Friday, December 24, 2004

My wishes

My Xmas-New year wishes for some special people (in random order)

- For a very creative friend who is off to the Himalayas. Wish you a very safe journey and don’t decide to be a hermit and meditate in the Himalayas forever. What would CISCO do without you, Raj?

- For the new baby, here’s a wishing a great life ahead. A wish for you to grow up and be a smart woman.

- A wish for my parents for a healthy year ahead and peace and happiness.

- A wish for my brother – u can redeem this wish for whatever you want.

- A wish for Vishy to put on a little weight next year and have a good start for AbaKus

- A wish for VV to look as smashing as ever in the next year too and good luck with Abakus

- A wish for Rahulu for finding someone soon who can sing ‘nuvvu nuvvu’ for him and know its meaning too

- for that someone to let him somehow smuggle himself in his friend’s suitcase and come back to India ASAP. I miss you buddy.

- A wish for COSMO BOOKS employees in TCR to get a big fat raise :)

- Ditto for WIPRO

- A wish for all the children of Vimala Home to be happy

- A small prayer to God to make reddy get a haircut as soon as possible

- Another small prayer to God to make the Noida summer bearable for a small kid who is gonna be daring her life there this summer

- A wish for Siji for a healthy and more importantly painless baby

- A wish for Nisha to grow up soon and start behaving like a mom :)

- A wish for all my cousins studying in BSchools- Sowmya, Achu, Kavi - to get fabulous placements.

- A wish for my cousin Kichu to make the treatment from Nashik to start working

- A wish for Deepak to get his CA soon

- A wish for Shankar to become a BIG
entrepreneur.

- A wish for a good monsoon next year and a good GDP growth for India.

- A wish for Anand to realise his dream and get into an IIT

- A wish for my Rakhi brother Aravind to make it big as a Fashion designer

- A wish for Sukumama for a healthy and happy year ahead

- A wish for all the good Profs at K to not to leave K.

- A wish for Media Cell to get some rocking coverage for K next year

- A secret wish

- A wish for all my friends at K – for a rocking term ahead and no classes at 8AM.

- A wish for all the people reading this - give them diarrhoea for a day :)
Just kidding. A wish to make their dreams come true.
(but I liked the first wish better. God, it's your choice :P)

- Finally a wish for myself – please make all the wishes above come true.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Three expert opinions

The whole of yesterday was spent visiting all the medicine men in Thrissur.

My RAM’s performance has become so bad that this time I could not ignore it and attribute it to maybe carelessness or lack of sleep or stress in general. So my mom and I set across to visit some good docs. By the end of the day I could recite my ‘case facts’ like a parrot! I got three expert opinions after all the consultations out of which two were ruled out without any second thoughts.

The first doctor I went to was a Govt practitioner specialized in Gynecology. Yes, I know RAM and Gynec are not exactly directly related to each other. But I had to go to her because of mom’s compulsion, they being Gym-buddies and according to my mom, if someone is a doctor, they ARE a doctor and they know about everything. I played along like a good daughter.

As expected, the doc was busy and there were about 6 ‘fully’ pregnant women waiting to see her. We joined the line. I started chatting up mom about the latest gossip in town. After sometime the doc comes out and sees her best friend and of course she has to call us in! (we had an appointment). After half an hour of incessant chatting by the doc about her hubby, her mom-in-law, some property dispute, her son’s disease, her new cotton saree, what she cooked yesterday for dinner and who is the ‘fattest’ in the gym these days, she decides to get to the matter after she sensed that I was getting pretty restless. I laid my case in front of her with all details including whatever I had learnt about the memory loss problem while googling about it.

I guess she never had such a prepared patient in front of her. She was taken aback and didn't know what to do for awhile. Maybe she would have been more comfortable if I had told her that my fallopian tubes had the habit of doing a cha-cha-cha with each other. She thought long and hard about my case and gave a very beautiful smile and then gave her verdict

“I think you should stop studying and get married. That would solve all your problems.”

I was taken aback. Once what she said really sank in, I gave her one of the coldest stares I could possibly conjure up.

It was after 45 minutes and a lecture on the merits of being married and the hormonal effects that we could get out of her room. The pregnant women were still waiting outside, this time with an expression that meant business. I told my mom once again that we should have waited in the line. She pretended not to hear it. Sigh.

