Thursday, January 20, 2011

A pup more precious than my grandfather!!!!!

‘Death’ is a word I don't like. I hate hearing about deaths.... be it a relative, or a friend or an acquaintance or any stranger. I find the news of deaths very disturbing.

The first time I heard about death was that of my maternal grandfather. My first memory of my grandfather was a relaxing old man on the easy chair with a fan made of palm leaves in his hand fanning occasionally. I remember him as a very fair man with brown eyes and scanty hair. He wore black ‘soda’ spectacles. The first time (that I can remember) I visited my maternal grandparents I refused to enter the house as that was not the kind of house I expected. I created a big scene and my grandfather tried to console me.(After all I was a grandchild who had come from a foreign land!!!) I was an obstinate brat that I refused to budge an inch. I still don’t know how I gave in. My grandfather was a very dominant man who enjoyed good food.

The next picture I have about him is not a good one. He had a stroke and was paralyzed. He could not talk. I can remember him lying down and had found streams of tears flowing down when he was fed by my grandma. (He was given just boiled vegetables with no salt). I had no particular attachment to him. By the time I was big enough to understand things he was bed ridden. My grandfather passed away after three long years in bed. I was in the boarding and it was a week later that I knew of his death. I don’t know why I was not taken for the funeral. Maybe I did not have a significant role in other people’s lives. I never cried when I heard about his death. I had a detached feeling..

The next death was that of my aunt. She died of septicemia. As I had met her only once her death passed of without any feelings.

While I was doing my second year degree my paternal grandfather passed away. He was a very handsome man. He was tall and sturdy….like an aged hero out from the Mills and Boon novels. He visited us once a month and updated us with the latest news of other relatives. The last time I met him he looked frail. In a week’s time he died due to old age. I was not allowed to go for the funeral. The reason for leaving me back at home was that there was no one to look after the German shepherd pup!!!!! I wanted to have a last look at my grandpa but I was to stay at home. I was really hurt. Was a pup more precious than a human being?????!!!! As a grandchild I had every right to go for the funeral. But in our house looking after the pup was more important than paying the last respects to my grandfather!!!!

After this I have seen and heard about deaths of my friends. Some died in accidents while some due to diseases. There were friends who committed suicides. Certain deaths affected my life. All the dreams, hopes and aspirations that were built shattered in no time. It took some time for me to realize that dreams could be trampled in no time. I realized that life was not what I thought. It was totally different. Never dream. It brings a lot of tears and sorrow if it is not fulfilled.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Edaa Nikhileeeeeee........ I loveeee youuu

This afternoon as I got out of the staff room I saw two little girls of the UP section carefully keeping the milk that they got on the window pane. The milk was in their round steel lunch boxes. I stood on the first floor watching the girls. One of them was a good looking little girl wearing a head scarf and the other was a sweet little girl. Both of them had water in their water bottle – one had a green 7Up bottle while the other had a Coco Cola bottle. Instead of pouring off the water, both of them drank it. It looked as though they did not want to waste the water unnecessarily. Then they were cooling the milk. After that, they poured it into a steel tumbler and emptied it into their bottles. They were taking it home.

Probably they were carrying it home to give the milk their younger ones or parents. They were very thoughtful. I somehow had an instant liking for the girls who thought so much about their people at home. Selfless children are a rare breed these days. The children went back to their places and then I could not see them.

Soon after that, there was an inaugural function in school. Students and staff assembled and the function went off well. The guests of honours were given bouquets – wonderful bouquets with red roses. After the function the dignitaries left the bouquets on the stage and walked off. I saw students rushing to the stage to grab the bouquets.

I came out of the school gate waiting for my husband to pick me up. I saw many boys having a rose each in their hands. Suddenly I heard a voice,

“Edaa Nikhileeeeeee....... I loveeee youuu.”

I turned and saw the same little girl in the head scarf screaming out from the school bus at a boy who had a rose. This boy gave her a sweet smile and he saw me. His smile vanished and he was in a very uncomfortable position. I was standing there not knowing whether to smile and to glare at them (being a teacher I can’t afford to smile at this). I found it very sweet and romantic. (I can see the frowning face of yours :P). The little girl wanted the flower and the easiest way was to propose to the boy, even if she didn't mean it. The boy's face beamed (after all a very pretty girl was proposing!!!) and looked as though he was ready to part with the rose. To his bad luck, I was there looking at him. He must have cursed me as I played the role of the villain (swargathile katturumbu). He could not hand over the flower to his “girl love”.

