Sunday, December 27, 2009

I Love You, December….!

Don’t know why, I always had a passion for December…!!!

Those lazy mornings,
the reluctance to get out of my cozy bed,
the dew drops on every flower and grass,
the exams and tiny winter vacation,
the moon coming to my window very late,
keeping me awake very late at nights…
those wonder years,
I lived in such cool breezy nights,
trying to get a whiff of the fresh dew-wet soil,
looking at the pleasant sky, rich with twinkling stars…!

Hundreds of cute ‘Karthika’ Diyas…!

The ‘Thiruvaathira’ Tang of my Land…!

Everything around me always looked delightful in December.

During those Decembers’ at school,
we kept searching for the best
of the greetings for our friends…
And at college,
December was the best
among the crisp and buzzing months,
young hearts brimming over the love,
fortifying their vows after
the annual tours, picking the best
of the gifts for their love.

Years after, we are here, busy in our own worlds,
may be sending a few alphabets to our friends’ mobiles or mail boxes…

Ammu and Appu were
the Gifts of December
my (personal) reason,
now, to love December…

Christmas has come around once more.
Another precious year of our life has passed out.
Some of us have traveled more,
others less on the ways to the self – set destinations.

Today I thought it’s a good time to review my Decembers.
A day of stock taking !
Let me turn within,
look for all those non - perishable Christmas inventories.
Let us all sit together and try to relive them.

This is my oldest and fondest Christmas memory…
My X’mas holidays at Kottayam,
I was around nine years old,
Ammaama (my uncle) was working there then,
they lived in a lovely vicinity.

The backyard of the house bordered with a ‘thodu’ (canal ),
embroidered with plants like ‘kaitha’ ( the pandanus ) etc…
mobile markets came to the houses in small boats,
the “Poooi” of the fish sellers was like the wake up alarm for me…
I sat on the steps, playing in the water,
chatting with every one came that way in the boats.

The carol groups visited us at nights,
sung in praise of Christmas,
spreading the message of love, joy and peace
in every nook and corner of the place.

The spirit of Christmas and
the piece of music those carolers brought to my life have not yet faded away…
and for the first time I met Santa alive… !
Still feel in like a wonderful dream…!!!

And our Ammayi is an artistic homemaker
and a wonderful hostess… You’ll love being with her at home,
especially relishing a huge variety of home made goodies…

There was a guava tree in the front yard corner,
I played with my new friends there,
Jisha (if I’m not wrong), her brother and friends..
Their mother brought their Christmas specials, the “kinnathappam”s etc etc…
I remember…..!

1994 - One among the best years in my life…
The Delhi–Agra–Jaipur trip,
My first university zonal competitions,
The still-going-strong friendships…!!!

And the next - best December memory creeps in…

Again with Ammaama, Ammayi and family at their house.
Those were Christmas days but
had nothing much to do with Christmas celebrations..

An untainted Thiruvaathira season…!

Spend hours amidst
the breath taking serene beauty
of the view of
the emerald paddy fields,
fishes in the pond,
squirrels, birds, butterflies…
sunrise and sunset…

Talks with Muthassan and Ammamma,
“Chozhi” came to every house…
(it is a simple folk dance form performed in
our place during the festive seasons like Thiruvaathira etc.)
the festival at the Anthimahakalan Temple,
went to Thirumittakkode Temple,
with Usha ammayi, Unnimama, Chinchu and Appu.

A moment to cherish all through my life…
the view of our own Nila !

Got some gifts …
A watch from Ammamma,
a chain with an orchid pendant from Usha Ammayi.
So, another Happy December !

Every year Pappa stringed up star lights…

In 2001,
we made a cute little Crib,
decorated our tree,
I placed some small gifts
for Manu and Revutty there.
I told them about Christmas,
tree, crib and the Christmas Stockings…

The boys in our residential area
delighted us with carols and gifts.

I always wished Santa Claus to come down for me and
to fill my stockings hung at the end of the bed with a lot of gifts.

May be Pappa or Amma heard me
telling about this to the kids,
to my surprise I found a gift
by my bed that Christmas morning…!!!