The experience at the second doc was far better. At least he asked me some relevant questions. He even knocked on my knees and shins with a hammer. That hurt! He was just checking for reflexes and was pretty satisfied with my reaction :P
He brought down the memory problem to my unhealthy food intake [I have no choice :( ], irregular sleeping habits and low iron levels.
That was when I laid out the gyan I had googled about memory loss. I asked him whether by any chance it could be a Thyroid problem or B12 deficiency?

He looks at me VERY surprised and tells me

"Those are the two things I have prescribed for you to check. You seem to be as good as a doctor."


I give a smug look to my mom that said "See I told you I am not wasting time surfing on the net all day. :) "

Just before we leave, the doc asks me, “Have your eyes always been like this?”

Me: “Like what?”

My mom and dad start laughing and say that that was the thing they first saw of me in the sonogram. Eeeeeeesh PJ!!! Another joke about my eyes.

The third expert was none other than my dear paatti (grandma). Among her 20 other suggestions, she advises me to take Panchakavyam regularly. I beamed. It sounded like something tasty, nothing like all those kashayams and lehyams. She tells me this is a concotion of 5 sacred things. And the sacred things seem to be Milk, Buttermilk, Ghee, Go-muthram (cow’s urine) and Chaanakam (cow dung) - all collected from the same cow and mixed in a special proportion!!!
Drastic change in my expression.

Luckily for me, it seems Panchakavyam is not available that easily these days.

But today morning I see her on a long discussion with our milkman. Uh oh!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

"Do you know who I am?"

6:30AM Its my usual time-to-get-up at home and have a cup of steaming coffee. But today I am still sleeping peacefully.

7:00AM Still sleeping

7:35AM I hear my name being hollered by Giant Robot. Oh! It's only my brother who has been sent up by mom on the mission of waking me up.

7:45AM A horrible noise makes me jump and sit up in the bed. The stupid calling bell - the one that is used for communication between 'upstairs' and 'downstairs' by someone who is too lazy to climb the stairs. It's a signal from my mom to take my bum off the bed and start my day.

7:55AM I am lying in my bed thinking of how to minimize boredom within all the constraints that I have at home. Lindo says "No feasible solution exists" :(

8:00AM Am dreaming of Bangalore.

8:05AM Am thinking about my future and some serious thoughts about my life. A bed coffee would have been great.

8:10AM Somehow manage to drift off to sleep again.

8:15AM Two big hands are trying to remove my blanket and trying to touch me. Painfully, I open one of my eyes. Since I couldn’t recognise the figure in front of me, I decide to open both my eyes. A typical Mami comes into focus. There's only one problem. I have no idea who she is.

And then what I dread happens.

Mami: "Do you know who I am?"

I try to pretend to act as sleepy as possible so that she might think that I am too sleepy to recognise even Rahul Roy (one of my old crushes).

She does fall for it. Good!

But then she gives me a good shake to wake me up and sits on my bed and repeats the question again. This time with double the volume and accompanied with a very plastic smile

"Do you know who I am?"

This time I had no idea what to do. I give her a blank look. I wanted her to believe that I am the dumbest kid on this planet and how can she ask such Difficulty-level-3 questions to poor me!

I see her expression changing. The smile has almost vanished. Now she is feeling very uncomfortable. What does one do when someone tells you that they don’t remember their name or even who they are? It was evident that she was hurt.

Well. I didn't want to hurt anyone....so felt that some damage control was very much called for. So I sheepishly ask her

"Give me a clue please."

The expression on her face was priceless. A pot pourri of surprise, sadness, helplessness, disbelief, loss of faith in the new generation..................

She thinks for 10 seconds and says

"Mysore"

I say "hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm" buying time to think.

The only things that come to my mind when I search for Mysore are the palaces, the twin mirrors in one of palaces - the one that makes you look so-goddamn-fat and the one that makes you look thin-like-noodles - so that by the end of the experience you leave the palace being very happy about the way you actually look, Chamundi Hills, the dancing lights of Brindavan gardens, Tipu Sultan - the Tiger of Mysore, The yeshtu ghanda aithye joke by my mom and the STD code 0821. There seemed to be no more data in my archives about Mysore......And the Mami from Mysore?? Out of the question.

