Archive for the ‘And then memories n fotos’ Category

Born free to follow your heart!!


ONLY CAT LOVERS READ THIS. OTHERWISE YOU MIGHT DOZE OFF IN FRONT OF YOUR SYSTEM.

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My little darling when he was 7 months old

January 2012

“Dad, I want a kitten.”

Dad replies, “Yea, right.”

I go back to watching cat videos on YouTube.

The conversation repeats itself every night at 10.

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February 2012

“I really want a kitten, please.”

Dad responds, “Hmm” (More like a grunt)

The conversation repeats itself every night.

March 2012

“Kittens are so adorable. I want a kitten.”

Dad grunts, “Will you please keep quiet? I’m reading the paper.”

I sulk. This happens every night around 11. I go back to watching my cat videos especially Sparta and Loki. (Check them on YouTube people.)

ImageApril 2012

“Appa, I want a kitten.”

Dad throws daggers at me with his eyes, “Don’t ever ask that again. Keep quiet now.”

I sulk. This continues for a few days.

I relent. By May – June, I ask for a baby elephant, a rabbit, aparrot, anything to keep me occupied and irritate Dad. And by this time, I have literally watched 1000s of cat, puppy, dog and kitten videos on YouTube.

July 2012

Thursday morning. Around 10’0 Clock, I open my sleepy eyes to the pitiful cries of a kitten somewhere nearby. I turn over fighting the voice in my head urging me to go out and help. The second voice reasons, “There is no way Dad is going to let you keep a kitten. There is no way you can help the creature.” I can almost picture Dad’s BP rising.

Saturday morning. Around 10’0 Clock, my eyes flutter open to the sound of the same kitten pleading for attention. I drag myself out of bed and into the garden. There in a corner, a little white kitten is hoarsely meowing. I ask a few questions as to where it came from and being answered with a few hoarse meows, I go back into the house. I come out into the garden. I go inside. I come out. Its cry has turned into a real croak, the sounds of which resembled– mac – mac – mac.

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Picturesque!!

My mom’s hearts has melted seeing me stand and talk to the kitten. She appears with a little cup of milk. Now you, the readers, should know that I have almost succeeded in drowning out that second voice of reason in my head. I open the garden door and walk towards the kitten. It moves away.  I move towards it. It totters away into the array of plants. I follow. It runs. I follow. Finally I sprinkle a little milk towards it, almost performing a ritual of welcome. It stops for a millisecond and then it flees.  After sometime into this drama, running up, down and around the garden, it runs right up to the place I most  dreaded it to go. Under Dad’s car, somewhere into the deeper recesses of the its engine compartment.

Now a duet begins. The kitten goes Mac, I go meow. The kitten responds Mac, I cry meow. After 15 minutes of meowing, I pull out a hose and spray water under the car.  No sign of the little creature.  Again mom appears- this time, with the car keys. We open the hood to find it shivering with mischief on top of the engine.  Immediately, it jumps under, only to be stopped by its tail by mom as I watch.  I religiously hold him by the neck and take him all the way down to the backyard. I place the cup of milk in front of it. The terrified creature realizes it is milk once it has calmed down enough to allow its sense of smell to take over.  Once the milk is lapped up in under a few seconds, he resumes his song – mac – mac- mac. And it laments on, into the night.

Next day morning, a groggy-eyed and furious Dad comes out of the kitchen with a cup of water. And he tries every trick in his bag to scare the kitten away.  No one dares to stop him at the point, although, I’m already scheming. But miracle of miracles, it refuses to leave. And it continues to cry day and night – lamenting the loss of its mother and siblings. I start feeding it. Now the cries reduce to when it wants to see me. It would stop only when I appeared. So I appeared all the time. The little white kitten thus cried its way right into my heart.

Another week passes by. One day around noon Dad asks, “Where is that Mac-Mac?”

I answer with a smile, “It is right outside the kitchen, playing.”

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Posing for the camera..

Thus, a name was born – Mac Mac.

I prepare a presentation of Mac Mac and I sent it across to friends and relatives. Everybody said they loved it. But the truth rears itself in my sister’s impetuous question, “Where exactly did you find such a pathetic looking scrawny kitten? I gasp. Mac Mac was the answer to many months of pleading and wishing. It was the manifestation of my very wish. And to me, Mac was beautiful.

