There were few things I wanted to write before the year is over..But it doesn’t look like I will be able to.
Falling sick last week wasn’t part of my agenda, as such I still haven’t done most of the baking..
I am yet to make/bake all the cookies, truffles and snacks that we usually give as gifts…

Right now, I am looking for the song, I will be home for Christmas, sung by Boney M..Probably released in 1980, the cover was blue , had a photo in the center( I think the singers wore white head scarf), with white pine leaves around the photo.. If anyone has that song would you forward it to me please?

Dear friends

Time has come to rise up and stand up for your rights.
5 Malaysian Indians have been arrested under Internal Security Act in Malaysia yesterday. They were not arrested under the draconian act because they murdered or robbed someone. They were arrested because they stood up to the mighty UMNO who until now believed in the motto of U Must Not Object to their one-sided laws and rules.
Keeping 5 people in a secret detention centre without a trial is the sign of a struggling government trying to salvage a sinking ship. It is obvious that they heard our voice and is now afraid of our mettle.

Do not be disheartened by the temporary defeat in our struggle for equal rights in Malaysia. There can be no greater pride than to see the foundations of UMNO shaking with fear when our people have started to stand up for their rights.
We are a population of 2 million people. 1/10 of the Malaysian population. Let us not forget that we have a right to equality in Malaysia. We are ‘born’ Malaysians. We hold the red passport. We have birthrights!
Let us stand together and ask for our rights.
No army in the world can silence us if we stand up together.
No police/city hall officials in the world can destroy our places of worship if we stand up together.
No New economic policy can prevent our sons and daughters from entering the Malaysian Universities if we stand up together.
Raise up your hands. Time has come for you to raise it high and say
“We are Malaysians, We demand equal rights”
No UMNO can tell us to go back to India, if we stand up together.
No UMNO can revoke our citizenship enshrined in the constitution.
No UMNO can cheat us of our birthrights.
Malaysians, say it loud
“We are Malaysians. We have equal rights.”
Mr. Badawi, Release the 5 or charge them in court.

When someone said ‘as different as night and day’, they would have been talking about Bangalore streets. The streets came alive as soon as the sun rose as if on cue. The marwadi matriarch from the corner house was yelling at her daughter in law who was sweeping the courtyard. I watched the daughter in law keeping the broom to the side and running inside. I watched the old lady looking inside and muttering. I tried to guess what she was muttering. She most likely would have said
‘Good for nothing!’
Wasn’t that the sacred manthra for all mother’s in law?
I heard bicycle bells ringing and I looked down. The milk man was standing in front of Mrs. Nagesh’s house, waiting for her to come out and collect the milk.
I could hear Amma taking the pot from the plate rack.
“I will get the milk” I spoke. I didn’t know why I volunteered. I didn’t have to. The new Nina never bothered about anyone.
No Nina, there is nothing wrong in being kind. I told myself. I knew Amma was growing old and her knees hurt. I don’t lose anything by going down and getting the milk. I just couldn’t be that selfish, but I wanted to. Being mean was so easy for my family members, I wondered why I didn’t inherit the mean genes?
I took the pot from Amma’s hands and opened the door and walked down the steps. I remembered each time I went with Akkachi to collect the milk. The stories she used to tell me and how much I loved her. When each and every member of my family turned against me, there was always Akkachi to lean on. Each and every time I asked Amma for Akkachi’s address and when she never gave, I used to tell myself, one day I will find Akkachi. I will go to Trivandrum and find her. I wanted to take care of her in her old age, just as she took care of me when I was young. I used to dream of Akkachi helping me to raise my children, tell them the stories she used to tell me. I knew she would make a super grandmother.
My heart felt so heavy and I could hardly breath.
I opened the gate and gave the milk man the pot. I watched him opening the can and using the metal ladle, he scooped the milk and poured inside the pot. He passed the pot back to me and I held it carefully and started to climb up the steps. I looked up to see Amma standing near the top of the steps and watching me. I remembered holding Akkachi’s hand and walking up the temple steps.
Then it all came to me
I was always trying to replace Amma wasn’t I?
Ammachi, Akkachi were like a mother for me weren’t they?
But both of them failed me. Didn’t they?
But my Amma, she was always there. Wasn’t she?
She carried me for nine months and gave me life. Didn’t she?
And I wanted to take care of Akkachi in her old age!
“onnu vegam konduvarunnundo aa palu”( can you please hurry up?) Amma was irritated with me.
“ok Amma” I replied.
I saw Amma frowning. I knew she was actually expecting me to say some tharuthala(talk back).
I couldn’t resist smiling and quickly walked up the rest of the steps and handed the milk pot to her. She grabbed the pot from my hand and huffed and went inside the house. I stood there and watched her walking to the kitchen and switching on the gas fire.
I wanted to hold her hands and tell her that I will always be there for her. But that would have been too sentimental. I promised in my heart
‘I will take care of you Amma. I will always be there for you’.

