Chennai & Chocolate Krishna

Being in Chennai has one of the finest advantages. This being an artist’s paradise, there are a plenty of ways to keep the residents occupied.  Be it a musical concert – the carnatic, hindustani, western or simply fusion, or a dance program – traditional bharatanatyam or fusion ballets, or those hilarious and thought-provoking plays – Chennai is THE PLACE for it.

Next month begins the world-famous DECEMBER FESTIVAL, where every auditorium / sabha *, hosts this festival of music, dance and drama.  If you have not been to one, your life in Chennai is wasted.  So many artists come all the way from US / Canada / Australia and many other countries to perform in this wonderful festival.

My childhood memories are so well interwoven with these episodes of festivals of art, the main reason my father being the Secretary in one of the leading Sabhas in Chennai and he still remains to be so. Every weekend, we’ll go to the sabha – whether it is a play or a music concert or dance.  It was the best outing for us, with the whole family and we used to enjoy every such experience.

Then was sowed the seed to appreciate the art and the related things in life.  I love the musical concerts – I learned music too.  They are one of the best medicine to handle stress.  The dance programs were colourful and we used to love them all.

But,  the plays are my favourite, as those were the days of comedy kings like Crazy Mohan, S V Sekhar, Kathadi Ramamoorthy and many other serious play makers too.  These comedy plays were a big craze in those days and ppl used to learn the dialogues too – as they do now for some movies.  Me and my friends used to have a contest on how many times have you seen a particular play and I always won – advantage of  having a Secretary of a Sabha as my father.

Then later, when I got married and left Chennai, this play craze seemed to have got engulfed among my motherhood and I used to yearn for the lovely memories of those hilarious theatre days.

chocolate krishna
Tamil Comedy Play - Chocolate Krishna

Now, back in Chennai, I was adamant on going to this latest comedy play by Crazy Mohan – CHOCOLATE KRISHNA.  And so, our family of four went for this play abt a week back.

I was skeptical about my girls’ response to this play. But, My God, they proved to have my genes perfectly in place. They absolutely enjoyed the play, all the while laughing thru the jokes. I was transported to my teenage years, where I’ve sat to watch every play and laughed along so much.

Crazy Mohan and Balaji
The Comedy Duo – Crazy Mohan and Balaji

 This Comedy Duo were fantastic with their non-stop jokes and their great timing !!!! The whole theatre troupe had the audience in splits from the moment they started.

 
Another interesting thing was the interwoven magic, as a part of Krishna’s character.  On the whole, it was a great time to laugh out loud, forget your worries and at the same time have a great family time.
 
My childhood memories were whitewashed and put on a new pedestal for my girls to see and enjoy and now a days, they keep asking me to tell me about the other plays I’ve seen, in my younger age.
 
After my last post on Chennai, I felt bad that I was giving away my native place !!! Actually, it’s not the place, but the ppl that matter the most.
 
So, here’s a post to toast the bestest part of being in Chennai !!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂  And I know that all those Chennaiites, who give me a half-smile, will also vouch for this wonderful face of Chennai and I am sure they too enjoy the artistic Chennai to the core.
 
And for all the support you’ve all given me, in my previous post – Thanks to you !!!! I am now a member of the recreational club in the apartment and have made quite a lot of friends  after that post. Thank you, fellow bloggers, for all the support. 🙂 🙂 🙂

 * sabha – an association or a recreational club formed to promote art.

Pass on the goodwill

My cousin brother called me a few days before and a part of our conversation was like this…

Bro : I had bought a few shirts here and during my recent visit to India, I decided to give it X as he has just started his career, to Y as he is starting his college life and to Z as he is starting his career too.

Me : WOW !!! 🙂  Thats a wonderful thought. Am very glad that you did it.  The boys (X, Y and Z) should have been so happy, na ????

Bro : Actually, one wonderful person did that to me, when I started my PG course and it helped me a lot, by boosting my confidence. Do you know who that person is ????

Me : Who is that ??? Do I know him ????

Bro: Of course.  He is your brother-in-law R-anna.  Do you remember the day (about 14 yrs back), I came to your house to tell you all that I’ve got admission into this college and I am joining the PG course ??? And R-anna, without a moment’s hesitation, just took a branded new white shirt and gave it to me and wished me.  He made such an impression on me and I’ve never looked back on life, after that !!!  🙂  He boosted my confidence by showing his faith in me.  That simple act just made me feel special and worthy of doing things.

Me : So sweet of you, da, to remember that incident !!!

Bro : It was then that I decided, that I’ll give the same confidence and boost to the people I know, who are starting their life, career, studies, whatever it is !!! I am just passing on the goodwill that I got from R-anna.

