Love life to the fullest..

I was very tired last night and dozed of while reading ( I think the drive back from Sydney took its toll)
I woke up this morning to find the book I was reading on my bedside table, with a pen as a book mark inside.
I went to the kitchen, to find all three lunch boxes packed, drink bottle filled, including ribena for baby.

My son had noticed the light in my room this morning when he woke up to prepare for his scholarship  test. ( He is writing the test next week and has been getting up early in the morning to prepare for the test).
He made toasties for him and his sisters. I never asked, never expected.

I will not be getting any roses or chocolates this valentines day.
But I get love.. tons of it..

The biggest blessing in life is to be a mother..

Happy Valentines day.

Found this on a rock in Byron Bay

 There are so many beautiful beaches in Gold Coast, but no beach is as beautiful as Byron Bay..

I wanna dance with somebody.

The first two weeks at the medical college, all the first year students were given temporary accommodation.
My room was on the 2nd floor. I shared it with three other students. ( All from North India, they spoke in Hindi to each other and my spoken Hindi, let us just say was as good as my spoken English)

I only studied two years in english medium (predegree)  prior to joining the medical college and I had only started reading english novels that time.
So technically I could write in English and I could read english, but speaking..that was a different kettle of fish altogether. I never had to speak a word of english when I was in Kerala.
So when all the students were talking to each other,I couldn’t utter a word..
My sister was supposed to stay with me and help me settle down!! and she vanished in the first day itself .

Imagine my state, 17 years old, can’t speak a word of english and living in a medical college hostel far away from home.
The mallu students already formed a gang in the first day. I didn’t belong, simply because I had a very colourful family history that I needed to cover up. I refused to be judged because of my family.

Not being able to speak English was not the only issue I had to face. There was also my uncle, my sword of Damocles.

Lonley and scared I spend most of my free time in my room. There were no desks, so I had to sit on my bed. In her unmitigated  quest of saving money, Amma insisted that I take the form mattress Appa brought from Middle east, Only thing is the mattress was a few sizes too big for the bed frame. So sitting down on the bed was a bit tricky. ( I was so different from everyone..even my mattress was out of the norm!)

I sat on my bed, alone on the first weekend at the medical college,  because most of the students still had their family with them and went out visiting Bangalore with them.
I had no books to read.
Reading medical text books that were so big compared to my predegree english Assissi guide was daunting.
I had no one to talk to.
I had no one to even phone me.
But I had my cassette collection and my sony walkman. My father had even bought me an external speaker that I could attach to the walkman instead using the headphone. ( headphones used to hurt my ears.)
I used to listen to I wanna dance with somebody from the Whitney album over and over. It was even more special because I had the lyrics. It came in a teen magazine ( can’t remember which mag)  chechy had bought it from the railway station.
Because I am ( partially) deaf I can’t hear the lyrics. I was so happy to have the lyrics, so I could sing along.
Whitney Houston would never know how much she helped me cope..
RIP Whitney. You had the voice of an angel.


Couriermail weekend edition has a session called Intro..on the couch.. where they ask standard questions to various people.
I have been wanting to answer those questions myself..

The best advice my mother gave me was: nee orikkalum konam pidikkathilla ( you will never do well in your life..if it wasn’t for that sentence, I would have never reached where I am now. I was determined to prove my mom wrong.)

My worst habit is: When I love, I give all of myself..and never learn not to trust too much, not to love too much, not to hope too much for all those too much often end up hurting me so much!!!

It is a bit daggy, but I love: watching sound of music and home alone every Christmas..

My first job was: Tutoring kids in the neighbourhood..

The thing I fear the most is: failure..I am so afraid to fail..

I am most contended when: I am driving long distance, I am reading a book at night. I see my children sleeping peacefully..

My favourite smell is: Kouros.. Muraya blossoms..jasmine flowers..banana chips being fried in  coconut oil!!

I use the best room in my house for : reading and spending time with my kids..( my living room)

I used to collect: as a child I collected I collect recipe books..not the usual run of the mill books.. I love old recipe books..the ones that tell a story..

A book I couldn’t put down: there is no way I can answer that question. I am a voracious reader.

The best pet I ever had was: My koi..

