Wednesday, May 24, 2006

just a quote

“May you live all the days of your life”

Jonathan Swift
English Author

Makes sense, eh?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

When it rains

It is pouring back home…

What is it that I love about rains?
The smell of the soil after the first rain.

What I hate about rains?
I am scared of the thunder and the lightning. (But that adds to its beauty, right?)

Worst ever rain?
Amma was alone at home with my kid brother. All through the night it rained badly with lighting that struck the tree in front of our house. All she could do was to pray and she was taken care of. Thank God.

Best recollection?
If Achan is at home, he gets some roasted peanuts or chana and we wait for Amma to return. Then she makes tea. Then we all wait near the stair case and make small boats and float them in the water.

Johnai, share your memories. Baby, you too. Rafeeq & Daffodil, you are welcome too. And everyone who posts a comment has to answer these 4 questions. (That makes it 0 comments?)

Pra----- & Nair, you both can answer thru a comment ;)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Life is beautiful

For the last 4 years I am out of home and go back only once in a while. Whenever I go home, Achan and Amma will have separate lists of complaints against each other. There will also be a flurry of activities.

Scene #1

I am sitting in the front with the newspaper and Achan comes there to water the plants with the hose.

“See this. All these plants are dying. Your Amma is mad. She gets all these from her stupid colleagues and it is my duty to water it”

I look up, give an acknowledging node and back to paper.

“The entire front yard is full of weed. She is not even bothered”

Achan goes inside and Amma comes out with the hose.

“See what your Achan has done. He has watered only those ones that he has got. He deliberately didn’t water this one since I got it”

I check the plant. There is some water. But can’t be sure if it was spilled over or deliberately watered.

Scene #2

Both Achan and Amma are in kitchen busy cooking different dishes for me and I am in the front room watching TV.

Achan sneaks out.

“Neenu, cabbage fry got burned”
“It is OK, Acha. We will take the top portion”
“No. Leave it, I will make again. You Amma didn’t put the stove off because I am making it”

I go to the kitchen to drink water.

“Do you see this? I told your Achan that I would make the cabbage. But he insisted he would make. Now he burnt it”

I smile. She is encouraged.

“Plus see what a mess he had made in the kitchen. If he helps, he makes sure that I have double the work”

Scene #3

It is 5.35 in the evening and Achan is at the gate restlessly looking into the road.

“Do you know why your Amma gets late? Because after work she wastes time talking to her stupid colleagues. You know the ones who talk about their new sari, earring or necklace”
“Acha, calm down. Why are you getting worried? She is late by only 5 minutes”
“You can tell that. You don’t know how weak she is as she is getting older. Can’t she come back and take some rest?”

We see Amma at the end of the road. Achan goes back to make tea.

Scene #4

Amma is making dinner. She has already made two curries and making one more.

“Why are taking the trouble? There are already these two. Aren’t you tired after work?”
“I am. But you know that your Achan doesn’t like fish fry. He isn’t eating properly these days. So I thought I’ll make fish curry”

Scene #5

After dinner we are sitting in the front to get some fresh air.

“Did you hear that Professor is building a second house at the back of their new house?” Amma asks.
“He has the money and has got only boys. No need to save or worry about money”
“But who is going to stay there? Both of their sons are in US”
“True. They can sell it after some time. Real estate prices are shooting up these days”

Conversation goes on …

Life is beautiful.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Nietzsche and Me

~ This is completely different post; not at all entertaining. The incident mentioned here happened a month back. Last day I happened to read a small writing on Nietzsche. The below post is a combo of both. ~

Whenever I get a prize in the school or I score good marks, when I land a good job or get a word of appreciation, I would be beaming with pride. At home we are taught to be humble. So I try not to take the credit. That is an imbibed value which is sometimes interpreted as forced modesty.

But it is when I feel ridiculously ashamed of myself that my emotions are high. There is an adapted helplessness and indifference within me. And I abhor that.

The other day I was walking fast to get to the cab. There were hundreds of people walking faster than me. I was starting to cross the road when I heard a hullabaloo. There was a man lying on the road and he was making some violent spasmic convulsive gestures. Either he was hit and run or it was an attack of fits.

