Something Amiss..

13 07 2008

As a sheer wave of nostalgia hits me in this sunny Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t help but muse on all those lovely moments of my life.. Yes, Indeed I miss

  • Those Hasty Bicycle rides to School
  • Climbing Guava and Mango trees in search of sweet temptations
  • Those Hide and Seek Games that filled lazy afternoons
  • Summer Time.. Umm.. Mango eating competitions in the village backyards.. Yummy!
  • Hosting Bicycle Championships around the village roads
  • Inventing creative reasons for missing classes
  • Those innocent dreams of Ramayan, Snakes and Shaktiman
  • Those days of ‘Chitrahaar’ and ”Doordarshan’ sans remote control
  • Bending rules with childhood pals, my partners in crime
  • Those summer rains and the lighthearted frolic on the terrace
  • The sheer joy of growing up, and the academic rigmarole

Umm.. How I long for a little drizzle of joy or a time machine… Suddenly this whole business of playing the adult isn’t that appealing any more.

the CATCHER in the RYE

24 05 2008

“You know that song. ‘If a body catch a body coming’ through the rye? I’d like —“

“It’s ‘If a body meet a body coming through the rye!” old Phoebe said. “It’s a poem. By Robert Burns.”

“I know it is a poem by Robert Burns.”

“She was right though. It is “If a body meet a body coming through the rye.” I didn’t know it then, though.

“I thought it was ‘If a body catch a body,'” I said. “Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody around — nobody big, I mean — except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff — I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be. I know it’s crazy.”

I was in half love with this ‘Holden Caulfield’ by the time I am through. I really am. For his age of Sixteen, I didn’t know anyone who is more clear thinking and muddle headed than he was. A bundle of teenage rebellion, that he indeed was, with little regard to play by the rules. He has these itsy bitsy darn complaints about the phoniness in the world that makes you dig into the childhood memories and offer a sigh at those days of carefree innocence. The disconnect that he feels from the world, the perils of growing up, the burden of responsibilities, the alienation from the society, the loss of his brother Allie, his pursuit for independent identity, and his naive frustrations – didn’t we all go through some of them in our adolescence?

Just like the Lagoon in Central Park which is “partly frozen and partly not frozen”, Holden comes across as an embodiment of teenager who is caught between the dilemma of growing up to a responsible adulthood from carefree mirth of childhood innocence. Holden narrates his two days of his life after getting an ax from Pencey Prep School for his poor academic performance. We share the deeply private fantasy world of Holden, through his candid confessions which fill the book and occupy your mindspace. Often endearing and often shallow, refreshingly, Holden remains the same simple ‘heart on my sleeve’ kid even as he ends his narration by celebrating Phoebe’s cheerful mood on a park ride. What is unique about this novel apart from Holden’s red hunting hat, is the flow of Holden’s experiences in first person which run as a simple commentary on life. Cynical, bitter, nostalgic and intimately introspective, one can’t help but appreciate the colorful innocent world that Holden inhabits.

Some Voice of Reason that Holden encounters in the novel:

“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them – if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”

Some Story Telling Session…

25 03 2008

This moment is filled with sheer nostalgia. A chip off the memories at the IMDR personality development classes.. I do wonder at times about the things that haven’t changed, looking back at those days when we did that four princes story telling session and impersonated one of the prince’s exile story with utter glee. What I loved was the beginning of the story, the entire group gathering and the joy of offering the non-material gifts.

That was some day when that sane wise man started his session like this: “Once upon a time, long long ago, just about yesterday, far far away from here, just around the corner was a kingdom a kingdom not too large, not too small and like all kingdoms its boundaries extended to East, West, North and South to the extent of the known world…” And then we went through a racy ride over a kingdom blessed with four princes, each with his own unique skills and two unique gifts from his fairy grand mother, all set to reign the world.

The two gifts for each prince were intriguing too. While one gift fetched success in public, the other gift acted as a mirror in the closed quarters. First Prince got the Book of Knowledge and an Ever Smiling Doll, the Second Prince was gifted the Magic Sword and the Roaring Mouse, while the third prince is left with the Magic Box of Potions and the tear bag and the Fourth Prince had the Magic Cap and the Magic Wand. Faced with a challenge to live a two year exile period out of the comfort zone of his kingdom, each prince marches in the designated direction at a certain age to make his life. There the story was left open and the participants made their own journey impersonating the prince of their choice.

Little did I know at that time that my instinctive choices haven’t changed even after three long years. I am still that rolling stone, the prince of laughter, gifted with magic cap and magic wand.. What felt like fun sounded frivolous at times, yet I guess the beauty of that experience lies in its inherent contradictions. It engaged our creativity while making us introspect and reflect on our choices. It held our interest and spread a lot of cheer while making us ponder over the deeper implications. We all need mirrors at times, to see how we have evolved and how we have changed over the sands of time.

Maha Shiva Ratri..

6 03 2008

To Day is The Night of Lord Shiva.. It feels so special and divine as my mind drifts to those devotional days of childhood times where this ritual is celebrated wholeheartedly in my hometown.

