Perspectives!

I have never liked or taken a keen interest in English songs. It’s a friend who introduced me to the limited number of songs that I can recognize. It was during the time of Google /Yahoo chats . The friend used to sent me the names of the songs that he liked and felt I should listen to. One of the first songs that the sent me was a Bob Dylan number (The answer is blowin’ in the wind) and I loved it.

Years later another friend introduced me to this beautiful song -Rise up (Yves Larock). It’s her caller tune till date. I still remember there was a time when other than hearing to her happy voice, hearing the caller tune was an added incentive to call her!

Today when I look back, I realize that the little that I know about English music and the perspectives I have, is all credits to them and a couple of other friends who did the same. They are people with a genuine taste for good music and hence I got a bit of it too. Does this not apply to any environment or any kind of perspectives that one has in life? I have always formulate a perspective based on the exposure I have got on that subject. My perspective may be different from each one of them but the foundation will always decide the range or probabilities of the perspective I can have. Today, my perspective on English music is different from the two friends who introduced them to me, but definitely somewhere X to Z (assuming the first friend’s choice scores an X and the second friend’s an Z).

An idea

I will definitely rethink before I start the sentence by saying , “I hate the idea of ………………”. Want to know why ?

Read on!

“It is difficult to hate an idea. That requires a certain intellectual discipline and a slightly obsessive, sick mind. There aren’t too many of those. It’s much easier to hate someone with a recognizable face whom we can blame for everything that makes us feel uncomfortable. It doesn’t have to be an individual character. It could be a nation, a race, a group. . .anything.”
Carlos Ruiz Zafó

When it rained (0)

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Somewhere before  https://poulosesarah.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/when-it-rained/.The narcissist in me loves this piece of fiction that I wrote! I have been curious to know what happened before or after this the happenings in it, but never got myself to write beyond a few lines. So that I do not keep changing the “her” past and present according to my mood or the song that I am listening to, I have decided to post the few lines as and when I write. This will give me the scope to improve or further the story only on what has happened –just like life. I have also given my self-permission to give the story a second chance at times – like life does 🙂

Blue was her favorite colour and I hated it. But it was fine as long as only she liked it. Her likes did form an integral part of my life – the curtains, the cutlery, the house as a whole in fact and of course the husband. I loved all except the colour. I wonder at times if it is really the dislike for the colour or the idea of not having at least one thing that she liked removed from my life. It just helps me feel that this life is mine.

I have never seen her in person and probably would have made good friends if we had. But today I stand where she stood year ago. Though I am ever grateful to her for the life she gave me, the selfish soul in me at times cringes on the fact that my existence and my happiness today is was hers. I just happened to be at the right place and more importantly at the right time. Meenakshi was a few months old, when Lakshmi passed away. It’s at that point in time I moved in to the same biding where Meenakshi and her father – Arjun stayed. I met Arjun, my husband for the first time at the airport. We both were trying to take a taxi home. The line for the pre-paid taxis was insanely long and we were standing in two parallel ques. He overheard me saying the address to the customer care and requested me if he can join in. I was initially hesitant, but the observant in me did notice his company ID and realized that he is a gentleman. He did not try to strike a conversion all throughout the journey . It was raining heavily and the cab took a long time to reach the building. For some reason the silence in the cab was comforting except for the occasional dialogues by the driver.

Driver : “Baarish aaj bahut hain. Lagta nahin yeh rukughe”. [Its raining quite heavily. Don’t think it will stop any time now]

Arjun : “Hmm”.

Driver: “Main aap dono ke building ke samne hi rehta hoon”. [I stay close to the building the two of you stay]

Arjun : “Acha”.

I wanted to clarify to the driver that we are not together, just in case he thought so – but did it really matter to him? It didn’t.

Driver: “ Aap dono kahan se hain?” [How are the two of you?]

Arjun : “ Hum Kerala se hain”. [We are good]

“Hum!” [“We”] – the word rang in my mind a couple of times. Did he speak for me as well. It did sound odd initially , but then I developed a weird sense of liking to it. It’s been long since someone else spoke for me. I was weaving a lot of assumptions and probabilities around the usage, only to realize that the usage didn’t mean anything more than the fact that he was brought up in Lucknow and hence the language. Though I am not good at Hindi, I did know that the people who speak Nawabi Hindi did use “Hum” instead of “Main” for saying “I”. By the time my thoughts landed on the reality of things the conversation between Arjun and the cab driver had reached way beyond formal introductions and talks about the weather.

