Friday, 20 December 2013

In your memory...

It was Dec 28, 2009. Usually Christmas and New Year always brings hope and smiles. Yet, for me, there's a sadness so deep; a sense of loss that I can't describe. The day a very dear friend passed on to the other world. I met him sometime in 2007 when I'd relocated to Pune. A bunch of Tamil folks always met up at each other's houses for a pot luck or movies or filter coffee. He was quite busy at work, so never made it to the meetings. But we always found time to talk. His wife was pregnant and due to deliver. I still remember when he called me joyfully to say it's a healthy baby boy.

You were the shining star in my life. Your silly grins, crazy text messages, serious conversations always kept me going. In my trying times, you were there to support me. We have discussed everything under the sun and yet never judged each other. You were the one that introduced me to Lee Child and David Baldacci. I faithfully read all their latest novels to keep your memory alive. I have carefully preserved your copy of The Lincoln Lawyer.

Even today, when I am lost for support, I simply look up in the sky knowing you are there somewhere with your silly smile giving me that hand to hold on to. But you, sir, have left a void, a vacuum.

As I sit here still trying to come to terms with the fact that you are no longer physically with us, you are there somewhere knowing that while you lived, you lived it with all the happiness. And for that, I am very proud of you. I hope that your wife and son have found the strength to move on without your physical presence.

And I know you'll be happy to know that I've overcome quite a few odds to be where I am today. You'll be proud of me. You'll be happy to know that there's someone very special in my life who keeps me happy and smiling. You would have liked him and you guys would have had some great times if you were here. As I write this piece amid all the tears, what I realize is that it's important to be loved like you were and to live like you did. It has been 4 years and there will be many more but I will always miss you.

RIP.

Image source: Internet

Thursday, 5 December 2013

The exiled prince

We all know the story of Rama, the crown prince of Ayodhya. He was exiled and sent to the forest for 14 years and what transpired between him and Ravana is an EPIC. There are stories and sub-stories within this epic and make for some interesting reading for children and adults alike.

How'd you like it Rama himself narrates what happened? Imagine that tall, dark and handsome man with sharp yet tender eyes and soft lips, clad in only a dhoti and angavastram, sporting a bow and a quiver of arrows, looking simple yet divine, sitting on a rock and telling you in his booming masculine voice - I am Rama and this is my story - will you drop everything and listen to him? I would. And that's what makes me want to read more. Because, this story is of the prince who was sent away to strange forests with nothing but his bow, wife and brother.

The Crystal Guardian series is a blend of facts, fiction and mythology that starts off somewhere with the British rule in India and cleanly merges with age old stories and legends of Rama and intersperses these so beautifully that you don't know where facts end and fiction begins.

If you are a big fan of Indian mystical stories and loved Amish's Shiva Trilogy, then the Rama trilogy is the next one to look forward to. There is a crystal in the world and should it fall in the wrong hands, it will wreak havoc. That's the premise of the series. The who, why, what and how is traversed in this book and I hope the entire series will be as riveting as the sample chapters.

The sample chapters were about 21 pages in all. The descriptions of Mount Kailash and Saptarishis couldn't have been better.

The author Ravi is a trained engineer and is an entrepreneur living in the USA since 1990s. Despite living in the US, his keen interest in Indian history and mythology has only deepened and this venture stands a testimony to that.

I wish Team Crystal Guardian all the best. Look forward to reading the book.

To know more, you can browse their website - http://www.thecrystalguardian.com/




Wednesday, 4 December 2013

9 yards in a budget.

I was reading an article  that talks about big fat Indian weddings and if we really need them! I tend to concur with the author. To me, a wedding is private; sacred; the whole world need not be a witness.

When I get married, it will be a private moment with immediate family and a few friends. I was discussing this with my BFF and she promptly budgeted the whole thing and emailed an excel sheet. I was amused and touched at the same time.One might argue that a budget wedding would perhaps best be at the registrar's office. But I certainly wouldn't want to go to that extreme either.

I want to go the whole 9 yards (literally) in a budget. That's perhaps the best thing about a tambrahm wedding for me - 9 yards of shimmering kanjeevaram silk draped elegantly (what we call the madisar) and no woman has ever looked any sexier. Sitting on her dad's lap, eyes and head cast down, not just because she's the demure bride but also because it's easy for the groom to tie the mangalsutra around her neck, is a picture perfect wedding moment. I can compromise on all the other rituals but this one thing is what makes it for me. *sniff sniff*. The smile on her quivering lips, the droplets of tears that threaten to spill over her kohl lined eyes, the blush, the confidence, the emotional drama & overwhelming happiness is what makes a wedding rich. I almost have it planned; it's all in my head like a movie! The mehendi, the early morning, the "sarrk sarrk" of the silk sarees, golusu, metti, flowers, the percussion and other instruments, the vedic chants, the agni - it's all there. More importantly, the tears of happiness.

Oh, sorry I digressed; just got too carried away ;-) So, decades ago, the wedding was a 5 day event, with lots of little events strewn through the days, partly because the bride and groom weren't more than 10 years old. They needed the distraction. That's precisely why the "nalangu" function was invented. There were people to help out in the kitchen, huge houses for people to stay and revel in the moment. The kattu sadha koodai was in place because the families travel on bullock carts / foot and and they need the food for the duration of the journey.

I'd rather spend the money on annadhanam in a temple or a children's home or old age home rather than a lavish spread for a million guests at my wedding. I'd spend the money on paying a few of my EMIs than spending on 3 days of wedding hall rent and other trivial matters. And I'd rather spend the money on a honeymoon rather than spending it on gold. (Now that's a thought)

A wedding is about the tradition, not the pomp and show. It's about two people bonding for life, entering a stage of trust and love, till death do them part. And that's how I'd prefer it remains.