A trip down the memory lane reminds me of those days of Diligent fasting the whole day and night, Melodious and Soulful prayers like Chadrashekhara Astakam, Shiva Panchakshara Strotram, Linga Astakam, Scrambling for various fruits, Decorating the idols with various kinds of flowers for symbolic ritual of Shiva’s marriage to Parvati late in the night, Passing the entire night resisting sleep, playing with pals or watching the good old black and white Lord Shiva movies like Bhakta Kanappa, Markandeya and so on, marching to River Krishna or Godavari and taking a dip early at the crack of dawn, soaking in the fuss of all the elders and inventing our own form of mischief.. Those are the days of fun, play and prayer as they paint my memory with nostalgia and warmth.

I am planning today to take the fast, visit Lord Shiva’s temple and complete it by recollecting all those fond memories of this ritual. For all those agnostics, devotees, cynics and confirmed atheists, I have nothing to say, as belief is a very personal concept. God for me is as much true as the faith that I keep on him or her. Yet, a little reflection makes me dwell on how my feelings towards rituals have evolved over all these years. My awareness, understanding, and the actions towards the rituals take a new definition every year and they reinvent themselves both qualitatively and quantitatively. And that makes me reiterate my inner belief that only experience matters in the end.

Its Yesterday Once Again..

2 03 2008

I had a really rocking weekend. Yes, the emphasis has to be there, as its been ages since I sampled those happy moments of yesterday again. Thanks to that quirky mind of mine, which made a spur of moment decision to treat itself out of cold with loads of love medicine of Grand Parents. This little last minute trip to my granny’s place has really made me alive and probably this forced intimacy is what I needed to shake me out of the cloistered work environment. I really can’t tell you how much of a shift I experience, especially coming from the corporate metro world where every minute can be accounted for to my Granny’s place, where clock holds no meaning and day light pretty much dictates how the day passes by.

Waking by to the chirping of birds, climbing walls to collect those hiding jasmines, out running little kiddos during lazy evenings, collecting veggies from the kitchen garden for lunch, helping granny in little chores, collecting firewood for the heating water, fashioning myriad flowers for God’s garlands, the poking fun on those legendary TV serials which occupy those dusk hours, wrestling with little sis over the primitive fire place, sharing the starlit blue sky for the blanket at the night.. Life suddenly feels as if its yesterday once again and life is not so much complicated after all. Every corner that I walked to, I would find a rose, jasmine, lemon, goose berry or mango and I can feel a mild fragrance enveloping my senses. That’s when I succumb to those feelings of contentment and joy.

Blind Men And The Elephant..

9 02 2008

This is a story from my Granny’s collections. One of those fond memories of childhood and yet such a lifetime lesson to practice. A little googling helped me locate this story and saved me from recreating its fondness from memory. For the trading with memories involves dealing with interpretations and perceptions which may not let you remain true to the original. 🙂


Once upon a time there were six blind men. They lived in a town in India. They thought they were very clever. One day an elephant came into the town. The blind men did not know what an elephant looked like but they could smell it and they could hear it. ‘What is this animal like?’ they said. Each man touched a different part of the elephant.

The first man touched the elephant’s body. It felt hard, big and wide. ‘An elephant is like a wall’ he said. The second man touched one of the elephant’s tusks. It felt smooth and hard and sharp. ‘An elephant is like a spear’ he said.

The third man touched the elephant’s trunk. It felt long and thin and wiggly. ‘An elephant is like a snake’ he said. The fourth man touched on of the legs. It felt thick and rough and hard and round. ‘An elephant is like a tree’ he said.

The fifth man touched one of the elephant’s ears. It felt thin and it moved. ‘An elephant is like a fan’ he said.

The sixth man touched the elephant’s tail. It felt long and thin and strong. ‘An elephant is like a rope’ he said.

The men argued. It’s like a wall! No, it isn’t! It’s like a spear! No it isn’t! It’s like a snake! They did not agree. The king had been watching and listening to the men. ‘You are not very clever. You only touched part of the elephant. You did not feel the whole animal. An elephant is not like a wall or a spear or a snake, or a tree or a fan of a rope’.

The men left the town still arguing. A little girl heard them and said ‘Each of you is right but you are all wrong … but I know what you are talking about.’

A nice illustration of this story in poem is available here. This story leaves me with a lingering echo that sounds like this.
“O how they cling and wrangle, some who claim
For preacher and monk the honored name!
For, quarreling, each to his view they cling.
Such folk see only one side of a thing”

Well, thats the thought that stayed with me since carefree days.

Bookworm Glows..

6 10 2007

I am tired and weary after a lot of binge shopping! Yet, I cant resist singing in my heart ala Arnold Lobel style..

“Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky.
My pile of books are a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them. ”

So now you know where the Saturday shopping bug has taken me! 🙂

I was wandering around the M.G. Road in Bangalore and was pulled to a shop by name Bookworm and ended up picking a pile of books. After spending around two hours I realized how much I missed my collection of books after coming to Bangalore..

Now I am richer with

Konrad Z Lorenz’s ‘King Solomon’s Ring’,
Ambrose Bierce’s ‘The Devil’s Dictionary’,
Nathaniel Hawthrone’s ‘Young Goodman Brown and Other Stories’,
Colleen McCullough’s ‘Fortune’s Favorites’,
Maya Angelou’s ‘I Know Why A Caged Bird Sings’,
Colleen McCullough’s ‘The Ladies Of Missalonghi’,
Charles & Mary Lamb’s ‘Tales From Shakespere’,
Kahlil Gibran’s ‘The Prophet’,
Poems Of Stevens Wallace,
Stephani Cook’s ‘Second Life’,
Geoffery Chaucer’s ‘The Canterbury Tales’,
Oscar Wilde’s ‘De Profundis and Other Writings’.

