon" in the twilight of their life!          


As a young girl of six,the record player was the first "box" to enter my life.Thankfully,I did not belong to the era of gramophone.Naughty that I was,the intentional changing of the RPM was real music to my ears.The slow numbers of the bygone era could be heard in the real rocking hip hop style & vice versa.
         On lazy afternoons,the other hit box was the radio,the huge one at that & I would by fluke tune into ABC & BBC channels & their accent enchant me.As I grew older,when I won my first scholarship,dad got me a flashy red two-in-one cassette player-the one in vogue those days & that box gave me company night & day.I grew up listening to the likes of Madonna,Michael Jackson that too in high decibels- wonder how dad & mom tolerated this cacophony of sounds despite their hectic work schedule.
          Then came the biggest box in everybody's life - the idiot box.I still vividly remember when my dad took us to buy one - definitely not an array to choose from but the fact that we children were given a say in deciding on the brand made us feel big! It  was such a thing in my otherwise monotonous life style that I did not miss out even on 'krishi darshan' on our dear Doordarshan.
            The television gradually assumed the form of another wonder box,the VCR/VCP which our  club bought by paying an exorbitant sum of money.We friends used to anxiously await Friday evenings to enjoy the regular movie shows. 
            This gave way to the next big revolution I think after the invention of the wheel,the computer.When it was installed for the very first time in the electronic data processing department of the public sector undertaking,I was on cloud nine & peeping through the glass window of the much hyped chamber of mystery,I was in for a bigger surprise as the room had big machines all wired up.It was explained to me that it being a mainframe computer was huge,bulky & costly! I did not make head or tail of what it was then,not that it has made any sense to me even now.
             Being married to an electronics man,I was exposed to a whole room of boxes- the mini TV fondly called "kunju TV",the kids educational PC,the home PC with all sorts of drives,the dvd/ MP3  players(as I am writing this piece MP4 has already hit the market) - the concept of home entertainment reaching to real great heights.           
              Did I mention to you,my own prestige box in the kitchen,yes,you guessed it right - it is the OTG/Microwave oven.Be it the first salary gift to one's beloved or a b'day/anniversary present it is the oven these days. 
             When my first  son was born,he started his life seeing the  first box of his world the 'incubator' which kept him warm & protected like the mother's womb.A plethora of boxes await him as he treads the world & only the time will tell what shapes & sizes these magnificent boxes will assume! It is for the present a mad mad "box world" indeed.
                                                                    -SUNITA SRIRAM