Friday, January 25, 2008

The season I love the most – Monsoon

For those of you who are from my state –“ God’s own country”, you would all understand why rains here in Kerala are way more enjoyable than everywhere else…
This journal is about my first love… Monsoon… There is a mood attached to rains… so full of a peculiar energy that makes me want to sit down and run around at the same time. Starting with the very smell that is associated with the first rain drops, to the cold and wet breeze, the sounds of rain drops hitting the floor…. Monsoon is the time when I sometimes sit just to watch and listen to the rains, the time when I simply run out into the rains, the time when I play water fight and puddle splash with my friends, the time when I have hot samosa or vada along with my coffee with my feet in the rains. I simply love it all…

This is the month of march and I am waiting for the rains, just the right time to share my “rain” feelings. There is a rain song- Mazha Mazha from the album Malayali… I am listening to it right now. This song brings out all my “rain memories”.

Here, in this land where green is the most prominent color, rain drops work magic, showing God’s awesome ability to create the best sights in the smallest things. Ever noticed the sky and its shades right before the rain??

Ever noticed the way air smells just before it rains?? Ever felt the rain in the winds just before the first few drops hit the earth?? Ever listened to the music of rains and accompanying thunder??

And even better, have you ever noticed the plants after the showers??

Here in our state, the rain is the symbol for hope of prosperity and great success to come.
The farmers in some distant village, so brimming with wild natural beauty will celebrate as nature pours down on them. The green acres of paddy, will dance to the rhythm of the rain. Love will blossom as lovers will run in the rain under a plantain leaf. Rains will bring with it great joy and all men, all differences aside will celebrate along side nature.

My beautiful state and its beautiful treasures will glow with all the pride in the rains and this year, as the rains hit my soil, I will be sitting on my verandah with a hot cup of coffee in my hands, the rain just within reach of my fingers….

Friends are forever…….

I believe in a bond that lasts forever… That bond is friendship… I’m in my final few months of my college and I know my time with my best friends is running out and so I decided to make the most of it. So today, 21st March 2007, is my best friend anish’s birthday. I wanted this day to be as special as I can probably ever make it…. For a month I have been planning for today and all I prayed for yesterday was that the whole plan worked perfectly without any glitches (our plan was not fool proof!! And I was well aware of it….).

So the plan is that we throw him a small party with his closest friends with him on HIS day at HIS home WITHOUT him even knowing about the plan. SO this is how we pulled it off….
Yesterday I had told him that shalu and I needed a ride to college. My darling friend was simply delighted. So I told him that would meet him at 7:45 am at the bus stop. The plan has been launched and our unsuspecting birthday boy comes to the bus stop to pick us up… Meanwhile my trusted friends Dilip and Renjit are waiting just out of his eyesight to make sure they don’t run into each other. The moment anish is safely out of eye sight, they rush into his home and begins to set up the cakes (chocolate and black forest) and balloons.
In 10 minutes anish is frustrated out of having to wait at the bus stop for me ( I am purposefully late). When I do turn up, having given dilip and renjit enough time, anish doesn’t look very happy. Then my role in the surprise begins. Here goes everything!!
“Hey! Sorry I’m late…. Just figured out that I forgot your gift at home”
Shalu’s face is grim. A flicker of disappointment on anish’s face.
“ Its ok.. don’t bother.. get it tomorrow…” He starts the car… Shalu is now struggling to keep a straight face…

But then I interrupt him.. I think he was starting to say that we are late for class…..
“ But anish… the gift is at your home…..we should get it now…”
“later.. now we are late…” It doesn’t strike him that I had just said “your” home….
Then a second’s delay and he slams the break and says..” My home!!! What??”
By now shalu is giggling and I am grinning from ear to ear….
“Yeah… your place.. the gift is at your home…”..

Shalu is positively howling by now… I cannot help my self.. The look on his face then was worth a thousand birthday parties…

“Common da… its on your dining table.. don’t tell me you didn’t notice!!!”..
He didn’t stop to hear the rest.. One deft and yet perfect U turn and we are on the other lane… He is now speeding so fast that I am for a few seconds worried… we narrowly miss a tipper at the U bend and we reach his place. Just as we reach his gate, he swears out loud… The pieces suddenly fit in his head..( I laugh as I visualize his brain working frantically to adjust to the new and out of control situation…. )… He has now figured out by the site of the Red Maurthi ZEN at his gate that dilip and renjith were there… He walk in to his own home.. may be for the first time with a slight bit of apprehension.. Dilip and Renit are there… His eyes lay on the cakes.. the candles… the balloons and finally the look on his mom’s and sister’s face.. Then there was a few moments of confusion as people were running around to escape anish who was trying to readjust to the situation by chasing the people who surprised. Pandemonium for a few minutes.. Peace came back to the mess of a dining room when vivek and shanker came in… Anish is now peaceful about the surprise… mildly shaken and yet extremely happy…. With special guests.. anna and aleena ( the 2 year old twins from next door), among claps and songs (Happy Birthday to uuuuuuu!!!) and flashes of the camera, he made his wish and cut his cake….
First piece to the beloved mom…. And the cake was all ours!!! Dilip inaugurated by giving anish a facial with the cake’s icing… Another few minutes of people running around to avoid more facials… and now its time to open the gifts….
At the end of it all it was fun to watch his face light up with delight as he opened gifts and even hours later in class when he walked in to thunderous cheers from fellow classmates, his face had a glow that I had never seen. The whole morning suddenly had meaning. The plan now had a purpose and I was just as happy as he was…. No doubt…