Bottomline: A simple wedding and a grand marriage.

Image courtesy: RMKV (www.rmkv.com)



Wednesday, 21 August 2013

A crazy month and then some

The last few weeks have been crazy; crazy is an understatement. I've changed roles recently and work has just been nuts. Endless meetings, revising documents, excel sheets, pricing, numbers, version controls, emails - I give up. But then, this is what I signed up for. So, I better not complain.

Amidst all this, mom and dad got back from the yoo yes of yay and brought back with them truck loads of stuff for me, including a new shiny Nexus 4. And S thinks I keep fondling my new phone for most part of my waking and sleeping hours! (ha and I proved him wrong :D). My yearly supply of bath and body works in various fragrances and bottle sizes is now adorning my vanity case, thanks to sis.

G went to Goa on an all girls trip and brought me a bottle of Green Apple Smirnoff as an early birthday present. Huggs.

R visited me from Bangalore and we spent a weekend walking across the length and breadth of the Phoenix mall and hogging on some great food. Krishnavillasam, California Pizza Kitchen and not to forget our favorite jaunt ID benefited from our eating sprees. And we bought birthday presents for each other :D. This is now becoming a routine with R visiting me at least for a weekend each month. I am starting to look forward to it.

And then, after eons, I met some of my fellow OIers. Fond memories of Shakes and Creams and some funny conversations.

There are a couple of weddings to attend next week and my parents' wedding anniversary and my little nephew Dylan's birthday (and mine approaching soon enough).  Here's wishing a happy birthday to all my fellow virgoans (KK, Aaroo, Ranjith and everyone else)

There has been too much activity this month and we are just winding up August. I look forward to September (not just because it's my birthday), but just because! (And all you nice people reading this blog, take the hint.. ok?)

And finally, this month has seen one of the most happiest moments of life. So, yay August. Cheers and I am just promising myself I will blog (or at least rant) more often.


Monday, 29 July 2013

One fine day

He wore his green cotton button down shirt and white linen trousers. They are comfortable for travel, he always says. He was seeing her after several weeks or even months perhaps. He was traveling the distance to see her. To be with her. To hug her and kiss her and hold her. To forget his troubles and laugh silly.

She'd missed him so bad that she was comfortably numb now. Nothing could hurt her anymore; no more tears or so she thought. She didn't expect to see him. It's been a while now.

She wore a pair of pink shorts and a teal spaghetti - her favorite clothes to parade around at home. She sat on the couch, sipping a mug of hot ginger tea, watching the rain outside. The television was playing a movie of a bygone era. She just needed some background noise, not really caring what was on.

She walked across to the kitchen to drain her cup in the sink and as she looked out the hallway, she saw him walking. She froze. Was this a dream? An apparition probably? And when he smiled that smile, she almost fainted.

He cupped her cheeks in his palm and looked warmly into her eyes - a pool of dark brown eyes looked back at him. Her lips quivered and the eyes threatened to spill those drops of tears any moment. He was so close, she could feel his warm breath on her lips. Her eyes darted between his lips and his eyes. Her vision blurred. She looked down and a tiny drop of tear crossed her long lashes and fell across her lips.

He flicked his tongue over her lips to wipe away the salty droplet and slowly pressed his lips against hers, still cradling her face. She melted into him and held him tight. She'd missed him more than he'd ever know, not that she'd ever tell him. That one missed kiss had morphed into many more, more than she could ever imagine.

She clutched his shirt, bunched so tight in her fists, that they almost could never be creased even by the strongest of the steam iron. The tears that were held back all this while cascaded like a waterfall. She sobbed into his shirt drenching him with all her love.

She looked up at him and smiled, the smile that reached up to her eyes, the smile that erupted into passion. And at that moment, she knew.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Six words and my Life

CBC has once again initiated a tag, this time it's only six words. Brevity is the essence of communication or so I thought until my bachelors / masters degree when we were awarded marks based on the number of additional sheets we used.

The CBSE education instilled in me the art of writing short and to the point. That's part of the reason why I always found it a little painful to write any article with a large word limit. The 6-word memoir is the perfect platform to get back to brevity!


And that..

... is my life in 6 words!


Infinite Hope; Everlasting Love; Only You!



(PS: I can even do a three word memoir - Hope; Love; You! Heck! Even a one word memoir - You!)




Thank you Doc for passing the baton to me. Ganesh Puttu blogs at http://audialtempartem.blogspot.in/. The relay race will be continued by the university rank holder and hardcore Genelia fan - Gayu Venkat - http://blogofgayu.blogspot.in/


Wednesday, 1 May 2013

A-Z - The Journey

I signed up for this challenge on a whim. There were no second thoughts. Neither did I have a plan nor a theme. I didn't know if I will be able to complete the challenge. I did try to think of a theme but I decided to go with the flow. The first week was fun. I even managed to prepare some blogs in advance for the 2nd week. And then, the drill began, with a bit of work pressure and folks at home needing attention, amidst the shopping sprees and movies, I managed to complete the blogs on time.

There were some people who religiously read my blogs and gave a feedback. There were those silent readers, those who messaged me with comments and those who religiously followed only the comments section.

Over the course of this month, I gained a few followers, I followed a few and loved reading some blogs that actually inspired me for later posts. There were posts on food, yoga, weird places, stories and someone even did an entire series on a wedding.

Here's to all of you who completed the challenge, to your perseverance! Way to go! Congratulations.

And if you ask me if I'll do this again, it's a big yes.




Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Z for Zenith

Zenith is in your arms. That point of bliss, eyes closed and feeling your warmth; those butterfly kisses that you shower across the forehead, the eyes and finally when your lips touch mine.

Zenith is being with you, around you. Zenith is what happens when you engulf me in that big warm hug; when I know everything is going to be alright. It is the early morning cuddles and the late night whispers.

