Monday, December 28, 2009

Random thoughts

There is a an urge to write something.. anything, that would display my state of mind. But how would one write down a confused state of mind, where everything is so unsure. The book I just put down was inspiring enough - The Lucky One another one of Nicholas Sparks. It was good, but it wasn't the kind of romance that suits me or leaves me with a fell-good-feeling when I close the book. Nights in Rodanthe by the same author didn't deprive me of the feeling.

Why is it that people write? Because they are good at writing or they got good grades in the English courses during their academic years? No, its much deeper than that, its the need to vent out once feelings, emotions and everything beyond. I figure that authors are imaginative people. This maybe a commonly known fact. But imagination leads to writing, there is no doubt. You imagine yourself in a situation and further imagine your actions and the actions of people around you.

I just finished writing my fourth short story - Illusions of a dream. When I put the last full stop, I felt like all the words had been flushed out of my mind. I felt completely deviod of words, ideas, thoughts, imagination. But still there is an urge to write. Wonder when, wonder what... The main character of my next story will be Rishabh Acharya.

The movie I watched two days ago, has ushered in a new wave of energy - 3 idiots. The song "Saari umr hum mar mar ke jee liye, ek pal tho ab humen jeene do. Give me some sunshine, give me some rain, give me another chance, I wanna grow up once again", is so much like my poem "Yesterday or tomorrow". Just celebrated Christmas with friends and family. Everyone exchanged gifts, wish we could do it all over again.
Again, there is an urge to write something, this time it about a person who has said very little, and I would like to grow up once again to hear all those unspoken words.

A handful of sky

Looking up, staring at the sky spread across
Wishing that it would open up
And a cluster of wishes falls down upon me
I am gazing at the blue blanket
Imagining a making of concrete above me
Where my fingers touch every brick and cement
Where every wall speaks volumes of my dreams
I continue looking at the sky
Wishing it would open up
I could spread my arms and collect in their fold
Every cent that would rain down upon me
All these cents would form one brick in my dream
I am looking up at the sky
Longing for the warmth of the walls,
The hue of the paint that would adorn them,
The place I can call 'home',
And would give me a feeling of 'mine'
I look up at the sky
A drop of water touches my face
The sky opens up
It drenches me, my dreams and my hopes.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


There are noises all around 
Ice Age playing on the TV
The noise of one kid playing with his aunt
The noise of a cartoon upstairs
Someone else is speaking on the phone in some corner
The water is trickling from the freezing from the tap beyond
The rain lashing at the windows adding to the cacophony
That was yesterday..
Its a new day, but the noises are still there
A kid throwing darts in the air
Another humming some sacred tune
Someone clearing their throat... 
Outside the white flakes are swaying in the light breeze
On their descent downward
The whiteness is echoing its sound of purity
Amidst all this noise, 
I hear the silence, like you
I hear the unspoken words, like you
The million expressions so near, yet so far
Those sounds echo in my ears, like yours
Amidst all this noise we hear the voices..
Voices of smiles, voices of happiness, 
Voices of togetherness, voices of love.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

White sheath.

I drive through the crystal clear roads,
Every inch beside the road is white
Nature has placed its white blanket on its every making
The roof of the church is blessed in white
Like a divine touch from the heavens above
The little branches of the barren trees
Giving shelter to the showers from above
A heap of the flurries outside my doorstep
I place my feet and they go deep inside
The lake which played with waves yesterday
Are a frozen sheath of water today
So soft and still, yet so scary
The postcard of nature fills the eye
Its white sheath whispers its awe.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The candy machine...

"Amma, I don't need an afterschool care snack today", said my five year old boy.
Concerned, I ask "Why, won't you be hungry".
"Yeah Amma, can I get something from the candy machine?" came the candid reply. His face pleading to me.
"Tomorrow, is your Christmas party, I will get you something from the candy machine, when I come tomorrow".
"Ok, Amma. I want the green packet of Skittles, which has the sprinkles on it". was his instant reply.

My son, goes to after school care in his school premises, after 3.10pm, when his school is dismissed. I should thank him with all my heart, for being so understanding and willing to stay in school for another three hours, while I attend to conference calls and emails. Anyways, all the kids who make this sacrifice for their parents, are assembled in a huge room called the Colonial Room, under the supervision of a teacher. This room has cupboards for games, benches for the kids to sit and the famous "Candy Machine".

From the eyes of my five year old, its a machine, where you put money and press some numbers and the candy is out, ready to be picked up and savored. Yes, a vending machine with chocolates. The first time I saw a vending machine was when I arrived in the US of A, six years ago.

Each day these kids, [I am guessing here], go to the candy machine and point out to their favourite and because they are still learning to read, probably guess the name of the candy and imaginatively savor the taste.

One day, one of my son's friends [a girl] brought some bills from home, and left no stone unturned in showing off her tryst with the candy machine. The boys stood around her and were awed by her slick expertise in handling the seven feet machine. She opened her bag of candy and distributed gladly, to the girls only. Thus started a revolt by the boys against her. She was banned!
That evening I heard repeatedly "Amma, we don't like her, she is so mean, she didn't give us candy, she is so rude, we boys don't like the girls...." and so on.
He also said, "Amma, my friend Wilson was so sad, that he didn't get a candy. Can you give me some money so that I can buy candy and give it to him?" I was touched by his thoughtfulness.

He narrated the same story to my husband. My husband asked him "If I give you money, and you buy the candy, would you share with the girl?". "No!!" came the instant reply. "She did not share it with the boys, so I will not share with the girls." Fair enough. My husband told him, "Do you think if you share the candy with her, the next time she will share with you?" My son, thought for a while and said "I think you are right Appa".

The next day, when I went to pick up my son in the evening, we slipped a dollar bill into the magic machine. It went in, we pushed a couple of numbers and out came the candy packet. My son opened it and shared it with everyone, boys and girls and the she-did-not-share girl. Wilson got a huge share. The did-not-share-girl got the point, my son looked at me and winked.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Holiday season..

