I have some personal issues that needs to be settled..
I will be away until Monday.

Meanwhile I was wondering if anyone know the web address of Bidar Institute of Health sciences, Specifically the Ortho Dept.

Can anyone tell me what are the accessories that I ‘must’ buy that doesn’t come with the wii console, so we can avoid ww3 at home? I have zero knowledge when it comes to electronics. What is the difference between Nunchuk and Wii remote? Do i need to buy the wireless version? Do I need a battery charging dock? What is the wrist strap for? Help me please..

Phew.. I survived making 24 wraps.. 24 muffins and 24 spring rolls..Now my back is killing me..

I asked this question this morning along with the wrap post.. I thought I will re post it again because I really want to know the answer.

I never thought the way I remember things were anything special. I think the first time I realized it was something different from other people was when I watched the movie The Assassin. There was a graveyard scene in the movie and the guy was being trained to remember the names on the grave stones. I thought hmmm.. isn’t that how everyone sees and remembers things?

What I want to know is how do you remember things? Rather how am I seeing things differently than you? If you hold a book in your hand and then close your eyes, you can see the book in your mind. Right?
Then why/how am I different?

I have a party catering order to do today.. and of all the food on earth, I have been asked to do wraps..
I prefer to make quesedillas, not wraps..
But at 9 $ a wrap, I better not complain..
So if any of you know how to make wraps or any hints you can give, please do leave a comment..

As I sat in the bus on my way back to the campus, I went through the events of the day. It was unbelievable that Mariamma died, yet I saw the nurses changing the bed sheet and I knew there will be another patient in that same bed right now.
I missed her smiling face.
Did I treat her well? Could I have done anything different that would have made a difference to her? Was I rough when I pulled the needle out? Did I hurt her?
That is the problem when people die. They don’t give those who are alive a Chance to make amends. There is never a second chance once someone die.
When the conductor asked for the money. I had to dig through the mess of dried flowers, eosin pencils and few pieces of scrap papers in my coat pocket to find the exact change.

The jasmin flowers!. I took the string of flowers out.
The once white petals were now brown. Some of the buds bloomed, some didn’t and most of the flowers were coming off the string. Life is like that, I thought. Some live, some die living and other die after living.
I felt bad for not taking care of the flowers.
I was meant to have kept it on my table in the evening when I came back from the hospital. I had forgotten to take it out because I was busy going to all the senior’s room and asking if anyone knew who was Rasputin.. I did see the flowers in my pocket when I was putting the money in the morning, but I was already very late for the morning rounds and I didn’t want to waste more time taking the flowers out and sprinkling water on it to keep the freshness. After all it was just a string of jasmine flowers and it was too late to save them. I consoled myself by thinking that I could buy a string of flowers any time I wanted. It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Arm and a leg!
Memories don’t cost an arm and a leg.
It is the regrets that eats your conscience. I could simply shake my head and say that flowers never last and I shouldn’t feel bad for not taking care of a string of jasmine flowers. But the truth is, I had to live with the knowledge that I was reckless and didn’t appreciate a gift from the bottom of heart.

Never learn!

