Saturday, January 30, 2010


I belong to that section of this world, which moves from the surroundings they were born in, to distant places either for pleasure, experience, and money or for advancement of something, yet to be defined. During this move, we leave a lot behind – parents, home, family, culture, food… the list is endless. It is like uprooting a live tree and re-planting it in new soil, with the hope that its roots will attach just like it had, it will get sunshine and water, just like it used to, and it will grow with no difference. It will grow no doubt, but in an alien land, inhabited by people just like us, but who seem to belong to a different world.

Work permits, resident status, L1, H1, B1, Green card, and Citizenship will make the other side of the world accessible to you, but will it accept you? Will you be able to become a part of them? Or, will you always be made to feel that you are on alien grounds?

The proximity of acceptance from the other end depends on how much you are able to give up and adapt to their ways of life. This is one perspective. How much you can leave behind of what you were taught in your growing years, like all your other people and belongings. The sacrifice could encompass values, attitude, behavior, culture, rituals, food and a host of other things. But even after sacrificing everything and trying to be one of them, how close can you get to actually being one of them.

From another dimension, you could try to establish your roots firmly in the new soil, without any sacrifices, upholding every little thing that was dear to you back home. It is definitely no way to become one of them, but the diversity could earn their respect and classify you as a dignified stratum of Indian society on alien land.

After treading for six years on alien soil, the acceptance is much more important now to me, because of my children. I leave them at 8 in the morning, at school, at daycare, and the next time I see them is after a whole nine or ten hours. The thought that comes instantly to my mind is, are they struggling to be a part of this circus, that I have pushed them into, without their consent. Are they waiting for acceptance? Being born in the country, has naturally given them citizenship rights, but because they are born to Indian parents, would they still struggle to bridge that little gap?

Do I want them to learn to bridge the gap, or take them away to lands that are familiar to me, not so quite to them? They will be accepted no doubt, but this time around, will they be able to accept?

Would it have been better if I had not created all this confusion in the first place, if I had not pulled out the roots? But then wouldn’t I have lost the chance of seeing this part of the world in this only once lifetime? Life is again playing its game and me merely a pawn.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Surface beneath her feet is frozen
Wind hitting her face is cold
Layers of clothing make her stoop
Branches on the trees are barren
Bitter cold make her legs numb
She looks for a room somewhere
Distant from the freezing air
The heat of which will rejuvenate her blood
Make her feel alive
Like her the surface beneath waits
For a kiss from the powerful rays of the sun
Like her, the trees wait
To bloom and come to life
Like her, the birds wait
To spread out and fly in warmer skies
Like her, the wind waits
To kiss her and embrace her in its warmth
Oh so nice, oh so warm
The heat of the burning sun
Oh so cold, oh so bitter
The curse of this painful winter.
Like the ground, like the trees
Like the birds, like the wind
She waits, for the kiss of a ray
She waits, to bloom
She waits, to spread out and fly
She waits, to be alive again.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

To all readers of my blog..

Live traffic feed has made me feel good about my blog. Earlier I thought it was just a few of my friends here who invested time in reading the words from my pen. Thank you very much for visiting my little space in this vast ocean. Your words of encouragement and criticism will help me in reforming my posts for the better.
God bless!

falling leaves..

falling leaves did you feel the wind like me
in its sway from eastern skies
it carried an array of things
the breath of my beloved
the voice of her silences
a faint whisper of her laughter lingers on
oh so yearning are my empty arms
will i feel her if i touch ye fallen leaves...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A day with friends..

Gossip - there is a wrong premonition that gossip is exclusive to the feminine population of the world. The majority may be feminine, or the intellectually-lacking talks may be too lacking intellectually when it comes to women. But gossip is a hot cake, always ready to be savoured. There are the kinds who totally detest gossip, my respects for them. There is another category, who after the feel-good session, exclaim 'why are we talking about them' and the last category, who feel-good after the feel-good session. I am proud to be a part of the last feel-good-squared mass of the female part of this world.

Yesterday was a day of gossip, fun and do-what-you-want-to-do. I got the day to myself after packing my older one to school, younger one to daycare in the pretext of a doctor's visit, husband and mother-in-law to Chicago to enjoy a movie. My friend offered to drive me to the doctor's office. After a quick snapping off of the delicate threads on my delicate hand, we set foot to shop till we drop.

