Yukon, here we come.

We are going to Yukon( northern British Columbia) for three weeks.
It has been my dream to travel the Alaska Highway and I am finally going to do it. I am excited at the same time petrified..

I would like to thank all of you for being with me while I re- live my life each day. Thank you very much for all the support you have given me.

For those of you who want to know more about my trip it can be found here.

Wishing you all a wonderful summer holidays and see you all soon.

Wait for me by moon light

“Hungry?” He asked
“hmm” I nodded my head
“I have some biscuits,Do you want to eat that or do you want to eat in a restaurant?”
“what do you feel like eating?”
“Ok, come let us go”
He got up first and helped me to get up. he held my hands as we climbed down the rocks. He was so sure footed and as I let him guide me. It was so easy to allow him to guide me. I could trust him with my life.
“There should be some restaurants in Kolar, you want to go there?”
He started the bike and I sat behind him. I no longer felt shy to hold him. Why should I feel shy, when we would be husband and wife soon?
Couple of kilometers later, we spotted a restaurant on the left side of the road.
“Want to eat here?” he asked
The place was actually an old house converted to a restaurant. It had long widows painted blue and a few tables on the terrace. It was too hot to dine outside, so we walked inside, hand in hand and I remembered the verses
And hand in hand
on the edge of the sand
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
Edward Lear.
Why are you smiling?” He asked
“I remembered a poem”
“Which one?”
“I will tell you later. Let us find a place to sit”
There was few tables near the counter. It looked very dark and shabby. I looked around, there was another room at the back that looked more brighter
“Can we sit there?” I asked Beautiful Eyes
The second room was more brighter because the roof had glass tiles
“You see that?” I pointed the roof to Beautiful Eyes
“Yeah, it is nice isn’t it?”
“My grandmother’s kitchen also had a glass roof tile. In the early morning you can see the beam of sun light entering the kitchen and when I was little, I used to sit on the floor and try to catch the ‘sparkling’ dust that floats in the sun beam. I was forever grabbing the shiny dust hoping it would illuminate my hand like it does in the sun light. It was so disappointing that I could never catch the dust!”
“Gosh Nina, how do you remember all these?”
“Don’t know. I just remember things!”
“What do you want to eat?”
I checked the menu
“I will have ghee rice”
“What about you?”
“Chicken 65, cauliflower manchurian, dal and plain rice”
We ordered the food
“What was the poem you remembered?”
“Edward Lear’s owl and the pussy cat”. I recited the poem for him
“That is a funny poem. What is a quince?”
“It is a fruit. I have never seen it”
“Who is your favourite poet?” He asked
“Keats. I love his poems. What about you?”
“Not much in to poems. But I loved Highway man by Alfred Noyes. I had to study that for my plus 2″

Look for me by moon light
watch for me by moonlight
I ‘ll come to thee by moonlight
though hell should bar the way!” I sung it for him

“You studied it too?”
“Oh yes, I read that poem so many times. I used to imagine the highway man riding the horse over the cobble stone path, how Bess waited for him and how they kissed! I can still see Bess trying to free her hands so she can pull the trigger and warn him”
“Love is never fair isn’t it?”
“Love is fair, we are not fair towards love. When two people are happy, we don’t leave them alone do we? We have the desire to do things to break them apart right? If Tim never felt jealous, Bess wouldn’t have died, don’t you think?”
“Who do you think going to break us apart?” He asked. He looked so worried.
“George for one”
“What is his problem? Why does he want to break us up?”
“I don’t know. I have no idea. He just don’t like me to do well”
“hmm” He mumbled
The waiter brought our food. We shared the curry and I noticed he was sweating profusely while trying to eat the chicken 65.
“You can’t eat spicy food can you?” I asked
“I can, this is a bit too spicy”
“Why did you order chicken 65? You could have ordered malai chicken, No?” I scolded him
“Nina, I know how much you love to eat spicy food”
“So? I won’t die just because I didn’t get spicy food”
“baby, don’t worry. I am fine”
I felt so emotional when I realized it was the first time someone ever bothered to order something, because he knew what I liked. At home Amma always made what my sisters wanted to eat.
He couldn’t eat spicy food, still he ordered it, because he cared that much for me. I reached out and held his hand. Because I was grateful. I knew I am the luckiest girl on planet earth to have found him. My precious Naga warrior.

Does anyone remember the name of this restaurant, on NH4, before the turn off to Madras,( about a km before the traffic light) on the left side. Most of the staff were malayalees.

