Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Perseverance, Power of Persuasion and Positivity

Perseverance, Power of Persuasion and Positivity 

Ours was an arranged marriage which had solemnly passed through the rigours of all the procedures of a typical Brahmin wedding - horoscope matching, boy seeing girl ceremony, the official engagement called the ‘nischitartham’ , fixing of auspicious time and day for wedding(muhurtham) and the usual diamond, gold and silver jewellery. (Being part and parcel of the marriage deal, irrespective of whether the groom’s party asks or not) .
After the boom, came the crash, and all my desires, hopes and aspirations  dashed to the ground and crushed under the mighty feet of my father-in-law, a tough task master who ruled the roost. My hubby , an enormously sweet person who dared not go  beyond the “lakshman rekha” and remained “yours most obediently” was caught between the devil and the deep sea and just  not mentally equipped for the war of two warring factions and his efforts of reconciliation went desperately in vain. Here I was stubborn and unyielding and as expectant as a new management graduate of a job that would set my career skyrocketing and on the other side an equal and adamant man who belonged to the patriarchal society with a firm rule of the thumb. 
The aggression, dismay, sorrow and retaliation, a cycle of human behaviour dragged on, from days to months with each passing day a nightmare of sorts. In no mood to relent or give up and desperate for a change, I set off to my parents’ place but no solace or comfort was forthcoming from my own circle of family and friends. One day, I decided to go to the movies in the township theatre with a view to lighten my heart and soul little realizing what was in store for me. Just before the film began I noticed a grey haired couple sitting two rows in front. Soon I realized that they were my husband’s maternal grandfather and grandmother.  Right from the days of my betrothal, I had nursed a fond liking for them – two sweet people, very calm and composed and extremely lovable. Immediately, I went forward to have a chat with them. The seat next to them was vacant and so I slipped into that unaware that this decision of mine was going to change the way I thought and lived for the next 25 years. The chat soon and as expected came around my marriage life and the hiccups that I was facing. I was on the threshold of annulling my marriage to a beautiful human being for no fault of ours but due to the pressures of an inner circle that held us as bonded slaves bearing the drudgery of society and the associated culture clash. The poem “Aunt Jennifer’s tigers” by Adrienne Rich flashed my mind a thousand times over and over with the marriage band hurting me incessantly. I was down in the dumps and the whole world looked bleak and sorrowful. My freedom had been curtailed, my wings clipped, my flights of fantasy never taking off....
The subsequent quarter of an hour was equivalent to the “bhagvad gita” discourse that Lord Krishna gave to Arjuna and ever so faithfully I listened intently to this frail old man who wiped away the droplets of tears that were waiting to come down as torrents. He explained in soothing and reassuring words...”why has God sent me to a nice, charming, educated man, my husband with the associated “baggage” as no one can stop destiny.” He said...”You are indeed going to play a major role in their lives and job and compatibility was only a small meagre part in that big drama called life.. your inlaws are old and waiting for an angel like you to take  loving care and soon enough they will know and realize the value of a beautiful person like me.” Soon, the veils of distress and agony lifted and somewhere I could feel a sense of belonging in the new family, a sudden light at the end of the dark tunnel, a pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow, a new beginning of hope and optimism. This pep talk with a grand old couple changed my outlook on life and the next two decades saw a reformed me full of energy and zest for life which I feel would have never taken place but not for them. It is refreshing to look back at a life gone by that was truly inspired by grandparents and not one’s immediate family or close friends.
I have had a successful married life with a warm and affectionate man, the joys of motherhood, the rich dividends of taking care of my father in law and mother in law when they were sick, the work atmosphere, the comforts of a lovely home, the freedom to freelance ...yes everything as a Chief Operating Officer and the relevance of looking at the brighter side of life!
                “Few things in the world are more powerful than a push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope. A "you can do it" when things are tough.”
                      -  Richard M Devos

