Friday, 11 September 2009
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
Sunday, 16 August 2009
Saturday, 1 August 2009
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
A couple of years ago, when my daily bread from Google depended on how many ads I reviewed a day, the word eBay had a different connotation. Easy-to-review ads which boost productivity, performance review, salary proposition. etc. as much as wolves in jackal skin because they have hidden errors that do not catch the eye.
From that time, I always looked at it as a 'US thing.' The generalisation that we Indians prefer to do shopping physically and that online shopping is for lazy people in the West added to the complication of credit/debit card fraud - eBay was never a part of my thought process.
And then one day, I saw an advertisement of eBay.in - eBay with an Indian twist. Being the dream come true innovator I am (take a bow, Mr. Everett Rogers, you were absolutely right with your classification), I tried it out. A quick registration is all what I did in my first visit.
As if they read my middle class mind, eBay soon started sending me emails with luring offers. Yes, their strategy has worked and I have started online shopping!
A month back, I got this email alert of a Bajaj DVD Player with USB coming at a discounted price of Rs. 1700. There was another offer running simultaneously where eBay was giving away free gifts for all purchases above Rs. 1000. Bling bling went the red alarms and I remembered my friend who had mentioned dreaming a DVD player, but had a tight budget. A quick check with the friend and thirty minutes later, I had paid for it through PaisaPay! My friend got a DVD player within the budget and and it brought along the joy of a free 2Gb pen drive..
I am sure the technology employed at eBay sensed a potential ransacker sitting in Hyderabad and browsing their stuff. The very next week, I got another email saying flat Rs. 250 off on any item. Five minutes later, eyelashes fluttering, I was innocently ordering a 2GB pen drive for Rs. 120. My sense of logic must have been really kaput considering I had gotten hold of this less than two months ago. But then, you can't carry such a darling gizmo anywhere and everywhere, right? For example, using it to carry a silly file that needs to be printed out would be a criminal offence. So that's the logic - my hard disk is for my movies, music and moments only.
Today, it happened again. Another email with the same offer of flat Rs. 250 off. My grey cells went into a revolution and finally I figured it. Books! Mad browsing for an hour followed by one purchase - The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho for Rs. 15.
All the uninitiated - I would like to enlighten you about the way these offers work. They send you a promo code in an email and you have to paste it in the final step of payment. After The Alchemist, I zeroed in on another one called My Friend Sancho by blogstar Amit Varma and frantically went on to pay just Rs. 5 for it - but alas! The code was already used - for Paulo Coelho, of course.
Disappointed, I tried creating another id to see if that will work. It did not. In utter dismay, I realized that it is a unique code and works only for one user, for one transaction.
No, I did not give up. I added all my potential buys to my shopping cart. You know what I am doing right now? Keeping an eye on my inbox - to see when the next Rs. 250 promo comes, so that I can buy books for multiples of five rupees.
Credit card fraud - what is that? :P
Friday, 10 July 2009
An eighteen year old with bright dreams of being in the limelight - that was me in a nutshell in 2003. It was also the time when Palee was reigning many a Malayali heart including mine with a program called Kairali On Demand. One of the many things I did to realize my dream was writing long letters to him with program ideas in the hope that he would just pick me to anchor them!
One day, that much awaited call came as well - to give a screen test. For me, hearing his voice across the line was an achievement in itself. He was an icon of sorts who encapsulated the ultimate media dream for me - someone who had to come on screen from behind by sheer coincidence and stayed on gloriously. The screen test was truly just a bonus.
I cannot imagine the nervousness I experienced that day. Probably, something I have never ever felt before or after, in my life - in that measure. I vividly remember his lady love being in the studio for the shoot of a program called Weekender. Of course, I did not know at that point that there was a love story going on. ;)
The screen test was totally uneventful. I was asked to perform an introduction for the program Mail A Scene. The otherwise ultra talkative, oversmart me just shrinked into a coy little thing with a puppy face in the great producer's presence. Needless to say, my performance was nowhere close to what I could have done and I don't even think he gave it a thought whether to take me aboard or not.