I am stuffed with books for the next three months I guess!

The celebration of this bookworm is on!

Weekend Musings..

23 09 2007

The word for the weekend is Nostalgic! It is filled with recollecting memoirs and reliving memories from old letters, mails, chats and catching up on long pending reflections. I have had a pensive Saturday and a homely Sunday. This is my first weekend at Bangalore where I had time entirely for myself and guess this is much needed to flush some pensive musings. At times it is tough to enjoy the company that I keep when am alone. My mood closely rhymed with this expression.. ‘Looking back on the tears would always make us laugh, but little did I know that the moments we laughed together will make us cry one day!’

Happy Ganesha Chaturdhi..

17 09 2007

This is a very special festival in both family and cultural aspects as never a year rolled by when I haven’t prayed Ganesha in this occasion. Ganesha is one of my favorite Gods, as he is so much malleable to creativity. He get the first prayers as he is the one who guides opportunities by eradicating the obstacles. (So as the mythology goes).

This is an old forward, yet it was so current in my memory that I hunted it down to share it with you all.
I celebrated this year with my family friends and as I was enjoying the puja it struck me how much these rituals create the bonding of being together with the family. Whenever this festival arrives and wraps me in a humdrum of activity, I cant help but take a trip down the memory lane.. Reliving all those days of hectic shopping for the idol and flowers, Troubling Mamma for new books, Drawing Om on the book covers, Setting up the Mandapa, Dressing up in new clothes, The humdrum in the kitchen, Chanting of the sloka, Ardent avoiding of the moon and so on.. All those moments flash live they are still alive and are happening now.

Sometimes somethings sound plain stupid to the naked eye, yet they have a lot of depth behind it. The entire personification of God and treating him with flowers, dressing him up, and offering food in a particular process may sound tiring and ridiculous, yet I love the effect of peace it creates in the mind, the feeling of unity in entire family helping each other in getting things done, and the visits of the relatives and friends and the community bonding.. Sometimes I feel as if there is a meaning behind everything and everything has a meaning.. It may be hazy to figure it out in an instance yet, it doesn’t stop me from believing.

These rituals are just not about religious beliefs, they are about uniting everyone under simple purpose and activity, and sharing common memories through procedures and protocols. How much I love them!

Flow Of Life in Train..

10 07 2007

I observe life rolling by in faster pace.. Train Journeys have always been a fascinating experience. Splash of greenery everywhere, tall coconut trees, huge plantations, flocks of birds, meadows and shallow lagoons, huge lakes with lovely water plants, bustling little towns, kids playing by the train tracks, different variants of food.. Its spectacular to watch the huge expanse of nature taking myriad forms of beauty.. A little drizzle here and a little sunshine there.. Beauty and wind whizzes by giving rise to a wanton desire to take a dip in that lake or to play with the wind..

As a little kid, I have always loved train journeys.. Especially the long ones with family.. Preparation for Train Journeys used to run like a celebration.. The whole family fussing over the packing, Mom is busy loading food (especially Pulihora, Chapati, Curd Rice, fruits, Namkeens) to last for the double the actual journey.. What would you do if you got twelve or twenty hours to spend in the most idyllic fashion? Some sleep, some chat, some play. Scouting for water on the platforms, and the wait for the relatives to Hello By if they live along that route, Indulging in the local delicacies that come your way.. You meet interesting people out there in trains during idle, innocent chitchats. Some forge lasting friendships, some for the instant.. I have had some interesting experiences, and pals..

And then the waiting for the train.. Its typical to wait for hours together to board as Indian trains are a punctuality nightmare. BTW, I am delightfully surprised during my last trip to Vijayawada. The railway station got a cybercafé, 24 X 7 restaurants, and a Book Store. During my four hours of waiting to catch the 12 AM Tamilnadu express which arrived at 4AM, I browsed for an hour, had a strawberry icecream (that’s the only one flavor in offer), Wished a friend on his birthday, took a little survey of the platform and went to the waiting hall to surrender myself in one of those chairs to fall asleep.. Thanks to that good Samaritan who shook me up when the train finally arrived, otherwise I would have passed the chance to catch Tamilnadu for the grudging comfort of the yogic sleep I had!

And then the Ticket Collectors (TC).. They pass by in their dark coats and you can always count on them for arranging seats in emergency, albeit with some service charge. On one particular trip, I did a mistaken booking for a train starting at 12:30 AM.. Usually when we book tickets, we consider the date of travel in conversational terms.. 12:30 AM is colloquially Sunday Night, which would make it Monday Morning in Railway Lingo.. So I ended up in Train on a Sunday with a ticket that’s officially booked for Saturday Night. Everything ended up well though.. TC has offered me a vacant berth after I paid up the penalty..

Life never stops and journey in train is a filling activity. People are in contentment with rush, busy getting dressed up for the office or catching breakfast, indulging in music, book or drowning themselves in the cooling comfort of the window.. When the destination arrives, it’s a soothing comfort and life is back to the predictable rhythm.. Yet, the child in me still expectantly looks forward to that lazy, leisurely solace of the train journey again!

Beauty Of Mother Tongue..