A special bond starts to develop between cat and cat lady. Through the weeks and months that ensued, Mac followed me around like a dog, played endlessly, and ate insatiably. It responded only to my calls and let me alone touch it.  Through hours of sickness, depression, sadness, happiness and boredom Mac stayed by my side. And seeing the change in my character – sulky to happy – Dad stopped objecting.

Fast – forward.

During this time Mac made a new friend- a beautiful yellow and brown long-haired, bushy tailed kitten from next door. He invited it home to stay. That kitten was too scared to let any humans go near it. So, from a distance, I watched the two of them play happily, without a care in the world.Image

But do you think I left it alone? No! With food, Mac’s presence and trickery I manage to pick up that kitten too – once twice, thrice. Now dad starts his old antics, trying to drive away the new cat. Sis tries her best. Mom tries her share. Me? I feed it, love it and win over its confidence. Why? Because, it was Mac’s friend and hence my friend. As the two of them grow, other litter mates and friends start to appear in our compound.  I delight myself in taking pictures of Mac and the friends, in fact, hundreds of pictures.

Fast- forward

May 2013

I leave for a distant land for a time. Mac is lost without my love. Desperately Mac turns to Mom and my sister. And he demands that love by not leaving their side. One day, my sis relents and bents down to pat Mac, only to find that she has fallen in love with him just the way I did. Only difference was that Mac had grown into a beautiful cat – lovely to see and dignified in its manner. (Until my sis revealed it to me I imagined Mac to be a girl but as it turned out, Mac was male – a good looking tom cat and the envy of many other male cats.) Why was he envied? He got free food, had a girl friend (the brown cat was a female as luck would have it) and was a WEAKLING who did not know how to fight back. (I guess he never learnt, having lost its mother at a young age and not having litter mates.)

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Enjoying each other’s company

I returned home to find the brown kitten (a cat now) pregnant and screeching all the time for food. I then named her Keet (meaning- to screech). Around this time Mac was continuously being attacked by other male cats in the area but he was in love with Keet as much then as he ever was. They play. lick, court and mate?? (I don’t know). Anyway, the day comes when, to Dad’s ultimate horror, Keet gives birth to two tiny little critters right outside our kitchen door.

The story will continue in my next post. Stay tuned.

The girl from music school.


Photo0737Small gestures, random smiles, laughing together, loving each other, caring without demands…  Everybody dreams of that perfect relationship with the significant other. But to sustain it and keep it going over the years is nothing short of a true miracle. Over the years more can change than just the shape you initially were in ( I mean both physically and emotionally) but to be able to accommodate your love into the very soul of the other being is real love.

I recently had the good fortune to watch my aunt, a dedicated housewife, going about her business. Life had dealt hard blows along the way. There had been scary accidents. There had been health problems. The kids had grown ‘up and into’ their own worlds. But as I have come to realize presently, the mother’s love only grows taller as the years roll by. No matter how loud the screams or shouts got, there was always (and only) room for wonderful love.

Getting up in the wee hours of the morning to prepare for a busy day of guests, husbands, relatives, sons was unimaginable to me until I saw her at it( I mean I guessed it, since I don’t wake up that early). Having perfected the art of cooking (the cleaning and the cutting were bonuses I had never thought of before) a number of dishes for the afternoon meal in a matter of few hours before cleaning up for breakfast, making sure that everything looked as sparkling as before, even wiping the floor a zillionth time and then waiting patiently for each member to come and have their breakfast of choice; the last one in being me for a glass of juice when lunch is already simmering on the stove..  ah … if ever there was a wonder woman, it was her (and included without exception, all the others out there who have dedicated their lives to building beautiful families).

In between and around these chores, she would put out the clothes for washing, clean any other part of the house that needed cleaning and continually dish out something to eat for anyone sitting around. It didn’t end there. She could go on a shopping spree which would last hours (I couldn’t keep up myself), come back with heavy legs and still get up and continue the music the next day. Of course, her garden of flowers in the hot Arabian desert climate is another point to be noted. She is a wonder woman also because, through all this, she could talk of a million things -past, present and future and keep you glued to the kitchen chair for hours together. I say glued to the chair because she did not believe in helping hands (and so I did not have to help- no need to consider this heartless). I had in the short time I spent with her,  learned of her favourite plate’s origin and life story and of the marks on her kitchen floor, each of them carrying the history of a dropped utensil or even a coconut by a servant who was long gone.  Every-thing in that kitchen told a story.