I thought, there goes my future in my dream channel into the dustbin with a silly piece of script I made.
I moved on, appeared for a screen test at Indiavision and did much much better this time. May be, because I cared much less if I would get through or not. And of course, Santoshettan was not there to distract!
I made it and I faced the camera for the first time for a programme there. Destiny had other plans though. Eleven months down the lane, I sensed another opportunity at Kairali with another producer. I wrote to him about my experience at Indiavision and I was on!
It indeed was a dream come true. Kairali had the most creative graphics team of all Malayalam channels at that point and my imagination knew no bounds about the riot of colours I would have for accompaniment on screen. Yet, somewhere inside, the sense of loss lingered that I did not become an anchor for a Palee programme.
Kairali became home to me soon. I bumped into him very frequently in the studio, yet continued to be star struck each time it happened. My producer was a good friend of Palee, so there was no dearth of insider news about Palee's life - professional and personal. In that way, I was in a much better place than most of his fans, even though I did not realize the anchor dream.
Life goes on. So did mine. I relocated to Hyderabad, much away from my media dreams, doing totally different things. Malayalam Television soon became a thing of past to me, something that I do not have access to even when I go back home, thanks to Kunjunni's addiction to Pogo.
But then, there is Facebook and orkut. Many lost media connections got revived especially on FB. Among them are Santoshettan of course and also Aroonz (Arun P G), a great graphics artist who did some of the most fantastic backdrops for me at Kairali. He is ready with his first movie work - Puthiya Mukham. Wish you the best, buddy!
Coming back to our hero, let me share the message he sent that made me take this walk down the memory lane - unabridged!
Two days before me and sree konny wr sitting tgthr for chilling.. ,me confessed to him that I cudnt recognised your talent at that time, or conveniently forgottn to uplift your softskills,due to the lack of a good prgrm which suits to your persona..I mean it..
Today I am really feelin proud bout you.. while walking thru d corridors of memories I can recollect those wonderful letters you wrote to me with poetic touches. "Ardramaanasam"... I used to call u like that... nywayz.. go ahead babes... my heartfelt best wishes to you....
When people say some dreams should reamain unfulfilled so that we feel the need to keep going, I usually disagree. Realising dreams is an extremely important thing for me. I think I just changed my mind. May be, some things should remain unachieved. God can keep watching, and based on your track record, can gift bigger and better blessings. Like the one I got today. :)
PS : Just in case you have not noticed, the name that Santoshettan gave me - I adopted it for life. My Internet persona Ardramaanasam owes someone a lot, you see! :)
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
Sigh! But I won't indulge in a full and complete movie review for this one - just because it is not worth it. A film becomes 'analyzable' only when it has met some basic requirements like... a storyline?
But I am of the belief that a film is 'watchable' if it has anything at all. A storyline would a good thing to have. But even if that is missing, I am willing to pay Rs. 1oo and watch a movie in the theatre if there are sufficient 'other stuff' in the package. Read on to find out some of that stuff for which you might want to see KI:
- Guys may want to watch it for Kareena. Her skin show. Her figure. Girls may want to watch it for Kareena too. Her attitude. Her stilettos. Kareena proves that acting is a comfortable forte for her no matter how stupid the script is. Attitude is definitely something that only Bebo can pull off the way she does. Simrata (aka Bebo) of KI underlines this fact.
- People of my species - who hear about Hollywood movies all the time from everyone around but have not seen too many of them - would want to watch KI for a peekaboo of Brandon Routh, Denise Richards and the big guy - Sylvester Stallone who looks like the old pancake-packed Kamal Hassan from the movie Indian/Hindustani.
- Each one of you might want to watch it for the exotic locales of Los Angeles. Oh yeah, there was also Italy stuffed in between so that hero and heroine could sing a song. But I like the Italy in Bachnaa Ae Haseeno way better! :D
- Then..... Yeah! Amrita Arora's skin show/bikini act in a dream sequence. Poor Aftab Shivdasani could only fantacize his wife in bikinis. Boys who want to give Aftab company can go to the theatres and watch Amu sizzle.
