I have indeed become Old

Few weeks back while driving in Calicut,something pricked me when I passed the Sarovaram Bio Park.It is situated at the Mini Bypass Road — on the way to Arayadathu Palam from Eranjipalam Junction.Two decades back,the plot where the bio park stays now was an exhibition ground.Weekend plans were either to roam in the S.M.Street or to go for an exhibition.The latter occurred only once or twice in a year — during the Christmas week and during summer vacation.So the demand was higher.A lot of vendors,circus groups and performers camped for a week or ten days.There will be everything from safety pins to furniture. Some families came with big-shoppers and filled their bags full.In school,we pinched each other and howled “same pinch” upon seeing same colored fancy pens/pencils in the hands of classmates.School boys calculatedly spent 12-hours at the exhibition to meet their crush(es).School girls went with their parents in the hope that they might see their guy.Love birds used the opportunity well.Parents shopped as much as they could.

In Calicut,the first mall came into existence in 2007.Focus Mall.People rushed into it as if the world will end the next day.Some people even told that Focus Mall was a realistic version of Orkut. We met our long-lost classmates,forgotten teachers,purposely avoided relatives and nosy family friends.Some people went to Focus Mall daily.Some others traveled from other end of the city to visit the mall.Shopping from Focus Mall became a matter of pride.A lot of people shopped only from the mall despite the frustrating crowd and the unnecessary waiting in the queues.People of nearby districts and places made one-day trip to Calicut to visit the mall.Taking guests to the mall was a proud moment.We boasted to every Manu,Binu and Vinu that the biggest mall in Kerala is in Calicut.But,the initial rage disappeared like whiffs of smoke in the air.People were bored with seeing people whom they know every time they go to the mall.People became bored with the crowd.And the rage slowly died.When newer malls came,people stopped going to Focus Mall.Last time when I visited the Focus Mall,there were hardly any crowd despite being a Saturday evening.

I truly wish those exhibitions and fairs at the temples were back.I miss the fun in riding on the giant wheel,I miss eating cotton candy and I miss those waiting-days.Or are these the symptoms of growing old?No matter what,those days were indeed golden.

 

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Once Upon A Time I Believed That …

… I was that little girl in the floral frock in my parents’ wedding picture

… Paneer is plucked from trees

… My Grand Parents were old during their childhood

… My Parents were siblings

… Doctors are old men

… There were more than 1001 Gods in the world

… If we jump from a flight,we can sit on clouds

… Nitish Baradwaj is my boyfriend

… There were so many Moons and Suns

… There was a world of dead people under the Earth 

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… India is the only good country in the World

… I will marry Mammootty

… Dreams come true the next day

… Only religions existed and there are no subdivisions to them

… My Mom bought me from a shop

… I have  dark skin because my Mom wasn’t bathing me properly

… “My” God is watching me from the sky

… I will become blind if I lied to Parents or teachers

… Gods fought each other in the sky

… I will become taller if I drink Complan;Urgh!

A Metal Trunk

People say that our love for Mother is/should be unconditional.But,I do have certain reasons to love my Mother more.The beauty of Kerala is only in my heart and somehow I like to love the place by sitting at somewhere else,which means I come to Kerala very rarely.When I am on vacation,the days are spent like a queen by sleeping whole day and watching movies at night.I somehow get attached to my bed that ,at times ,I don’t even leave my bed room.So during one of such lazy vacations,I decided to help my Mother in cleaning the house.We changed the drapes,cleaned the terrace and planted some new vegetable seeds.

Do you want to see something special?”,my Mother asked me.I thought this is her yet another way of making me work.Twenty minutes back she had asked me whether I want to see some earthworms and made me dig the soil for a 100 meter stretch.Then five minutes back she had asked me whether I want to see her wedding saree and made me help her in folding her sarees.

No,Amma“,I replied.

