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 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 too God Blessed him and she was with him and he did not have to endure the pangs of separation.
 there I a hospital in mom till date has no clue to the exact time I was born..ha 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 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...

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 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 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


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Touching the Capital city..Delhi

 Paris was a place among the stars, and also like the proverbial story of the little child crying for the moon. travel was not among my hubby's priorities, hence the travel bug loses out and is never persuasive. Until one day I received a wedding invitation from my cousin in Paris..
on our way..

A beautiful card, glanced at it, marveled at the romantic image of the couple and left it at that. Time flew and a casual encounter with the bride's aunt at a store sculpted my trip...Chandini.."aren't you coming for the wedding? We are going and can't wait go see the castle wedding" .honestly...had not even bothered to look up the venue of the wedding...and the word castle opened up a million memories. ?my Enid Blyton days...and the adventures in the castle and the pictures of them had always fascinated speared and chiseled the rest of the way..Thibery Castle came into view and I asked myself "Am I gonna miss this? Next was putting it up before the Council....My Husband. He was in no way intrigued by the castles I usually spin in the air, and Castles were not among his favorite subjects, he would rather dream of another business project, but he saw my point....Life is a network of experiences.and this would be a platter of events which he knew money alone cannot buy. Though the mundane is his comfort zone..he yielded and murmured a Yes...Sarang, my elder son said that he was going to Greece to attend his friend's wedding and so he opted out. so it was decided that  my younger son, Sanyanth three of us wd go..Switzerland..the snow clad mountains beckoned..the gondolas of Venice..a dream..the gladiators of Rome. The bull fights in Spain, Athens and Greece..where the beautiful Cleopatra reigned and the Trojan War was fought... the ceramic and tiled walls of Morocco. Wanted to roam the streets of Amsterdam..I wanted to see them sent hours browsing nd haggling on the places to go..and zeroed in on the Swiss Mountains, Rome and Italy..but a business opportunity appeared and Santhosh opted out. He needed to be in Dubai.. so even thought of cancelling the trip..but thank my stars, or stripes..I had the good sense to opt going with my son..Hurraayy..

  When we were small, my great uncle (the grandfather of the bride), had presented me and my brother a toy television, which would show us all the sights of Paris, and those sights are going to be live before me... Days flew by, and I was on the flight to Delhi, and I was delighted to see the airport of the capital city...A good three hours to browse through the stores...  Massive Yoga Mudras which adorned the walls put up a spectacular sight, thereby,  the great culture and the essence of ancient Indian culture which dictates a healthy lifestyle  and which the world has embraced...greets you when you enter the country..felt waves of patriotism surge up and felt proud to be an Indian..though I was always a proud Indian, I had never felt the pangs of patriotism except on Independence day.. Slogans of Swacch 'Bharath was everywhere..hope slowly at least, the dream of a clean India blossoms into a reality, than stay on slogans and posters.. Indian art and culture displayed beautifully by the various stores..The Ishaana store by the Isha foundation was spectacular...books and cds, teachings OF THE VARIOUS Gurus... we sure should be a peace loving country..a waterbody which said the water was energized, a doctor to prescribe a massage that suits your health and fits your budget,, ethnic jewelry, health foods and ayurvedic cosmetics, a palm reader, which made me involuntarily pull my hand back.. a coffee shop, and exquisite figurines which will chase you in your dreams. Soft therapeutic music in the background,  subtle and soft lighting..a stage was set for music and dance.  Bells tinkle and chime.. Bharath in a a glittering capsule to take back home..what it stands for and how it guides you to a healthy and holistic lifestyle, Pashmina shawls worth a fortune, spices for which we had to pay a heavy price..Just think of it…if it was not for the spices, would the foreign powers sail in? The British would have left us alone…

note the mudras

ivory elephant studded with gems

color and more color

energised water... a cafe behind

chimes and charms

The  visual appeal is given much thought.. note the intricate bangle stand

The figurinessteal your heart

Indian tea
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the departure lounge

In Paris soil..