He lay down just behind me. People started crowding round him. I saw him and had this urge to help. But I kept walking ahead with my head turned back to see what was happening to him. I got on to the cab and left. I kept looking back till the buildings hid my view. Till that time no one had taken any effort to help the man. There were policemen. They might have taken charge of the situation after I left.

I am not bothered as to why people didn’t help him. After all, everyone’s sense of moral values and responsibilities are different.

I am ashamed and lost my self respect because I didn’t do anything to help that man. A human life had no value than a couple of gasps and sympathetic looks. God forbid, but if he hasn’t survived, I am guilty of my indifference. I take it when a close friend consoled me saying I have limitations being a woman. I would not have lifted him into a cab nor done all the running around in the hospital. But that doesn’t justify me being inert. The whole day I was upset thinking about that. But being upset or feeling guilty doesn’t vindicate me of my lethargy.

Friedrich Nietzsche talks about two types of morality. Master morality and slave morality. Master morality relates to good and bad while slave morality is about good and evil. Slave morality is not opposite to this. It is a different thought altogether.

I am not intellectually grown up to bisect Nietzsche. Neither have I read this particular book wherein he discusses his thoughts on this, though I have read another one. The book is Beyond Good and Evil. But I recollect a conversation with my brother who told me about Nietzsche and his school of thought.

Master morality arises in strong people who consider good as strength, power and right. This is kind of innate. Everything else is bad.

In contrast to that Evil morality arises in weak and suppressed people. They too have a sense of good; but bad is replaced by evil.

Though Nietzsche doesn’t exactly fit in here, I think that I belong to the second category. I am averse to anything that is evil. The problem with the second type is that, I feel, I tend to avoid whatever is evil. But I don’t have the strength to pursue the Good all the time. Beyond that, Evil is the extreme Bad. So my bad gets blurred between Good and Evil.

The bottom line is, whatever philosophy I borrow to confuse you and myself, I didn’t take the time or alertness to help a poor soul. But I have time to blog, worry about reservations and can be the first one to protest if my salary is to be dropped by even a rupee.

So I have the energy, time and all that I need as a human being. It is just that the values that I have inherited are getting lost as I move up in my life adding to my so called achievements. Despite writing this, I am not sure if I would take the initiative a second time. Hope to.

Monday, May 15, 2006


It was Mothers’ day. I didn’t even know of Valentines Day till I reached my 12th. Later on, as we moved to Kochi I learnt of more of those Archies brilliant marketing ideas – Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, Rose Day, Friendship Day and what-not-day.

Just as each one of you out there, I have a lovely mom too. I call her Amma, like the majority of mallus. Amma had a very poor child hood. But she was exceptionally brilliant. At a time it was difficult to pass your SSLC(10th) exam, she has got a 2nd class.

During her school days, she didn’t have proper books or clothes. She didn’t even have proper food to eat. It was common for her to faint of fatigue on the road . She has come a long long way. Amma, never stops inspiring me.

She always wanted to learn as much as possible. But had to start working after her B Com. It was years later, after my graduation that this idea of learning further came to her mind. Achan was more enthusiastic. And she embarked on her journey to do PGDCA. We all declared all kind of support.

She got enrolled and was glad that on successful completion of her studies she would get the fee reimbursed from her office.

She had to go to office everyday. Her classes were on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. Finally she was through with all the classes and it was the exam time.

She had all of those C++, Java, Architecture, Software Engineering and what not. Me, being a computer science student was supposed to help her.

“You said if loop has to be closed. But there is one more if before the last one is closed”
“That is OK Amma, you have to close the corresponding ones.”

“Algorithm and program are the same???”
“No Amma, algorithm is just the logic. Program is when you convert it to the language”
“So program has no logic??”
“No No, it is same as algorithm. But when you write the same logic in C++, that becomes a program”
“Why can’t we write just algorithm”
“Because the computer can’t interpret it”
“Then why do we need algorithm”
Amma was looking at me all confused like a 5 year old kid.