One last thing for the day,then you can rest and I will make pazhampori for you“.I hate such situations.She knows that I will do anything to have pazhampori.”One last time,OK?“,I said.

I brought the ladder and climbed up to the attic.There was a big and dusty metal trunk.I glared at her for making me touch this dusty thing.We slowly placed it on the floor and I sneezed hard.She opened the trunk and I again sneezed.After sneezing for the third time,when I opened my eyes I saw a trunk full of memories.I saw a trunk full of things which took me back to my childhood.

The metal trunk had my old answer sheets,the diary in which I had written alphabets for the first time,my school ribbons which I had tied on my braids,the jewelry which I had made,my dance costumes,some of my favorite jewelleries,my friendship bands,my birthday gifts and cards,some stupid love letters which I had received,letters from my friends,my notebooks,my first diary,my slam book and many more.

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That’s when I decided,one of the best gifts I can ever give to my kids is a trunk full of memories.When I was a kid or a teen,I never thought that one day I will see my notebooks and become emotional.Some birthday cards from my friends drowned my in a flood of memories.Suddenly I felt those things so close to my heart.

A note to the parents of my generation,don’t throw away things related to your kids because after few decades,those things will be more precious than Gold.

 

Once upon a time in my life

I started noticing and disliking guests after my brother was born. So many people come home, make my Mother cook, burp and go away. Every time guests come home, they would have a typical question to ask me, the four-year old then. Though I don’t know why they ask me such a question but somehow their questions were always answered. In the beginning my parents or grandparents would tell me the answer and I would repeat them. Then as I grew up I started answering the questions but my answers didn’t impress the guests.

The very often asked question was what I want to become when I grow up.

In Kerala, during early 90s, kids went to school in auto rickshaws and jeeps. jeepThe concept of school bus was implemented only in Kendra Vidyalaya. After going to school in auto rickshaw for three years, during my rest  of three years in Tirur I went to school in a jeep. The name of the driver name is Rashid and the name of the cleaner boy who closes the back door of the jeep and sits on the edge of the door isn’t in my memory. As I was the last one to get into the jeep, I get to sit next to the driver. It was a fun ride to make Rashid Ikka* race the jeep and get ahead of rest of the vehicles. We would shout “faster”, “faster” to encourage him. So the biggest dream was to become a jeep driver like Rashid Ikka. I promised my brother that I will take him to school when I become a jeep driver. The guests who came to my house weren’t impressed when I excitedly told them my ambition.Instead,they made fun of me telling that there aren’t any girl drivers who drove jeeps. I hated them even more. One day morning, when I got inside the jeep, the driver wasn’t Rashid Ikka. He told me to sit with the other girls behind the jeep. And I was disheartened and lost interest in becoming a jeep driver.Otherwise,who knows I would have come to your houses early morning in a jeep to pick up your kids.

12948435-astronaut-girl-over-sun-and-stars-backgroundSunday walks with my Father were an unbroken habit of my life until he got really busy and I got too bored of his talks. Every Sunday, the Father-daughter time that we had is worth making into a book. Unlike my Mother, my Father is a bad story-teller. But one day he told me an interesting story and that went on to become a noose for himself. He told me the story of Neil Armstong. Then I flooded him with doubts. How did Armstrong stand on the moon because the moon is in crescent shape? Did he fall from the moon because the moon is so thin? I liked Armstrong’s moon travel costume. One day I declared to my parents that I am going to Moon soon. As they were very kind to me, they appreciated my decision. As a 6 year old girl, I was proud of myself. My Father bought me posters of Moon and some books which explained Armstrong’s journey to the Moon. Like the Gru of the movie Despicable Me, I also dreamt about wearing a space costume and landing on the moon though the concept of oxygen and gravitational force didn’t make sense to me at all then. Later, I asked the doubt of the year which went like this. I’m flying from Earth to Moon in a spaceship. Earth and Moon are standing in the air. The concept of vacuüm wasn’t discovered in my life, so the Earth and the Moon stood in the air. Do you know what is below the Earth? I asked my Mother. She explained me about Space and planets and told me that below Earth, it is the Space. So if my spaceship falls off, then I will fall. Then where will I fall and land? You will not land on any surface but you will be floating, she replied. She did her best to teach me gravitational force and its concept but I was so adamant to find where I will land once I fall from the spaceship. My Parents gave upon me and I also gave up on my adventurous trip to the Moon. If only I had taken going to the Moon seriously, I would have become the first Indian (the first Mallu too) woman to land on the Moon. The history indeed lost a chance to keep my name on its leaflets.