Another holiday approaches, with its earnest need to rejuvenate everyone. To give people the time to bask in the beauty of nature; travel to yonder lands. What is it about travel that fascinates people? Is it the visual pleasure of seeing the unseen, or is it the personal satisfaction that Yes! I made this trip. It definitely cannot be the packing and unpacking, wonder if there is anybody in this world who loves to pack and unpack. For some, it could be the journey to the destination, with familiar people whose tastes and perceptions match at least to a certain extent. There is definitely something that fascinates about traveling to everyone who travels; otherwise the travel industry wouldn't be an industry. Oh I missed the planning part. Laying out what to do, when, where and accomplishing those milestones could also be one's trigger for travel. Most people prefer traveling to known destinations with unknown plans. Just take off and be what you want to be, do what you want to do, oblivious to all the knowns of the equation. Thrill!! Adventure!! Mysterious!! Travel definitely unfolds a rejuvenated mind bringing you back to where you left to pick up the burdens you let down momentarily.
Another holiday season approaches, lest there are no plans to unknown destinations, familiar faces now seek the wild on their own, probably common perceptions have fallen off the cliff on one of the earlier journeys. Wishing them well and hoping that their journey brings them joy is all that there is left to do. Loneliness is solitude's greatest blessing and curse. Sitting by the window, looking out at the gloomy sky, slowly snow begins to engulf the land in its white blanket.. And another holiday season passes by!

Friday, November 20, 2009


Because William Wordsworth said - Poetry is a spontaneous overflow of feelings; it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility. 

her arms are open 
an empty a vessel in the ocean 
without a drop of water 
the warmth she one felt 
is giving away to the dreadful cold 
the cold is hitting her inch by inch 
she longs like a baby 
longing for his mother's touch 
for the warmth that once engulfed her 
the hold that told her 
that everything was fine 
the world was as it should be 
she is protected forever 
from the harms of the wild 
no tear could touch her or harsh words 
she is at a loss of words, 
of feelings, of thought 
a numbness casts its evil shadow 
in its realm she stands still 
longing for the warmth that once engulfed her 
longing for the affection that once surrounded her 
she waits.. 
moments, days, weeks, months, years.. 
counting droplets of water in the wide seas 
is there an end, 
will the water ever drain out 
she waits for the warmth, 
the look that everything was okay 
she looks at the horizon, 
and sees no end 
life seeming to be an endless tunnel 
where she travels inch by inch, 
the cold wind hitting her 
in solitude, in pain, in silence, in tears 
and waits.. 
moments, days, weeks, months, years..

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Reflections of a mind..

The night sky opens up one by one 
The stars in her womb 
One by one she bares them all, her inner dark secrets 
As the hidden truths emerge from the abysmal land 
Insane people draw out shapes and give it names 
They call her the Orion, the hunter and all funny names 
They don’t see that its her secret 
That maybe fell out in error 
Shooting stars are another enigma 
Stars fall, like everything that rises falls 
Dumb people close their eyes and wish upon the star 
What relation between something that’s falling and a hope 
On happy days, she wears a blanket of clouds, 
Hides all her stars in her blanket, for her alone to savor 
Making the world beneath her gloom 
For their lack of understanding, 
Of mankind and her 
On sad days, she bares open, all her children 
Children gaze at the twinkling sky 
Sing rhymes, wish upon falling stars 
Again for their lack of understanding 
Of mankind and her 
I look upon the yonder skies 
I see stars and clouds, which cannot be true 
Confusion at its all time best 
Painting a reflection of my mind…


I feel more inclined towards the emotional side of me this morning. I try to think and relive the moments from yesterday that have brought me drove me to this side of my feelings. It began with my trip to ToysRUs yesterday afternoon. I was walking through the Dolls aisle to buy one for my niece. As soon as I spotted a Barbie doll, the decision was made. But there were so many Barbie dolls, which left me in my otherwise usual state of mind - confused! The bikini Barbie was too revealing for my six year old niece. The one with pink hair, might invite some wild ideas in her little head. Then there was one with some decent clothes, but hair was too short. The thrill of playing with a Barbie doll is changing her clothes and combing her hair. The Barbie with short hair, would kill the fun in half. Finally I decided on a singer Barbie, a microphone in one hand, a bag in the other and of course long hair and a comb. I also picked up two extra dresses for Barbie, priced at a few cents over two dollars. On my way back home, I traveled back eighteen years, when I was in the seventh grade. I narrated to myself, my rendevous with my first and only Barbie.
It was a weekend, and after persisting for long, my usually-not-so-social father took us to his friend's place. Uncle had one son and two daughters. While my parents chit chatted with uncle and aunty, my brother and I were left to play with the girls. The older girl asked her mother if she could play with her Barbie doll. The first time I heard the name. She brought out this most-beautiful-doll-I-have-ever-seen dressed in a plain white frock, with pink ribbons and white lace. She had the most beautiful hair tied up in another pice of pink ribbon. The doll had a coffee table set, with a pristine tea set and tiny cushions for the sofa and chairs. The sofa and chairs were in white and cushions were blue on one side and pink polka dots on the other. There was also a bathroom set, with a bathtub, hand shower, bubble bath and towel. Barbie also had a couple of dresses to change. My friend, she was my friend now, because she was sharing her Barbie with me, well, so my friend decided to give Barbie a bath. She slipped the Barbie in the bath tub, poured some water and whisked up some bubbles. Before Barbie could finish her bath and dry up, a call come from the adjacent room. It was my father, yeah you guessed it right, it was time to go home. With mixed emotions, and last look at Barbie in the bath tub, I bade goodbye to my friend.
I dont think I waited till I got home to raise my request for a Barbie. Way back then, a Barbie doll cost a hundred rupees. Way too much to spend on a doll. My mother could have bought a week's grocery with that much money. After consistent Pleases' and repeated asking, my parents agreed to buy me a Barbie. We walked up to the closest toy store on Double Road and went to the Dolls section. There she stood on the shelf, looking perfect in her white frock, with pink ribbons and white lace, waiting to be mine. She was called "My first Barbie". I had liked her so much, I didnt want to take a look at the other models. Now was the crucial point. I couldnt have the living room and the bath tub set. It would be too heavy on my parents pocket. I had to choose either of them. I chose the living room set and thought, may be they will buy me the bathroom set later. The change of clothes turned out to be very expensive, so I stitched up a few dresses for Barbie, with old clothes at home. Probably that's when I learnt to sew. As the rule in the book says, I grew up and forgot all about the bathroom set and eventually the Barbie doll.
When I got back home yesterday and showed the Barbie doll to my mother, it brought an instant smile on her face. I know, the image of my first Barbie in her white frock just flashed through her mind.
Later in the evening, I watched a romantic Bollywood movie. Such movies, push me easily to the emotional side. I get carried away with the subtle love potrayed and thoroughly enjoy the two hours of imagination that plays on the screen. Just when the actors were going to get married, my wailing son, forced me to shut off the idiot box and rock him to sleep. Alas, more emotions in store this evening.
This morning, my son came and stood beside me and said 'Mom, I love you'. I asked him 'do you need a hug?'. He nodded. I held him for a long time. He asked me to close my eyes, and kissed me on my forehead. Wrapping my arms around my kids and feeling the tightness of their hug, leaves my emotions skyrocketing.
Last but not the least, the hug and kiss I gave my husband's mother this morning, brought a lump to my throat. At seventy she is making a trip alone back to India today to be with her grand daughter. After a few weeks she is going to make another twnety hour journey on a flight to be with her grandsons. I hope I can stand up and walk, if I ever live to match her age.
All the emotions flooding my brain, forced me to make these keystrokes. Oops! A microsoft outlook reminder window just popped up. Time to put down my emotions cap and wear my other go-back-to-work one!!