But now the fun is over.. Anish is at his place… re-reading his cards and toying with his gifts, vivek, shanker , dilip , renjit and shallu are probably talking about the day to everyone who would listen.. I am doing the same thing here.. in my beautiful room…Telling you what a wonderful day today was…We are making all the memories we can… a few months and a few occasional calls will be all that we can possibly ever manage… Then.. during months when we all feel awfully grown up, we can laugh about these little adventures of ours…. Till then.. I am keeping my friends close at heart….
As I wind up this narrative… I would like to thank God for this amazing day.. so full of joy.. so full of love…. So full of memories for the future…

An ode for friendships that are meant to last forever… Anish… Dilip and Me..(Anu)

Am I proud of our democracy????

I’ve always been proud of my country. I get Goosebumps when I hear stories of our freedom fighters and I think this nation and its potential is just yet to be discovered. I had always believed that democracy is the best way to run a country. It’s just, fair and it works just fine…. It’s been like that for many years until .This particular day, a Sunday if I remember correctly, mom had to go to a meeting of all officers at work (she works in a bank). I accompanied her (just for the heck). It was around this time that an engineering student (Rajani) had suicided because she was denied loan by several banks and she couldn’t pay her fees to compete her education. My mom works for the bank which was one of the banks that denied her loan. The media was going all hyper about this incident and making a huge issue. The bank’s employees had decided to meet up to discuss a couple of issues and the Rajani issue was one of them because rioting mass had threatened to rampage the offices and had one day forced the bank to shut down the day’s operation. So this particular Sunday I found myself amidst mom’s colleagues listening to stuff -all greek and latin ( I still have no clue what all they discussed). A peaceful yet boring session progressed. I sat there not paying attention to a word that had been said playing with my mobile phone. Then all of a sudden, there is a shout from behind us “Inkulab Zindabad!!!” I remember turning around just in time to see a man wearing a white shirt and mundu shout out to the crowd, his face wicked and angry. He picked up a chair and threw it at us. I watched as in slow motion the chair flew at me and I ducked.. but not completely, the chair hit my hand and I felt myself panicking. I had only seen stuff like this on television and I never thought I would be facing that ever. In my fright, I ran to a corner and crouched under a table. I shared that safe spot with another bank manager who had also ran under there to escape the flying chairs. I couldn’t see my mom. I didn’t know what was happening outside. All I could hear were sounds that made me imagine the worst. I heard glasses breaking, people yelling and screaming. I could do only one thing. Try and get help. In my panic I didn’t think about calling the police. I couldn’t think about which number to call. I dialed my dad on my mobile. I didn’t have time or patience to explain what was going on and all I said was “DAD!!! CALL THE POLICE!!!!!” and he said I know, the police are already on the way… I suddenly wondered “what??? How does he know?? ”
What I didn’t know then was that the news was aired on India Vision… live… how did they know this was going on??…. the meeting was not even publicized. I got out from under the table to see where mom was. Relief… I was so relieved that I can’t express it. She was ok. Most people were. A few cuts from broken glasses, a few bruises coz of being hit by chairs.
What had happened was that the men from the bank had taken charge and pushed the rioters out of the room and locked themselves in. From no where, the media had arrived (suggesting that this whole thing was planned). The situation calmed down. The rioters were chased away and I got home in time to see the news.
So what just happened?? Some engineering student from kollam killed herself and me, another engineering student got a chair thrown at. When I narrated this even to my friends and it was the joke of the day but I didn’t find anything funny in it. I know its just my luck and GOD’s presence in my life that made sure that the whole thing didn’t get out of hand, that no one was hurt. Did the whole thing make any point? Did the girl live? No. She died. Her family lost a daughter and her classmates lost a friend. I bruised my right hand. People got a lot to read about. What good did all that do?
This made me doubt if people should be given the freedom of thought and action. If the citizens of this country began to take every provision made for them in the constitution to the extremes then we are in trouble. The rules are made and the freedom is given so that people use it in a just manner. May be we are not mature or considerate enough to find our boundaries and stay within it atleast for the sake of others.
So… do I think democracy is such a good idea… sure!! Just one glitch in my life is not going to disturb my strong routed feelings for this great nation and the way it is run. My hand healed. No damage done. Just the shock of the day and the thought that what might have happened stays in me but I believe that for a country this big and this populated, we have done a super smooth job at bringing this nation to the front.

(P.S: This incident is a small thing compared to the stuff that goes on all over the country. But my life has almost always been safe and this is the only event I can talk about. My heart goes out for all those who lost precious people and belongings throughout the country. May peace be with you….)