Go(l)d's Own Country - Kerala

Whoever coined the tag line "God's Own Country" for Kerala, I don't understand what they actually meant. Today people call it "Gold's Own Country". May be that's a bit more apt. This can be better understood when one watches the Malayalam television channels or goes through the newspapers. The advertisement media in Kerala earns a good share of its income from the 'gold players' in the state.

Once I received a mail with the subject : Gold Mine. I thought it was in fact the details of some gold mine located somewhere, but it was the picture of a Mallu bride. I don't think I need to explain anything more - the title does. Nowadays giving so much gold in wedding has turned out more as a fashion and symbol of social and wealth status than need. In olden days also, girls were given gold but not as much as it is now. No wonder there are dowry deaths in the country. People have started expecting a lot.

The generation today, we don't see girls wearing so much ornaments in their daily life. But things turn the way round on the marriages. The parents or rather nobody ever thinks that all these ornaments are going a waste. Ornaments are meant to be worn and do they expect the girls to wear all those heavy ones to office and in daily life. For an occassion its okay, but how often do that big occassions come.

Few years back, I didn't like wearing gold ornaments. Neither did my cousin, Raji. Whenever a marriage came up, in the morning there would be a big fight in the house. We would be told to wear necklaces (I hated this the most in those days), bangles, new earrings, and rings. How we hated those things. But however hard we tried or cried, our moms would be the people on the winning side.

So somehow the tag line is appropriate... ;-)

Bicycles --> Bikes

Brand new motorbikes for postmen - How does that sound to you? Or rather what do you feel when you read this? Well, what came to my mind was our old postman who wore the khakhi and came with bundles of letters on his old, creaky cycle, ringing the bell. In those times, I stayed with my cousins and we were still in our junior school. We had subscriptions of Balarama (a children's magazine), Competition Success Review, and Vanitha (a women's magazine). On weekends we eagerly waited for the postman and kept our ears sharpened to the sound of the bell.

We actually competed against each other in getting the subscription the first. The person who got it first had the chance to read it first. At times we fought a lot over this. The three of us would be in different corners of the house, but once we heard the bell ring, all would run madly to the gate. At times, the postman would be confused as to whom it should be handed over and he would at times consider the person who reached the spot first (something like a running race.. :-)). He was quite an old man, who never smiled. Or rather in our hurry, we never took the pains to see whether he smiled or not.

On rainy days, he used to come with a polythene bag on his head, and very rarely a raincoat. The letters would be neatly packed in a polythene bag to prevent it from getting wet. And during the rainy day, we held no running races, because he would come to the door to deliver the post.

Now we all have left the place. I don't even know the postman who comes to our house. Probably now he comes on a bike, drops the post, and leaves vrooomm... That's why I don't hear any bells ringing.

My Mittu

Those who know me well would obviously know who my Mittu is. Its none other than our pet parrot. He has been with us since five years. When Pappa brought him home, he was just a few months old. The ring around the neck was not there, the tail wasn't fully developed, neither could he eat properly nor make noise well. But within a few months time, he was a fully grown parrot with red patches on the wings, a long tail, ring on the neck, and even started speaking.. :) The first word he imitated was 'Pappa'. And no doubt, the person whom he loves the best is our Pappa.

Once I start speaking about Mittu, I become very talkative. Over these years he has become a very member of our family. When we came down to Bangalore, we him also along with us. Mittu is very posessive about Pappa. If Pappa holds any children or don't take note of him, Mittu gets angry and starts making noises. He responds to the voice of Pappa even when he doesn't to others.

Speaking about his fooding habits, he eats whatever we eat, even makes a try on the bones of chicken, but doesn't eat the flesh. Drinks tea with us from our cups, has breakfast, lunch, and dinner from our plates, snacks are what he likes the most. And his favourite nowadays are Minute Maid's Pulpy Orange, Sprite, Appy Fizz, and green chillies.