Our hours-long shopping spree took shape at a shopping mall fifteen miles away. True to a shopping-woman's sacred oath, we didn't buy anything, but we walked into every possible shop and repeated the same sentence with a big grin 'we're just looking around..'. But every object in every shop deserved a comment from us. 'Aaah that shop looks good, lets take a look'.. 'Oh see they have a poster saying 50% off' when we got closer we read the almost invisible letters 'buy 1 and get the 2nd'... '50% off'. That didn't anyway dampen our spirits to walk in. 'Look, Banana Republic, let's visit the museum', we declared the store as a museum coz a top which was quite bare cost $60.. !!

For lunch we hopped into Paradise Bakery and Cafe. Chaos!! The lady behind the counter exclaimed 'Is it your first time here? Yeah, I know its crazy round here'..

After going in and walking out of the museum-like stores, we decided that we'd get what we need at our regular store J C Penney. So off we went and happily swiped our credit cards. White sweater - $40, Black top - $20, Blue shirt - $20. The satisfaction of buying new clothes - priceless!!

The shopping spree came to an end, rather too soon, after about five hours precisely. We got back home with the kids and our other friend joined us. We first spent sometime in the holy shrine of the kitchen, an chanted shrimp curry, chicken curry, potato curry mantras. After feeding and putting the kids to sleep, we cracked up at the 'girls only' stories  from college and 'girls only' comments about a movie - Kerala Cafe. I refrain from posting those comments here for girlhood sake!!

Add equal portions of gossip and shopping with any quantity of (girl)friends and you have the perfect recipe for a happy-go-lucky sort of day -  any time.. any day.. any place.

Cheers to my 'girlsonly' gang here !!

Friday, January 15, 2010


Nostalgia has got the better of me today. I sit here in this room, looking out through the white blinds. The sky is grey, the ground is getting its colour back, after the sun took the snow away. The big wide road in front of my house, occasionaly is graced by a car or two. The houses across the road, all wear a glum look. A playground on one end of this canvas, looks empty, waiting to feel the touch of a child. The Christmas trees standing in a row, wonder what they are waiting for. Not a sight of a single person. The silence deafens me. This is the United States and its seventeen years since.

That place was Sampangiram Nagar or S R Nagar to help write the address. A multistoreyed building stood at the intersection of fourth main road and fifth cross. From the veranda of the second floor, a girl in her eighth grade looked out. Sitting on a metal folding chair. The road was lined with houses, with no breathing space between them. A breathing space would serve as an open toilet. There are people everywhere. Outside the houses, in the veranda, on the road. There are cows, and there are dogs, no different than the people on the road. Amidst this maze of people, people driving bikes, cars, autos, lorries, manuever so easily and find their way, with one finger glued to the horn. It was the sound of the world, and never once, deafened me. There was a constant array of people in the Kumar's hotel opposite my house. The vegetable shop [grocery] next to Kumar's hotel, owned by a Malayali, always displayed fresh vegetables. Next to it was a medical shop [a pharmacy]. 

At the intersection of the sixth cross and fourth main road, on one side was a stationery shop. A Shetty owned the shop, known to be a miser. Every pencil, pen, eraser, notebook, crayons, graph sheets, I used in my learning years, came from his shop. On the other side was a Fancy store.. yeah! wondering what a fancy store sells - everything thats fancy! Bangles, glitter, bindi [sticker placed on forehead for ornamental purposes], eyeliner, kajal, and what not. There were hooks from the ceiling and all these things dangled from the hook, giving the store a fancy look! This was the mini fancy store. Anything that was not available in this store, could be found in a bigger fancy store, three blocks down the road. There were three doctor clinics on this fourth main road. In the twelfth cross stood a hospital - Sindhi Hospital. The place where I uttered my first cry. A couple of blocks away, there was a temple, a chat corner, and the post office with the big red post box. 

The entire length of this fourth main road, would not be more than a mile and we walked to each of these needs of life.

My family spent about thirty years, five years before my birth, in this one bed one bath apartment [as anyone who had a taste of the US would call it]. About, six hundred square feet of living area. The place we called home. The place I still attribute to the word 'home'.

Places have changed, people have changed, living area has grown by leaps and bounds, but I long for those days, where the mornings began with amma waking anand and me to get ready for school. While appa helped us get ready, she made horlicks in this big steel tumbler. There was breakfast too. The auto guy, came and honked downstairs at sharp 7.40 am. Amma announced 'auto fellow has come'. After traveling for eight years or so, I learnt his name was Raju, he was always referred to as Automan. An hour before lunchtime, the lunch arrived in a basket and was kept at the regular drop off place, courtesy the Automan. The basket had a small towel, a three tier steel lunchcase, and a waterbottle. We picked it up at lunchtime and ate under a tree or in the classroom. We got home by 3.30pm and amma was ready with snacks or a second round of lunch. Or another round of Horlicks. After that we played with our only neighbors who lived on the third floor of the building. The eldest, one year older to me was nicknamed Babloo, the middle, was a girl, one year younger to me, nicknamed Baby, the youngest, one year younger to my brother was nicknamed Bobby. These are the only friends I have played with during my school years. After that amma called out to us, to start homework. After homework, I'd help amma in the kitchen to make dinner. Dinner was always chapathi [Indian flat bread made of whole wheat], curry, cucumber and onions. Yumm. We watched TV later for sometime.