We built our house, I mean my Parents built our house in 1996 and there was a discussion happening at home to choose a name for the house. Though a 5th STD girl’s opinion is not a big deal, but my Parents did ask my brother and I to tell us our choice of names.”Sachin!!” I screamed.”Sourav!!” my brother screamed. Then both of us started beating each other and rolling on the carpet. We kept shouting Sachin and Sourav the midst of the fight. For both of us, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly were not mere cricket players. They were more important people than our family and friends. We prayed for Indian cricket team more than we prayed for ourselves. We knew every other information about Sachin and Sourav.girl_playing_cricket_CoolClips_vc038236

The 1996 cricket World Cup happened after we moved into our newly built house. If Indian team is not playing well, my brother and I would run to the Puja room. We cried badly when the Indian team lost matches. Whomever asked me about my biggest dream in life, the answer was very confident and clear – to be a Cricketer. I nagged my Mother to enroll me in the Calicut Sports Academy. Once I even went to fast as a protest for not enrolling me for cricket. The 1996 world cup semi-final was a great blow to me. Those days, though I read about bribe in the Newspapers, I really didn’t understand the meaning of it. Day and night the only thought was to take revenge against Sri Lanka as they were the ones who beat us in the semi-fnals. There was a recurrent dream which I will never forget. The semi-final match is going on. The Sri Lankan team challenged India that if one randomly chosen person could score so and so runs in an over, then India will win. The floodlight fell on me and the camera shot me closely. Sachin poured his blessings over me and I played for an over and made India win the semi-final. Today when I look back I can’t believe that I truly had such a dream.

The dreams and ambitions changed a lot more times in the course of the time.But, one thing makes me sad. Those days, when somebody asks me what I want to become in life, at every phase I had a clear answer. Today if somebody asks me the same question, then I have to think hard for an answer. Damn, we all grew up.

 

*Ikka – as Tirur is a Muslim populated area, the word Ikka is suffixed with the men’s name to address him as elder brother

 

 

Flower Friday – The Fallen Flower

This post is part of the Chennai Bloggers Club(CBC)’s Flower Friday series  initiated to keep the spirit of blogging alive and challenging.

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In my third standard,I learned few lines of an epoch-making poem written by Mahakavi Kumaran Asan for the recitation competition for that year’s school cultural festival. The poem won no prize as I forgot most of what I had mugged up. The poem’s name was “Veena Poovu“.Veena,the musical instrument and Poovu,the Malayalam translation for flower.One of my classmates asked me whether I have seen this flower.My ego didn’t allow me to accept my ignorance.As she belonged to my rival gang,she forced me to bring the flower to the class next day.I told my parents to get me Veenapoovu to save my pride and status in the class.

Sadly,I came to know that there is no flower named Veena Poovu.The meaning of the title of the poem is “The Fallen Flower” because in Malayalam veena/veenathu means fallen/dead.

Nobody understood the tensions of an eight year old and still no one knows the brunt of losing a challenge;problems when we learn to recite poems without knowing its meaning.

Explanations of the poem in English could be found here.

Childhood Revisited

Now this is what you do when the nostalgia bug bites you.This is a Slate and a slate pencil.I’m not sure how many have used this to learn to write when they were smaller than kids.I did try to search for a slate board with a wooden frame which is actually the authentic slate board but couldn’t get it.So revisit the memories of childhood.