- The drama queen in me liked the scene where Akshay and Sylvester come together on stage for an award ceremony. Akshay gives a very emotional speech about our tradition of touching the feet of parents/elders/Guru during times of achievements. He follows it up with the words "Let me bow down to the Guru of Action, Stallone" and lo! He touched Rambo's feet with total conviction. Many of you may find it too melodramatic, but I felt it was electric! :) Go watch KI just for this scene.
- Since we just had a dry summer without ample dose of Bollywood, may be, you would want to go for KI just like that and enjoy humour here and there. But surprisingly, those few instances of humour also do not come from Khiladi Kumar.
If you do not believe in movies without a storyline, here is why you should avoid KI:
- Akshay Kumar claimed that KI is India's answer to Mr & Mrs. Smith. I have not seen this Brangelina flick, but I know Akshay's claim is totally untrue. Apparently, it is most remembered for the chemistry between the lead actors, but there is no such magic in KI - except for a very candid kiss that Kareena uses to zip her man's lips in the climax.
- Dialogues in a mainstream big budget movie cannot get more boring. And I still cannot recover from the fact that Anvita Dutt Guptan who made me proud as a girl with her work in Dostana and Bachnaa Ae Haseeno penned the same. In these films, her lines were so sexily sleazy, yet classy. In KI, she had to attempt about 10 strokes to make audience laugh once - with an Akshay in hand who usually has comedy even in his movements! I am astonished that she and her co-writers (that includes the director Sabbir Khan) did not realize throughout the making that a battle between the sexes cannot be established through name calling (read dog and bitch).
- Why Anu Malik/Salim Sulaiman, why? Copy some tunes from Arabia, jazz it up with some Jhankar Beats, add some Desi twist, do whatever - but produce some good music! KI numbers were so.. *yawn* in spite of a beautiful heroine, brawny hero and plush locales.
- Nothing can substitute the backbone for human beings, right? Just like that, the lack of even a reasonable story does major damage to this movie. I wonder why the producer Sajid Nadiadwala invested so much money in this flick to the details of an eight lakh worth dress for Kareena. A watch left in hero's stomach during an operation by the surgeon heroine and added complication in the form of a love story so that the watch can be taken out. Beat that!
Monday, 6 July 2009
But how many people actually check it on a regular basis? Forget the regularity, even from time to time? I know this depends on a lot of factors. One - the class that you belong to. If you drive around in a Merc, it is less than likely that you will go to a supermarket in person, let alone check prices. I am talking about an average Indian here - the Mango Indian as JK calls himself. Two - if the product in question is new to you or not. It is very likely that the Mango Indian will check what the price is if it is a new product - mostly by asking the shopkeeper 'kya daam hai,' 'ithinethra' etc. but sometimes otherwise too.
- You are about to board a train for a long distance journey. You go to the nearby stall on your platform. You ask for a bottle of mineral water. Will you ask 'Kitna Hai' and pay what he says or check the MRP and pay the amount?
- You are returning home after dinner with your friends. The gang feels like having something sweet and cold down the throats. You stop the car at the first visible Kwality Walls/Amul guy on the road. A orders a Cornetto, B orders a Feast and you get a Chocobar. Will you ask 'Total kitna?' or check the MRP and do the math yourself?
- You are walking towards an office to get something done. You are dead tired and go to a pan shop to get a bottle of juice. Will you ask 'Kitna Hai' or check the MRP printed in feeble black on the glass bottle?
It is very likely that you answered either a Former to all or a Latter to all. If it is the former, have peace. 99% Indians belong to your tribe. If it is the latter, welcome aboard, you are a member of my club!
Tuesday, 30 June 2009
The power of his pen was such that right from the first film he wrote, the industry knew that here was a man to be reckoned with. Thaniyavarthanam, his first screenplay filmed by Sibi Malayil is still a seething wound in the minds of Malayalis. This team went on to make more cinema that crushed our hearts and left us shattered. Those melodramas changed the way we experienced cinema until then.