I hated Amma for the way she was treating me. I wanted to teach her a lesson. I wanted to be better than Maria or my little sisters. I wanted her to tell me that I was good. I will make her say that. I will.
I will study hard and become the world’s best doctor and she would have to admit one day that I am good, may be even better than Maria.
I was better than Maria, wasn’t I?
I was deaf, blind and dumb, studied in Malayalam medium and still managed to do medicine? I wouldn’t have passed first MBBS if I wasn’t good, right?
I remembered Amma’s reaction when she saw my first MBBS marks card. She didn’t say congrats, she didn’t say she was proud of me considering the fact that even George’s daughter failed first MBBS.
Instead all my mother asked me was What does MR- MCI stands for. I didn’t know what MR-MCI stands for and I remembered the disgusted look on my mother’s face. The look that said, yeah you passed first MBBS and you don’t even know what MR MCI in your marks card means! What was the point in passing the first MBBS Nina Thomas when you don’t even know that? See Nina, I knew I was right, you are just deaf and dumb and blind, useless, hopeless child born to bring misery and heartaches to your parents.
I hated Bangalore University and all their stupid codes, if they didn’t have the codes, then perhaps Amma would have seen the four letter word written in capital letters on the right side of the marks card. It was written in red ink ‘PASS’
Why was life so unfair to me? What did I do so wrong? I never hurt anyone, I never cheated anyone. Yet all I have at the end of the day is curses and more curses
“nee orikkalum konam pidikkathilla” ( you will never do well in your life)
I wondered if Amma’s curses would come true. I told Sally, it won’t. But I wasn’t sure. What if her curses worked?
What if I failed the exams? Then I would never be able to do my PG.
No! I told myself. I didn’t want to be a dookkily MBBS. I wanted to Be Dr. NINA THOMAS, MBBS.MD.MRCP
I looked at my text book on the floor. Whatever is in that book, it has to enter my brain! It is the only solution to all my troubles. I kept the coffee cup on the floor, took the book and started to read. I was still on page 4, I flipped the pages to see how much more I have to read. Almost half the text book!
Why don’t I ever learn not to leave studies to the last minute? How am I going to study half the book in three hours? Tomorrow I have to study Pathology.
‘Concentrate Nina, concentrate, stop wasting time’ I told myself. I wrapped the blanket over my legs and started to read.
The silence around me was amazing. It was as though I was in a vacuum, nothing moved. I didn’t feel sleepy, so I decided to keep reading.I had to finish Microbiology.
The silence was broken by a sudden clang of metal against metal and I almost fell off the chair. My heart started to pound. What was that sound? I looked around.
I remembered Akkachi telling me that Yama comes riding on a buffalo, and a person about to die can usually hear the metal sounds of the chain yama carries with him to take the soul from the body.
I was so afraid. I didn’t want to die, not now, I haven’t sung the song I came to sing. Then I remembered Akkachi.
I hated her. I hated her for betraying me. If she had loved me, then she wouldn’t have done anything to hurt me. She was a liar. Big liar.
I heard the sound of water splashing on the ground and I knew instantly it was not Yama with the metal chains that made the sound. Mrs Nagesh must be cleaning the entrance to her house to draw the kolam before Sunrise.

Sunrise? What time is it now? I checked my watch.
wow, I was impressed with myself. I studied until 5.45 am!
“nee urangi illey?” ( You didn’t go to bed?)I heard Amma speak. I turned to look at her.

