Lessons From A Funeral

My paternal grandmother passed away on 10th January 2014.Oh no,no, this post is not a rosy picture of my relationship with her nor about her glorious past and, this post is not about the philosophies of life and death.This post is far different from what you can even guess.

I did see lot of positive and negative things during the funeral.The negatives outnumber the positives but I am not going to write about the negatives here because of two reasons : 1)The negatives won’t fit in just one blog post and 2)my Father might kick me out of the house for badmouthing about his relatives(he doesn’t follow my blog,but still this is a very bad risk.)

Lesson No.1

For the first time in my life,I became a “real” host.When my Grand Father passed away,I was too young to help my parents in anything other than controlling my Brother.In most of the other functions, which were weddings,there was nothing to do except getting dressed up in the morning,having sumptuous meal in the afternoon and dancing in the night.This time the scene was different.I had to immerse my hands in everything from sweeping the floor to settling the bills.Money is important;in fact,having cash is very important.More than liquid cash,cash works better in Kerala.Especially during an emergency such as death,having cash in our hands is a big relief.I was always against the idea of keeping cash in our hands.But,this time I realized how helpful cash could be;of course we cannot pay by card to drivers,helpers and in grocery shops.A fair amount of cash can be very helpful during emergencies.

Lesson No.2

This is the most important lesson that I learned.After the funeral,that night I didn’t think much about my Grand Mother but I thought very hard about what I saw during the day.There were a lot of times,when I have teased my Father telling that he doesn’t know how to keep up friendships.He rarely keeps in touch with his friends.But,my Father never ceases to amaze me with his life.His entire “bachelor lodge” friends gang came down and that was a big relief for my Father.They cheered him up.Most of them had taken off from their work and traveled early morning to reach our place.They joined rest of the family giving orders,making people work and settling some bills.Next day I got to know from my Mother that all my Father did was sending a text message to two of his friends in his old gang.This is when I understood the true meaning of friendship.My Father doesn’t have them in his Facebook friends list,he doesn’t talk to them daily,he doesn’t remember their birthdays,he doesn’t text/IM/Whatsapp them,but when he needed them the most they ,all, were there with him.Nobody complained or made a fuss about he sending text message to only two people.They were more than enough happy to stay with him for the entire day.That night what I thought about was how many friends do I have whom I can truly and blindly trust in my life,how many friends will actually come down to console me when I am in need,how many friends will pay off my bills even without mentioning about to me later and how many friends will  take the pain to take a day off to sit with me.After thinking for a long time,I came down to just two people and realized that those two people have been with me for more a decade.Though I had told about my Grand Mother’s demise to few of my friends,only these two people came to see me.I’m so glad that I have two people in my life to whom I can hold on when I am in deep shit.The irony is the people with whom I talk/text/chat didn’t give me even a call.Having sincere friends is a big bliss in life.Yes,this is an advice — If you don’t have trustworthy friends or relatives,work on it.They make a huge difference in your life.

Lesson No.3

My Father was in an important meeting when my Grand Mother passed away.His mobile phone was switched off and thus,he became the last one to know the news.The shock was immense as he wasn’t expecting such a news because Grand Mother had looked perfect before he left for work on Friday morning.This is the time when you need an efficient and sensible spouse.In our society,men get little time to grieve as they are expected to run around.Here things were different.My Mother made sure that my Father is free from all the strings of responsibilities and gave him the space to grieve,cry and pass the phase.It was a big thing a wife could do to a husband and vice versa. She ran around the house,made sure the things are ready for the rituals,made all of us work, and in the end everything went on well as we all helped her.She didn’t pester him for taking decisions or opinions because those weren’t the need of the hour.For the first time,we felt that we worked together like a family.My Mother told my brother and me only one thing — this is the time to support the Dad and we made sure that he has his time with his siblings and family members. Later when my Father hugged three of us,I could sense his relief and I feel as a spouse and kids,the best thing one can do to another family member is to help him/her move on during a bad phase.He did tell us to go back to work  but we stayed with him until the rituals are completed only because we didn’t want him to go through the pain alone.


Now to talk about my Grand Mother — We never got along well and we had our own fair share of disagreements and fights.But,she was a beauty with brains and an awesome Mother.I was surprised when I realized that I didn’t shed even a single tear throughout the funeral.But,on the third day when we went to collect her ashes,I did see pieces of her bones and I couldn’t help not to cry then thinking about the Iron Lady of my family.

Atithi NOT Devo Bhava

Though the Indian culture teaches us to see the guests who come to our place as God, the guests for whom I have played as a host have made me feel that some are worse than devils.