I miss -
1, my mother's horlicks everyday morning with the Times of India newspaper
2, fights with my brother, where finally amma called out 'aaaaanaaand, iiindddduuuuuuuu'.. and were feather touched with the Sumeet mixie spatula, until one day, my smart brother trashed it.
3, infinte sessions of amma trying to teach me how to calculate marked price.
4, power outage hours, where we sat on the veranda and appa played 'places' with us. The game was one person said the name of a place, and the next person said the name of another place whose first letter was the last letter of the previous place. Later we sometimes, searched these places on the atlas.
5, the second show movies that amma and I went to, buying tickets in black sometimes ;-)
6, how appa applied ointment on my knees and ankle when they hurt and I couldn't sleep in the night
7, the snack that appa made sometimes with poha and sometimes with fried rice.. yumm!!
8, my cleaning sessions of the house, after anand made a mess out of it..
9, the look on amma's face after I got back from an accident with my neighbors
10, the joy on my face when appa bought our first colour TV a fourteen inch nelco black diamond.
11, hugging amma and sleeping and her lullaby about omanakuttan govindan..
12, the photo sessions by appa, usually when we got a new dress. His umpteen corrections of pose, place your hand here, tilt your head this way, look here, look there.
13, shopping for a new dress before March 25th and October 1st.
14, samosas that appa brought on some evenings from Mangaram's on Commercial street, Masala dosa from Kamat, Kaju Barfi from Arya Bhavan.
15, decorating a room for your own birthday with friends, blowing the candle, cutting the cake. The maximum you got for a gift was a card. And that was so precious.

The list is endless, coz the memories are endless. A song from the movie 3 idiots plays in my mind -
Give me some sunshine, give me some rain
Give me another chance, I wanna grow up once again.



Stole this from my friend's blog just the way she stole it from another blog :D

1. Last beverage: The great family nourisher - Horlicks :)
2. Last phone call: A bunch of people talking system enhancement.
3. Last text message from : Alerts@wishTV telling me my son's school is closed. :)
4. Last song you listened to: Zoobi doobi - 3 idiots
5. Last time you cried: 2 days ago

6. Dated someone twice: Why would you?
7. Been cheated on? : No way..
8. Kissed someone & regretted it?: Naaah
9. Lost someone special? No, hope not..
10. Been depressed? Depression is good for the soul
11. Been drunk and threw up? No, I start laughing, so there's no question of throwing up.

12. Maroon
13. Yellow
14. Black
15. Orange

16. Made new friends: Many times, all different places
17. Fallen out of love: hmmmm... 18. Laughed until you cried: Yes, everytime I fight with Rajumon!!
19. Met someone who changed you: Everyone I meet keeps changing me
20. Found out who your true friends were: Hmmm.. everyone is true..
21. Found out someone was talking about you: Shattered..

22. Kissed anyone on your friend's list: No
23. How many people on your friends list do you know in real life: Everyone..
24. How many kids do you want to have: I already have 2 boys, and dont need anymore
25. Do you have any pets: No way.. I like animals only in the zoo..
26. Do you want to change your name: Already changed my last name once.
27. What did you do for your last birthday: Cut a cake with my kids and another one with friends. No more dream birthday celebrations... :(
28.What time did you wake up today: 10.20am :-P
29. What were you doing at midnight last night:Working on a diagram on MS Visio..
30. Name something you CANNOT wait for : My kids to grow up and be free again
31. Last time you saw your father: August 10, 2009..
32. What is one thing you wish you could change about your life: Everything..
33. Most visited web page: Orkut, Gmail, TimesofIndia, Sify Movies