My worst fashion moment was: visiting the TB hospital with all my classmates and juniors..wore a saree to portray some maturity..laughed at some lame joke..only to find my saree on the floor..the string that held my underskirt front of all the patients, doctors, nurses, classmates and juniors ( not to forget the relatives of the was visiting hours!!) Valuable lesson learned..use stronger string not the ones that come along with the skirt and wear decent undies!

My favourite topic of conversation: weather..( you can’t go wrong!)

My secret skill is: I (am) can be a pain in the patootie..

I love this song..Have a jolly good weekend everyone.. I am driving to I come.


I was never good at identifying birds, let alone finding them..But you were good. You could spot them miles away..
It was one of those hot dusty afternoon and the sparrows that inhabited our campus were having a dust bath. You told me the story of the sparrow and the king..
There once was a sparrow that found a beautiful shell. She took the shell to her nest and admired it each day. It was really a pretty shell, not at all like the usual shells. The sparrow being a typical female, felt very important owning a shell none had.. Not even the king. Soon the sparrow started singing..”I have something even the king doesn’t have”..and soon enough the king heard it. The king was angry and at the same time very curious. When the sparrow went to find food leaving her nest unattended, the king send his soldiers to investigate the nest and they found the shell and took it to the king. When the sparrow returned, she noticed that her beautiful shell is missing and figured the king has taken it. So she went to the palace and started singing, “I was richer than the king and the king took all my money”. The king was really angry and ordered his soldiers to catch the sparrow and bury it alive. Which they did..
You looked at me and asked then what happened? As such you were telling me the story and how was I to answer then what happened? But being me, I did..and told you.. sparrow died..
You laughed so much.
You told me.. I have no imagination..and I punched you so hard. Which made you laugh even more.
I was angry with you..very..but I wanted to know what happened to the sparrow..and the only way to get you to tell me was to be nice to you. Which I did..
So this is what happened to the sparrow..
Soon after the sparrow was buried, a dog came..It smelled the bird and dug it out. And the sparrow took a deep breath. The dog was about to eat the sparrow and the bird told the dog..”friend, if you are going to eat me, don’t you thing you need to wash me, so I am clean?” The dog washed the sparrow and just as it was about to eat, the bird told him” friend you need to dry me, so I am tasty”. and the dog kept the sparrow out in the sun to dry, keeping a close watch on her. And Just as the dog was to eat, the sparrow told him, friend..let me stretch my wings..and make sure there are no sand in my wings..
That is why even today..dogs chase the sparrows..they remember how the sparrow tricked their ancestor.
Yesterday, I saw a hawk outside my window..and I remembered all the bird stories you told me..I remembered you telling me that Naga’s believe the souls of the dead take shapes of birds like hawks and visit their loved one.. to let them know that they are watching over you..I was listening to Ronan Keating’s When you say nothing at all and is all nimitham


My mother..Through my eyes..
I was in the 7th standard. (12 years old)
Amma was in her mid 40’s. My youngest sister was around 5.
Amma had gained a lot of weight after giving birth to my youngest sister. Obviously none of her old saree blouses fit. So in order to save money ( for the eternal dowry for 4 daughters) she got the tailor to stitch cream colour blouse.
At one stage Chechy and I counted 7 cream colour blouses!
Amma had a cupboard full of sarees. ( 90% of my family lived overseas at that time and the usual gift when anyone came home was a new saree)
When the mothers of my friends, who probably had less  sarees compared to my mother wore matching blouse, mine wore a cream blouse with all her sarees. It was embarrassing..plain and simple. to make it even more traumatic, amma also had hair the same thickness as a rat tail, which she looped and twisted in to a bun that looked like a ball of mangled limp spaghetti.. She also applied hair dye that came like a lip stick on her grey hair each morning..The hair dye made her hair stick to her scalp..
Oh, don’t forget the plastic bata slippers..the ones that last for years..If  my father had come home, replace the bata with the gulf slipper..those plastic ones with green straps..
My mother believed that she looked like Padmini Kolhapuri..and I promised myself then that I will never embarrass my children.