The birth of a story..

A story is an imagination. The author first imagines a few characters, their circumstances, situations, surroundings. Then he paints a picture of the characters surroundings. He establishes relationships between these characters. But the gist of the imagination is one essential question - what if "THIS" happened in these character's life's? Then what would happen next and next and so on. A chain of events is built, and the story starts developing. After a certain period of time, the author thinks, well thats enough. Either he's too tired, or genuinely thinks its time to end the story. He builds the climax in his mind. After jotting down the last few words, he puts a full stop. There ends the story. There ends the imagination, until he is inspired again to imagine.
Many a times we think, if our life could follow the path of a story. An imagination. But wishes are wishes. Life has its own plan. The only invisible thing on earth - the plan of life. Everything else doesnt exist. You never know where the turns are, stop signs are, which way, nothing. A journey to an unknown destination, via an unknown path, is life, very real, very known.
Thought provokers have said, enjoy what you have, glad with what you have, find happiness in them. But what if you cannot? What if you yearn for the imaginary things? Thats when you become an author or lose out on the opportunity called 'life'.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

And she waits..

She sits on this dark night
The freckles on her forehead getting deeper and deeper
Her eyes sleepy but open
Afraid that if she closes them,
She will lose sight forever
Silence marks its presence all around
The buzz of insects is also absent
The night casts its spell on her sleep
The darkness casts a spell on life
Everything is still and will not move
Until they feel the touch of her hands
Will they move, when she is gone
Will everything be the same, when she is gone
But where is she going, there are no ways
Only doors and doors all around, all of them closed
They dont open, she dont have the keys,
Nobody around to open it
The silence is deafening
Voices from the past speak to her
She sees the images, but only silence reaches her
And she waits.. and waits.. and waits..

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lets dance!

What is it to dance.. to whirl away like the wind.. to shakedown all the troubles.. and to feel happy from within. Leaving all your aches and pains behind, letting down your hair and moving yourself to the rhythm and magic of music. The loudness of the music, shuts your ears to every conversation, so that you hear only the ripples of the beats. The darkness of the room, shuts your eyes to the reality of life, so that for a while you may close your eyes to the world beyond. All you hear is the laughter from friends, sharing the simple pleasures of life, like you. All you see is your friends moving to the rhythm, having a good time.
Music is made for every emotion, thanks to all the music composers. You have a song for every mood, every situation and every moment in life. Music is so much a part of life.
The numbers played last night, were not anyone's favourite dance numbers, but the carefree friends around didn't mind what played, as long as we were dancing and having the time of our life.
Prior to the dance, there was a magician enthralling us with his tricks. But sadly, only the kids gave him an audience, while the adults were busy satisfying their appetite. The magician expressed his sadness that he lost the crowd and was lost among the kids. Its probably the Indian culture to be engrossed in their own little thing and really not bother about the person on stage. His tricks were good, alas, nobody paid attention. I hope we paid him well.
Then there was this person serving us. He must have been in his seventies or eighties and extremely skinny. He laid down our desserts carelessly, poured wine that dripped all around, overfilled our glasses, spilled leftovers on the table. Anyone would forgive him easily and not bother about his errors on his job, owing to the fact that he was doing that job at his age. How many of us would be working at his age? Actually, how many of us would live to his age? Nobody knows what lays ahead, so while you are here, enjoy the music, let your hair down, and dance !! [At least, once in a while !!]

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What is he thinking ?