I climbed a mountain

“What is your favourite song?”
“Which language?”
“hmm, that is going to be difficult. I listen to so many songs.”
“Pick one in each language”
“Ok in Hindi,well, I like Zindagi ka safar the most”
“Zindagi ka safar? Why?”
“I watched the movie when I was 14 years old on Doordarshan. I didn’t know much Hindi, in fact I hated Hindi. I never understood the ka and ke of hindi. While I was watching the movie, I didn’t understand a single dialogue,and half way through the power went off, by the time the power came back I had missed most of the movie. So here I am watching a hindi movie with no clue as to what the story is all about and all of a sudden the actor started to sing the song, I understood what he was singing. I understood every bit of that song. It was like someone opened the curtain that was blocking my eyes until that time. I could feel the pain in his voice. I understood the meaning of the song and it was the most realistic song I have ever heard until that moment. The song made me love Hindi, the way the language was used to describe the feeling. Rotey Rotey Zamaaney Mein Aaye Magar, Haste Haste Zamaane Se Jaaenge Ham , that is so beautiful, don’t you think so?”
“So you like Kishor Kumar!”
“English, is very very difficult. I listen to the songs according to my mood. I have so many collections”
“But what is the one song you listen often?”
“It is difficult to pick one song, I like Anne Murray’s A little good news a lot”
“Which song is that?”
“You haven’t heard it?”
He shook his head
I sang the song for him

I rolled out this morning
Kids had the mornin’ news show on
Bryant Gumbel was talkin’ ’bout the fighting in Lebanon
Some senator was squawkin’ ’bout the bad economy
It’s gonna get worse you see,
we need a change in policy

There’s a local paper rolled up in a rubber band
One more sad story’s one more than I can stand
Just once how I’d like to see the headline say
“Not much to print today, can’t find nothin’ bad to say”, because

Nobody robbed a liquor store on the lower part of town
Nobody OD’ed, nobody burned a single buildin’ down
Nobody fired a shot in anger, nobody had to die in vain
We sure could use a little good news today

I’ll come home this evenin’
I’ll bet that the news will be the same
Somebody takes a hostage, somebody steals a plane
How I wanna hear the anchor man talk about a county fair
And how we cleaned up the air, how everybody learned to care
Whoa, tell me
Nobody was assassinated in the whole Third World today
And in the streets of Ireland, all the children had to do was play
And everybody loves everybody in the good old USA
We sure could use a little good news today

“That is such a nice song” He replied
“Oh yes, it is. When ever I feel depressed, I listen to the song and sing along, “I sure could use a little good news today”!
He started to laugh
“Why are you laughing?”
“Because you are funny”
“Why do you say that?”
“I was expecting you to choose some romantic song as your favourite. instead you picked the most unusual song.”
“You think I am weird?”
“heavens No. Weird? You? Oh Nina!.. Sorry I didn’t mean Oh Nina, I meant Oh Heavens, Nina you are not weird. You are unusual and I am not saying that in the bad way”
“oh like that”
“Nina, each moment I spend with you, I learn something new”
“I thought it is the other way around”
“What do you mean?”
“I learn so much from you. You make me think. Anyway,What is your favourite song?” I asked him
“King of pain”
“Yeah, you like them?”
“Not much, I like few of their songs like Every breath you take and Roxanne. My dad loved The police. But I like Sting though” I turned to look at him sheepishly.
“Really? Which song”
“I said, I like Sting!” I replied again
He stared at me for a few seconds and then said “oh”
“His eyes. Have you seen his eyes? They are deep set and full of expression”
“You have a thing for eyes, don’t you?”
“hmm” I mumbled
“Tell me Nina,What is so special about eyes?”
“I don’t know how to explain. You can see a person in their eyes”
“When I look at your eyes, I see concern, love, understanding and compassion, I don’t know how to explain that”
“you can see all that in my eyes”
“Oh yes”
“What do you see in my eyes now?” he asked
I looked at him.His iris was light brown. I had never noticed until now how clear his iris were. There were like glass. I had brown eyes, but my iris wasn’t as transparent as his.
“What do you see Nina?”
“Happiness” I replied
“hmm, you are right Nina. I am so happy to be with you. I look forward to this time I get to spend with you”
‘Then don’t go, don’t go and fight the war, attend all the classes and write the exam’. I wanted to tell him that. But I couldn’t.
“Oh I forgot. I have been wanting to ask you this, tell me one thing you wouldn’t do” He asked
I didn’t know what to answer. There were a million things I wanted to do. I never thought about something that I wouldn’t do.
“tell me” He asked again
“Wait let me think. I can tell you a million things I wanted to do. I have never thought about something I wouldn’t do”
I tried to think. Nothing came to my mind. What is one thing I wouldn’t do? All I could think of were the things I wanted to do. I wanted to travel around the world, I wanted to see the 7 wonders, I wanted to see northern lights, I wanted to go back to Malaysia, damn, those aren’t the answer to his question.
What is one thing I wouldn’t do?
I won’t eat sushi, snake or rabbit. But I felt that is such a stupid answer.
I don’t like to wear revealing cloths, I don’t like to wear jewelry, I don’t like to wear make up.
Gosh none of those come in the category of something I wouldn’t do. I suddenly realised what I wouldn’t do
“I will never go against my ethics. That is one thing I wouldn’t do” “Wait there is more, I won’t sell my body, I won’t sell my soul” I told him
“wow” he replied
“What is one thing you wouldn’t do?” I asked him
“That is easy. I won’t live without you” He replied
There are certain moments in life you realize there isn’t anyone more stupid that you on planet earth. It was one such moment.
I climbed a mountain to answer his question, while the answer was right next to me.

