Aug 29, 2005

A perfect week......

Birthday, first anniversary, a trip to Queen of Hill Stations.....Can a week be better than this? Last week was full of surprises and loads of fun. It all started off with a surprise that I had planned to give Karthi. I wanted to present him our first anniversary gift. But I didn't want to just hand over the gift. I wanted to try something different. Thanks to my first "Dream A Dream" (NGO that we have recently joined) activity, my mind struck a wonderful idea. Treasure hunt in our little home. Ideas started pouring in from all corners of my brain. Most of the clues were focussed on my favourites. You can also call this hunt as a means to identify whether Karthi is aware all my likes/dislikes or not.

I had pasted the first clue at the back of our main door. That clue would lead to the fridge, from the fridge, the next clue would lead to something else etc. I had planned as a sequence of 10 clues and the last one would lead to the treasure. The treasure was a mustard coloured full sleeve shirt. Everything was set perfectly and I was waiting eagerly for his arrival. First, it was 8 pm, then 9 , 10 and I got very angry and upset. Seems like he got stuck with some high priority stuff at work. Around 10.30, I had called him and revealed with disappointment that I had planned for a surprise . He came home at 11 and the first thing he saw was the clue at the back of the door. That was an easy clue and within a few seconds, he found out the word "FRIDGE" hidden in it. The next few clues were sitters and he went past them one by one so easily. Then came "Find out your wife's favourite vegetable". He didn't know the answer and was searching the fridge and the vegetable trays. Finally he found out the clue beneath a big onion. "Is this your favourite vegetable?" was his doubtful question. The next clue was "Find out where I get cooked", said the onion. "Pressure cooker" he shouted with a big loud voice. I couldn't control my laughter. I had never cooked onion in a pressure cooker. I always use the kadai. We call it the "most washed vessel" since I use kadai for cooking almost everyday. Finally he found the rest of the clues and the treasure. I feel he did enjoy a lot after a strenuous day at work.

12 AM is just 20 min away. Yes, it's my birthday. Karthi locked me inside the room and he was doing something in the kitchen. I could guess that he has got a birthday cake for me. At 12, he opened the door with a black forrest cake in his hand, singing birthday song. A happy moment to start off a fresh year.

We were all set for a trip to Ooty the next evening. I had booked the bus tickets 10 days in advance. We reached Ooty around 7.30 AM on Friday. Misty mountains, whiff of fresh air scented with eucalyptus and a calm, cool weather welcomed us. We took accomodation in Hotel Lakeview. Our cottage overlooked a beautiful view of the valley. We had a fireplace too. We got dressed up and got ready for Ooty/Coonoor sight seeing tour. First destination was the boat house, where we took a pedal boat ride. Our hard, stiff muscles were getting tired just after 10 minutes of pedalling. Cool breeze relaxed our muscles and made us enjoy the trip thoroughly. The van then took us to many breathtaking viewpoints where we shot snaps one after another. Neither are we tired, nor our camera. Walking through fog-clad tea plantations having hot, boiled peanuts one by one is simply amazing. Our next destination was Doddabetta, the highest peak in Nilgiris. We couldn't see anything, the entire surroundings is covered by thick fog (mist, Karthi says. Can anyone give the difference between fog and mist???) . The temperature would definitely be below 10 degrees. Thank God, we had bought a pair of hand gloves and woolen caps. In the evening, we reached the botanical garden. I could recall those pleasant memories of my previous trips with Appa, Amma and Sudha, the green coloured seat where Sudha sat and cried when my father didn't give the camera to him and my father took a snap at that very moment (he looks so cute in that picture !!), the India map made out of grass where I took my first photograph when I was in fifth standard, the snack bar where I first tasted tapioca chips (that's my favourite flavour of chips till date).

The next day was a special day. Aug 27th. That was our first anniversary. A year has gone by so quickly. To make this day more special, we had planned for a trip in the Ooty toy train. Although I had travelled in this train before, I wanted to experience it again. We got our tickets and boarded the train. I was so excited and thrilled. I took snaps of the train when it took a curved track, when it entered the tunnel, when it whistled, when it stopped in a station. I was completely in love with the train. During those 60 min, it was just me and the train, though Karthi was sitting right next to me. A completely enjoyable and memorable trip, I should say. We spent the entire evening in our cottage, relaxing and watching the sun set. Time moves so slowly with each and every minute to savour.

We were in a bit of dilemma whether to visit the botanical gardens again or go for Filmi Diwane trip on Sunday. Since I had never been to Pykara falls, I suggested to take the Filmi Diwane trip. 4 couples were squeezed into a Tata Sumo. All our cribbings went off in a flash once we started the trip. The dense and slippery pine forests, never-ending landscapes and lush green meadows were a treat to our eyes. We reached Pykara around noon. After a complete one km walk, there she was, flowing so gracefully, with charming white swirls, chillness all the way through and with reverberating Zzzz, the Pykara waterfalls makes you feel so humble in front of her majestic looks. Our camera lens as well as our eyes lens tried so hard to catch as many glimpses of her in all possible ways. Yet her beauty is so vast that you could only say to yourself that you want to come back to this place again and again.

