Monday, 11 November 2013

The AD Effect !!

- An Exemplar of the Influence of Ads on Human Minds....

Abi and Me watching TV, when a series of jewellery ads come one after the other.There were about 4 or 5 ads in all.

FYI both mom and kid like to play a game ( with the jewellery ads) of guessing the brand before they say the name.

Game results and comments

Ad 1 :-   Abi wins. Abi liked all the jewellery except the bangles ..
Ad 2 :-   Me guessed right but Abi wins. No Bad comments at least..
Ad 3 :-  Abi wins.. i try to argue with him.. that i too was correct ..Sigh!! Master did not like the ad ..The ad seemed a bit substandard for me too..
Ad 4:-   Again Abi wins ..this time even before the ad starts !!!  No point in me arguing so kept quiet..This one was an ad endorsed by his favorite macho hero.. so i stood no chance...

I with all the crookedness to catch my kid offgaurd and test him on his motherly affections:- Baby.. come on tell me, when you grow up.. what jewellery will you buy me from which store..?

Abi:- I will buy you a diamond mamma..(NO jewellery only the stone...  :P )

Me prompting him with options:- what jewellery my dear.. (bangle, necklace, earrings..) and From which store.. (store1, store2, store3, store 4)

Abi:- ONLY the STONE mamma.. a BIG one ..(Then without a second thought on the store!!!) NOT from store 3 anyways.. its not good... MAY be from store 4 (:P)                                                            
  An epilogue 

After a round of scolding from me at night,
Abi to Me :- I am NOT going to buy you ANYTHING from ANY STORE..
" For all my chicanery.... Simply Caught OFFGaurd !!! :(  "

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

An Ode to an Agraharam Life.

         "Tradition is the Illusion of Permanence."-Woody Allen 

 There was this news which I came across recently, which is also the source of inspiration for this writing- “Some unknown Land Mafia Encroaching the Agraharams around the Fort Area”. The news said, these streets are part of Travancore heritage. Yes, they definitely are, with stories revolving around even TipuSultan, when he came to conquer Travancore. But for me, they are even more. They are more like a link to my past, and my own childhood which is not very far behind.

Looking back to those days, the first thing which comes to my mind is a vague memory of my grandparents waking up, at the wee hours of around 3:00 AM, with the tingling of the temple bells and M.S Subbalakshmi’s Venkateswara Suprabhatham in the background. My Grandfather was a disciplinarian who did his daily activities with time precision. 4:00 AM was his time to go to the temple and the whole family had to be awake by the time he leaves. Anyways I was an exception with all privileges of an only granddaughter in the family until then, and I was only 4 or 5.I could sleep until my uncle would start pinching and irritating me trying to wake me up by 8:00 AM :):). I don’t remember getting ready to school at all, as I used to do that half sleeping, all credits to my dear grandmother :)

This is a very sweet memory that I hold on to strongly. The house itself was a double storeyed narrow, tiled house. You could go one room after another in a perfect straight line which ended up in the backyard where the bathrooms were. There was no front yard or gate. Once you stepped out of your house, you would land on the main road. But there was no fear of any vehicles back then. And we children used to play in the streets. The biggest vehicle you could find was a scooter. Of course there was a doctor in the street who had a car. But that was it. The street itself was lined up on both the sides with similar houses all along flaunting a decorative beautiful kolam drawn with rice flour on the door fronts.

There was nothing like big privacy in them. Often we could hear raised voices from the adjacent houses. But did they matter? I guess people didn’t bother much as they had a kind of extended family feeling amongst them. Everybody knew everyone else’s relatives and friends. Even I had a lot of my relatives around in the adjacent streets. 

Come any festival or any auspicious day, all of them would gather at our house and there would be lot of group cooking and eating activities. Bear in mind there was not much space as we have now in our big houses and yet there was so much joy, contend and happiness. 

Pongal was always spirited with unannounced competition among the ladies to make the most beautiful, colourful, and complicated kolams in front of their doorsteps (on the road: P). Aromas of sharkara pongal and other delicacies accentuating the mood…Navarathri also was celebrated with a similar spirit right from the setting up of golu, and mutual exchange of goodies and homemade delicacies on all the nine days. In short there was this sense of joy, togetherness, love and compassion bonded by strictly religious and pious traditions. It was a certain mode of life of a community.

Today, when I go back to the area, I see lot of known faces all withered up. Most of the fresh ones have long gone and settled in far and foreign places. The withered ones still hold on to these rich and pious traditions. But the colour which should have been bought by the young and the youth are long gone. Most of the people including me, are busy, having no time for personal life let alone community or social life. This I feel has made people a lot self – centred. A totally new flat culture is on the boom, bringing with it a new kind of culture and life style.