I digress from my main point- the love that she shared with her husband, the continuation of a love story that began 2 decades ago. To him “she was still the girl from music college; that beautiful girl who sang like a nightingale.”(And yes, she is beautiful- present continuous). It was a joy to hear him tell her that he will not let her go before his time and mean it too. The amazing part was that when they sang together (with karaoke and surround systems now) and I being the sole audience, there was always the emotions which rang true which no technology could synthesize.  It becomes then for that moment their song, their life.  And I clapped to this.

But beyond the visible, the invisible love was more radiant.  The short-comings which seems unbearable to an outsider could be borne so naturally, each in its own turn, only because of the love which they bore in their hearts. The thing hated did not make the person any less valuable.  In fact, it showed how you could cut a channel right around hate and let love flow through it. Love and prayer.  It is so true that a praying family stays together. Not just in my life, but in many families, I have seen this come true and more so in this one.

That they could call each other every so often even if it is just to hear the sound of each other’s voice and be assured of the love that waited them when they returned home – office, shopping or wherever it was.  In their hearts they are still so young.  Of course, as the years go by it becomes a more serious and independent dependence (which also I commend). But while they were still young in their hearts, they could make melody together. Raise amazing kids.  Weave friendships which would not be severed so easily. Throw memorable parties.  And through it all sing to each other the very love that had brought them together and held them close all these years. Let that love surround and comfort them when life takes unexpected turns and may they grow old together.

This post is dedicated to my uncle and aunt  who put me up at their place for a week and with whom i enjoyed every moment. I kept my promise 😛 but i wish i had taken pictures of you both.

 An Ethereal Land : Andaman and Nicobar Islands


I had the opportunity to visit the virgin islands of Andaman and Nicobar islands.Here is a glimpse into what i saw there on the first day. The rest will follow at a later time.

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I have dreamed as a child, and I see it yet as a child…

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Distant lands, myriad shades, fairy tales and all that is pure …

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First glimpse of Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Stunning view of the land, untouched and beautiful

Cardboard boxes , civilization and beauty still..

Speeding on water scooters

Port Blair as the lights come alive at dusk..

Of these, i saw some…

Making a livelihood on the dark waters …

In a frame, beauty that cannot be captured fully…

One of the many islands where much underwater wealth awed us…

On a glass-bottom boat, watching for fleeting fins…

Blue skies, white sand, cottony clouds, distant islands, turquoise blue waters, shades of corals, deeper blues and the stuff of dreams and postcards

All manners and colours of shells move here with the pulse of life..

A lone cruiser awaiting its riders..

When i lose myself in dreams I hear the trumpet notes of reflection

It is without doubt that there is a pattern for everything in nature-
a crab digging into the sand, creating patterns in its wake.

Luscious pineapples waiting to be harvested.

A crude yet beautiful reminder of the power of a Tsunami, a tree
uprooted and left as nature’s monument.

Unfading village scenes from ‘yesteryears’


-Memories of a better life

A quick weekend at my mother’s native village had me longing again for the life once lived by the inhabitants of that beautiful house. Beautiful ‘sunful’ mornings, and time spent roaming about the abundance of fruit trees, taking a pick of seasonal fruits from among them; afternoons spent sucking ripe mangoes, alternating it with raw ones; enjoying the companionship of cows, hens, ducks and other animals, their revenue itself remaining meager compared with the silent joy these loving animals gave. Of course the dogs were always part of the family and they still are for the old house keeper who remains alone in that house. I also remember a cat which ventured to make our ‘Palasseri’ home its own when I spent summer there in 1995.

I captured a few snaps to record the shadow of ‘once upon a time’ so that I could still associate the memories of my childhood – which in itself was a shadow of my mother’s childhood there.

Here are the snaps with a few comments:

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The outhouse and the well taken in the early morning rays of the sun

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The same captured just before twilight – more lighted and brighter like my spirit when it lands on this soil.

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Many summer rendez-vous have been spent with cousins, uncles, aunts or just grandma, papa, mama and my sister, sitting on this veranda, swinging like a monkey on those pillars and even stretching out in the L shaped corner for a quick nap – still love doing that !!

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The cowshed can be seen in the background where the milkman used to come and collectMilk. Now all that remains is the shed, leaving a tad of the taste of fresh, thick milk in my mouth and scenes of frolicking calves on the canvas of my mind. I remember feeding banana peels to some of the cows which I used to name after my sisters and cousins (a long-kept secret shhhh!! )

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Standing tall – I’ve spend many hours gazing at the chimney smoke and even getting doubts in my toddler mind on how chimneys worked. A sooty old chimney against which the freshness of the mangoes stand out – I love this shot.