Zenith is the passion; Zenith is the love. 

Zenith is you. 

Note: A big thank you to fellow bloggers, fellow A-Zers, those who've read, those who've left comments. It's been inspiring to read other blogs; I may not have read all but I did enjoy whatever I read. You've been an inspiration - every one of you. Cheers and here's to many more such challenges.

Image courtesy: Internet






Monday, 29 April 2013

Y for Yellow

This would be an apt post for today, as I'd wanted to write about the CSK fanatics who thronged the stadium in large numbers to support the team yesterday. The IPL is on in full swing. We are midway through the season and CSK - my home team - The Chennai Super Kings, the boys in Yellow are right on top of the table with an as usual last-over nail-biting victory in yesterday's match. 

The stadium was filled with various shades of yellow, with the supporters filling the stands unmindful of the Chennai summer. The Mexican wave saw the rise and fall of this bright color, whistles blowing away to the tune of the CSK song and laughter and happiness all around. 

The captain MS Dhoni hit a sixer off the last ball of the CSK innings; the stadium erupted as the total shot off to a 200 runs. With 201 for a victory, the match looked evenly poised with a few dropped catches and some poor fielding by the home team. The last over magic by Chris Morris saw CSK romp off with a clear victory. 

It was bleed yellow, whistle podu all through the game and was worth the money spent on the tickets. 

Here's to CSK! Bring home the cup boys! #whistlepodu #ipl6 #csk

A whistle for my boys!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

X for XOXO

XO is normally used for hugs and kisses over letters or chat conversations. As I looked for the etymology of this, I came across a few theories.One is that the letter X resembles two mouths touching. A second theory, which is the most common one, dates back to middle ages. It claims that when people could not sign their name, an X is marked at the end of the document and kissed in good faith. 

Do you know any other theory?

xoxo :-)

Image courtesy: Internet

Friday, 26 April 2013

W for Willy Wonka

One of my favorite characters from one of my favorite authors Roald Dahl, is this creative, weird, odd genius who owns the chocolate factory. He is almost magical and there are times I've wished I was Charlie and became the heir of the chocolate factory, given my love for chocolate. Who can resist the yummy hot chocolate in the cool evenings or a dollop of chocolate sauce over the vanilla ice cream? It's the chocolate that comes to my rescue when I feel low. And each time I pick up a piece of Lindt or Godiva, I imagine I am inside the chocolate factory surrounded by the aroma of chocolate and this delicious liquid dripping away from every possible corner. Can there ever be a chocolate overdose!

Here's to Willy Wonka and his chocolate factory :-)

Image courtesy: Internet

Thursday, 25 April 2013

V for Vanilla

The most expensive spice, only after saffron though, vanilla has always been my favorite flavor. And no, I don't mean the artificial ones we get in the store. There's plenty of difference between the bottled nonsense available off the shelf and the authentic flavors made at home / procured from specialty stores. I recently read a blog post on how to make the essence at home.

Ice creams, milk shakes, cup cakes - you name it - I prefer the vanilla. This simple yet fragrant spice has me on a high every time I take a spoonful. Last week, we'd been to Mickaël Besse's store here and ordered the vanilla raspberry tart. This was served with a mini scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream. The best I've ever had. This is one flavor that can be easily combined with any other flavor and yet can retain it's individuality.

I love the flavor and aroma of vanilla so much that my latest body lotion kit from Bath and Body Works is the warm vanilla and sugar. The aroma is so soothing that it actually lulls you to sleep. #Addicted

What's your favorite flavor?

A couple sharing an ice cream (Photo by Emily Anne Epstein)

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

U for Uphill

We are often faced with an uphill climb - at work, home, or life in general. That climb is going to be hard; it's going to be tough; you may run out of breath at times; the path is steep and rocky.

You might want to rest for a bit but don't give up. You are nearly there.

And when you reach the summit, that exhilaration will make it all worth it.  As the wind caresses your face and glides through your body, the pain vanishes and all that's left is that supreme sense of calm.

Remember - there's a hand to hold and a voice to guide. I know you are there beside me taking me through all of the troubled times; a simple hug makes all the difference. I know you've held my hand when the going got tough; I mouth a silent prayer for all those moments that you've been there with me and for those that you'd be in the years to come. Thank you for making the uphill climb interesting and relatively easy.

Image courtesy: Internet



Tuesday, 23 April 2013

T for Twirl

As a little girl, I always loved twirling my long skirts and frocks and gaze in surprise at the umbrella it turned into. That childhood fascination with twirls, I realized, never went away. I didn't quite wear skirts later on but that never stopped me from performing a small twirl every now and then. A few months ago, I'd bought a red salsa skirt (not that I do salsa) and as I wore it the urge to twirl was so much I couldn't resist twirling a bit even when I was at work.

A twirl is that childish pleasure; a sense of freedom as you inhale that whiff of air; a sense of joy and happiness as you hold his hand and twirl around and smile that smile that's worth everything in life!

Image courtesy: Internet

Monday, 22 April 2013

S for Soliloquy

This was a word I was made aware of an year ago. I was at a friend's place making dinner. I opened the refrigerator door and was fishing out some tomatoes and onions. And as usual, I was talking to myself. My friends who were in the living room thought I was saying something to them. :-)

Soliloquy is a Shakespearean usage, where the characters talk to themselves or to others characters in a lengthy monologue, in an attempt to make the audience aware of the emotions or feelings.