I have always wondered ‘what is going through my son’s head right now?’ ‘What is he thinking?’ Do his thoughts revolve around the cartoon characters he watches day and night? Is he thinking ‘will Diego be able to save Dora?’ or maybe ‘wish I could go to the snowfort and rescue the prince with the Backyardigans’. What are his thoughts? Then comes his wishes, what is he wishing for? Candy, bubble bath, outing in the park, meet Mickey? Sometimes he expresses his wishes – Amma, can I have a hot dog? Amma, can you and Appa come to pick me up at school? Amma, can you get me the Backyardigans CD from the Library? There are so many wishes that he expresses vocally, but I wonder how many go unexpressed. The other day, I was putting my elder son to sleep, I was in a hurry to dash to the fitness center, so I told him ‘come on, close your eyes and go to sleep, quickly’, he asked me ‘why do you want to go and run?’ His questions amaze me, his absolute favourite being ‘WHY?’ Every sentence of mine, is followed by his WHY? Sometimes I do get perplexed with the answers I have to give or make up for every ‘why?’

Another day, I took both my sons to buy a pair of shoes for my elder son. Both of them got into a for-no-reason push-pull episode, and I left the store with them, as I wanted them to understand, that their behavior was totally unacceptable. On my way to the car, I told my younger one – ‘we are going back home, because you were a messy boy and did messy things’. Prompt came his question ‘messssy booooy – meeeee?’ and placed his little hand over his chest. It took me some strength to keep a straight face.

Instances like these makes me curious about their thoughts. One moment they are at war, and the next instant when I go to inquire, they are hugging each other saying ‘I love you’. And I am left to wonder, did I hear the sirens of a battle? They are gazing at the TV set and cartoons for hours. A few times and they know all the dialogues. I am continually amazed at their ability to grasp things around them. My younger one, now knows, that if someone gets hurt, they go to the doctor, doctor gives medicine and asks to be careful. He asks with curious eyes, ‘Amma, did doctor say careful?’ Be it their extreme expressions of love in good night words and ‘I lub you too’ or their sleepy weary ‘gud morning’s they never fail to leave me without a boost of energy, the urge to go on and be there for them.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Nature's magic wand...

To two beautiful boys, for giving me this most beautiful and magical gift of nature..

He kicks me with his tiny legs
Or I wonder if its his hands
He moves around oh so often
Creating turmoils inside my belly
I see him on a screen
They point out his face
Look his eyes, this is hair,
See the nose, see the legs
All I see are the bumps on my belly
Rising and falling in rapid succession
I point here and I point there
And soon he's gone back to his deep sleep
I wait and I wait.. to see his tiny arms
They tell me, today, tomorrow, next week
Anxiousness and curiosity get the best of me
I wait and I wait.. till I feel the first anguish of pain
The pains come, the pains go
I walk, I lie, I shower but still I wait
Minutes pass, hours pass, a day passed
I see the head, I hear someone say
They wait like me with anxious breath
Everything a standstill for a moment
The next I hear, 'Here he is, he's so cute'

I hear the wail, to finally see him
the most beautiful thing,
the most magical being
I hold the bundle in my arms
I plant a kiss on the forehead
He slowly opens his eyes
Looks intently at my face,
As if he knew me all along
But this is so new to me
This miracle of nature, finally in my arms!!

Doors to eternity...

This is an attempt to pen down thoughts from the heart of an old lady, waiting for the doors to eternity to open and take her in her arms. Death, so definite yet so unsure... 
Freckles on my forhead, indicate a thought 
When I try to pen them down, am I at a loss of words? 
I want to put down some words 
Alas! Writing is creating a mirage. 
Is it the bout of medicine inside me 
Or is it the last hours of the this enigma 
My hair keeps falling now and then 
I visit the doctor now oh! so often 
The doors to eternity wait to be opened 
Someone behind them ready to move 
A few days, a few months, wonder whats remaining 
In this balance sheet of life 
I await with deathly silence 
To be welcomed unto His world 
This moment of indecisiveness 
Oh so tempting, Oh so scary! 
Will I write all my thoughts 
Before the final moment comes 
Ah! this medicine makes we weak 
Ah! this medicine kills my thought...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The elements

She goes down in distant skies, giving the sky a color of gold
The water beneath the sun glows in her glory
Reflecting the colours she so vibrantly displays
Water captures her every hue and feeling
Like a mirror oh! so perfect.
The water so serene, seems still like the earth
Yet its moving inside her, leaving ripples on her way
She cools the wind that blows on my face
Giving me a chill down my spine
The air blows so gently, taking away my heat with her
Still she never fails to make me cold.
The ball of fire burns, but I dont feel the heat,
The Earth is taking shelter and retiring for the day
The elements captured in my senses
Gives me the joy of an evening well spent.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fill em up!!

We saw a shimmering light in the sky, as we kept looking, we saw the light grow, we kept looking. It was an odd shape in the sky, was this a new planet or were we hallucinating? Was the red wine we were gulping down our throats, creating images in our mind? But how could all of us imagine the same thing with the exact shape and dimensions? No this was something in the sky. We gazed, and gazed, until finally, we saw the full shape of the object in the sky, a crescent and blurred white.. yes.. it was the moon The clouds were probably playing a game of hide and seek with her. Me thinks, they were playing a game with us, our minds all light headed.
How many rounds of filling-up-glasses did we do? I vaguely remember. They never filled our glasses full, rather our glasses were half empty. Whichever way you see it, my mind was light, so was my heart. For a few hours, I had put down everything, as if I had shed days of thoughts, decisions, facts and figures. The only conversation I was thinking about was what the others and I was saying. And all the conversations were filled with fun and laughter. Few words and lots of laughter. Some sounded like wet wood chips crackling in the fire, some were like an engine starting up, yet some sounded like the cries of some animal. Haa haaa!! There was no particular topic we were discussing, nothing in this world really appealed to us, but we were having a conversation. The glasses emptied, filled up, err.. half-filled up again. The chill air, was playing its part in giving us goosebumps. Somebody fetched us coats so we could continue to enjoy the night. Reminds me of a song, I once learnt in my junior years of school "All I want is a room somewhere, Far away from the cold night air..." We were truly living the moment!!
Just then, we saw the shimmering light again.. there she was, playing her game again with the clouds and our minds.. We walked inside to warmth and sleep, so that our minds could rest, to wake up, to face the hurdles of life and reality.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The mystery that is ..