Does anyone know recipes of any Indian food that can last few days without refrigeration? I am looking for main meals.

Life goes not backwards

Nah, it can’t be an omen. It just can’t be. Just because he asked me what would I do if anything happened to him, it doesn’t mean that he is going to die. It doesn’t Nina, It doesn’t mean that. I tried convincing myself.
Then I started to feel scared, what if my thoughts are jinxed. What if something is going to happen because I was stupid enough to think that way?
I closed my eyes, so I can stop thinking bad thoughts. But the more I tried to stop thinking about death, the more ‘death’ thoughts came in to my mind. I tried to concentrate on my breathing. But instead of my breath, I could feel him breathing. I could feel his chest moving up and down. The man sitting next to me was my everything.
I couldn’t imagine a life without him next to me. He was my anchor, my strength. my reason to live.
I turned my head to look at him. He was looking at me.
“I can’t. I just can’t” I told him
“What Nina? What do you mean?”
“I can’t live without you” I was even afraid to speak those words, lest they came true, but I had to tell him. I wanted him to know, hoping May be, just may be, he would stop fighting the war and get himself killed. He will do at least that much for me. Won’t he?
“Oh Nina” he held me closer. This time I didn’t get annoyed when he said Oh Nina, because I could feel the pain in his voice. “Nina, I promise you this, We will be together till death do us apart”
Again he used the word death. Why can’t he stop using those words? Isthis all an omen? What am I going to do if anything happens to him. Then I remembered something.
“Do you remember Roop Kanwar?”I asked
“No, who is she?”
“She committed sati few years ago”
“Oh yeah. I remember her. Stupid woman”
“Do you think she was stupid?”
“Of course she was. Why did she want to kill herself just because her husband passed away?”
“What if she really loved her husband?”
“So, she had to kill herself? For heaven’s sake she was in her teens! She had 3/4 of her life yet to live. And you are justifying her actions? Self immolation for what? To be a satimata?”
“May be she loved him so much, she would have felt so incomplete without him, and she would have thought what is the point in living?”
“Are you crazy? How do any of us know what is the point in living? We live because we are born to live, not because there is a reason to live. We go when we are told to leave. You didn’t chose to be born, how can you chose when you should go?”
For a second, I thought I was in Chengannur and was speaking to Ammachi. He sounded so much like her.
sati is wrong. It is such a draconian practice. When a woman dies , does her husband kill himself?” He spoke
“He doesn’t have to. The society is very merciful to a man who lost his wife. We feel sorry for him and if he had kids, even more sorry for him. But it wouldn’t be the same for a woman who lost her husband and if she had children, we would even be blaming them for their father’s demise”
“No Nina, It isn’t like that”
“Really? Tell me,What would have been Roop Kanwar’s future? Her husband died in the first year of their marriage. Who would have married her again? Which guy would have risked marrying her if her (bad)karma had already taken the life of her first husband?”
“You think it was her karma that killed her husband?”
“No, I don’t. But the society does. When my grand father died, his family blamed my grandmother for his death. They told her, she brought the bad luck to the family. They blamed my father and my aunt, because their time of birth probably was the reason why grandfather died! Do you know what is even more ironic? The same people told her that she was very lucky when she gave birth to a boy? Paradigm shifts from lucky to unlucky just like that”
“Nina, Life is to live, not to end. How would Roop Kanwar know what her life would have been, when she didn’t give her life a chance?”
“It would have been a life of loneliness, she would have been shunted from family and friends. Each day a part of her will die, because she has nothing to look forward to, no one to share her burdens with, no one to laugh with, no one to hold her hand, no one to talk to”
“How do you know that Nina?”
“I know someone who died each day”
“My grandmother”
“Why do you say like that?”
“Died each day? She wakes up each morning, eat. work and live that day and at night when she goes to bed, she hopes she won’t have to wake up in the morning, because if she does, then she will have to eat, work and live one more day. She didn’t have anything to look forward to. Her future was all about old age, failing health and the knowledge that she will have to depend on her children to take care of her. I know there would come a day, she would regret not dying long ago. I know there would be a day she would regret not jumping in to that well in front of our house, when she had a chance”
“Why? Why are you talking like that?”
“Because that is the truth. There is no one for her. I should be the one who should take care of her. I am the one who is doing medicine. I am the one who should be there for her and I won’t be able to take care of her”
“Of course you can”
“No, I can’t. Would you come back to Kerala with me? Would you leave everything and everyone in your life and stay with me in Kerala?”
I looked at him. He was deep in thought.
“Would you?” I asked him again
“few months yes”
“Few months? or few weeks? or few days?”
“We can always take her to Nagaland?”
“You know, there is a lot of things we can say we can do. but none of it would work.”
“Why not?”
“My grandmother would die, the day I take her out of that house. That is her home. She lived there for more than half a century. She knows every single sound in that land. She knows when a coconut falls from the tree in the night, exactly where it fell. She knows by looking at the sky if it would rain that day. She knows when she is going to have a visitor by listening to the tone of a simple crow’s cawing. How can I take her away from her home? I can’t”
He was silent
“Why are you not blaming my grandmother?”
“huh?” He looked at me
“Why are you not blaming her like everyone else? Why don’t you say that my grandmother is stubborn? or that she is a stupid woman, who just can’t see how wonderful her life would be if she moved from that stupid house in the village? You know my father always blamed her when she didn’t want to stay with us. He was so angry with her. He never even wrote a letter to her all those years. He used to ask, Isn’t the life in city better? Don’t we have better hospitals? Can’t we employ someone to take care of her when we are at work?
Everyone blames the old people. Because we feel they stand as a barrier from us achieving greatness in our lives. But my grandmother never did. She allowed my dad to follow his dream, she allowed me to follow my dreams”
“I am sorry Nina”
“For what?”
“For taking you away from your grandmother”
“You didn’t. I chose this. I made my choice and now I have to live with all the consequences. I chose to love you and I will follow you where ever you go. That is my choice”
“Nina,Will you regret not going back home?”
“of course I will. You see, regrets are free. There is no cost involved in regretting. So we carry tons of regrets on our shoulders. Don’t we?”
“Oh Baby. I wish I could tell you that everything will be alright”
“The truth is you and I know, It won’t be. It will never be. Our life is like a river, we keep going forward, we can’t look backwards, we want to, but we can’t. We just can’t. In fact I don’t even have to turn back and look. I just have to close my eyes and I can see my grandmother sitting on the parapet wall, waiting for me, hoping each bus that stopped at the junction would bring me back home. You know something?”
“50 years from now, We will also be sitting somewhere listening to the sounds of every bus stopping at the junction, hoping our children would come home. Like my grandmother waited for me”
“Nina Life is like that, For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday” He replied
“Gibran! Those were Gibran’s words”
“Do you read his books?”
“Oh yes, I love Gibran.
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.” I recited what Gibran spoke about children in the Prophet.
Though my heart felt heavy because I knew I abandoned the only person that mattered to me, I was still happy because Beautiful Eyes and I, we were meant to be together. There was comfort in knowing that we had so much in common.