I came back to the campus in time to go for the evening rounds. But I didn’t go. I wasn’t ready to see a new face on bed 1.
Aparna was standing by the hostel main door and as soon as she saw me, she screamed
“Where did you go? Everyone is looking for you”
My heart started to pound,
Oh No, George and the anonymous letters.
I didn’t come back in the afternoon and my classmate who helped me the last time George send those letters had gone home because he had Chicken pox. What did George write this time? My chest felt so tight. I was sure I was going to suffocate and die.
“Dr. Murthy wanted to see you this afternoon after the class.”
“Huh, that is all you know to say? Where in the world did you go? Dr. Murthy is going to be angry with me because he asked me where you are. I am your roommate and I didn’t know where you went. Now he is going to fail me.”
“Come on Aparna, be sensible. He isn’t going to fail you because you didn’t know where I went.”
“You can say that. Remember the last time, what was that guy’s name, the one with chronic conjuctival irritation, the one our Biochem prof thought came to the class drunk because of his red eye and failed him purposely?”
I didn’t bother to argue with Aparna. I had other issues to worry about.
“Any idea why Dr. Murthy wanted to see me?”
She shook her head. “Where did you go?” She wasn’t planning to leave me alone.
“British Library”
“Oh! What books did you borrow? Can I see?”
“Nothing important Aparna, it is ..” Before I could complete the sentence and tell her that all the books are about Russian history, she snatched the books from my hand.
She saw the titles and looked at me.
“What are you doing?” She asked
“What do you mean?” I asked
“Why are you reading Russian history three weeks before internals? Is there something you are not telling us? Did Dr. Bhatti teach you something? What is Medicine got to do with Russian history?” She looked all worked up.
A pretty common problem among the medical students few weeks before the exams. Nobody trusts anybody and everybody watches everybody, because you have no idea who managed to get in to the good books of professors and get exam question hints.
“Aparna, there is nothing. I borrowed this books, so when I am bored studying all the ‘ology'( Microbiology, Pharmacology and Pathology), I can read something else, so my brain won’t freeze.”
“Oh” She sounded so relieved.
I checked my watch. Too late to go and see Dr. Murthy.
I wondered why he wanted to see me. I had submitted all the records. I passed all the class exams. In fact I scored the highest marks, so technically there shouldn’t be any reason why he wanted to see me. Unless of course he wanted to see me because of my poor attendance record. But even that shouldn’t be a problem. The Pharmacology dept attendant only needed 20 Rs to give anyone 90% attendance and I know I have 90% attendance.

Today, I am feeling lazy..

I am half way through reading Roughing it in the bush by Susanna Moodie.

I baked strawberry shortcake for my Children’s school snack this morning.. and now as I am eating my share of the shortcake..I feel like just lazing around ..

May be I will finish reading the book.

May be I will go for a walk. The weather has been beautiful the last few days.

But surely I will see ya all tomorrow!!!

Oh before I forget.. Jina to answer your question..

I went to buy grocery yesterday.. and I can see almost 90 % of the items that the guy in front of me at the till had in his shopping cart. I wasn’t really looking to see what he bought.. But I saw him putting the stuff on the counter and it registers in my brain without me ever having to make an effort. ( 10% of the stuff I can’t see were the ones he kept on the counter when I was looking at the kids who were playing hide and seek in the next aisle.) I also can see what the lady who was standing in the next aisle was wearing.. what her kids were wearing. Even the elderly couple behind her..But at the same time, I didn’t know what was the price of tomato. By right, it should have registered in my brain. I did look at the price before I picked the tomatoes. But it didn’t.. All I can see are the aisles where the vegetables are displayed..I know exactly which aisle had the tomatoes… but not the price.

The same with past events.. I can’t see every single day of the past 37 years.. But I can see the events that some for some strange reason I like to remember..I know what I wore at that particular time, Most of the time I can even see the paper/book etc that I was reading.. and for the thought process..If I saw a handsome guy and thought that he was handsome.. then I remember it like that..

I have one more weird skill.. I can spell backwards!!!

Confusing eh??

I borrowed few books on Russian history from the library. A part of me felt guilty for doing so. I really really needed to concentrate on the internals that was to start in the 2nd week of December. As usual I had left everything to the last minute. How many times have I promised myself that I would never leave anything to the last minute? I never learn! Right?? And now I wanted to read Russian history. onathintey edel poottu kachodam!!!

I got off the bus near my home and started to walk towards home. Everyone was rushing home. I didn’t have any particular reason to rush home. I thought since I am already here I might as well see Amma before going back to the college. Not really a reason to rush home. I walked slowly wondering where Amma went this morning? I had no right to question her, but that didn’t mean that I was happy.
The gate wasn’t locked.
Royal highness is back. I thought.
I opened the gate and walked up the stairs.
Amma must have heard the sound. She opened the door and looked at me and asked.
“What are you doing here?”
Well, I didn’t really think there ought to be a reason for me to come back home and her question really ticked me off. (And to think that I came home looking for some sort of emotional support from her.)
I didn’t bother to reply.
Amma moved aside to let me in.
I closed the door.
“Where did you go this morning Ma?”
I didn’t want to ask her that. I really didn’t want to. But the words just slipped out of my mouth.
“What do you mean?” Amma looked at me.

pottan kali ( Dumb acts).