The act of talking to oneself does not indicate madness. It's a means of venting out or even thinking aloud and many a time, I find that it helps to talk out aloud. That said, do not attempt it all the time lest people start thinking you are crazy :-)

Image courtesy: Guardian. A photo mimic of Velásquez's Rokeby Venus.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

R for Romance

A highly misinterpreted and misconstrued word, this one! Romance does not mean sex. Romance is him whispering in your ear that he has an appetite for something else. Romance is not buying a gold ring and taking you out to an expensive lunch. Romance is giving a hug from behind when you are in the kitchen sweating it out. Romance is not the passionate dance but the soft kiss on moonlit night. Romance is not when he professes undying love for you. Romance is when you know he loves you by his simple actions. Romance is the soft peck on the forehead; it is the understanding when things don't go right; the simple squeezing of your hands when things aren't looking up; that simple nod and a smile; Romance is not buying that box of godiva chocolates but the simple gesture of making you smile when you cry.

Romance is a prelude to love and is an extension of love. Romance is you.

Image courtesy: mobile9.com

Friday, 19 April 2013

Q for Quiet

Having lived in the city, I always long for some quiet time and a quiet place. Most times, I look for it outside; the early mornings in the park or those late evenings near the sea shore, the only sound being the chirping of the birds or the swishing and crashing of the waves. On those rare occasions that I get to my senses, I realize that this quiet can be found within the soul. Even amidst the noisiest of places, if you can quieten your senses, the mind calms down and the quiet soars. Look deep inside and there's a sense of nothing, a calm, a quiet, a force that'll guide you through troubles times.

How do you find your quiet spot?

Photo courtesy: Vinod Velayudhan


Thursday, 18 April 2013

P for Pink

I know many women who don't like to be associated with the color pink claiming it's too girly. I have no such qualms. I love the color, its various shades and hues, the soothing feel of the satin pink, the bright cotton candy pink, the pink of the early morning / late evening sky and the soft pink of a baby's feet.

That said, I don't own a pink wardrobe :-) Someone gifted me a pink (OK it was more mauve, but it's the thought that counts) wallet knowing my penchant for this color and I refused to throw it away until I got another pink one. Once I was about to board a bus and the bus was pink in color. My yoga mat is pink, my chair cushion is pink. But I'd never buy a pink car or wear pink lipstick My walls are not pink but my ottoman is.

And the highlight of it all was when someone gifted me a pink knife, knowing my love for the kitchen and pink! #happiness

What's your take on pink?


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

O for OM

Note: This post is inspired after reading Susan Taylor's post on Namaste

The vibrations of the sound of Om is by far the most mysterious and sacred. I was taught, as part of my Art of Living course, to chant long OM 3 long times as soon as I wake up. Day 1, I didn't quite realize the implications. On day 6 though, not only did the sound come naturally to me but I could feel my entire being at peace and the sound of this mystical word reverberating through my body.

There are various meanings and connotations to this word. The word Om (or AUM) is the beginning of sound - with A not touching your lips / tongue and ends with M pursing your lips. The U rolls from the pit of the stomach and completes the formation of the first sound that incorporates your complete body and soul before pronouncing this.

This post is also indirectly related to Nothingness.

What's your experience with OM Chanting?

Image courtesy: http://www.clipart.dk.co.uk


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

N for Nothingness

Nothing is the absence of something. It could be anything but when that anything is not there, it leaves a void. That empty feeling, that nothingness, ironically weighs heavy. How can nothing be heavy?

That empty feeling when the loved one has to go away for a while is one such experience. The house feels alone, empty and quiet. The heart is empty and yearns for that morning hug. The bed, the couch, hell even the kitchen feels empty. That nothingness sucks.

Sometimes the mere shifting around on the bed even in the deepest sleep brings this near-empty feeling and you reach out to see if he's there. That reassurance brings a deep sigh.

At some level, this nothingness brings you closer to the cosmos. The deep meditation techniques bring you one with nature. At that point, nothingness becomes light & weightless. You are free from all worries; the universe takes care of you. Living in the moment of nothingness brings you closer to that moment that you've been searching for all your life. Nothingness is also termed as Absolute or Nirvana.

What do you perceive nothingness as?

Image source: http://www.hope24seven.com/


Monday, 15 April 2013

M for Mills and Boon

When I think of romance and happily-ever-after, Mills and Boon is what comes to mind. I do know many of you shy away from discussing this although you might have secretly placed a copy of one of these in between the school books. The epitome of romance NOT, but surely what every teen age girl loved to read.

A rugged handsome guy and the petite (or not too sexy and virgin) girl, a cow boy, a ranch, an orphan kid, a few puppies, a money-is-the-only-concern fiance / fiancee, a Vegas trip, getting-married-in-drunken-stupor-and-getting-pregnant - there you have your story line. Throw in bit of lust and sex here and there and you have written your first Mills and Boon story. Of course, there has to be a scarred past and some emotional barrier too.

All of this gives hope, a secret world where we believe that miracles still happen. As much it might be fantasy, there's a little amount of truth in there. It's these small things, those subtle realizations, those tiny bits of happiness, the hope that someday we'd meet the love of our life who'll sweep us off our feet, those wee surprises that keep our lives going.

How many of you have read at least one book of Mills and Boon / Harlequin Series? Out with the truth :-) I still do.

Image courtesy: The Guardian



Saturday, 13 April 2013

L for Lee Child

Lee Child is one of my favorite authors and he sure deserves a separate post. I've always enjoyed crime and thriller fiction and a few years ago my best friend graciously allowed me to borrow a few books to save me from boredom. The first one from that lot that caught my attention was Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child. I was hooked, to say the least. The lead character Jack Reacher became my favorite hero of all times. After I read that book, I hit the book store with a vengeance and collected all of his books.

Lee Child is the pen name of the British Author Jim Grant.  I've now read all of his Jack Reacher series and been crazy enough to pre-order new releases the moment Landmark makes the announcement.

Recently, one of his books - One Shot - was made into a full length feature film starring Tom Cruise. I wondered if Tom would be able to do justice to this legendary character and was genuinely surprised to see him portray this character with aplomb.