So now I have no choice but to tell her that even with the clue, my memory search returned NIL. I decided to do it again in a subtle manner by giving a blank-er look.

She gets the idea and decides that there's no point trying anymore. My brother who has been a witness to the entire episode gives a very sheepish smile that says 'Ha ha, I knew this would happen.'

She consoles herself that I may be too sleepy to think clearly and surely I would remember her once I get up. Wouldnt I?

I nod my head meekly.

She walks out with a very confused and sad face.

I withdraw inside the blanket. I seem to have done it again. Usually when some mamis ask me whether I know them, I nod my head with such fervour that they think that I have been thinking about them all my life. And I somehow always manage to guess their identities from the following conversations or from some clues from my mom. So they never end up asking the second question which would be to recognise them and their names. But this mami didn’t know the rules and jumped straight to the second question. Clearly her fault. :P

Started my day today with a big frown.

Looks like it's one of those days when nothing goes right. Decide to lie low and keep my mouth shut for the rest of the day.

Oh yeah. Have to see a doc today to check my RAM.
Hope he doesn’t say “Defective piece. You will just have to live with it."

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

It happens only in KERALA


This is a photo that appeared in the KERALA page of THE HINDU today.
Posted by Hello

The caption reads,
The law prohibits transportation of human beings on goods carriers. But it is often observed in the breach in many parts of the State. Two Kathakali artistes being taken on a mini-lorry through Thiruvalla town recently right under the nose of a policeman.


I could start another day with a huge grin on my face.

Yup. It even overruled the discovery I made today morning - someone has been breaching my privacy by rummaging among my stuff when I am not home. Whoever it is has to be pretty stupid, because he/she left plenty of clues behind. I know who you are you sneaky little nuisance!

Coming back to the picture. I wish that photo was in colour. Two Kathakali artistes on an auto-lorry hybrid right in the middle of 9AM traffic. :)
The journalist who saw this really got a feast for his eyes. But the person who wrote the caption really deserves a PJ award or something.

How the hell can someone relate something as practical as this to a law that tries to enforce minimum respect for human beings. He should have protested against all those low class worker men and women who are transported in a lorry be it rain or shine. I know the journalist meant well, but he dint make his point well.

It would be really difficult to fit those Kathakali artists inside a Ford escort what with their flaring skirts and those numerous dangling thingies! :P

The caption makes as sense as the arrest of Bazee.com CEO, Avnish Bajaj.

How can people be so DUH!?

Monday, December 20, 2004

Am a sucker ........

…………………..for attention given to details.

I tend to follow it religiously….......or at least I think I do…..so when I see somebody doing the same thing it gives me immense pleasure to know that there is someone who thinks the same way :)

It can be as small as

- a phone call before an appointment letting one know that the person is going to be 2 minutes late. (Very few people would make a call for this, thinking that a 2-min delay is NOT a delay)

- Service at Laundromat; they continuing to use a particular brand of detergent because you once remarked that your clothes smell like heaven after one of those washes. Its all the more to be appreciated since they have changed their regular detergent, but they keep buying the old brand of detergent just for that ONE customer

- Someone taking time to appreciate small things in life; a second visit to the tailor just to let him know that he had stitched that salwar perfectly. Couldn’t believe the joy in his face when I walked into Playboy (it’s a tailoring shop in Trichur) and told him that I loved the way he stitched my salwars

- Covering books that you love with transparent sheets to make sure that it looks and remains as good as new – saw Anju doing this several years back and anjooos, have I ever told you what that small gesture spoke to me about you?


- Planning out a fabulous bday party right under the concerned person’s nose, but then making it the most memorable ever giving all possible to attention to detail. Hats off to Pragya and PKT for this one. I still cant beleive you guys were able to pull it off.

- Remembering things; This one goes off to Ramki, a good friend (mentor?) who remembered the day I was supposed to join K and dedicated a small post for me. Well Ramki, I assumed the 'she' in that post was me, if it's not please dont tell me and break my heart.

- My chithi who takes whatever pain to get the special cheeda from palghat that I just love. Lali chithi ALWAYS makes sure that she brings a packet of those whenever she vists us.

- Wash basins set at different levels at Vimala Home for the handicapped rather than just providing a stool and lots of other small small conveniences without compromising on anything, so that each of the speical kid wouldn’t have to take any extra effort to go about their daily chores.

