For Ages Now, and Beyond – My Mom’s Magic

This is a long overdue blog. It technically should have been my very first post, But I took long enough. Not anymore. Its time I give my mom the tribute she deserves. This shall be my last post for 2015 😉

I have always been the ‘prodigal child’. Also the bad tempered, ill mannered, unapologetically arrogant daughter. Disobedient. Loud mouth. Adamant. Cry baby. Impatient. Almost every ‘foul’ adjective you can think of, applies to me.

And then, there is my mother. She is a super woman. Not because she is my mum, (I mean, of course she has to be one, to put up with me, for starters) but because of the woman she is.

Life hasn’t been easy on her, or kind. I wouldn’t probably have half the strength/patience/courage to face all that she has, and still remain silent, keeping the family together. Yet, she is one of the most optimistic persons I have known all my life.

She has been the rock of support whenever I was broken, and continues to be. I was not the good girl at all ( I presume I am much better now 😛 ). As a kid, I was notorious. Selfish. I used to lie a lot, for even the silliest of reasons. I used to be pathetic at studies, and had it not been for her, I wouldn’t have reached anywhere in life.

But she never ever showed/shared her disappointment to me. Ever. Even when I failed in mathematics in class VII, or when my teachers told me off and complained to her for something that I am really ashamed of, till date, or when my schoolmates complained to her about my mischief. Or the umpteen number of times when she had to look down in front of many people for my sake. I would have cringed in embarrassment had I been in her place. But she bore it all with supreme dignity and patience. And yet she never, ever, vented out her ire on me. All that she did was, instill faith in me. To keep going. She corrected me with a perseverance I didn’t know, existed. And she put up with all my bawling with a smile. She gave me the freedom to think, experiment and act. She continues to do that, and will do so forever 🙂

She is probably the most balanced person I have ever met. She doesn’t normally let anything affect her too much. Yet, that didn’t stop her from beaming ear to ear when I topped my department in college.

She is the first person to whom I share everything, baring open my heart, skipping nothing. It gives her joy to be part of my life, to listen to me rambling, whilst I scarcely lend a ear to anything she says.

My resolutions always tend to become hers. Like when I resolved not to skip breakfast, and yet out of habitual laziness, still get up late in the mornings, she literally spoon-feeds every last morsel to me before I leave for work.

While I complain that I wouldn’t do any of the household chores because I’m tired back from work, she wakes up much before me in the morning, cooks, does all the chores ( we don’t have a maid to help us with the house work), makes time to pursue her hobby (her crochet patterns are worth spending every last penny in your pockets), teaches kids music ( yes, she is a music teacher too), tends to her ailing mother-in-law …. the list is endless. This includes executing the endless errands each of the family member has. She does it all with a smile plastered across her face. Without any qualms or complaints. And she goes to bed after me. Late into the night. Yet, when I come back home for dinner, ‘I’ make a face at the dining table, complaining of back pain, and not her.

She never says no. To anything I ask her. Be it preparing ladies finger every day, or picking up the juiciest of the garden huckleberries. She does it all.

She is my conscience. She is my best friend. She is my favorite shopping partner. She is MY MOTHER 🙂

I am pathetic at expressing what I feel. In words, in person. And I might never be able to, at all, express what I feel to, anybody whatsoever. So I will make good this opportunity to convey this to my mum – Thanks for being who you are, to me. I can never be/become half as good as you are. I am proud of you for what you are. And I am grateful for having you in my life. I love you.

I know my mom loves me too. Yet I don’t understand one thing. Why does she always have to load “Carrots” on my plate, specially when I dine with my father? 😛

P.S. This blog is not to prove how bad I am. Or show how good my mother is. It is a medium I have used, to express what I think. 🙂

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No Mercy, Merci!!

A preamble of my thoughts –
https://annapurani93.wordpress.com/2015/12/19/intolerance-in-india-no-way/

So, the Juvenile Justice Bill was finally passed in Rajya Sabha. And how! With humongous amount of discussion, deliberation and dilution – they have arrived at what they call an amendment – for the betterment of the lives of women in our country. And oh! The debate on whether this bill should even be passed, or if a special selection committee be involved to decide how the ‘INNOCENT child CONVICTS’ (that looks like a fantastic new oxymoron, doesn’t it?) should be handled, deserves a special mention.

