Monday, January 28, 2008


There she sat,
On a mound,
With the snow blanket around her

The moonlight streamed,
Beating a path,
Through the snow blanket around her

Her pink cheeks gave a soft glow,
From the falling rays,
Reflected from the whitish snow around her

She sat and waited
Waited for the miracle to happen
The enchantment that was part of the snowy cold moonlit night.

There hovered the voice
In between the tree branches
Along the mist from the snowy ground

The moonlight streamed,
Passing through it,
Slicing through the mist in the air

The voice gave a gasp
From the mixture of the mist
Surrounding it from all directions

The voice hovered and waited
Waited for her to see the miracle
The enchantment that was part of the misty cold moonlit night

And then she saw it
And then the voice showed it

Now she was content and knew herself
Now the voice was happy that it did its job

She went back to ordinary life determined
The voice moved back into the mists calmed

All that was left was the moonlight
All that was left was the snow
All that was left was the night stars

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Republic Day... a new song!

Every Republic Day has been different from the previous ones for me. This year, too, I had a different one. First, I was celebrating it for the first time on a foreign soil surrounded by people who were related to me in only that they were co-patriots. Second, I had to sing a song which I hadn't heard of till that day(though the song was popular, I hadn't heard of it before), listened to once or twice and sung before the entire crowd. Third, it was the day when I fell, my coat and all, into mud due to some (mis)adventures in the snow. And fourth, it was the day when I missed my favorite vada paav. Since I don't want to expand on my feelings about the republic day(the song says it well) and since I have no intention of talking of my slide and fall and missed vada paav, I'm going to stick to the song. Here are the lyrics(they struck a chord somewhere):

Chhodo kal ki baatein, kal ki baat puraani
Naye daur mein likhenge milkar nayi kahaani
Hum hindustani, hum hindustani - 2
Aaj puraani zanjeeron ko tod chuke hain
Kya dekhe us manzil ko jo chhod chuke hain
Chaand ke dar pe jaa pahuncha hai aaj zamaana
Naye jagat se hum bhi naata jod chuke hain
Naya khoon hai, nayi umangein, ab hai nayi jawaani
Hum hindustani -4
Chhodo kal ki baatein, kal ki baat puraani
Naye daur mein likhenge milkar nayi kahaani
Hum hindustani, hum hindustani -2
Aao mehnat ko apna imaan banaaye
Apne haathon ko apna bhagwaan banaaye
Ram ki is dharti ko gautam ki bhoomi ko
Sapnon se bhi pyaara hindustan banaaye
Naya khoon hai, nayi umangein, ab hai nayi jawaani
Hum hindustani - 4
Chhodo kal ki baatein, kal ki baat puraani
Naye daur mein likhenge milkar nayi kahaani
Hum hindustani, hum hindustani-2
Har zarra hai moti, aankh uthaakar dekho
Maati mein sona hai, haath badhaakar dekho
Sone ki yeh ganga hai, chaandi ki yamuna
Chaaho to patthar pe dhaan ugaakar dekho
Naya khoon hai, nayi umangein, ab hai nayi jawaani
Hum hindustani, hum hindustani-2
Chhodo kal ki baatein, kal ki baat puraani
Naye daur mein likhenge milkar nayi kahaani
Hum hindustani, hum hindustani - 2

And the video on youtube that I used to practice once

There is one thing to be said about the Republic day! It shows us, that despite all the problems in India, there exists a democracy of such magnitude and power that it gives all Indians pride and a sense of belonging and the world a hope, the hope that non-violence and democracy are the way to go if peace is to be achieved in the world.

Happy Republic Day!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Every girl's dream in an arranged marriage

Another good forward that I couldn't resist sharing! Nowadays, I've started seeing some decently good forwards too, among all the Bill Gates sharing fortune forwards and the Help me, pass it on forwards. Kudos to the original author!

Some of my thoughts on the story before you read it. In India, from where I come, there are three kinds of wedding. The first is where you pick the groom(or bride) by yourself without help or support from family(the "love" marriage, though other marriages also have love in them, here love is the basis for the wedding and so the name), the second is where you pick the groom(or bride) by yourself and then get the family's approval(the "love cum arranged" marriage) and finally the one where the family(mostly the parents) search for a suitable groom or bride based on different criteria and you get to pick one among the selected list(the "arranged" marriage. This is more common in India but people are slowly moving over to the "love cum arranged" marriage type atleast in the cities). But there are loads of girls, me included, who think that searching for the perfect partner is a hard thing to do(too much responsibility!) and prefer to leave it to the parents and enjoy singledom happily. But most of the girls do have loads of doubts about their futures and some don't even think of their futures beyond the marriage as it would depend a lot on the person to whom they are getting married to. I'm not sure if the guys feel the same too but I've never heard anything of that sort from my guy friends. They are not bothered so much about the changes in career or life after marriage. Instead, they are more worried about the financial side(will I be able to support both of us? and questions of that sort) and the emotional/physical side of it(will I be able to satisfy her? will we hit it off together?). But this is strictly my opinion.