Past few months, I had to stay over as a guest at couple of places. Their hospitality overwhelmed me. All the places were not big but very neat, not posh but still elegant and not rich people but very loving people. They picked me up, offered me washed and cleaned towels and bed spreads and home food were heavenly. Above all that the toilet was clean; in fact very clean. I always prefer staying in a hotel while travelling but it is a nightmare to stay in a hotel in Kerala all by you. God’s own country is bad at treating women travelling and staying alone.

On the day of leaving, I searched for words to thank them and while we waited for my train, I unrolled my stories about Guests to them.

My parents were too busy to go anywhere as guests so we always played the role of hosts. The the only handful times when I were a guest were horrendous experiences.


Some wonderful GUESTS GODS that we had at our home.

  • Two decades back when cell phones were yet in womb, people will not show the courtesy to call the land line phone and let us know that they have cancelled their travel plan. We must have rescheduled our plans for them and later when they again make travel plans, they would call us up and shamelessly tell us that they are coming to our house.
  • They take our toys and give them to their kids and they would tell our parents to buy another for us. What the hell! How can they even think so?
  • Some would use our home as if we have leased it to them. They step on the cushions, they spoil the sink and (Grrrrrrr) they stink the toilets. Education, family status and financial wealth have nothing to do with a man’s cleanliness, late realization though.
  • Some would lock themselves up in the bedroom. They would never talk to us. During dinner time, first my brother would knock their door and come back saying they are sleeping. Then I would go for the second round of knocking and they won’t respond. My father would reluctantly call them for dinner and again nothing happens. Finally my mother would softly scream at them and they would open the door as if nothing has happened. They would sit at dinner table and talk nothing and then just leave the next day.
  • There is another type of guests who walk around in our home and use every other thing visible to them. They talk too much without giving a space for us to breathe some air. Some of them use my jewelry or accessories and then take them saying they are keeping them as my memory. Once they leave the house, we would have a huge mess to clean it up.
  • Now these are the funniest and most irritating type of guests. They would step inside the house by finding a fault. Oh you have become thin and malnourished, oh your hair has fallen too much, oh you have under eye circles, oh your bed sheet color sucks and the list goes on. They find faults with everyone and everything at home. Above this, they would hug and kiss me and my brother with the tag line that once upon a time when we were born they were suppose to visit us but couldn’t make it because of somebody’s wedding.
  • Some would take our car for their use and put it back in the garage with little fuel in it. Once they leave, we see dents and scratches here and there on the car.
  • Some aunts act as our well wishers (most of the time, my well-wisher), give my parents a long list of eligible bachelors in the town and that too when I’m studying in school. Some aunts are even funnier, before leaving they would come and hug me. They would turn their face to parents and then talk about some God in some temple somewhere out in their place is strong enough to bring a good son -in– law to our family. Looks like they made an offering to that God ten seconds back and they need Rs.100-200 to drop inside the offering box.

Most of the times, these are either distant relatives or some friend’s family friends who visit the city for some function, interview or entrance tests.

At times I wonder how come my Mother have this much patience to deal these situations. Sigh!

Incredible guests indeed.

Image courtesy : exploreindusholidays.com

Mujhse Dosti Karoge?

This is a guest post by Z,my beautiful and ravishing soul sister.Her blog blips at ZRadar.This post is about women friendships and I am sure that upon reading this,every women will sink in the flood of memories.The post did bring back a lot of beautiful,painful and regretful moments which I had buried deep inside me.Read it for yourself.Love you Zeeeeee

Being part of a semi orthodox Muslim family the values that were indoctrinated asked me to adhere to the girl am born as. But the environment demanded different. Be it cousins, neighbours, family friends – Boys outnumbered girls… So before joining preschool, I grew comfortable in the company of boys simply because girls couldn’t be found. The ones found would either not talk or corporate.

Blessed with a pleasing nature and a homely face, making friends was never difficult. At school I found girls and boys whom I could gel with. I should have been comfortable with boys but, what my family taught was slightly contradicting to it.

An article says, “What we really want is for female-people to retain a profound sense of insecurity in all their friendships at all times, so that they might never be confident and self-determined“. And as expected, I grew up to a confused person who didn’t know what to share with whom, whom to talk to and with a lot other child problems. I could talk baseless for hours but sharing a personal issue was difficult. Result? I had girl friends with whom I chose to be strong. They would confide things to me but I wouldn’t. But, with boys, parents have already taught to be careful with. I chose to stay boyish. The kind who they would share their feelings about other girls and their own family, the kind they would find easy-going but would never propose. People liked me for my flexibility, but I dint really know who I liked better.