By then my husband reached and I left the scene leaving the kids there. I do not know what happened after that. Children are changing!!!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Live like a king, if not end everything

When I am typing this I’m not sure what my feelings are. Am I angry??? Or frustrated???? Or irritated???? Or am I feeling miserable????? I think I am undergoing all these at one go that I feel like ending everything.

This morning I had to go for my routine blood check up. It showed my blood sugar was high (in spite of taking medicines) and so was my cholesterol level. The doctor told me to stop eating sausages, pork, beef, mutton, mayonnaise,eggs, cheese, butter, shell fish, prawns, fried food, and pastries and of course sugar. I was supposed to reduce the intake of rice too. I was wondering what was left for me to eat???? I gave him a miserable look and he gave me a sweet smile in turn.

By the time I left the hospital it was lunch time. We went to a restaurant for lunch. When I decided to order for American Chopsuey There was a big “NO” from my husband and he scolded me. I immediately declared that I was not going to have lunch. He said it was alright even if I didn’t have my lunch. I felt very bad. I was angry and at the same time very sad too. I wanted to end my life there.

I know I have to control my diet but I won’t tolerate anyone putting restrictions on me. I always believe that one has to live like a king till the very end. I hate leading a life of do’s and don’ts. I hate people keeping on telling me that I am sick and that I am to keep away from all good food.

I tried hard to control my tears (My ego of course!!!) and I succeeded in that. I just kept quiet for the entire lunch, on my journey home and even for dinner time. I decided this afternoon that I was going to starve until death.

What is the point of living like this???? Why should I sacrifice my life like this???? For whom am I living for???? Will anyone lose if I end my life?????? I don’t think anyone is going to miss me. Relationships are all materialistic, right??????

Many good things have been snatched away from me and I have sacrificed many things too. I have decided that I am not going to allow people to interfere in my liking. I am already frustrated with my job and now even my life is becoming miserable. May be very soon I’ll put an end to this life itself. I AM THOROUGHLY FED UP WITH LIFE!!!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011


A few days back my husband got a phone call from one of his childhood friend’s wife saying that she wanted some money urgently. She said that her husband was in the hospital with festered foot and there was swelling up to his knees. He is diabetic.

My husband and this friend, Xavi (name changed) were classmates in school. They were together for everything, be it good or bad. Xavi came from a financially backward family. Xavi did not complete his school as learning was only secondary for him. He later went to the Persian Gulf in search of an employment. He did not succeed in finding one. He came back to Kerala and led a very reckless life. When time came for marriage it was difficult to find a suitable girl for Xavi. Thanks to his reputation!!! It took many years for him to find a bride. Finally he married an issue less widow. He earned his living from a vegetable shop which was run by him. He was leading quite a happy life.

Around five years back we heard he had diabetes. One year back two of his toes were amputated. Now he is in the hospital waiting for the amputation of his leg.

Now coming back, his wife wanted money. I felt my husband should give him what ever help he needed. Finally the next day when Xavi’s wife rang up my husband asked her to come and collect the money. She said that she was in the hospital and she was not in a position to leave Xavi alone. She said she would ask her son to collect the money. It was around 9:30 pm that her son came to collect the money. He took the money and instead of going home he walked in the opposite direction. My husband asked him as to where he was going and his reply was heart rendering.

“Aharam medikan pokuva,” [“Going to buy food”]
“Entha? aharam kazhichille ithu vere?” [“Why? Didn’t you have your food so long?”]
“Illa uncle. Randu divasam ayi njangal aharam kazhichittu,” [“No Uncle. It is two days since we had food”] replied the boy

It was really sad. A tenth standard boy and his younger brother were starving with no food at home and no one knew about it. I felt really bad. I am a person who hates to keep left over food in the refrigerator. I make it a point to throw away the excess food in order to keep the kitchen and refrigerator clean. When I was throwing away food, there were two children five houses away starving. I felt very guilty. My sister-in-law always tells me there was so much national waste at my place. I have never taken her seriously. I realized that it was very true. I was under the impression that there was no poverty in our locality. I had no clear idea about the people living there. I realized that there are people living in abject poverty. I learnt that it is not possible to judge people from their external appearance. I also learnt not to waste food or splurge money unnecessarily.