The strength of her droplets hits me on my back. I turn around to face her, her force makes it impossible. My eyes refuse to open, scared that she will take them away with her. I hold on to familar hands, so tight, she tries to gush through us. Many faces all covered in yellow plastic sheets, I don't recognize many of them. If I kept my glasses on, she will blind my sight, if I take them off, I cannot catch a good glimpse of her majesty. She flows by... a thousand drops of water, falling down into the deepest seas, every instant, yet she flows every instant.
Few minutes ago, I was deep there, inside her arms, she engulfed me with her prowess, her arms stretched out. I looked up to see from where she was coming, the mist blinds me this time, hiding her face. I look down, the waves forming one instant and disappearing the next. Tiny whirlpools, telling their own story. They too disappear in the blink of an eye.
She awakens a thought in me, to go with her. To hold her hand and walk with her to silence. There are noises everywhere, of people each one echoing WOW at her beauty. But she silences them all with her drum roll. Amidst this noise, she invites me to make a journey with her, where she will show me the end of the tunnel. However inviting she is, the land holds me back. Her chains around me are locked with the heaviest metal. The key thrown away or probably traveled with her majesty to the deepest seas. Someday in the future I will make the journey, with her, held in her arms to silence. But today, I must go on.. Alas! I walk back, to land, to life..

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I am too tried to write, just back from my trip to Arizona, but writing does that thing to me, clears my mind, like rebooting my system for fresh thoughts. I just arrived at Indianapolis airport, waiting from my brother to arrive. His flight doesn't arrive until 11.23pm local time. When my airplane touched down, I opened my cell phone and the question "Convert to local time zone?" stared at me. Its 11.03pm in Indianapolis, 10.03pm the place I was a few hours ago, having lunch from a chinese gourmet express at Minneapolis airport, yet its only 8.03pm at the place I woke up this morning, Phoenix. I just lost and gained 3 hrs of life. Strange as it may seem, we walk the same planet, we breathe the same air, but we read time differently. I am a little confused if I should be eating dinner, or going to bed, because its so late. How practically, easy it would have been, if we all looked at our clocks, no matter what our demographics were, and could say the time is now 11pm. We could spare our brain of the constant mathematics of adding and subtracting hours and further think, if the person we need to connect to, would be awake or sleeping. But, who am I to question the laws of nature and the rules derived by its people? Instead I continue to bear the weight of these calculations, that I constantly make every hour.
Time has had its own versions of definitions and interpretations. Some people say, time is a healer, some say time waits for none, time is what the clock tells you and so on. I would not be able to capture everything here, but let me tell you what I think of time, or atleast I used to believe. Time is now... this moment... this breath. Live it well, and the way you choose. But, in my journey of life's myriad ways, I have come to learn, that many a times, time is not ours. We are led by people, and time for the most part is theirs, and we tend to follow, without much control over our actions. Then time, is not mine. But at the bottom of my heart, I belive in 'sieze the moment', if its gone, it gone forever, never to return.
I have been on so many time zones in these past few years, the one I cherish close to my heart is Pacific time, the times when I was in California. My trip to Arizona, took me back to Pacific Time. When my Delta Airlines Boeing 767 touched down at Phoenix airport, I turned the dials of my inexpensive watch three hours behind. The adrenaline rushed through me and gave me a familiar feeling of being on known grounds. But did that stop me from doing my routine mathematics? No. This time I was subtracting hours, to see what my children were doing back home, or adding many hours to see if my father was awake. Some ghosts never rest!
Now the bottom right of my screen tell me, that I have 15 more minutes of battery power on my laptop. That means its time for me to hit the sack. Oops! My cellphone just rang... My brother just arrived, since he had to stopover at Denver, I juggled with Mountain, Central and Eastern time zones at the same time today. As complicated as it can get !!
I have been meaning to say, "thank you" for your time to read this blog. May you have the time to cherish and live each moment of life to the fullest!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Yaathra ...

Tomorrow, once again, I am going to pick up my bag and travel to distant lands. Except that this time, I am not boarding a luxury bus or a train from Indian Railways, but a Boeing 767 operated by Delta Airlines. In all my years and situations that demanded travel, there has been a common element to my destination - it would be 'home' or places or people whom I could relate to 'home'. The first trip I ever made alone was from my grandmother's house, a place called Perinthalmanna in central Kerala, to my parents’ house at Bangalore. My uncle helped me secure a seat in the KSRTC bus that started at 7.30am and would reach Bangalore at 4.30pm. I was put on a day bus, to keep me safe from the evils of the night. I must have been about eighteen then. I always kept my single piece of luggage at bay. A person from Nilambur kept me company during this journey. Around noon, I made way for the sumptuous lunch that my aunt had packed so carefully for me. At that time, I was not into the habit of reading books, apart from text books, so the beauty of nature outside and conversations with the gentleman kept me company. On reaching Bangalore bus station, the relief on my mother's face told me that she was happier than I was that I had reached safely.

The first trip made me, moreover so, my parents, confident, that indeed I could travel without assistance. This kick started the umpteen journeys that I undertook for various reasons to different destinations in the path of life. Every time I traveled, looking at the numerous co-passengers, this thought would cross my mind - where are all these people going? And to date, I don’t know the answer.

As I encumbered upon new journeys, which for some or the other reason, I had to do alone, I started liking the solitude while traveling alone. Sometimes traveling with friends seemed like a crowd. The excitement of boarding the locomotive by myself, finding the seat I reserved, reading my book on and off, looking outside the window and losing myself to my deepest thoughts; everything instilled a sense of adventure in me. The slight fear that I was alone, but the confidence that I am a woman and old enough to step into the world, encouraged me to make many more journeys, and each time to a farther place, touching upon places that I had located earlier only in the atlas.

