Sunday, 29 September 2013



Dad was at the gate. She trembled. She panicked. She racked her brain for some excuse. But, as always, her senses failed her at the crucial moment. What would she tell him when he asked her for the one thing he cherished most, his prized possession, the Camlin pen a gift from his father? She had always yearned to write with that pen. Only this morning he had given it to her so that she could write her board examinations with it. It was his blessing. But now it was lost. She knew she would have to tell him the truth. He would scold her, think her irresponsible. Yet, she would tell him the truth.

He came, tired  from a hectic day at office. Yet, he smiled. The smile on his face gave her the strength to approach him. She knew she had to get over with it. Before he could open his mouth she blurted the truth. The pen was lost and so was a dear memory- his father's memory. He looked at her in silence for a few seconds. Yes seconds, yet to her it was like hours. She waited for the worst. Finally, he pulled her down beside him. He wanted to know how she had fared in her exams. Any tough questions? Anything she thought she had missed?....... He spoke to her at length. Yet, not a word about the pen. She could not take it any longer. Tears welled up in her eyes. She once again expressed her anguish at having lost his pen. He smiled, patted her on the back, told her to forget about the pen and move on and get ready for the next day's examination.

True, the pen was lost, but not his father's memory. It was there close to his heart and it would always be there. It would never be lost or stolen. His father was gone, his pen was lost, but life had to move on.......

That day she learnt a lesson. We lose a lot of things, a lot of people over the years. But there is no point in brooding over them. We have to move on.... 

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Letters Unsent- to the person who lead me on the course of self revelation, my cousin

Hi Lathi,

Life is strange. One minute you see a teenager bite her nails, shy to face the world and the next moment you find her taking over the world.

Well, you must be wondering what has got over me. Why I am writing thus? Dear Lathi, its only that today while going through my collection of Certificates, certificates collected over the years in literary events that I thought of you. In fact I must say these are ‘courtesy you’. I still vividly remember the day you dragged me into the English Department in my first year of college, registered my name for the “Wildlife Elocution Competition.” I was furious. The ride home saw me in a black mood. But you were cool as ever. That night we had a great fight. But in the end you prevailed upon me. You reminded me of Dad’s parting words at the railway station just before he saw me off to college miles and miles away from him. You reminded me that he wished I shed my shyness, my aversion to the limelight and sharpen my skills, my talent. In fact you virtually blackmailed me by reminding me of my all time Hero, my Dad. You knew how much I adored him and also knew that I could do anything to make him proud. Finally you won.

Do you still remember that big day, the day I first stepped before the mike? My, what a day! The hall was packed to capacity. Speaker after speaker, all seniors doing their graduation, came and went. Standing alone in one corner of the corridor, tense and trembling I heard them speak. I wanted to run away. But my legs would not move an inch. But all the time you were there with me providing me the much needed support. Or was it that you were afraid I would really sneak away? Were you keeping guard over me? I have often wondered. Only you can answer.

Finally, the call came. I took a deep breath and moved as if in a daze. But then the smiling faces helped me ease a bit. Many were awestruck as I could see from their faces. This was the first time a junior just out of school was competing in the English elocution competition and that too with seniors 4-5 years elder to her.  The start went off well. I began to relax. Words flowed. Till this day I am amazed as to how I started off without an “err....”without an “umm…”Everything was going on smoothly. In fact I started liking the attention, the look on the faces in front of me as they let each word uttered, sink in.  That was till I looked straight into Gopalakrishnan Sir’s face. You remember, Gopalakrishnan Sir, our Zoology Dept. HOD. Well, I have always been in awe of that man. He was there smiling. Can you imagine he of all persons was smiling? I have always seen him with a grim face. Well, that did it. I suddenly fumbled and went blank for a second. That was until I saw your face in the sidelines. Your ever soothing smile helped me regain my wits and words and I moved on.

Of course, I did not win. But the congratulatory handshakes I got and that too from my teachers and seniors assembled there, was worth more than the trophy. But it was your hug that I cherish the most. In fact, I know everyone was expecting me to win. The tie as I came to know later was between me and Laila, the final year Degree student. The majority I understand was in favour of me. However, it was decided to declare Laila the winner since it was her last year in college. I still had many more years and many more opportunities to win.

That dear Lathi, was the beginning of a long journey, a journey of self – revelation, a journey of accomplishment. I owe all my successes to you. Had it not been for you I would still be fumbling with words, still be shy of the mike, the limelight.

I have often wanted to thank you, but then it’s rarely that we meet. After college, you got married and left and I moved on with my career, my family. Even when we do meet it’s at some party or family function. We hardly get beyond saying a ‘Hi!’ or enquiring about each other’s family. However, today I decided, the “thank you” could wait no longer and hence this letter.

 “Thank You, for instilling in me the confidence to take on the world and for helping me discover myself.”

Luv you,


Friday, 6 September 2013

Are we really rich?