Thanks to the justice Lohi always showed to his characters, some of the most memorable performances of our superstars, without which they would have hardly attained the stature they have today, came through his films. Mohanlal won his first national award through Bharatham penned by Lohi. However, my personal favourite of Lal-Lohi combination is Nandagopan from Kamaladalam.
Mind you, it is not just the superstars who were blessed by his pen. Nedumudi Venu in His Highness Abdullah, KPAC Lalitha in Amaram, Thilakan in Veendum Chila Veettukaryangal, Bindu Panicker in Joker, Oduvil Unnikrishnan in Thoovalkkottaram are all fine examples that Lohi's characters, even if they are not the protagonists, are always well-etched and give a lot of scope to the actors. Another character that comes to my mind right now is the Muthachhan from Thoovalkkottaram played by Babu Swamy. I am incapable to think of another screenwriter who could have made such an inconsequential character look so important.
A few months before his untimely death, Lohi had opined that Malayalam cinema lacked a new generation of actors, and the existing ones are too old and overused. As much as he was a man of perfect words, he was also a man of action. When he turned a director, this is why he took the effort to find new faces who suited his characters than write stories for the establised actors who have minimum guarantee. Lakshmi Gopalaswami, Manya, Meera Jasmine, Bhama, Vinu Mohan - so many of them in that list apart from Manju Warrier and Samyuktha Varma who also got introduced through his screenplays.
Somehow, I am in awe for Lohi, the screenplay writer more than Lohi, the director. When he debuted as a director with Bhoothakkannadi, it seemed the most natural thing to do for a creatively mature writer. However, none of his directorial ventures struck a chord with the audience as much as his screenplays directed by Sibi, Bharathan or Satyan Anthikkad. And before he could prove this observation wrong, he left the silver screen forever, much like most of his films - leaving behind a lingering pain.
I am so glad my first dose of memorable films came from him. For all those unwritten screen poems by Lohi that left with him - Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter.
Image Courtesy : nishusworld.blogspot.com
Friday, 26 June 2009
I can recall umpteen incidents right from my school-going age until like day before yesterday when my friends labeled me ‘cheap,’ ‘stingy,’ and what not. All thanks to my nature of being extra cautious with money no matter which stage of life I was in – studying or working.
Take a sneak peak!
*I prefer bus to auto rickshaws. I developed a strong hate feeling for autos at Kottayam where they do not have meters unlike in bigger cities. Which means the driver’s word or price is the law and I cannot accept that. I always need a visible proof to the money that I am spending. Hyderabad autos of course have meters, but not all drivers turn them on. Some quote fancy prices and I walk away without even responding. At some other times, I bargain madly with the drivers to get a price that I think is fair. I might be doing this at the oddest time of the day (err, night) possible when another auto is not in the vicinity. Dangerous enough, huh? And then, there are buses that get you to your destination for 5 INR in the place of 50 INR in auto. So what if you have to walk 100m to get to the bus stop?
#And my friends go “But why? Why would you want to stand squeezed through a grueling experience with your face inside a smelly armpit?”
^But are they capable of comprehending the beauty of bus rides that let you enjoy a city from an elevated view? NO.
*I choose quantity over quality, especially with clothes. If you tell me I have a choice between four bright coloured simple cotton Kurtis from General Bazaar and one ultra elegant Biba Kurta from Hyderabad Central that costs more than all the other four put together, I will definitely go for the former.
#And my friends go “Thank God, everyone in this world is not like you. Otherwise there would not have been something called class.”
^But do they understand that having the variety of four colours and Kurtis is far more exciting than owning one single piece which you will soon be bored of? NO.
*Unless someone else who loves me a lot (read Achan) is booking the ticket, I always travel in sleeper class in Indian Railways. A three tier AC ticket in Sabari Express from Secunderabad to Kottayam costs 960 INR and in sleeper class it costs 400 INR. It is indeed a meager difference if you think about it. But when I think about it, I can save 500 INR and travel in the very same train and reach at the same time as the AC guys would. It’s not as if I live in a centrally air-conditioned home anyway.