Me : Oh !!! R-anna will be very happy to hear abt this !!!! Do you know that he is also the lucky mascot for us ???  🙂

 

Yes, my Brother-in-Law R-anna, is a warm soul with a  loving heart. It is very rare to find somebody like that and I am very glad to know him !!!  It is R-anna’s Bday today (October 3rd) !!!!  And I am very happy to wish him through my blog, too !!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

red rose bouquetHAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, MY DEAR ANNA !!!! GOD BLESS YOUR WONDERFUL SOUL !!!!

 

She can do it !!!

Provisions need to be bought for this month.                

She can do it !!!!

Electricity bill needs to be paid.                                           

She can do it !!!!

Need to buy vegetables & fruits.                                          

She can do it !!!!

The tube light is not working. Call the electrician.       

She can do it !!!!

The kid is not well. Should see a doctor.                           

She can do it !!!!

X’s bday is coming. Buy some Gift.                                      

She can do it !!!!

Oh!! boring !! Bank works are piling.                                   

She can do it !!!!

Entertain family and friends.                                                 

She can do it !!!!

Credit card is not working.                                                     

She can make it work !!!!

Mobile connection disconnected.                                       

She can get the connection back !!!!

Loved ones are upset.                                                              

She can pacify them !!!!

Everyone is hungry.                                                                  

She can cook a delicious meal !!!!

So many things need to be done, now.                              

She can multitask !!!!

 

Please don’t take her for granted.

Yeah, she is smart, loving, understanding, multitasking, adjusting, independent and many more !!!!

Doesn’t she deserve some concern, love, smiles, hugs, warmth from the loved ones around her ???

Navarathri for me…

We are at that time of the year, which is very close to my heart – yes, the Dussherra  !!!!

I know, yeah, I am writing about this very early….Dussherra is another 15 days away !!!!

Since I am from Chennai, I would love to relate it to the way we celebrate and that is the Navarathri or the Kolu, which starts this friday on the 18th of September.

It’s the most awesomest festival, which I love so much.   The colours, the music, the beautiful kolams, the sara sara pattu pudavais, the fragrant malli poo, the wonderful smile on everybody’s lips is enough proof that heaven is here among us.

Navarathri, as the name suggests, is celebrated for 9 days, the first 3 days for Goddess Durga, the second 3 days for Goddess Lakshmi, and the last 3 days for Goddess Saraswathi. The Saraswathi Puja on the last day and the Vijayadasami on the next day marks the end of this wonderful festival.

The other name called Kolu comes from the fact that there is a display of beautiful dolls during these 9 days.  On the Amavasya day, we set up the steps – always it is an odd number of steps – and start arranging the wonderful dolls.  We also make parks/ zoo  around the steps to display our toy animals !!! Beautiful colourful kolams (rangoli) adorn the houses. The colourful lights and lamps will add more sparkle to the whole festival.

All the ladies in their best sara sara pattu pudavais, the little girls in wonderful pattu pavadais, going around to visit friends, relatives and singing till the throats ache are just a few insights into this fantabulous festival.  I still remember how I used to go from one house to another, for inviting them to visit our kolu. Without even being asked, I would start singing, eagerly waiting for that aunty to come and give me the sundal packet. Then I am off to another house and its the same story again. (Sundal is a wonderful dish – it’s sprouts done with tadka and garnished with grated coconut. Everyday it is a different sprout and so it is all the more fun).

Chennai is colorfully decorated and there are contests happening to rate the best Kolu, too !!!  So, people are more keen on displaying their Kolu based on a theme, so that theirs is unique.

When I go blah blah about all this wonderful festivities of Chennai and how I miss them all, staying here in Hyderabad, my sweet husband decided to take us all to the wonderfully old city of Kolkatta, to show off his childhood places and how Durga Puja is celebrated there. So, last year, for the Dussherra vacation, we were in Kolkatta drinking in the delights of the pandals and the awesome foodies that go along with it.

Even though the Puja is only for 5 days, it is just  a wonderful experience to see it all live in Kolkatta.  The grandeur of every pandal will take your breath away.  The unique designs and the money spent on every pandal is just overwhelming.  But it is all worth it, finally.  Even though the city was maddeningly crowded and didn’t show any levels of developments after the British left us – none of this mattered to us – we were hogging on luchis and aloo dums for breakfast, rasogullas, kachodis, singada, puchka – the list is just endless…such mouth watering delights.

One of my favourite moment was when we all walked up from our room to the nearest puchka-wala, at midnight, and had a dozen of them each. I can never forget that super bhog prasad which we had in one of the pandal. It was absolutely fabulous.  Although, I’ve tried making it at home, I’ve not yet reached that taste level.