34. Name: Indu. Maya is my pen name.
35. Nicknames: Pats, Patikkals, Dummi, Pindu
36. Zodiac sign: The scales
37. Male or female or transgender : Female, very much..
38. Elementary: Bishop Cottons Girls School,  Bangalore
39. Colleges: Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal
40. Hair color: Black, now going grey
41. Long or short: Long
42. Height: Not too tall :).. 5.1
43. Do you have a crush on someone? did you or do you?? How can you stop having crushes?
44. Ever been in love?? Yeah!
45. Piercings? Apart from earlobes, makes it so yucky!
46. Tattoos? Why bear that pain?
47. Righty or lefty: Right handed if not in bandage.. :)
48. First surgery: Appendix, at the age of 1..
49. First piercing: Ask my mom :)
50. First best friend: Lakshmi Harish from school - sat together from Nursery to 5th Std.
51. First sport you loved: Basketball
52. First pet : Yucks..
53. First vacation: Day trip to Belur Halebid with my parents and brother!!
54. First concert: First debate was in 10th..
55. First crush: Why do you want to know?
56. Eating: My mom's food anyday!!
57. Drink: Sugarcane juice, anyday, anytime.
58. I'm about to: Have lunch..
60. Waiting for: its a secret now, will be out in 5 months.. no no.. I am not pregnant!

61. Want kids? Not any more.. have 2 boys pulling me on both sides..
62. Want to get married? "Once more ?"
63. Careers in mind? Writer

64. Lips or eyes: Eyes
65. Hugs or kisses: Neither!!
66. Shorter or taller: Taller
67. Older or Younger: Fun loving people..
68. Romantic or spontaneous: Morantic..
69. Nice stomach or nice arms: Aaarms :D
70. Sensitive or loud: Not loud!!
71. Hook-up or relationship: Neither!! waste of time..
72. Trouble maker or hesitant: Both are dumb!

73. Kissed a stranger: YUCK!
74. Lost glasses/contacts: NO.. I save them like my life.. coz I can't see without them..
75. Been on a blind date? : No way!
76. Broken some one's heart: YUPS
77. Had your own heart broken: NOPS 
78. Been arrested: Thats a joke!
79. Turned someone down: YUPS!YUPS!
80. Cried when someone died: YEAH!
81. Yourself: I'd like to..
82. Miracles: Only when they happen
83. God: When he does good things.
84. Love at first sight: Would a Libran do that?
85. Heaven: The only truth is the cemetary.. :)
86. Santa Claus: Only if I get gifts on Christmas..
87. Kiss on the first date? : Too soon..
88. Angels: Beings to placate small kids..
89. Devils: Live inside us :)

90. Is there one person you want to be with right now? YES!!
91. Wanted to kill someone ever? : Yes, lots of people
92. Among your blog mates, whom would you like to kiss? Why complicate life?
93. Committed a blunder and regretted later? Everytime :)
94. Wanted to steal you friend's boyfriend / girlfriend? : No way.. why take on someone else's pain?

95. White: my sweater
96. Black: shoes
97. Red: top
98. Pink: i hate pink 

End of the tunnel

the end of the tunnel is what i seek
not for light, but pristine darkness
where everything is quiet, everything is still
without this heavy metal bonding my feet
without these burdens of strings attached
where i am sourrounded by me alone
where i will not have to utter a word
lest it carry venom
where i will not have to force a radiance
lest it be mistaken for cheer
from where on i will be a fading memory
my final resting place.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Approach to life

Came across this dialogue in a movie - aashikunnathu kitilla, kitteeyathil santhosham undavilla, santhosham tharunnathu sthiramaayittu anubhavikyaan patilla, enna ennenekkyumaay kittunathu pettannu madukem cheyyum, nammalde okke ithiriponna jeevitham ithre allae ullu.
The English translation for this is - what we hope for, we will not get, what we get, will not make us happy, what makes us happy, will not last forever, what lasts forever, becomes boring very soon :)

Sounds to be a sadistic approach to life. The other approach is to keep low expectations and be content with what comes your way. This approach seems to make a person happier.

Success and failure are the choices you make. Somebody said this, not me :). Similarly, the question is to be happy or not. If you want to be happy, you will, if you want to be sad, that will be your destiny. Choose well, there is only one life. Live it.. each day!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Unspoken words

like the unread pages of an open book
like the gathered dust on its face
like those words waiting to be read
she waits.
the pages are fluttering now
the wind so strong brings them together
until all the words fall upon themselves
taking with itself its unread story
the words want to be uttered
yet no one to read them
the pages want to be turned,
yet no one to touch them
it will not open again
the words will not find life again
the dust now safely embedded within its frame
will not see the light of day again
alas! the dust felt good
the hope that the pages would be turned
the hope that the words would be said
has now died
the book is closed
taking away with it, its story
never to be read
never to be told.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Simplicity, where art thou?