Driver : “ Mere ko laga tha app lucknow se hain. Nahin to in madrasiyon ka hindi bahut bekaar hain”. [I thought the two of you were from Lucknow, because spoken hindi of people from Tamil Nadu is bad]

Arjun : “Hum Keral se hain. Madras se nahi hain”. [We are from Kerala, not from Madras]

Driver: “Sab wahi to hain”. [Well, both are the same, isn’t it]

Arjun: “Hmm”.

Arjun chose not to correct him and educate him about the difference between Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This was probably one of the first instances in my life, where he taught me that it is not necessary to explain – clear everything to everyone, if it does not make a difference to your life. It did not make a difference to his life if the driver does not know the difference between Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The discussion between him and the cab driver continued while I remained a listener – occasionally taking my flight to my world of imaginations.

It did take about 2 hours to reach home. Was tiring, but the sight of the sea as we drove down the queen’s necklace compensated for it. Though congested and expensive, I loved this part of the town and the fact that I could see the sea every morning. As we got out of the cab, Arjun paid for the cab and refused to take money from me. It irritated me, more so because I am not used to someone else paying on my behalf. But his no nonsense look discouraged me from arguing.

I was sure that Arjun lived a few blocks away in the same housing society. However I proved myself wrong when he got into the same lift as me. It didn’t take long enough to realize that the both of us stayed on the same floor. We both were trying to press the same floor number. He didn’t seem as surprised as I was. Either it is because he didn’t care or he already knew it. For some reason I chose to believe that it was the latter. Soon enough we reached the floor and we went into our respective flats.

Of new places, people and experiences …..

“……. .sometimes one feels freer speaking to a stranger than to people one knows. Why is that?” “Probably because a stranger sees us the way we are, not as he wishes to think we are.”
Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

It’s been quite some time that I have been craving a move to a new place where people do not know me or do not recognize me through anyone, unless I choose to be recognized. I wanted to be in a place where people see me in the way I am.

The last time around when I wanted a break, I got an opportunity to travel to Spain for three weeks. The travel not only did give me the required break, but also prompted me to pursue writing and my blog started rolling. This time around I hope will help me pursue something different and also explore the “me” in me a little more!

Plethora of thoughts in my mind. Just a matter of time before I pen them down. For now some random shots as I find my way in the new city!

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For the love of a son…

IMG_2509Fiction.

The wind was blowing incessantly and bringing along the monsoons. It was around 1 a.m and the whole village Teekoy was fast asleep except the few people gathered in  Ayrookuzhiyil house. Tippi and Rambo were howling, and Ammini’s moos and cries felt like she was seeing the unseen. Muthu on the other hand was sulking in the coir door mat in the verandah just outside the drawing room with an occasional glance to the gate as though she was expecting someone. It’s said that the animals see death way before the normal beings like us realize it. Never believed in it until today – may be they see it coming – may be they know that the angels are on their way to take Ammachi      along or for all you know they are around just waiting for the right time.

Ammachi’s daughters (including my mother) and her sons – in – law were seated around her along with some women who apparently are distant relatives but take charge of things when death is looming over any household in Teekoy. It surprises me as to how some beings can be so active and feel responsible towards handling death and the associated services. May be it is important to maintain balance in the society – every person has a role to play in a certain circumstance.

 Her only daughter in law was busy attending to the extended family whereas her son was sitting quietly next to Muthu. It seemed like he was introspecting into his own life and his interactions with Ammachi. I never saw any streaks of regret or grief on his face or maybe I was wrong. After all she loved him the most- after all it was the love for her son that changed her life –

 Her life…………..

 For the first time in life. I found myself doing exactly what he was doing and more  importantly feeling that it was the right thing to  do – remember the memories associated with the beautiful being who probably is waiting for the angels to take her  home – for this was never her home.

 Her home, as I remember was one of the most beautiful abodes I have seen. As you go uphill in one of the many small hills in Teekoy, nestled  among the hundreds of mango trees, jackfruit trees and other trees whose English translations  I do not know – the L –shaped home with tiled roof was indeed one of the biggest houses in Teekoy.  The cemented courtyard was a play ground for ammachi’s grandchildren and the space to store hay during the harvest time.