A few pandals for your visual treat – they are my favs too !!!! 😆

 

 

55er

 Ok !!!! Here’s my attempt at the 55er !!! HOWZAAT !!!!

 

 Sr and Sh in their room

 

Behind closed doors

 

There comes a vroooom

 

Ma hears loud voices

 

With concern opens the door

 

Only to see

 

Sr and Sh on the floor

 

In the centre is the radio

 

Screaming to the whole world

 

All of them laugh together aloud !!!

 

55 WORDS FICTION

A literary work will be considered 55 Fiction if it has:

Fifty-five words or less (A non-negotiable rule)

A setting, One or more characters, Some conflict, and A resolution.

(Not limited to moral of the story)

I am learning…

Today’s article in The Hindu Magazine was really a very touching one, which brought a tear or two to my eyes.  This person, who has just crossed his 50th bday, reminisces on those incidents which made an impact on his life and the way he lives it. Very well written article !!!

So, here I am, taking a cue from his article, may be like a tag from him, trying to list out those 5 incidents which really had an impact on me and the way I look at life.  I am listing them as lessons, as there had been something to learn every time.

Lesson 1

My maternal grandfather was a man of principles and he was very strict with everybody at home. He’ll assign chores for everybody and made sure that all those chores are done properly. If, today, my house is spic and span, the credit goes to my grandfather for instilling such values in me.  I had the advantage of spending so much time in my grandfather’s house during my holidays.

My grandfather was a very pious man, too.  Everyday puja will be a great ritual and everybody in the house has to take part.  But as a girl entering into teenage, I had so many questions about whatever he did.  Even though he doesn’t encourage questioning from his own children, he gave me the required freedom to talk my mind out.  I had the privilege of being the first granddaughter of the house, so concessions were many.

One of the questions that I had asked him, still echoes inside me, along with his answer.

Me : Thatha, you always ask me to tell slokas to God and do namaskaram (prostrate) to God.  But my mind is not agreeing to do this ritual. How can I do it when my mind is not involved ????  What is the point in doing, just for your sake and not for the actual purpose ?????

Thatha : This is just a beginning for you. This process is meant to humble you !!! If not today, in later years, you’ll understand the logic behind humbleness.

This lesson on humbleness learnt during my teenage, is one of the valuable lessons which I’ve learnt.  The feeling of being humble before God, even when you are on top of the world, keeps life in balance.

Lesson 2

My paternal grandmother, about whom I’ve talked so much in my previous posts, is very close to my heart.  She was there for me, always and this was very important to me, as my mother was working.  My grandmother is also a great businesswoman.  At those times, when having a grinder (for making the batter for idly and dosa, without which we thought that we would die) was a prestige issue, my gmom went ahead and bought one.  And she offered to make the batter for other neighbours for a very nominal fee.  Being a great cook, she would religiously prepare pappads, vathals and sell them also.

While I was thinking that these business ventures by my gmom are not right – my mind was telling me that we were in need of that money and thats why gmomwas working so hard to make some more money.  I was not feeling so good about the whole thing and went to talk with her.  Her answer still rings inside me : My darling, whether we (the women folk) do these things for money or not, the main purpose is not that. It is to keep us busy, as an idle mind is a devil’s workshop. And just see the number of friends I’ve made through this business.  BTW, Whats wrong in doing this business ?? No kind of work should be looked down.  Work is God !! So, don’t even give a moment’s rest to your mind – keep it working all the time, in a positive way.  WOW ! I was stumped by her logic.  Its not the money, folks, but don’t let your mind idle.

Lesson 3

My parents have a LET GO attitude towards us (the three children). To an outsider, it might look like that they don’t care for us.  But in the true sense and spirit of life, it is the best independence that parents can give to their children.  They loved us, cared for us, made sure that we always had everything we had asked for, and at the same time, gave us the independence to choose our own career.  While they took so much of effort and care in choosing the right partner for me, they were also gracious enough to accept my sister’s and brother’s own choice of life partners. They let me learn from my mistakes, always waiting to give a helping hand the moment I turned towards them.

When I left my job, one fine day and came back home early, my father just asked me calmly, what’s your plan now.  He didnt criticise my decision in any way and lifted my confidence in him hundred folds.  He also gave me the independence to plan my finances. While my maternal gfather was the guiding light in the field of investments, my dad gave me the space to take my own decisions financially, too.

This LET GO attitude is very difficult to practise, as a parent, even though I am trying hard to practise it now with my daughters. I am amazed at how my parents were able to do it, without any qualms about what others will talk about them.  There is so much to learn about this LET GO attitude, as I approach every new day, with my daughters.

Lesson 4

In a typical Brahmin family,  it is taboo to mingle with people of other lower castes.  But my grandparents and parents made a difference, by not enforcing this rule on us.

