Saturday, September 27, 2008


I wondered whether I should be going for the Onam celebrations because of the 'Where do I belong factor ?' Decided, that belonging is relative - go to a place and there will be atleast one small way in which you belong to that place and environment. I did belong there - the music and the thiruvathira kali are my favourites. I can't pinpoint what exactly lures me to Kerala - Guruvayoorapan, the temples with the sopana sangeetham, the chendamelam and the panchavadyam, the elephants at Punnathoor Kota or the beauty(in nature, art & architecture).

Yesterday, I was twice lucky. One, the evening starting with the cultural event and ending with the sadhya was great. And second, I met an old student of mine. No, the student is not old. She must be 24. Old student because of the old days. Days when I was not a student and she not an IT professional, like now. It was a second of confusion and exhuberance together. Confusion because for one second for I couldn't place her in the new settings and exhuberance because I was happy and overjoyed to meet a student of mine doing well. There was not much time to talk and ask about her life and work. But then, those few minutes turned me nostalgic - of the days when it was fun (not that I am having less fun now). Fun teaching and being young, by being with the young. Hers was a class I found totally different from the batches before. They were kids - all of them. Some scared, some trying to behave like adults, some still the pranksters they always must have been(wonder how their school teachers managed them). They were not smart in the ways of the world - they were pretty much raw. Times when a teacher realizes the immense responsibility in their hands - of guiding and moulding them to be the best, in what they want to achieve. This kid has grown and still not changed. She talks the same way, mannerisms are the same. But then, what did I expect - to see a totally different person ?

Meeting students is joy - joy in learning about their success, joy in seeing them happy, joy in seeing them proud of what they have achieved, joy in listening to their ideas of the future. That is the reward of being in the profession. Definitely it is joy(surprise too) when they tell you that they are married and have kids. That is one point when as a teacher, I realize that the kids have really grown up and I, a little more old. But then, even that is momentary. Get back to college, and you feel like you are 18..........

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Fate, they call it,
Some say destiny,
Others bad luck,
Some call it random.

But isn't it strange,
That it comes along,
When least expected,
And jolts you out of the blue.

It tears you apart
Doesn't give you time
Not even to bid good bye
And then hides away
To strike again some other day.

Monday, was one such day
For you were lost
To family and friends
With no news, no notice.

But we will not let him win
For we will remember
For your attitude
For the never ending enthusiasm
To life
To fun
To learning
To talking
To enjoying what you did.

(In memory of Srikanth, my student who passed away last week).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Whither went the day ?

Many a time, many a day, when light meets dark, when it is time for the birds to go home, I wonder, whither went the day. Sometimes, it went off searching the net, sometimes browsing, sometimes reading just one paper, sometimes, a few pages in a text book, sometimes sulking about how it is not enough......... whither went the day?

Questions arise: Did I do enough for the day ? Could I have done more ? Did I concentrate enough ? Or, did I throw away time ? But, whither went the day ? And then sets in remorse. Remorse for not having done enough which ends the day!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Music everywhere - or is it just noise ?

The advancement of cell phones from mere talking devices to multimedia gadgets offering FMs, capacity to store music and video is being called technological advancement. Maybe true. But, of late I have come to detest it a lot. Get into a long distance bus and there you have co-passengers playing music aloud - some hindi, some english and some in their own mother tongues. Walk down a road, and you will come across atleast one in ten people playing music loud from their cell phones. The canteen has similar situations. Or then, there are people in the hostel (neighbours) who keep loud music at six in the morning or late into night or anytime in the day - sometimes there are two or three people playing different music at the same time, not to forget about them singing along and others who sing by themselves too. So, sometimes it is chaos. No, it cannot be compared to the fish market - for in the fish market one finds energy and rythm in all that din. One finds smiles and satisfaction in a sale.

People play music of their choice with least respect for their fellow beings. They do not give a thought about whether others will like the same kind of music. Speak to them about it and they call it freedom. Is this freedom? Then, what about your co-passengers right to silence. Two lines come to mind in this regard. One, 'Freedom without values and discipline is useless' and two 'My space stops where another's begins'.