I received a forward this morning, with the subject “Don’t forget these…”. When I opened the e-mail I saw images of familiar objects, rather, once familiar objects. The first impression one gets when viewing these images, is ‘simple’. The simplicity of these things made them famous. During those times, we lived in a less commercialized world and that made these things special.

A Hero pen was a very valuable gift. Learning to refill the ink in the pen was an art. Now, you will find thousands of pens, drilling the word ‘innovation’ into your brains. Pens, with three and four color inks, turn them, cap them, anti-gravity and what not. During school days, the only pen available was either an ink pen or a ball point pen. Ball point pen was always Reynolds; I haven’t found a single pen that writes as smoothly and is as easy to hold as the Reynolds. Wow!
The geometry box takes me back to those questions from Mom ‘How many geometry boxes do we have to buy, either a scale is lost, or compass, or divider or protractor.’ We maintained a ruler with so much care, that we used it, sometimes for years. Now, my Kindergarten son has bent his 12 inch ruler at a 45 degree angle, after three months of school. The longevity of things has also come down drastically. Or is it the attitude, “one goes, we can always get another one!”. We do repeat the old words ‘take good care of your things’, but I wonder, do they fall on deaf ears?
Nataraj pencils – alternating colours of Red and Black. The ad went ‘bonded lead waali Nataraj Pencil’, what does ‘bonded lead’ mean? I don’t know to this day J. The oldest memory I have of a tape-recorder is this big box, which played only mono and not stereo, I think. You pressed the Play and Record button together to record something. My dad recorded conversations and wails of my brother and me. To this recipe, add innovation, technology and fast forward a few years and Boom you have the camcorder. Something I use today to record conversations and wails of my kids. Technology the master of all inventions.
The first time I was bought a walkman was probably just before I started Engineering or during the two years of pre-degree course. At that time, it was the most hi-fi electronic device one could own. Way too far from the word ‘compact’; more than ten times the size of today’s compact mp3 players. Film cameras and film rolls. I needed one to capture all the moments at Manipal during Engineering. A relatively cheap, but good one; A photographer father, wouldn’t settle for a low quality camera.
One chose inland letters to postcards when the content was private. Because any person, and there was a 100% probability to that, would read your words on the postcard. Letters to cousins, friends, best friends, special friends. Using your best handwriting, starting the letter with Dear, My dear, Dearest, ending with With love, Lots of love, Lots and lots of love and so on. Sealing the inland letter and walking up to the post office, to drop it in the big red postbox, checking to make sure that it dropped in fine. And suddenly a flash of smile on your face, thinking of everything you have written and imagining the receiver’s reaction. E-mail, again another child whose umbilical cord is tied to technology and innovation, doesn’t provide one tenth of the pleasure of ‘letter days’.
The world has advanced, by leaps and bounds. My father owned a CRT TV fourteen inch, got it when I was in third grade. My son was born with a raving forty-two inch plasma TV in his house. His son will probably see a four dimensional TV at birth. Technology is good, assures us that somebody’s grey matter is functioning. Adds a lot of luxury and convenience, but I miss the simplicity of the things I used as a kid. There was only one Nataraj pencil, the choices were less, but you would be content that you have got the best product. Today’s world, the consumer is sinking under the array of choices and you never know which one is best. ‘Customer reviews’ are supposed to help. But who knows who the customers are and what their likes and dislikes are. How can you depend on something someone said, whom you don’t recognize beyond his ‘Username’. Technology and Innovation, leave me alone, coz my heart longs to go back to ‘simplicity’, where “everything” was valuable.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A new beginning..

Today is the first day of January, the year, two thousand and ten. The sun seems to be shining a little brighter today, as if the sun knows that its the beginning of a year. Everything around is the same, the house looks exactly like it was yesterday night, but there is a feeling of anew. I wanted to write something today, anything, to make an entry in my blog, perhaps. Have always lived with a superstitous feeling that whatever you do on the first day of the year will reflect how the rest of the year will be. Am I writing this blog, for an inner secure feeling that I will write for the rest of the year? May be, may be not. Its a superstition, remember? :)
January 1st marks the birth of 'resolutions'. What is your resolution? I will do this, I will do that, I won't do this, I won't do that? Keeping up resolutions, requires a lot of resolve! Definitely not for people like me :). But, I ask the question - Do you really need one? Just live each day to its fullest. After a good life is a beaded chain of each day 'lived'.
Everyone says 'Happy New Year' to everyone. Everyone wishes that the other's new year is 'Happy'. Well, will this year be happy, that waits to be seen. Anyways, to everyone out there, here I go again 'Happy New Year'!!