He doesn't like being locked up in a cage. So we have left him all free in the house. He sits wherever he likes and now has developed a habit of sleeping with us. Not in the whole sense. He comes and sits near us. We put him in the pullover sheet along with us. He is cosy being there.

On Sundays, we bathe him with mild shampoos and dry him by holding out in the sun. The whole process is very interesting to me. He looks entirely different soon after a bath, with all those spikes and angry eyes. Another thing he dislikes the most is touching his tail. Only Pappa has the permission for that. If any others touch the tail, Mittu starts grunting and growling. :) N guess what, I always keep doing that.

In our house in Kerala, we have a tree itself for our Mittu. A rope is tied from his cage to the tree. In the mornings, just after breakfast, he goes and sits on the tree and stays there till lunch is ready. And one cruelty what we do to him is that we cut the last to feathers of his wings so that he doesn't fly away. But since we have reached Bangalore, we don't do that since there are no trees for him to sit and so we don't leave him unattended. In the house, he is free to roam about wherever as desired.

Recently Mittu has developed a new habit for irritating us. Early by 6 - 6 30 am he starts making noises. Its so loud that we won't be able to sleep. Finally we all get up and start our daily chores. Then he goes into his small cage and starts sleeping.

The picture shows Mittu staring into the mirror. He quite likes sitting over there staring at himself (I thought only human beings do that.. ;-)) Lots are left unsaid about Mittu. Hope to continue it one of the following posts. Meanwhile, just have a look here, to see how Mittu helps my mom with peeling garlic.

Invoking Memories - I

Today morning as I was getting ready for office I heard a music of some car being reversed. I just went and peeped out and watched the car leave. For a minute I was confused as to which was the music I heard. I kept on guessing till I realized that it was one of the tunes I disliked the most as a child. It was our alarm's ringing tone.

I remember that we had a black clock on which was embossed the words 'Seven Melodies'. And truely it had seven melodies in it which could be set as the ringing tone. Each night before going to sleep, we (my bro n me) would set a music we wanted for the next day. But, the next morning when we hear the music, we go crazy. It would mostly go at 6 am, which is really too early for me now also. I would be in deep sleep when I hear the alarm go and won't respond until I was called innumerable times. How I hated hearing those melodies in the early mornings.

Waking up was followed by sleepy-brushing prolonged for 10-20 minutes. After that, the shower... :( Once that was over, the hurry-worry for wearing uniforms, socks, shoes, belts, packing bag according to the timetable, tiffins, and on and on. The worst part about the uniforms were that we had two sets of uniforms - one for the normal days and the other for the days when we had PT classes. Mistaking the days, I used to wear the wrong ones and go and change it again.
The photo shows me and my brother all set for school in the white uniform. See how I have worn the wrong shoes instead of the white one. And note the length of my skirt ;)

Things I thought would never happen in my life

I never thought that these things would happen in my life:
  1. Stay in a boarding school
  2. Get into the marchpast team
  3. Get curly hair :-(
  4. Be notorious during my high school ;-)
  5. Study in North India
  6. I would change into somewhat an "introvert"
  7. Own a two-wheeler at the age of 17 (Never thought that I would learn to ride also)
  8. Have a great admiration for my Physics teacher
  9. Not get into the usual engineering or medical streams.. :-D
  10. Do graduation far from home, in such a reputed college, and stay in a wonderful hostel
  11. Gain a wonderful friend - Anupriya (Though I don't contact her frequently... ;-))
  12. Travel without tickets in trains
  13. Start reading and writing (Consider the field seriously)
  14. Be so attached to Trivandrum (I disliked the place first)
  15. Earn a job at the age of 21 (Working at the Technopark in Trivandrum, I consider it an achievement)
  16. Get some good colleagues from SunTec
  17. Learn to cook chicken (The taste factor is not still accurate)

May be the list will grow. But as of now I remember these much. Some of these unexpected moments gave me immense joy, while some disappointed me too. Well anyways, whatever happened, I am happy for what I am now... :-)

Something I love

I love this piece of poetry by Kahlil Gibran

It was but yesterday
we met in a dream
you have sung to me in my aloneness,
and I of your longings
have built a tower in the sky

But now our sleep has fled
and our dream is over,
and it is no longer dawn.

