When we moved to Pune, I thought we would be the only Tamilians ( yup, I am a tamilian who is sometimes harassed for being one, read this episode). But I am surprised to hear a lot of tamil in and around me and I feel really happy on hearing tamil :) .
No! I have no allegiance to a particular region or language. But for me, to speak in tamizh - means to speak with my family, feeling at home, something that comes naturally to me, of being extremely comfortable speaking my own language that flows easily. Of course, I can speak very fluently in Hindi ( I studied in a Central School, infact I learnt social studies in Hindi!! ) or English but to speak in tamizh means informality. I can let go of any formality and be myself....It makesit easier for me to relate to something that person refers to or explains.
I used to find it really wierd when S would speak to me in English when we were engaged.....no, he is not a 'peter'( a term used by tamilians to refer to someone who shows off that he/she speaks good english). In his own words, " Bloody hell, I think in English, so its difficult for me to convert to Tamizh and speak all the time". Now he speaks fantastic tamizh after more than 4 years of marraige, and the credit goes to you-know-who ( lots of people give me the credit)! :D
I remember that as a kid my mom used to help me and Anna learn to read / write tamizh by reading all the proverbs that would come in between commercial in good old doordarshan. She strongly believed that its extremely important that her children should know their mother tongue as well in addition to Hindi/English. Being a linguist herself, she can speak various languages easily which has helped her in so many ways to settle down easily in a new environment or to make friends with someone. Similarly, as I can speak Hindi fluently, it has been so easy to make friends or for that matter, survive in a non-tamil speaking city! Isnt that reason enough to learn more languages? Isnt learning different languages fun? The mushy side of me would always want to know how you say 'I love you' in a different language if I meet someone....
Unfortunately, some parents these days dont seem to feel the same way.The kind of emphasis english gets, I dont think any language does. I do understand the importance of good communication skills and of speaking good english, especially when it comes to your progress in career. But isn't it important to be able to understand what your loved ones speak at home, even if you have not grown up there?
I have always noticed how children of mixed parentage, for example, a child who has a tamizh mother and a punjabi father, who should ideally speak both tamizh as well as punjabi, in most cases can speak neither. Infact, I have met so many tamilians who are born and brought up in Mumbai, say "Mujhe tamil malum hi nahi hai....I am a typical Mumbaite"!....very proudly!!! Sadly, they dont realize that they are the losers!!! I feel like they dont have any real identity, neither here nor there....no belongingness!!!
So, now all of you know I am a proud tamilian and my kids (when I am blessed with them!) will definitely speak/read/write tamizh, irrespective of where they are brought up so that their grandparents, relatives and others can speak to them freely. We will encourage them to learn different languages, and most importantly, feel proud of their roots!!
Today as I rode my bike to the office hurriedly ( yup, am always rushing to work!)....I was wondering how there is a distinct discrimination even when it comes to inanimate objects like the vehicles on road....
The luxury Cars, stylish cars, cars in vogue, natty looking chic cars and all that jazz invite envious looks from onlookers and remind me of pretty young things who can further be categorized into the ultra stylish, fashionable girls and boys, the practical types and some who are a mix of both - stylish on some days and not-so-well-dressed on others....
The autos rickshaws and public buses represent the middle-aged men and women who earn a decent living, not very successful or very aggressive in their outlook. They are in a job with the sole intention of earning a living. They work not because they love their job, but for the sake of doing the right thing.
Just like some autos who would rather sit around and chat with their buddies, if they had a choice, they would rather laze around at home and relax instead of toiling in the workplace. Similar to autodrivers who haggle with their 'savaari' for an extra 10 or 20 bucks, they haggle with their bosses for an increment or promotion based on seniority rather than performance or productivity.
One that stands out in the traffic is the garbage van! Have you noticed how the other vehicles cringe when they are in the vicinity of a garbage van, well, coz it stinks in the entire neighbourhood as they pass by? But can you imagine, in what surrounding we would all live in, if the garbage is not cleared?
The garbage van represents people like the rag pickers, toilet cleaners, maids, labourers and other such workers who are always ignored and generally, taken for granted. Some of them are treated like untouchables akin to the garbage van that is avoided by all vehicles on the road. People make faces on signals when the garbage van is around, while he takes everyone's crap (literally!!).