In short, I grew up stuffing majority of my personal matters inside, totally insecure, until 12 years back when I found the most unpopular girl of our class being cornered and helpless. There was another girl who wanted to help her, so I joined along. The whole class disliked the idea, but we thought a girl wouldn’t survive for two more years of Engineering, in a class that showed a frozen face to her. We became like the trio of the movie Dil Chahta Hai. For the first time, the very first time, I met two girls who are assertive and feared none. And so for the first time, I learned to do so. For me, they were somebody to share my feelings, to pour down my thoughts without any inhibition and, most importantly, to be MYSELF. We devised crazy plots, played pranks, enjoyed movies, shared infatuations and found pleasure in everything that we did. We were the evil crew – Partners in crime. Their opponents were my mine too and we did target them well. I wouldn’t really mention everything that we did for the fear that my children may reading this in the future 😉 But we did a lot of things that girls of our age might have not even thought of. Boozing or pubs or sex is definitely not what I meant but, we did many other crazy things. The fun we had during combine studies can never be forgotten. As exams yielded good results, parents never doubted the combine study sessions 😉 My favourite part of this relationship was the immense support we each other and the confidence that evolved out of it to what we are. 

The relation began with a good intention, and was expected to last long. The one for whom the relation began, unfortunately ended it and ended in the cheapest way it could be – bringing others down in competition for male attention. Pure betrayal!! We couldn’t stand each other’s sight anymore. There were futile trials later to fix it, but we walked away from college in the hope that time would sort things out. That time never came. We could have, all of us could have, anyone of us could have attempted to bring back our times. 10 years!!We do not hate each other anymore. We are in touch – the typical Facebook “hi, hello” type. All the love we had for each other abruptly transposed into a severe dislike of the same volume and BANG!!

I don’t like to make sweeping assumptions, but have observed that women generally (including me) are not able to control emotions – words or tears – when upset. So most of them would either not share their feelings for the fear of creating a scene or creating so much tension in the air. When you do this the other side may not stay composed, but instead blame you and start recollecting those minute incidents which you had disliked once upon a time, pour it on you, creating an even worse situation. Finally all that you remember will be how much you hate each other.

But ask me. I would still recollect those two years as the fondest memories of life. We never made up. I do not regret. They are not my favourites anymore, but certain matters that I learned from our friendship are still valued. They were not meant to be a part of my future and so…

…And just because I couldn’t make up with both, doesn’t mean I never had girlfriends after that. Today, I have a lot of them with whom I have fought, made up,respected.Just that I am careful enough to make sure things wouldn’t go to extreme, only because I learnt that saying sorry is not a big deal and can heal a lot of angry minds.

When Bhavia asked me to write about women friendships, I had no clue how to start with. Now, I don’t know how to stop it. Differences? Yes, definitely yes.

–      Girls prefer to sit around and talk / walk and talk / drive and talk. More inclined to sharing feelings and personally connecting with each other. Guys try to go for a cricket when together and connect themselves.

–      Guys can make fun of each other for a whole day and still be cheerful, can take a lot things with a lighter heart. A friend passed out of college 4 yrs after we did 😉 and mentioned that he doesn’t have more certificates than any of us. It has been ten years. People still make fun of him right on his face and he enjoys it. Had there been a girl in the situation, nobody would even dared to mention about that and would have only tried to help her emotionally balance the situation.

–      Women would favour to stay with friends who need them and would expect the same back. They take privilege to say that they are needed and have time for friends. Men choose to be with people who have common interests – driving, cricket, video games, boozing and try to avoid people who would interfere in their normal routine. They would be happy to say that they have freedom in friendship.

–      Women can hold love and grudge more than men do (like we did and so many I know of). Men (in friendships. May not be with wife or girlfriends) tend to forget a lot of things that they take fights lightly and wouldn’t mind accepting faults. A boy who later turned to be the best of my friends, taught to carry a lighter heart and to keep ego aside for friends to stay beside. There were times when he would slap his friends or get slapped, but they would value the relationship more than what had happened two minutes ago.

–      Women can talk and find happiness in simple things of life. I think men will get bored soon unless there is a tablet or Xbox

–      Women try to put themselves in others shoes, give importance to a friend’s problem and treat as though it is theirs’ (only as long as they are not involved in the same problem and as long as they are not in danger). Men would ask you let it go off for the better, but if you aren’t ready then they can go to any extreme – even to kill. Read it here.