Another significant 'yaathra' was the one I made with my father to Manipal. This was indeed a journey, to a new life, a new avenue. For the first time I was going to live away from my parents and from the four walls of my home, that had nurtured me in its warmth all through the years. This time I had two big VIP suitcases, felt more like I was going away forever. I first traveled to my grandmother's house to seek blessings from my elders. I was the first child in the family going into an Engineering college. The next day, I went to meet my father at Calicut. Being a photographer, he was there on an official visit. While he was waiting for me, he said he had watched two movies in the local theatre, the only movies I remember him watching at a theatre. I should say - I was impressed. We checked out from the hotel he stayed in, and boarded a luxury bus to - Manipal. It was around December and Manipal was arid and dry. The place was a surprise to both of us and the heat dampened our spirits. We walked from the college to the hostel a distance of two kilometers, this distance which I would tread upon a thousand times in the next four years and would end up weaving so many memories to cherish. He registered me at the Ladies Hostel, and said he was going to leave. I stood at the gate, and watched him walk down the road, till he got an auto-rickshaw to take him to the bus stand. I don't know how he got back home after that, which bus he took, I must have asked, but the memory of him slipping away from the horizon, leaving me alone in an unknown land to figure out everything by myself, has overshadowed the details he gave me about his return journey. After this I had many more travel experiences from and to Manipal, with friends and alone, every one of them etched and put away in my chest of memories.

The next milestone journey was taken on Indian Railways - Kanyakumari express from Bangalore to Trivandrum on Oct 13, 2000. The first job I won after a long battle of interviews brought me to this city. I stepped out of Trivandrum Central railway station, holding the same VIP suitcases that had once accompanied me to Manipal. I took a good look at the scene in front of me. A poster of a Malayalam movie, an array of auto-rickshaws, hustle and bustle of KSRTC buses at Thampanoor station and the big clock behind me standing high and telling me something. I am not sure what, or why I took a good look at the clock on the tower, but I did look at the clock, it must have been somewhere around 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Here I was again, in a new place, alone, trying to figure out everything, right from where I was to work to where I was to stay. This time there was no ladies hostel to register myself, but thanks to family friend whose parental house gave me shelter for a few days. That was the beginning of another journey, a journey that would shape my destiny.

This time I am picking up my luggage bag, which will be a single piece of luggage, to a place called Tucson in Arizona. The destination is my brother, who will graduate with Masters in Computer Science from University of Arizona. This travel is a dream comes true. When he walks on stage, I will see myself walking beside him, and being hooded as an MS Graduate; something I had wanted to achieve years ago, but as strange as life is, it took me to unknown destinations.

This excerpt from Nida Fazli's ghazal, aptly describes life's myriad ways -
"Apni marzi se kahaan apne safar ke hum hain,
Rukh hawaon ka jidhar ka hai, udhar ke hum hain."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

मेरी मुलाकात, मुझसे...

सूरज की रौशनी में पत्तियाँ जाग उठी हैं 
उनके जीवन में एक नया दिन, एक नई शुरुवात, 
हवा भी अपना जादू चला रही है 
पत्तियाँ इसी खुशी में दोल रही है शायद 
मेरे चेहरे पर एक मुस्कान की कमी है 
सूरज और हवा वो खिला नही पाती 
झरोके से देखूं तो सब कुछ हरा भरा है 
दिल में झाँकू तो एक वीरानगी सी चाई है 
मेहफ़िल है मेरे चारों ओर, 
कितने लोग, कितनी हसी, 
आईना देखूं तो मेरे चेहरे पर हसी है, 
लेकिन क्या येह मेरा चेहरा है? 
पेहचन नही पाती मैं अपनी तस्वीर को 
कभी कबार पेहचान लेती हूँ अपनी परछाई को 
इस नई सुबह मैं खोजने निकली हूँ इसी दुआ से, 
के किसी मोड़ पर मेरी मुलाकात हो जाए, मुझसे, 
इस बार आफताब और हवा मेरी मदद करदे शायद।

An old one...

दिलों की कमी नही है, पर प्यार कितना कम है,
लफ्जों की कमी नही है, पर एहसास कितना कम है
हवाओं की कमी नही है, पर साँसें कितनी कम है,
देहेकता सूरज होने पर भी, मेरी दुनिया में रौशनी कितनी कम है.

Monday, May 11, 2009

My own rendition of Manikutty..

Being born to an artist should have propagated into me, some genes of how to hold a pencil. While at high school, like most children that age, I too was mesmerized with the sparkle and glitter of tinsel town. The mademoiselle's who always have a fair complexion, without regular use of Fair and Lovely or other creams in the market. The women always so tall, or always depicted as if they were all over five feet six inches, without wearing fancy heels. Their perfect features, hair that always stayed in the right place and never blew with the wind. To catch glimpses of these beauties, I would tug at my father to buy me a new edition of Filmfare - the magazine with the most gossip. I loved reading what happened in their lives, consequently, I helped feed a few people, termed as the "makers" of Filmfare. The Filmfare magazine was about 25 rupees then, way too big an amount to spend to read gossip about people you could never relate to. So each time I made a trip by train/bus to my grandmother's house, I was allowed to buy a "book" to read. I used those opportunities to buy my gateway to Tinsel Town, the Filmfare magazine. On seeing certain stars on the cover page, I used to be so thrilled, and couldn’t wait to open the book and read up every word on every page.
While flipping through the pages of a Filmfare, I found full page pictures of ladies of tinsel town. That inspired me to pick up a pencil and paper and try my hand at sketching. I managed a few portraits, and a few pictures of children from advertisement pages. After moving my eyes from the magazine to the paper a thousand times, I would make that final stroke and take a good look at my creation. With great pride, that I am my father's daughter would show the masterpiece to him. After looking at it with squared eyes, he would say, 'the lips are a little out of proportion', 'if you see the top part of the face, the eyes are not in the same plane', 'you need to add more details around the nose', 'the shading near the eye should be darker' and so on.. Each of his statements, helped me in my next sketch.
This was more than 12 years ago.
When I joined engineering at Manipal, I had a room-mate called Ashley R. Ashley was an architecture student and had to submit 2 sketches every week. With her heavy work load, she asked me to do a sketch once. The next thing I knew, I was doing her sketches every week. This prompted me to buy a sketch book for myself and I started putting my genes to work. This time again, I went to the local store to pick up a recent edition of - The Filmfare.
This was 8 years ago.
Few months back, while walking through the stationery aisle to pick up a writing tablet for my four year old son, I saw a "sketch book". Without further thought, I bought it; and kept it. Couple of weeks back, I opened the book and picked up a pencil. No, this time I didn’t have a Filmfare, I don't think you get Filmfare at local stores in the United States. This time, I picked up a picture on my desk of my little one. Many years have passed, but with each stroke, I remembered my father's words and tried to do justice to the picture and my genes. This is my rendition of my adorable Manikutty who spreads his smile to everyone around.
PS. Proportions around the eyes are still not perfect!