As a kid, while fighting with other kids or more due to the fact that I didnt know too many bad words , I have used the toilet cleaner as an abusive word. Now, I realize how wrong I was...would I like to use a dirty bathroom at home? Don't I cringe when I see a dirty used toilet at my workplace or in a public utility areas? What a dirty world we would live in, if not for those people?
By the way, I was thinking about all this when I was cleaning the toilet at home yesterday and when I saw the garbage van today as I turned into plush, green and sparkling surroundings that lead to a cleaner office!!!....thanks to you-know-who!!! :)
(Click on the picture for a larger view and to figure out who S is!! :D)
When you are in the middle of some mundane things, thoughtful surprises bring such a joy into your life.Today was such a day and I MUST write this down to remind myself of how much love and blessings I receive.
S has always been very angry with me for not changing my mobile which is a pretty basic one. I prefer it that way, it is just something that I use to make calls and receive calls. I don't like to spend too much money on a fancy expensive one, simply coz its not among my priorities. I admit that I do like certain ringtones and some cute stuff you can have if you have a good handset, but I can do without it. I am not a gadget freak or anything. PERIOD. Recently, my existing basic phone had some display problems and I have been using it with a big blob on the screen as if a kid scratched it with a big crayon.
Today I had some work to do and had gone out with my friend. S dropped me half way and we discussed that he would buy Ganesha and some pooja stuff as its Ganesh Chathurthi. He also said that he would check on my phone about the display problem as it is still under warranty.( by the way, I didnt expect half these things to be done....)
I finished my work and come home to see that our friendly God adorns our pooja with some modaks and S looks like the cat who got the cream. He gives me a W300i phone,its a walkman phone with a camera and all that jazz. More than the fancy phone, what was most thoughtful was that by the time I got back, he had copied some music that I love from a CD that is scratched and does not play properly, patiently loaded it on to the laptop at home, and selected the ones I love and had loaded it on to the brand new phone and gave it to me. There is this violin music that plays on his phone but would not play on my erstwhile phone as it does not have capabilities. Even that ringtone is now mine and he is more excited about my new phone than I am!!! :)
Also, I love this song called "Soni de nakh de...from Partner" and go crazy when the song comes on T.V or when its played in the car. He had loaded that song for me first! Now, I can even listen to music on my phone and it is a fancy flip phone.
I am amazed at how he notices these little details and takes my breath away with such cute gestures. I was overwhelmed and I felt so good for all the trouble he went to, for me. He could have simply lazed around, watched T.V. or done anything he wanted to, at home as its a holiday.
Why do we all (especially yours truly!) see happiness confined to a few milestones? good job, get married, buy a house, have kids, have another kid, save-enough-to-have-an-independent-life, children well settled, etc. etc...well, I am sure everyone would say 'well, that is the natural course that life takes for everyone!!'. My point is why can't it be different? Why am I answerable or questioned about each milestone at every point of time? Does it matter at all to anybody what really makes me happy? Most importantly, Do I know what really makes me happy?? In pursuit of reaching these milestones, more so due to pressures from peers, parents, neighbours...even strangers, all my attention is on the 'standard milestones set by others' that I forget to enjoy the simple pleasures and joy of life.
I had an epiphany (shruthi's fav. word!) and since then, have changed a lot from my previous self and have learnt to let go of myself. I think we are all conditioned to think that it is most important to think about others and please them than thinking about or caring about yourself. There were times I would feel guilty about being happy with S, away from my parents. Now, I know its silly. At the same time, I also think you want something to happen coz the person you love wants the same things too,more fervently than you do and succumb to it. But isnt that conditional love ( if such a word exists, but you get the drift, right?)
I am judgemental. PERIOD. I think its my basic nature, coz I dont seem to be able to change that about me :). I have judged people who choose to remain single and not marry at all or at couples who decide not to have children for whatever reason and so on. When I think about it, maybe that makes them happy. Who knows? It is important to respect their decision just like how I would like to be respected for mine.