–      When women make up after a fight, they try to bring all that was the cause of the fight, talk it off. Tears, tension and finally a hug. Men just hug. Years later when I met an old boy friend with whom there was a clash, he just hugged and mentioned how thrilled he was to meet me. From then, we have been in constant touch, there was never a mention of what happened before and why, but the air is clear and I am glad he is my friend.

–      Intimacy drives women friendships and activities help men…. (Not always true)…

–      Disloyal ones are rejected by both men and women.

Having said all that, I wouldn’t generalise friendships based on gender. Every relation women-women, women-men or men-men begins with passion and may end (god forbid not) for trivial reasons. I respect friendship a lot though am touch with only a handful.

What makes a relation last is the willingness to see each other as individuals: You do not write off somebody just because they did something that you do not like. It is when they continuously hurt you, ditch you and bitch about you that finally you decide to leave them for once and for all. So the only people who can accept me the way I am, will stay close to me and if only I succeed in doing the same, can I stay close to them.

Related Read :

Seasons of Friendship

A True Friend Stabs you in the Front 

Is Hating Somebody a Bad Thing?


I am not sure whether I have reached the age to feel nostalgic as I just touched the quarter century 🙂

Yesterday evening when I heard my manager’s daughter talking to him over the phone, my mind ran two decades back.

Those days, telephones were not common, so my brother and I were very proud having one at home. Daily before getting out from the office, Dad gives us a ring to know whether he needs to shop something. Most of the days, my list will contain comics (or any book) and fried groundnuts. But Dad never got bored with buying me comics and books. Actually he has a big role in making me a book-worm. 🙂

My brother and I used to fight for picking up the telephone when it rings. We had this usual prank of making fool of each other by dialing 161.

But today, if the phone rings, three of us would look at Mom without raising our bums from the couch.

At times drastic changes in life take away a lot of our favorite matters. Until I moved out of home, it was usual to take a slow and long evening walk with Dad on Sunday after the 4pm movie.Both of us would talk about almost everything under the Sun during the walk. Since it’s Sunday evening, roads are deserted. So we walk into infinity. He would talk about his job, our family, our culture, values of education, necessity of being financially independent and NEVER to feel inferior just because I am a girl. Very rarely he used to miss Sunday walks with me.

As both my parents had job for five days, Sunday was special for us. There were times when my brother and I used to feel that it is Sunday if parents were at home during weekdays 🙂

Last week when I took a couple of days vacation, I missed the summer holidays badly. Summer holidays was filled with fun and pile of story books to read. We played cricket day and night, watched TV without missing any of our favorite shows, turned our couch into a bed as we slept on it most of the nights, ate our favorite foods without any breaks, cycled until we got tired or until we reached any dead-end while finding out some new routes, waited for the exam results to get announced so that we can celebrate, made list of new goodies to buy for the next academic year and a lot more. I don’t know whether summers changed or not, but those days’ summers were not as hot as today’. Playing in the Sun for the day never made us irritated, but today going out without sun screen and sun glasses have made life terrible. (Or was it because those days we were not worried about looks and complexion? 😀 )

Once Mom, brother and I were out for shopping and an unexpected rain made us run holding just one umbrella which Mom carries in her hand bag. All in a sudden I shouted to my brother saying “Make sure Mom is not getting drenched. If she falls sick, then we will be in trouble”. Though I blurted the truth, Mom still makes fun of me. But what I told came truly from my heart. If any of us fall sick, little it did change in our living. But when Mom fall sick, then three of us go crazy doing the household chores 😉 ;)More than being crazy, we felt that our home is dead as we can’t walk behind her telling day’s stories or to make her run behind us for doing some stupid pranks or to have a fair mediator for our fights or put us in sleep by telling stories from her college English text books.

Those times will never come back as today all are busy in their own worlds. Life certainly changed for the good, but still those memories do make a difference at times.

PS : Perhaps, because of this yearning that I still read comics, I still make Dad buy me comics plus fried groundnuts when I am home and my brother and I still play pranks with Mom even though she shouts at us “Grow Up!!!”

This entry is a part of the contest at BlogAdda.com in association with imlee.com




Certain articles make us ponder for hours.Last evening,I came across such an article in one of the Malayalam Women’s publications.

The article talked about how a couple lost their kid.They had bought everything their kids asked for.They had showered their kids,especially their son,with love and care.The parents had always praised the kids to make them feel great.They had never punished the kids.The parents had never let the kids know what misery and trouble were.

