Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Modernity - A new definition

What is modernity? Is it the way we dress? or is it in the way we socialize.. like mingling with the opposite sex? Breaking away from tradition is considered modern by some. But is this really modernity?

Well, I was talking to a friend of mine and discussing about modernity... and this is what his views were......

Modernity, in my opinion, is heralded by the coming of a new way of seeing the world. The world view in which we see clear demarcations between different kinds of identities.

Consider the following two examples:

I belong to a traditional family in a remote village of Tamil nadu. My family migrates to some place in Maharashtra. In my new neighbourhood, there is a temple of a goddess. This goddess is considered very powerful by the local people of that region. What would my “religious” mother do? She would visit the temple and pray there as it is considered powerful. Will she think that the goddess does not belong to her “religion”, because she has never worshipped her before? No. She wont. I would cite an example here. We here a lot nowadays about santhoshimata. This god I don’t think existed in tamil nadu till sometime back. It should have been some village goddess somewhere in north India. But what has happened now? There are so many people worshipping her in tamil nadu? Reason, we feel we are one people and don’t have any qualms in worshipped the “Gods and Goddesses” of “another” group of people here.

Now another situation: My family migrates to Mecca instead of Maharashtra. The locals there consider a stone in the heart of the grand mosque as sacred and powerful. Will my mother go there to worship it? Will she give offerings? No. Why, because it is a “muslim place of worship”.

Consider the second scenario with a difference. About two thousand years back. My family migrates to Mecca. The grand mosque still stands there (It is a pre-islamic structure). The stone is still there. It is sacred. Will my mother go there? In all probability she would, because it is something similar to the first situation. Why? The concept of the “other” did not exist then. An average human being from India did not see it as “alien”. Yes, people would still be others. But we would see them as people belonging to another village with another village God. Not as people of a different religion.

This is the change that modernity is all about. Differences always exist and will exist for ever. But the way we see differences is what matters. The borders have gotten more rigid now. They seem impossible to change. This is modernity. When one person thinks the other is incorrigible. When one thinks the other is wrong. The inability to think wide. This is modernity. The same disease is there in the “most modern” nation USA. The same disease plagues the most modern religion too. A basic intolerance towards what is defined as the “other”.

So far I was under the impression that modernity means breaking barriers. But this explanation that he gave got me thinking on what modernity really meant......
PS: These views expressed are just one angle of looking at the term "modernity".. each one has his definition and I guess I could write a book and still not come to conclusion on what it really is

Floods in Tamil Nadu

For the last five years there has not been adequate rainfall in Chennai.. as a matter of fact in the entire state, which left its dwellers in draught. Last year, this time, people were cursing the weather God for not showering us with enough rain. There were even the a yagas done in order to please the Rain God but no, mother nature was very stubborn..she wouldnt budge..

It seems quite ironic to me, now, a year later, she is showering us with her magnanimity. So much that we are literally drowning in her benevolence. There is so much rain now, that people are praying for it to stop. I wonder why she is so angry with us or is she depressed and crying her heart out? ..

Its really heart rending to see the plight of the people in Cuddalore District of Tamil Nadu. Three depressions(in the bay) in quick succession brought in so much rain that it has flooded the entire stretch. Never has Tamil nadu seen so much rain, not in 50 years. People living in this area have lost everything- their land, their crops and everything they owned. Not an inch of land is visible. The rooftops of the flood washed houses look like islands in the middle of the sea.

There is aready a fourth one brewing.. Dont know when Mother Nature will be done with her revenge on us poor humans.. I just pray that she is pacified soon....

Sunday, November 27, 2005

24th November 2005..A special day

Gr8 day. For one, it was my birthday. I also got an appreciation note from our client.. :) The day began as usual, got out of bed late.. Only difference today being that everybody at home said 'Happy Birthday' instead of 'Good morning'. Hurriedly, I got ready and started for work. Most of my friends remembered.(It feels good when ppl remember u on your B-Day)

Today, CTS had decided to celebrate its yearly cultural fest and I decided to go!I haven't been to a cultural fest in a long time now.. As a matter of fact not since my tenth grade ..hmmm wonder why I have stayed away for so long... anyways it was good. The music, the crowd(generally stay away from them), the dance and the whole atmosphere...I screamed, shouted, cooed and enjoyed myself thoroughly. Rocket ellam vittein :)

Usually my birthday celebrations are limited to my friends and family but this time it was different.. The entire company.. close to 8000 people were rejoicing on my Birthday..Yes not all of them knew it was my Birthday but ...any birthday means celebrations and everybody was celebrating.. so it just seemed to me that they were celebrating my Birthday..