I did not ask them and even now I do not know
who kept that gift… but IT made me so HAPPY.

OH…! How can I forget Christmas’ 2001…!!!

Later, we had the New Year celebrations
organized by our residential association.
That was the very last celebration
I took part as ‘single’ !!!

December’ 2002
Also a memorable one
but could never be
remembered merrily. Watch out this space
later for that different story.

Our Ammu was born
on 3rd December, 2003.
I was busy enjoying my motherhood and
could not give much care for my December.

Now the only remaining one…

24th December 2006…
Morning we had a reunion at Victoria…
I went with Savee, my sis, another Victorian.

We were expecting Appu by January 30th.
I was looking funny and
really pathetic, I knew,
with the full-size tummy and Oedema…!
I was feeling very uncomfortable
sitting in a single stretch for a long time.
My friends scared me off,
saying they were not ready to take a risk.
As we came back soon,
my friends came home,
sparing some unforgettable moments for us.
Feeling so Proud and Happy about my Friends.

Tintu, Savee, Chinch, Kuttan, Appu(Sr).…
We made the crib that year too…
Others missed it that year too.

Even though
we were expecting Appu(jr.),
We didn’t expect him
so early and to be so impatient…
He rushed out on the fifth day...
on 29th December, 2006, a whole month before the due date.

From Past to Present...

This Christmas eve,
We were window-shopping in a mall here,
Suddenly we heard -
“Ho Ho Ho… Merry Christmas…” and the ringing bells,
Ammu was dumbfound to see Santa alive in front of her eyes!!!
Appu looked a bit confused… but became happy
as soon as he got the gift packet. Another Merry Christmas.

Way back,
I told Narayanan about
my Christmas fantasy, this blog post and that
I’ll be keeping a big X’Mas stocking ready by our bed’s side.

Though the Christmas day faded out,
I have not lost my hope,
after reading this he will surprise me … on the New Year !!!

" Dear Ones, on the Christmas day
I wished to send out
the best wishes to each one of you…

Though I am not with you in person,
You are all always with me in my thoughts.

With all love and good wishes
for every successful year to come,
I join with you in your rejoicings…

May the Magic of Christmas
remain in your heart throughout the year!!! "

Thank You All… for making this Life worth cherishing.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

At the Hot Springs, in a Frosty Evening...!

You know what hot springs are, right …?
I don’t know any universally accepted definition of a hot spring!

Wikipedia says –
“A hot spring is a spring
that is produced
by the emergence of
geo-thermally heated groundwater
from the Earth's crust.
There are hot springs
all over the earth,
on every continent and
even under the oceans and seas.”

Days back, in between a chat with a friend,
the topic - ‘hot springs’ popped out.
Being a journalist, he was curious to know more about
the existence of such springs near Fujairah, where we live.
I mailed him the details I knew. Then,
I thought of a post here as well.

Hot Springs @ AIN- AL-GHAMOUR, near Fujairah.
Photos taken on 20.12.2007.

We had just heard about them and
once went on its search in a winter evening.
The location was not much recognized.
We wandered away till the sunset and finally located it
off the road to the hilly area and
the route was almost deserted.

On the way we could see unfrequented dates and vegetable farms.
Two or three men lived in each farm,
we saw them cooking and feeding the animals in the farm.
We went to one among those farms.

The isolated life…!
Rarely, they went out of the farm.
Once in a week the farm owner’s pick up vans
brought in their weekly supplies and
went back with their products ready to sell
to the neighboring market.
It has been years since they've been to their native places…!
As they told me about their families,
I could not find the expected melancholy in their eyes…
they were just blank or indifferent.

They offered us a dinner, but what to do?
I’m a vegetarian and they had only fish and meat…!!!
They presented us bananas, guavas, brinjals and so on…
I just accepted my hands full of green chillies…!
Fresh From the Farm... :)

There were goats, rabbits,
dogs, donkeys and
few cows in the farm.
Ammu and Appu enjoyed
that evening with rabbits,
chicks and hens… :)

It became dark as we reached the destination.
We had no idea what to see in and around the area.
We saw few youngsters
curiously looking into a pit at a distance and
few men were getting down into
somewhat like a square water tank.

