Posted on Leave a comment

I can make anything to happen

 

:

‘Which idiot is calling me at midnight?’,  I yelled and opened the front door, eyes half closed and half opened. The huge figure wrapped in a big sari, the lady in the opposite house was there and I rubbed my eyes to make sure that it was not a dream.  Damsels from heaven used to appear in my dreams earlier but of late, only negative feminine characters of Ramayana are visiting me in sleep.  But this is not a dream, it is real.  I’m awake!

‘Meera, eami sangathi ? You?  In this midnight? What is the matter?’, I muttered, giving respect to her gender and age.

‘Pada, take me to the Saibaba maternity home’, she ordered in her hoarse voice.

‘Santhosha vartha meeru naakku cheppalaeaethae’. Oh, congrats! You didn’t give me the happy news earlier ‘

I looked at her middle part but was difficult to gauge whether she was pregnant or not as the entire front portion looked like a vadu mangai bharani, the pickle storage barrel, covered with a color cloth.

‘Not me, my daughter in law Ramalakshmi. Jeldi randi. come fast’.

I pleaded my helplessness . ‘ I’m not a doctor, not even a midwife, in what way I am going to be useful to your DIL?

I have never delivered a baby ’

‘You can make it happen. You have an obligation, nay responsibility, my Rama says. 

‘Obligation, responsibility, my God, what am I hearing! I was shocked. ‘upon God, I’m telling you, I have no obligation, no responsibility. I’m totally innocent, harmless, came here just a couple of months ago, friends m USA . I was away for the whole last year’ 

‘Don’t tell me stories. ‘I want SP, I want now’,  says my daughter in law’

‘But, for her I was uncle, while in good moods or thatha while in not-that – good mood. She never used to call me SP’

‘SP!’

‘You too call me SP?’

‘She is waiting for you, carrying a baby ready to come out, which will happen, the moment you land there. You have to make that happen’.

Putting a shirt on, I followed her reluctantly.

‘Uncle, I’m in a critical position,’ Rama was in tears.

‘ It is going to be Caesarian for me. My husband wants my baby to be a boy and he has gone to Tirupathy seeking Lord Venkateswara’s help. The doctor has posted my case for tomorrow morning and I need 40k before 8am.. I have my husband’s two ATM cards but don’t know the passwords. . I know two passwords but the relevant cards are not with me. The moment my husband is back, your money will be returned ‘

‘If the Baby happens to be a girl again and your husband in utter dejection goes back to Tirupathy, what will you do?’ asked the old lady. 

Wrong question in wrong time, which deserved no reply. But, the daughter in law had a reply, which shook me to my roots.

‘Shut up, mom. I’m sure my next baby will be a male and I know that SP will make it happen ‘.

While I was standing stunned without knowing what to say, Rama asked, ‘SP, will you please go home and get your ATM card? There is an ATM center right across the road’.

‘SP will make it happen’, assured the mother and asked the riksha wallah to take me home and bring me back safely.

‘And come again tomorrow morning with sweets to bless the baby, your baby!’,  the mother -to-be-soon again ordered, while I was coming out.

‘My baby?’, I turned back and asked, anger unavoidably reddening my query.

‘We too are your babies, SP’, hailed happily both the wise women! 

‘You too, my baby, madam?’, I turned my sharp eyes towards the obese old lady . 

‘Me too’, she declared clearly, loudly and vehemently .

My doubts are cleared. I can make anything to happen!

Posted on Leave a comment

Our Habsiguda neighbor

 

‘Loppudu raavochaa, can I come in, Sastrygaru?’

‘You’re already 10 yards inside my house. And I’m not a Sastry or Sanyasi, madam’

‘From the day one,  I came as a tenant in your opposite house, I wanted to ask you one question ‘

‘You came there just a few hours ago. Anyway what is that you wanted ask me? Want broomstick or drinking water? ‘

‘No Sir, you are a witty person’

‘No, I’m a dirty person to the neighbors who invade my house early morning. Your question please, old lady’

‘You’re young?’

‘You’re not old? Your question? ‘

‘I wanted to ask you why I don’t see a woman in your house ‘

‘There are three, all my wives. Sleeping in the top bedrooms.

Anything else you wanted to know?’

‘You seems to be angry . You’re perhaps hungry too. Shall I get you some food from my house?’

‘Yes, please get me chakkara pongal and chakkaravattu upperi . That is what I take for breakfast’

‘I haven’t even heard those names ‘

‘Then don’t bother me. I am waiting for an important guest’

‘May I know who he is? ‘

‘Not your concern. The visitor is a ‘she’

‘Then, I won’t interfere. I’m out of your way. Before I take leave, can I see your kitchen, please?’

‘Why not my bedroom? Why are you troubling me, madam?

On the very first day of our meeting, you have earned my dislike’

‘My intention is to say hello to your wife and not to trouble you, Sir’

‘Which wife? I have three ‘

‘No, Sastry garu. You don’t have a woman in your life. Had you one, your eyes would be glittering seeing a new woman in the neighborhood. The moisture has left your life, your heart, your mind , may be long ago,  as I can see only sand  dunes everywhere inside you’

‘Inside me? And if I’m right, you’re seeing me for the first time!’

‘Women can see the inside and outside of a man, in a matter of seconds. 

What shall I get you now, coffee or tea?’

Posted on Leave a comment

We create our own cages

‘Appa, no parties, no temple, no air travel’- my children’s 

‘sit inside ‘ instruction to me.  It seems Corona Yakshi’s preferred breakfast is oldies like me and therefore, I should avoid going out. 

I looked around, gazed at the ceiling, walls, swimming pool, paintings on the wall and sang a couple of lines, from a Vallathol poetry :

ബന്ദുര കാഞ്ചന കൂട്ടിലാണെങ്കിലും 

ബന്ധനം ബന്ധനം തന്നെ പാരിൽ 

Roughly means-

You may be inside a cage made of gold, but cage is a cage. 

Many times, we create our own cages! 

Yes, we do! Many of our beliefs fall into this category. Many of our dislikes , contempt of men, materials and matters fall into this category.  

In the olden days, the forced self isolation was more prevent. 

This happened long ago.

A professor wakes up hearing knocks on the front door and opens it.  His eldest sister has arrived from a distant place by the  morning train.

His face should have bloomed as she was coming home after a long time. It didn’t. His face, in fact, shrunk. Reason-she was a widow and that day was Friday . The whole day he spent worrying about the calamities awaiting to pounce on him, due to the inauspicious thing happened in the morning. 

In the evening the sister asked him, ‘what is troubling you, my dear brother? Come on, open up your heart. I’m your eldest sister and if not to me with whom will you share your grievances?’

The fifty year old professor, placing his head on the lap of his sixty year old sister wept silently cursing himself for the devilish thoughts that overtook him in the morning. The sister who could not even imagine that her beloved brother would have despised her visit in the morning, sang a lullaby of their young days:

‘Omana thinkal kidavo, nalla

Komalathamara poovo?’

He could no more control his tears which flew down and wet the woman’s clothes. He got up and prostrated before the elderly woman without saying a word. 

He was happy that the load he was carrying in his heart could be unloaded  and she too was happy that her brother’s face brightened

Posted on Leave a comment

Only marriage can tell you

‘SP Sir, your friend is critical. His pulse  rate is going down rapidly. His eyes are not opening’ 

‘Don’t lose hope sister. Ask his wife to stand close to the bed for ten minutes and call me’

‘Sir, success! The moment Mrs. Seshu went close to her husband, his pulse rate went up. It is normal now. But, he pushed my hands away.  I’m yet to change his dressing’

‘No cause for concern. He pushed your hands away from his body thinking those  belonged to his wife. Next time, if he repeats, stay put and observe what he does’

‘SP Sir, Success! I waited near his bed. His hands were searching for my hands. I could do my job. He likes his wife, obviously. Wonder why, earlier, he behaved as if he disliked  her’

‘Are you married, Sister?’

‘Not yet’

‘You will know the answer when you get married ‘

Posted on Leave a comment

Fear of a virus

‘Who can stop if destined to die from the virus?’. With that well known quote entered my house, a friend to chide me for cancelling my air ticket to Baltimore, fearing infection from travel.

‘Totally agree’, I endorsed his views and as usual, added a quote learned during childhood- ‘. വിധിയെ എതിർത്തൊരു ജന്തു നീന്തുമോ ?’ Who can go against the Fate? 

I didn’t stop with that . Requested my friend, not to enter in .

‘Wait there for a minute please. I’m getting water in a bucket to wash your legs and hands and also a torthumundu (short towel), to cover your mouth and nose. 

‘Why torthumundu? You don’t have a spare mask?’, he enquired.

‘I have. But better to have a bigger mouth cover as I have severe cold and a mild fever since this morning’ 

‘OMG! Krishna, Krishna!’  He dashed out in no time, without waiting to hear my another quote, ‘Vidhi praptho manava!’

Posted on Leave a comment

Moving water in the fish-less pool

I was pestering my daughter for the past ten days , to trace a jacket missing from my wardrobe. 

‘It’ll be somewhere, dad!’

‘Somewhere means, where ? I have searched the entire house’.

‘It’s warm outside. Why worry about warm clothes now?

‘If it suddenly turns cold?’

‘You have a dozen jackets in your wardrobe’

‘If a thief had entered the house and took away my jacket?’

‘No thieves here and if one enters, he has better things to carry away’

‘I want my jacket.  It was gifted to me by Poornima’

‘Ok, wait till Saturday. I’ll search, Appa’

Today is Saturday. Soon after up from the bed, I asked Aparna, ‘Konthai, did you find my jacket?’

‘Yes, Appa. Here it is. It was on a sofa in our patio’

 ‘Which idiot kept it there?’

‘No one except you, goes near  the pool, as the water is cold. You  sit on the bank and watch the moving water in the fish-less pool’

‘Moving water in the fish-less pool

Takes me  back, on my way to school 

Paddy fields on both sides with water

We jump into, with shrieks of laughter’

Aparna has better works to attend, than enjoying my poetry.

But I had no other work.

So, thought about my Chamikutti  athimbar’s anxious moments when his thorthumundu, short towel, was missing . He said he had, after his bath,  put it for air drying on a string in the veranda. 

He asked everyone whom he came across, searched in the hall, kitchen, everywhere but the damn thorthumundu was not to be seen.

I noticed a piece of cloth, hanging from the hip of an aunt, tagged to her ocher cloth. 

‘Oh, isn’t it athimbar’s torthumundu. How did it come to you? ‘

‘Camukkutti gave me ‘, was her cool reply. 

‘But Periammai, aunt, athimbar said he had put it for air drying and is searching in and out of the house!’

‘Mookkupodi jaasthi eattiruppan- rough meaning- he would have inhaled an overdose of snuff’, was her confident reply. 

I don’t use snuff. I don’t smoke. But moving water in a fish-less  pool makes me forgetful. 

Posted on Leave a comment

Worries on worries

My children, compared to me, talk less but say more. 

Yesterday, on FaceTime, Srikanth, talked more and said more about me.

‘You look worried Appa. What is troubling you?’

‘Nothing. I’m in high spirits, as usual’ 

‘You can hide nothing from your children and you know that’

‘Yes, I do’ 

‘Then come out’

‘Worried about —-‘s health’

‘He is in India. You, sitting in Florida, in what way can you contribute , to redress his grievances ?’

‘I know ‘

‘Good. If I take you by tomorrow’s flight to India, will you be able to render any service to him medically? 

No, as you’re not a physician. 

Will you be able to get food from home or stay in the hospital for one night? 

Difficult. You will be of little support to his family, by your physical presence there too. It makes no difference for them whether you’re there or here. 

Why do you worry then,  unnecessarily ? And what happened to your frequent posts in the Facebook, preaching ‘if things are beyond your control, worrying is meaningless’ ? What happened to your frequent quotation, ‘whatever has to happen will happen?’

He could not quote  the colloquial translation of the last sentence which my brother in law, Pallavur-  born late Ambi Anna told me, at Vancouver: 

‘What, what, when, when happeno, athu happanae happen! ‘

I know that. We all know that. But, knowing that, we, old people worry, worry! The present generation too know that either from us or from other sources, but they practice what they know, to the extend possible.

Practicing what we know or what we advice others, is not easy.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

They will never let you down

They will never let you down, never!

I have high hopes on the youngsters not only those from my family but on all, more so in the foreign settlers, to protect the culture they have inherited. 

They are intelligent and therefore analyze the old practices and absorb the best and most practical ones.  Don’t blame them if they, while taking out their vehicle, don’t look for  a cow with calf or a bull with a nose thread; those do not exist on the roads here! While driving their cars at 60/70 miles-speed they may or may not be hearing Bajagovindam or whisper some stotrams  learned in childhood, but will never bear any bad thoughts harmful to others. 

They may not be applying vibhoothi on their body every morning or visit temples regularly or do so only to please their wives. Doesn’t matter. God lives in their heart as they are honest and doesn’t hurt others feelings .

They may even , on their own, request us to help them to wear a new poonal or sacred thread on Avani aviitam, (in the absence of any threads on their body to replace with a new one! ) . It is Ok, the absence of external threads on their body are not that important as the internal threads of spirituality and sincerity are strong in them.

The happiest day in my life was when my sons agreed, on their marriage day, to wear conventional dress and strictly follow the conventions. I knew it was due to their lessons in cradles when they woke up hearing the gantanAdam, bell sound of my Shivapoojas. 

Be assured that if you had planted a Tulasi in their mind during childhood, it will spread fragrance inside them for ever. 

Ignite your children’s mind with our samskarams and that Deepam will shine in them brightening their thoughts and life. They will face their hard days boldly 

The first question I ask every person from India, who visit us is, ‘do you teach your kids, your mother tongue?’

 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Parents’ complaints

A friend has a complaint; 

‘My son used to come running towards me the moment he heard my scooter sound on my returning from work, every evening. Now he doesn’t bother even to come to my room after he returns  from work. See how time has changed!’ 

Many parents have the complaint that, in terms of care and love , they don’t receive even a percent of what they gave to their children when they were young. 

They forget their sons and daughters are no more children They have grown up now and that exactly was what the parents wanted!

During their childhood their world was a small circle or a small square limited to their home, toys and playmates. The parents took care of all the needs of the kids. Now they

have many masters to serve, many responsibilities to carry on and many plans to be prepared and executed. We too had all these  burdens but our load was much less compared to that of the present generation. 

We could sit under a tree and 

chit chat and relax. 

The present boys and girls  have no time to breath! 

Still the majority of the present generation love their parents and serve them.

Parents, by comparing their young days with the behavior of their grown up children, are only making their life miserable.

In the picture I stand before the institute where I served

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The mango tree at the back of my kitchen

 

 


The mango tree at the back of kitchen whispered – from my blog 

Time 3.30 pm. Vicha ‘s electronic brain clock woke him up from his post-lunch nap. 

‘Anna, kaappi’

‘Wait man, let me solve this Sudoku four star’

After a minute or two-

‘Anna, still with Sudoku ?’

‘Vicha, kappi has to be made. It doesn’t flow from the water tap’

‘Sari’ . Ok. He agreed that kaappi doesn’t flow from water tap. 

I rushed  into the kitchen. To make coffee you need just two things, decoction and milk. No sugar for thammudu. Where is milk?  In the fridge. Very good.

Where is decoction?  

I could locate the filter, but it was empty. No problem. Srikanth had neatly labeled the dabbas. Picked up coffee -power dabba.

The holes of the upper mini barrel were all blocked. No problem. Let me clear the blocks with a needle. Where is the needle ! Searched everywhere. Not found.

(There is a box full of insulin syringes with thin needles, but my brain, had gone for a Kerala hartal)

A flash inside. Brain woke up like undesirable desires rising at my heart,  at times. Bad comparison. It is ok. Bad also is a part of life. Bad makes good strong. Black makes white whiter. White is often forgotten; black stays longer. 

White has gone leaving black behind. That’s why all these problems .

There is a solution for every problem. I switched on the stove and holding the percolator carefully with tongs, heated its bottom so as to burn the coffee granules stuck in the holes. 

The holes are meant for free flow. All holes! If there is a block in just one hole, life loses charm! 

After a minute or two- 

The bottom of the percolator turned black. No problem. That stain could be removed. 

Some stains remain for ever.  Man goes, but stains stay back.

Left the heated percolator on the kitchen platform and went to get milk from the fridge.

‘Don’t heat the milk now; let the decoction be ready’, 

Vicha’s advice from the hall. 

Opened the coffee powder dubba, removed the powder and just lifted the percolator with two fingers. It was still red -hot! I forgot. It didn’t .

Ohoooooooooo! The fingers got burnt! Ohooooooooo.

Rushed towards the tap to pour water on the fingers. Oooooo, pooooo! Tap turned but water didn’t fall. No tank in the tank. 

If there’s is no water in the overhead tank, you open a dozen taps, not a drop will come down! 

Tanks should never be allowed to go empty- any tank, even the one in our head or heart! 

‘Vicha, switch on the motor’, I yelled. 

He didn’t hear. I was not surprised. He was thinking about kaappi! 

‘Anna, kaappi aacho?’ Is coffee ready?’

‘Unduraa. I will blast your head.’, I screamed 

Now he heard, accurately.

‘Where is that?’, he enquired. 

You ask me any question, I can answer. But don’t ask where your head is! 

‘How difficult is the job of a house wife!’ I thought and praised mentally the woman who silently served coffee, 3/4 times daily, just for asking and even without asking for the whole family, friends and frequent visitors, for many years. She would have been appreciating seated on the mango tree branch, somewhere. Why somewhere, she might be right on the tree behind the kitchen. Why behind the kitchen, why not on the one near the well? Kitchen was the place where she spent most of her life. 

I praised my intelligence too.

‘Had I not used the tongs and directly held the filter in my hand and heated?’ Not two fingers, the whole hand would have been burnt. I was indeed a wise man.

‘Anna, should I come and help you?’

‘Oddu Raja, oddu. Your coffee is almost ready’

‘Kappi unda, illaya- are you going to give me coffee or not?’

I looked at the stove. Oh my god! The milk had boiled and boiled and boiled, had spilt on the burner, putting off the flame, leaving the base of the vessel charred. I was standing almost touching it but didn’t notice the overflow of its anger. 

Not surprising- I had stood  touching a woman, but failed to see her overflowing anger. Anyway that was when I was young. When you are young, you fail to see the face of your wife and when you long to see her front, she had gone and you see only her back, that too from far, far away.

Wrong! I see her face right behind the kitchen wall, from the mango tree. 

‘Anna—-‘ Thammudu reminds again. What to do now? No milk in stock. Shall I go out and buy a packet from the shop on the circle road? Poor Vicha is going dry with no kaappi which keeps him alive, though limping.

At that critical moment, the embodiment of immense mercy,

Saraswathy Devi, who had abandoned me for the past two months, inspired my mind and I sang aloud, for the first time in the last two months, a popular Kathakali padam, loudly:

:

“ajitha hare jaya madhava vishno!

ajitha hare jaayaa maadhava vishno!

ajitha hare jaya madhava vishno”

Viswanatha Iyer, heard his favorite Padam and responded, skipping the next few lines, in high pitch. That is how that padam had to be sung.

“paladinam aayi njanum balabhadranuja ninne paladhinamayi njanum balabhadranuja ninne nalamodu kaanmathinnu kaliyalleruchikunnu

nalamodu kaanmathinnu kaliyalleruchikunnu”

He wanted to convey that he too, like Sudhama, was waiting long, not to meet Lord Krishna, but for his favorite kaappi.

‘Pavam, neenkal- poor you! ‘, the mango tree  at the back of the kitchen,whispered .