The next book - Never go back - will be released in Sep 2013. A perfect birthday gift.

If you haven't read Lee Child, please go pick up TripWire to begin with. I promise, you won't be disappointed.

This post is dedicated to my fellow Lee Child fans - you know who you are :-)

Image courtesy: Wikipedia



Friday, 12 April 2013

K for Kiss

That microsecond when your neck is expecting a kiss..
...is the most sensuous. A whiff of mild breeze ruffled her hair; she looked up and smiled coyly.

His words rang in her ears "A picture is worth a thousand words, but a kiss is worth a million!"

He was about to kiss her that evening.

That kiss which would have spoken a million words, that one kiss which would have told her she was still desirable despite the sleepy look, that kiss which she would have wanted to go on forever, that kiss, that she still regrets, didn't happen, and the one kiss that would have stirred and awakened the dormant woman in her!

As she stood, looking out the window reminiscing that moment, a rain drop fell on her lips. She felt him pushing her hair away and plant a soft kiss on her neck! She blushed, smiled and turned; there was no one but her imagination running riot. Her cheeks flushed; warm blood ran through her.

Clouds opened up and the rains lashed.

He wanted to kiss her, not for that moment, but forever. She made him feel alive. He couldn't forget that moment, when she was so near, yet so far, almost vulnerable. That almost-kiss, that moment was gone and will always be remembered as a missed kiss; but he wanted to smother her in a million more.


He couldn't stop thinking about her; if only he had kissed her, that would have been much more intoxicating than the drink he held to his lips.


That kiss that she would have wanted again and again and again, that kiss that would have spoken volumes of the desire of the man kissing her, that kiss that would have made her melt in his arms.

Ah just one kiss, and the world would have spun! She would have held him for dear life, reciprocating with the same passion and desire, something she didn't realize, at that point, existed.

His lips drew into a smile, waiting for the moment, when he'd be able to take her in his arms again, and again... and again... and kiss her senseless!

Image courtesy: Goodreads.com



Thursday, 11 April 2013

J for Jillu

This is a character from a movie very close to my heart. A best friend, an excellent musician, the innocent girl with a brilliant sense of humor and down-to-earth simplicity - this character, played by Manorama, has all the qualities of a supporting artiste. A well etched and well analyzed character, Jillu is the best friend of the lead character in the movie. She not only helps relieve his stress but also helps him understand his ego and unites him with his lady love. A true symbol of friendship and character is displayed by Jillu at various junctures.

I've watched his movie a million times and yet each time when this character appears, I somehow lose myself in her charm and wit.

Movie credit: Thillana Mohanambal
Artiste: Manorama
Character Name: Jil Jil Ramamani. 

This blog is named after this character, for it has inspired me in more ways than one. 

Photo courtesy: The Hindu

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Tantra - A book review

A quick note about the the author of this book: Adi, a Harvard MBA graduate, seems to want to reclaim the love for his land and his passion for writing through this book.


Anu, a vampire hunter, from New York, descends in India in search of not just her roots but also the killer who was responsible for killing the only man she ever came close to marrying. As she prowls on the streets of Delhi, (and it may perhaps carry a relevance here in the light of recent unsafe events that have been happening in the capital), she encounters another guardian angel Amit who helps her.

Anu is a strong character, modern in thoughts yet traditional in her roots. Her love for her man was so strong that she was unable to forget it for a long time. Her tender heart and soft demeanor make you wonder if she’s really the tough person she is but the way she bounces back so quickly shows the character’s grit and determination. Her outfits have been brilliantly thought of; however the leather in the hot Delhi seemed a tad out of place. However, this was nicely offset by making the aunt suggest cotton.

The book also talks about astra, mantra and tantra which form the base on Indian mythology and religion. The lovely way in which this has been integrated with the modern times has to be lauded. If you love tantric concepts and have a fascination for Indian mythology and tantras, you can most definitely read this book.

A subtle romance, vengeance, emotions, superstitions, God, religion, fight sequences, and not to forget references from the Bhagavad Gita - which simply says - Do your Duty and results will follow make this an interesting read. Having said that, there are places where the pace goes down a bit, especially where Anu and Amit's banter goes overboard.

This book a great blend of various factors that constitute a one-non-stop read. There are aspects you tend to miss out on the first read and when you read it again, quite a few things become clear; especially the parts where Dr Sharma emphasizes the concepts of Astra.

I may not have picked it off the shelf from a book store but given that I have had a taste of what this book has given me, I could perhaps browse for more of such genres.

A great first attempt.


The author's page is at https://www.facebook.com/dearAdipage/

A big thanks to Blogadda for the opportunity to review this book.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program  for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!


I for Idli

This quintessential South-Indian breakfast has never ceased to amaze me. With just 2 ingredients (not including salt and water), the light and fluffy rice-lentil cake is a daily breakfast in almost all South-Indian households.

Kids (oh and many adults too) love it with ghee and sugar and restaurants often serve a platter of the Idli with a variety of chutneys and sambhar (tamarind lentil sauce). The mini idlis served in a bowl full of sambhar, topped with a little ghee is lip-smackingly awesome.

With so many variations like the rava idli and oats idli, one is sure spoilt for choices. The vada makes a perfect accompaniment to this platter. The left over batter is used to make dosa (Indian crepe), or the kuzhi paniyaram, or add vegetables to make a healthier version of the idli. The left over idlis themselves can be chopped, seasoned and made into idli upma / idli chaat / fried idli / idli manchurian and what not!

My perfect choice would be the spiced chilli lentil powder with a generous dash of gingelly oil.