S once told me 'You dont get hurt unless you want to get hurt'. I scoffed. I hate to admit now that it is indeed true. Over time, you learn to filter some people from your life and for your own good, its best to have positive people around you who revel in your happiness and accomplishments and at the same time, help you move on with life. But when you are young and raw, and have no idea of how cynical and cruel words can be, it comes as a shock that shakes you up...
Amma tells me ' Nobody is worth suffering!' Amen to that!!
Yesterday was Janmashtami and I rushed home to make neivedyam, at least the basics like pal payasam if not the works ( read uppu cheedai, vella cheedai etc.). After I spoke to Amma over the phone i remembered how she would make sure we would celebrate all the festivals with equal fervour despite the fact that she was a working mom. I would love the small foot prints of Krishna that would run across the hall to the Pooja and would long to do it myself and beg Amma to let me do my haphazard yet sincere attempt. As I grew older, I would scoff at traditions, more so due to lack of awareness of why we do it.
Now that I am married and live alone, I am able to appreciate and understand these interesting customs, traditions and festivals that come up to brighten up our banal existance and long for some more time and energy to celebrate it with renewed vigour after a long day at work! I think that when my mom took so much efforts to celebrate every festival despite feeling tired after a long day at work and long hours of travel....my life is so much easier and more comfortable....yet I bow down to laziness and feign ignorance?!! I would also like my kids ( when they come into my life!) to know, understand and enjoy these festivals and I should do whatever I can to educate them about it. There are lots of customs and traditions that we follow blindly, but in reality there is some logic or good reason for doing it. Most of the times, people do not ask nor do people bother to explain! OK! I digress...
I love the 'Ganesh Chathurthi' festival and I remember running along with Appa or Anna to the market to buy the beautiful clay idols and I would proudly carry Gannu's umbrella as I amble along with Appa back home and strangers on the road would smile at us and ask "Enna vinayakar vandacha??" ( So Lord Vinayaka has come home?). I vividly remember arriving home to hear Amma sing 'Morya re....Ganpati Pappa morya re...' ( My parents lived in Bombay in the initial years of their marraige) and it is a grand celebration in North India. Since we moved to Pune and we have been around for more than a year now, I get to see huge idols everywhere and it makes me sooo deliriously happy and excited. We are so immune to seeing Ganesha everywhere in our lives that the minute I see an elephant walking on the road, I am promptly reminded of the friendly God! Elephants have this innate quality of appearing child-like and innocent that is extremely endearing. Of course, the fact that they are known to be very unpredictable, strong and dangerous does not cross your mind. I have a huge indulgent smile on my face when I see an elephant anywhere! When I went on a trip with my friends from SRM ( my first job!) I remember falling in love with a baby elephant :)
I am looking forward to Ganesh Chathurthi this year, and of course, hoping its a holiday at work !! ;)
I had written a post earlier about my plans to surprise my mom in this post. When my brother, S and I arrived at her doorstep we all hid somewhere and rang the doorbell.....and when she saw us first, her face was blank....as if the fact that we are here had to sink in....and then the happiness on her face....is something I will remember for a long time. All the plotting, planning and the secrecy was well worth it to see her deliriously happy. It was a priceless moment. As people called up to wish her ( it was her birthday surprise!) she could not stop gushing about our surprise visit and how happy she was!! We all smiled at each other at her excitement and happiness and felt really good about it.
Well, all we did was eat, sleep, chat and shop!!! Had an awesome time and as always, were disappointed to leave in just four days!! All of us really enjoyed the time spent teasing each other and good humour....quality time spent!
Towards evening, S and I decided to go for a stroll in and around my parent's place coz the place has changed so much since our last visit. For old times sake, S wanted to have a fruit salad or something in 'Shakes n Creams' to relive the moments of our 'first date'. To our utter disappointment, it has been replaced by some Italian or American ( I didnt bother to check it!) restaurant....anyway, it is the feeling that matters, right? ( actually it is more a case of sour grapes!).
I have given my fancy-sentimental- letter-to-dad to be kept in safe custody with Amma. I am eagerly waiting to see his reaction on his birthday...now, things are back to normal routine and the routine is good too!! :)