Especially when the wedding happens in a short span of time or when the bride-to-be and groom-to-be do not have a lot of time to interact with each other before the wedding, I'm sure there are going to be lots of doubts on either side on various issues. And it becomes all the more difficult when you just can't rationalize about what is happening. Come on! won't everyone get atleast a bit flustered when the society says that we have to live our whole lives with a person whom we barely know? That person might be good, bad, ok... His/her tastes, lifestyle, opinions, values, view of life, etc may be the same or different. He/She might be adjusting/demanding, nagging(I've seen some nagging husbands too,G :P), short-tempered/calm, quick with the tongue, etc. And one blindfold with the arranged marriage type of weddings is that you really don't know if things will work out. The parents make the best possible match and you start off with the wedding hoping things will be good. If they turn out good, everyone is happy. If not, the couple pay the maximum price. But usually, this type of marriage works very well, even better than the other two methods(this might be because of the close-knit familial ties in the Indian society or because everyone has a hand in the wedding, everyone helps to keep the marriage from breaking!). Still the uncertainty exists unless proved one way or the other. And this story is about a girl and her uncertainties. Here it is:

The woods were lovely dark and deep. Walking slowly beside her, in the damp mud road, was her husband whom she barely knew. He was very relaxed, happily watching a group of kids playing at a distance. Her "mehandi" was still dark and smelling fresh, reminding of the excitements and tension 2 days back. "It can't work this way mom...please stop this", she kept telling her mother till the last moment, who wouldn't listen but carry on with beautifying her. She had been crying all night and her make-up had to be patched up twice or thrice to hide her awkwardly swollen face.

It was too late now. She had to get married "NOW" to the guy...The guy whom she had seen once and talked thrice. The guy about whom she knew nothing at all but for his name and work. Everything happened in a hurry and everything was over before she could breathe again... here was she with this guy, all alone in this hill station... how can anybody send their daughter such a long distance with a stranger???

"Hey look at that....!!!" he shouted in excitement... she shrugged and looked where his finger pointed... Bright colored balloons dotted the sky. Children were jumping in joy and he seemed to be completely absorbed into it... colors are always exciting...but not now. She was not with her friends, not with her team mates, not even with her parents. This was not a 3 day tour or team building trip. This was her life and she has been forced to start off with this person. Loneliness and discomfort with this stranger was sickening...She looked at him in wonder... does he even realize that he has married me? Does he understand that he has to love me, protect me, care for me, a new girl, a stranger, all his life?

The marriage morning started like a daylight nightmare for her. The first time in life she felt she should have fallen in love and then married somebody. some man who she would have felt more comfortable with, someone whom she could call by name and introduce to friends, someone whom she could trust. But marriage morning was obviously not the time to think all these. Her parents would never have said "no" if she had declared that she was in love. But she was not emotionally attached to anybody she met, especially guys. She was very friendly, playing, teasing, but never had second thought for any man around her. That brought the entire responsibility of looking for a groom on her parents' shoulders. Her parents had had a very bad time with this entire process. They started their groom search with unending "&" operation. The concatenation of "Horoscope matching" & "Decent family" & "Good looking" & "Good pay" & "same cast" & so on... that always gave 0 output. Now after all that 8 months hunt, they were not ready to hear her "ifs" and "buts" for this 'good guy'. She had explained to her father. She does not feel anything for this person. He is nothing more to me than any other software professional. Like list of names she sees in the chat rooms. Distant and usual...Her father asked her to talk to him and even meet him and discuss their likes and dislikes. That meeting started like the induction program self introduction and ended like a 3 hour seminar.She was waiting to get away from that place. "So did you talk with him?". "yes". "was he polite and decent". "yes". "Oh he got that special flavoured tri-color icecream...!!!".OK. All her family and relatives discussed...She was given the chance to "understand her life partner" and that they have understood each other "well" and she is ready for the marriage now.