There are only two ways out of this quagmire. One, for cell phone users to become responsible. Two, for cell phone companies to remove the option of speakers for music and videos. Hope one of the two will make it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"Trishanku's heaven"

Yesterday was Onam. I put on a little of the kalabham from Guruvayoor Temple on my forhead, it being a festival day. My friend wondered aloud how come I was behaving like a malayalee suddenly. Then came the second instance. There was a freshers party for students from Tamil Nadu and my friends were going for it. On being told that as I was not a tamilian, or rather that I was so non-tamilian, I may not have been invited, put me a little off. Yes, even though I am not a tamilian by birth, I am more of a tamilian by place I have lived, thought and values. To be told that I am not a tamilian somehow felt strange. And then, both of these incidences happened on the same day. So, that got me thinking. Where do I belong ?

Even though I was born in Kerala, I have lived my entire life in Tamil Nadu. Kerala has been vacation trips during school days, usually, a month long and then later, just a few days. Being a malayalee, Onam, Vishu and Thiruvathira are the only festivals as malayalees we celebrate at home. Pongal, Deepavali, Vinayagar Chathurthi and Pooja are festivals we celebrate due to the legacy we got out of living in Tamil Nadu. We have I believe, in the process, imbibed the best of both cultures, malayali and tamil. Yet yesterday, that remark got me thinking - actually a little hurt. Do I look so unlike a malayali. Of course, I do not flaunt my being a malayali. I speak in English most of the time, a little in malayalam, tamil and hindi too. I do not walk around with wet hair(I have very little hair unlike most malayali's) and yes, do not look much like a malayali too. Neither do I look totally tamilian. I have never given much thought to these issues personally. Yes, we did have instances when our neighbours wondered why as outsiders we were interested in the uplift of the neighbourhood or when we commented on state policy. We used to tell these people that we are more tamilians than most tamilians, for it is tamil soil that we feel close with.

So, where am I? Where do I belong ? I am totally confused ? Is there a need to belong to some community, culture or language to be part of something ? Or is it only by birth that one becomes something ? For that matter, is it necessary at all that I should belong somewhere ? Why should I choose left or right ? Why can't I just be, happy in the knowledge that I am both, one by birth and another by time.

Yesterday, I felt like Trishanku who neither belongs in the heavens nor on earth. But then, Trishanku lives in his own heaven. So, there was the answer. My heaven needs no one to tell me to choose. My heaven has enough place for all things I choose to be, because I like the best. Where they come from do not matter. For, I am richer by it rather than poorer.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Wanted: a plumber for Antarctica

The job opportunity sounded great - actually wow. Just that I am not a plumber. Of course I do know to change a tap and a washer but nothing beyond that. What interested me is this:

"Duties include mechanical and electrical upkeep, repair and support to scientists studying penguins, seals and albatrosses".

Now, that is what makes the job interesting. Of course, Antartica is cold, far away from home and is extreme: but then, that is the point. There is a mix of everything in the job - technical ability, mystery, challenge and lots of nature.

Wish the next time I see,

Wanted a Test Engineer for Antarctica.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

'Bihar is destined to die. Nobody counts us' -Contd/-

The Prime Minister has on Sept. 3rd, 2008 called for contributions to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

'Bihar is destined to die. Nobody counts us'

62-year-old Dinesh Kumar Mishra says, "Bihar is destined to die. Nobody counts us."

How true ? When Tamil Nadu was hit by a Tsunami, people from across the country contributed. Same with Latur. Not with Bihar. Why ? Is it because floods happens every year, or is it because it does not have a strong word like Tsunami and earthquake attached to it. Neither the state nor the central government is asking for contribution from the public towards the cause. Not even the media. Does it not feel strange ? It does to me.

Yeh kahan aagaye hum

A journey started
Not so long ago
To take a new step
To find a new path.

Landing in the environs
Alien to me new
Friends none
Made home in time.

Half the time over
Wonder where it went
Did I while away
Or did it pass working.

Half way in time
End not anywhere near
More confused
Than clear.

Is this research
Is this usual
Is this the path
Know not I.