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


It was still dark as I dropped my son at the bus stop. With the customary “bye” without looking back, he straddled across to the stop. My eyes caught an old lady dressed in sari worn in the traditional ‘Gounder’ way, with two bags by her side, talking to a person. She was showing her mobile and the action happening across the street suggested that she wanted help. The man was in no mood to offer any help and just waved her away. She then moved near to my son and did the same thing, whispering something to him. My son leaned over and took the handset in his hands and I saw him scrolling and toggling the keys. Within moments, route #6oo F drove in and he was off in a jiffy thrusting the cell into the woman’s hands.
           I lingered in the car for a couple of seconds more to see what the wrinkled lady would do next, she mumbled something to herself and the sparse morning commuters had all disappeared, she was frantically pressing different sets of keys but in vain to get connected. I was perplexed and in two minds, not known for chivalrous acts and the multitude cases of cheating, duping, conning all crossed by my cluttered brain but something urged me to get out of my car and act!
           I was out in a flash, ambled across the road and spoke in Tamil “enga ponnam amma?” She seemed to be more than relieved to see me and hear somebody talk in a language not alien! She told me that she had been waiting in the bus stop for the last one hour hoping her kith would pick her up. Despite her advancing age, she was sharp, physically and mentally agile and somewhat familiar with the topography. The mobile’s battery was draining fast and almost dying. I quickly dialled a random number from the contact list as did not want to waste further time exploring the list feed entered in Tamil, due  to my scanty knowledge of the script, which I unabashedly admit and also owing to the moments of life left in the Nokia!  Searching for the name she had mentioned, “Raja” would only add more agonizing moments for the two of us.
                  A woman’s voice sleepily answered the call and I asked her without any introduction as to where the owner of the number from which I was dialling, was staying. In a bewildered tone she answered that I had got the wrong number. Not making any headway and unsure and contemplating of my next move, I fumbled with the phone when I received a call back from the number I had just dialled. To a brief introduction of the situation I was in, smart that she was, absorbing and assimilating like all Indians, told me the old lady was visiting her relative in G R s apartment on MCC street. Thanking her, and thanking my stars as the phone went dead just at that divine moment, I said I would take her to the apartment myself. She was more than happy to be helped and just as I bend down to pick up the luggage, she cautioned me that it would be heavy. Shrugging her off, I picked it up casually only to feel the weight weighing down on my arms as if I was lugging timber! I somehow managed to put it in the boot carefully avoiding her “I told you so “looks!
                    As I drove in the dawn with the beautiful sun breaking the darkness of the night, I struck up a conversation with her. She had travelled from Coimbatore, a city in Tamil Nadu to Bengaluru to visit her granddaughter who was expecting her first child. It seems she had informed them of her coming but was surprised that they had not turned up to pick her up. As I was nearing the gates of the apartment, she realized that this was her destination and had recognized it. She got out of the car even before I could do that myself and open the door for her; as I opened the trunk, the bag that was so heavy for me was pulled out by her strong hands with the greatest of ease, and I owed her strength to the years of drawing water from wells!
                             At the gate, I saw a young chap, in shorts and T-shirt and in absolutely no hurry, approaching us, the gait suggesting his lack of interest! With great reluctance, he took the bag from her and went in without even a simple word of gratitude for a stranger who had dropped his grandmother in law! But the sweet woman was holding my hands and in her moist eyes, I saw benediction and mercy...profusely thanking and blessing me for the small act of kindness.

                         A sense of triumphant consummation of a deed well done cut across my mind on my way back but at the same time, the thought of two contrasting behaviours troubled me – one of a youngster who hardly acknowledged or recognized anybody and the other of the old lady who was a symbol of grace and retribution! And I knew what was in her heavy bag- sweets and savouries lovingly made by her for her granddaughter!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

"Krishna" in a new avatar!

Screaming headlines in today's The New Indian Express, Bengaluru edition..."Krishna enters Chickpet to cheers"..

Half awake and half asleep, this image caught my attention 


What divine intervention ...people of Chickpet seeing a miracle of a gigantic wheel of the chariot of Lord Partha ...I imagined letting loose wild squeals of delight...

Then reality struck me...jolting me from my half sleep to be awake was the metro tunnel driller named as "krishna" that had successfully dug through to emerge at Chickpet!


Do you see what I saw in the morning ..the giant wheel???


The grand appearance...


Will this new avatar of the Lord save us from traffic woes in Bengaluru???