 I was never into games like hide and seek or seven stones. But I loved sitting on the half wall at the end of the courtyard and looking down the hill slope which slowly merged into the paddy fields. The paddy fields extended beyond what our eyes could see and I was told all of it belonged to Ammachi. Ammachi was rich.

 Ammachi was rich and giving. Stories, of the era before I was born tell me that when drought used to hit Teekoy she used to distribute grains to all the farmers of Teekoy from her ‘kalavara’. There were no conditions attached and she never asked them to pay for it. However it is said that the farmers used to make it a point to refill her’kalavara’  when they had a good harvest for they knew she would need the grains to help them in their times of need. Ammachi was a true Christian, however for her people of all religion were the same. The only distinction she had was  between a good soul and a bad soul.

 Unlike any lady hailing from a Christian family, Ammachi was strictly against alcoholism. So when Kurumban got drunk and beat Kurumbi Ammachi took initiative to send Kurumban to a ‘dhanyakendram’ [rehabilitation centre]. When Narayani’s husband began to steal her wages to drink, Ammachi used to keep her wages and directly send the money to school for her children’s fees.  She was instrumental in laying down unsaid rules for the husbands and sons and making a change in many families in Teekoy. However in the process she missed out on applying the same to her home or may be her love for her husband and son  was so much that she could overlook the same.

 Her husand was 14 years older to her, successful, helped her be an independent woman and most importantly drank within his limits.  I have never seen a drunk Appachan – period. Her son was different. He was treated differently too. The first son after 7 daughters, two of them who died at birth he was pampered by every member of the family including his sisters. Expensive clothes, expensive vehicles and expensive habits paved way for his destruction and more so the legacy of Ayrookuzhiyil house and Ammachi’s good will.

 Ammachi loved her daughters, sons- in law and her grandkids from her daughters. We were showered with all the love and affection in the world. Amazing vacations, Christmas gifts, bed time stories and much more.  However her son had a special place in her world. After all he was god’s gift to her and the one who would take her legacy forward.

 Ammachi soon handed over the reigns of her empire to her son. Her beautiful abode was demolished to be replaced by an enormous two storeyed building. Her paddy fields were converted into plots of land and sold away  to the first buyer that came across. Her ‘kalvara’  no more existed. Her pillar of support – Appachan passed away. All what was left was her  pride, her generous heart and her unconditional love for her son.

 She  never had enough money with her to give to the poor and needy of Teekoy. So she saved the money that was given to her by her daughters so that she can give to her followers. After all she could not leave anyone who came to Ayrookuzhiyil house empty handed. So Kurumbi still got an occasional Rs.100 to buy a new ‘mundu’  and a few thousands for her daughters delivery. The glory and the richness of Ayrookuzhiyil house no longer existed, however Ammachi’s heart and her giving nature did.

 I remember her visits to my house occasionally. She was never the person I remember as a child and clearly not the hero in the stories I have heard of her. She had become silent and fragile. She spent the whole day reading the newspaper and the bible. She had studied till Class 4 and hence knew to read Malayalam and broken English. I vaguely remember trying to make her say that she was sexy in English which she flatly refused to. She clearly did not understand the meaning, but with her intelligence and worldly knowledge helped her figure out that her granddaughter was trying to put her into trouble!

 She began to fall ill very frequently during the last years of her life.  I do remember at least two times when the doctors also had given up on her. One of them occurred just about a week before my sister’s wedding. The entire family was upset due to her bad health and the fact that she will not be able to attend the wedding of her much loved grand daughter. While people were hovering around  her  she called me to her bed side by batting her eye lids. While I sat next to her holding her soft, fair wrinkled handles she passed a giggle and told me she is not planning to go anywhere until she saw my sister married. And she remained true to her words. She attended the wedding and blessed the couple. That day I realized that Ammachi was indeed special – she had control over the people, emotions and even death. May be her son was an exception to this or may be she never wanted to exercise her control After all the love for her son was beyond all.