I remember, sitting with my maid and washing the vessels along with her, all the while playing and talking with her.  While I enjoyed every moment spent with her, it made a much higher impact on my maid.  She was very highly respectful of my gparents and will do anything for us – because she loved being treated without any difference.

My paternal gdad was a great advocate of this culture.  The car mechanic at the end of our street, the rickshaw man, the milkman who used to give fresh cow’s milk and even the barber – they were all my gdad’s friends.  They all used to call him “sami” (equivalent of God) and all my gdad did was talk to them with love.

There were so many friends of mine, who were not Brahmins, but were welcomed in my house without any great fuss.  The tolerance towards other religions is one of the greatest gift I’ve received from this family of mine.

This positive attitude towards people of other cultures has instilled the humane spirit in me, the greatest lesson learned by me.

Lesson 5

My gdad loved my gmom so much, that he used to be calling her all the time.  He wanted to make sure that she was near to him.  Even though, we grandchildren, used to make fun of both of them, they used to take it in stride.  I, for once, talked to gmom about this. It went like this –

Me : Patti, Isn’t thatha troubling you so much ??? He is keeping on calling you all the time, even while you’re sleeping. He is taking advantage of you, because you answer him so politely.

Patti : My dear, he doesn’t trouble me at all.  Only if doesn’t call me continuously, there is something wrong. (Look at her way of seeing things !!! In old age, by calling out to your loved ones, you reassure them that they are there for you. How wise of them and ignorant of me !!!)

Me : You see, patti, when I get married, I’ll make sure that my husband doesn’t sit like thatha in one place and keep calling me.  I’ll tell him that if you want onion sambar, cut the onions. If you want aloo fry, peel and cut the aloos. I’ll make sure that he shares every little work at home.

Patti : (Smiling) First, lets  get you married and then lets see what happens to those resolutions of yours.

How true patti and thatha were !!!  The great companionship they shared is a great lesson for me to learn a few tidbits in life.

Whether it is God sent or not, my hubby resembles my gdad in so many ways. For instance, if he is there at home, he keeps on calling me every second and if I don’t sit next to him, he is very annoyed. This also shows the companionship that he longs for.  And I feel blessed.  Now, I don’t bother whether he cuts the onion for the sambar or whether he peels and cuts the aloo. I do it because I love doing for my loved ones.  My resolutions have learnt a better lesson.

DISCLAIMER : The idea is not to hurt anybody, but tell about those incidents and facts which changed my thinking and made me value life differently.

Thank you, dear God…

There was this GIRL
Who was born as the eldest of three.
Even though SHE loved to
Take care of HER siblings,
SHE longed to be youngest of three.
 
SHE prayed and prayed for years
For the wish to be granted.
God had already planned it out for HER
When SHE got married
HER wish was granted.
 
Now, SHE has one sister
And two brothers
All elder to HER.
It was a dream come true for HER.
 
The first brother is a great inspiration
To this GIRL
As SHE listened with fascination
About his hardwork and dedication
SHE pinched herself to see if this is real.
 
He helps people in need
Just like his father, indeed.
SHE loves the way he talks
About anything you ask for.
 
The second brother is HER friend
Who makes sure that SHE’S all smiles
Never had SHE known that a brother
Could influence HER so much in life.
 
He plans everything so well
That everybody’s life is going on well
The heart to appreciate that he’s got
Is a wonderful gift, from which SHE should learn a lot.
 
The sister is a picture of courage
Always taking life in its stride
With the conviction to do only what she feels is right
She certainly is one of the favourite.
 
This sister is a sweetheart
For the whole family lot
This is evidently clear
As everybody longs to be with her the most.
 
The husband was no less
To his sister and brothers
He made sure that SHE can cry
Only out of  joy.
 
He was the most happy man
When he became the father
He loves his daughters so much
That the GIRL cries out of joy, without a bother.
 
HER mother-in-law was her new found friend
With whom SHE can share anything & everything.
The will-power and mental strength (of HER mil)
Is something SHE is keen on learning.
 
Two more sisters
God gave HER
SHE had no bother
When HER sisters cared for HER.
 
They understood HER
They guided HER
The brother’s wives they never were
But sisters to HER they always were.
 
There’s one more warm soul
Whom SHE has not seen in person
But SHE sees him (the Father-in-law) everyday
In the helping heart of the first brother,
The care and appreciation of the second brother,
The courage and conviction of the sister
The quiet inner strength of her husband.
He (FIL) is there with us
We never think that he left us.
 
The GIRL’S new found family
Was just the right place for HER
For its not only the husband
But the whole family is loving towards HER.
 
The GIRL is very happy
Today is HER birthday !!!
SHE thanks God for making
HER life as a divine blessing !!!