All arrangements geared up and it was 24 days after her first meeting that she was getting married to her man... perfect match as everybody else described. Marriage hall was full with excited people, kids got the chance to play, ladies got the chance to wear the silk saree. The smell of rose and jasmine filled the hall. Different poses for the photographer and artificial smiles for the videos. The moment he had
tied the sacred thread was unexplainable vacuum in the head. It was over.She was his wife. Accepted by the society and law. Her proud parents were relaxed. This was their duty they had been planning to fulfill since she was born. All this crowd will fade away, leaving her to explore her new world...

He pulled her hand gently to sit on the stone bench. The bench was wet and the chillness was indeed enjoyable. "So what are you thinking about?"... that was an unexpected ball. should she reply? should she be silent? She remembered the two hour presentation she had taken last month. Bold and confident, she kept answering all the queries with a broad smile. Now she remained silent. "Do you know honey... I was not
for this marriage too..." Oh my God... what did I hear??? did HE tell that or did I think aloud? what does he mean? didn't he like me? was he forced into this?" He must have noticed the quizzical look on her face...with a gentle smile he continued..."I wanted to look for a girl myself, buy her everything, care for her, argue with her, laugh and cry with her, then get married to her... Anything otherwise would be a drama. Traditional drama and I was not for it anytime. But my love for my work and also my stress would not give me time and mind to search that girl...When your parents talked to me 2 weeks before our marriage, about your fear of getting married, to a stranger, I could completely understand your mind. I could see myself in you and that was the moment I decided I will marry you. There was no time to prove myself to you, make you trust me, everything happened in a hurry. But there was the entire life before me, to please you, to love you, to make you trust me. This is no less than what I had dreamt, the girl I was waiting for, is you. Now tell me... will you love me???" Tears came down her cheek. Her parents had done more than their duty. They had found her the perfect guy. "Thank you Mom!!! Thank you Dad!!!" She sent up a silent prayer. His question remained unanswered yet both knew the answer....

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A mother at heart!

This is a beautiful story that one of my professors forwarded. Though I've read many like it back in India, the ending is different. I hope you like it too and all kudos go to the original author of the story, wherever he/she is.

"Are you sure, you don't have any problem with this" Selvi asked him once again, probably for the tenth time.
Suresh smiled at her."No ma. I am in fact happy that you made this decision". She leaned on his shoulders and closed her eyes. They are heading towards Anbagam (House of Love). It's a home for homeless children. Only last night, she asked Suresh about this. "Shall we adopt a child?" Her lovely eyes were wet. "I need a child, A Child of my own." Suresh didn't utter a word. He knows the pain that she undergoes all these ten years of their life together.

Theirs is a Love Marriage. Its not a Love at first sight kinds. They have been friends since the age of 10 and God only knows when exactly the friendship turned to Love. No proposals, No Cards, No 'I love yous'. When Selvi's parents fixed her alliance with a bottle-faced Richie, She realized that there can't be a life for her without Suresh. They didn't need many words to be exchanged between them as he also had the same thing in him. After failing to convince their parents, they decided to elope. It took two full years for their parents to accept them, that too, not whole-heartedly. But they neither bother them much nor ignore them. They live such an intimate life they need none else.

She has a great love for children. At every journey, she will manage to attract a child and soon it will be seen on her Lap. "See how those tiny fingers look... See how she smiles... so cute with lovely dimple... See how he looks. sooooo sweet. He is almost a doll..... Like this She has hundreds of 'See hows' to be excited about a kid. Once a Mom astonished after 6 hours of train journey with us,"My Son does not go to anyone other than me. I wonder how he got attached to your wife".

As destiny has its own way of dictating things, they don't have a child. Though She is yearning for one, she found ways to cope up with it. Every day, one could find a minimum of 10 children at her home. She would feed them, play with them and go to temples with them. She had her own world with them unperturbed by the comments of others.

One day she over-heard his mother talking to a neighbour, "When you don't look at the horoscopes, this is how things will be. These young people don’t listen to elders. Marriage is not a joke. Why we insist on horoscopes and auspicious days and all. They simply went and married without giving ears to our advices. See now, its we who suffer. I am worried if there won't be any heir to us at all. But what to do. I can only pray to God"

That night she cried for the first time after they got married. It was very hard for Suresh to console her.

"Have I spoiled your life" She asked in between her cries.
"Stupid girl, Stop all these non-sense. There is nothing to worry about these comments. I am here for you always.
Believe me. Soon, we will have a beautiful child. As beautiful as my kuttimmaa. Now please stop crying. I don't like to see my dear like this"
"Shall we go to Doctor" She asked with all the seriousness in the world.
Suresh didn't know what to tell.
"Why ma, lets wait"
"No Suresh, Please take me to a Doctor".