I remember her breaking down once and speaking her mind- She missed her golden days, she missed her home – the view of the misty sky beyond the paddy fields as she looked beyond her courtyard. I didn’t know she too liked the view that I used to love!She did not get back anything what she missed in the years that came by except the view that both us loved.  The son’s unaccounted spending and numerous bank loans to begin new business ventures had led to the two storied mansion to be handed over to the bank. They moved to a much smaller house which overlooked the paddy field and she could see the misty sky beyond the paddy fields every morning…………”

 It was around 4 a.m  and the sun was rising . It had stopped raining and Tiipu, Rambo, Ammini and Muthu had gone silent.  I went to her room and found all children asleep around her including her son.  She had woken up from her sleep and looked fresh as though she was ready for her long day of work, like in the past. She looked around and got hold of her sons hand and began to watch the fog move away to give way to give way to the sunrise.  She looked extremely happy and content. I moved away silently without letting them know and went to the terrace to get a better view of the sunrise and more importantly give them space. 20 minutes later she passed away. I was told that she left us while she was in her sleep.

Soon the house was flooded with people. The entire Teekoy had come to pay homages to her. ‘Kurumbi’ and ‘Kali’ were wailing and crying out loud . Narayani’s son had come all the way from madras – after all Ammachi had paid for his education – gave him the life he had.  Pujas were conducted for her afterlife at the ‘kaavu’ at Teekoy and entire Teekoy walked along with her to the church 10 kilometers away from home. Tippu and Rambo were not there usual self when she began her journey from home. Ammini tried to break free from where was tied. Muthu was sulking as usual.

  I did not tell anyone what I had seen in the morning. But deep inside I was happy that she left the world while  she was with her most prized possessions in the world – the misty sky beyond paddy fields  (which was once hers) and her son….

City of Nawabs !

Not being able to pen down my thoughts creates claustrophobia of sorts within me. May be writing has sort of become an addiction – just the way I am addicted to tea. I do not intend to propagate the latter, but definitely think the former is a ‘good’ addiction.The last few months have not been super busy and hence that is not the excuse I intend to give. I have been lethargic and lazy and hence the blog was neglected.Amongst the few fun trips I did, visiting Lucknow has been an amazing experience mainly due to the company, the lovely bride and her family (yes- I went to attend a wedding) and of course the beautiful city.

Just like ‘Sarah’ is an anglicized version of the Malayalam name ‘Saramma’ (that’s a some history of how I got my name), ‘Lucknow’ has quite a bit of history of how ‘Laksmanauti’ gave way to ‘Laksmnaut’ which further made way for ‘Laksnaut’, ‘Laksnau’, ‘Laknau’, and finally Lucknow! Though we did not get much time to explore the all the historical places in the city of Nawabs we did squeeze in some time to see some of famous places and of course hog on the world famous kebabs! So on a satuday morning, after a fun filled ‘sangeet’ on Friday A, N and I ventured out to see a bit of the Nawabi Lucknow!

Our first stop was at ‘Bara Imambara’ in Hussainabad built by Nawab of Lucknow, Asaf-ud-Daula. The guide who was more than happy to explain the history told us that the Imamabara has largest hall in Asia without any external support from wood, iron or stone beams – which, I refused to believe until I ‘googled’ it. Led me to wonder about my dependency and trust on google rather than the people around.

The walk through the Imambara, listening to the guide who was speaking a mix of Hindi and Urdu and getting lost in Bool Bulaiya added to the fun! Respect to the 22000 laborers who toiled day and night in creating this architectural beauty. I don’t think my pictures does justice to the beauty of the place, however adding some here  – the rest remains in the memories!

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The chota Imambara is another architectural beauty which is situated near the Bara Imambara. Known as the Palace of lights, it’s said to look breathtakingly beautiful at night. My love for chandliers and lamps is quite evident to the numerious pictures I uploaded here. Adding some more to the collection, with the ones taken at Bara Imambara.

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A friend had mentioned about Hazratganj the moment I mentioned about my travel to Lucknow. Hazratganj, is the city’s main market, where you get to buy the high end brands as well as Lucknow’s own Chickankari. A long walk around the place and a late lunch of amazing Kebabs, was indeed a beautiful end to the sight seeing in Lucknow. Between all these visits we did manage to squeeze in time to do some shopping too.Though we wanted to see more of the place, we were more than happy to end the trip and get back to the hotel and get dressed for one of the most awesome weddings I have been.

What more do you need when you have been part of a journey where people were amazing, place was beautiful and experiences worth remembering for a life time. Lucknow definitely showcases and will always be known for the ‘Nawabi’ and regal splendors however what I take away from the city is the warmth of the people, charm and beauty in their language!