Monday, February 22, 2010

A dream of a sleep-deprived soul

My eyes are tired, longing for plenty hours of sleep. I wouldn't say a night, because that wouldn't satisfy a sleep-to-death person like me. Alone in this huge house, in a corner somewhere. A place, where I can curl up, with the oldest blue quilt in the house. With no sounds of the children, no calls of 'Ammaaaaaa'.. or 'Induuuuuu'. Where I can shut off from everything, and doze till my eyes are tired again, from an overdose of sleep.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Smile..1..2..3..Click! This was the sequence of events that I heard, when my father snapped my picture during my childhood. He had a Nikon camera, of which I don't know the configuration. Before going there, let me tell you, my father is a photographer, by profession. He spent all his years of service at the Visweswaraya Technological Museum, a part of the National Council of Museums. Many exhibits in the Bangalore Museum are his work of art. Something, I am proud about.

My father owned two Nikon cameras. The film one of course, because this is the 1970s and 80's. For some extra income he clicked pictures at a friend's or friend's friend's wedding. There would be ten rolls of film used, sometimes fifteen, sometimes even twenty. If a few films were remaining after the bride and groom left on their honeymoon, my brother and I would be asked to pose to finish the roll. Fresh rolls were no doubt spent on us for birthdays, Lalbagh flower show, Cubbon park visits, school events or sometimes even without a reason, for photo sessions on our terrace.

These cameras were the most precious treasures that my father cared for with his dear life, apart from my brother and I. They were kept in the dark green Godrej almirah's shelf which came with a lock. We called it 'appa's secret shelf' :) His cameras, lens, flash and I don't know what else was kept in that shelf, coz we were never allowed to open it. As we grew, we knew where the keys were kept, but never touched them unless asked  to, under supervision. The only other thing I know that was kept in the shelf was his salary in an orange envelope with the amount written in blue ink on the cover.

On photo session days, we wore our 'newest' dress, touched up my face a little bit with Cuticura powder, combed my hair and wore my best smile. The 'locations' were usually the terrace or inside the house, sometimes a red shawl, or rajasthani print bedsheet put up on the wall to serve as background. He instructed every pose. The angle of our body, where to look, how much to lift the chin, stand straight, how much to smile, how to put the hair, etc. Finally he would say, Ready and the flash would shine bright into my eyes. The films were expensive, so wasting them was no option at all.

My brother and I have a collection of photographs from our childhood, to savour and reminisice all those wonderful years. As we grew into adulthood, our educational demands forced our dad to sell his cameras. Now, I can understand how sad he must have felt doing it, just one of the sacrifices for us.

Today he owns a Nikon D300, couple of lenses, flash etc, of which I still dont know the configuration details :). His precious treasure today, apart from my brother, my kids and me. The camera and other accessories are locked up in the secret shelf of the same dark green Godrej Almirah, which I got to open recently to pick up the camera before we headed for brother's wedding.

From my father's collection, taken in his old Nikon camera - My brother, Anand and I.

My brother capture of my son - treading our father's footsteps.

My father's clicks of my kids.

My father and two of his treasures!

Friday, February 12, 2010


Lately, it seems like the only time I get to sit back, relax and think is when I drive to office and drive back home. Those stretched 35 miles of my day, is when Maya can lose sight of the world around and delve into dreams and the world of imagination. My best company during these hours is my Ipod and my collection of melodies.

This evening, while returning from work, my Ipod decided to pick 'Valai osai', a tamil song set to tune by Ilayaraja. The song teared me up. The familiar feeling of loneliness sprung upon me opening up the void left by my friends - Chichu, Renju and Priya. When Chichu and me shared an apartment, about ten years ago, she being a classical singer, owned a casette of Ilayaraja hits. It was then that I was introduced to Ilayaraja and his music. On "amazing" never-to-return, lazy Sundays, we would crawl out of bed when neighbours rang the lunch bell. Either a casette was played on her fancy stereo system or Rosebowl on TV, the only electronic gadget in our apartment.

There was a mattress on the floor for me, and old folding cot for her, a bamboo mat in the living room to sit and a stand for the 21inch BPL TV. This was all the furniture we owned, apart from a plastic bucket each. The gas stove was on loan from her aunt. The most meagre furniture, but those were the best days of life. Happy, carefree, do-what-you-want-to-do!!

I feel blessed that these three people walked into my life. Each one had their own timing. Renju, outside a training institute in Pulimoodu, apparently thinking the same thing, I was thinking 'Where do we stay, in this unknown place?'. The fearless, think-straight, do-the-right-thing, cant-cook-for-nuts girl. 'I am Renju Pillai, from Kozhikode, did my Engineering in Kuttipuram College', we had heard that enough, so didn't need formal introductions. Then walked in Chichu with the question 'May I join you?' ever so politely, probably for the fear of rejection. (Laughs). This round, rolly-polly, cute, looks-like-me glasses-clad girl from namma Madras. Jain Engineering College. Priya entered last, the sophisticated, pretty-pretty, rides-in-a-car-with-a-driver girl. I wonder what brought us so close, probably the no-nonsense attitude that all of us shared?

In all the time we lived together, I lived with Chichu for the longest period of time. My bum-pal!! Renju sneaked out pretty soon, to go out with her fiance, Subu. She ever so smartly moved away from the topic when we asked about their whereabouts. A referee in all my fights with others. Priya and I, grew into girl-friends with our daily lunch to Kalavara hotel, while all our other batchmates went to the not-looking-nice-from-outside hotel, Sopanam. A million memories weaved into this thread of friendship, only if we could relive those years again.

I don't think I can go up again to a complete stranger (lady) and ask 'May I share a room with you'? But for the one time I had the guts, I sure did hit upon some treasure.

Love you girls and miss you loads!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

White trees

Have you seen white trees? I have, I hadn't noticed their beauty in such depth until today.. when I saw them turning white. Brown "leaf-less" trees turning white, so radiant, and so much more beautiful than when they bloom in green hues. When white, each tree looks so different, as if for the first time, you are admiring the trunk and its branches alone. Bare yet brilliant! 

Today I stood out in the open and felt the snow falling on me. Like the rains, I closed my eyes, opened my mouth wide, and faced the sky. The snow flakes kissed my face ever so lightly and drenched me. They glowed like glitter on my brown fur coat. They made me cold, yet the beauty of the world around me, glorified by the flakes. 

When you go to the beach, and look out into the distant water, the horizon is so unclear. You cannot say where exactly the sea ends and the blue sky begins. That is how it is when it snows. The ground is white, the purest form of white, the sky is white. You cannot say where land ends and the sky begins. 

I haven't seen my day so bright without a touch of the sun's rays. I haven't seen my night glow more on a full moon light. The sky reflects the snow from the ground, the ground reflects the brightness of the sky. As pure as an angel, as shining as the twinkle in a baby's eyes.

I told my son 'Did you see the white trees?' He corrected me 'Amma, don't tell anyone that they are white trees, its just snow on the branches' :)

Let it snow.. let it snow... let it snow.