Rubies,tigers and snakes!

“I miss home” I told him as I leaned on his shoulders.
“The home in Kerala?”
“hmm, it is monsoon season now. There is a small creek in front of the house. During monsoon time, the creek will be overflowing and you can catch minnows using a towel. Most of the times I had to dig a hole on the creek bank and fill it with water and keep the fish I caught in that. Some times my grandmother would let me have an old glass bottle and I fill it with water and keep the fish in. It was my own aquarium. I used to find weeds and twigs and place that in the bottle to make a horlicks bottle aquarium. I used to spend hours watching the fish in the bottle. They were silvery white and some of them had a red spot on their tail. By next morning most of the fish would be floating on top of the water and the cycle is repeated. I was forever hopeful of extending the life span of minnows for more than 24 hours.”
“Did you ever manage?”
“Nah, they all die after a day and then you finally give up trying and blame the minnows. They had the best horlicks bottle aquarium and they didn’t appreciate it. They had no idea what they were missing, right?”
“That was so rude of the minnows. How dare they die when they had the best bottle aquarium, that too with twigs and weed inside!” He too agreed.
I wondered, Does everything die when you take it away from where it belong? Even if you try to replant or replace it? Is that what Rousseau’s paradox is all about? Is it because a part of you is dead that you keep wanting to hold on to your memories and wanting to go home? Even when you know the home is just a mirage?
My heart ached when I thought about Ammachi. I missed her, I could see her sitting on the parapet wall and listening to the sound of the bus, hoping each bus would bring me home.
I knew she would live each day believing entey kunju thirichu varum.(my child will surely come back)
This time,Who would have dried the tapioca for her during the summer? Who would get her all the groceries? Would she have anything to eat?