21 06 2007

I was browsing through and guess am locked in an air of nostalgia.. Flashes of memories, of granny teaching you Aksharamala (Alphabet), of the childhood victorious glow when you grew up enough to read those Chandamama, Balamitra, Bommarillu and all those child magazines enveloped me in tight hold. As I grew up I read wonderful books in telugu.. Be it novels or poems.. Sumati Satakam, Vemana Padyalu, and all that grammer.. I still miss some novels like Mohana Vamsi, Venello Adapilla, Lakumadevi which I read some fifteen years back. And the worst fact is that neither I can google them down nor can I load them up in my PC.

Guess language sets an ambience for cultural expressions and nothing can beat mother tongue in it. Learning a language opens up an entirely new world.. You can associate with the spirit and at times some expressions are so authentic that you cant translate without watering down the intensity. Sometimes I face this problem too. I still wonder how would I translate ‘alambana’, ‘samyamanam’.. When emotions succumb you in a deluge it becomes difficult to relate to heart matters in a language thats alien to you in the same spirit that you want to express.

If I muse on, I speak Hindi with friends, Telugu with family, English in Profession and to write on.. I see things as I am made, cause I rely on my perception over reality.. And when immense depth of feelings hit you, you may be at loss for words. Guess I am blessed in that sense that I had great grand parents who introduced me to the world of Telugu Literature and my parents encouraged me in every means possible.

Thanks to the advent of globalization, English is slowly taking the place of mothertongue and ‘Amma’ is becoming ‘mom’.. With all fairness, I accept and respect English as any indian language yet I only mourn about the dwindling focus on native languages. Are we missing only the language or a breadth of cultural experience? Think it up..

Splash Of Yellow!

17 06 2007

I noticed this magnificent beauty on Besant Nagar roads yesterday. Its such a visual treat to watch such a splendid display of yellow, as if it stood to rain energy and warmth on the inviting land assuring one of the alluring things that are going to come. As Chennai gears up to receive monsoon, I hope there will be more such lovely dash of colors to come. Guess I did an OK job in capturing it, for the ethereal experience I had watching this couldn’t be represented in this paler photograph. Still I tried! By the way, does anyone know the name of this tree?

In Memory Of IMDR..

15 06 2007

I was going through old files and old memories when I hit upon this song. This song is my favorite and has a special place in heart as it kind of sums up the beauty of IMDR in a love filled melody. The best place to listen it is at Alumni Meet where someone or other inevitably picks up the mike to hum this along. Author unknown to me, yet am quite familiar with the nostalgic glow it brings in heart.

Purani jeans, aur guitar
Wah re poona, wah IMDR.
Hamare sapne, hamara pyaar,
Wah re poona, wah IMDR.

Woh Bhupi ka, banana chehre
Woh kehna yeh hain,
Systems ki baat.
Y.R. Rao ka hamesha hasna,
Class mein har sentence ke baad.
Woh bhola bhala, Kandy hamara,
Jo pooche hamse, andar ki baat.
Woh Sapre sir, jab canteen mein baithe,
Vrindavan, humko aaye bus yaad.
Jaane kahan se, aaya ye doctor,
Jo maare fatte, aur padhaye top.

Poochon mat, tum classroom ki baatein,
Ki unke andar bhi chaata hain pyaar.
Bus yaadein…

Assignments karna hamesha late,
Pahunchna classroom, teacher ke baad.
Woh ghanti bajne ki lambi yaad,
Woh bhaagna TT room, ghanti ke baad.

Woh library mein baatein karna
Woh daatna madam ka,
Humein baar-baar.

Aaye jab junies, hua yeh haal
Ek-ek ladke ko, hue do-do pyaar.
Quadrangle ka, kona-kona,
Kiya un ladkon ne, bilkul kharab.
Mohobbat ki o baazzee khelne waalon,
Yeh socha placements hain kitni paas?
Bus yaadein…

Aur kya kahoon mein yaar
Jaan se pyaara hain yeh pariwar
Ye aisa ghar hain hamare paas
Bhool jaaye hum to, apna ghar-baar.
Kucchh hi din ke, hum hain mehmaan,
Jaane kahan hum, jaaye iske baad.
Jahan bhi jaaye, hum iske baad,
Sataayegi humko, yahan ki yaad.
Aanso aayenge jab yaad aayegi
Aise hi apni, life guzre yaar.
Bus yaadein…

Being Nostalgic Over A Small Town..

6 06 2007

Rajahmundry is often called as the cultural capital of Andhra Pradesh.. Well, that’s what my papa loves to boast! It’s located on the banks of the river Godavari, which has a lot of religious and cultural significance as the River Godavari splits into 7 streams which were named after the seven Saptarshyas of the Hindu mythology. I always love the sight of Rajamundry, those riverbanks, temples when the train is gushing over the huge arched bridge thats built over Godavari. Since childhood, Mamma used to hand me a coin to throw in the river and pray for the river goddess whenever the train is taking us over it. A small confession is that I still do it. 🙂

Oh, How did I forget to mention? The Asia’s largest rail-cum-road bridge on the river Godavari linking Kovvur and Rajamundry is considered a real miracle. Me and my dad used to hop on a bike for a long drive on that bridge in my school days. Guess that bridge is almost 4 kilometers long and a long ride along its side sure breathes fresh life into any mood with picturesque surroundings..