They went to Doctor. Not one. For next three years, they went to many a Doctor. Lots of scans, tests, specialists.....
All of them showed the same result......They are medically fit and there is not a single problem with either of them.

But still, the result they wanted never happened. God keeps answers to few puzzles to himself. They are beyond Medical science, In fact beyond any science. May be He is of the opinion that 'if the man-kind can find answers to all puzzles of the world, His existence will be ignored'.

As years went, they had to cope and tolerate more and more comments. And some of them were made on the face and many behind. They got used to it. None of these comments came between them. Their love for each other grew with them, undeterred.

Last evening that happened. He came back from office to see selvi waiting for him anxiously at the gate. "Suresh, manju is not well it seems. She is hospitalized. Let's go now pls."

Manju is a two years old girl of their neighbour who is one of the darlings of his wife. He drove to the Hospital. All along, selvi was telling me how manju was active playing with her till that afternoon. By afternoon, her mom came to take her, telling that her Granny has come village. As he reached the hospital, she didn't wait for him to park the car and ran to the reception. He parked the car and checked at the reception. The Child was in Room number 202 and when he approached the room, he saw selvi at the door.

She looked transfixed.
Then he heard that conversation too.
It was the granny of the child shouting at the mother. "Its all your carelessness that brought this to us, You neither use your head, nor listen to us."
"What did I do, Aunt"
"Haven't I told you 100 times not to leave the child to that ill-fated woman?"
"No Aunt, there is nothing wrong with her. She takes care of Manju very well"
"Even now, after experiencing this, you don't understand, is it?,
Have you ever watched at that selvi's eyes when she looks at our kid. Its all filled with jealousy and inability. That's what struck our child now. Otherwise, will a child who was active till 3, start vomiting continuously like this"
"Aunty. Please don't blame selvi akka (sister).
She is too good at heart to think so mean"
"Oho! So Your Selvie akka is not mean. Its me who is mean , is it"
"Oh Aunty, Please don't play with words. I meant to tell you that she is good at heart, that's all"
"hmmm, Good at heart….As if you saw her heart to comment on it"
"Yes. It's visible by her deeds. I have never seen her putting a foot wrong. She is kind and helpful. You can see every kid of the street in her house, all the time. Though she does not have a child on her own, You have seen how well she takes care of all kids. That's why I call her good"
"You can't judge a person that easily. She has a crooked mind behind all her deeds. More than me, More than you...
God judges everyone so well. Tell me why she is not blessed with a child. Tell me. God knows what to give to whom.
Stop arguing with me. And listen to me. Our Child is not going to her home anymore. That's it."

Selvi could not stand there even for a second after hearing this. She ran from there. The door was open and Suresh knew they were out there seeing them. But he didn't have time or courtesy to smile at them. Suresh had to rush back to his car where he saw Selvi in a totally collapsed state. He let her cry for sometime and that's when she asked him if they could adapt a child.

They reached that home by the prayer time. They joined the Prayer. They are singing a song praising the God for creating the world. Its thanks God for creating all beautiful things, Falls, mountains, landscapes, greens, creatures, man-kind.......and Love..... It ended saying that everything is His and everyone is His children. Its so touching to see all the innocent faces with pure hearts singing the song.

Selvi looked at all the kids. Her eyes are searching and he could see her eyes smile on seeing each face. Suresh knows that its going to be tough for her to single-out a child. The home is called 'House of Love' is run by the Jesuits and Father Ignaci Muthu is the Director of the Home. Prayers are over and now they are in Father's room. Suresh knows Fr. Ignaci very much as he got graduated from a Jesuits college. Suresh sees some tension creeping on selvi's face.

Actually they went with some sweets and we decide to distribute the sweets to all children. The Plan is to have a look at all children while giving the sweets. Selvi is given a list with all names of the children. They looked at all the children.

Children of different ages....
Fair, dark, lean, stout, special needs........
some are smiling...
some didn't bother to.....
A few thanked immediately.....
a few did after insistence by the Sister who accompanied them.....
one started feeling Selvi's saree with wide open eyes.....
one got curious about the Suresh's spectacles .....
All of them have many things in common.
they all have no mask on their faces...
they belong to same religion, religion of Love...
they have same parent.. The Almighty...
they have same character... Innocence...
they are all punished for a fault which is not theirs,
Yet, they are not aware of it and they don't hate the world or they don’t know how to....