You might feel that some of these are mere formalities in life or that they are just a way of showing that you care about someone or their time or its just some ways to delight a customer by being thoughtful; but whatever it is, it floors me every time :)

Latest one was what I saw at the entrance of Vadkkunnathan temple today morning.
In most parts of India there is this custom of washing one’s feet before entering places of worship. But this is not very prevalent in South India.
Today before I could make my first step into the Vadakkunathan temple, I felt small ripples of water slowly caressing my feet. My first thought was to check if any elephants were around ;)
When I looked down what I saw simply blew me away. There was a small pipe just beneath the first step and there were several small holes made in that pipe in such a way that it let out small streams of water that would wash the devotees' legs before they entered the temple. Usually a small tap is provided for this purpose near the entrance. But this was a VERY ingenious idea.

Whoever thought about this deserves a pat on their back. It made me start a day with a renewed belief in the humankind and of course a big smile on my face :)

The Gulf Connection

I was a witness to one of the strongest connections that Kerala seems to have developed in the past decade. Didn't realize the strength of the connection until I saw what a difference it can make to people and their lives rather than just giving Kerala a boost in its annual accounts figures.

It is often boasted by Keralites that every Mallu family has at least one representative earning dirhams in gelf land and comes home every year with a big suitcase full of goodies for all relatives, their relatives, their neighbours, old friends and new friends……and some extra stuff for new friends he may make during his vacation :)

Until some years back, the only connection my family had with gulf was my uncle X who decided to make it his base after his short US stint and a good job in the banking sector in India. He is a big influential banker in Doha now. Then there’s uncle Y, who too went to Arab land, but lost his job there and had to come back in a few years. He found it very difficult to find a job back at home. The house they had purchased a year back when they had the inflow of gelf money became a burden now. They were struggling to meet the m onthly EMIs. Situation became so bad that his wife and his daughter had to start working – that too very low paying jobs. The daughter, who wanted to study more had no choice but to swallow her sorrows and contribute her share for the family’s welfare.

My mom was the angel who connected these two so contrasting stories and asked my influential uncle to help uncle Y. And voila! Before we knew it the visa was ready. Now all Uncle Y had to do was to get in a plane and find himself a job, which he says is gonna be less painful than getting the visa. The joy that lit up his face when he held the VISA in his land like a ticket to a kingdom of treasures was something to be seen to be belived. A simple VISA had saved a family from depression or maybe something even worse.

Have been reading some reports that say that the number of mallus in gelf land has come down drastically after the war and the lay-off. But my personal experience suggests otherwise. Now my family knows at least a dozen people who have happily settled down in gelf land. Another interesting factor is that most of these people had thrown away their very comfortable jobs at home and gone in search of greener pastures. But then there are people like my neighbour who has been trying since I was in LKG to get a CA, and finally had to give it up when they assigned him permanent roll no and a special seat for the CA exams considering his seniority :))
He is happily doing ‘something’ at gelf land and is being paid well; now his house has transformed itself from a one storey old fashioned home to a two storey stylish villa!
But are all mallus in gulf land doing white collar jobs? Of course not. The reluctance to talk more than a couple of sentences by most of the Gulf NRIs is an indication that they are doing something there which they would naver have done in their homeland. I can only assume that Mallus leave their abominably huge egos behind when they leave mallu land. Have also heard that people become the biggest misers there, just to save enough to fill in their suitcase during the annual vacation and to live like kings once they are back home.

The small stories of what gelf means to some of the Mallu families is surprising. For me the Gulf influence only meant some neat chocolates when any friends/relatives came for their vacations and those houses that scream of gulf money that are coming up in Mallu land at an alarming rate. The bigger picture is even more astonishing. Some facts and figures I could google out about the NRI remittances that flows into Kerala’s economy

- In 1998 there were 13.62 lakhs Kerala emigrants living abroad. Must have become close to 15-17lakhs by now.

- Towards the end of the nineties, Keralites working abroad constituted 10 percent of the workforce in Kerala. The size of those working abroad now exceeds those working in the organised sector (both public and private) in Kerala.