There are a number of temples here and the Kotilingala temple, Uma Ramalingeswara temple on the banks of the Godavari are some of the most important temples. The Godavari Pushkaram, celebrated once in twelve years, attracts a huge number of pilgrims from all over the country. It’s the period where every Hindu is urged to take the ceremonious bath in the river Godavari. It’s a big event for which preparations go on for two years during which our quaint little town dresses up for the travelers and visitors in the most grandiose fashion. For the last Pushkaram, they have renovated the entire godavari and gautami ghat and have constructed a huge shiva linga near the Godavari railway station which marks the entrance of town.. I still get that childish glee of coming home whenever I see that well lit huge temple.

Rajahmundry is famous for Cloth market/Textile and it is said that the cloth business of Rajahmundry stands second, after Mumbai in India. The drought in Vizag made the weavers shift to Jampet in Rajahmundry and lead to the establishment of the Textile industry. Rajahmundry has the Mahatma Gandhi Cloth Complex which is one of the biggest shopping complex in AP. It is the base for most of the big cloth merchants in India like Bommana Brothers, Chandana Brothers, Sumangali, Puja Silks, Tummidi Brothers etc. Having sampled various showrooms in various cities, I would say that whatever you get in entire A.P. (and even more varitety at times) is available in Rajamundry, albeit at reasonable prices.

Be it that special Palakova from Kumari Talkies, Rose Milk from Kotagummam, Tapeswaram Kaja, Artos Cool Drinks or Putarekulu (Paper Sweet), our Rajamundry has its share of unique mouth watering delicacies. When a topic of sweets come, I cant resist quoting Anand Sweets. I can blindly vouch for any item under their name, be it their dry fruit chikki, badam burfi, kaja, kachori or namkeens!

Rajahmundry has the base offices for the Krishna-Godavari Project of The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation at Rajahmundry. This brought in various cultures of people and the establishment of the ONGC colonies. Dad used to take us to the ONGC colony park and the township whenever it fell on the way of our drive. Also Rajahmundry houses industries like The Southeren Drugs and Pharmaceuiticals Limited, Smithkline Beecham Consumer Healthcare limited, GVK Industries/The Jegurupadu Power Project at the outskirts. Its also home for a lot of paper mills like The Andhra Pradesh Paper Mills, The Coastal Paper Mills (P) limited, The Kadiyam Paper Mills. Anyone can locate loads of nurseries and flower gardens near Kadiyam, which have almost any variety of samplings that you would love to have in your little garden.

I cant write about Rajahmundry without giving due credit for to these two people, Sir Arthur Cotton for making the city arable and Sri Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu for his contribution for the city. These people’s memories are etched strongly in the minds of the people.

Sir Arthur Cotton dammed the great Godavari River below Rajamundry at a point where the river is over three miles wide, and although he utilised two islands he still had to construct two miles of masonry to build his own dam. This took him five years to complete, but was an immense gain to a teeming population. The 2 1/4 – mile long Dowleswaram Barrage across the Godavari turned a flood-and-drought prone area into million acres of flourishing paddy and sugarcane. He made Rajamundry a rice bowl for A.P and people still remember and honour his contributions. A Sir Arthur Cotton Museum is set up at the dam site and a Sir Arthur Cotton Memorial Agricultural Service Centre is set up at Bobbarlanka, 20 km from Rajahmundry and near Dowleswaram to commemorate the contributions of Sir Arthur Cotton. Thank you Sir!

Sri Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu is known as “The father of reformations” in A.P. He is a champion of widow remarriages, girl education and social reforms. There are many firsts to his credit. He started a monthly magazine “Vivekavardhini”, a school for girls at Dowlaiswaram in 1874. He established a weekly “Satyavadini” which was published both in English and Telugu. He established “Hitakarini Samaj” in 1906. He was the first novelist in Telugu ;”Rajasekhara Charitra” was the first novel. He bought a revolution in Telugu Literature by simplifying Telugu without using the flowery embellishments that graced the language through Sanskrit influence. He is a great man who has dedicated his pen, intellect, money, work and worth for social service.

Many schools and colleges were started by the Hitakarini Samaj. Well, the expansion of ‘SKVT High School’, the school that I studied in stands for ‘Sri Kandukuri Veeresalingam Theistic English Medium High Schoool’. If you stop wondering about whats me with long names, I had a great time at that school with some fabulous schoolmates and teachers! I can’t think of any college that wasn’t supported by his ideals or deeds in some way. Well, if you ask me the current scenario, the educational climate is slowly getting commercialized now, with the advent of Srichaitanya, Nalanda, Narayana, Bhasyam schools and colleges.

Being at the banks of the Godavari River, which has a lot of religious significance and the Sir Cotton Bridge, which gave a boost to the agriculture made Rajahmundry the way it is. Since history, a lot of Brahmins settled in Rajahmundry making it the centre for Arts and Culture. Even today there are separate areas designated for Brahmins in the City, though the City is an amalgamation of various sects, castes and beliefs. The City hence is a cradle for education, textiles and agriculture. The attitude of people is slow paced and life rolls on simply. I love the simplicity and the down to earth nature of the people here. I feel home!

All this and more is what makes my little town special to me. Guess all this is summed up in this lovely song from Andhra Kesari. I get a reverent feeling whenever I hear it..

