Tuesday 21 November 2023

Some Memories.....of road repairs and atrocities

 November 2021

And they have done it again! 

Succeeded in maintaining their score of knock-down-one-cable-a-day! 

Barely a day after it was restored, with new cables and all, the #ChennaiCorporation sent that JCB, its weapon of destruction, and ripped apart the pole and cables of our Internet server. 

We had not had it for even 12 hours.

 And along the way, cut the Metro water connection supply of both our neighbors. 

And after all its rampaging, it sits on our road all night, in front of our house, waiting to pounce! 

I hope the Commissioner #GagandeepSinghBedi of #ChennaiCorporation takes note of the wanton and needless destruction caused by the undisciplined drivers of the JCB.

Sunday 9 October 2022


Navarathri 1978, at our place in New Delhi, West Kidwai Nagar.

No colour pictures then, and even black and white pictures were rare, not everyone owned a camera.

Anyone who has celebrated Navarathri with a Kolu knows the amount of work entailed. The preparation for the Kolu starts days ahead. My mother made it a point to make new paper garlands every year for decoration, adding to the ones collected and saved from previous years. Creating them was an art in itself, and we would all be roped in to roll the coloured paper flowers. (Guess who was the lone recalcitrant roller.)  

The dolls would be arranged only on white sheets laid on the steps to set off their bright colours.  The steps were usually makeshift, set up with trunks and boxes, but nonetheless perfectly aligned.
And on either side of the steps would be what could be termed as ‘parks’. Mud was fetched in and spread, fast sprouting seeds like methi were scattered to create fields and grass. 

Nothing new, but my mother started this when I was about 7 or  8. Almost 70 years ago. And she made these Kolu happen for almost 40 years.  

One year she made small dolls out of white clay and painted them with costumes, including swimsuits, and placed them on a pool made out of a dish of water. I was 8 then, and I remember it so clearly. 

Maiji says she made her first kolu when I was two. A few dolls placed on a small table, over a lace tablecloth. And a small kolam. As I grew, so did the Kolu, and the Kolam.

My contribution in later years was to carry out her instructions, so I used to help with the making of cardboard cutouts like temple towers etc. and painting them.
Just seeing her go at it would exhaust me.

Even when the family grew and her responsibilities increased, and later with my father’s parents joining us, she did not lose her drive. 
She would make laddoos at home to distribute with the manjal / Haldi kukmkum. 

And these dolls travelled, wrapped carefully in old clothes and newspapers in their own trunk box, with us to wherever my father was transferred….from Delhi, to Trichy, to Chingleput, to Madras, to six years  in Pondy where Maiji had the grandest kolus, …and back to Delhi.

This picture , so representative of Maiji’s  spirit, was used with an article on Navarathri as celebrated by South Indians, in the Indian Express published from Delhi, in 1978.

Thursday 24 December 2015


It is an ongoing tussle between my domestic help Saroja and me.

I have told her to inform me if she is going to take a day off, so I am prepared mentally and somehow find the physical drive to do her chores. I never mind her taking the day off, (with her however it is invariably five days running) since she too has problems and may fall ill. It is just that she should let me know first thing in the morning.

 She always says yes, but from the time of the landline and 25 paise  per call from the public phone booth to now the days of the cell - she also has one  -  she never does. Giving her the telephone money to make calls never worked – she probably found a better use for it. Threats of cutting off the day’s wages never work either, she knows I won’t.
So there I remain, waiting till 8 am, and then going to our first floor balcony to check if she has cleaned the front gate and drawn the kolam – at which she is a champ. And if I see her kolam there or in our neigbour’s house, I relax and continue with my work in my office  - kitchen, that is.

But if she doesn’t then I have to start doing the vessels, clothes et al. And I do so with great energy and scolding her mentally for not calling early to let me know. Sometimes I have to fit the chores in to the schedule the days’ programme, like visits to the doctor, cooking for visitors and so on. My scoldings are no less vigorous than my hands as I scrub the vessels. And I tell myself, “Just wait till she comes, I’ll give her a piece of my mind for not calling me.”

On the second day, I am a little more prepared, for I have done the dishes the previous night, thinking if she comes she can do the rest of the work. No call, and she isn’t coming either. The clothes are scrubbed a little less vehemently, though the scoldings continue.

The third day I begin to wonder, while doing the floor, if the poor woman is very ill and can’t come to the phone, but then I tell myself, why can’t she ask someone else in the family to call. Her useless son is always hanging around outside our gate when she is working, instead of going about his job. Why can’t he come and tell me why his mother is absent, I grumble. High time I looked for another maid, I feel.

The fourth day comes but she doesn’t, and now I am weary with the chores, mine and hers, and begin to feel sorry for her, working here and in other homes, just doing the same tiresome chores to make enough money for her livelihood.

By the fifth day I am ready to fall on her neck and welcome her back.

No reprimands, no recriminations…..

Thursday 24 April 2014


In full bloom
After a wait of five years, I got to catch this tree in full bloom today, with its soft cloud of yellow. I had tried to capture the way it bloomed for just a day, followed it day by day here.

Now I am content.

Saturday 11 January 2014


I wrote this last year when my granddaughters came for a holiday with their parents, and left.
This year  my other grandchildren came and stayed, and left a couple of days ago.
Deja vu.

No screams
No tears.
No shouts,
No laughs.
No giggles,
No joy.
Granddaughters have left,
How empty is the nest

Wednesday 18 December 2013


Nothing works as well as flattery.

I fall for it, flatly, each time. 
Some weeks ago I had this lovely comment on my latest (then) blog.
 Aparna K.S. said...
"I enjoy your pics and words alike. Thought I will express it this way..."

Pleased with this remark, I took a peek at the link and was delighted to see that Aparna had seen fit to pass
on to me an award, which had been passed on to her from a blogger, in turn to be shared with ten other bloggers.
The award is the Liebster award, and  I quote from her post.

 “The Liebster Blog Award: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, and
lovely. Started in Germany (probably) & is used to highlight new/recent/lesser known blogs or let say blogs
with less than 200 followers.(Though the original rules have changed a bit, the purpose is same - highlight
fellow bloggers' works and appreciate each other's works)

Here's a brief on how this award works:

*   Link back to the persons blog that have nominated you
*   Nominate 10 bloggers whom you feel are deserving of more subscribers & pass the award on to them.
*   Answer all questions posted by the nominator
*   Create 10 questions for the nominees
*   Contact the nominees and let them know that they have been nominated for the Liebster”

First things first. My nominator
Thank you, Aparna.

And now my turn to nominate -  I am nominating the following bloggers  to pass the award on to. No, there are no ribbons or medals
or pretty tokens, sorry,  just the award.

 Next come the questions I have to answer. My answers in italics.
                1. If God gave you another chance to live your life all over again, which one thing would you like to
                Occasions when I have been unintentionally rude to people.
                2 One act of kindness that you encountered.
                When a co-blogger chose me for an award and kick started me into blogging again.
                3One moment that you felt indebted to your creator…
                Always, for what He has given me.
                4 Is variety confusing?
                Only enough to make it interesting.
                5. One ingredient that makes a good listener…
                Silence (non-interruption) when the other person is talking
                6 Which one of these two you do faster: thanking people or apologising?
                Equally quick.
                7,. Ageing gracefully’ – What does this mean to you?
                Accepting not just myself as I am, but others as they are, without trying to change them
                8. If you are allowed to make one change to the ways of the world, what would you   like to change?
                Eradication of illness of any kind.
.               9. What constitutes a balanced life?
.               Happiness through good health and sufficient wealth.
                10. Has the internet globalised the world or polarised it?
                Definitely made it a smaller place.

My ten questions have been reduced to five for lack of imagination on my part. Pardon me if you find the
questions dull.
             1. What would you do to improve the condition of women in India?
             2. An opportunity you regret missing?
            3. If you were asked to choose one book as your companion for life?
            4. If you were asked to control prices of foodstuff where would you begin?
            5. If you were asked to set 10 questions, what would you feel like doing first? (I screamed in anguish)

 Now this is the reason I wanted to write for my blog again. A recognition , a small pat on the back, and I have
already posted one.

Let me see if I am able to maintain the pace.


Monday 9 December 2013


My granddaughter Samyukta, all of four-and-a-half, has a story to tell. She drew the illustrations, and her mother wrote down the words as she narrated them. Proud me wants to share it with you .