First we went to this empty crater…

There were few more such dry pits.
These were active earlier and released out hot water.

The narrow warm stream surfeited through the duct seen here and in the picture below.

Then through this… and

Finally, it got collected in the tank.
Look at the blue plastic aperture…

We too soaked our feet and washed our hands.
The warm water smelt alike sulphar...
It was believed that soaking
in this water would cure
whatever skin problems ailed you!

In that cold evening, it was so relaxing!!!

It became completely dark by then.
There were no electric lights,
the couple of vehicles, including ours,
parked away kept the headlights on,
that the ‘foot’path be visible,
So, I couldn’t find the existing spring…
It was somewhere far above from where we stood,
I couldn’t climb up and have a look at it.

Back home, Ammu came to me, puzzled…!
Her silver anklets turned black
after the dip in the spring water...!!!
We were really surprised
to see the result of a chemical reaction… :)

Now, I am waiting for the next winter...!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The New Yard Stick !


Tuesday, May 19, 2009.

This is my first blog post.,

It is my Husband's B'day today,
This is our B'day Gift.,
To You...
With Love :-)"


A New Yard Stick In My Life!

The Mother’s Day …once again…!

Since December 2003,
I find myself more as a mother,
When I thought about a blog,
I thought the best time for me to start
would be around the Mother’s Day…!

The two persons in this world with whom I share
the strongest of the relationships are
My Mother and My Daughter.
If truth be told, they sculpted me they way I am!
My mother is my forever best friend and my alter ego,
And though miles apart, I’ve never felt torn apart from her.
Before my daughter came into my life,
I spent my life just as a daughter laboriously doing nothing…!
We all know, life was so much easier those days…!
And I saw my days changing from the very first day I realized
that she had started her journey with me…!
I really existed through each and every minute spend with her…
Be it an overwrought one or
when we were on cloud nine or
whenever she made my heart really swollen with pride!
She actually did it… Bringing Up… A Mother…!!!

Let me begin with some of my fondest memories…
About my daughter Ammu’s first few days at school…!

I am just posting the jottings from my diary of September, 2007.

We live in a quite quiet corner of UAE.
I and Ammu went to India for my second delivery,
As my son was a pre- mature baby,
things did not work as we thought,
We could not reach back here on time for her admission to school.
There are three ‘Indian’ schools in this place…
All the schools re-opened on a Sunday after the summer holidays,
we went to the school where we actually wanted to admit her.
The year’s admissions were closed months before,
hence, no chance for the year.
As they liked her, they said if the child is competent,
they'll directly admit her to senior KG,
without much formality in the next academic year...!
We got the same answer from the second school too.
Then, the left options were either the third school,
(which was of our last and least priority and they too
were to close the admission process within a couple of days.)
or a play school. So, to avoid the wastage of a year,
we thought it would be better to send her to the real school atmosphere...

Ammu was so excited that she didn’t sleep well that Sunday night.
She kept on asking many a things about her school…
and even I too was feeling so fidgety and
couldn't sleep for hours..!
I was feeling something so heavy is kept upon my chest…
a kind of upsetting thrill???
I could not find a cutoff point for my thoughts...
I’m not able to tell you actually what it was like…
I was thinking...
‘ The easy days of her life are coming to an end...
she is getting responsible...(at least) of her bag, books...
and other properties... much more do's and don'ts...
even lose many of her tiny comforts
like her cozy sleep in the mornings… and
I’ll be missing her company till noon...
(and I really DO..!!!) Are we unfair to her?
Must she be given a little more trouble-free time?
How self-centered we really are…!
When we have kids, we feel so thrilled and fortunate,
We find our own happiness in what ever they do…
Then we decide its time for them to get-up-and-go
to set off their self-absorbed journey of life…
This will go on and on…’

No wonder... true thoughts of a mother...!!!!
I realized...
I started growing up after she came into my life…
and along with her...ha...ha...ha..!!!

Now, the highlights of happenings…

Day 1: Monday.