I felt there is no person more evil than me on planet earth. There is no doubt that I was the worst hypocrite on earth. I wanted to do medicine so I can take care of others, yet I couldn’t even take care of my own grandmother in her old age.
I saw a black crow swooping down and sitting on the roof of one of the houses. Soon it started to caw and within minutes plenty of crows started to arrive. He must have noticed the crows too, because he asked
“Nina Do you know how many crows are there in Bangalore?”
“2189 crows”
“Are you sure?”
“Oh yeah”
“What if I say there are 2200 crows?”
“Those extra ones, they came to attend their friend’s wedding”
“Darn” He muttered
I turned my head to look at him and I couldn’t resist sticking my tongue at him.
Aiyyeda! You thought you can trick me? I have read every single Birbal stories, so I know. Better luck next time!” I told him
“Oh really? Then =dDo you know why crows are black?”He asked
“Because they have black feathers!”
“What if I tell you that in the beginning all crows were white”
“Really? Who told you that?”
“My grandfather”
“And then how did they become black?”
“It is a long story”
“Tell me”
“Well, Long time ago, A beautiful daughter was born to the Naga king and his wife. Every evening she would come out of their kingdom and watch the people on earth going back home after the day’s work is done. The people were always happy and she wanted to know what they do during the day time. She wanted to know why they are so happy. But her father refused to let her go out. She was very sad, soon she stopped eating. Naga king was very worried. He relented finally and used his magic and transformed the princess in to a human. He told her
“You can stay on earth as long as you want to, but once you come back, you will be transformed back to a naga Princess. Remember you can never take human form again”
The princess was happy, she was walking in a garden enjoying the smell of flowers and the sun was rising. Now the Sun king also had a son. He always helped his father every morning by waking up all the flowers. So as luck would have, he was at the garden when he saw the naga princess. He never met anyone
more prettier. She also saw the sun prince and she too felt the same, she never met anyone more handsome. They were in love and like all lovers, they decided to get married and live together. They were so happy together.
Soon the earth was dying. Because no one woke up the flowers, the bees were dying, plants were dying, animals were dying and the sun prince realized he needs to go back home and help his father. So he told his wife
“Princess, I am going to my father’s place for a few days,if you need anything send a message through the white bird”
Now in those times, all the crows were white in colour and they could fly really high, all the way up to the sun.
“Then what happened?” I asked
“few days later, the princess realized she was pregnant. She laid three golden eggs. She wanted her husband to know the good news, so she called the white crow and told him
“White bird, fly all the way to the sun and tell the price to come and see the eggs. And remember, don’t stop anywhere on the way”
The crow muttered” as though I would” and started to fly towards the sun.
He met the sun prince and told him the good news. The prince was so happy to hear the news. But he still had some more work to do at his father’s palace. So he took the most expensive rubies from his father’s treassure chest and placed it in a pure sun ray silk pouch and gave it to the crow and said
“White bird, take this gift to my wife and tell her that I would come and see her and my children in a few days time. Remember, don’t stop anywhere on the way”
The crow muttered”as if I would” and flew away holding the gift in his beak. As he was coming down, he saw his friends crowding around something and cawing.
The flight was long and he was hungry. He knew his friends would have found something to eat and that is why they are cawing so much. He dropped the gift in a bush and went to join his friends. Few robbers who were hiding behind the bush also saw the crow dropping something glittery in to the bush. They ran to find out what it was and they were shocked to see the rubies inside the pouch. They took the rubies and placed some rocks in the pouch and tied it back. After eating the crow came and took the pouch from the bush and flew to the Naga princess, She was waiting for him
“What did my husband say?” She asked the crow
“He send this for you” The crow passed the sun ray silk pouch to her.
She was so excited, she opened the pouch quickly and saw the rocks.
“Did you stop anywhere on the way?” Princess asked the crow
“No” Crow lied
Naga princess was angry, so angry that she threw the eggs in to the river and went back to her father’s kingdom.
“What happened to the eggs?” I asked
“They bopped along the river, they got caught in a rock pool and the shell got cracked. Thousands of rubies came out of first the egg., From the second egg came the tiger, from the third egg came out the snakes.”
“You know Nina,My grand father told me that there is a river in Burma that still has rubies”
“then what happened?”
“Well, as promised the sun prince came to see the eggs, he looked everywhere, he couldn’t find the princess and he realized what would have happened. He was so angry with the crow and he stared at the crow and its white feather’s got burned and became black. As the sun prince went back, he burned the feather of every single crow he met. Some got fully burned, some only got burned at the back and some the neck was only slightly burned. That is why you see, some crows are all black, some crows have white feathers on their breast and some crows have grey colour patch around their neck.”
“What happened to the Naga princess?”
“Well, she still try to come out during full moon days, thinking that the light is from her husband”
“And the sun prince?”
“He is still searching for her every morning”
Only lovers know the pain of separation! I could almost feel the Naga Princess’ pain. I could feel her disappointment each full moon day.
“What will you do if anything happens to me?”
I reached out and closed his mouth with my hand
“Don’t. Please don’t talk like that”
It was an omen, wasn’t it? Don’t people talk about death before dying?