But....just one thing that I was sad about.. Unlike all my birthdays, this time around I did not have a birthday cake :(..Hmm a Birthday does not seem complete without the Bithday cake, does it? So now, I have decided that I will celebrate all my birthdays by cutting my Birthday cake( childish as it my seem to you I think we must all indulge the child in us!!!!).And I know I will cut a Birthday cake even at the grand old age of eighty if I ever live to be that old :D

Monday, November 21, 2005

Majaa… semma majaa

This weekend I happened to see one of the worst movies in the history of my movie watching ….. This movie is apparently the remake of the super-duper hit mallu movie… I wonder how it became a box-office success there. With a thin….er.. would be better if I say NO … story line the movie starts with a murder… Argh… bad taste to start with…

I was hoping, at least after the initial few scene, the movie will get better.. But no.. The script writer insisted on making my life miserable… The story.. Two orphans.. who are brought up by some man, are petty thieves. One day they decide to quit and lead a very straight forward life. They buy a lorry and start off on their journey. But due to some mechanical failure the lorry ceases to move and they are stranded in a desolate village. The gang decide to camp there for the night.. As they are hungry they steal food from a house close by.. The father eats it and is miraculously saved. The sons confront the man living in the house to ask why he had added poison in the food, but the man confesses that the poison was meant for him…. Interesting huh?? (We are not even through with quarter yet.. and you are bored? already??)

Okay, so I wont bug you with the story… But you expect the role of a heroine to be a little significant considering that this is a masala movie..If you are going for that, this movie has nothing of that sort.. Asin fans are in for a gr8 disappointment…. :(….The few highlights of the movie are the action scenes, a little hint of humour here and there and the “sollitharava” song…

Overall, if you have a lot of money waste and time to kill, then go ahead, watch this movie…

Warning: Please take an entire strip of Saridon with u…. U’ll need it ;-)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Boulevard of Broken Dreams....

I love this song by Green Day. You think about it and you realize how true it is. The lyrics are amazing..

The song starts like this,

"I walk this lonely Road
The only road that I have ever known"

Although there are so many people who come in and go out of our lives, don’t we all walk this lonely road called 'life'? He continues to say

"Don’t know where it goes
But its only me and I walk alone."

This journey through life is so unpredictable and fascinating that he says he really doesn’t know where it goes. We are the only people who embark on this journey, alone, treading the un-trodden paths of life. We do not know what life has in store for us, who will be part of it and who wont but we continue this journey in a hope to unravel the mysteries life poses to us.

The best line in the whole song is this

"My shadow is the only one that walks beside me!"

How true... coming to think of it.. Its only u (your mind and your physical self) that has to make it through this adventure …or is it misadventure… called life. Some are remembered for their adventures. and some aren’t... thats the way life is ...

The song represents a very individualistic idea..and that’s probably what I like about it.. The singer is a little depressed when he sings it ..that aside the song itself is very well written

PS: I am not disillusioned with life.. but this is yet another perspective to this "illusion" called Life!!! I hope, someday, I will unravel this mystery called "Life"

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A spoof on the song "Bachelor Boy"

When I was young, my mother said
Daughter I've something to say...
And what she said I'll never forget
Until my dying day.

She said, daughter you be a spinster girl
And thats the way to stay
Daughter you be a spinster girl
Until your dying day

When I was sixteen I fell in love
With a guy as handsome could be
But just in time I remembered
What my mom had said to me

She said, daughter you be a spinster girl
And thats the way to stay
Daughter you be a spinster girl
Until your dying day

Monday, November 14, 2005

Tillu Dear.....

A forward from a friend of mine with a lot of pics of a small pup brought back a flood of memories of Tillu. Don’t know why... I remembered Tillu...