“What is a pointer?”
“The address of the variable you are storing”
“Then where is the variable?”
I drew an arrow to the variable an explained her the concept with the best of my abilities.
“OK, so it the arrow, right?”
“Errrrr…yeah…….kind of”
Couldn’t say anything seeing the delight in her eyes that she cracked the meaning of a pointer.

It was supposed to be a one year program. At the yeard end she had to give practicals and theory papers.

Me and Amma sat through the night trying to make her add two numbers. Not of much use. She still didn’t get it why we need to declare the variable and then ask for the value and finally just add them. What are calculators for?

That morning I gave her a small chit with all the programs I thought they may ask. Amma was shocked. She couldn’t believe it. She had never done that in her entire life. She was the brightest student of her classes all the time, the darling of her professors.

“But I can’t read such small letters”
“OK, I’ll write it a little bigger; make sure the invigilator doesn’t notice”
“How do I take it from my bag when he is there?”
“Good Lord…. You can’t keep it in your bag. You will have to tuck it inside your saree on you stomach” I gave a pat on her protruding belly.
“What, I can’t do such things”
“It is absolutely fine. No one will see you. Just be confident. Once you take it out, keep under you keyboard”
“If it is under your keyboard how will I read it”

I took her to our computer and showed how to cheat effectively. We did some practice sessions. She was a good learner.

In the afternoon we were all waiting for her, eager to know if the programs I had written was of any help or not.

Achan went to her exam hall to pick her up. Me and brother were at the gate. Amma came back and sat on the sofa.

“What happened? How was the exam”
“OK” she said in a tired voice. I could see Achan and brother trying to cover their smiles. Amma looked at them and went inside with an innocent angry face.

“OK, tell me how was it”
I asked her pushing Achan and brother off the room.
“I couldn’t take the chit you gave”
“But why?”
“I just couldn’t do it”
“Then ….?”
I knew she didn’t know even the #include to write.
“The invigilator was a young guy. Must be of your age”
“Then…you would have taken it. He would have acted as if he didn’t see”
“He came to me and ..”
“Don’t tell me he threw you out for cheating”
“No, listen to me first. He asked me why I was sitting without doing anything since beginning”
“I said I couldn’t recollect anything”
“Fine … tell me what happened”
“He took my paper and gave me 50 out of 100”
We both sighed. She made it.

Next day she had her Java lab. The guy was a new one and wasn’t all that friendly. So she gave the exam two more times in the succeeding years and finally another good guy helped her out.

Every 6 month she used to give her back papers. On the day of the results, she would call me and tell. Achan and brother never dared to ask her at face. So on that gloomy day of result they would approach me.

“How is her result?”
Achan would ask.
“Better than I thought. She cleared 2 papers”
“Really???!!! Out of how many”
“Oh .. just 12”
“So just 10 more” Achan would give his relieved smile.
On the day of her next exam she would come back home and tell me.
“This was not like the last exam. I have written all that you taught me. I am sure I’ll get atleast 65”
Most of the time she would miss by 5 or 10 mark.

Finally she cleared all the papers and got her reimbursements after 3 years. I was in Hyderabad. I got goosebumps when she called me up and told she cleared all the papers.

I have reasons to be a proud daughter.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Kunjunni Kavithakal

Vaayichchalum Valarum
Vaayichchillengilum Valarum
Vayichchal Vilayum
Vayichichiyyengil Valayum
(Achan’s favorite)

Enikkundoru Lokam
Ninakkundoru Lokam
Namukkilloru Lokam
(My favorite)

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Neelakkuyile thirayadikkum
Nee maranjalum nin ganamengum
(Ramanan by CHangampuzha)

Irulin mahanidrayil ninnunarthi nee Niramulla jeevitha peeli thannu....
Adaruvan vayya nin hridayathil ninnenikkethu swargam vilichalum...
Uruki nin aathmaavin aazhangalil veenu pozhiyumbozhanente swargam
Ninnil aliyunnathe nithya sathyam....
(Don't know the author, but I love the lyrics)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

the fascinating world of books

Achan still feels guilty for not having sent us to any good English Medium School. He is still not convinced I can speak good English. Since my childhood he used to get The Hindu paper at home. He trusted that paper to be just and unbiased. Even now, his days start with The Hindu. He also hoped the paper to improve our language.