My blood pressure was going up. I wanted to scream at the top of my voice and tell Amma to stop thinking that I am an idiot.
“Where did you go this morning ma?’ I asked again.
“Morning? I didn’t go anywhere in the morning. I was home all morning.”
“No you weren’t. I came home and you weren’t home”
“In the morning? That was not possible. I washed yours and your sister’s dirty clothes in the morning. I only went out around 12.30 in the afternoon.”
“Where did you go?” I asked again.
I knew the answer. She must have gone to see George. I didn’t know why I was so pedantic in wanting to get her to admit it.
“I went to see my friend Jaya. She knows someone who works at BDA housing”
It took a few seconds to get my over active imagination to return to normal.Then I realized the gravity of the situation.
Amma + her friend + BDA officer = Disaster
“What is going on Amma?”
I kept the books on the bed and sat down. Amma sat on the blue chair. She was smiling.
“I am buying a plot”
“If we pay the guy 5000Rs now and another 5000Rs in 6 months time, he will release a BDA plot in Yelahanka for us. If I had more money I would have bought 40 x 60 plot. I am only buying a 30 x 15 plot. Not very big, but I know an Architect in Kottayam who can design a small house. You can have your clinic in the front part of your house. You remember the house I took you to see in Kottayam, with a tiny lotus pond in front?”
I remembered the house with a spiral staircase inside that lead to the first floor. (Belonged to someone from the best bakery family). Amma’s dream home. But that wasn’t the issue here.
“Amma, do you know how much BDA plots costs?”
“Of course I know! Don’t be silly Nina. Everyone knows how much BDA plots costs.That is why I think it is worth spending 10000 Rs. So even if we don’t want to build a house there, Nina, this is an investment. We can always sell it later for Lakhs of Rupees”
“Amma, how can someone sell you a plot worth lakhs for 10000RS?”
“Because he is the senior officer at BDA and he is the one who decides who gets what plots”
“Amma, are you crazy? No one in this world can give you plot that is worth so much money for 10000Rs”
“Shut up Nina. You are always so negative. nintey kari nakku kondu onnum mindanda( words from your cursed tongue are jinxed)
“I don’t have a karinakku. And you are wasting your money. Have you not learned the lesson yet? First it was Aiyappan. Then it was the Summit company( another high profile blade company with head office in Bangalore that started with a bang in Kottayam and vanished without a trace). If it wasn’t for George and his influence, you wouldn’t have seen any of your money you paid him. How many more instalments he has before he pays you back the capitol you invested? Ha? You invested money with Summit because they served Biriyani for their AGM meeting. Have you forgotten? Oh one more thing, have you forgotten the last time you invested 1000 Rs for a BDA plot”
“Nobody in Kerala served Biriyani for AGM meeting. So obviously I thought it was worth investing. If they can afford to serve Biriyani , then obviously they are doing well and I was sure my money was safe in their hands.How was I supposed to know it was all a marketing ploy? And the other guy was a kallan ( thief). He wasn’t even working in BDA. Luckily I only paid him 1000RS!”
“Ever heard, all that glitters isn’t gold Ma?”
“You can say all that. Have you thought about me Nina?”
“Thought about what?”
“What will happen to me Nina? You will all get married and live with your new family. Who will take care of me in my old age? Where will I stay? Do I have a place to stay? Do you think I can go back to Chengannur house and live there? Do you think I can handle the day to day life of a farmer? I couldn’t do it all these years and how do you think I will be able to do it in my old age?”
“Amma, it is not too difficult to do what Ammachi is doing”
“Really? How do you know? Living in a God forsaken place, getting up early in the morning to milk the cow, oh don’t forget, sometimes you have to get up in the middle of the night to collect the coconut that fell from the tree in the night, because you don’t want your neighbours to steal the coconut. Then boil the milk and then make coffee. Not brooke bond coffee. You need to roast your own coffee and it doesn’t matter that it taste awful. But you can’t buy coffee. You simply can’t buy coffee.
I want to get up in the morning and drink a cup of coffee before I start my day. Do you think that is even possible in your wonderful Chengannur house?”
“Amma, did you not know when you married my father that he is the only son of a farmer, that you are expected to take care of my grandmother in her old age?”
I was so angry with Amma, yet I regretted the moment those words came out of my mouth.
I knew I shouldn’t have talked like that. Only I know what my mother had gone through. What Ammachi and Appa had made her go through.
erinja kallum paranja vakkum. (rocks that are casts and the words that are spoken, can’t retrieve either)
“You are from that cursed family. There is no doubt that you belong to your father’s family. You only support them. God! How could I have carried a serpent like you. hy wonder? I should have known only a serpent child will be born to serpent father. Wretched family” Amma went to her room.