One day their son,who was a 3rd standard student,had beaten up a classmate and the teacher punished him.The fight was over his father’s income.He came home and told his mom about it but didn’t cry over the punishment.But he overheard the truth for which he fought for during mom’s “kids praising” session to the neighbors.She proudly told others how much her son loves his Dad.When friends teased him for lying that his dad is a big shot guy,he fought with them.But the truth was that he never knew that his Dad was working as an electrician.The son had no clue what his father’s job was like.He always thought that they were rich enough.But when he overheard from his mom that his dad bought most of the toys in debt,he sank.His mom took the above act as a token of love the Dad had for the kids.The son couldn’t bear the embarrassment.He couldn’t believe that all he had talked to his friends were just an illusion.He killed himself hanging in a rope.Now the parents are in an ocean of tears and in a pitch of depression after losing their son.They gave their son everything he wished for but still they lost him,that too at an early age.

The cause lies where they “gave everything” to their kids.

I have seen most of the parents think that their kids should never have any troubles or tensions.It is normal to wish that the kids should have a better life than the parents had during their young days.But when these thoughts become an obsession,it will take your kids to a place they bear no troubles at all.


Most of the problems happen when the parents never let their kids know about their job,their income,their friends’ circle,their past,their school and college days and more importantly their financials.

My parents always used to take my brother and me to their offices.We will be advised to sit at the corner and watch them work or read a book.So at the age of 8 or 9 itself we knew where and how they worked.Also we knew the correct meaning when our parents tell us that they are busy at office because we have seen by ourselves.So we became sensible enough not to disturb them with calls during office hours.

Though there were maids at home,it was usual that Mom make us go to the near by shop to buy vegetables and household items.Even when some of her friends boast saying that their kids know nothing about the money matter,she always used to reply them with a naughty smile.I remember our monthly shopping at the Triveni departmental store at S.M.Street,Calicut.After coming back from the shopping,they would make us write accounts for the day.They would say that my handwriting is good and my brother is good at using calculator.So writing of accounts became a routine at home and we used to have fun during these session telling about people that we saw during shopping or about some incidents that happened at work or school.So we knew the price of everything that we bought at home.We knew how much our parents could afford in a month.

Later,they taught us what a salary slip is.They taught us about the income they earn and the other family committments.So by the time we reached our teens,we were obviously aware of the financial issues at home.We knew how much our parents earned and we were sensible about what to ask for.

There was a transparency among us.We knew about their hikes and promotions and they knew our teachers,friends and of course our marks.We knew that during the month of March parents have to pay tax,so it is difficult to spend too much on that month and they knew our favorite teachers and friends.As we four had a good rapport with each other,it was easy to understand when our parents said a NO for any matter.

My parents never had the ego to tell us when they had a bad day at office,so we also learnt to tell them when we got punishment at school or if we had any fights with friends.So that made us support each other during bad times.The one hour talk during dinner time was a to tell about our whole day and to get relieved before sleep.

I feel great about my parents now.

Today,I see a lot of my friends who have no clue about what their family income was or how much debt/loan their parents had.Some people don’t even have an idea what their dad’s designation was.They are ignorant about their parents’ job.Most of the parents hide their salary and designation from the kids and tell them that they are big shot at office.They refuse to take them to show their work because at home they must have told like “office is huge“,”I have a cubicle of my own“,”everybody wishes me when I come in to office“…

Why do parents do this?If you feed the kid with false and fancy descriptions about work and financials,the respect they have for you will go the moment they know the truth.Instead tell them about yourself,your school and college days,your friends,your work,problems in family etc.I have friends who don’t even know where their parents had studied.Some are completely ignorant what their parents’ educational qualifications are.


So if your child is irresponsible or emotionally weak or not confident or cannot take risks or decisions, you are the reason for it.Rather than pampering them with money,you let them live through your tensions but share your happiness too.Rather than buying things for debt,give them what you can afford and make them understand how difficult it was for you to earn such a small amount.Kids will surely value it.Celebrate your small achievements with your family.It is not necessary to go for a tour to have fun with family.You can do household works with your family.In my home,we used play a game “cleanest room”.To win the game,we used to clean nook and corner of our room so that our room is cleaner than parents’ room.Though we were cleaning our house,we do so as fun and that builds the family bonding.:) ;)So instead of pushing the kids for studying and tuitions round the clock,spend time with them.If you think that the money you spend for them is love,then kids will consider you as an ATM. 😛 😛

Let your kid know that you are a SENSIBLE parent than a super parent.