She peeps from the distant skies...

an old one, from my collection...
the moon shines upon the distant sky 
‘tis brighter than the stars today 
surrounded by a sheath of clouds 
she is peeping from within

tonight is a night of solitude 
i sit by my window 
listening to the thunderous silence 
looking at the moon peeping from within

an uproar of thoughts in me 
yet the mind is calm after many nights 
the thoughts dashing past each other 
now the moon, just smiled from within 

time is etching its memories, 
the smiles, the laughter, the words, 
there is no end to the string of emotions 
ah! there she is, grinning at me from within

my dreams are taking me 
beyond the distant horizon 
i find peace in this wave of happiness 
the moon tonight is sharing it from within.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Motherhood - 'the' hood of all hoods. This year is my fifth mother’s day, if you count by the single day in the year, which the world proclaims as ‘Mother’s Day’. But, if you go by all the days that I have been a mother, that number would run in the thousands, multiplied by the number of children. Each day in the life of a mother is different; children in the early years rarely do the same thing twice. My little one yesterday liked Dora, but today he likes Blues Clues a.k.a. coo-coos in his language. The everyday challenges are different and it is a long tunnel with no light on the other side. Nevertheless, the delight of holing up in this tunnel with this little being that you brought into the world is motherhood.
Although, all mothers hope for the next stage of their child’s life to be easy, they reminisce the years gone by, right from the days when his tiny feet were kicking hard to get out of her womb. The anxiety then is ‘when will he come out?’ Once out and you find him sleeping for 16 hrs, you think, ‘wish he would start moving around’. With great difficulty this tiny human being, rolls over, moves through the confined space of a room, on his belly, lifts himself up and manages to balance his weight on his hands and knees. Soon, he starts crawling, and wants to get his hands on everything within his reach, bumping into the furniture and all your objects that you adorned your house. Just when he learns to manipulate the gadget buttons, you wish ‘only if he could talk’. The next thing you know, your wish is granted… he starts with the gaa-gaa’s and the goo-goo’s, until one day he surprises you with “MOMMY”.
If you are thinking, now I am done, you are mistaken, everything prior to this was prep-work, and the game is just about to begin. Fasten your seatbelt, now it is a roller coaster on which the button to turn off the ride is broken. Potty training, doctor visits, shots on time, daycare, food habits, sleep habits, school, alphabets, numbers, friends, gum, TV, fighting, ice-cream, candy, chocolates, sibling, cranky… the list is endless. There are a thousand questions you ask yourself each day – did he eat, is he sleeping well, did he eat his vegetables, did he drink milk, who are his friends, is he fighting with someone, is he watching too much TV, which is his favorite cartoon, is he running a temperature, what’s in his book bag….
Apart from all these external paraphernalia, what makes me feel special is his seamless confidence in me and how much I matter to him. The gleam in his eyes, when he sits beside me for a Mommy’s tea party at school. His hugs and announcements of “My mommy,” to make his brother jealous. All his expressions, that reflects upon this special relationship folds up under this hood.
At the end of the day, when you put him to bed, he gives you a kiss and says ‘I love you Mommy’, makes it all worthwhile
Happy Mother’s Day!

Monday, May 4, 2009


I turned down the volume of my headset; the noise is disturbing my thoughts. Few people are discussing about a database performance, not to my interest. But the rules of the job are that, I am supposed to listen, understand, and ask questions. But my mind today is drifting away to farther lands. It does not want to do the routine tasks of getting the kids to school, driving 20 miles to work, going through emails that run over a hundred a day. Somehow, the movie websites I visit are failing to capture my curiosity. The news websites are full of election news and polling and how movie stars came out to vote. No, this is not where my mind is today or wants to be.
Do I know where I want to be today? Well, actually no! Are you thinking 'Women'? Why it is that woman are so confused? I sit because they have too many choices or too many responsibilities? I would pick the latter. We make so many decisions a day, small decisions and the not so small decisions. So there is a lot of room for confusion. After long thinking, my confused mind tells me to take the day off. Drive down the roads of downtown, way past Fall Creek Parkway and to the public library. The rains outside, will lighten my spirit of boredom and refresh the energy in me, like the ground. Old tunes from Bollywood movies choreographed in the rains, will add a touch of romance. Alighting from my car with an air of romance, I would pick up a book of my favorite author and find a place near the window, so that I can watch the rain lash by. Reading the lines would take me back to my footprints that I left in the sand. I would sit back for a few moments, watch the rain and drift back to yester years and smiles. The innocence of youth, brashness of thoughts and freedom to touch the sky. Times, when I would follow my heart and not bother about another soul in this world. Carefree! These thoughts would make me happy one moment and sad the next, almost pushing me to get back to my book listening to the splash of the rain.
Alas! I look at the screen staring at me, and the numbers on bottom right corner have a cruel look. They force me to come back to reality and tell me that I have another two hours to complete the monotonous tasks for the day, before I rush back to all the roles I play, apart from being me.
My fingers are now dialing the next call I need to be on. Again there are noises disturbing my thoughts....