- 57 percent of the remittances to India from the UAE were to Kerala

- Average annual remittances ranged from Rs. 536 crores during 1980-85 to Rs.15,192 crores during 1995-2000

- As a percentage of the State Domestic Product (SDP) remittances constituted around 22 percent in the second half of nineties. Must be around 1/4th and rising now.

- The growth in remittances to Kerala has exceeded the growth in SDP by a wide margin throughout the nineties.

- Thanks to these huge remittances per capita consumer expenditure in Kerala is one of the highest among Indian states since the mid-eighties.

- Around 20 per cent of the workers from Kerala in the UAE were found to be daily wageworkers although most of them enjoyed regular employment.

- From the trend in bank deposits, it is seen that the savings rate that was around 21 percent during seventies to nineties (around the national average) more than doubled to cross 50 percent during late nineties. This is similar to the savings rates of the high growth economies of East and South East Asia.

- By the end of the nineties, remittance income has increased to 113 percent of government expenditure and 208 percent above the value added in manufacturing and 110 above value added in industry. (OMG)

- One of the formidable challenges facing Kerala today is its inability to convert the savings in the economy into productive investment. That it has not been able to meet the challenge effectively is demonstrated by a low credit-deposit ratio of around 40 percent for the past decade. This is partly, if not wholly, constrained by an unfavourable image of Kerala as an ‘investor unfriendly’ state in sharp contrast to its positive image as a state with high achievements in social development and recently in the sphere of tourism.

- Another challenge that traslates directly from the last point is the inability of Kerala to employ its eligible-to-be-employed population. The IT Park at TVM and the recent plans by Wipro and Infosys to set up dev centers in Kerala should bring a welcome change.

- Another very significant trend is the high growth rate of BPO industry and what is the role of Kerala in it. Wipro Spectramind was in Calicut a couple of weeks back to pick up mallus to work in Wipro Spectramind. (Still cant believe Reddy was the one who conducted the interviewed. I would have had a tough time controlling my laughter if someone like Reddy was on the other side of the table) This shows how desperate they are to expand and to get people who won’t contribute to their increasing attrition rate. Well, I hope they wont change their minds once they listen to temble and simble :)

As the facts seem to suggest, rather than sitting on a huge NRI remittances deposits, Kerala would be better off if it could translate the deposits into some good investments. Using up NRI money to dole out fat dowries and drowning the brides with gold heavier than the grooms doesn’t help matters.

Maybe I should look up something about the Gold industry in Kerala. Am sure it would be interesting. Especially for a person like me, who had to commute through long stretches of roads lined with ONLY gold shops on the way to her school and who hails from the land of ALUKKAS and ALAPPAT and now GOLD PARK, it sure would be interesting.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

La Belle Dame Sans Merci

End Term is starting off in 15 hours. And this term I have been into more 'extracurricular' activities than the scholarly stuff. And that is showing while I desperately try to wade through the material for the end term.

Was going through some poems for 'tension-release'. Came across this one by Keats, which is one of my all time favourites.


La Belle Dame Sans Merci by John Keats


The dame and the knight Posted by Hello

Oh what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.


Oh what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel's granary is full,
And the harvest's done.


I see a lily on thy brow,
With anguish moist and fever-dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.


I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful - a faery's child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.


I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She looked at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.


I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
A faery's song.


She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna-dew,
And sure in language strange she said -
'I love thee true'.


She took me to her elfin grot,
And there she wept and sighed full sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
With kisses four.


And there she lulled me asleep
And there I dreamed - Ah! woe betide! -
The latest dream I ever dreamt
On the cold hill side.


I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried - 'La Belle Dame sans Merci
Hath thee in thrall!'


I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill's side.


And this is why I sojourn here
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.



La Belle Dame sans Merci Posted by Hello

This poem had me mesmerized right from the time our English maam at St.Mary's recited it for us (with very good voice-effects, which I still remember). Though a tragic poem, this one has very powerful lyrics and probably has some connection to Keat's life too. It celebrates beauty and melancholy in a very different way.

But then this poem is also open to different interpretations. The enchanting dame in this poem could symbolise drug addiction, a failed but very romantic relationship and maybe even chain-smoking - all of which you enjoy immensely when it lets you enjoy it, but leaves you crippled physically or emotionally in the end.