#And my friend goes (not many know of this) “You are a freak.”
^But does he know that the view of nature and the feel of breeze compensates more than enough for the sweat particles you accumulate through the journey (as opposed to the sluggishness of oversleep that AC gives you)? NO.
*I hold the view that if friends go for a movie or dining together, everyone should share the expenses. This is even when it is a small group of two or three, even when it is a modest place where food/movie ticket does not cost much. In my roomie Richa’s words, I am a contri person (one who believes in contributing, apparently).
#And my friend goes “Yieeew! How can you be cheap enough to ask your friend for 40 bucks spent on French Fries?”
^But does she know of the glorious feeling that says ‘40 or 4000 does not matter, all my friends are equals.’ NO.
*I love the art of supermarket shopping and am a master at it. The mastery is over FMCG price watching. Let me explain. I take an article that is a potential buy, look at the packaging, check the price and net quantity, compare it with other brands on offer and decide which one is a better option. This also means that if Surf is available in a 450g pack (I hate the ‘non standard weight’ trick that companies have come up with to cheat consumers) and Ariel is available in, let’s say 650g packs, I actually stand there and do the math to find out the 50g price of each one. Sigh. Tedious, I know; but I do it nevertheless.
#Thank God, only I know this. :D
^But I myself know that this can be done only when I am shopping alone. Else, any person who potentially understands the calculations going on inside me could just murder me. YES.
I am sure you got a fair idea about the hard and fast middle class ideologies that I live by. Except one time, no comment from any friend has offended or hurt me (the exception obviously came from a girl friend in the quantity over quality instance). Guess why? I am proud of it, that’s why! I have grown up watching a simple living father and mother who pretty much led the same lifestyle when their salaries were in five digits and when it later turned to six digits. Achan still thinks it is a waste to spend more than a thousand rupees on a shirt. Amma still thinks there is no need to drive alone in a car and go to Kottayam town when she can ‘comfortably’ get into a ‘line’ bus and get back. Now, with such a set of parents, can I be any different?
This is not to say that I don’t have the greed to earn lots of money. My parents have never had that, but I do. I dream about a day when I have enough money to travel the globe and such other things. But when it comes to actually spending it, I think I will remain the middle class girl that I am and choose what is cheap. And you know what? I think I will still enjoy finer things of life. Which definition is not subjective anyway? My life, I define.
PS : The bit about Achan booking the ticket should not be misconstrued. That does not mean him paying for it. He pays anyways whether I book or he books. The point is when he books himself PHYSICALLY and I am not around, he makes sure I have some luxury.
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
In my dictionary, boredom appears quite close to depression. That is somewhat the frame of mind that I am in, right now.
To give some background information, I am currently at my second internship with iridiuminteractive.com at Hyderabad. I joined just ten days back and I am already seething in agony. The lovely people here have done nothing gross unto me. But an ounce of homesickness garnished with ample amount of boredom and loneliness do the trick. I spent my longest vacation at home in May – June 2009 after I left Kerala in 2006 for greener pastures (known by the name Google, back then). Seven weeks of absolute glory being the mademoiselle spoilt me. Its remnants are still somewhere inside contributing to the pain I mentioned above.
Then, there is an emptiness that has encapsulated my university. Many students are still there; it is just the MA lot that is missing. Most of my friends have also come back from home for their respective internships. However, it is just *dry.* I do not know how to describe it any better. A cloud of sorrow just pours down on me as soon as I get back from work. A frustratingly slow computer at work and the four-change-marathon-auto/bus journey to and fro don’t help a bit.
Amidst all this madness, I have been thinking a lot about what I shall be doing after my Masters. Since this is just a year away, may be ‘the thinking’ is a right thing to do. But I have discovered that I am hunting in the dark. You know why? Because I am absolutely clueless as to what I will do.