The other day i.e 3rd Sept. to be exact, I was going through ‘The Hindu ‘when one particular caption caught my attention, “We are talking more using fewer words.”  This is an interview by Ms. Chitra Padmanabhan with Mr. Ganesh Devy, Founder Bhasha Trust   which conducted the ‘first survey of living Indian languages as people perceive them, conducted by the communities themselves’. In this you find Mr. Devy answering a wide range of questions like, “What was the aim of the People’s Linguistic Survey of India?”, “How was a language identified?””Have communities suffered a dramatic loss of languages?” and so on. But one particular question that caught my eyes was “What does the survey indicate about the state of Indian society?” In fact it was not the question but the answer that made me think. Mr. Devy’s response was, “Kinship terms are shrinking in most languages- ‘mummy’ has replaced amma, and ‘papa’, bapu. Terms for distant relations are losing ground, reflecting kinship erosion. Weakening ecological bonds are reflected in people’s inability to name surrounding trees or birds….”

Yes, Mr. Devy is right kinship terms are indeed shrinking, terms for distant relations are losing ground and we are unable to name the trees and birds surrounding us. In short we are losing a lot. I for one believe that there are certain words in a language that are best left unchanged. Take the terms “Mummy” and “Papa”. When we speak in our native tongue somehow these two do not fit in. They are aliens, aliens best suited for the language they come from. Indian languages have a beauty of their own and when there are words best fitting them why not continue with them. When we speak in our mother tongue the warmth that words such as “Amma”, “Maa,” etc. emanate is sadly missing in words such as “Mummy”. Maybe that’s so because the first word that the child utters is generally “Amma” or”Maa”. This is the word with which the mother and the child establish their speech bond.

Next, coming to ‘terms for distant relations losing ground,’ the same can be blamed on the fragmentation of our family system. Gone are the days when one stayed with their parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunts, if not under the same roof at least in areas easily accessible by foot. Today communication and commuting are easy yet, we are not able to keep our families tied together. Why? Somewhere down the lane we have had to pay for the heavy dose of commercialization seen today as well as our mad rush for wealth and luxuries. Today I am bothered only about myself and my children. Even aged parents, who have sacrificed their health and happiness for us are slowly losing out in our definition of ‘my family.’ This being the case,  how can we expect people to remember the terms used in one’s native tongue for uncles, aunts, cousins and other relations that were so dear to our parents and ancestors. Today, we are so busy that we do not have time to leave alone visit them, even make a call once in a while. I am often amazed at the way my mother who is in her 70s still remembers the names of all her relatives near and far. She still remembers their age/the year they were born, the star, the month as well as the year they got married. Leave alone near relatives she knows their distant relations too. Mention a name and she is off telling us her children and her grand children the link between the said person and our family. Such was the bond they developed in those days. Today we hardly know the name of the children and grand children of all our cousins and relatives. Yes, family ties are slowly but steadily dying and with them our native vocabulary and above all our support system. Till a few years back we could bank on our relatives to help us out in case of an emergency like taking care of an ailing parent or grant parent. But today we are left to fend all by ourselves. We have had to pay a heavy price for the fragmentation of our family system. Our children will face still tougher times. . Kinship erosion has left us isolated.

Time has not only taken a toll on our family bonds but has also weakened our bonds with our surroundings, our lifeline. Here again I envy my previous generation who are able to identify all the plants and trees, all the birds and creatures they see, with ease. They know which plant is beneficial and which is harmful, what type of crop is best suited to a soil and which is not. No wonder in days of yore the backyards were filled with treasures in the form of herbs and trees. Sadly today most of these have disappeared from the backyards. Today they do not grow unless cultivated specifically.
I have heard my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles predict the weather change, likely crop yield and so on with ease just by observing nature and her moods minutely. They were indeed very lucky for they were closer to nature than we are. Today we are closer to manmade gadgets and devices. They trained their faculties, we forgot our faculties. They were Masters of themselves; we are slaves of our gadgets and devices. They made best use of what Nature offered them. We misuse Nature for our selfish gains. In the end they win and we lose.

In short, we are poorer than our Ancestors.

Thursday, 5 September 2013


5th Sept. 2013
“Happy Teachers Day, Amma”, that was my daughter calling to greet me on this very special day i.e “Teachers Day”. This has been the yearly ritual ever since she has been able to understand the significance of this day and it has always made me feel very- very special. She makes it a point to wish me first before she wishes her other teachers because she believes that a mother is a child’s first and best teacher. She ranks above everyone else in the world. She teaches you much more than what others teach you. Her lessons start right from the day she experiences you in her womb.

The bonds created there are stronger than that created after one is born. A mother wishes the best for her child from day one. She communicates with the child even when he or she is in the womb and thereby moulds the child’s very character. This is the very reason why our elders always tell us to be happy and cheerful, think of only good things and block all that is evil when one is in the family way. Our nature, our disposition, our thoughts, our feelings all find expression in our child.

I remember the day when my daughter was initiated into the world of letters for the first time on “Vidyarambham Day” ( Vijayadashami) at the tender age of two, by one of our village elders. She was stretching her vocal cords to the maximum extent possible. It seems she was too scared of the person who was chosen to initiate her. The ritual over after much coaxing and cajoling, she returned to my outstretched arms tired out but clearly relieved. A relative of mine, a very wise and respected person came to my side and caressing my child spoke thus, “The mother is the best person to initiate a child into the world of letters. Others will see it just as a ritual. But for the mother, it is more than a ritual. While initiating her child a mother pours out her heart in front of the Almighty praying that her child acquire the maximum that the world of education can offer him/ her. She prays for only the best. Her prayers are stronger than anything else in the world. God too has to bow before her wishes. You should have initiated her.”

Yes my Mother is my Best Teacher, so too is yours.
Happy Teachers Day To All The MOTHERS In The World.