I still have a poor vocabulary and poorer pronounciation skills. My grammar is descent, I guess. My brother has got an admirable language. He can write damn too well.

We both studied in the Govt Schools. At that time, the school bus for the English medium school would come on the main road at 7 in the morning. It wasn’t easy for Amma to get us ready and take us to the bus stop at that time, as Achan might not be there all the mornings.

So reluctantly though, Amma and Achan agreed upon the local schools. I still thank them for that.

I don’t remember my homework books or heavy school bags
But I still remember all us kids walking to school
With those colorfull umbrellas during those rainy days
Sharing of pulinguru , Jathikka and ripe mangoes

Blessed am I that I had such a wonderful childhood… I am getting a lump in my throat thinking of those good old days.

Achan always admired great authors. I have never heard of Sidney Sheldon or John Gresham till I saw my roomie reading those during my MBA days. I have no disrespect to any of them. But I have a different taste. Rather my dad has. And he introduced us to the world of fascinating books.

He still has a small collection of books. One of the first great books I have read is The Mother by Maxim Gorky. I don’t know how many times I have read that book. But I bet I can still read it as many times. He used to get poetry books by all our great Malayalam poets. We used to byheart so many of them. I can still recite Vayalar poems. The best lines I remember are from Saphalamee Yathra by N N Kakkadu:-

Kaalaminiyum Varum
Vishu varaum Varsham Varum
Pinne oro ithalinum poo varum kaay varum
Appol Aarennum enthennum aarkariyam
Haa Saphalamee Yathra

How awe struck I was on reading those lines. And the best romantic lines in Malayalam poetry is from Balachandran Chullikkadu

Dukhamanengilum Ninnekkurichulla
Dukham entanantham aanenikomane
Ennumen paana pathram niraykkatte
Nin asannidhyam pakarunna vedana

At home, I still have a paper cutting on that poem wherein the poet describes the poignant story of a lovelorn fellow who inspired him to write the entire lines. I have cried reading those lines.

Achan has all the Vedas, The Bible and The Koran in his library. He always used to tell us
“Don’t criticize or take side of anything before you know what it is”. How true he was.

People used to come home for borrowing books from him. And he never said NO.

Even before I have heard of Love Story, Achan had bought us One Hundred Years of Solitude(by Marqez). I had an opportunity to read most of Vaikam Mohammad Basheer books. His small library has books cutting across all religions, international classics and the native collections.

I have read Freedom At Midnight and Osho books. We have Krishnamurthy and Brief History of Time in the same shelf, Fidel Castro and Bhagawath Gita kept next to next. We could read Bible and Karl Marx from the same collection.

I was never addicted to books. And my knowledge of them was restricted to Achan’s choices. But I must admit that his choice always were class apart. What a treasure you have given me my dear father.. Your zest for knowledge is the greatest legacy you have passed on to us.

But it was my brother who introduced me to Osho and Krishnamurthy books. He made Achan buy Siddhartha by (Hermane Hasse). He gave me Interpretation of Dreams.

After my school days, there was long pause till we all came back to books. Thanks to my dear brother, we added some more books to our collection.

You can all recollect your grandparent telling you stories in your childhood. But do any of you have a younger brother who still tells you stories before you go to sleep? I have. I also have a father who used to tell stories of great men and stories from great books than those Prince in the Shining Armor. I am a pampered spoilt brat. (Even from my younger brother).

Amma was a quieter lot, who could never understand why Achan would spend a good portion of his average salary on books.

The other day I have finished reading The City of Joy. I sent an e-mail to a couple of friends saying the books make an excellent reading. Thanks to the reply from Praseeth, for taking me back to those days.

As per his suggestion I am creating another blog for the books I have read. That will be updated very very rarely as I am still a lazy ass as far as pursuing of any hobby is concerned.

As a last word, thanks Pra-----. :-) You got me very nostalgic.