Tillu was our pet Dog. He came to us as a bundle of white and black fur ball. I remember that day very clearly, Appa asked our servant maid to bring us a pup so that my brother (then a very small kid) would stay at home. She first brought us a black pup. Although it looked cute.. some how Amma didn’t like it. She brought another which had one black eye :) and then she brought Tillu. We immediately fell in love with him… This was twelve years back.......

There are several incidents that come to my mind when I think of him.

It was fun watching him on a mosaic floor. He never walked on it for the first few days. When he tried, he'd slip and fell flat on his nose. But slowly, he learnt and he soon became a master at it....

We had a huge garden and we let Tillu run free there. He ruled the garden and fiercely protected his Kingdom. He was the uncrowned Prince of the garden .... The first animal that he killed was a chameleon. We had left him in the garden that day and when we returned we saw Tillu, waiting eagerly for us to show us his kill.. He led us to his priced kill and barked proudly at us, showing off his first kill. I would never forget the pride in his voice and eyes when he showed us his prey.

Tillu loved milk. One day Amma had to go out and left Tillu at home. She forgot his milk and so Tillu had to stave that day.. But when Appa came back home.. Tillu immediately picked up his bowl and took it to Appa. Amma walked in almost at the same time. Appa asked Amma to give him milk and Amma did. He promptly lapped it up. A short while later, Appa checked to see if Tillu had had his fill .Seeing nothing on his plate, he felt sorry for the poor dog and gave him another glass of milk. Greedy as he was, Tillu lapped this up too and walk into the house like a pregnant lady with his tummy bulging. It was a very funny sight.

Another day, Amma had placed milk on the table for me. I, as I am, like my milk cold and left it on the table to cool down. Amma was busy working in the kitchen when she heard ..klup..klup..klup... She quitely came to the dining room to see what was going on.. To her surprise it was Tillu. He had climbed onto the chair, with his fore paws on the table and his hind paws on the chair, was standing there laping the milk from the tumbler.Amma threw a fit when she saw him like this.

Tillu was a very very naughty dog. He would chew on chappels and jump up and tear bedsheets drying on the clothes line. He would run away with my books and towels. It was very difficult to catch him. I'd keep chasing him around the house but never could catch him.. The only thing that worked was a treat. When we offered him his favorite "Porai" he'd condesend to give back our things. He would get jealous when Amma petted us. He would poke his cold, wet nose on us , nudge our hand and place it on his head and ask us to pet him or he’d just rub himself on us like a cat. He used to hate crows, particularly Peggy, a crow that used to frequent our home. He’d chase her and bark at her as if some intruder had entered his empire.

Tillu loved food and would do anything for it. His favorite hunting ground was Tirumathi Aunty's house. Ask him "Tillu maadikku polama?" and he would immediately dash to the door. If we don’t take him, he would whine.. and plead with us to take him.. you should see the look on his face... (a pavam sorta look). It was a different chemistry between them, him and Aunty. He liked her very much and she like him too...

Tillu, the charmer.. He could make anybody fall in love with him. My uncle loved him so much that he'd bring a bone for Tillu from America when he visited us. All my relatives, whether or not they enquire about us would definitely enquire about Tillu. My Thatha, a dog -hater until Tillu, loved him too.

Tillu, the brave. He had a stentorian voice and would scare away people. Although he was very brave he hated crackers. He used to dread them. Any blast and he’d immediately start shivering and shaking like a leaf. During one Diwali, Amma was in the Kitchen, wondering where Tillu was as she could not find him all morning.. Then to her surprise she found Tillu inside the kitchen!!!( Kitchen was prohibited area for him) curled up in the farthest corner, shivering like a leaf. When Amma saw him, he ran to her and curled up under her feet. Oh.. the brave Tillu

Tillu has taught me many things. He taught me how to love and care for others. He taught me how to be myself. The devotion that he showed was something that i guess you will find only in dogs..I used to be afraid of the dark and never would go to the terrace alone at night. But after Tillu came, he'd tag along and I slowly lost my fear of darkness. He was a moral support. When my chips were down he’d nudge me with his wet nose and cheer me up. He would know when you are angry, when your sad, when you are clam and when you are elated. I was a very angry kid, sulking and cursing, but Tillu really turned me around. He has made the person I am now....soft and gentle….