The place I call Home ~

Home - Merriam Webster says, Home is one's place of residence, or a social unit formed by a family living together. It could be a place of origin, but what I like most is "a familiar or usual setting". Home is a place, where I can identify myself, every object reflects upon me, what I am. The linens, furniture, the food and lights. Some thinkers say by being materialistic, we are possessed by our possessions. For now, let us think we possess our possessions. Each piece of object tells me its own story about how we met and how we blended into each other's lives over the span of years. Recently, when I bought my new sofa, the old one looked at me with a sad face, 'are you giving me away?’ My cookware tells me the tale of the discount shop I hunted down looking up Google maps, to save a few bills. My clothes speak volumes of the affection people have for me, when they presented them to me. The tailor who, carefully mended them. The closet in my son's room, takes me 4 years back into my life, when he was kicking inside me and I was putting away the little mittens I bought for him. Like I said earlier, each object tells me a story and weaves a memory. All these objects kept in a particular fashion, that invites me every evening to this man-made structure of brick and walls, is home.

The second aspect is the people. My son, his smile, his authority over everything in the house and the warmth he has for me. Then my baby, his way of welcoming me home every evening when I get back from a long day at work. All the attempts to draw a circle with bright crayons on the walls. His small feet which cover the house from one end to the other, one step at a time. Every waking moment that we spend together. Their food spills, books, cartoons, clothes, tantrums and much much more. Ever joke that is shared, every meal that is cooked together; the movies watched together; the friends who visit often and integrate into the house as if they were family.
A place that brilliantly accommodates each day of life is home.

Last aspect is 'freedom'. There is a connecting factor between 'home' and 'freedom'. The freedom to do the things you like, the freedom to say the things you want, the freedom to live without fear. If you cannot do the things you want in your house, then it’s probably not your house and you are a mere visitor. Scream, yell, talk, sing, cry, laugh, laugh out loud are all different ways to emote. If you can emote without fear, you are at home. A place where you can be what you are, is home...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Catching a flight!!

This is something I wrote sometime ago for an editorial in a newsletter.. If you are planning to catch the flight, or have already taken one, you might find this interesting.

Most engineering students who enter the software industry nurture a common dream - to go onsite. From day one, sincere efforts are made to be the best, stand out in the crowd, so that the manager picks him/her as the next candidate for visa processing. Getting your name in the visa applicants list is half the goal achieved. What is it about 'going onsite’? Is it the 23-hour Boeing airplane ride which one literally sits through or is it merely the feeling that you are in the United States of America, the most powerful nation on the globe?
Going onsite can be compared to a child's first day at school. Till that day, the child grew up in a cozy, protected atmosphere of his house. Suddenly one day he faces a new environment, a whole new group of people he's never seen before, a different culture and the rest of the story is how he adapts to this change.There are pros and cons to this location-specific work environment. Onsite means exposure to the client personnel, ready accesses to project documents and of course the symbol before the numbers on your paycheck. Onsite personnel get the opportunity to be involved in the initial phases of the project, which one lacks when at offshore. The ability to represent one's firm at the client place is a distinction by itself. And there is tremendous opportunity to grow and sharpen your communication skills. A 'popular' myth about working onsite is that you get to wear jeans and sneakers to work. No Sir! USsociates embody organizational values even in their attire. Its business casuals all the way.
All said and done, the basis of survival – food, is a problem for many. Either you align yourself to the American fast food groove or mark the nearest Indian grocery store on your local map as a default location.
On the other hand, to live and work in an environment we grew up in gives us a sense of belonging and comfort. The vast sea of technical expertise and guidance at the offshore location is impeccable. Oops! I missed to mention the array of non-technical activities and personal development opportunities that knocks at one's door, rarely found at onsite. Being in India, equates to being at home, marking your attendance at most of the celebrations in your family - birthdays, weddings anniversaries et al.
So which is better - onsite or offshore? Let us not bother about this argument, because the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and we will never stop dreaming!
In conclusion, don't get carried away by your onsite-returned colleague and his paraphernalia, and don't let your mother's food hold you back; success is defined by dedication, passion and teamwork.. Not location!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yesterday or Tomorrow

Many a time my crazy self 
Has wondered if I could turn back time
Ask the waves to go back home,
So that I could tread once again
Onto my footprints in the sand.
I will start from where I started
I will follow a few steps, I think
Then trace a different path
For the waves to take home
Yesterday is what I know
Yesterday is what was there
Tomorrow is an unknown
I dont know if it will be there.
This time, I will make some better choices
Coz Yesterday taught me the wrong ones
I will laugh a little more
Yesterday showed me when I cried.
I would go back to yesterday
Run to it as fast as I could
Change many things one by one
To make them memories for tomorrow.
This time I wouldnt ask the waves to go back
I wouldnt look for my footprints
Would hold on to yesterday and feel happy tomorrow
That I was lucky enough to get a second chance!!


തുടക്കം... എല്ലാത്തിന്ടെയും ആരംഭം... ഒരു പുതിയ അനുഭവം... കുട്ടിയുടെ ആദ്യത്തെ കരച്ച്ല്‍... 'അമ്മ' എന്ന് ആദ്യത്തെ വിളി... അമ്മയെ പിരിഞ ആദ്യത്തെ ദിവസം... കൗമാരത്തിന്റെ ആദ്യ ചുവടുകള്‍... ഈ തുടക്കങ്ങലെല്ലാം എന്റെ ജീവിത ജാലകമാവുന്നു...

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