What's your favorite side dish for the idli? :-)


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

H for Hope

When all else fails, Hope is the only thing that keeps us going - the hope that there'll be a light at the end of the tunnel, that the sufferings will soon vanish, that the pain will get better, that the tears will transform into smiles, that the prayers will be answered, that some day the soul will rest in peace.

Here's to you all for clinging on to that Hope that's going to see us through - a sincere wish and a silent prayer from me to you!

Quoting a few lines from one of my favorite songs:

So I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands to pray
To be only yours
I pray to be only yours
I pray to be only yours
I now know, you're my only HOPE



Light, Prayer and Hope

Monday, 8 April 2013

G for Goofy

One of my favorite Walt Disney characters, this fellow happens to be Mickey and Donald's best friend. Often characterized as nutty, less intelligent and dumb, Goofy has had some poignant moments interacting with his son Max!

There have been quite a few arguments on why this character is treated as a human while Mickey's pet Pluto, is a normal household dog, considering both Goofy and Pluto belong to the canine species!

Who's your favorite Disney character?

Image courtesy: Wikipedia



Saturday, 6 April 2013

F for French Braid

I'd wanted to do a F for Fitness post but realized this was more fun, partly because of a friend who loves women in French braid (Tresse Française) and partly because of other friends who want to rag this friend and partly because of popular demand! :)

This not-so-easy hair do makes a woman look stylish and chic. Especially the summer months calls for a hair style that holds the hair without them plastering all over the face. And more so, on a bad-hair day. I usually wear my hair like this for workouts and long walks.

The Indian "pai-pinnal", typically worn after a hair wash, on wet hair, is a variation of this French Braid.

I dedicate this post to Sriram Acharya. To all my fellow CBCians, start music! Cheers.

Image courtesy: Wikihow

Friday, 5 April 2013

E for Elephant

What's the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of these majestic beasts?

A blessing from an elephant at any temple that I go to. Drop a coin in its trunk and it'll graciously bless you by gently tapping your head as you bow down. That said, there's always this small nagging feeling somewhere at the bottom of the heart - the feeling that wonders if the elephant will trample you (just like it trampled my favorite poet Mahakavi Subrahmanya Bharathiyar). But this has never stopped me from enjoying the childish pleasure of being blessed by this huge creature.

The elephant at the Pondicherry Manakula Vinayagar Temple, in her younger days, used to love Fanta and Pepsi. Now that she's getting older, we've been requested not to feed her anything as her tummy gets upset too soon! A funny incident that I always think of when I go near an elephant is what happened to a cousin at the Sri Ramanujar Temple, SriPerumpudur. As she bowed down to this mighty beast (her name is Kodhai - the elephant I mean), Kodhai showered my cousin with a er... huge sneeze.

How many of you love and enjoy the experience of being blessed by an elephant?

Image courtesy: Sowrirajan s (Flickr: Elephant) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons



Thursday, 4 April 2013

D for Dharma

I quote from the Bhagavd Gita here - A book that I refer to when I need guidance. (Oh there are other books too - Bharathiyar Kavidhaigal for instance). There are various verses in this brilliant text and I quote here one of my favorites.

Yadha Yadha Hi Dharmasya
Glanir Bhavathi Bharatha |
Abhyuthaanam Adharmasya
Thadhatmanam Srijami Aham ||

Parithraanaaya Saadhoonam
Vinashaya Cha Dhushkritam |
Dharmasanstapnaya
Sambhavaami Yuge Yuge ||


When righteousness (Dharma) fails (or declines) and the unrighteousness (adharma) is on the rise, I will descend upon the Earth. 

For the protection of the good and destruction of evil, and to stabilize Dharma, I will be born in every Yuga. 

Image courtesy: Wikipedia


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

C for Cat

I know we all have been taught this in kindergarten when we started learning A for apple. So what's it about cats? I don't hate cats. But I don't love them either. This fur ball has a mind of its own and wanders away, coming back only when the hunger pangs strike.

A relative had 5 cats, all of which ran away one fine day. They don't yearn for their master (for that matter, the cats own you, and you will end up yearning for them).

As cute as these creatures are, they are the ones associated with varied superstitions, good ones and bad ones. Black cats were hailed in Egypt, they were wedding presents to the bride, a lucky charm for new ventures, a symbol of fertility and safe travels and what not! But then, this tiny creature is also known to sniff out souls of little babies (and hence 9 lives for a cat)

But why did I choose cat for today's blog? I owe this topic to a book I finished reading couple of weeks ago - Kafka On The Shore. Interesting, is perhaps a very small word to explain how this book was. The lead character in this book is able to talk to cats as he goes about finding lost cats. The cats are also able to have a sane conversation with this man. Weird, NOT. This book actually made me go online and look for a lot of cat superstitions. Just google and you can find plenty!

I end this post with a question: If I cross the cat's path before it crosses mine, is it good luck for me? ;-)

Image courtesy: Wikipedia




Tuesday, 2 April 2013

B for Bharathanatyam

Bharatanatyam is the dance of Lord Shiva, an art form originated in TamilNadu, a refurbished version of an ancient dance form - sadhir. This dance form is known for its grace and poise. Each movement is based on Bhavam, Ragam and Talam (and hence the Bha-ra-ta-Natyam). In the days of kings and queens, the thasis (or the courtesans) were required to be trained extensively in this art form. What was earlier meant to be performed at temples slowly became a court performance for the kings, and later became an art form that spread far and wide.

There are 5 major dance forms, which are the manifestations of the pancha bootham. The Bharatanatyam is a manifestation for fire, while Kuchipudi is that of the earth, Kathakali for sky, Mohiniaattam for air and Odissi for water. As with any other aspect of the universe, the Bharatanatyam also has the masculine form - the thandavam and the feminine form - lasya (grace).


The Kalakshetra, a prominent dance school in Chennai, was set up by Rukmini Arundale in 1936 and this helped train men too!