Our trip to Ootacamund was full of fun, full of peace and most of all, full of nature. Indeed, God has made such wonderful abode of heaven amidst cities of chaos for homosapiens like us......

Aug 15, 2005

Enge sendrai nee.....

Enge sendrai nee
engal manidha vazhkaiin
oru pagudhi anavane...

Annumin nilaiyathil pirandhu
mile-gal pala kadandhu
viraindhu vandai makkal veetukku
un arumai ariyadhavan
min visiri pottu sendran adutha veetukku

nee illamal kannini iyangadhu
kannini illamal iyanga marukkiran
engal indraiya manidhan
nee illamal thuni thuvaikka
marukkiral engal indraiya penn

un mel yen ivalavu mogam
pala per uyirai mazhai kalathil
bali vangi selgirai nee
arasangathin alatchiyathirku
ennai en sadugirai ena
marukelvi ketkirai nee

manidhanin pozhudupokkai
Or araikul adaithu vittai
yarum rasikkamal azhugiradhu
thottathu ottrai poo

dhoorathu neer veezhchiyai rasikka
neramilladhu thollaikatchiyil
parthu magizhum pamaran
than kaipada ezhuda porumai
illadu minnanjalil
kaditham anuppum manudan

manidha vazhkai nadaimuraiyai
oru suttru thiruppi vittavane
thirumbi vandhu vidadhe en veetukku......

Amidst a terrible desert.....Episode 4

Eyes brimmed with tears, Uma said "I'm very proud of you, my child.Your hardwork has paid off". Sundaramma with a smirk said "If you had spent the time in learning cooking and household activities instead of studying for these exams , that would have been more useful for your future".Entered Ravi from sugar mill back home for lunch. "Daddy, I have secured third rank in the state",informed Kavitha in a cheerful tone. "Very good Kavi. Uma, prepare some sweets this evening to celebrate Kavi's success as well as for the guests. From Chinnanur, Shanmugam and his family are coming home to finalize Kavi's marriage with their son. My uncle is also coming along with them. The bridegroom's name is Shivakumar.They call him Shiva. He has a provisions shop. Here is his photo. Look how majestic he is!!",exclaimed Ravi.

Taken aback by her father's words, Kavitha looked at Shiva's photograph. A plump man with a big moustache,aged around 30 years was looking stern through his brown eyes."What's his age? What's his qualification?", Uma asked looking at the photo. "He turns 29 this August. He has completed his 12th std. Now looking after his father's provision store", replied Ravi in a cool voice. Kavitha just rushed off to her room upstairs. While serving lunch, Uma started the conversation with Ravi, the long awaited one, yet undecided on how to convey her viewpoints. "Kavitha is a small kid. Moreover, she wants to study more. Why can't we wait for few more years before arranging her marriage?" muttered Uma. Expecting this question, Ravi replied "Uma, I'm not having a government job. I'm into business. Anything might happen. At that point in time, I might not be able to afford the dowry being asked for. And if Kavitha's qualification goes up, it will be very difficult to find a groom for her in the neighbouring towns. I'm going to finalize this today". Uma understood that this is the tacit end to the conversation. She has to do something to stop this marriage. There is no point talking or arguing with her husband. As always, his words are the final decisions at home.She doesn't want to give up on her vows as well. "My daughter will get all that she wants in her life. My daughter will get all that she wants in her life.", echoed her thoughts from all directions.

After a long hard thought, she finally decided on what needs to be done. "Yes, that's the only way to save my daughter from this marriage. No other choice. It is a tough decision. But I have to accept it for my daughter's happiness.", she stood up in front of God's picture praying with utmost devotion "God, please make sure that my decision proves to be right for my daughter." And she climbed the stairs towards Kavitha's room swiftly, fully confident of her decision. Her thought processes were progressing and planning step by step on what she has to talk to Kavitha now.

Aug 8, 2005

Amidst a terrible desert..... Episode 3

The D-day dawned. Kavitha couldn't sleep well throughout the night. Moments of anxiety and excitement disturbed her slumber. It was the day when she is expecting her 10th std results to come out. "Will I be getting a state rank, or a district rank or atleast a school rank? It can't go worse than that. What will happen if I fail in Maths? Definitely, granny will fix up my wedding tomorrow". "Oh! Stop it, don't think of such non-sense. You had just made a mistake in a 2-mark question in Maths. Why the heck would you fail?", thoughts were fighting among themselves in her mind. Hearing the kitchen door being opened by her mother downstairs, she felt relieved from those miserable thoughts and got up from her bed. Now she can go ahead and ramble about all her tensions to her mom.