“No” I replied
For a brief moment, I saw the surprise in her eyes.
She wasn’t proud of me, but I knew she was impressed.
That is all I wanted. A tiny flicker of hope that one day she would be proud of me.

It all started as a treat..
Quality time with mama without chachan and chechy..
Now it is a routine..( Is it Tuesday today? What time are we going for coffee and cake? etc etc)
so mama and baby are going for yet another coffee and cake..
Will update the blog tomorrow

Some where at the back of my head, Elaine Caswell was singing ‘It is all coming back to me’
No, No, not that song. I tried to tell myself, but the song continued
I can barely recall, but it’s all coming back to me…now
It’s all coming back to me now
It was dead long ago but it’s all coming back to me
I can hardly recall but it’s all coming back to me now.
I remembered a little girl’s fight to save her dignity, those little rules one learns, because life teaches cruel lessons to those unprepared.

‘Never change clothes without locking the room doors’
‘Never take a shower when Appa is home’
‘Never lay down with Appa.’

Those rules were self learned and then passed on to the younger ones. I had to learn those rules by myself. There was no one to teach me. Because my mother was busy with her life that she never noticed what was going on in her own home.
‘No Nina, that wasn’t true’ I told myself. Amma wasn’t busy, she was blind.
I remembered the time I had enough of Appa and went to Amma and told her what was happening.
I remembered her anger. I remembered how the skin on my cheeks burned, after she slapped me.
No she wasn’t angry with Appa.
She was angry with me, because I should have known how to take care of myself. The same anger she had when I told her about George.
It was all my fault.
I looked at Amma, she was leaning against the door frame, one hand at her hip and the other hand on the kitchen counter. She looked so frail and weary. Not all like the ottaka pakshi who used to chase me around the school compound.

I switched off the fire, took the sieve and a cup from the plate rack and poured the coffee in to the cup. Even without lifting my head, I could feel Amma’s eyes staring at me.
palum num panajrakkum vela ethrannu ninakku ariyo? (do you know how expensive milk and sugar are now?)
I carefully poured the coffee in to the cup. I placed the pot in the sink and was just about to take the coffee cup and drink my coffee. Then I remembered
Entha nintey Ammayi amma kku vechakkuvano pathram? (Are you leaving the pots in the sink for your mother in law to come and wash?)
Quickly, I took the scrub and started to wash the pot. I thought I heard Amma sigh. May be she was sad that she didn’t get a chance to yell at me this evening. I was surely getting smarter!
I opened the tap.
Entha nintey thantha kashu tharumo vellathintey kashadakkan? ( is your father going to send the money to pay for the water?)
I quickly reduced the flow of water.The water was cold, but I didn’t curse. I kind of enjoyed the cold water falling on to my hand. May be I could wash everything away, may be the coldness would numb my heart. I placed my hand underneath the tap and let the water fall on to my hand, I tried to make a scoop with my palm and hold the water. I watched the water flowing through the gap between my fingers.
“Who was there for me? Who would have taken care of you?” I could hear Amma’s voice over and over
I squeezed my fist. It was all my fault. Everything was my fault. Amma didn’t fire Akkachi because there was no one to take care of me. If I was healthier, not born deaf and dumb and blind, then perhaps we didn’t need Akkachi.
If I wasn’t fairer, then perhaps Maria wouldn’t have been jealous
Actually it would have been so easy if I wasn’t born, then none of this would have happened.
I cursed the God for giving me life.
vellam waste akkikko, ennu vecha nintey thantha alley kashu tharunney!” (waste the water, after all your father is paying the bills!) I heard Amma speak.
I turned off the tap, placed the coffee pot on the plate rack, took the coffee cup and started to walk towards the balcony
“You still haven’t told me” Amma spoke
“What?” I asked
“Who is your father staying with?”
“No one”
“Oh pinney Sathyam parayadi (tell the truth Nina)”
“I told you No one. He is not staying with anyone. He is living alone”
I opened the door and walked out.
The truth was like an over infalted helium ballon in my chest. I wanted it gone, it was suffocating me.
I wanted to shout and tell the truth. But I couldn’t. Because there were no saints among the thieves.