It pains me more still, as I recently lost couple of my relatives from there which put me thinking, some 20 years or so down the line... with most of my kith and kin scattered across the world…I am afraid, I will be alone.. longing for all those dear ones who had raised me, cared for me, loved me and looked after me. And as I read the news article, if the agraharams are also wiped out…, it strikes me off guard, that there would be nothing left for me… to boast of my childhood and all the loving memories that I have painted with these streets as a background.

The canvas itself will be empty…!!! Moreover whether it’s mine or not, is it not a tradition or culture being wiped out slowly……….????

Monday, 12 August 2013

Salim- owner of Salim’s store

 “Life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all.”
William Goodman

                It’s just been two years, that I became a regular at Salim’s store. Though I have been married for nine years and staying in the locality ever since, I had other regular stores earlier. It was my husband who first mentioned this store and ever since it has been a gradual process of growing trust until now, to the extremity that almost all of my return trips from my office included a stop at Salim’s store. Unintentionally it had become a routine in my life.

 It had all the things I needed, the ones I had forgotten to buy from the margin free store, milk, magazines, provisions and what not.... And behind all that was the main entity of the store-Salim, a very hard working, and charming, well behaved and smart person. I remember my son, once noticing that Salim uncle is very quick in doing things.

 It was only couple of weeks back that I found that this guy with a small store owned an Octavia!! I was really impressed now and asked about it to my husband. I got more information that apart from the store, he also did other franchise jobs, even was a newspaper boy in the area, and owned some land here and there which he had brought and was constructing a 2500 sq. house!! Wow!! He was definitely not the kind of person I had assumed him to be. I remembered he was blessed with a child recently and felt really happy for such a nice diligent person. Such be it, he had become a sort of day-to-day person in my life.

It’s Ramzan... And today as I go back home in an auto, I have my little things to buy as always, and my naturally programmed brain tells me to stop by Salim’s store.

 But then, with a stabbing pain and helplessness, I remind myself for the umpteenth time, that the shop will be closed today ….  For how long I don’t know …as today ….Salim the owner of Salim’s store is NO MORE in this world…. He expired today early morning all of a sudden, due to a fall in the bathroom, caused by high BP they say..!!!!!!

LIFE really is UNFAIR and truly unpredictable….!!!

When I say that… I am not thinking of his young wife...his baby... his mother…his family or all of his unaccomplished dreams…but yet I am in a state of shock!!! Finding it hard to accept the small, simple, fact- that I will NOT see this man again in that store anymore!!  When I stop by the store someday to buy something…..

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Goddesses of Very Small things

Making the Big from the Small...

       The matter of inspiration for this writing was one of my visits to my kid’s school. It gave me an unexpected opportunity to get a glimpse of a grade I class during the class hours. Oh!! It was a pretty big pandemonium there!!!! The chatterboxes were all doing a variety of things in the class and the poor teacher was standing there teaching (read shouting :)). Some of them even roaming about and there was this one tiny tot who managed to get out of the class (presumably to the washroom) and back in without the teacher noticing...WOW!!! – The scene said a lot of unspoken things.

      Teaching, the noblest walk of life was always a passion for me. Even from my childhood, I remember, I studied my lessons pretending to teach others. Or when it was the exams, I remember teaching my friends though I had not learned myself :P. In my dance classes, where I spent a majority of 15 years of my childhood, I was already teaching dance whenever my teacher was busy. I should say this gave me a tremendous opportunity to explore my teaching skills and that was when I realized my love for teaching.

       Anyways as time passed, for appeasing a lot of personal and financial goals, I had to fore go my teaching ambitions and landed up being a software programmer. I should say I was totally unaware of what life had in store for me……

      19 Dec 2006, I got my own lifetime student: P and the life time tests on my (highly accomplished) teaching skills started. It has been like teaching, teaching, and teaching him whatever I can :P, and whatever ‘HE’ wants!!. And now this little devilish creature is in his 2nd grade..., and guess what... I have already started “NOT” looking forward to my teaching sessions… because of just one reason - There I am passionately making my lecture, telling him inferences and reasons, making him memorize and write, and my adorable student sitting and asking me 101 questions of all the other things in the world and his opinion on each one of them … SIGH!!!!! It is really a terrible blow to the ego of “The self-proclaimed Teacher” in me…..:):):)

        If this is it, with just one little student whom you know in and out to manage…. What if you have to deal with a group of pixies at one go?? 

        This is exactly what the primary school teachers go through day in and out (Not that I degrade the higher ones  ... absolutely no...). But our society has this bad way of evaluating a teacher by asking in what grade he/she is teaching and if she says primary there is a pathetic “Oh...” sound following it. Qualification is one thing but the value of contribution to the society also has to be taken to account when we decide the social and financial value of any profession. 