An unusual scene was happening in the kitchen. Uma was praying to God. Kavitha couldn't understand this behaviour of her mother. She had always admired her mother doing her prayers everyday, after taking a bath, dressed perfectly with flowers in her hair and a big, round vermilion in her forehead. "Kavi, you got up so early today. Results will be announced only at 10 o'clock. Why don't you sleep for some more time?", suggested Uma. Kavi came back to reality from her deep thoughts. "Ma, I feel very tensed about the results. I'm getting terrible nightmares", Uma could sense the tension in Kavi's eyes. Slowly caressing Kavi's hair, Uma said, "Don't be tensed, my child. I just prayed to God that you get very good marks. Go to your room, read a story book and relax".

Anxious looking students started crowding near the school notice board. The results are yet to be posted. Kavitha entered the school along with her friends Mani and Fatima who unlike Kavitha, looked extremely cool. She noticed her Science teacher Maria, walking swiftly towards her. "Kavitha, Headmaster wants to meet you immediately", said Maria in a stern voice. Slightly puzzled with Maria's tone, Kavitha bid goodbye to her friends and started to run towards headmaster's room.

Srinivasan, a rotund, bald man and currently holding the headmaster's post of Government High School, Velappatty was going over the results. Gasping for breath entered Kavitha. "Kavitha, come inside. Your results are here. Congratulations. By now, Maria teacher would have informed you about your marks. I'm very proud of you. You have made the entire school proud. The marks really speak of your hardwork and dedication. Your parents will be very happy", continued the headmaster. "Sir, I'm not aware of my marks yet. Maria teacher hasn't informed me", said Kavitha in a very doubtful tone. "Oh, is it? Here is your marksheet. Take a look", said the headmaster. "English-98, Tamil-97, Maths-98, Science-100, Social Science - 100, Total - 493/500", Kavitha read out the marksheet and looked at the headmaster. "You have secured a state rank. To be precise, third in Tamilnadu", exalted the jubiliant Srinivasan. Tiny drops of tears twinkled in Kavitha's eyes. She is experiencing one of the best moments in her life. She doesn't even know how to express her happiness. Absolutely speechless and thoughtless. When someone is in a thoughtless state, they experience the divine. And here she is, feeling the blessing of God.............

Aug 4, 2005

En Oor

pachai paselana padarndhirukkum vayal
meduvaga thavazhndhu varum kullir kattru
sigappu kambalamaga virindirukkum andi vaanam
kattrodu kalandu varum dhoorathu koil mani

than kootuku thirumbum sittu kuruvi
uzhaithu kalaithu varum uzhavan
indha naal velai mudithu maraiyum adhavan
meduvaga ezhumbum velli nilavu

anandamai vilayadum siru kuzhandai
manamagizhndhu sirikkum annai
thenisai pozhiyum pullanguzhal isai
mella nadai pottu sellum paingili

kidukidu vena odum anil
sezhusezhu vena valarum pasumpul
komadha tharum vellai paal
grama makkalin thooya manadhu

Aug 2, 2005

Bye, bye Gandhi.....

Gandhi, if you happen to read this article, I thank you for the wonderful treat at Hotel Harsha.

Forgot to thank him on Saturday :-) ......Anyways, yet another person from our great group is leaving Bangalore and going for his higher studies in US. Gandhi gave us his farewell treat in the very same place where we all started our dream journey of so-called-adulthood. Hotel Harsha. The place where we stayed during our first week in Bangalore, the place where we got acquainted with each other, the place where I met Karthi for the first time, the place where little sparks of something (unable to put those feelings in words!!!) evoked in me now and then. No, I'm not going to get into any more details on that.

We stepped into Hotel Harsha on Saturday exactly after 3 years and 30 days. The restaurant reminded me of those cute moments when I used to sit and have breakfast with Swati, when we used to wait for the cab to take us to our dream company, when we used to go to the nearby Sanman restaurant for dinner, when I cried on my father's shoulders when he was about to go back to Chennai, leaving me alone in a new city. I have never faced the pain of staying in a hostel during school or college days. People argue that it's more fun to stay in a hostel than in your house. But I personally don't like this idea at all.

As we stepped in, we saw Mr.S (taking the idea from DD's blog ;-) , thanks DD!!) finishing off vinegar dipped onions for the second time and ordering for the third time. I looked at my watch, 7.50 pm. Damn, we are so late. We were supposed to reach the place at 7 pm. Poor Mr.S.....

We placed the order for starters. I just took a glance at everyone's face. All of us have grown a bit mature in the past three years. But when all of us are together, the child within us wakes up, teasing, laughing and having fun without even a slight inkling of consideration of people around us. That's how we were, we are and will be in the future whenever we meet up.

Though the frequency of meeting and having fun together has gone down drastically, our group is just one helluva special and unique combo.

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