His last days were very heart rending…. He was a very hale and healthy dog. He would occasionally eat something and then vomit and get alright . We thought this time was another case like that .. But he only got worse.. On the morning of his death, he went from room to room, sat in all his favorite places…It was as if he knew he was going to die. We took him out for a walk and he could not walk back up.. so Appa left him in the basement and went to fetch a doctor. Amma just felt something was wrong and that she had head Tillu crying out. She sent my brother to see what was wrong. When Varun reached the basement he saw that Tillu had somehow mustered enough strength to just get to the lift. He stepped in and immediately collapsed. Varun brought him up and cried out for me I carried him in and placed his head on my knee. It was as though he wanted to see us all, once, for the last time, before he died. He stayed alive for as long as he could, until Appa came back, Appa entered, Tillu saw him and then…… he saw no more……

When he died it was very difficult for us to get used to a home without Tillu. Never will we have anybody waiting for us at the door or peeping out of the balcony. Never will we have somebody who would greet us heartily when we came back home.. Never will we ever hear his commanding voice or see him running like a horse. Never will we have somebody to play with, to talk to, to tease and to pet. Tillu was not just a dog to us; he was part of our family. It has taken me two years to talk about him like this... It was a very great loss to us when he died.... And I write this blog as a tribute to him

As Amma would say

"How I Love you Tillu Dear,
Though your eyes like frogs appear."

My Trip to Office

Initially when I was moved to the city office I hated it.. I was alone, a new project, new teammates, new workplace and new mode of transport! It took a while to get used to. I used to take the office bus to commute from home to office and back but since this was the CITY office I had to find my own means of transport.

I do not own a two-wheeler and I will not drive the car all the way. Left with no other option I used to took the MTC buses to commute. It was quite a journey. First of all there was only one bus in this particular route, perpetually crowded and not very frequent. I would push myself to take a bus in the mornings and evenings..It was a torture. But then, somebody told me that there was a "Share Van" and then started my daily excursion to office!!!

You can find the most eclectic group of people who travel with me in this van. Around 12 of us take the van and the group constitutes mostly of middle aged men and women working for the postal department. Let me tell you about some of these interesting people.

Well there is this lady who likes to boast but does it in such a subtle way that it takes some time for to sink in :) She goes on grumbling about her work load and her children. On a normal day she would start of saying, "My daughter you know she doesn’t eat properly.." (read this very carefully u'll find how she drives home her point) She goes on to say,"I place food for her on the dining table but she is sitting on the sofa watching stuff on the TV. While my son is listening to the radio. But I am very strict I dont let them eat sitting on the sofa as they will spoil the carpet. But I have to shout at her to get her to eat and she doesn’t even clean up the table and put things back in the refrigerator.... " she goes on and on like this.. ( Hope u got what I wanted you to c..:D).

Then there is this man, who is as stiff as a rod, wont even talk. He has got such piercing eyes , it really unnerves you. But he is very intriging as he can communicate with his wife just by looking at her.. It was interesting to see the unspoken words being understood and such a chemistry between the two. Well thats new to me!!

A lady who is perpetually late and thinks she can do 'trivial' thing like having breakfast and making up the hair in the van. The lady loves flowers. She has got shoulder length hair and pulls it into a neat pony tail and decorates it with so many flower garlands that I wonder if people would mistake her to be a walking flower garden...:)

One interesing person in the van is this Lady with a big mole on her nose... From what I gather, she was brought up in a village and moved to the City in search of better opportunity. But this lady is very knowledgeable. She talks on varied topics starting from exchanging recipes with the other women to current topics like the Kushboo issue.... She talks about land /rent rates, invesment plans and what not ...a very interesting lady indeed... hmm.. She is one person I look for when I board the van every morning.

It would not be complete if I dont mention my Van driver. He is the stereo-typed driver, irritated with the world,constantly complaining about how the ladies delay at various bording points, driving rash, cutting corners fine, cursing the traffic, the road, the corporation maintaining it and everybody in general...

And to top it all the radio blares with ‘Mirchi Suchi’ and her usual inane chatter.... and those gross tamil songs.. (dapanguthu). It is quite a trip to office. Its amusing to see this eclectic group of people traveling to their destinations, some preoccupied with work while others still thinking about what they have left undone at home, reluctantly going to office for yet another day of drudgery. The half hour trip to office, every morning, is perhaps the most entertaining part of my otherwise boring day.