       Primary school teachers definitely deserve much more respect, dignity, and of course pay for what they are doing. Considering they are actually laying the foundation for each of the children’s behavior and conduct in the society and the pain they have to endure for the same, let alone the pain for giving each of them personal care, we as a society are giving very less or no credits to them. They are not just teachers as we call them but…
The Gods/Goddesses of very small arrogant, irritant little creatures called Children!!!!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Fragrance of Life

My Life- My Existence

A thought struck me today!!!!-“What am I doing in this world!!!!!”-  Phew!! Even I feel disappointed that I am so philosophical. But pondering over the thought:-

As a mother I have  a very straight answer to this thought- I am raising my child :P  With that said, actually there is no time for such thoughts having tits and bits of work, complaints, 1000 questions to answer and if you are one of those working mothers.. Lo! You lead a life of a juggler not allowing any of the balls to fall down. But looking around, I see all the living beings doing exactly the same thing raising their kids, though not in a way that we do. We as highly civilized mortal beings are off late highly governed or overly influenced by a lot of social norms. As according to the rule, it being more complex being an Indian, we go to school, try to get the highest educational accolades, try for the best job around, find a partner (or agree to be in a relationship with a person chosen by our parents), fend for our livelihood, have a child or two, raise them again as per the social norms, see them getting settled and then what!! We die…. This is a kind of general outline of an average middleclass Indian. Is there anything else/more to life??

You may laugh at the thought of me getting an answer to this question and time and again lot of very great philosophers have died trying to find this. You are absolutely right. This is a question which I don’t have the answer for. But thinking on I fell upon the following points:-

  • I can/should add more colour to my life by doing things that I love/enjoy to do.
  • I can definitely make a meaningful purpose to my life by trying to raise my child in a good /appropriate way that, someday ( our civilized) society benefit from him.
  • And if possible I can still add some value to my life by making myself useful to the people around me.

So that as I rot, I can at least give a big Sigh!! And say that I did whatever I loved to do and was helpful to at least couple of people around me. Above all I was able to contribute one better person to the society and my very existence did not go in total vain... :)

Good fragrances leave good imprints....and may God help me leave mine.....

Monday, 15 July 2013

Kashmir- The Paradise on Earth.

Kashmir- Paradise which turned Hell.

“Khuda se mannat he meri,… Lotta do Jannath he teri….:- a song on the Beautiful or once Beautiful Kashmir…” As I boarded the bus back home, it hit me from the speakers. I squeezed myself in and after a lot of pushes and pulls, managed to get myself a side seat. The lyrics still ringing in my ears, I caught glimpse of the busy traffic passing by. The music was so melodious but the lyrics were disturbing now, but why now? I am not sure.  The words felt so real. It was a painful appeal to God to bring back the old Kashmir…
The Kashmir, I remember from my school lessons was always described ‘The Paradise On Earth’. But can we still describe her with the same words? Paradise is a place where all people will unanimously be so eager, happy and excited to go. What would be your reaction now if you were offered a trip to Kashmir.. Fear..Doubt.. Anxiety.. Or would it be a strict NO..?.
If so have we ever imagined the emotional trauma, the Kashmiri people are undergoing. What would be their daily life like, the women and the children with no or very little hope or dreams, with so much a foggy future before them, let alone the physical and mental atrocities done to them in the name of religion, sex or what not. Where each day is a new fear of the uncertainties, beyond, fear of life and death, where is the question for a dream or aspiration.
In this century we claim to be at the epitome in all fields, let it be education, science, arts, literary, sports whatever.. But still are we able to do anything to stop all these nonsense. Yes, it’s not a national issue but involves other countries also. In that aspect, it makes me wonder where have all the moral values like humanity, consideration, sympathy, concern, righteousness, honesty and integrity gone. Is the world deteriorating in human values? Can’t we just believe in the policy of ‘Live and Let Live’ to stop all these. Why couldn’t all the high bred democrats come together and decide to follow this policy and stop the constant war. Why are we still fighting like the dogs and cats? They fight for a very basic necessity –Food which is very noble. Or is it for food that we are also fighting?
If then the blame would go to the economy. It was so much easier in the beginning of civilisation where people just exchanged whatever they had and lived a content life .Now we have all the complicated formulae and jargon associated with economy, the dollar, the share market, the rupee, its ups and downs, the exports, imports and what not and people’s food (or cost of food) somehow dependent on them.
As far as my understanding, the initial rift for Kashmir the most beautiful place on earth was because of the economic value it promised to the nation. And with the fight over it, all these years what have we made of the same paradise- a battlefield! tearing the lives of its people in the name of religion. Where is religion here? There is only a big conspiracy to destroy the economic value of a priceless land in the name of war. Who is to be blamed....?

-          Author -Anjana Jayasankar