“Vedam la ghoshinche godavari
Amaradhamam la sobhille rajamahendri
Satabdala charita gala sundara nagaram
Gataveibhava deeptulato kammani kaavyam

Raja raja narendrudu kakatiyulu
Tejamunna meti doralu reddi rajulu
Gajapatulu narapatulu elina ooru
Akadhalanni ninadinche Gauthami Horu

Adi kavita Nannaya rasenicchata
Srinadha kavi nivasam pedda mucchata
Kavisarvabhoumalakidi alavalamu
Nava kavitalu vikasinche nandanavanamu

Dittamaina silpala devalalu
Kattukadhala chitrangi kanakamedalu
Kottukoni poye konni kotilingalu
Viresalingamokadu migilenu chalu”

Didn’t realize that this would end up as such a huge post when I am not even half done! Let me wrap up here as my love this little place can make me fill this space with ease.

A Special Visit By A Little Friend!

5 06 2007

Yesterday, we had a special visitor at our home. I was all pious and am reading a hindu religious tome called Gurucharitra (Courtesy: Mom) and then there she is, gracing my bed corner and sitting royally on my pillow. I went hesitantly by her side and she breezily jumped on to my fingers. Such a tender little young sparrow… I loved the feel of her on my hand!

I called out for my sister to shut all the fans off in the house. She rushed by my side with a name ready for my little friend. She called her Bittu over the name of her lost friend and bought Kaju Barfi and a bowl of water to greet her. Me and my sister were really fussing over this little visitor and my mom rushed in with loads of warm advice.

‘Let her go, her family would find her’

‘Place her in front of mirror so that she would preen’

‘Hunt for her parents, they must be searching for her’ and so on..

I felt a lot of swirling emotions inside me. I know that its a cruel thing to hold her and that it may damage her plumage. I let her go and then I realized that she is a proper kiddo and cant fly more than a short distance. I was concerned and scared for her. Well, that particular childhood memory of a little sparrow getting hurt due to a fan while flying didn’t comfort me either. I scooped her on my palm and went out to take a walk around the home. Hey, her parents are waiting for her on the big fat tree thats in front of my home. Bittu flew to her parents side and the whole family is squeaking again! Capturing that tender moment, me and my sis ran inside and gave a real bear hug to Mamma.

Finally everybody is home to their loved ones! 🙂

Revisiting Childhood!

14 05 2007

My entire weekend can be termed under one phrase: “Sheer Bliss”! I spent the best part of my weekend at Kuppa Metta Kandriga, which is located at the Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu border, almost 14 kilometers away from a small village called Nagari. This trip is a impromptu one, and I went in as a willing companion to my mother who wanted to visit her childhood friends and relatives located over there.

We caught a bus (#201) at CMBT in Chennai to go to Nagari which is some 2 hours journey and then boarded an auto arranged by my uncle to go to his Farm House. Thankfully, there is a decent cement road laid to connect those remote areas.. My childhood impressions prepared me for horse carts and I am delighted to trade it for an Auto rickshaw. I still remember those insensitive days when the cart driver used pepper powder on the eyes of the horse to make it carry heavy load in 1990s. 😦 Already, there is nostalgia setting in my mind and I longed for an escape into the simplistic life of the villages!

Well, how to you feel if you land up in an isolated place where you see greenery everywhere and there isn’t a single man made concrete building around for miles? I got more than I bargained for. I got joy, contentment, elation, solitude and peace! This farmhouse is set in sugarcane plantations and is filled with sunlight, fresh air and space. Their house is surrounded by lavish opulence of dangling beauties like jasmines, cosmos, frangipanis, periwinkles and firecrackers (kanakambaram) basking in glorious sunshine only to be competed by those Mango, Coconut, Guava and Pomegranate trees offering ripe temptations.. I had innocent elation at discovering the livestock. There were cattle, and pet dogs. I had a dewy-eyed pleasure in feeding cattle, taking calves for walk, and playing with dogs.

The beauty of the place is enhanced by the sounds of silence: rustling of the trees, buzzing of the leaves, soft cooing of the birds and the faint tinging of the bells. I wandered like a spoilt child, discovering delight everywhere, uncared for the hot sun.. I just loved those ornate cement floors, archaic concrete bath tubs, that gushing pump set by the old well, and that black and white television at their home.. I loved the night even more. Ensconced in natural air conditioning, admiring the star-lit skies and the shimmering glow worms, all I could think of is ‘Contentment’. It kind of transported me back into childhood and I was fourteen again!

Somewhere They Can’t Find Me!

3 05 2007

Can one ever find a place where one’s inner fears, pain and troubles can’t find them? Wish I don’t have to face them with all my armor donned on. Wish I can duck my head like an Ostrich in the sand at the sight of them and pretend am happy! Yet, in the end, as always, a shirker’s attitude never helps! Probably my shelter is good verse. I derive strength from good books, poems and soothing music in those insane moments where I feel I am being pushed to the limit.. Take time out, switch off from world, enjoy some solitude and face the world like a glorious sunshine! Nothing lasts forever, not even troubles!

“So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell,
Blue skys from pain.
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

And did they get you to trade
Your heros for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange
A walk on part in the war
For a lead role in a cage?

How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We’re just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl,
Year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears.
Wish you were here.”
-Wish You Were Here By Gilmour Waters, Pink Floyd

Raising A Toast!