And its funny the way Keats explains some of the usages in the poem. Look at a sample:
"Why four kisses -- you will way -- why four? Because I wish to restrain the headlong impetuosity of my Muse -- she would have fain said "score" without hurting the rhyme -- but we must temper the imagination as the critics say with judgment. I was obliged to choose an even number that both eyes might have fair play: and to speak truly I think two apiece quite sufficient. Suppose I had said seven; there would have been three and a half apiece -- a very awkward affair -- and well got out of on my side --"

Back to more slogging for the end term :(

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Babies and Wives

"Babies are such a nice way to start people" :)

"A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for"

"Father asked us what was God's noblest work. Anna said men, but I said babies. Men are often bad, but babies never are."

"My friend has a baby. I'm recording all the noises he makes so later I can ask him what he meant."

"There is one order of beauty which seems made to turn heads. It is a beauty like that of kittens, or very small downy ducks making gentle rippling noises with their soft bills, or babies just beginning to toddle."

"Ten fingers, Ten toes She's laughter and teardrops So small and brand new And amazingly angelic She's sent to bless you She's one special Baby The best of life's treasure And will grant and bless you Many hours of great pleasure."

"Take a sprinkling of fairy dust, An angels single feather, Also a dash of love and care, Then mix them both together. Add a sentiment or two, A thoughtful wish or line, A touch of stardust, a sunshine ray, Its a recipe, for a Baby Girl truly fine."


And a baby girl it is!!!!!!


Well, my dear buddy, Mariya gave birth to a darling angel - a baby girl. So I have reasons to celebrate and to be happy. Only that though I am very near to the place where she is now, I'll have to wait for 6 more days to have a glimpse of that darling. Now I know what is the first thing I'll do after reaching home. No prizes for guessing that. :)


Suddenly I have this very strong urge to get settled and have babies!

Yeah really!!!

Must be the maternal instinct inside me knocking desperately, since it can clearly see that I have no intentions of settling down atleast in the next few years. Had this same urge a year back while I was in Wipro but then the circumstances were totally different. memories...................

I was on my usual post-lunch walk around the Wipro campus.....still remember the shocked expression on my friend's face when I told him that I felt like resigning from the job at that very instant and having a baby :)
:D
That would have been the last thing anyone would have expected to hear from a colleague friend!

This reminds me of a small discussion I had a chance to hear recently. Topic was what kind of a girl would a typical IIM grad like to marry - personal preferences of some of my very good friends. Got two entirely contrasting fields of thought.

Mr. X wanted an intelligent girl with whom he can talk of anything under the sun. ( I thought this would be an implicit criteria, but seems it isnt!).

But surprisingly Mr. Y would be happy with a simple and plain girl, with whom he has no intentions of discussing any 'work related topics' or say 'general economics' or something like that.

Agreed.

But what if you wanted to discuss something badly and find out that you end up getting irritated trying to just explain the situation to that person. What would you do?
Would your wavelenghts match? Wont you get bored of such a person? Wont you end up going to other people to talk to? Does the person's role justify the term 'life partner'? Will u be really really happy? Or will you be missing something deep inside? Would you look at Mr. and Mrs. X at a later point and feel a teeny weeny sense of regret? Wont you run out of topics to talk since you have only limited choices?
On a lighter note, what if your children get your looks and your wife's smartness?
You would have ugly kids for sure :P

This statement by Mr. Y was a revelation to me. More so because it shook the image I had about Mr. Y. I had a pre-conceived notion that IIM pass-outs would be more like Mr. X, wanting a smart life-partner. Looks like my assumption was wrong. But I wonder how many think like Mr. Y.

I had heard similar comments from some of my supposedly 'smart' friends at Wipro. Most of them wanted a 'housewife' or a typical native girl, who would take care of them and their kids 24x7, would cook and clean and wash, and wont complain much and wont ask too many questions and would say 'Yes' to almost anything hubby desires. It surprised me to hear such statements, but then I thought they were kind of 'country' people or maybe even MCPs and that nothing more can be expected from them.

But this Mr. Y incident really surprised me. Still cant think of a logical reason why Mr. Y thinks this is the best decision.
Is it the background of the person or is it parent's influence or some sour past experience or a scary feeling about having to put up with a 'smart wife' or is it an ego thing or is it just pure MCPism????
Or am I thinking at a totally different level and mistook what Mr. Y had intended to say?