The noontide is upon us
and our half waking
has turned to fuller day
and we must part

If in the twilight of memory
we should meet once more
we shall speak again together
and you shall sing to me
a deeper song

And if our hands should meet
in another dream
we shall build
another tower in the sky

Jotted down a little about this here

Finally... they're back

After a month of busy schedules, I'm back to my normal routine. Know why? My parents are back... :) That means no more spending of long hours in the kitchen, cleaning, and early waking up for me. This one whole month has taught me the value of parents and having somebody caring when you reach back from a day at office.

For the first few days after they left for Kerala, it was not much hectic for me. I was fully engaged and was enjoying being responsible. I tried making a few dishes. A few failed pathetically, a few survived the test. Cleaning was the worst part. The moment I clean the floor and get back to the kitchen, Mittu (my parrot) untidies the place. Washing dishes was another nightmare. Pick up any of time, you'll find the basin loaded with dirty plates and dishes. Cleaning the stove was a routine for me. Every morning I clean the whole kitchen, including the stove and start boiling the milk. God only knows why, I always forget that I have left the milk on the stove. The result - it overflows :(

Washing clothes were not an issue for me. But since the rains had set in and direct sunlight was not there everyday, drying them completely were almost impossible. After all these things come my bathing. The water is extremely cold at night (This is the time I finish all the work). And you all know how terrible it is to take a bath in extremely cold water. So I had to forego it many a days.. :-D But somedays I do take the courage and bear the cold water. In between, I met with a minor accident. So many scars and wounds on my body.. :( Especially a big one on my knee. This left me in pain for a few days. Result - I couldn't clean the floor for days.

Another thing which was severly affected was my studies and reading. I had brought home "The Witch of Portobello" by Paulo Coelho. But as I couldn't read it regularly I have lost the flow and now find it impossible to complete it. Speaking about my studies, I have my exams on the 20th of this month. Three big books to be completed and not even one has been completed.

But now I everything is fine. I wake up after 8 am on weekdays and 10 am on weekends.. :-D No need to look after the cooking or anything. Completely carefree now, once again... :)

The Oath Ceremony

Last week, two tech writers joined our team - a senior writer and a lead writer. The senior writer, Jeevan, was indeed looking tensed when he came to each of our bays to meet the team mates. Finally he was all set to be a part of the team. First day went so. But the second day had something special in store for him.

4pm - The technical documentation team (excluding the two new joinees) receives a mail asking to be gathered at the training room. On reaching there, we were told about a prank being played on Jeevan. Though it has never happened in the history of Sasken, Jeevan will be told that all new joinees will have to take an oath on joining the team, infront of the rest of the team members. We all agreed in readily and was all set to be a part of the prank.

Jeevan was called in to the room and informed by our Project Manager that all new joinees at Sasken have to read out the Sasken oath at the oath ceremony. He was a bit puzzled but gave in. He took the oath, stood in front of the team, and started reading it loud. We couldn't control our laughter on seeing the guy being made the 'bakra'.

The oath went something like this - "I, Jeevan Narayan, solemnly affirm to abide by the rules of Sasken Networks and the Government of Karnataka (God knows why the govt. of Karnataka). I will not steal the office stationery, misbehave with colleagues, watch offensive videos, access prohibited websites, ... " The whole team was in laughter. Though uncomfortable with this peculiar oath, he continued reading it, he had no other option.

Only when he read the final sentence was that he understood that it was all a prank - "I swear to treat the whole team with icecreams." He looked at all of us and joined in the laughter. Now it was his turn to treat us with icecreams which he swore. This time he got tensed thinking do I really have to buy icecreams for this 53 member team. Infact, icecreams were already waiting us in the next room. The PM had ordered icecreams for all. Thus we welcomed our senior writer into the team. The lead writer was saved... ;-)