For ever and ever Amen

A wonderful husband, 5 daughters, a house in the village, all these were achievable dreams, aren’t they? What would Amma say when I bring him home? I knew she would never accept him. But more than the fights I would have with Amma or the war he is fighting, there was one thing that has been bothering me a lot and I wasn’t sure when is a good time to ask him. I looked at him. He was looking at the fields on the far right side.
“Can I ask you something?”
“Of course. What is it Nina?”
“You have been skipping a lot of classes lately, will they allow you to write the exams this year?”
“I don’t think so”
“That means you will lose another 6 months”
“I guess”
“Why what Nina?”
“Why do you want to waste time like this? Why don’t you just write all the exams on time and get the degree?”
I hoped I didn’t sound too selfish. The only reason I wanted him to attend all the classes and write the exams was to prevent him from going back home and fighting the war. If he was in the college, at least I know he would be safe.
“Darling, you need to learn”
“Learn what?”
“You need to learn one day at a time”
“What do you mean?”
“You want to do everything today for a better tomorrow. Right?”
“Of course”
“But tomorrow isn’t in your hand, where as you have your today”
“Nina, you got to Live your today”
“Well that isn’t possible. If everyone decided to live just the day, then there won’t be any future for anyone. No one would have invented anything. We wouldn’t have advanced so much in medicine if it wasn’t for the dreams of scientists who wanted a better future, a better tomorrow”
“Ok, let us see this way. Scenario 1. I attended all the classes, wrote and passed the exams, then went for PG and got a job in a good hospital. Scenario 2. I lived my life doing what I want, wrote the exam when I want, completed the degree after 7 or 8 years, started my own clinic in my village where until that time people had to travel 200 km to go to the nearest hospital. Which one do you think is better?”
I so very badly wanted to tell him the scenario 1 is better, But I knew I wouldn’t be able to answer why I think so? How can I say starting a clinic in his village is a bad idea?
“But you have the ability to do well, you can study well, you are wasting your time”
“Am I baby? Right now, we are both sitting on a rock in the middle of a hill almost 60 km away from Bangalore instead of attending rounds at the clinic. Do you think we are wasting our time? Do you think these moments that we spend with each other are a waste of time?”
I didn’t respond. I suddenly didn’t know what to say
“Look at me” He spoke
I couldn’t look at him. All my life I was trained to live for the future, study hard for a better future was the motto at my school and all of a sudden I learned that it didn’t really matter. But it was difficult to accept that ideology. It was difficult to accept that I was wasting my time all along. I wasn’t. I knew I wasn’t. I worked hard, because I wanted to. I burned the midnight oil because I wanted to be a doctor.
He reached out and held my jaw and turned my head.
“Look at me Dr. Nina Thomas, do you regret spending time with me, instead of attending the morning rounds?”
I looked at his eyes. He knew the answer for that question. I wouldn’t have skipped the first day of Paeds rounds if I thought twice about spending time with him. However I didn’t feel like telling him that. He should know that by now.
I pushed his hand away and looked ahead.
“Samohtanin Paradox” He spoke
Curiosity got the better of me and I asked him
“What is that?”
“Do you know who is Samohtanin?”
“No” I shook my head
“Well, she is a great scholar, well read and extremely intelligent. She is also very beautiful. Her paradox is, she is intelligent enough to understand everything, yet she hates to lose an argument. because she is very intelligent, When she doesn’t get her way, she keeps quiet and look ahead as though she has no idea what is happening.”
He started to laugh and I knew I didn’t get something. I have never heard of this Samohtanin. I looked at him trying to see what exactly did I miss and when he saw my face he started to laugh more.
“Why are you laughing?”
“Oh my darling Samohtanin, you look so cute”
What is Samohtanin? Is it something in his language?
“Oh Nina””Oh Sorry , sorry, I forgot you don’t like me to Oh Nina you. Do you know what is Samoht?”
I shook my head.
He used his index finger and wrote on the rock S A M O H T.
“Did you get it?”
Is this an acronym like ITALY( I Trust And Love You). I tried to think of all possibilities. It can’t be the weeks because there was only 6 letters, it can’t be the months What else could it be? I looked at him
“read it backwards”
I did and I realized who Samohtanin is. I was so mad. I punched him as hard as I could on his chest and told him.
“Go, I am not talking to you anymore”
“That is exactly the paradox I was telling you about” He was laughing even more.
I wanted to get up and go and sit somewhere else. But I knew that would only make him laugh at me more. So I stayed put.
“hmm” I answered.
He held me closer.
“Why do you love me?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know how to explain. There is something about you that makes me want to spend every single moment of my life with you. Your voice makes my heart sing. Your songs makes my feet dance and I can’t imagine living life without you. I guess I love you because you make me happy”
“Why do you love me?” I asked him
“Because you are my Chrysalis”
“Chrysalis? What is that?”
“You don’t know what is a Chrysalis?”
“No” I shook my head
I knew I had to let him know why I wouldn’t have known.
“I studied in Malayalam medium till I was 14 years old, then I did my pre-degree in English.So a lot of words I don’t know”
“Oh ok. Do you know the life cycle of a butterfly?”
“Oh yes”
“So you know caterpillar comes out of the eggs and after a few days of eating it becomes a cocoon. That is Chrysalis. The cocoon”
“That is called pupa right?”
“Yeah, but the right word is Chrysalis”
“I am your Pupa?” I was just about to ask him how dare he calls me a pupa.
“Oh Ni” I watched him using his left hand to close his mouth. I knew he was just about to say Oh Nina. I was getting mad by the second.
“Have you seen a Chrysalis? Do you know how ugly it looks? When you look at a Chrysalis, do you ever think what is inside? Can you believe the most beautiful butterfly comes from a Chrysalis?”
“You are telling me I am ugly?”
He took his hand from my shoulders and smacked me on my head
“Why are you hitting my head?”
“Because you are trying so hard to be stupid today.” He sounded annoyed
“Nina, Nobody knows how beautiful you are inside. Everyone around you see the Chrysalis, but I know you have the most beautiful heart. That is why I love you. You are my chrysalis because there wouldn’t be a butterfly without a chrysalis.
I love you Nina and I will always love you, always ,always, always, forever and forever”
I rested my head on his shoulder. We were both silent for a while but we both knew we are in this together. Sitting on a rock, far away from everyone and everything does that to you. It makes you want to cherish every moment you have. It makes you want to forget the life that awaits you outside. It is one of those moments that makes you tell life to go and take a hike.
“Nina have you heard Forever and ever Amen song?”
He held me close and sang the most beautiful song I have ever heard
For ever and ever Amen

