Friday, October 22, 2010

Birthday Bash

For the past two months the buzz around my house has always been about 16th October.  You might think what is so auspicious about that date. It is nothing but my daughter's 13th birthday.  I don't think I ever realized the fact that I was entering my teenage when I turned thirteen.  My thirteenth birthday was just like any other number.  But to my daughter it is like a jewel in her crown.  She was so excited about her birthday.  She would always talk about the dress she would wear, how she would look, what gift she wanted etc.  Every time the talk about her birthday would come up my son would be boiling with fumes inside because he had five more solid years to call himself a teen.  To him it is attaining manhood--may be 25% manhood??? We told our daughter that she could have a party.  We gave her many options like bowling, movie, rock-climbing, but all these were termed as "LAME".  She wanted to do something different.  I didn't understand what that "something different" meant.  Then she told she wanted to have a combined  party with her close friend who will be burning 13 in November.  We agreed for it.

On the 15th October I was thinking that I should do something to make her happy on her birthday. Though not a mega party at least something she would remember for her life. I called two of her close friends for a sleep over. Both their moms were so nice to agree to send their daughters home for a sleepover. Sruthi told me that she had asked three of her bus friends to come over for dinner that evening. Me and my friend Chitra went and bought all the necessary things for making dinner. My husband told that we could order pizza. I wanted to make everything myself for my teenage princess. Me and Chitra made pizza, pasta, corn , beans and nachos salad, chalupaa, jamun and baked some brownies. We were on our heels for almost 4 hours. 5 of her friends were there, Gaurika,Madhulika,Monisha,Brandon,Saadhvika. Madhu's mom Rohini also had come to wish Sruthi. There was so much of noise and laughter echoing around the house. Rishi was feeling all left out. Ravi came home early and was giving company for Rishi. We couldn't figure out for what they were all laughing so much. Everyone was talking and everyone was laughing. This is what childhood innocence means. I could remember the days me and my friends would sit and laugh for anything and everything. We would laugh at a bald head-- unfortunately my dad was also bald. If someone fell we would laugh first then go to their rescue. Where has all that innocent laughter gone? I felt that the house was so full of energy and enthusiasm. Kids enjoyed the food I had cooked--thats what they told me. Rohini, Chitra and me had a good time talking. Gaurika,Monisha and Brandon left at around 10.45p.m. Later we planned to cut the cake at 12 sharp. We all sat to watch a movie.

At 11.45 p.m I got the brownie ready to be cut. Sadhvika was jumping around screaming that she would be the first one to wish Sruthi and give her a hug. Inside me I was thinking the same. The mom status prohibited me from shouting it aloud. All of us were ready for the big show. Rishi was watching a private movie inside the bedroom(he calls it like that because only he was watching the cartoon). Everybody's eyes were on the clock. The clock was ticking... 11.58.59 then 12. "Happy birthday Sruthiiiiii" screamed Sadhu first. Though I was ready for shouting I stood spellbound seeing her screaming. She gave Sruthi a big hug. I came to my senses in a jiffy and wished my little girl. Madhu and Sadhu welcomed her to the world of "Teendom". Sruthi felt like she had become eligible for so many things in her life all of a sudden.

Ravi took a break for a second and went inside the room. We were all wondering what he was about to do. To everybody's surprise he came out with something in his hand. He gave it to Sruthi. I couldn't see what it was. I could only hear Sruthi scream OMG,OMG,OMG non stop. I peeped and saw what was in her hand. It was the I Touch she had asked for. She gave Ravi a hug and jumped saying "thank you papa, thank you papa." Rishi got soo upset seeing the gift that he went inside the room and closed the door. He must have been thinking inside "Why the hell was I not born first to reach teendom?" Sruthi was in the height of her happiness. She  cherished the gift by touching it softly. She kissed it.  She held it close to her cheek.  She wanted to use the very moment.  Her friends felt happy for her. We convinced Rishi to come out of the room.  Then we all had the brownie and the photo session with Rishi's long face got done. We sat to watch the movie again. Rishi in his height of sadness went to sleep.

After the movie was over Sruthi told "Man this birthday was an "EPIC". "Thank you mama". She didn't jump around and tell me that she was happy that I took so much effort to do all this. Her excitement for the gadget was more . May be she thought it is all the part of parental package. Anyways moms are always taken for granted. It is only later in our life we realise the importance of our moms. Even then we don't take a moment to thank them for what all they did for us. Many of her friends called her to wish at that midnight. I was thinking why she was calling it an epic. Was it because of the gift she got? Or because the pain I took to organize a small party ? It was solely because her two best friends were there to share her moments of joy together with her. How much ever we try to be friendly with our kids we cannot be their friends. Friends are friends, we as parents can only imitate or pretend to be friends but cannot replace a friend . Sruthi shares with me everything but still I feel there are few things that she will share only with her friends. I felt very happy for having given her the opportunity to enjoy the special moment with her friends. What else is important in a parent's life other than to see their children be happy. We have celebrated so many birthdays but till now this has become an epic just because of the fact her friends were there when she turned a new leaf in her life book of teenage. I wish the value for friendship remains the same ever in her life as now.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Enthiran Virus

There has been this virus called Enthiran virus going around for quiet some time now.  It has spread across continents  without any boundary barriers.  It is very contagious I feel. The treatment for the virus is inside the theatres --on the screen. The treatment became available since yesterday. People are thronging to the theatres in huge numbers. I heard there were thousands of fans who slept at the gate of the theatres. It is like a religious ceremony in many places . It looked like that deepavali had already come . People were celebrating the release of the movie by bursting crackers, doing poojas , abhishekams and what not. It was resembling a total festive occassion.

  My house has also been caught with the virus . The most affected is my dear hubby.  He came late from office yesterday . I was waiting for him till 11.30 but he didn't turn up. I was wondering how come  the conferance call was taking so long? When he finally came at 11.30p.m. I asked him why he was late. He told the call went for long time and then the next words out of his mouth were that  Endhiran movie was a super hit. Now the cat was out of the bag. I knew why he was late. He has been reading through all the reviews about the movie.  He didn't have the patience to come home and read the reviews.  . Today morning he got up and was again going through the reviews. According to me you can know whether a movie is good or bad before going for the movie but reading many reviews will only make you watch the movie through other's eyes. You won't have your own perspective while watching the movie. You tend to concentrate on the details  what others' have enjoyed. I feel we should always go for a movie without any preconcieved ideas or notions.  This will help us to analyse the movie better. You may ask "what is the use of analysing a movie?. As long as it is entertaining it is fine."  Yes, when I was young my dad would never allow us to discuss about any movies once we came home  after watching the movie. It was tabooed.  But now we discuss with our kids about the movies we watch. They seem to know more about the making of movies .

 My son who generally doesn't watch Tamil movies is very much interested in watching Enthiran movie. The main reason behind his interest is that all his friends are going to watch it. He just wants it to be dubbed in English though.  We have booked the tickets for Sunday show.  Wherever you turn this is  the talk of the town.  Friends call up and ask ,"when are you going?" To some it seems to be a great previlege to watch the movie on the first day.  I personally don't like to watch any new movie on the first few days because of whistle sound and the over excitement of the so called "fans". They don't let you listen to any dialogues. I cannot enjoy a movie in such an environment. But Enthiran is an exception. The reason is, should I say because of the hype created for the movie or because of team involving the Super Star, Sankar, and Ishwarya  ? To some extent it is peer pressure also which is leading  us to watch the movie as soon as possible. Orelse you won't fit into the pack. Just to know whether the movie has met all the expectations is also one among the causes for me turning into an early bird..Hence I agreed to watch the movie on Sunday with my family. From young to old everyone is excited about the movie. To become a part of the Enthiran history I have to watch the movie ASAP. Let me wait till Sunday to watch the movie.

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Face in Face Book

"Mamma can I have a facebook account ?" my 12 year old daughter asked me when she came back from school one day. I had no idea what she meant. I asked her whether it was some kind of a book shop? Or it was something on the net that gives you beauty tips ? It sounded more like some bank account to me. She gave me a look as if I was not meant to be living in this world at that current moment . She looked at me sarcastically as if I belonged to the pre-historic age. Since I happened to be her mom she couldn't shake me to nothing. I have to admit that my computer knowledge was limited to browsing and checking my hotmail account. I was totally alien to the world of Facebook till my girl explained to me. Then I did some ground work to know how safe it was for her to have an account. Since I didn't find it secure enough for her, I told her that I would create an account for myself and that she could use it. This way I could track what she was doing too ( but she was smart enough to just look into her friends' account and not send any messages.). This is how I entered into the world of Face Book.

After I signed up in Facebook my life took a different turn. It took me few months to first figure out how to use the facebook. Till today I am not aware of many of the facebook usages. I can't imagine people having a virtual farm in "farmville". I forget to water my real plants in midst of my daily chores. How do people religiously take care of such farms? Those bumper stickers too confuse me a lot. My friends' list is very limited. I wonder how some people, that too kids of 12 , 13 years could have 500 to 600 friends. In my whole life time till today I don't think I have made friends with so many people. Does this mean I am not friendly??? or may be I am very choosy while choosing my friends. When I ask people, who have umteen number of friends in their list, how they manage so many friends? all they say is that " it is all networking". Most of such FB friendships are shallow relationships I feel. The current fashion is to have as many friends as possible in your list. I personally don't agree with this though.

Coming to the point, I also fell into the FB web even before I realized about it. As soon as everyone leaves the house in the morning I sign- in the face book account to find out what has happened during the hours I slept . Before, I used to read through the newspaper in the morning--a habit cultivated by my dad, which I have been following for the past 30years. But now world news doesn't carry any waitage. All I want to know is about my friends' world. I sit in front of the computer and read all the notifications and messages. Then I reply for those which I feel like. I update my status without knowing in what way it is useful to others. I write about what I cooked, where I went, what I bought, whom I met, what I ate, etc.etc. It is more like a diary where you write the whole day's happenings. Only difference is that a diary is personal and no one gets to read it other than yourself. Here it is accessible to the whole wide world.Things which have been going on as a routine have become things to be noted and shared. Does this mean I have no other job? Or does this mean I have no one around me to share my thoughts and feelings in person? I use facebook even to interact with my next door friend. Am I so busy that I don't have time to pay a five minutes visit to her house? I no longer complain that I am bored. Whenever I have nothing to do I start looking at the pictures posted by my friends and their friends, whom I don't even know. I am so inquisitive to know about other's holiday, how they celebrate the functions and festivals. By looking at various pictures I get to know the uptodate fashion. This doesn't mean I am a fashion queen or anything. Just to feel that I am aware of what is in vogue. I enjoy watching the shared videos and notes. Be it anything , whatever your friends share or their friends' share I get tempted to have a look at those clippings or postings.

Sometimes I wonder why I want to know who all my friends' friends are? and from there I take a diversion and I go through their friends' list also. It is always "take diversion". I sit and look at the profile and pictures of people , with whom I am no way connected with.  It is like a chain reaction. If one of my friend has commented for someone , eventhough I don't know the other person I go and look at the history of their conversation . Is this because I like to know to whom all my friend is connected with or is it out of a small hidden jealousy? I spent long hours looking at the albums of unknown people.. When I go out sometimes I feel I am familiar with some people's faces because knowingly or unknowingly I have come across their pictures in facebook. In total I have become a curious cat..One thing I still don't understand is that why unknown friend requests are always from an unknown male and never from an unknown female.

FB changed a lot in me. The best thing that ever happened to me through FB was that I tracked down my best friend after soo many years. Before using FB I used to call and speak to my friends. But now,Whatever I wish to share with my friends is all updated on my wall. I once read that "facebook is the only place where nobody sees you differently when you talk to the wall." Through each one's wall I can know what is happening around . It is like those walls where you see notices and posters stuck . It reaches one and all the same time. It is also used as a propoganda tool-- to share my scribblings, my children's achievements ,naughtiness, etc etc. My wall has become a board to display my moodswings. Is anybody going to benefit from these information about me?? SMS is outdated now. Phone bills have come down. Once in two hours I check to find out whether anybody has replied or commented on anything. I am always looking out for something new to happen every minute in my pages of FB. I am always excited to refresh the page . I started seeing the world through others eyes. I waste my time "liking" so many things. At the same time I wonder why isn't there a "dislike" ? May be FB is to show your best side to the world I guess. I doubt whether there is always a beauty contest going on in FB because I see people changing their profile pictures quite often. No more long personal mails to friends. It is all cut short into messages in FB. I am more like a science student now--answering to the point. This is my transition from being a Literature student.

The other day I went for a movie with my family. A newly married couple was sitting in the row front of us. Instead of talking to each other I saw the man checking his FB account on his mobile. I see friends going out for dinner and each one checking the FB account in his or her mobile. When you have your friends and family around you what is the need to know what is happening around in your FB account. Everyone seems to be in their own world of choice. Personal interaction is becoming lesser and lesser day by day. In future we all can interact only with virtual beings I guess. We don't want to talk to each other to express ourselves. We only want to type our feelings, emotions and thoughts. We find ourselves more expressive this way. .  FB helps me to  know about the personal interest  of others. Even if I keep quiet FB tempts me to "find my friends using FB".  It keeps reminding me to "get connected" with my friends. 

Personal always carries the meaning something close to your heart. After signing up in FB I find a lot of things which had a personal touch have become 'things in common". Each relationship is different and each carries a different value. Through FB these days I find I started to weigh all relationship with a same scale unvoluntarily. But trust me all my friends have a special place in my heart. Only when the number of friends is within the limit you have a track of things. When it is uncountable there is no personal touch to anything said. Whenever I want to know what is happening in my friends' side I just go to their profile and find out. I have become so lazy to even call them and talk. Since every activity is recorded in the fb even when I call my friends there is not much to share over the phone other than hear the voice of each other. Actions and reactions are all recorded in words in FB. After a certain period of time it is just an adress book I feel. If I happen to take a spelling test along with a 7 year old kid surely I will fail the test. Language has become more for just communicating . If you stick on to the correct grammar and correct spelling that shows you are outdated in the FB world. To assume myself to be part of the youthful FB world I have to follow all the shortcuts in spelling and grammar. Whatever said and done FB is also a kind of addiction. I want to come out of this web and once again build my relationships on "Personal touch".

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dear Suja,

My dear Suja,

     I was on the top of the world when you called me and told that you were coming to Singapore and would stay with me for a couple of days. Days which seemed too long became too short after this news. I was eagerly waiting for the day of your arrival. This would be your first trip to my house after my marriage. I had to wait 14 long years for this day to come. Yes the day came. I was so excited that I called your brother and told I would come along with him to the airport to receive you. I got up at five am in the morning. My eyes had seldom seen that time of the day.  I called up your brother to ask what time he would pick me up. It was then he told me that the flight got cancelled due to some technical fault and that you were coming the next day morning. I got so disappointed and went back to sleep. I stored all my excitement for the next morning. There is an unexplainable joy in waiting for something you love. When I woke up and started my routine the day seemed tooooooo long.  I couldn't wait for the next morning to come. I wondered why should there be so many hours between one day and the next? It is usually when my friends come to stay with me I feel that the days should be toooo long so that the day to leave would not come soon.

     The whole night I was dreaming about how we would spend the days you were going to be here, What kind of food I will cook for you to show you my cooking skills, what are the places I would go with you,etc.,etc., etc. I had thousand and one plans to do with you just in two days (imagination takes you to unreachable heights). I had planned about the places I would go with you and how we could shop together. I remembered the days when we used to spend in each other's company. There was no time limit when we started chatting on the phone or in person. (thank God those days we didn't have any god damn minutes plan). Our moms were not sure in which house we would have our lunch or dinner. Now my mind seems to be a clean slate when I think about the stuff we used to talk about. Each conversation ended with a laughter mostly. The recollections about the long stroll we used to go still amuses me. Life seemed to be only filled with joy and fun.

     The next morning I woke up at 4 a.m. sharp even before my alarm could ring . My anxiety did not let me sleep longer. I got ready and was waiting for your brother Raja to call me. He called me around 5 a.m. and told he would come around 5.30a.m. to pick me up on his way to the airport. I went and stood at the entrance of the building waiting for him. He came exactly at 5.30. I got to see him after three years even though we live 45 minutes away from each other. We reached the airport half an hour before the flight landed. We shared about our Singapore life while we were waiting for you. He was also very excited because this was the first time you were visiting him in all these years. We could see all the passengers collect their baggage and come out. We were not able to spot you or your sons. Raja got little anxious. After a few minutes we spotted you coming with your three sons with a big smile on your face. I hid behind a pillar. First reason being I didn't want to come in-between brother sister meeting. Second reason was that I wanted to surprise you by jumping in front of you. I wanted to scream at the top of my voice  'SSSSSSSUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUJJJJJJJJJJAAAAAAAAAAAA" but I thought it wouldn't be age appropriate. Keeping that in mind I stood patiently behind the pillar till you and Raja finished your conversation. I came from behind and shouted in a low tone "SUJAAAA" . You got shocked to see me and hugged me tight. You told your elder son that you had the intuition that I would have come to the airport. That is our kind of friendship. I wanted you to come to my house and stay with me but Raja wouldn't allow. As per the deal you agreed to stay with me a few days later. You guys dropped me in my house and left. Though you left me my eyes followed you till the entrance and my heart followed you all the way.

     That evening I called you to find out how you were doing. You were out with Raja's family for sight seeing. I wanted to come and see you in that place but it got late. You said you couldn't wait because the children started troubling you. So we couldn't meet up that evening. Next day being a Sunday you came home for dinner . When you came it was almost 8p.m. and your boys were feeling too tired after a long day in the Zoo. We didn't get to sit and talk because I wanted to prove myself as a good host. We were taking care of our children. Our conversation was centered around the children only and nothing more than that. You promised to come and stay with me after two days. Next day morning when I called, you were sounding dull. You told me that Rishi, your younger son got fever. I came to see him in Raja's place. Then also we didn't have "Our Time". Again our conversation was about the children , children, children. You and Rishi came to my place on Wednesday with a plan of staying with us. After you came I was very happy. Since Rishi had just recouped from illness he was tired and wanted you to be with him. We hardly had time to sit and share our thoughts. We shared reciepes, we talked about house-keeping etc. but didnot find time to walk down the memory lane. How much ever we convinced Rishi refused to stay in my house since his two brothers were in Raja's place. I was disappointed when you had to  leave that evening without staying in my house.

     The next few days you were in Singapore passed just the same way. We hardly got time to spend with each other. Even over the phone we couldn't talk . All the things I had planned to share with you just vanished from my mind. Our mind went blank even the two or three hours we got to share with each other. It was  then that  I realized that our old memories got locked in a separate compartment in our brain. At present what dominates our thinking is only the thoughts about our family. The key for the other box is not to be found. Even if we could get ten days to talk with each other we would talk only about our family and children. Our life is centered only around them. Don't you think we also need our time. When my husband's buddies come to visit him he always prefers to take them out somewhere ,where they can spend some quality time recapturing the old memories. No "Papa Papa" BGM. They go out for dinner, enjoy each other's company and come home refreshed. On the other hand we meet our friends with our family. There is always the "Mama,Mama,Mama" BGM. We take our role as a mother very seriously and want to do justice at every given opportunity. We also need our "buddy time" to refresh our mind and soul. When are we going to realize this truth? The only time we had for ourselves was the half hour in the beach when the children went for cycling. Even then we couldn't recapture our sweet nothings. Again we shared only about our current life. Those sweet nothings are the most important in our life to give us energy but we hardly use the replay button.

     The day you had to leave came very soon. I came to the airport to see you off. Another friend of us Mumtaz came to see you too. Tears filled her eyes as soon as she saw you. You both were meeting after a very long time. In that way I felt I was fortunate because at least once in two years I get to meet you when we both visit India for summer holidays. We three sat and talked for some time. We laughed so loudly since one of us cracked a joke. All three of us admitted that after a long time we laughed heartily. It doesn't mean we don't laugh at all in our life. But this laugh had no reservation or inhibitions. That is the kind of  feeling you could share only with your close friends.. In our life after marriage we have time for parents, brothers, sisters, relatives, everyone but our  friends. We always cherish the beautiful moments we spent with our friends inside us. We hardly get time to share it in person. This is the liberty we take with friends.  The time came for you to leave . I controlled my tears but Mumtaz couldn't control herself. She broke down probably because she was not sure whether she would get another chance to meet you again in Singapore. I was confident that I could meet you next time you visited India. We waved our hands till you passed the immigration point. And wished you Bon Voyage. The next few days you filled my thoughts very often and then life started moving as usual. Later in our life when we have time to share , our memory would have gone to a state of forgetfullness about youth and the lovely moments. In old age we will only talk about our middle age. Our brain will be able to hold only those memories. We have to  make time for ourselves to share our youthful memories when our body and mind are active.  Let us rewind our old memories often to walk energetically in our present life.Only those memories carry sweetness, beauty, energy , and zest for life.  Enjoy the rest of your holdiays . Will keep in touch.Though miles apart our love will never diminish for each other. Take care.

With tons of love from your ever loving friend

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Upside Down

Clothes strewn all over,
Books lying everywhere other than the bookshelf,
Toys decorating every corner of the house,
Sofa cushions on the floor,
Crumpled paper balls on the bed,
Though so many pens around the house
Not a single one which can write could be found,
Kitchen sink full of vessels,
Overflowing laundry basket ,
To take some rest TV remotes and cordless phone
have gone into hybernation,
Utter silence occupies the air,
But thousand questions roaring in mom's head,
"where to start? where to finish?
Why does every Monday morning
reflect an earthquake struck scene?
Other than the building everything inside
All she needs is a magical wand
or the willpower to close her eyes and go to sleep.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Forty Blues

June 19th 2010---You must be wondering what is special about this date. All Congress Party people will remember June 19th since it is Rahul Gandhi's birthday. Yes I was also born on the same day. Till this year all my birthdays were welcomed by me with enthusiasm and happiness. First time this year I felt that the day should not have come. Reason behind was that I turned 40. I was in my parent's place on that day. As usual my parents were the first to wish me early in the morning. I had to wake my children to get their wishes. My better half called me and wished me saying "Happy Birthday Old Lady". I retaliated to him saying that if I was old then he who was older to me was also an old man. The day went off as usual with phone calls reminding me that I was 40 years old. We spent the evening in my sister's house. My brother in law had gotten me a cake with the number 40 on it.....adding fuel to the fire. My girl gave me a card saying "Though you are 40 you are not a "paatti"(paatti in tamil means grandma). My niece gave me a card saying,"Though you are 40 you are a smarty". My son who couldn't write any such rhyming words filled up the card with the number 40 ,written at least 40 times. Though I was trying to forget that I was stepping into my middle age everyone around me were buzzing the same number into my ears. Other than to my parents to everyone else my age was visible. Why is 40 such a threatening age????

"Don't ask a man about his salary and a woman about her age" ......this is universally true. Till 39 you are not reluctant to admit what your age is. But when you strike 40 there is a slight pause when somebody asks about your age. You don't want to be classified into the middle age group. Physically, emotionally I am undergoing a lot of changes all of a sudden. When I complain to my dad about all my physical pain he says after 40 you cannot expect to live without any pain. Coming to the physical change first, I feel I am getting tired faster these days. I am taking extra half hour to finish the work which I used to complete in one hour. Is this because of the physical tiredness or because my mind is pre-occupied with something always? I usually love to go out , shop, and have fun. These days I feel it is better to stay at home indoors rather than go out. I started liking my loneliness. This doesn't mean I am depressed though the word depression is used quite often by me these days. I want to do things in my own pace and convenience. I used to love ice-creams and pastries. Even now my taste buds want to relish on them but my digestive system is not on par with my taste buds.

The major hit is on my sleeping pattern. 7 hours of sleep is a rare occurrence. Though I know 8 hours of sleep is vital for everyone, still I come up with some excuse everyday . My husband says ,"after we all go why don't you sleep during the day?" A valid point but the problem is if I sleep during the day then my sleep in the night gets totally screwed up. If I were a film director I could shoot a full movie every night with my lengthy dreams. Is this because I think a lot ?? I want to keep myself fit and healthy. For this I know exercise is the only way. I keep encouraging myself to exercise everyday but here again I come up with excuses. Anyways excuses and advice are always free of cost. When I see youngsters jog and go to the gym I get motivated but it stops just with the motivation. No further steps taken ahead. I cannot jog along with them --my pace is slow now. I don't want to accompany them to the gym either because I get demotivated when I realize the truth that I cannot workout for more than 45 minutes (including the breaks taken) while they workout for one and half hours. My age speaks through my body.

Emotionally also there are a lot of changes. You seek for attention. Since the children are somewhat ?? independent you feel nobody comes to you for anything other than food and clean up work. Since I am 24/7 home-maker I feel my whole life is like "Kitchen is my Tirupathy and my husband is my God".(don't let your imagination fly too high) . You expect your husband to spend at least ten minutes in a day alone with you without the nagging of the children. The conversation should solely be centered around you. Contrary to your expectations every husband's world is centered around the laptop. My daughter asked me "how come mama you married papa ,who looks like he has tied the knot around the laptop? Off late I feel the conversation between my husband and me centers only about our children. Other than that we don't have anything to talk in common. May be we are getting bored with each others' company????.(my husband must be very happy when he comes to know that I have understood the truth). Or that we don't have any topic of common interest.

I usually tell my friends that as we get older and when the kids move out we should have an arrangement in such a way that all men should live in hostel and all women in one. We should meet on weekends. Then there will be less expectations and more love. And most of my friends accept this brilliant idea of mine. Off late I hardly take any steps to build up any new friendship other than maintaining the existing ones. When your children are young and small you are able to make friends with anybody easily. Then, the priority is based on your children's needs. When they are grown up and have their own choice of friends you become too selective. You are reluctant to get closer to anyone. To strike a common cord with someone becomes very difficult. As we grow older I feel we become more egoistical. We draw a circle around us and are very very selective in letting new people inside.

These days when I see my daughter who is in her teens I feel like going back to that age. I wish to dress up like her so that I would look young. But the irony is that the clothes look hip and I look old. Your mind frame refuses to accept the truth that you cannot look young just by wearing ultra modern clothes. Even when I wear a fashionable ear-ring my daughter comes up and tells me "mama u better change it. You look childish." They want us to look like mama not like their sister at the same time fashionable aslo. But when we give them a piece of advice which they don't want to accept then they come up with "generation gap theory."

My mind goes faster than my body. Though I pretend to look young and act young my actions and reactions to the happenings around me are always in respect to my age. As you get older they say your mind should also mature. You should be able to accept things easily. My temper gets triggered very easily. But I have learnt to blame it on my hormonal changes. I realize my tolerance level with the kids is also deteriorating. Is this because they don't listen to me or that I am not COOL as they say. I don't want them to be behind me calling me "mama,mama" all the time. I expect them to be like robots and follow my instructions when I say something---(most of the time I call myself a machine, who does the same monotonous routine). No one understands my pains and expectations. Quite often I think that whether I am there or not it is the same for everyone in my family. My presence is not indispensible anymore. I think a lot about the day when my children will all fnish their studies and settle in their life.(though I haven't settled in a place yet). I need a time machine to go forward. I want to be free of all responsibilities.

I don't understand how cleanliness and age are related. As you grow older you should be able to compromise on many things. For me I am not able to compromise on the cleanliness. I have become a cleanliness freak. When I was in my sister's house I started cleaning up her closets. She insisted that I should take rest at least when I was there. Seeing me doing the cleaning work with so much involvement she told me that I could start a cleaning agency. This is how you get rewarded when you try to help voluntarily? "Wash your hands with soap, leave the bathrooms clean, clean up your room" these are my everyday slokas recited (in fact screaming) to all the members of my family. The effect is that they get very angry . But don't ever imagine that since they get angry they will follow my instructions. No not at all. I keep screaming without anyone to heed to my words. They all look at me as if something is wrong with me. I am always the odd one out. To them I am like "who is the black sheep?"

All of a sudden life seems to be toooo boring. I feel like I have nothing to do. Nothing exciting . It is the monotonous way of life. My mind keeps insisting that I should do something productive and be recognized. But what is it I don't know. All these years I haven't worked Now if I wish to start a career who is going to offer me a job? First of all I don't know what my expectations are. What is it I am looking for? What do I really want to do? One day I feel like working next day I feel it is better to stay at home and take care of the family. I feel without me even a single molecule in the house won't move--what kind of self confidence? My children want me to work. But they don't want to do anything on their own. I know that I cannot cope up with external as well as internal pressure. Hence I chose to stay at home. The very thought of going out and then coming back and doing the household chores tires me mentally. My husband suggested that I should go for some music lessons to divert myself from all kinds of unwanted thinking. But I think that instead of me going for some class I can join my children in some extra class. Why waste money unnecessarily on myself ,who is at home. I am losing my self confidence slowly.

I wonder how some people can watch tv for hours together. I don't have the patience to watch tv for hours. I need some kind of noise in the house just to make myself feel that someone else is also in the house. So I switch on the radio or tv. I watch very selective movies. I remember those days when I used to be addicted to TV. TV was so magnetic. Even when it was switched off I would just see my reflection on the screen. Now the fascination has gone. To while away the time how long can one watch tv or read books or browse the computer? I don't want to go out, I don't want to meet anyone new , I don't want to go for any class, I don't want to cook and clean, or read books or watch tv, then what is it I want to do ? I am searching for an answer for my search! I am not very phylosophical to say that I am searching for my inner- self or that I am trying to find out who I am, why I came into this Earth , or what is the purpose of my life ? I know that I am an ordinary human being who is going through a tough phase in life--midage crisis.

One thing I feel nice is to talk about nostalgic memories. I wish to meet up with my old friends. When we are in our twenties we don't bother to meet up with our college or school friends. But when you reach your middle age you want to have a get together with your old folks. You want to know how they look, how they are, how is their family and you want to share those old sweet memories. Though the present life is also equally valuable you always tend to value high the things which are out of reach or far away. This present will also become a past. Still the memories which are attached to our childhood and college days are much more interesting. They always stand close to our heart.. When you meet your old friends there is no comparison of age, you still feel young. We all will fall under the same category and we feel like sailing in the same boat. Our children will be more or less of the same age. So we have common things to discuss about. Nothing like talking about the good old days.

All these years I have been outside India. Now I feel that I should spend time with my parents who are getting old. When I think about my age automatically I think about them. That gives a sense of explainable ,uncomfortable pain at the bottom of my heart. I feel that it is high time I give back the love I owe them. All these years my life has been centered around my family. There is a sense of guilt that I haven't done enough for my parents. It is how I reciprocate to my parents that my children are going to do to me in future. By middle age you feel that you have to settle in a place. You wish to have your own house and settle there. This feeling gives you a sense of security. There is nothing like a place to call your own. Once you are settled in a place you don't want to move. Your comfort zone is fixed within that territory. Physically also it is not that easy to keep moving from place to place after certain age. It tires you out. Also,emotionally you develop an attachment to the place you have lived for long. All the enthusiasm for adventure starts to decline from 40. You are ready to take any kind of risk till 35. After that you start loosing interest in venturing into new things in life. Your life is centered only around your children. All you think about is their comfort, their well-being, their studies etc. All the decisions taken thereafter centres around the children's likes and dislikes.

The only place I feel peaceful is the temple. I can spend long hours inside a temple. I can sit mind-blank. It rejuvanates me. To pamper myself I do go out every week and buy something for myself. That thrill lasts only for two days. Then again the routine questioning of what do I do now? Why is life so boring? What can I do? Should I start working or not ? Should I study something? What have I done all these years of my married life? the indefinite questions echo in my ears continuously. I know I have to sail through this storm just like every other woman. This is the second chapter of my life and I pray God that he should help me trail along this path with ease. I am longing for not a life of luxury but a self-- contended life. I wish the same for all the women who are going through this crisis. Hand in hand we can walk with hope and strength.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Crooked Path.......

Guess you would have come across the news about the fake certificates produced by students for admission into Engineering and Medical Colleges. Almost 500 students have obtained fake marksheets by paying bribe. What is the value for real hard work? Already due to the reservation quota many deserving students are affected. Students who are supposed to be the pillars of our future India are culprits right in the bud. When such disgraceful act is carried on in the Education Department how can we expect our future generation to be genuine engineers and doctors?

All the guys involved in this should be punished severely. It has been brought to light this year. Think about the number of such students who have gotten admisson in the previous years. Will the government dig into the matter and punish even those students who already got admission through fake certs? Education is not only a tool for earning money. It is a tool to refine a person. Being educated doesn't mean just obtaining a degree. It means moulding one's character too.When the first step taken to pursue education itself is a crooked step how will the following steps be straight?

I am shocked to hear that over ambitious parents who wanted their children to become engineers and doctors through some means have really put their children's lives at stake . Now that their marksheets have been seized they cannot get into any college. What is their future going to be? Will they be asked to write the examination again? Or will their answer sheets be reviewed and the real mark sheets be given to them? In case they have to rewrite the exam when is that going to be? Or Will they be barred from future education? What kind of punishment are they going to get? If a case is being filed how long is it going to take for the judgement? Will the government speed up the investigation Or will it be just like any other case--"judgement pending". At the end of the day, the lives of those who sought a crooked path is going to be crooked too.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Toilet Training"

After a break of almost two months I started to scribble again. I had been to India for a month. It was a hectic holiday. I went with my kids to my native Tanjore. I was there for a month and I had a chance to attend right from birth to funeral. I was sooo busy. My kids got soooo bored because "they had nothing to do". It was not their territory. Out of all the complaints they had , the most repeated one was "India is dirty", "People shit over in all places." "People in India need to be toilet trained"---this is my son's suggestion.

I was trying to defend my mother country when they told it was boring, no friends, no entertainment etc. etc. etc. But when they complained about the cleanliness I couldn't defend my country in anyways. I wondered how I had managed to live there for so many years closing my eyes to all this. After having lived outside India for 14 years I am not able to tolerate the sight of public places being used as toilets. I don't wish my kids to grow up in such an environment. By God's grace I have been having an alternative--to live outside. But how about the people who are living there. Are they not aware of the problem? They are but they have no other choice. Even in schools there is no proper toilet facility. Even if they have toilets no water. Children naturally learn the "water the trees" habit. Since they get used to urinate under the trees when young, they don't feel ashamed to do it when they grow old.

Indians as such are known for being shy. When compared to other parts of the world we are the ones who cover our body fully(I know --"gone are those days ") but when it comes to "toilet training" we are "free birds--shameless." (We are democratic) We are from a country where when a baby is born we try our best not to use diapers because it will affect the baby's skin. We take extra care to wash the nappy cloth and dry them in hot sun . But as we grow older why are we not bothered about the hygiene?

I happened to travel from Tanjore to Chennai by train. When the train was approaching Chennai it was early morning. I wanted to feel the fresh air and enjoy the sun rise. I went and stood near the door. Even the word "disgusting" cannot explain how I felt when I stood there. There were people of all ages using the area near the railway tracks as toilets. They were shamelessly sitting there and waving their hands. I couldn't stand the scene. I went and sat in my seat. I was not able to open the windows even. The stench was sooooo bad and nauseating. Streets, sidewalks, platforms, outside the compound walls of houses, offices everywhere you can see tracks of urine. You feel your sandals should be disinfected once you get home. This is the scene in every part of the country. Be it a state capital, city,town, village anything. Public places are used as toilets without any hesitation.

Is it because we are not educated about this in schools? All school books teach about hygiene. Then why is this happening in India? When we ask people they say there are no public toilets available. Even if they are available there is no water. Ok agreed. But this cannot justify their actions. Can't a grownup learn to control the nature's call? Won't a person feel shameful to use the public places as toilets in front of others? It is so embarrassing for the passersby to witness such scenes. We have to close our eyes ,nose and mouth when we cross such scenes and places. I feel using the public places as toilets is a barbaric act. Are we not civilized? We call our culture to be thousands of years old. Does this mean that even this habit is thousand years old that we cant change? WE have moved from bullock carts to rockets. But we have not changed this disgraceful habit. It doesnt' matter whether the person is educated or uneducated he feels free to answer the nature's call in public. When a minister happens to visit a place then all the main streets (only) through which his car will pass will be cleaned and sprayed with disinfectant and bleaching powder. Irrespective of the fact that he doesn't even bother to get down on those streets. May be because his car tires shouldn't get dirty??

"Toilet training" should be taught to all from young age. It is not only they are polluting the places but also spreading so many infectious diseases because of this. When it rains all human waste from streets get mixed up with the rain water and runs through streets . They mix up with the drinking water sources thus causing cholera and diahorreah. Tapeworms , ringworms get into our body easily. Children who play in the sand get infected easily. People should be made to understand about personal hygiene. The government must strictly pass a law prohibiting the use of public places as toilets. I saw a few boards outside some compounds which said , "ONLY DOGS URINATE HERE." Still the places were sprayed.

People should be taught to feel ashamed to use public places as toilets. They should be taught to keep themselves and the surroundings clean. When the environment is clean you feel nice and good . Already we have so many industrial wastes, hospital wastes, factory wastes, polluting our land. Human waste adds fuel to the already existing cause of so many unnamed diseases . When wealth is lost something is lost but when health is lost everything is lost. Right from villages to cities people must be educated about how to avoid being a public nuisance .

These days people from India go on vacation to various parts of the world. When they return to India they proudly speak about the cleanliness of other countries. They say the streets are so clean that you can even spread a leaf and eat food . But when it comes to our own country why is it they don't bother to keep it clean. People who have lived abroad for a few years despise going back to India because of this reason. I have spoken to many of my friends and most of them are concerned about this issue. Especially when you go with your children you expect a cleaner environment. Cleanliness is the major problem which doesn't allow many NRI's to return to India. It is not enough that we appreciate other countries but we should contribute from our side to keep our country clean. The government should work harder to completely wipe out this perennial problem.

In India people are becoming more and more affluent with a growing economy. Malls have sprung up like mushrooms, infrastructure is improving, cars are crawling like worms, restaurants,hotels are being built on everyday basis to cater the needs of the public. People want to be westernized in all walks of life. But they are not able to come out of this basic tendency. A friend of us has a non-profitable organization through which he provides toilet facilities in his village in West Bengal. Facilities can be provided but people should come forward to use them. We are striding towards an economically free India hoping we will become a super power in another 15 years. Along with these if this problem is also taken care then we can soar high. Hope my dreams of cleaner streets and platforms will come true one day. Then our children will love to play in our homeland without hesitation.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Second Language a Boon or Bane????

Today morning I got up with a great relief. Can you guess the reason? My son's third grade second language (S.L) exam was over yesterday. For the past two weeks we have been (both of us) slogging over learning Hindi when compared to other subjects. Other subjects needed two hours of studying but the S.L needed six hours of practice. The reason being that he was not familiar with the language. When ever his exams approach I become stressed out and my B.P shoots up high. I know I am over reacting but I have to admit that at times I am an average Indian mother. I have to work with him to make him get a pass at least.

When he was in first standard he was given the option of choosing Hindi,or Tamil or French. There should be some use when you learn a language.I made him chose Hindi because I thought that he could learn a new language. Tamil being our mother tongue he can learn at home. French is going to be of no use other than to score marks. He is not going to speak in French with any of his friends unless he happens to go to France when he grows up. In that case he would have forgotten the language by then. Hindi seemed to be the best option because it is our national language and he can speak with his friends in Hindi . I feel very bad for not having learnt to speak in Hindi.

When I was in 9th standard there was a new girl from Dubai. She had moved with her family from Dubai to Tanjore. She didn't know a word of Tamil. Out of over enthusiasm to learn Tamil and to make new friends she came to me for help. When you are in your teens you know how your brain works out all nasty plans. Me and another friend of mine used to teach her Tamil . First we started off with all animal names (so that she can call others by those names) , then taught her the "disrespectful words" followed by words used to scold others. She was so innocent that she would repeat what ever we taught her. It was so much fun to watch her speak Tamil. In the name of teaching her Tamil we used to make fun of her. She didn't care about our teasing. Slowly by the end of the year she was able to converse in Tamil. Next year she started showing interest in learning the alphabets so that she can learn to read and write. By the time we were in twelfth standard she could read and write. She had learnt a new language very easily without any stress.

Language is nothing but imitation of sounds. Learning a language should be lot of fun. Kids either chose their mother tongue or a new language as their S.L . In the name of second language our kids are made to hate learning a new language or their own mother tongue. Not only my kids, I think most of the school going kids spend a lot of extra time in learning the S.L. The amount of effort they put on the S.L, doesn not help them in their future.

The best way to introduce a language is to teach how to speak the language first. When young you are not shy to speak a new language. You are ready to correct your mistakes very easily. As you grow older you feel shy to speak a new language . You are conscious about what others will say. When I see so many people around me speak in Hindi I feel I should also speak but I am very conscious about the mistakes I make and I switch back to my comfort zone--English. From first standard to fourth standard children should be taught to speak the second language fluently. Once their vocabulary is strong enough then in the 5th standard writing can be introduced. They learn fast to read and write once their vocabulary is strong. They can easily frame sentences and the grammar part becomes easy too. They understand what they learn.

What is the use of learning too much of grammar? By focusing too much on grammar kids loose their interest in learning the literature part of a language. The element of enjoyment in learning a new language is wiped out . It is not that all the children learn their mother tongue as their second language. For kids who learn a new language as their S.L their vocabulary is very limited. It is very difficult for them to express themselves or answer the questions in writing. Language should be a means of communication .Children should be made to listen to a lot of the new language. Listening comprehension should be emphasized . They should be encouraged to speak the language. When a child learns to speak a new language fluently then he gains confidence.

Getting a A+ doesn't mean a child is well versed in the language or that he or she can appreciate the culture and the heritage of the language. It is just for the grades kids learn the language with extra effort. This attitude should be changed into learning out of interest. They learn with so much hard work but when applying for colleges the S.L marks are not taken into account, unless they opt to specialize in art subjects. Even for kids who learn mother tongue as S.L why do they need to learn the intricacies of the language? In what way is it going to help them? If some kids show extra interest let them be segregated and given greater challenges. When the medium of instruction of all subjects is the same as the S.L then it might be easy for the kids. But for other kids learning a new language is like climbing the Everest.

Kids of this generation mingle with multi racial, multi cultural, multi lingual children. The common language for communication is mostly English. They even tend to speak less of their mother tongue at home. Hence they think in English and speak in English. It is not fair on our part to push them too hard into learning the grammar part of a language. We all want to help our mother tongue thrive in this English dominating society. We have to be more creative in helping our kids in the learning process.

Do we remember the grammar or the poems we learnt in our school? Why unnecessarily put pressure on the kids from young age. Instead of concentrating on the S.L so much they can learn other subjects. Other than speaking,writing and reading a language nothing else is going to help them in the long run. Without knowing how to speak a language fluently what is the use of learning the language? When you move to a place where everyone speaks a language you don't know, you are compelled to learn that language. No matter you are a learned person or not, you learn it very quickly because of the need. Let us first help our children to speak a new language before they learn to read and write in that language. When the base is strong enough they will automatically show interest in learning the language in detail. It is an easy job both for the children and the teachers. As the children go to higher classes they should be taught to appreciate the language. When young they look upon a language just as a tool for communication. They cannot appreciate the richness of a language.

Second language learning is too stressful these days both for the children as well as the parents(of course the moms--personal experience ). Exam oriented approach should be changed while learning a language. It should be a pleasant experience. The learner as well as the teacher should enjoy the experience. Especially kids who move from one state to another and who return to India after having studied abroad are affected by the S.L .

As I said earlier initial stress should be on teaching the children to speak the language fluently. For this more interactive teaching methods should be introduced. Acting out a drama , a small on the spot speech --just a few lines on any given topic , could be tried out. They should not be asked to memorize anything. They should be encouraged to speak on their own . This way their vocabulary will improve. By listening to other kids do the same thing they will gain confidence to speak the language. Later reading should be taught. Writing should come after a few years of speaking and reading.

I know how to read and write in hindi but I don't know the meaning. What is the use? If I had known how to speak the language first then it would have been a great help for me. Hope I will learn to speak Hindi by the time my son completes his tenth grade. Just like many moms out there, who are hoping for a change in the Second Language Learning and Teaching approach I am also waiting with lots of hope. The Education Department should design a syllabus to cater to the new generation. The old school of thoughts should be improvised to suit the new current scenario.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mother's Day Special

We all celebrated Mother's day on the 9th of May. It is almost a week now. To me everyday is a mother's day. Let me rewind what happened last week in my house. Since May 1st I kept reminding everyone in my house about the mother's day and was asking how each one was going to make me happy on that day. I was hoping that my family would give me a break on that day since it was on a Sunday. I was dreaming that my husband would wake me up with a cup of milk and that my kids would scream in my ears "happy mother's day mama". With my built up dreams I was expecting the day to come.

It was Sunday 7a.m. My alarm woke me up with a big bell. I rubbed my eyes and with much difficulty I opened them. Next to me Ravi was sleeping as if his side of the bed was sound proofed. Not even a single twist or turn. I woke up and brushed my teeth. So with my first dream shattered I went inside my kid's room and woke them up saying "good morning, Who is going to wish mama happy mother's day?" Absolute silence. No noise in the room. They just acknowledged my voice and covered their faces with the blankets. With deep disappointment I went and started my daily routine. In between my work I called up my mom and wished her "happy mother's day." Later everyone got up. My daughter wished me "happy mother's day." My son was too shy to wish me ---for whatever reason. Then my husband wished me and reminded me about our friend's family coming over for lunch. I started my cook's job, then finished up with my cleaning job. In between I had to take care of the kids too. No one even had the slightest idea of helping me. I understood that afterall mother's day was special only to me . For them it was just another day in the calendar. Our friends came for lunch. We all had a good time. Then they left in the evening.

I asked my husband what my mother's day gift was? Many a times I am shameless like this. He directed me to ask my kids, because it was supposed to be given by the children to the mom and not by the husband to the wife. So the slightest chance of getting a gift was ruled out . Later in the night my daughter came up with a bag to me and said happy mother's day once again. Then she gave me the bag. Inside there was a poem written by her and she had made a wonderful wall hanging with pictures of me and her. I was sooooo thrilled to see it. We hugged each other and when I read the poem tears rolled out of my eyes. One of the lines was "I am not ashamed to tell you that I love you." I felt the fulfillment of being a mom that very second. My son who was watching all this got envy. He didn't know how to show his love. He just came and sat near me and was smiling. I asked him what was his gift. He told he had nothing to give. I asked him how he would show that he loved me. "I don't know" was the answer I got back. Shall I call this typical boy gene or dad gene? I told him that he should learn to show me that he loved me. Immediately he asked "mama can you sleep in my room?" ---I guess this is his way of showing his love for me. I was happy to sleep with the kids that day. I reasized that this is what motherhood is all about.

When I was lying down with my kids I was thinking about my mom. The person behind "Me being Me." Have I ever told her that I loved her? I started wishing her for mothers' day only after I my children were born . Till then I didn't realize about the value of motherhood. Even now I wish her but never say "I love you mom." Is it because of shyness or is it because I am reluctant to admit that I love my mom? Is it because it is not taught to us when we are young about how to express our affection to our parents? We do many things for our parents after we grow up but do we ever say "I love you mom or dad?" As we grow older we don't want to show our love outwardly to our parents. When my daughter was till her 3rd grade she used to make so many things for the mother's day . She used to remind me before a week. Now as she is growing I feel the way she shows her affection is becoming less expressive. No more hugs and kisses in the morning. This year it became ten in the night for her to wish me with a card. Though it was late I cherished it . I feel she was bold enough to say that,"she was not ashamed to say that she loved me?" Is admitting your love for your parents something shameful? Why does that kind of a thought pop inside us as we grow older.I am happy that my daughter had realized it at an younger age when compared to me.

When we are young we are not ashamed to ask anybody and everybody "do you love me?" but as we grow older we are ashamed to say "I love you" to our near and dear ones. But the fact is that as you grow, other things in life gain more preference than the Mom. Is it because when our kids are young we demand more love out of them? May be if my mom had asked me," do you love me?" a hundred times as I have done then I would have aslo told her "I love you mom." May be I am more efficient in extracting demanded-love from my children. No matter I demand it or they shower it on me at the end I am privileged than my mom . Another few years then my children will also start doing the same thing as me. Just call and wish me. Unlike me I hope they will admit their love for me once in a while atleast. What is the reason behind our inhibition to show our love as we grow older?

My mom is very strong. Though she knows that she doesn't get back the love she deserves still she never faults in her duty as a mother. I would be torn to pieces if my kids don't admit their love for me.I understood the motherhood of my mom when I became a mom. When ever my girl back-answered me I respected my mom even more inside my heart. Each time my daughter told me "I love you mom", I adored and loved my mom . I appreciated my mom's cooking in my mind when ever my children said "yummy food mama" . When my daughter said "your clothes are not fashionable," I remembered how I have hurt my mom's feelings the same way. I remember my mom everyday when I ask my children to keep themselves clean, when I oil and comb my girl's hair with care, each time I ask my daughter to keep her volume as well as the radio volume low, and when I cut my children's nails every week. In Tamil there is a proverb which means the quality of a saree depends on the thread we use. Like wise the character of a child depends on the character of the mom. I realize my mom's anger when I enter into the kitchen after being out the whole day. I feel my mom's pain when I fall sick and no one bothers to offer me a cup of drink. Till today my mom does whatever She could do for me. What have I done for her in return? All this realization is within my mind and heart. Nothing comes out in words. When will I learn to be expressive?

The extreme happiness I have given in her life is that she has been promoted from mother to Grand Mother. . The word grand decorates her name but I have loaded her with additional responsibilities. I think about her in every walk of my life . I wonder what drives me even now not to express aloud what I feel inside? I take the liberty to chide her, scold her even at this age. I even go the extent of saying that certain things which she does are wrong--forgetting the fact that I am her reflection, forgetting the fact that I am not a perfect mom according to my children too .Though I have scolded my mom I have never told her "I hate you mom or you are mean or you are lame" as my kids tell even for a small disappointment. When I am happy to hear the "I love you" from my children I should be able to accept their "I hate You " phrase also willingly. When they say "I Love you" I feel like I am on top of the sky. When they say "I hate you" I feel like I am in the bottom of the deep ocean. I haven't told my mom neither "I love u nor I hate you". My mom is lucky in that way.

I love my mom from the bottom of my heart but when will the auspicious day come for me to say "I LOVE YOU MOM"? Better late than never.

Monday, May 3, 2010

"Third Grade Prefect Election"

It was just three weeks since the new academic year started for Rahul . Rahul was a third grader studying in Vidhyalaya School. The first two weeks was full of fun . It took two weeks for the teachers to know the names of the children. The children did not have any difficulty in making friends because they all had studied in the same class in second grade. They were very happy since all the friends were in the same section. They were proud to call themselves seniors --forgetting that they had just finished their second grade two weeks back. They looked down upon the so called "lower primary chotuus". The boys thought that it was below their dignity to talk or play with the girls. If someone happened to talk to the girls the other boys would make fun of him. Rahul was pretty much conscious about not talking with the girls . The reason they had for this discrimination was that "girls are lame and they play only with barbie dolls." The boys considered themselves to be "tech-freaks".

After two weeks of school the class teacher decided that she would conduct a class election to select the prefect for the class. In her absence she wanted someone to control the class. The children were all excited to hear about the election. Till the second grade the teacher used to select the prefect. Now the concept of election was quite interesting to them. They could be on par with their older siblings when they talked about elections. The prefect would get to wear the prestigious "prefect badge." The teacher told that who ever was interested in contesting for the prefect post could give their names. Out of over enthusiasm everyone raised their hands. The teacher told that the election would be conducted on the following Monday and they had time to think about their choice. On the election day they should write down on a piece of paper the name of their favorite friend whom they wished to select as the prefect. Everyone nodded their heads as if they had already decided about their choice.

Rahul went home that evening and told his mom about the class election . His mom asked him whether he was going to contest. He told that half the class had decided to vote for Ishaan. And the other half had not decided whom to vote. He also added that Ishaan had the chance of winning because he was the tallest boy in the class and that he had already turned 8 years-- Better criteria than that of the Indian parliamentary election.

For the next four days the talk of the class was," who was going to vote for whom?" Boys were against the girls and the girls were against the boys. It looked like the wind was on Ishaan's side. The day of the election came. The teacher distributed a small piece of paper to each student and asked them to write the name of their choice. The class was of pin-drop silence. Everyone wrote a name secretly then folded the paper and gave it to the teacher. The teacher told that she would announce the result after lunch break.

That evening when Rahul reached home his mom asked him about the election. Rahul did not seem to be very excited about the results. His mom thought that may be someone he did not prefer was elected as the prefect. She asked him who the prefect was? Rahul told that there was no prefect elected. His mom got stunned .She asked him,"How come Rahul? You all voted for the prefect and why didn't your teacher elect the kid who got the majority of the votes?" Rahul told,"No mama, last minute we all decided that we won't vote for Ishaan. Everyone wanted to become the prefect so everyone wrote their own name on the paper and gave it to the teacher. The teacher got confused and told us that everyone is the prefect in our class." Rahul walked away innocently after saying this. Rahul's mom did not know whether to laugh or admire at the innocence of the little children.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Spoilt Brats or Spoiling Brats ??

Majority of the kids of this generation are very lucky . They have almost everything they wish for. From toys to gadgets, they get a chance to enjoy each and every new innovation. For every small step in their life they get a prize or reward. They are bribed for every possible natural activity. Right from making them give up the habit of thumb-sucking ,to visiting a doctor or a dentist we give them a prize. Even for the natural phenomenon of loosing a tooth, a tooth fairy comes to give them a reward. In the name of encouraging our kids we over-react and use all possible adjectives and superlatives to appreciate even their little scribblings. Indirectly we are making them over-confident from childhood. The prize we get in return is " I know, I know, I know" and "you don't know, you don't know". At the end of the day we blame them for being spoilt brats.

As a parent we don't want to see our children cry or feel sad for anything. We always strive to make them happy. Whether it is within our means or not we don't worry. In this modernized world we try to give them all the facilities which we did not enjoy in our childhood. We try to relive our childhood by seeing our children enjoy their life. We offer too many choices to our children --be it food or clothes or toys or gadgets or vacation venues. We are the ones who are opening a wide vista of luxuries to them. Failure in any form is like "the end of the world" to them. They feel there is no survival without mobile phones or computers. By providing them all the luxuries we think they will love us more and will unconditionaly listen to us . We hold their hands and walk along the path of materialism.

The other day I was watching a talk show on tv. A 19 year old girl told she had 10 models of cell phones. The reason being , the phone she carries should match her attire. Means of communication has been transferred into means of status symbol. Who should be blamed? the girl or her parents? Many of us live a false life to maintain our status in the society and unknowingly drag our kids with us into the quagmire.

My son, who is just 8 years came up to me and said "mama I want a nike t-shirt. It looks cool." I asked him "what is cool about just a plain white t-shirt?" He told it had the tick sign on it . I told him "If you are so particular about the "tick" sign I can get a plain white t-shirt and paint a "tick" sign in it. As long as the purpose is served why bother about the brand?" He was not convinced with my logical reason. Then the matter went to the CFO of the family. And you know what happens when they approach the dads. "O.K. APPROVED." My son gave me a sarcastic look. I felt like he was miming the words "Mama at least now you understand that you are not the boss of the house." This example is just the tip of an iceberg . Kids feel that the man of the house always has good reasoning skills. To them moms are just "quality controllers".

Kids are very smart these days. They approach us with their needs when we are too busy or on the phone or when we are doing some other work. They know that when we are busy we will nod our heads to whatever they ask for. Later we blame them for watching tv or playing on the computer. We let them loose so that we are not disturbed. Later they become the victims of our "finding fault syndrome."(My daughter says I suffer from this syndrome). In the name of teaching them to be independent we give them lots of freedom and later we regret in our lives. When the reins are in our hands we can have full control . But we want to be the 21st century parents , who leave the children to do what they want to do. We always say "the choice is yours." This is just a false way of trying to bridge "the generation gap".

I don't think our parents pampered us like how we pamper our children. That doesn't mean that we were not loved. Our wishes were not always granted. Most of the time they were rejected. Our parents loved us and we too reciprocate it till date (to some extent at least I guess--because all our love is being showered on our children thinking that they have no one else in this world other than us to shower unlimited love on them). There were not so many choices in all aspects of our life. