Friday, October 20, 2017

a stroll in a cute neighbourhood in Paris

 quiet...absolute silence...a dog barks, mews of fluffy kittens, are all the sounds you hear...far from our cacophonic roads..wondered where all the people were..it seemed very lonely.no petty shops, no autos, for that matter I did not see a soul. Prabodh, my cousin had given us a
map, so that we don't lose our way.

flowers in all hues..trimmed hedges ..

to capture it quickly, lest the door open
 and me be charged for intrusion on their privacy

stone steps and stone benches to sit amidst the floral bounty

not a soul in sight...

A small school functions inside...

thiought it was an old couple staring at us..it was apicture..maybe of the couple staying there..wanted to knock..and have a chat with them..again..there I go..nosey me..

 school compound

inside the school...no sound at all..

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road side delights

An elderly couple fixing some thing..again..a hurried click..the wife was below, handing him whatever he needed..maybe he is an Uncle Podger of sorts..on these roads, you can dream..

garden with gnomes and toadstools, jugs and wooden benches

the railway station...you could meditate in perfect solitude .. and miss the train

the bus shelter...we had to walk to the shelter..and the drone of the bus could be heard from far..we were the only passengers..

Monday, October 9, 2017

Paris rendezvous

A year has gone by...and memories have dimmed..but had taken time off to write it down, then and there..

 Paris ......after an hour's delay we were on the flight....two good meals later in a span of eight hours we were in Paris. The customs did not treat us like terror suspects...we had felt humiliated in the States....had to strip our socks too.. ThE weather was cool and a bit cloudy... My younger cousin Prabodh had come to pick us. The car sped through and suddenly we passed through a Concorde...the plane which I had always wanted to see..Prabodh told me that it was the out of service Supersonic Concorde which once flew between Paris and New York in a little over three hours, at 1350 miles per hour..It looked as though it was about to soar..wow....what a sight..well maybe because I was always in awe of the Concorde

child hood memories when the Circus came to Qatar








This should look  like a class composition, where a visit to the Circus must have been written by every student in their English classes. Yesterday, had gone to the inaugural show of Jumbo Circus, which made me take a long look back.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Seventy years down memory lane..reminiscences of my mom

These are my mom’s reminiscences of her glittering childhood..a small slice of her life which she enjoyed..a time when she had no clue of the travails that lay ahead. Now  at seventy five..we hope,the turbulent years are behind her, and she has a little bit of time to herself to call her own..old age, and physical and emotional mishaps  have been her constant accompaniments, and though she walks with a walker, it  has not made her bitter..she sees the silver lining on every cloud, and keeps her mind agile. She is deeply spiritual, and swears by her readings of the scriptures. I remember her as a good seamstress..right from darning to delicate embroidery to tough upholstery. She lost her father who was a Chief Engineer In Madras, and then had come to live in a bustling but loving joint family in Mahe. The following is a lovely memory she treasures, in her own words. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

a tete a tete with the Prabhakarans






An overcast sky…no power at home, hubby and kids not in station..palms hot with whatsapp and checking FB, phone went off. A memory wiggled into my head,…and I Thought ..why don’t I check the family out..so immediately rang up Aashik, who on a casual meeting had told me about this couple, and asked him whether I could pay them a visit. Yes came the answer, so and as luck would have it, had Abhi, this couple’s neighbor at hand to chauffeur me.

Monday, March 27, 2017

remembering my dad

It's nearing a month since my dad left us, leaving a void, wide as an ocean..
 a studio picture at two, with his favorite doggy, Bag.
He is gone and I measure the yards he covered..old albums which were preserved as treasures were dug out..the pages were yellowed and most were just photo corners without pictures. He lived life on his own terms..he was the spirit at every party, though he did not have any siblings, he was big brother to all his cousins. I thank the Lord that he never had to wait at hospital corridors for tests and reports, nor did he had to sacrifice sweets and spice..he had them all to his heart’s content. God shielded him from tragic events which is hard to escape till eighty odd years. He was insecure without my mom, and never would have a minute passed without him calling out to her..she waited on him hand and foot. Thank God that he was chosen first and so was spared the pangs of separation..which he could not have handled..he had a big heart..and a sad story was enough to empty his purse. Where do they go after they leave us I wonder? How will he cope? He reminded me of uncle Podger..needed assistance for a teeny weeny thing..that too it should come from nowhere but my mom.. Cannot hope for concrete answers, though many claims I have read about.. The cycle of birth and death…but prayers can accelerate their journey towards a better birth..I pray.

Some beautiful moments captured..
his college days
clicked when on vacation..he would talk to all and sundry from the gate and endeared himself to kids,teens  and adults alike
beginning of his tenure at Qatar Petroleum


He was handsome,smart, made his presence felt wherever he was, he dressed impeccably well...a charmer he was.
Picture which he sent his mother after getting his job and bought a radio


his soul mate who waited on him hand and foot and for her, his word was law..here too God Blessed him and she was with him and he did not have to endure the pangs of separation.
 there I am..in a hospital in Doha...my mom till date has no clue to the exact time I was born..ha ha..no anxious grandmas  waiting outside to record the star the child was born into..
 he was a good at Tennis and watched the game with fervor till his last days.
an hour's drive to Umm said, a small town where weekends are a ball ..


his father..whom he adored and worshipped..though they were different as chalk and cheese
an ace swimmer..hours were spent lying on the blue sea..
when he had about of chicken pox..Oh My..mom had a terrible time..he was so cranky..God Bless him
when his mom visited Qatar..a studio picture
party for the Gaana Gandharvan at home
his secret hobby..scientific experiments..this pic was important..but right now have no clue
his team at office
a meal with his bosom friend Khan uncle
fun,and frolic was second skin to him..organised parties and picnics for children when the gang reaches there for holidays..
with the then Indian Ambassador was invited home
evenings at home.
doted on his grand kids
proud father..for my book launch














Saturday, December 3, 2016

I present..English mariyumma

When I wind up for the day, and my feet  up, I reflect on the hours that has bid good bye forever. Was it eventful, was it beautiful, did it brighten any lives..or did anybody brighten mine? Some days you feel you could have done much more, and I chide myself to be more aware of precious time. You fit in everything in the space of time, and if you so desire, with more awareness, it could turn out to be beautiful memories.

Turn of events meander through people and places and chance encounters towards incidents that matter. That is how I met ninety year old Maliyekkal Mariyumma or popularly known as 'English Mariyumma'.  Here goes the turn of events.  My husband introduces me to his new manger..Meet Onassis..Onassis? Despite knowing that hubby wouldn’t approve..I blurted, "How did you get your name?". he told me that he came from "The Maliyekkal family" of Tellicherry and his father was a good reader, avid movie goer and a man of the world..hence given the name after the Greek tycoon..Onassis. 

We were discussing the idea of having a Malabar snack fest, as he said that his wife was an expert in traditional Muslim snacks. So it happened that they came over with a truckload of snacks..only to swoon when they knew that we were veggies. Then we were invited there to a delicious spread of veg snacks..and more.. warmer stories and melodies. An aged and sick aunt who had no children were living with them..though of poor health..she sang us old songs which they compose to be sung on special occasions, like the welcoming of the groom, a song when the radio revolution appeared..etc. A casual mention of their aunt, English Mariyumma..sparked a fire in me..I liked what I heard, and the very next day took off to Tellicherry again to spend a day of stories, with simple people who had nothing but love in their hearts..blessed me!


 The Maliyekkal house...
Photo: http://historyofthalassery.blogspot.in/.

The Maliyekkal House stood tall and proud, and beside it lived English Mariyumma.  We rang the bell and there she is..English Mariyumma..opened the lock of the grilled veranda and invited me in..Old furniture whispered sweet nothings, and medals and mementos occupied a showcase. Photographs which are history..which made a distinct mark, where all over the walls. I was floored by her innocence, her beauty, her warmth..Her love for people strikes you as soon as you meet her, her love of narration warms you to her.. her pot was brimming with stories .. she began…how  her father was a man ahead of his times and made her and her sisters join an English Convent Sacred Hearts Girls High school. A conservative society threw stones..but the new school and her class mates totally mesmerized her..she went in a covered cycle rickshaw and she was the only Muslim girl at shool, and the only girl who knew no English. She told her dad that she stood out like a sore thumb..English tuition followed and she soon mastered the language.  She used to go to her aunt’s house for lunch, but had to discontinue as miscreants threw stones at her.so her lunch was sent to school, and the teachers arranged a special room for her to do her prayers and have lunch.
Grand mother of English mariyumma
Her grand mother, who had started the “Muslim MaHila Samajam” for girls irrespective of caste and creed  was her inspiration .Tailoring classes were conducted and so many were given  a means of livelihood. Many eminent personalities visited the Samaj, and annual days were conducted with gusto.

She recalls the times where she was invited to speak,and her speeches in English won her standing ovations, and motivated girls to continue their studies. I aked her to pose for a pic and asked about the chain she wore in the photos I saw..Immediately she fished out two beautifully crafted gold chains and her daughter helped her clasp it. Then she asked for the album , and out came reels and reels of memories. Pictures with Indira Gandhi..she told me she still favors the Congress..
with Smt Indira Gandhi


There was a picture with Lakshmi Nair (the Cookery queen of the Malayalam Television), who  had come to cook with her, hearing of her culinary prowess..she taught Lakshmi Nair her famous “Panjaara paata”  and lace rotis, and nura pathal.  As we leafed through the album, her lean finger pointed to the people in it..all etched in her memory, and her enthusiasm and innocence touched my heart. It was not a business she was running..it was a charity project.. each picture had a story behind and we laughed over so many little trivials. I could sit there for ages, shall come back again..if I had to touch the tip of the iceberg that she is..Have to come back another day and visit the ancient “Maliyekkal House”. 


Now,  my feet is up on the bed, I snuggled in happily recalling a special day..a day that I wished was longer..any way it will linger for ever..reach..




With the bishop


Here she comes adorned with her colorful jewelry

with her husband