The Bharatanatyam was made popular and even a layman learnt to appreciate this art and that credit goes to the movies. And the video below is one of my favorites, a dedication to a brilliant actor and dancer.


Monday, 1 April 2013

A for Anarkali

*This blog is part of the A-Z Challenge - Apr 2013*

Legends always impress & interest me. The stories of princes and princesses, kings and queens, stories of their love, passion, war and grandeur has me hooked. I have grown up listening to stories of everlasting love, of brave warriors fighting for their land, of rich palaces, of plots, of revenge and of victory of good over evil. As much as I loved happy endings, I also began to understand the greatness of power, the strength of emperors in wreaking havoc, the helplessness of young lovers and the beautiful tales woven with intricate finery.

Indian heritage is famous for legends. One such and my favorite is that of Anarkali, literally translating to the pomegranate blossom.

The love story of the court dancer Anarkali and Salim, son of Emperor Akbar always had me wondering if this is how true love would be! The beautiful-beyond-words courtesan and the handsome prince fell in love, only to be separated later. She was a commoner and he was a prince - naturally, this relationship would never be approved. Yet, emotions rode high, for the couple were in love, a love so deep that he would have done anything to be with his beloved, including raising an army to fight with his father.

Finally, power reigned supreme. The delicate flower was crumpled under the heavy shoes of politics and power. She was supposedly walled alive, with the prince not allowed even a glimpse of his lady-love.

There are other variations to this legend, some that claim that she was rescued and later married the prince, and some that claim that her release was obtained on the promise that she'd never set eyes on the prince again. All this said, her love for the prince was true and beyond any doubt.

Anarkali, the beautiful maiden who lost her life in quest for true love, will always remain a favorite.

*image courtesy: wikipedia

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Light & Hope

This post is part of The Chennai Bloggers Club's Wordless Wednesday series initiated to keep the spirit of blogging alive and challenging.





Sunday, 3 March 2013

Serene Sunday - A time to be!

*This post is part of The Chennai Bloggers Club's Serene Sunday series initiated to keep the spirit of blogging alive and challenging.*

Weekdays are usually rushed and I'd hate it when the alarm goes off. On a Sunday though, it's completely different. Despite the fact that I'd have planned to sleep in, I always find myself waking up at the crack of dawn.

There's hardly any traffic. It's a quiet morning.

With a cup of strong filter kaapi, I sit in the balcony. Birds chirp away and I watch the sun cast its rays across the buildings and filter through the trees. The MS amma rendition of Venkatesa Suprabadham transcends the distance from the temple yonder.

I wouldn't trade this time for anything in the world - a time to absorb all the positive energy the universe has to offer, a time to be and to know that there's a dawn as beautiful as this at the end of every night!

To be continued by a not-so-maniac-Monday! ;-)




Tuesday, 19 February 2013

CBC - Valentine's Day - Chapter 8 - Destiny

This is a chain love story, as a part of CBC Valentine's Day celebrations. Chapter 7 was written by Kalyan Varadarajan - a photography enthusiast, lazy sleep loving lad and a gadget freak. He blogs here -  http://kalyanb4u.wordpress.com/  and the previous chapters can be read here.

*****************

Frankfurt, Germany

"Please fasten your seat belts. We will be landing shortly" - The announcement from the pilot brought a smile to her dull face. She was going to see her elder sister and her favorite aunt. Two people who were her best buddies in her growing up years. The family feud had to be resolved. That was number 1 priority on her list. Guru, Varun and the whole world can wait.  Little did she know that her whole world would shortly revolve around Guru.

Ahalya smiled as she walked through the terminal. Her aunt and uncle were waiting. She quickened her pace and shortly broke into a run, straight into her aunt's waiting arms. The tears spoke volumes of her hidden emotions.

Chennai, India

Meanwhile, Guru was still absorbing the news his manager had hurled at him. Sweden! Blasted Sweden! He batted his eyelids and looked around. He pinched himself but didn't feel a thing. And so, he pinched his friend, Varun.

"Ouch. That hurts"

"Well, yeah was just wondering if I am dreaming, is this real or am I dreaming in reality, else is this reality a dream"

"Duh! You just sound like DiCaprio auditioning for a sequel to Inception"

Guru looked at Varun blankly. He blinked and then smiled the smile that housed a thousand hidden meanings. He had to leave in 3 weeks, which would mean, he quickly calculated, Ahalya would have finished her Frankfurt trip and settled comfortably in Sweden. Sweet-Den. Perfect. The meaning of the smile was exponential now.


Frankfurt, Germany

Ahalya settled on the couch, feet tucked in, flicking the channels mindlessly. Here she was in a comforting place. yet, robotic were her actions

"Aggiiieeee....."

Ahalya broke off from her reverie. There was only person who ever called her like that. Her sister. She propelled off the couch and ran to the door pulling her sister into the biggest ever hug possible.

Chennai, India

Guru was excited and nervous. He had never felt this way, not even with Geetha. Now, why would she enter his thoughts, he mused. As he lay down on his bed, his arms folded under his head, his thoughts rewound a few years.

She was his first love or so he had thought. It was almost as if Geetha and he were destined for each other ever since she was born. They were neighbors and family friends. Their parents even joked about getting them married off to each other. As years went by, the kid who used to tag him along and dog his every step grew into the most beautiful maiden he'd ever seen. He was a boy in his teens, the age when everything seemed rosy and fresh. A girl always became the hot topic of conversation among friends.

Geetha was extraordinarily beautiful. Those sparkling big eyes, the heart shaped lips and a figure an hour glass would lust for was not lost on him. He had always fantasized kissing those luscious lips.

Eventually he did but he didn't feel a thing. Nothing, zilch, nada. There was no passion, emotion, fireworks and he'd wondered why.

