7 Oct 2013

Chennai Tales - Part 2

Its been 7 months in this city and my initial skepticism has slowly turned into awe and wonder. There is something about Chennai that is far beyond the rugged, dusty and colorless terrain.

As I have already wrote in my earlier post, the soul of every city sings a tune that is unique and beautiful. The music I hear here is a potpourri of the old and the new. Of hardcore rock and south Indian classical music. Where else can you see people who hold the old and the new equally close to their heart. In malls here, while rock concerts go on in ground floor, classical concert happen on the top floor. And both have an equal number of admirers. Its truly spectacular how the people here appreciate and welcome the new trends while never leaving the grip on the old traditions.

The people here are the most welcoming and warm hearted people I have ever met. They truly live upto the vedic verse, 'Atithi devo bhava' which means, treat guests as Gods. My tamil friends go out of their way to make us feel welcome and comfortable. Even strangers have been kind and friendly. The uncle to whom I enquired about a train to my place guided me to the train and ensured that I got into the ladies compartment. While waiting in line at a tendor coconut shop another person moved aside and told us, 'You are our guests, please go ahead'.  Such small benevolent actions have truly touched my heart and made me come closer to this city.

Chennai truly is a beautiful city and its beauty is not just in the beaches or architecture, its in the heart of the people here. As some wise man said, " A nation is not made of the land or its riches but of living breathing people."

20 Aug 2013

My Rockstar Grandma!!

This is a tribute to an extraordinary lady. She was neither an actress nor a politician.She never was popular or famous.But she changed the life of her children, grandchildren and everyone around her with her sheer charisma and intelligence.
That was my grandma, the late Sara Paulose.

My earliest memories of grandma is of her standing with a cane and terrorizing us kids to have food. She was very particular that we always have a second serving of food from her own hands. She was a strict disciplinarian who never restrained from showing her immense love and affection for everyone.

I have never seen a lady as clever as her. She was sharp and quick witted, a quality that some of her children were lucky to inherit. She always knew what has to be done and did it perfectly. Her decisions were always right and she had this amazing quality of thinking about the future and taking decisions which would prove useful in the long run.

She never hesitated to go against the norms of the society. She was not the kind of person to be tied down by the shackles of the society. For her, everything was clear and she never faulted in her decisions. Even when her drunkard husband was wasting away the family properties, she stood firm as a wall protecting her kids and making sure they got good quality education.

She was nothing short of a doctor. She knew herbs and medicines for any ailments you could think of. There is this one incident that I remember from my childhood. One day while I was sitting in the veranda, an eagle came and snatched a small chick that was playing nearby. My grandma came running and started throwing stones at the eagle. The eagle finally surrendered to the pelting and let the chick go. But the poor thing was hurt very badly. My grandma rushed to its aid with a steel plate and a spoon. She covered the dieing chick with the plate and started beating on the plate in a rhythmic manner. We watched with open mouth as the chick's heart rate started rising and it started getting up by itself. That day, my grandma became a superhero in my eyes.

My grandma used to tell us stories and put us to sleep. We used to crawl up beside her and ask her to repeat the stories. We listened raptly as she told us stories of angels who took human form, about rooms in heaven and so many other beautiful stories.

Even though she was from another decade, she was not averse to the new technologies and ways of living. She was open to change and new ideas. Something I loved a lot about her. She truly was a magnificent lady.

Her demise has left a huge hole in all our lives.She was truly a rock-star grandma!Even now when I smell ayurvedic ointments, it reminds me of my sweet granny. Her white hair, wrinkled face and that beautiful smile. Grandma, you will never be forgotten. Even though you have gone far away from our sight, you will always be alive in our heart.

Dedicated to the best grandma in the world!!!

7 Apr 2013

Chennai Tales

This is my first post from the land of Rajnikanth. Some unexpected turn of events catapulted my life from Kochi to Chennai. And now, I am happily settling in this strange and mysterious city.

 When my friends and relatives heard that I am leaving for Chennai, they were all sympathetic. "Chennai huh? The climate is gonna be horrible", "Poor you..The food there is not at all good and be careful about the water.", "Its a very dirty city" etc etc.. I got so many sympathetic glances and soothing words that I mentally prepared myself to face the demons of this scary sounding city.

As soon as we stepped out of Chennai Central, we were surrounded by a crowd of riksha and taxi walahs, everyone pitting for our attention and asking us where we wanted to go. After lots of bargaining and bickering, we settled for an auto. The man who won the battle turned out to be just a broker and not the real auto driver. From there began my adventurous journey through Chennai.

I remember a fellow blogger writing about how each city sings a different tune, how each city is like a living person with his own characteristics and dark shades. Chennai, I realised has a character of its own. Like everyone even Chennai has different shades. Each of which I'm discovering as days go by.

The autowalah's of Chennai, who are a species of their own.The cows and dogs who inhibit the city and roam freely around coexisting merrily with the human folk. The posh textile shop and the dusty antiquated spare parts shop which exist side by side. The never ending power cuts and doctors who make you do all sort of tests for a simple cold. Chennai is an experience that you shouldn't miss. And I have just started exploring this city and its people.

I'll be back soon to share my Chennai tales.. :)

14 Jan 2013

My Experiments in Teaching

When boredom drove me to the point of insanity, I made the decision, I'm going to take up teaching. My friends had suggested this long time back. But then, I wasn't sure if that is a good idea. My mom is a teacher and my dad used to teach, so I guess teaching is in my blood. But four years of engineering hadn't given me enough confidence to teach engineering subjects. Anyway, I took the risk and I am happy that I did! :)

My Experiments in Teaching

My social studies teacher and the person I respect the most, Sheela miss had once told us, "Teaching is the most honorable job." Now I know the full depth of those words. As a teacher its not the money that excite you, but the love and respect of your students. For the first time in my life, I am getting results that are exponentially greater than the effort put in. The happiness and satisfaction on a student's face when he has finally understood that baffling concept, the confident smile when he declares, 'I am definitely going to pass this subject'- that is what counts.That is the moment that is going to make your day. Now I know the allure of this career- you get rewarded every single day.

I don't know if I am going to take up teaching as a career in the long run, but right now I am enjoying my tryst with teaching. For the first time in my life I can say with confidence, 'I made a person's life a tiny bit better'. I am loving this.. :)