I always knew I wanted to do a Masters in Communication because it is a discipline that fascinated me with the creativity that it comes packed with. I cannot be happier that I am doing it now, and also, from the second best university in the country. However, what after that? Is it an option to become what 99.9% people ask me when they hear about my course? “So, you’re gonna be a.. journalist.. I guess?” Frankly, I don’t want to be. An ad-person? A PR specialist? A television producer? A communication academician? Options are so many; but I have an answer in none.
My basic issue is that I cannot get comfortable with the idea of doing one job for my entire life. I also hate the temporality of most jobs – the 9 – 6 tag irritates me. I am all for working when there is work to do. But when there isn’t, one should not force me to sit and stare at a computer until clock ticks 6pm. The mention of a computer reminds me that two and a quarter years at Google convinced me that I am incapable to work with computers five days a week, twelve months a year. My fingers and hands just do not co-operate. The callus on my right index finger that has rendered it useless and another one forming on the middle finger due to overuse with mouse, just say the same thing. Two months of internship have reaffirmed this to me and I know that my right hand hates me from the way it refuses to budge.
Basically, my freedom is extremely important for me. The freedom to decide one morning that I don’t feel like it to go anywhere. The freedom to go on an unplanned holiday to Hampi to relive some good memories. The freedom to watch YouTube video and browse blogs whenever. The freedom to know that I am financially secure in spite of any indulgences. Sounds really tough a dream to materialise, right?
I may be hunting in the dark. Or may be, I am dreaming big. Time will give me the answer. And I am waiting patiently.
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
He is a bigger movie buff than I am, so it is befitting that he is doing a movie review here. Have a ball!
Sreyas S S
After robbing a stagecoach belonging to the railroad company, Ben Wade stops by at the town of
Evans is the straight guy. He is just, fair and is bound to do what is right. What is at stake for him is more than the $ 200 that he is going to get for accomplishing the mission. His son William makes no bones of the fact that he doesn’t think much of his father. He is torn by the fact that he is not able to take care of his family. He is disturbed by the way his sons look at him and the way his wife (Gretchen Mol) doesn’t. In the scene in the hotel room which is arguably the best scene in the film, when the local marshals and finally even Butterfield walk out of the mission for fear of getting shot by Ben’s gang and others (as Prince makes an open offer of $ 200 to the town folk for every marshal or captor they shoot) waiting outside the hotel, Evans persists never once budging to the incredible odds at stake or to Wade’s offers of money for letting him go. When Butterfield tells him that he can have his $ 200 even if he doesn’t take Wade to the train, Evans realises that it’s no longer about the money or bringing a criminal to justice. Escorting Wade to the train becomes a chance to restore his pride and honour.
Ben Wade’s character is more complex. On one hand, he is a murderer with seemingly no remorse. He kills a guy because he taunted him in the night with a song. But for a man known to be so bad, he makes a few strange choices during the journey. Though they never openly admit it, there is a sense that the two men find something to admire in each other and even develop what maybe interpreted as respect. Russell Crowe gives a truly amazing performance bringing to life a character that has more layers to it than is visible on the surface.
At its heart, the film is a character study. And a great one at that. It deals with the ideas of honour, respect, pride and of course the ultimate question – what is good and what is bad or what is right and what is wrong. And none of this ever seems forced or contrived, it is so inherent in the plot. All this while captivating the viewer with a brilliant story that allows tension to build and build until it reaches a breathtaking crescendo. As the clock starts ticking towards 3:10, both Wade and Evans discover sides of their personality that they never thought existed or thought were long lost. I wouldn’t spoil the ending but it is so perfect and in keeping with the tone of the rest of the film that it made me feel that no other conclusion would have had the same effect.
Cinematography is awesome. Action sequences are done well with the cutting crisp and modern. The leads are supported by steady performances all round by the likes of Peter Fonda, who plays a bounty hunter with a score to settle against Wade, Alan Tudyk, who plays a doctor, Logan Lerman, who plays Evans’ elder son and Ben Foster who plays Charlie Prince, the second-in-command in Wade’s gang.
