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)