I didn’t want to sit there and continue fight with Amma. What was the point in fighting. I knew Amma was wasting the 10000Rs we didn’t have. I hoped George will be able to get her out of this mess when the deal goes sour.
“I am going back to the hostel” I spoke.
I looked at her room door hoping Amma would at least come out of her room and say Bye.
She didn’t.
I opened the door and walked out.
Why exactly did I come home? I wondered.
Wasted my time.
I walked to the bus stand. There was a lady sitting on the floor near the temple selling flowers.
I remembered the jasmin flowers in the coat pocket.
Oh my coat.
I walked back to the house quickly and rang the bell.
Aunty opened the door.
“Hello Aunty, how are you?” I asked her
“I am fine. You don’t have class?”
“I do, I just came to go to the library. I had left my coat here.”
“yeah. Amma wasn’t home. So I left it with your son”
She gave me a look that confirmed Amma’s opinion of me.
I was indeed a serpent’s child.
Always misunderstood.

Recreating the magic..

The thing with photographic memory is the ability to recreate the past events perfectly..
Each time I miss my mother or my sisters, I can look back in to the past and see them in a particular event.
The last few days I have been missing my mother a lot..The fact that she will be 73 soon is freaking me out.
A part of wants to go back home, stay with her and spend every moment of my life with her. Because I know she crossed the statistical average life span of an Indian woman almost a decade ago.
There is so much I want to tell her and so little time..

The year was 1989.
I wasn’t home for her Birthday. I did send her a card.
But I was home a few days after my birthday.
I was sitting in the veranda helping my sister to do her home work,( edited: nah,not home work.. she was studying for the final exam( last minute!!!) and was bugging me to help her study) while trying to read the juicy details of Pamela Bordes and the Libyan connection in the newspaper.
Amma came back home around 5.30 pm.
She wore a blue saree with white flowers ( The ‘April 18th’ saree, her favourite) with a horrible cream colour blouse that didn’t match at all. I remember asking her
“When will you ever learn to wear decent clothes, at least a matching blouse?”
I was honestly ashamed to have a mother who couldn’t even wear a matching blouse.
She looked at me and asked
“When will you remember that I have four daughters and I have to pay dowry for all of you?”
I proclaimed loudly that “I will not marry a guy who asks for dowry!!”
She just shook her head.
I was annoyed with her for not believing me.
Then she opened her handbag..the Gulf handbag..made of leather with pictures of birds on it..(it was a bag that informed others about your Gulf connection) and took out a paper bag.
The bag already had oil stains on it.
She passed the paper bag to me
I remember asking her “What is it ma?”
She replied
“Your favourite” And then she smiled. The most beautiful smile.
There were about 14 to 15 biscuits inside.. Yellow flower shaped biscuits with jam in the center..

Bought way too many books in Bellingham..
Went to bed at 3.30 Am, because I wanted to finish the book I was reading.
Kids had field trip and had to be at school by 8.30Am and I was the parent volunteer in charge !!!
And now I have the nastiest migraine and instead of sleeping, I am desperately trying to find a recipe.
My mother used to buy this biscuit once in a blue moon from Better Bakery near the bus stand in Kanjikuzhy..
Flower shape, yellow colour with a jam center.
None of my jam cookies taste the same.
Does any of you know how to make it??

I just wanted to see Amma. I wanted her to hold me.
A part of me knew I shouldn’t expect any support from Amma, but I yearned for it and nothing I could do, to stop feeling like that.
I knew I will end up getting hurt, if I depend of my mother for stability. But at that moment I only had her.