10 04 2007

Yesterday, I spent hours on phone, taking a trip down the memory line, recounting those inane moments, simple joys, reflections and contemplations, purposeless guilt trips and silly hobbies. I really learn a think or two when I am engrossed in an enriched conversation. Its when you bring in thoughts together and let it examined from an another perspective that you learn to appreciate the differences. Its at those times that I learn a bit about myself too.

What a breather it was! To have a simple purposeless conversation, to have someone to walk by your side, to have an enriching companionship, enjoying the sheer lack of expectations! I wanted to raise a toast for all those special and beautiful moments of life.. which make me feel alive, complete, loved and true..

An Ode To those moments of comfortable silence, of slow dancing in the rain, wild journeys in the woods, watching sunset with friends, catching the laughter of the loved ones, falling asleep with soothing music, being comfortably numb, beauty of nature’s carpet, of moments of predictable rhythm, of whacky adventures and warmth of loved ones..

I sign off as someone’s quote ringing in my head echoing that, The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched … but are felt in the heart!

In Search of a Soulmate..

19 02 2006

Did you ever feel that you were missing someone you have never met? Richard gets this right, when he writes this in “The Bridge Across Forever”. This is the book which I love for putting a complex emotion like love in elegant and beautiful manner. Another one which I loved is “Love Story” by Erich Segal.

There is a need for someone in life, who can stand by you through thick and thin. It’s just not the despair that you can’t brave this world alone. It’s a nagging feeling of being incomplete, a desire to be unconditionally loved, and longingness for completion and compatibility. Big words and I wonder if they can ever be true.

Do you believe that a Mr. or Miss Perfect exists for you? I do. For me, life is a journey of adventures, a path of struggles, a valley of joys, small pleasures and little achievements, of failures and learnings, of longing and emptiness, of triumphs and patience: all packed in a mission to discover LOVE and a desire to reinvent oneself in a growing feeling of warmth and affection of the loved ones.

What do I expect from my Mr. Right? A person who respects my independence and freedom of thought and action, who never tries to lead my life as his own, and is sensitive and sensible to my character. Seems like a tall order, isn’t it? But who knows, I might even get lucky! The only thing that shatters dreams is a compromise; hence, I will close my eyes and resign myself to sleep.

My trip to Hyderabad

30 01 2006

Albeit short, this trip to Hyderabad was a delightful one. I spent a day there watching a fabulous Telugu movie called Style. This movie is based on a bunch of guys who were dedicated to Freestyle dance. A couple a good songs, sensible performance by Lawrence and a great deal of fabulous dance made it quite an enjoyable show. I chanced to have a glance at the new IMAX and the Prasad multiplex and took a long drive to the Necklace road. All these brought back the memories of the nostalgic university life back. I went to my old Osmania Ladies Hostel, catching up with the old times. Nothing has changed much, apart from the colour of the walls. (Got a recent white wash!). The same old Bawarchi restaurant and the same RTC X roads flanked by theatres on either sides, at times it’s nice to live the old times again, though for a short time. Nothing changes much apart from the soul within!

My Convocation!

27 01 2006

I went to Pune on this 21st of Jan. 22nd Jan was our batch convocation at IMDR. The moment Chennai Express reached Pune, every grueling moments of the 23 hour journey was forgotten and I was giggling like an idiot! I never know that I was suffering from such heavy dose of nostalgia! The train journey was quiet enjoyable, thanks to my batch mate who gave me a good company. I went to my old flat at Mini Apartments on Bhandarkar Road. Everything seemed so normal…

I met an old friend there. He became sick without proper food and a lot of tension in life. Well, he is working in sales in the financial sector and guess there lies the reason for his unbalanced life. Financial sector frightens me with a strenuous work life. I just wonder about those poor souls who are facing the heat! I spent the evening with another friend over dinner catching up with the old times. Nothing changed infact!

On Sunday Morning, I had a great time running to the railway station for booking my return tickets.. That was quiet a long walk which rejuvenated my old memories. Infact, I went for walking for about 4 km a day throughout my stay in Pune.  I went for the convocation dressed in the Maroon Sari, a tradition of IMDR. I was feeling curiously strange as the convocation discussion was a little off the track. Surprisingly, I was a little tensed! Ultimately I was called on the podium as I stood first in Lady Students of our batch. I won a cash prize called “Late Shri. S.G.Barve free studentship.” Well, I felt strange that they decided to have a prize for a ladies topper and that ended up to be me of all probabilities! I was happy that the most creative award of the batch went to Reema Sahay. Who else? I can never forget the beauty and simplicity of her poems.

After the convocation, I had a grand lunch with my Mentee. There is a thing called Mentorship in IMDR where one senior takes the charge of one junior in the process of begadofying and guiding. That’s quite a fruitful relationship as it creates the pegs and relationships across the batches. After that hearty lunch, I went to my relatives place. I love their daughter, who is just 6 years old. She is too sweet and pleasant. Infact, I extended my trip in order to spend decent time with her.

My Observations

One thing that echoed common among a lot of my batch mates is disillusionment, as their expectations are no match to the kind of profiles in which they all ended up. I could sense the dilemma and the turmoil. Life has become a struggle in work life with the emerging challenges. The desire to keep the dreams alive is dwindling and life is rolling in pursuit of mundane tasks. Sad, yet true. I felt little lonely in the campus, guess that’s because of the lack of the comfort factor. A lot of things changed, isn’t it? That’s all about my convocation..

Flow of life..

