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


Games then, Gizmos now

Just the other day, I was cleaning up the attic when I found my dog-eared 'Scrabble' game of wordbuilding and my cherished 'Monopoly' game of business and trade . I was delighted and when I started to explain the game to my kids aged seven & six , laughed and cockily sneered and said "what lousy games "!
           I remembered the days when I was of that age and my grandfather gave me a lot of empty medicine cartons and plastic bottles - these things would be transformed into lovely multistoried buildings . The carrom board was part and parcel of every household & in those rainy Sunday afternoons the family of four would be divided into teams & coins pocketed with such ease and I ultimately became the youngest champ at school and in our club.
           The lovely marbles of all sizes and hues , had each one of us boasting the number collected.There was also the typical game for the girls - hopping on different squares on one leg.The Ludo, Snake & ladder and Chinese checkers had its own charm. There was also the occasional card game!
            When my dad bought us a mechanic set, our joy knew no bounds ,for it was the first of its kind we had ever laid our hands on. Playing hide & seek or climbing trees came naturally to us as there ample space around our house!
            Now , the first toys that my kids got from their dad was an yellow car having a small dish like antenna on top , battery operated - the kids at the age of one & two know how to put the positive and negative ends of the terminal !This hitech car started with a clap , reverse automatically and again pause for further commands!
            The first building lessons my boys learnt were not from empty cardboard boxes but from pre-fabricated plastic pieces which can be attached and dismantled to form any size or shape.
             A couple of years down the line,their tiny hands are on the joystick and fingers clicking the mouse of a computer - be it a matching game or shooting down the enemies from a rooftop of a skyrise! The touch screen logical reasoning Q & A game is really mind boggling and technology has reached great heights indeed!
             Apart from the hitech gizmos at hand there are the umpteen number of games like the bowling pins , the mini snooker table , the readymade indoor basketball game which are suited for homes with no space whatsoever! The innumerable video games comprising of  zippy races, soccer, tennis, cricket all give wonderful insight into the nuances of the game which the children pick up at a very tender age but on the flip side- a bad eyesight and couch potato syndrome!
             One can just go on marvelling and drooling over the rapid development of science but Iam  sure a child today is missing the glory of building a sand castle on the lovely beaches - for we wouldn't allow those small clean hands to touch the mud dirtied by paan spits and garbage or climbing a tree , as there is never a tree to climb !!!
                                                                            SUNITA SRIRAM     


UNFOLDING A BYGONE ERA ---------------------- Eyes moist,ears tingling,head swimming,voice choking-yes,I am reliving every moment of our glorious past - an era of pure unadulterated fun,of childhood innocence.Bharoo,you have succeeded in opening the flood gates of joy in myriad colours,I quote here a few of a plethora of instances;remember how we were caught redhanded for plucking those delicious "kashuandis",the run to the swimming pool & the tadpole necklace that I was decorated with,the umpteen videos we sneaked at the club's videoparlour-not to forget "khyber pass",how we rolled with laughter always coming back for more,our own tennis classes,the woodstock musical nights,our vanishing trick after cycling head on into a boy of LP school & to scoot from the scene only to get a dressing down from my pitaji! we managed to learn cycling in Bharoo's very own back yard-a piece of land which had more bumps than level ground!our collage days which saw a collection of all our heroes from Sabatini to Azhar!The enactment of the various stories in CJ's class-I just can't forget "The room with a view"-the numerous pairs we created -you guys put me up with Neel for being part of the two member debating club!!! I am leaving you here & you can let loose your imagination till I come back for more...... SUNITA,the evergreen BUFFY


It took some time to come back from Bharoo's STC PDC days - nowhere in the world will you find those brightly painted red town buses with saintly names to boot! The only black spot in these jaunty rides used to be the typical " Mallufied " males who dig their oily hands in the most awkward places even though we never ventured to wear provocative outfits! To tackle these roadside romeos we equipped ourselves with safety pins and other hitech gadgets which fended them miles away from us.

I'm yet to graduate from school for there's so much to share. I can never forget our physics sir late Mr. Koshy - the moment he enters the class, he would firmly shut the door {which had a small glass window in the corner} and invariably , somebody would peep through it. Within minutes the door flew open and he'd mumble to himself "you stupid blucks of wood " ! I was always a frontbencher not because of my over enthusiasm towards studies, but my eyesight didn't permit me to share that space with anyone else - there would be a shower from Mr. Koshy's mouth whenever he scolded us and it landed right on my face ! To avoid this we girls thought of a plan and came up in a flash with a brilliant "bulb" - we sprinkled some ink on the desk & he got "batik" design on his hand.But this plan widely went off target as this did not deter him from his threats to use the "meter rule" on us!

Imagine,we have even kept those crackling dry rubber tree seeds under the teacher's chair which would give a "pop" sound the moment some honourable Professor sat on it.Our lunch break was well spent collecting those seeds from the nearby rubber tree grove.

The Maths class was a real challenger class - highly fast paced as the first student finishing the problems correctly mind you,would get a chance to solve them on the board - a big morale boost for us in those days.We were already groomed for the rapid fire buzzer rounds in the years to come..... the class of 85 juggernaut will roll on.


Cajoling,coaxing & finally prodding,the bull has got up after chewing the cud - so folks here is some food for thought....
The familiar drawl from Mr.Chemmen heavily laced malayalam accent "when I was in Malaysia you see" - I was not in India obviously ! would be in the minds of all of us during the chemistry class but nobody dared to even breathe out loud for sheer fear at this tough task master.The only hour when there was pindrop silence.Once in one of the exams Leeju & myself got very low grades & we were summoned to the Chemistry lab.I had messed up organic chemistry & tried to explain trembling with fear,fumbling for words.I got off with a minor rebuke but Leeju had to bear the brunt of it all as she happened to be the daughter of Mr.Xavier,a doctorate in Chemistry!
He would brag about the daily diet of eggs given to his one & only daughter for her fair complexion(as white as egg) - we would giggle as only we knew the 'charcoal' coloured lovely daughter of his - no apartheid here!
Despite he being easily the best teacher in school,I was the perennial cat on the wall ! Those Benzene rings,anode,cathode,electrons & neutrons are still going around in circles in my dumbo head.
Our Biology madam was a genius of sorts - by the time we caught up with her chlorophyll & stomata the whole blackboard would be erased out & at the end of the day we had to share our notes to fill in the missing sections.However this rapid taking down of the notes stood me in good stead for the Mercantile law classes with umpteen sections during my B.Com days!