We went to the school in the morning.
While my husband was completing the admission formalities,
a senior teacher took me, Appu and Ammu
to the KG wing of the school,
Ammu was put into a new division
with the late comers like her…!
Mrs. Mary, (who was taking care of that new division
till a new teacher takes over the responsibility),
showed Ammu her place in the class room.
Ammu kept her tiny bag on her table, smiled,
looked all over the place, sat on her chair while
enjoying being the centre of attraction.
Once we felt she is at ease, we came back home.

We decided that my husband will drop her
at the school in the morning on the way to his office.,
then, Appoose and me will go to bring her back,
Just as a trial for the first few days…

Ammu was sitting so nicely in her place
when I went to take her back...
Teacher found her as a sweet, co-operative girl, and
gave her a heap of chocolates for being so nice in the class.
On our way back, Ammu started -
" ithu good school aanu. Ammunu ishtaayi…
pinne radio-il rhymes kettu... dance cheythu…
chocolates kitti… apple-nte picture color cheythu…
enthinaannu ariyilla kure kuttikal karanjondirunnu…
ammu karanjilya, avarodu karayanda paranju…
pinne Ammunu new bag venam... water bottle venam…"
and much more...!!!
(its like- “this is a good school, got chocolates,
heard rhymes and danced, coloured pictures,
didn’t know why - many kids were crying and finally,
I need a bag, water bottle etc..)
We bought a bag, a snack box, a water bottle,
pencils, crayons etc in the evening.
She is ready for the next day...!

Day 2: Tuesday.

I knocked at the classroom door;
her teacher came and opened it,
Most of the kids were ready to go home…
with their bags packed…
few boys were running around...
and some were still crying...
Mrs. Mary said
"Arundathi is very busy...see, she is helping me...”
She was stacking the small chairs in their class room...
Which means she has started showing out her real stuff...!!!?????

Mrs. Mary told me that
she would try her best to take Ammu to her class...
That would be really good for Ammu…
Mrs. Mary is an old hand in the KG wing.
With her support Ammu would get a good start to learning English.

Day 3: Wednesday.

The new teacher was there in her class room,
a very young malayali Muslim girl,
I felt beyond doubt that it will take at the least 2 years more
for her to master the art of handling these ‘tiny troublemakers’…!!!
In between she opened the door and talked to me,
two boys easily ran out of the class room with their backpacks,
a nanny went after and brought them back.... nice fun...!!!
then, she was talking to Ammu in her soft and sweet Malayalam…!!!
I lost belief in Ammu learning to talk in English soon...

Then the school bus driver came to take the kids to bus.
He smiled at her… She saw him and started "amma pokkolu...
Ammu school busil varaam... uncle nte koode…"
(i.e., I’ll come by the bus…)
“You can get into the bus…
but uncle will not allow Amma and Appu inside …
we’ll see… from tomorrow onwards…!”
I somehow convinced her and the next issue popped up…
"Ammunu vellam venam… ayyooo…Ammunte water bottle marannu...!"
We went back in search of that,
as I was about to conclude that it was lost,
Ammu came with the crushed water bottle.
As I looked at her,
she said "kuttikal vellam okke thoothi…
bottle kedu varuthi kalanju...ammadelu vere vellam undo...?"
(her friends emptied and crushed the water bottle…!)
and I gave her Appu's water bottle.

We started back...
I asked whether she had her snacks.
she said " wafers njan kazhichilya...
oru kutty athu eduthittu ennodu veno ennu chodichu...
njan venda ennu paranju...
appo aa kutty athu muzhuvan kazhichu…"
I asked "then, what about chips?"
she said " athu njaan kurachu kazhichu...
baaki oru kutty kazhichu...”(other children emptied
her snack box with her permission…hahaha…)
I did not ask anything more…!!!

Later I found 2 books extra in her bag...
she said "athu Ammunte bagil oru kutty vechathaa...”
(a girl kept those books in her bag…!)

Me, the ‘mother’ started at once… the same ‘ready made’ monologue!