22 11 2005

I have this feeling that it been ages since I wrote something nice. I seriously don’t know what to post and I consider it serious! Life has become so simple and predictable out here that there is monotony creeping in. Its been almost four months since I came to Chennai and I already feel as if I have settled down. I guess I got adjusted in the office life as well. Everything looks so comfortable, isn’t it? Still I can’t explain this strange feeling of intellectual amnesia. When I was in IMDR, we used to discuss about dream jobs. An article written by my senior denying the existence of a myth called “dream job” caught my attention. I wondered about it then. I got placed in my dream company and when I look back now to those days, I know how true it is. A dream can never be a job, atleast for me. And, when there is a purpose or an aspiration chasing you, it would never be a job.

I remember reading a book titled “elephants and flees”. The author compares the huge and heavily manned organizations as Elephants. How true! Working for a multinational manning around 50 thousand personnel is indeed complex, especially in a mammoth IT company where the hierarchies are not defined properly. Guess the charm has worn out! Life has become too comfortable even to crib, and rhythm it has achieved is not particularly to my liking. Need more action and variety!!

A few days back, I registered myself on my college website and was surprised to receive a reply back. The desire to see the outside was high during those college days and now, I long for that cocoon type comfort again!

Chennai IMDR Alumni Meet..

30 09 2005

Yesterday we had an IMDRite get together at Dhaba Express in Cenotoph Road of Chennai. Thanks to Juniors and thanks to Placement preparations, I could see a lot of IMDRites. It was a small gathering of around 15 people. There were a few who were about 5 to 10 years seniors to us. I really liked their commitment to come after this many years.

The gathering brought back quite a lot of memories.. Sitting under the Bodhi tree, fighting for the computers, gossiping with friends, arguments with Doc, the serene quadrangle and the feeling of Bhupi’s presence. Every moment seems the Best. I am pretty impressed by the feeling of unity among the alumni. Really, its very important to have a sense of identity and IMDR has a unique culture of itself. IMDR makes one simple and down to earth. It made me more introspective and observant. Down the memory lane, I know that IMDR has made a big impact in my life.

For a moment, I wished to be at IMDR.. To silently walk around the campus, to see Bhupi from far (I am a little hesitant to talk to him,as always), to sit on the stairs and to listen to the humming of the birds. It really made me nostalgic. I know its not possible, yet, its great to have good memories, longings and a sense of belongingness. When I was at IMDR, I never thought of the feeling of being an alumni. The corporate life is quite a shift from the sensitive culture of IMDR. Yet, I need to come out of the shadow someday.. To realize myself and to be myself.

Why Robert Frost comes to mind always? May be his poem is very exquisite. It sums up my feelings..

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

The Initial Leisure Period…

9 07 2005

I am currently in Trivandrum undergoing the Initial Learning Programme (ILP) for the TCS employees. The training is for 32 days and Kerala is a lovely place to stay for that duration. The state of art training facilities they have at TCS are just fabulous. I am especially enjoying the life skills and Foreign Language classes. Ich lerne Deutsch these days! At times,It feels as if I am back to school and I have all the time to learn. I am enjoying the leisure and the serene surroundings. The backwaters of Kerala, the pristine surroundings, the beaches and the weather are so pleasant, they fill one with beauty and love. On the flip side, the city is too quiet and it closes by 9. So much of change from Pune where there is good deal of freedom. Still, I kind of enjoy my stay and the Initial Leisure Period here.

A Farewell to our Director..

12 03 2005

we gave farewell to our Director of IMDR, Mr. A.P.Bhupatkar on the Saturday evening. Our Director is a magnificient personality whose association with IMDR It left me a little bit heavy. Though my interactions with him are few, his presence in the institute is imposing enough. He generates a feeling that he is always there for you. His simplicity, his stress on relationships, the way he carries himself often leaves me in awe. Everyone will truly miss him in the little corner of the IMDR Director room from where he used to guide us with his ideology and beliefs.

Convocation and the Party at IMDR..

28 02 2005

Well, it’s convocation time at IMDR and its was lovely to see all my seniors back. We had Mushaira and a rock band on Saturday and the convocation on Sunday. On the Saturday evening, the Mushaira was good but I felt that it lacked the spice and verve it had last year.

Mushaira was followed by a rock band called Strange Brew. I felt positively weird listening to the music. I felt that it was too loud. Well the fact that Doc (As we lovingly call our faculty) was screaming at the top of his voice didn’t help me much!

We had Mr. Forbes on Sunday speaking about listening to Inner Voice. It was lovely watching all seniors dressed in formals doing the prayer, pledge and receiving certificates. Young professionals indeed! Though its the second convocation which I attended at IMDR, it seems similar yet different every time. Guess it touches inner chords!

Silence in Chaos…

23 02 2005

Yes, That’s the current state of mine. It seems as if I am standing in a chaos and don’t understand what’s happening around me. Life is rolling in a slow pace at IMDR, and with two more months to bid farewell, suddenly I find myself doing nothing productive. Yes I am reading a lot of books to kill the leisure but I am absolutely doing nothing which puts my creative skills to work. Just trying to enjoy leisure.. This weekend is supposed to be full of verve as its convocation time at IMDR, but somehow I fail to identify myself with it. May be I am getting effected by the inactivity bug! It seems as if I am surrounded by deadening silence and no where to go! People say Silence speaks, but for me, at times, it haunts!