I dont want to jump any conclusions here, but the mystery still remains.

Anyways I just found one more reason to like Biharis, thanks to Mr. X :)

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Can I have one day of your life, please?

I felt like they were all asking me this. Was lost for words.

"My name is Ancy. I am 14 years old. Studying in 9th standard. I like Maths and Science. I want to be a doctor someday. I don’t mind being a nurse also. I like biology. I also like watching 4PM movies on Asianet and Surya. Will you take me to your college one day? I’d love to come there and meet your friends. You said your college is on top of a hill, right? When will you come to see me again? What are you studying? What is MBA? What job will you do? Why are you studying so much? When will you come visit me again? Why do you have short hair? Can I have more chocolates please? I like them so much……"

Ancy could have been any other child. Full of questions and dimpled smiles of a typical 14 year old. But she is a very special child. Handicapped. Her legs were amputated. That’s all. By all other means, she could have been just like you or me. But that one thing changed her life. She lives in a small building with 12 other special children just like her, some of them even 40-45 years old, but just as happy as her.

Vimala Home, situated at a 2 min drive from Medical College and behind Savio LP school, was my chosen organisation to churn out a report for Business Ethics. Vimala Home is a charitable organisation run for the rehabilitation of handicapped girl children, it's run by some sisters with the backing from FCC. Went there as a future-Manager, came back a very humbled human being.

Sr. Paulie was happy to welcome us (me and Rahul) inside the home. I thought maybe they won't allow us to see the children. Maybe that would depress them. How wrong I was. Slowly, one by one, each inmate started coming (dragging their feet behind them) to the visiting room, each one giving a very warm welcome smile to us. I was floored. They made themselves comfortable around the room, women and girls of all ages. The only similarity among them was their special shoes and their special smiles. All of them looked at me as I talked to them as if saying ‘Thank you for coming. You just made our day’. Suddenly I felt very awkward of having normal legs. I wished I were like them or better, they could have been like me.

They showed us what they do whole day….running a small mill which makes ‘Vimala condiments’. They knew Fr. Cyriac who goes there regularly to buy the spices. They showed us how they make ‘host’ - the white small thing served during Sunday service in the church. It is supposed to signify Jesus’ body. Made by these special children, they were very special indeed.

Their days started and ended with prayers. Prayers for a happy life. Thanksgiving prayers to God that said though you didn't give us good legs, you gave us a life. In between these prayers they went about their lives ….cleaning their home, cooking, studying, teaching, stitching, working in the mills, making hosts, sitting and having small fights, watching movies…… ……..being a family together.

Sr. Paulie was more than happy to show us the album of all the children who had stayed there. She knew each one of them and their stories……

"This girl here…she was very naughty. Used to run around all the time."

"And Sona, she could teach a thing or two to S Janaki about singing."

"Moni, smart girl, she is an officer in the Survey department now."

"Meenu, she is married now and has 2 special kids. She had called me yesterday."

I just nodded my head to each of them and was thinking about how it would be for her to be with them all day. A life well spent. Atleast she would be satisfied about what she did in her lifetime. What am I gearing myself for? - trying to increase shareholder value. Suddenly MBA and everything seemed so meaningless. Forgot that I was there to write a report on them, ended up spending around 4 hours with them.

The ride back to college was worse. The choking feeling in my throat was getting worse. This visit reminded me of the visits I had taken to the Mental hospital, the orphanage in tcr……Mary, a social worker, had taken me there and showed me around. Then there was Dream-a-Dream in Bangalore run by my boss’ wife, Mansi. Sr. Paulie and Mansi.....superwomen.
Once I started earning, I had made sure that I did something for these special kids atleast once a month. Last 5 months, someone somewhere would have missed it. Only myself to blame for it.
A bad day for me would be a bad hair day, breakfast without choclate corn flakes, a poorly written quiz, fights with friends, days with less time to sleep, days when I miss the F.R.I.E.N.D.S episode, days of huge traffic jams, days when my Kinetic wouldn't start, days when a crow shits on my starched white kurta, days when my body aches after a wild night of dancing and partying, hangover mornings…………………

But after this, nothing seems to qualify for a bad day anymore.

Have promised Ancy I’ll go meet her again. For me its just a promise. For her it means the promise of a very special day.