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Dew drops on the leaves, just after dawn – it’s a sight which will captivate any mind dirtied by the pollution of modern cities.

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Droplets on yam leaves – they are THE best but the beauty is hardly seen in the pic taken on a low pixel mobile camera.

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Ah the indigenous genius fruits of Kerala. Any mallu (keralite) would love this sight. Note it that I only love the sight!

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This was a glorious sight too… so many upcoming (downfall-ing) promises of tasty meals and desserts and stomach pains! Oh, by the way, my mother recollected some of her halcyon days spend studying under the cool shades of these trees. No wonder she went on to be an engineer. I have an excuse to tell her that I was never so comfortable with the fan in my room.

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After taking a round of the one acre land I came back on the other side of the cow shed. I have stood here and watched dung fall out – fresh from the holes as it was washed down to be collected in the trench and later made into dung cakes (for floors n walls –FIY gen X) and also used as fertilizers. One thing which amused me enough to look into the dung trench were the hens which used to sit on top of the dry dung on one side, to hatch its little eggs. Maybe it used to know instinctively that it was safe from my curious pokes down in the dung hole.

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A heritage monument – a wooden hen house used to be on top through which the hens could potty down into this hole. I have spent many summer afternoons trying to teach a cock to sit down and not stand pulling at its tether. I used to be furious that it disobeyed me so I would literally press them down and make them stay that way with my hand. I never knew that it was only the force from my hand which kept them down. Cruel me!  But I loved those clucking, colourful, spotted and speckled hens and I ran behind them as they tried to evade me as well as approach to the sounds of ba ba ba baa kozhi baa – sounds which promised them mouthfuls of tasty, crispy grains some of which I myself stole to taste. I didn’t share their joy at the taste though!

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This sight on Saturday morning brought tears to my eyes because words cannot express the number of tasty meals this comfy nook has prepared for me and my family. As sooty and old as it seems, it still fries the best “karimeens” (pearl spot fry) and makes the best meals a mouth could ever taste.  These stone stoves with firewood collected from the land behind, crackling cheerfully can give you hunger pangs and other worldly tastes one can never forget.

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A closer look at the rice boiling over- getting ready for the afternoon meal.

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The store-room from time immemorial, even the termites eating into the threshold seem to be doing a slow job relishing even the taste of the centuries’ old wood. This place was out of bounds to mischievous children like me, begging for extra mangoes and sweet jackfruit- jaggery desserts. 

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This was where the vessels with fresh fried foods were kept so that the ants nor us reached them before the appointed time.

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As old as it is, it is still the strongest roof in Kerala-dom and the light filtering through a misplaced tile could easily be corrected with a little re-arrangement. Albeit, it be done before rainy season or the kitchen would be flooded. But isn’t the sun rays coming through a pretty sight?

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She is the talkative keeper of our beloved “Palasseri” house. Doesn’t she just fit in with the scene?

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She is amused that I should take so many pictures. Her condescending look showered on me!

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Fresh white dough being swung into swirly white noodle strings, for my morning breakfast.

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On the way to becoming sweet soft Idiyappams. I was hungry just seeing the sights of noodle strings, fresh grated coconut and sugar.

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These white flowers have always stood sentinel on either side of the gate. I never remember a time spent there when these white flowers were not in bloom. They represent the purity of the memories I associate with “Palasseri” house.

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My mother says one of these can feed five poor families. Wow!! Imagine tht…. Maybe I should start a jackfruit farm and feed the poor? (*Blink*)

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Kanna – smart doggy , keeping watch. He is a fussy eater and his ribs can be counted out but he has a powerful bark which can scare anyone away.

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Vellu – best friend of Kanna and mine too!

He eats jackfruits papayas mangoes and 2 kilos + of beef . He took some time to come to me but once with me, he didn’t want to leave.  You know, he even growled at me when I imitated his panting (I got scared 😛 )

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Waiting faithfully for his share of mangoes. He is a plump one- this one.

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“Don’t come in or leave without my permission. This be my territory! “

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Sigh! This little mango tree represents the evergreen memories I have of this place. They are etched deep into the recesses of my mind where a few cobwebs can climb in which can nevertheless be wiped away by the love captured within the frames of these pictures.

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