Two days back I heard that Xavi’s leg was amputated up to his knee. I have no idea as to how his family is going to survive. Wonder what will become of his children. I sincerely hope that there will be magnanimous people who will help him instead of contributing to the church and charismatic preachers!!!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I admire her

It was my mother-in-law’s third death anniversary. She died on a January due to septicemia. For nearly a year she suffered from kidney failure which was diagnosed as cancer towards the end and nothing could save her.

The first time I saw her was after my marriage was fixed. She came to see her only son’s would be bride and her future daughter-in-law. She was a short lady with not a strand of black hair. She wore glasses with an oval frame and very little ornaments. She was very soft spoken and was a lady with few words. She was a retired teacher. My mum took her around our house and asked her privately about the gold that they were going to give me. My mum told her that the ornaments were all mum’s and asked her if it had to be exchanged to buy new gold.

She very calmly said, "Oh…athinte avashyam illello. Ippolathe kuttikal ithu vallathum idumo?” ["There is no necessity for it. Do children these days use these ornaments?]
I was attracted by that remark of hers.

On the day of my wedding, one of my sisters-in-law called me aside and gave me a brief description about Mama. She told me that mama was a very reserved person and she was absent minded. She told me that I shouldn’t feel bad if mama did not answer to any of my questions because mama would be in a totally different world. I soon realized that my sister-in-law had given a very true picture of my mother-in-law. She was indeed absent minded. One she poured Waterbury’s compound into a meat preparation instead of soy sauce and another time she poured vinegar into a kerosene stove thinking that it was kerosene!!!!!

Mama was a non interfering person. She was always in her own world of books. She was a voracious reader and would read anything she could lay her hands upon. She was interested in English novels. If she found an interesting book she would not look up until she finished her book. She always made it a point to read a novel thrice. The first time she would read between the lines to know the story. The second time she would keep her antique light blue [rebound] Oxford English Dictionary (the pages had turned brownish yellow and would break off if one was not gentle with it) next to her and read the book. If she did not know a word she would refer the dictionary and then continue reading. The third time she read the book continuously. She used to tell me that only if you read it three times would you become thorough with it.

Mama was a good singer. She taught her grandchildren English songs that she learnt from school. Most of her grandchildren developed a flair for music and singing. She used to encourage the children to read and would often buy books for them. Mama wrote all the songs she knew in a diary and handed it over to my daughter. She taught her how to sing all the songs too.

Mama was a patient lady. When I got married I knew how to bake and cook Chinese dishes. I never knew how to cook sambar or avial or rasam or fish curry. She patiently taught me how to make sambar, avail and fish curry. Somehow rasam never penetrated into my thick skull!!!! My cooking will never come any where close to mama cooking. She was an expert cook. People still remember her for her yummy curries and lip smacking pickles.

She was not a religious person. Thanks to her convent education!!!!! She strongly protested against saying of rosary. She would justify that it was just a lip service. According to her saying one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory be to the Father piously was more than enough. She never believed in the orthodox Christian practices. She was a very broad minded person.

If I am what I am today I owe it to Mama. I can never forget what she did for me. At the time of appointment in the higher secondary we were asked to pay a certain amount of money. Since we had made a visit abroad we were not in a position to raise a big sum in a short notice. I was totally upset but never uttered a word to anyone else other than my husband. I decided to sell some of my gold. My sister was ready to buy it. Somehow mama got the hint. She told my husband that she wanted to go to my sister-in-law’s house. She went there and asked her for some money as loan. Believe me, she got the money from my sister-in-law and gave it to me!!!!

When mama's health started to fail she rang up everyone and asked them to come home for Christmas. She invited my parents too. Mama personally rang up everyone and invited them for lunch. On the 24th of December she fell down and then she found it difficult to walk. On Christmas day she had lunch with everyone. From then on there was a sudden deterioration in her health and her condition became worse and she breathed her last in the beginning of January.

For Mama funeral all her grandchildren gathered around her grave and sang “Abide with me” with tear filled eyes. The grand children showed their token of love and respect for their grandmother by singing the very same song which she had taught them as children.

Though Mama was very reserved and absent minded she was a lady with full of love and emotions. She was understanding and caring. She was never a hypocrite. She showed her dislike when she did not like something. She was truly a gem of a person and the vacuum can be felt even today.