In my heart

I came back to the hostel after the clinic. Shylaja was in the room.
“Hi shylaja”
“Oh Hi. Is your parents now staying in Bangalore?”
“Yeah” I replied
“Austin town”
“What number bus you take to go there?”
I knew she was trying to verify the fact that I am indeed going home and not anywhere else!
“140. I can also take 145 to Neelasandra, but I have to walk a bit”
“Hmm” I replied.
I didn’t know what Shylaja’s problems were. I have a right to live my life the way I want. Even if I was going to someone else’s house, It shouldn’t be of any concern to Shylaja. She wasn’t my door keeper.

I wondered when Beautiful eyes would return. I missed him. I missed talking to him. I hoped he would be safe.
I thought fighting a war was fine as long as it didn’t kill him. Then I realized, Gosh I am a hypocrite. It didn’t matter to me that others are getting killed! As long as he didn’t get killed, I was fine with war.
In my heart I knew war was never an answer. Every war kills someone’s son/husband/father/brother*. Yet what do I tell someone who just wants his freedom? How do I tell him that it is nothing but the destiny of Naga people to live under Indian rule? I didn’t know the answer.

Every morning I woke up hoping that he would come back today. Every evening I went to sleep hoping and feeling that he would surely be back tomorrow.
I refused to even think that something would happen to him. I refused to let the fear rule over me. But still I was worried, each day that he didn’t come back a part of me was afraid. A part of me wanted to tell him so badly that, enough of this fight. May be he should let someone else continue the fight. He doesn’t have to be the one that fights, we are both going to be doctors, we can live happily in Bangalore. We can even go to US and work. I wanted to tell him that I can’t live in fear like this forever. But I knew I had no right to tell him that. He chose how he wants to live his life and who was I to tell him otherwise?

I was doing my Pharmacology assignment
“Nina phone for you” I heard someone shouting my name and I ran all the way to the phone room. There was only one person who would call me at night.
“Hello” I spoke
“You’re in my heart,
you’re in my soul
You’ll be my breath should I grow old
I started to laugh. I was so relieved to hear his voice. Besides I knew the song. Rod Stewart’s You are in my heart. He continued to sing
You are my lover,
you’re my best friend
You’re in my soul
My love for you is immeasurable
My respect for you immense
You’re ageless, timeless, lace and fineness
You’re beauty and elegance
You’re a rhapsody, a comedy
You’re a symphony and a play
You’re every love song ever written
But honey what do you see in me

The phone went quiet
“Hello” I said again wondering what happened
“Answer me”
“My question”
“what question?”
He sang again
“But honey what do you see in me?”
“Oh that. That is very easy.You have the most mesmerising eyes in the world. I can look at it for ages and still not be bored”
“Only my eyes”
“Nothing else?”
I wanted to tell him that he had kissable lips, but I had the guts to think, not enough guts to tell him that.
“when did you come back?”
“Changing the topic?”
“hmm” I agreed
“Why are you so shy?”
“I am not”
“ok. Can you skip clinics tomorrow?”
Tomorrow would be my first day at Paediatrics. I wanted to see him. I had to see him
“I missed you”
“Me too”
“Bye darling”
I put the phone down. Rod Stewart was singing in my head and my feet was dancing. It felt so good. It felt so good to know that he is alive and that he is mine!