(The below links will throw some light on the same.
1. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-35161193
2. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/juvenile-justice-bill-passed-how-politicians-reacted-on-the-new-law/
3. http://m.thehindu.com/news/national/juvenile-justice-bill-passed-in-rajya-sabha/article8018448.ece
)

Hark! Look at some cringing at the bill, saying the crime rate is static. Static? Are you kidding me? Should the objective not be to remove the roots of even the intentions of committing the crime? (This probably gives ample reason and support to the excuse given by the supreme court, whose hands, as it rightly says, “are tied by the law”.)

How much more pathetic can this get?

The only juvenile in the Nirbhaya rape case who was released after much ado, is being sheltered in a “charity house”, is, in short, being given nothing short of ‘z’ category security, because of “fears over his safety”. ( The convict is apparently ‘scared’ about facing the people’s wrath).

A sweet consequence of this – the next loafer (minor/major) around the corner of your street, who already has pretty much all the ‘desirable’ habits to be avoided for, will DEFINITELY not bother to think twice to commit a crime of a similar or a higher degree, looking at the kind of treatment his former ‘partners-in-crime’ are being given. Which will successfully fulfill the objective our ‘revered’ leaders are trying to prove, won’t it? Keeping the crime rate static, my foot!

I understand, juveniles or the so called ‘INNOCENT child CONVICTS’, when made to share a jail room with murderers MIGHT get spoiled for life. But mind you, they did commit a crime. Whether they were pushed to do what they did, or they didn’t actually know what they were doing, they would have to realise the impact of their unforgivable acts.

And for that to happen, the law has to enforce stringent punishment – that doesn’t cripple them for life, but educates them enough so they are ashamed sufficiently for what had been their course of action; educates them enough so they don’t take the law for granted; so it pricks their conscience every time they retrospect, so they recoil in fear every time they think of crossing the line.

Let the law punish them so, that the rest of the human race living in India shudders to even think of committing something similar or worse. Let the law be such, that it can’t be taken for granted. At all.

Mercy – is elixir when bestowed on the deserving. Only when bestowed on people who truly deserve a chance, a second chance. And who deserve it shouldn’t be judged going by their power or feigned repentance. Mercy tends to lose it’s worth then. And too much of anything is definitely poison. Period.

Also, in a rush to appease the rich and the prominent, let’s not make this land uninhabitable for the rest. Atleast in thought.

P.S. I was suddenly reminded of the infamous porn ban and the ‘surprise’ investigation checks in hotels while writing this. Just saying.

In Retrospection – 2015

Just 2 weeks to go, and 2015 would be over.
2015 was neither too bad nor too good to me.
However, these are some things/facts/events I would like to remember this year by.

1. I graduated (Yayayayayyyyyy!!), With a gold medal (Anna University 3rd rank holder and THE Electronics and Instrumentation department topper in my college). Yes, I am bragging 😛

2. Completed ONE whole year at work 😀

3. Missed one of my best friend’s wedding( Ashwathi’s) in Kerala on December 4( The tickets were booked, and bags were packed; but the trains got cancelled – all thanks to the Chennai rains :/ ). Still, had fun, getting her to share her memorable moments, over phone 🙂

4. Made the two most important people in my life happy – for the first time genuinely, with due effort – My mom, and my sister, Uthra (She is always such a sweetheart, no matter how mean I am, to her)

5. Met Bunny. After almost an year. Another close friend. My go-to person at all times.( He knows I’m talking about him).

6. Have started to live by what I call the “Seize the moment” philosophy.

7. Learnt to say NO. Finally. (That’s a landmark change in my character, BTW 😛 )

8. Stopped skipping breakfast. XD.

So far, just this. Will keep updating as I hit on more. 🙂

Intolerance? In India? No way!

Looks like the Nirbhaya rapist will get away from being brutally punished for his unforgivable sin. The country’s judiciary system was put to test again, and it has happily failed. What’s more – News has it that, he has been trained as a tailer and an amount of Rs.10,000 will be sanctioned towards helping him set up his business.
My thoughts on the same – If only he hadn’t been trained as a tailor, I would have suggested to train him a cobbler.
At least under the pretext of getting our shoes/slippers mended, we might get a chance to show him his real place in life, in this world. Show him the same hell, which he brought into ‘her’ life and the concerned. Keep reminding him what he did to an innocent soul. And ensure his feigned repentance becomes true. That’s the least we can do, after what seems to be the judiciary’s verdict.
Intolerance in India? Don’t even think of it. Because our country and it’s system are tolerant enough to let a RAPIST go scot free. What more do the ‘outsiders’ want?

Hell, yes. I know I’m being impudently sarcastic. But I don’t think I’m wrong.

Of Buses and Bumpy Rides

Because it’s been a long time since I blogged and because I have been thinking of  writing about this for sometime now, I’m writing this today.

7:50 A.M. : I hurriedly walk to the Chromepet Bus Stand, and wait in anticipation – for my bus – any one of the 91 series.

8:15 A.M. : There is still no sign of the bus, and plenty of office goers and other commoners like me wait impatiently.

8: 25 A.M. : A two tier 91 series bus finally approaches the stretch and people throng to get inside. It’s a pathetic sight as the bus which had alighted from Tambaram, is already ‘almost’ full as it arrives. Yet, people (including me) strive hard to get inside, because only God would know the ‘probability’ of arrival of the next 91 bus.

8:45 A.M. : 15 mins into travel and we have not even reached one-tenth the distance of my destination stop. The conductor has whistled the bus to stop, urging the passengers to buy their tickets. Just then somebody stamps hard on my foot, and punches my spine (completely unintentional) all for want of space, to stand.

9:15 A.M. : With an unkempt face, disheveled hair, and drenched in sweat, I push my way out, to get down at my stop, which I realise I have missed only after I see the bus hooting its way into the OMR road. (So much for NOT standing on the footboard to see if it’s the stop I’ve to get down at)

9:20 A.M. : Exhausted, I walk across the road, and catch the trailing bus to reach my workplace (There is no straight-one-bus route to my workplace, and this route is probably the shortest)

7:00 P.M. : Drained of strength and left with few microns of energy, I walk to the Thoraipakkam bus stand (wistfully smiling at the Mercedes Benz showroom on the way), I wait yet again for my chariot of agony ( oh yeah!)

7:30 P.M. : There’s still no sign of the bus coming. Tired, I hail a share-auto, and he tries to push two more passengers in, after me, into the already overflowing vehicle. And smilingly, asks for a good 30 bucks for the ride. Fuming, I hop out, and decide to wait for my bus (NOTE : I AIN’T STINGY)

7:40 P.M. : The ’91’ bus turns into the Thoraipakkam junction road in all its splendour. There’s no big difference in the crowd, and since I am not left with any other option, I slide in, onto the bus. Literally.

8:20 P.M. : The journey is pretty much the same – huge crowd, footboard travelling, no air to breath. As I prepare to get down, a look at the crowd near the footboard tells me that there is a mammoth task lying happily in wait for me. I squeeze my way out, and jump out of the bus the moment it stops. Swearing loudly.

Well, this has been my daily routine to work for the maximum number of days in the past one and half years. And I am not exaggerating.
1. What I’m trying to explain is the course of commute of a normal working middle class citizen in chennai, who doesn’t wish to/cannot afford the fares for an Air-Conditioned bus, everyday.( An A.C. bus too, on certain days is too full of people, that the automated doors don’t get closed easily)

2. What I have understood in my one and a half year journey, is, pretty much more than 75% of the college students, the working class people and the office-goers use the 91 series bus to commute.

3. What I want to ask is, when the government knows and understands the collections of each bus route, why does it fail to recognise the importance of the same, and increase the number and the frequency of each of them, whenever and wherever necessary? If done so, it will help prevent accidents due to footboard travel, and enable passengers travel in comfort at an affordable cost (Though after the recent Chennai flood debacle, one can see a gaping hole in the government’s functioning, and there are definitely several areas where it has failed us all)

Well, actually, I realise, I am at fault too. For, I was living with it – living with what I think is not right. What I forget to remember from time to time is, with the Right to Vote, comes The Right to Brag, and The Right to Protest/Raise your Voice.

I have never had the reason or need, to go for the former.(Pun intended)

But I have, atleast so far, subdued my voice – never taken the initiative to raise it  to make the required difference.

And that’s the mistake we as citizens make, in a completely democratic country like ours –  where there is tolerance, and freedom of speech and opinion. The freedom to Protest. The freedom to make a difference.

Enough of the bumpy rides. It’s time. To wake up. To pull up my socks. To ensure my vote doesn’t go waste. Again.

The Man Who Will Continue To Live.

.Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.

The name says it all.

Before you begin reading this, let me explain to you what the post is not. This post neither is a biography of the iconic personality, nor is it an essay of bombastic words describing his greatness – only, it needs no mention, and it can’t be mentioned or measured. You, the reader, would probably know better.

This post is just my way of remembering him.

This is my tribute to him.

Dr. Kalam became the President of India in 2002; I was in class V then. To know the name of the country’s president was part of our Social Science curriculum. And that is how; I got to know his name first. 2 years into his role as a president, and he made the country realize the potential of the youth – The future pillars of the nation. His love for children and the youth brought more energy into the work he did and this set him apart from the other leaders of the nation.

His ways were unique, more down to earth and gentle. And this demeanor brought him closer to the people. And the ambition to meet him; increased. It became every student’s dream to meet him. I had the dream too. That was when I wrote this. In 2005. (Coincidentally, this was my first article to get published).

IMG_20150728_201545 IMG_20150728_201321

Soon after, a senior of mine at school, Shalini, had informed my mother, how she wrote a letter to the President (Dr.Kalam), and how she got a very appreciative response from him for the same. News was also around that Dr. Kalam was encouraging students to write to him; share thoughts, suggestions and ideas with him.

That was when I sent him a ‘small’ mail.

‘Small’ because;

Firstly, I couldn’t believe the fact that the President of India was personally responding to the letters/mails sent to him.

Secondly, the huge dunderhead that I was (I still am), I didn’t actually know what to write to him, or ask him.

Nor did I sincerely expect a reply. But reply he did.

IMG_20150728_201705

Not just to me, but to the thousands of others who wrote to him.

And that made a huge difference to my thought process. For the president of a country to take interest in each and every email/letter that came across, and respond to it all with immense politeness, it was a huge, huge deal. His humility amazed me.

People admired him for his simplicity, his intellect, his humbleness. That’s exactly how he has carved a niche for himself in the hearts of people. No pomp, no show. He was the “People’s President” through and through. And that will make him remain alive in their hearts forever, as much as he continues to inspire zillions all over the world.

A huge bit of regret still lies in my heart for not having had the opportunity to meet him in person, yet my little piece of email-memoir of him and the fact that I live in an era that he had lived, strive to reduce the disappointment.

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, – You will be missed. Your demise has created a void in this world, that can’t be filled by any other.

Rest In Peace, Dr. Kalam

Talk about Contrasts, Courage and Confidence!

7 p.m. Chromepet railway station, near the ticket counter : A young guy, Mani clears the area around and settles himself down to begin his trade for the day. He sells flowers. At a very nominal rate. To earn his daily bread.

7 a.m. Chromepet railway station, near the ticket counter, bang opposite the place where Mani sits everyday: Another guy slightly older than Mani, perhaps. Who seeks alms from people to have his daily bread.

7: 05 p.m. Chromepet railway station, near the ticket counter, bang opposite Mani : The slightly older guy still is seeking for alms from people. Mani has just begun his trade.

Confused at what I’m trying to convey? Well, for your information, Mani, is slightly crippled. His one leg isn’t normal, like it is for the rest of the human clan. He still EARNS his living. He manages to make a living for himself, in spite of what circumstances had in store for him. He doesn’t brood over it. He doesn’t use his minus as his key to gain the sympathy of people. Which is commendable.

And as for my reference to the other guy, who seeks alms, well, he is crippled too, in the leg. Perhaps someone who has suffered a higher degree of damage. And is under even more pain and difficulty. Than Mani. But by God’s grace, his hands are still intact. So is the rest of his body. He can STILL EARN a decent living for himself, if ONLY he wills it. And that is where Mani makes a difference for himself.
Two people in similar situations, but their attitudes show the contrast in their livelihoods. It takes only a bit of confidence and a small dose of courage to bring the change.

P.S.  No, I ain’t anyone to make a comparison of the livelihoods of the two. Or comment on the same. Nor am I some reporter snooping around for stories for my magazine. No. This is plainly my observation. And it ends with a lesson for self.That’s about it.

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