" Nokku Ammu, aarudeyum onnum eduthu kondu vararuthu…
ammunte book, pencil onnum kalayaruthu....
snacks kondupoyathu muzhuvan kazhikkanam…
class-il nalla kuttiyaayittu irikkanam, ketto…!” Etc...Etc..!
(look ammu, do not take other children’s belongings…
take care of your things…
Eat your food completely… be a good child…!!!)

Flash backs???
Hope you all remember those first days at school... and
How many times did you hear those typical sentences???!!!

We had arranged a taxi,
an elderly gentleman, from Pakistan,
who used to take my husband to his office,
before we bought our own car.
As he speaks only Hindi,
Ammu was not comfortable with him.
She gave us two options…
“Either you come and pick me up or
I will come back by the school bus with my friends…
I am afraid to come alone in the car with that uncle…”
as usual she started the sentiments…
sniffles and snivels… and we agreed...!
The next week onwards she came back by the school bus…!
It was a trip just for KG students,
there was a bus stop just in front of our building,
(and it was cheaper too…!)
Moreover, I was happy
that I need not disturb the small Appoose…
Even though he enjoys the trip,
exposing him to the hot sun every day
developed rashes on his body,
which was really pathetic ...
He was slowly getting accustomed to the new surroundings …!

Day 4: Thursday

Thanks to Mrs. Mary, she took Ammu to her class.
Ammu was with the ‘senior’ students,
who already started writing…!
Teacher said that she found Ammu quite interested in
writing and colouring…
she asked herself for a 'mango' to color and
did that with others… and she wrote 1's in her book.
So, Ammu had a lot of home work to do... to compete with them.
She had many "1"'s to 'draw' and
2 apples to colour that day… to begin with.

The new water bottle too came back in a miserable condition.
"njangal veruthe bishkum bishkum kalichappo
chulungi poyathaa… naale angane cheyyillya tto...”
(means, they fought with each other using the water bottle,
just for fun and I will not repeat it…).
What should I say???

The school uniform of her size was out of stock…
so Ammu went colorfully for a few more days.
She pestered her teacher everyday for her uniform set,
finally, Mrs. Mary took Ammu with her to the stores and
fetched two of the smallest pairs available,
which Ammu could wear only after many alterations.

One of the first things she learned
from the school was the "katti -dosthi”.
In case of any difference of opinion,
she will say “ammu katti with you…!”
She will start that even before
we enter our apartment on her way back.
Whenever they were not allowed to play out,
ammu said “katti with you…!”
to her teacher as well, Mrs.Mary told me once.

ammu got many friends within a few days…
though she didn’t know their names.
Later we knew they were Tony, Danny,
Jathinder, Simran, Aneesha, Nandana, Joe,
Abel, Raashid, Dhaarin, Bithika, Jumail musaal,
Khumail, Aifa kalyani, Inshamol ... and so on…
Ammu was always found in high spirits with her friends…
She was the smallest in her class… and
everyone treated her like a cute toy!!!
Joe called her “molu”… that made her happy…!
Jathinder, a Punjabi boy,
took out his small ‘pagdi’ from his head and
placed it on her head… Ammu was happy again…!
A lot of hugs and kisses…
and many more happy things like these every day…!

By the month of March,
She was able to read the English alphabet,
numbers (0 - 9)and to write most of them.
She won a prize in the action song competition too.
Appu enjoyed her company all the time…
Whenever she starts the story of the - thirsty crow –
he too will start his " kaakka... kaakka...”.
When ammu begins "Johny Johny...”
he will wait for the "ha ha ha...”!!!

Even then ammu sponsored snacks for her friends everyday…
One day Nandana brought ‘poori’ for her breakfast.
The next day Ammu also had ‘poori’ in her Tiffin box.
But she brought it back home untouched…
you know why?
Because… “Ammu didn’t find the same curry in the box
which Nandana brought…!” Any comments???

Ammu is in Std I now,
she won first prize in Dance and Fancy dress competitions,
Second prize in Story telling and Action song and
a third prize in Recitation last year.
She was the Talent (2008-2009) of the KG section of her school.

Now she wants me to stop this...
Appu is enjoying his afternoon nap and
she is getting bored watching me typing for such a long time…!

Love u all...
Me... & Ammu...
Monday, May 18, 2009.