Through Yaya’s eyes.
She is 13.
Last sunday, I was laying down in my hammock and reading and she came to lay down next to me. After a few minutes she told me
“Mom, you have Midlife crises”.
Since the statement came without any prior warning, I was a bit taken aback..So I asked her what made her think so..
These are the reasons given by oldest daughter. ( Me pitted against all her friends mothers!)
1. You wear heels
I have been wearing heels from the time I went to medical college..The only time I stopped wearing heels was when I was pregnant. I have exceptionally tall sisters and being a midget was not that interesting.
2. You wear skinny jeans.
I own one ( 1) pair of custom made Levi.
3.I can wear your clothes.
I am not sure how that makes me suffer from midlife crises. ( But it is a reason for my midlife crises)
4. You always paint your toe nails.
Yes, I paint my toe nails each week. I wear heels and it does look nice.
5. You drive a flashy car
No excuse for that. ( apparently one of her friend’s dad also had a midlife crises and bought a similar car!!!)
6. You are skinny.
You are only 7 kg heavier than me.

And to think that my child would have been happy, if I was fat, wore ill fitting clothes and gulf slippers!!
You can’t win..

I will always rise..always..

Methran Thamby is my amulet..but beyond that..beyond Methran Thamby and beyond the wisdom of my grandmother, Beyond the love of my lover, beyond the hatred of my mother, there is me..

Often, I don’t see myself when I am drowning in my sorrow….and it takes a while for me to find my wings..But I do.. each and every time and I rise..without fail..above all the pain, the hardship, the lies..I the clouds..and I watch you..suffering..and I think to myself..I am still Methran Thamby’s grand daughter..the world is live..laugh and love.

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou


I think we got along so well was because we were both non conformist.. Was that because we both had high IQ? I don’t know. 
I had 17 % attendance ( really!!) for anatomy theory classes..and apart from  me, none in my batch had less than 95% attendance..You too had similar rate of attendance. But unlike me, you took it one step only wrote the exams you wanted to write..
I never understood the point of sitting in a class and listening to the lecturer who is only regurgitating what is written in Cunningham’s manual, when you can read it for yourself. ( When you really don’t have time and decided to study the night before the exam, you read hard it is?) But the rest of my batch mates, they were afraid..I don’t know what they were afraid of..I see this image of close to 170 students, sitting down and diligently writing down every word the lecturer though each word somehow was different from what is written in the textbook,  when any sensible person knows..anatomy can’t is spoken by the lecturer or written in the text is the same thing..
I knew what I am capable of..and did what pleased me. ( still do) Studying in a Malayalam medium deprived me of reading a lot of books that I should have read as a child. And I wanted to catch up on my reading..

Then there was this need to travel..that was another passion we shared. You often hear people wanting to go on a vacation..everyone wants to do it..yet very few people actually do it..They all have excuses. Money, leave, weather..( but I think, deep inside it is the fear of the unknown..that prevents people from comes and goes..public holidays are there if you are short of leave..and weather can always be tamed if you are willing)
With you none of those mattered. The time before Internet..we relied on word of mouth..and you heard about Adugodi water falls.. ( I need help here..I searched the net..there doesn’t seem to be an adugodi water falls..The place was 4 hours ride from Bangalore..where we stopped was an isolated place..full of rocks ( very similar to QSQT movie last few scenes) ideal spot for white water rafting..water was swift flowing over the wasn’t a major fall..and there was no one to ask the name of the place..Somehow.. I remember it is as there anything like that in Adugodi?)