Just as I turned in to the street in front of my house, I noticed the Amma’s saree and my sister’s t shirts hanging in the balcony. It was such a welcoming sight!
The gate was locked. I knocked the gate a few times.
Amma must not have heard.
The gate that opens to my landlord’s house too was locked. I didn’t want to disturb aunty and her family, so I knocked at the gate again.
“Amma” I called out a few times and waited.
There was no sign of Amma.
Was she ok?
Did she have a heart attack or something?
I climbed the gate.
I could hardly lift my own weight and that tiny gate indeed was too difficult for me to climb.
I remembered the times I could climb a tree.
What happened to that Nina, I wondered.
Gone, I told myself. Not really knowing where that part of me vanished.

I ran up the steps and noticed the padlock outside the door.
Where did Amma go?
I was annoyed with her for not being at home.
Then I felt sorry for thinking like that. There were so many reasons why she couldn’t be at home.
Amma must have gone to the market.
At this time? I checked my watch to confirm my suspicion.
1.20 pm. Nah nobody goes to the market at this time of the day.
I didn’t want to stand there and imagine a whole lot of unpleasant things.
I walked downstairs and rang the door bell.
“hey” Aunty’s son opened the door.
“Hi, Did Amma leave the key with you?” I asked.
He looked at my lab coat and then looked at me.
“No, she didn’t”
“Any idea where she went?”
“No” He shook his head
“oh” I mumbled.
I didn’t know what to do.
I could hear my mother’s favourite words of wisdom when it came to my habit of making impulsive decisions.
Oru arishathinu kinattil chadiyal, nooru arishathinu thirichu chadan pattuvo?
I knew standing there and talking to the only son of aunty and uncle was not a smart thing to do.
“Can you open the lock?” I pointed to the gate.
He looked at me.
“Our gate is locked” I spoke
“How did you get inside?”
I looked at him sheepishly and mumbled the answer.
He turned away quickly.
I knew he was laughing( at me) and didn’t want me to know.
He came back with the key.
“Do you mind if I keep my coat here?” I didn’t want to carry it along.
He opened the lock and I gave him my coat.
Without even looking at him, I walked away quickly.
I didn’t think climbing a gate was a sin.
But I wasn’t a kid anymore.
It was pretty confusing.
To be not a kid and not exactly be an adult.

I wasn’t sure where I was going. I walked to the bus stop, stood there and tried to think where I could go. Every few seconds I looked around. Every time a bus stopped in front of me or across the street, I watched the passengers disembarking hoping to find my mother.
It was hot and I was tired.
I decided to go to the British Library, hoping I wouldn’t see any of Amma’s relatives in front of Koshy’s. It was always tricky to meet Amma’s relatives. You don’t know what they know and you have to be very careful in what you say.
There were few guys standing outside the restaurant and smoking. I didn’t even bother to look. I walked quickly.
I hated to run and hide like this.
But I didn’t have a choice.
My mother belonged to a well known family and we had relatives every nook and corner. Amma wasn’t ashamed to establish contacts with her friends and relatives. But I was.
I didn’t want to be judged.( not that any of my actions saved me from judgements! Going out with a Hindu guy, hanging out in the pubs, dancing like a mad woman etc etc had certainly set the tongues wagging..)
I walked in to the library. The lady I know was busy checking out the books for someone. I waited for her to be free.
“Hi” I greeted
“Hi, Nina right?” She asked
I nodded my head and smiled, pleased to know that she remembered my name.
“Haven’t seen you in a while”
“Busy” I replied
“What can I do for you today?” She asked
“Do you know who is Rasputin?”
She thought for a while and shook her head.
“I really want to find out more about him” I told her
“Why don’t you check the Encyclopedia” She suggested.
It was an Archimedes moment.
Why hadn’t I thought of it before?
“Thank you. I will”
I took the Encyclopedia and checked under R and found out who was Rasputin.
I knew I had to read Russian history.
I also had 2nd MBBS part 1 internals in a few weeks time.
I also had to tell someone that I knew who was Rasputin and why he asked me that question.