By another hour, the sweet distribution is done and they are back in Father's room. Father asked Suresh "So My Son, Have you chosen a child, or do you both need to discuss" "We don't need any discussion father. It's going to be selvi's choice" Saying this Suresh looked at his wife. Selvi is biting her lips with a lowered head.Then she told, "No. I don't want to adopt a child"

Suresh is shocked.
And Father looked confused.
"Selvi, what are you saying?"
"No, Suresh. I don't want a child. Leave me like this. I don't want to adopt a child. I don't want. I don't want." With that, she started crying.

Father looked at Suresh without losing his calmness.
"Son, don't force her. Leave her. I guess you should have talked to her little more, before taking her here."
"No father, it's her decision to adopt"
"Yes, I did take the decision. And I am stupid. Now, I don't want to adopt. Please take me out"
She fell on the chair and she could not be controlled.
"I am sorry Father. Will meet you later"
Suresh took her out and didn't want to look at her.

She slept off on the way after weeping for sometime. They reached home and Suresh saw the paper with all names of the children in her hand. He is surprised that no child impressed her. He slowly tugged the paper and looked at it.
She has marked a tick on.......All names.

Till night they didn't speak much to each other. She came and asked if she could keep her head on his lap. He nodded and she did. "Are you Mad on me" she asked. "Yeah, Initially I was."

"So you are not, now"
"hmmmmm, but I am still confused"
She remained silent.
"I know you like all those children. But why did you say, you don't want to adopt a kid"
She asked him back, " If I asked you to select, whom you would have gone for"
Suresh thought for few seconds and told "That Amudha, 3 yrs old girl"
"Then don't you like that little Aruna who cannot walk".
Suresh didn't know what to tell.
"We can adopt both if you want".
She spoke after few minutes of silence.
"Suresh."I like all those children. It was not easy to choose one of them. Even if I choose one, that child will get a Mom and Dad in us. Don't you think it is an injustice done to all other children? If I have not seen all of them then it's a different thing. I saw them, each one of them. I can't say one is better than the other. Or I can't find out which one needs me more. All I can say now is I love them all and we can't adopt them all. Can we?"
Suresh looked at her face and didn't even try to reply.
She continued, "I know. We can’t. I don't want to disappoint other children by choosing one of them. They all are equal They all are good. They all are beautiful. Better than me. Better than you. They cannot be discriminated on any basis. They all are blessed and children of God. Can we make better parents than God? Let's not adopt a single child and try to give it a king's or queen's life. Let's adopt the home. Let's give all our money for them. Let's visit the home whenever possible. Please allow me to join them as a teacher. I don't care the world. Let me be, an issue-less woman who cannot be a mother forever. But let’s not adopt a child".
Suresh nodded his head in silence.
He understood that though selvi is not blessed with a child, she is already mother in heart.
A true Mother indeed.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

A great new year and... some reminiscences

Wish you all a great new year!

The past year has been good, in that I got to take a step towards my dreams and aspirations, learnt to know the good and bad in people(I earlier put people under the category of good people and bad people. Though I still do the same, I've come to accept that the good people are not entirely good and bad people are not entirely bad. A scary but truthful realization!), moved from one country to another, did most of the things for the first time by myself, traveled a lot(I mean, A LOT! 2007 was when I traveled to and fro from C to B, C to C and finally to the US, and loads of places here too!), met loads of people who think that learning something and being good at it is not something to be ashamed of and got to find a world that existed beyond the comfy confines of my home, home city and home country.

For the new year, I know that it has loads of surprises in store for me and I welcome it with my arms open, ready to gather the experience coming out of the situations thrown my way, to learn more about this interesting world, to make friendships and relationships that would mold me as a person and have fun along the way. I wish to gain more strength from all my endeavors this year, gain the elusive wisdom(I know its hard but still....) that is needed to win in life, achieve some personal goals I've set for myself(sshhhh! That is a secret! I'll tell you as they are fulfilled... if not, they will never be known to the outside world. I only hope that it doesn't come to that because each of the goals are very good and I've chosen them only after careful consideration from all viewpoints. Still, lets see!) and finally move myself to a point where I can take another step towards my dream. I know that to get to the next step towards my dream, I have to give up a few bad habits(like sleeping late, for instance) and pick up some good ones(like remembering to eat fruits everyday)(ok! these are trivial! But just to give an idea...). My wishlist for this year seems daunting now, but with time and in chunks, I'm sure they are doable.


Me too! I can't wait to fast-forward to the January of 2009 to find out how I fared this year. But since I don't possess a time-machine, we'll have to settle to the normal, blatant way of knowing the results. Lets wait and watch how this new year turns out to be!

Do tell about your new year wishlist too. It'll be loads of fun to draw up one :)