I wanted to walk over the rocks. you wouldn’t let me. Instead you told me how the carp started living in the water..
In the beginning, crab, carp, frog and shrimp used to live on land and live like humans.and like humans they used to grow rice. The four of them were good friends..and they worked together, taking turns to cook each meal..Crab was the best cook..and eventually the other three asked the crab if she would mind taking over the kitchen while the rest of them will continue working in the fields.
Crab was only too happy.
Each day crab cooked..the most delicious meals..She glowed with the compliments her friends bestowed upon her..
One day, crab couldn’t get any meat to make curry.
So she pulled one of her legs and put it in the pot along with the vege.
Her friends came in the evening after working all day in the fields..famished and tired..and they ate the dinner cooked by the crab.. It was the most delicious dinner and they told the crab they never ate a meal that tasty. Thought the crab was missing one leg, she was happy..Over time..crab cooked all her legs..
One evening..the three friends came back to the house after working in the fields all day.. they couldn’t find the crab.. they looked around..but no sign of crab. But they were hungry and there was a pot of curry on the stove..Carp opened the pot..and there in the pot was the crab..she gave up her life for her friends..
Carp couldn’t stop the stupidity of the crab.. whoever heard of someone giving up their life for their friend.. the shrimp and the frog too joined the laughter..they laughed so much..laughed and laughed..Shrimp rolled backwards laughing..and stayed like that..frog was jumping up and down..and his body too changed..and the carp..she was twisting on turning on the floor.. her body too changed..and the three friends were so ashamed of themselves..and they went to the river and hid themselves..and that is how carp ended up in the water..
I have been fascinated with carp ever since..
I wanted to build a fish pond.. and obviously wanted to have koi…( the most beautiful carp)
Koi are such beautiful fish..and I love them.. ( I always had them..two of my koi are still alive in my friend’s koi pond in Penang..)
I got the plan for my pond..bought the spade to dig..and was looking around for a koi supplier in QLD..
Koi are considered noxious in QLD.. and I will be fined handsomely.. ( Few of my friends here have koi.. illegally..)
What is sad is..NSW and WA allows keeping koi as a pet..
I know..the environmental impact of koi in the water canals and rivers..but what is good for goose should also be good for the gander..why must I be punished because I chose to live in QLD?
I am tempted to keep the koi and pretend ignorance..but then again..I don’t deliberately break a law..even though I am a non conformist..( and the reason for the widget on the right hand side! they look cute eh??and you can feed them too.. click the mouse and see..)


We often talked about if..
I am not sure who was more fond of ‘if’..
It all started with Kipling’s If…
I told you, your duty as the father of my yet to be son would be to recite ‘if’ and teach our son all the if’s..( apart from the other two duties.. ironing the clothes and folding the laundry, both chores I hate with absolute passion)

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!
Somehow, this poem sounds a lot better when a father tells it to his son rather than a mother to her son..
Eventually ‘if’ became a part of us, our story..?
we always talked about ‘if’.. as in if it wasn’t for that or this etc..
The thing I admired the most about you when you said you read, you actually meant it.. not like those who say they read, when they meant reading one book in a life time.  You read anything and everything and you had an exceptionally good memory..And you knew history..
Every moment with you was a learning experience..I probably learned more from you in the three years we were together..
It was a weekend..and one of the Conferences was going on.. Princy was in the campus..Obviously we weren’t supposed to meet. You volunteered to organize things for the conference.. You send a word to the hostel, got me to wear a saree..( I wore Amma’s  blue and red Kancheepuram saree)..and I you made me join the official  ‘ welcoming committee’.. 
You looked dashing in a full sleeve shirt and tie.. (Whose shirt and tie was that? Not yours, for sure..) 
An hour later, we were in the second gallery.. away from everyone ( the conference was in the first gallery)
I was worried..really worried..Principal and rest of the staff for the entire medical college was present one floor down..and if anyone found us together, we would have been suspended. It wasn’t a risk I was willing to take. and you told me..Jemadar Abdul Hafiz wouldn’t have got VC if he didn’t have courage.
Obviously I had no idea who was Abdul Hafiz..
You looked at me incredulously and  told me..”if, it wasn’t for Jemadar Abdul Hafiz and people like him, Japanese would have been in India during ww2
Again.. I had no idea what you were talking about.
I knew about Bose, INA and Japanese army..
I studied Indian history for Pete’s sake.
Yet, I knew nothing about Japanese army trying to enter India through Burma..You were surprised that I knew nothing about Battle of Kohima and Battle of Imphal.
And all of a sudden, it didn’t matter if  we were going to be in trouble for the simple crime of girl and boy sitting together….I had to know about battle of Kohima and Imphal..
You spend the next few hours telling me about Battle of it changed Indian many people died..
You told me about Kohima Epitaph.. ( You described every detail of the war memorial..I can still see the nagas dragging the giant stone to the memorial)
“When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today”
More on Battle of Kohima

There is  a memorial for the Japanese soldiers in a Church in Kohima.. I can’t remember where.