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Happy Birthday,Prasun

It was your destiny to be born as my brother.May be because God knew it very well that for a nutcase like me, a loving,matured and sensible brother like you were necessary. But no matter how older you grow, you better be my kid brother.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

 

 

To know more about him,click here

Late Realizations

Two decades back,achievements were like addictive drugs.Conquering rank positions in school,sweeping prizes in sports and cultural,gleaming with pride during family get together,enjoying the green-eyed looks of fellow classmates were few important facets of my life until I turned 18.

Last weekend,I was exploring my school trunk.My Mom has preserved my notebooks and answer sheets.She still has the diary in which I had written the alphabets for the first time in my life.When I opened the bag containing my certificates,I was happy for no reason.But my smile faded the moment I started analyzing each certificate.There was a story behind every prize I had won.

My certificates are the only proof to make the world believe that once upon a time,I was a good athlete.Once during the Sports Day,one of my classmates was suffering from her periods.Like everybody,she wanted to win the events at any cost.She had brought a tablet to the school stop her periods but she lacked the guts to consume it.An hour before the meet,she pulled me to the corner and asked me for the opinion.With my 8th std wisdom,I warned her not to have the tablet.Like expected,she couldn’t sprint well and lost the event.When I clean swept the athlete events,I was too happy that I didn’t notice her.Next day,in school she told me that she would have won those events if she had had the tablet.She blamed me for stopping her from taking the medicine.But I was blind in the joy of success and felt that she was jealous of me.Lately,when I found her in Facebook,I realized that she has still not gotten over the incident.What  bothers me is that why did she ask for my advice?I was not close to her,I was not in her squad,I was not her classmate and I was her opponent.Why did she ask me?I am still not sure whether what I did then was correct.Who knows,may be those bunch of certificates would have been in her trunk and those winning moments would have been hers if I had encouraged her to take the pill.

Once during the cultural festival,for group dance I had to make a choice between two of my juniors.A group dance is a dance performed by seven members and I was in the process of hunting for the last slot.One girl was my friend’s sister-cum-family friend and the other one was just another junior.My friend’s sister was too tall for the position in the formation of the dance,so I picked the other one.The dance went on to become a cult of the season and became a huge success eventually performing on several stages.One day,the father of the junior,who was my family friend,came to me and asked for the reason to reject his daughter for the dance.I explained him the reason.He was unhappy about my logic and stormed out saying his daughter was a good dancer.His daughter was indeed a good dancer but if I had taken her in then,my team would need a drastic rejig.Couple of years after this incident during a family function,my junior confessed to me that  how much she craved to do that dance.Today I see solutions for it,I could have made some other girl rested for one performance and would have given a chance to my junior.But what to do,my 14-year-old brain didn’t work well then.

I realized the bitter taste of failure when it came as a flock in my life.At times,I was destined to touch the soul of failure during the college days.In college,when I got my first arrear,I realized what failure is.I realized how people feel when they fail in exams.When the world’s software giant threw me out of the internship program because of my unattractive marks ,I understood what dejection and rejection are.Four years in college taught me how it is to be on the uglier side of the coin.

Slowly,I realized that life is full of surprises,both pleasant and unplesant.When I look back each milestone which I passed is of no much importance to me today.But those milestones were indeed wonderful moments of life.The joyous cheer after winning the championship,the gang hug after breaking the ribbon at the finishing point,the proud smiles while posing  for the pictures with trophies,the thunderous applause while walking on to the stage,the encouraging pats after the exam results,the salty tears during the failures,the heavy heart and the headache to deal with,the tremendous pressure we cry out on other’s shoulders,the consoling kisses and hugs,the happy faces and smiles which stays for seconds or minutes and many more…

It took two decades for me to understand that Life is NOT a matter of MILESTONES but of MOMENTS.

At times,we need those grey shades too…