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
Since Achan is leaving today for Dubai, he has left his work at Pandalam and is enjoying two days - exactly two days - of 'vacation' at home.
Akkachi, of course, has started going to college since the academic year has started. But she returns around 5pm. Ettan, since his transfer to Changanacherry from Cochin, reports back home much much earlier than before. Kids reach home the earliest, around 3pm. In fact, I am the last one to reach home everyday (around 6pm) after wrapping up my internship woes. Working during vacation, I tell you, is one of the few bad things of taking up a 'hands-on-work-experience-requiring course' like mine.
Oh yes, Amma! Without much persuasion, she decided to take an entire week off from her work. I had just suggested a Wednesday - Sunday, but she decided to make it a Sunday - Sunday. So she is full time at home like a homemaker. How nice! I think it is pretty amazing considering her obsession with work.
But when I think about it, it is not so nice. I mean, she is at home now, of course, by choice - just because Achan is leaving today and me on Saturday. She is no fish out of water or something. Yet I know that she is complete only when she is working. She enjoys her work that much.
There are times when, as a school girl, I used to miss my mother being a homemaker - or housewife - in less polished terms. Most of my friends had their 'housewife moms' to their disposal - to dress them up, to cook great food and wrap that up to make yummy tiffins. I don't know if I would have wanted her to dress me up, but i would definitely have liked more exotic items for lunch than the breakfast iddli/dosa. I frequently used to get irritated when she told in the evening, after returning from a full day of work, that she was going to check up on the Ladies Hostel that she was the warden of. Or even if she is at home, her burial inside a heap of examination papers waiting to be corrected would cause a frown on my face. Ditto with her temple visits on Saturday or Sunday mornings that were extremely long and make us have breakfast before she returned. Achan would tease her by saying Pujari had gone out handing the charges over to Amma, hence the delay.
But the major development about my growing up has been that I understand Amma much better today. I know that her dedication to work has helped thousands of students (without exaggeration, at the rate of hundred per year). Had she wasted her time packing tiffins for me, I would have had momentary satisfaction, yes. But what about the compromises she would have had to make with her work? May be, a delayed submission of corrected examination papers which would also mean a delayed publishing of results for about hundred students? May be a naughty girl who would con the watchman and escape the hostel gate? And may be, far less reverence and respect as a teacher and a human being than she has now earned. Right? I am so glad that she did not make that compromise then.
Amma and Achan probably hold the record of having attended the maximum weddings of their students. This continues even after they have retired. Mind you, it is just one indication of the love and affection she shares with her students. I cannot recall the number of students to whom she has been a mentor, local guardian and source of solace and love. All this and much more and yet attending to all the important things in the lives of Akkachi, me and Achan. That includes the month long leave she took for my SSLC exam.
It is funny how I have 'grown up' only in this aspect - understanding my mother. Nothing else has changed. My arrogance, anger, everything is in tact. I have petty fights even with Kunjunni (exactly 6.5 years old) because my emotional growth has stunned. In short, Akkachi has to deal with three intolerant kids at home, when I have a vacation.
Yesterday, when I was getting ready for work, Achan told me that we would be going for a family pic in the evening. That is one thing we do religiously from time to time. I would be normally very happy with the idea. But this time, somehow, I was not expecting it. I frowned because I was unprepared (read no waxing and threading done plus I am totally out of shape and do not want to be frozen into a frame at this point). Of course, Achan did not succumb and I silently agreed.
The photoshoot was illustrious. Different groups, different poses. And yes, the first colour coordinated one for the family! :) Yellow and brown was the theme. God knows how it will come out!
Then, a dinner together. A good film would have been a perfect finale, but there is none left to watch. :)
All these good times shall now remain as memories forever. And the next best thing to do is start expecting the next 'together' episode which might be during Achan's Shashtipoorthi celebrations in September.
And as they say, expectation is better than enjoyment. 'M loving it!