And now, he knew. It was a lust filled fantasy. The heart that had so beautifully shaped her lips failed to fill his with love. The only strange feeling on the breakup was losing a long time fantasy.

He felt free. His heart was light, with a warm feeling in his chest that wanted to take flight as he thought about Ahalya. Was this love? In his heart, he knew it had to be. But he wanted to be sure. He didn't want to make a mistake again. Ahalya was too sweet a girl to be just a snack. That fleeting yet poignant moment in the airport, he had wanted to kiss her. Almost. So close, awkwardly close as she turned and walked away.

Frankfurt, Germany

The iPod poured the mellifluous voice into her ears and consumed all the space in her heart.

Annul mele pani thuli, Alaipaayum oru kili
Maram thedum mazhai thuli, ivai thaane ival ini
imai irandum thani thani, urakkangal urai pani
etharkaaga thadai ini!

Something snapped inside her.

Suddenly, Ahalya felt free in a long time. Her turmoil seemed to have vanished without a trace. It was almost as if someone was holding her hand and guiding her. She logged on to Facebook and was all smiles when Guru's news feed popped in first. His status message read "Dreams are real... :-) " Very cryptic!

She pinged him on gmail.

Ahalya: Hey! What's with the cryptic status message?

He immediately responded.

Guru: Heyyyyy! :-) How's Germany treating you?

Ahalya: :-) All well. I feel a lot better. How have you been?

Guru: Good good. Aunt, uncle, sis - all good?

Ahalya: Yes yes, everyone good. Now tell me, what's that status message of yours?

Guru: Oh, nothing. Just something I read somewhere :-)

Ahalya: Uh Oh. Okay. Not like I believe that, but if you say so! ;-)

Guru: Ha ha. You know, I was thinking, it's been just a couple of days since you left. But it sure feels like a long time.

Ahalya: Yep! Feels like it's been eons since I had that coffee with you.

Guru: What's an eon but a spec in a lifetime!

Ahalya: Whoa! Profound! That spec seems too long when you aren't around!

"Agieeeee... Lunch.." yelled her sister

"Coming.... "

Ahalya: Gotta go. Lunch time.

Guru: bye bye! Bon Appetit.

Ahalya: :-) See ya!

Guru: Hey...

Ahalya: ?

Guru: Nothing.... carry on. Just that.. Can we get on skype tomorrow? same time?

Ahalya: :-) :-) :-)

Ahalya is offline. Messages you send will be delivered when Ahalya comes online.


-To be continued by gils aka atcharam pisagaamal altogether pisagi pona agmark gemini :D:D aka Vidhyasankar Ravindran. He blogs at http://supershanki.blogspot.in/. Suffice to say that he has penned a whole new series of F.R.I.E.N.D.S ;-)


Thursday, 14 February 2013

All it takes....

Heart shaped cakes, cards, cookies, offers for lunches, dinners - the marketing is all out in full flow. The prices are exorbitant, people go crazy and the Facebook feed is filled with Happy Valentine's Day messages in various forms. Even the Google doodle ain't spared!

Amidst all this meaningless melee, a quiet time, a warm hug, unspoken words, dreamy eyes, the laughter and a gentle kiss are those that make some of the perfect moments in life.

The last few weeks have been stressed out. I just wanted to curl up and go back to bed. But, there's nothing to beat this well-worn over-sized soft tee-shirt (God knows where this tee was all this while and it was almost magical when it appeared in my wardrobe today - just when I needed a hug) and a mug of hot chocolate. With the morale boosted, I now tuck my feet and watch one of my favorite movies of all times - One Fine Day.

Sometimes, all it takes is just one small thing. None of those fine dinners, not the expensive jewelry, not the exotic travel. Sometimes all it takes is just one moment in your arms!

Here's to you, to me and to us - Happy days ahead! Cheers!




Monday, 7 January 2013

Vintage Car Rally - Red Line Automotives

When Tas Aunty asked if we wanted to go for the car rally that Ayub Uncle and Feroze were organizing, we jumped at the offer. Now, who'd say no to seeing these timeless beauties.

We were supposed to tail these pretty things all the way to Mahabalipuram, but the timing was way off and we ended up reaching Mahabalipuram, in the Grand Vitara, about 45 minutes before these cars.

There were 5 cars in all - 2 beetles (one in a bright fanta color that took my fancy), 1 Pontiac, 1 Ford Fairlane and 1 Valiant. (Oh I just took some lessons from S this morning :D) The beetles (the car, not the band - it's spelt Beatles) always had their engines at the back. The Ford Fairlane has twin headlights and the Pontiac is an OLD car that has an egg shaped bonnet. And he also feels that the Pontiac must have been the most challenging one to restore.

On that note, Ayub Uncle (2001 National Champion - JK Tyre National Championships) and Feroze Khan (2012 National Champion) run Red Line Automotives, a luxury car garage in Poonamallee, Chennai. The father-son duo have done quite a bit in pursuing their passion and restoring these cars.

The pit stop was at Butter Ball Bed and Breakfast. Butterball is the rock that stands (or sits?) without any support on the hillock, and because it looks like a ball of butter that Lord Krishna ate, this is known as the butter ball.

Post lunch, the ladies decided to a quick hillock climb and photo shoot at the Butterball and Trimurti Temple. Been ages since I had such fun!

What a drive it was - back and forth - avoiding accidents, commenting on everything around us and simply laughing like nut cases - I guess this was a much needed break for all of us!

It was a Sunday well spent in the company of cars and people I love to be with. And, it was great to have finally met Anjum, the diamond girl ;-)

Avanthi, Aarti and I ended the evening with dinner at Crimson Chakra (and for once I skipped the elaneer souffle and ate the warm and indulgent chocolate cake with ice cream)