He was waiting for me at the bus station.
“Hi baby”
“Where do you want to go?”
“Same place where we went last time?”
“hmm” I nodded
“You liked the place?”

This time, I didn’t struggle as much as I followed him up the hill. Methran Thambi’s grand daughter didn’t really forget her climbing skills!
As we stood under the big rock I noticed there were cigarette butts scattered here and there.
I looked around to see if anyone was around. He saw the butts too
“Don’t worry Nina, you are safe” he spoke as though he understood what I was thinking
He sat down.
I sat down next to him. I looked at him. He was looking at me and both of us smiled
“So how is the new place in Bangalore?”
“It is a small house. Two bed room and a small kitchen and a smaller washroom”
“Do you like it?”
I looked at him. Do I like the house?
“I like the house, but my dream house is different”
“What is your dream house?”
“Well, in the olden days they used to have nalu kettu in Kerala. The basic idea is, there is a open air courtyard inside the house. So you can sit inside your house and watch the rain!”
“Do you like rain?”
“I love rain. I love the rain in Kerala. It is so magical. The monsoon comes after two months of scorching heat, and within a few days, the earth looks so different, everything is glossy green and you feel like you are reborn! as though you have been given another life, another chance to live and enjoy your life”
“So you want to go back to Kerala?”
“I don’t know”
“What do you mean?”
“I miss Kerala, I miss every bit of my life in Kerala, but there is nothing to go back to, besides my life is more comfortable in Bangalore”
“Rousseau’s paradox”
“You have heard of Rousseau?”
I shook my head
“The paradox is, every urban dweller misses his home or roots in the village, yet he doesn’t want to go through the discomforts the village life offers”
“Oh That is so true. That is so very true. You know, My dad’s home in Kerala, the home alone is on a two acres of land. There is a well that always has water even during the summer months. But somehow I am so comfortable in the two room tiny house in Bangalore, even though we only get piped water every alternate days. I miss my home, but I don’t want to live there. It is a paradox!”
“What about you?” I asked him
“My dream home is always the same. A simple house in my village with my beautiful wife and lots of kids”
“how many kids?”
“As many as you want”
“oh like that”
“like that!” he nodded his head
“How many kids do you want?” He asked while massaging the small of my back
“5? why 5?”
“It is a long story. When I was little my mother used to say she wanted sons. after my youngest sister was born, Amma was so depressed. So my oldest sister told her that she will give her grand sons. Actually 12 grand sons”
“12? wow!”
“Do you know why she wanted 12 sons?”
He shook his head
“So she can name them like the 12 disciples of Jesus. I wanted daughters and I could only get 5 names for girls that I liked in the bible. I wanted Rachel, Esther, Ruth,Hannah and Rebecca”
He started to laugh
“Why are you laughing?”
“I was just picturing your sister naming her sons Mathew Mark and Luke..”
“Do you know how worried I was?”
“worried? Why?”
“Can you imagine having a nephew named Judas?”
We both started to laugh. It was really funny, but in my heart I also knew my sister is wasting away her youth and that she will not get a chance to get married and have kids as long as she was with George. I shook my head, hoping I can shut that truth out. I didn’t want to ruin a good time I was having right now. But some truths won’t go away even if you shake your head. It claws your conscience. It makes you feel guilty that you are having a good time, while your sister is suffering.

*I didn’t know any female soldiers at that time.. so politically correct way would be every war kills, someones daughter/son.mother/father,sister/brother, husband/wife.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
“In every city dweller there is a displaced yearning for the rustic farm and land, the taste of the homegrown, all the natural foods. The paradox is that we do want authentic country flavors and integrity, but we do not seek the discomforts of the simple life, so we rediscover regionalism vicariously amid modern convenience and luxury.”

Long pending

The last two months had been really hectic with my children going to three different schools.. and I have so many emails that I haven’t had a chance to reply. (Shh!!occasionally I suffer from procrastination too!!)

It isn’t nice when I don’t even say a simple thank you..

So here is a special Thank you from the bottom of my heart

Alexis: for the Disco Dewani lyrics
Siju: for the cards
Thanu: for all the mails
Mallu out law: for the videodunia link( yaya wants to send a complaint to you that Mama is always watching mallu movies in the middle of the night and all the movies have too much of dishum dishum and she can’t sleep because of the noise!)
Tinkerbells: for the recipe
Visithra: For the curry puff recipe

When I started to type, I sure remembered more names, but now I can’t.(signs of growing old eh??)
Anyway, if I have forgotten to Thank anyone..You can send me a mail and I promise I will write a reply(toothpaste promise ah!)

Special Thanks to all of you who keep reading my blog.
Terima Kasih


Does anyone have Tarla Dalal’s International Vegetarian recipe book?

Yaya wants me to make Orange lemon gateau cake for her birthday and I didn’t bring the recipe book with me when I moved to Vancouver.

So if you have the recipe could you please email it to me and save me!!!
Have a jolly good weekend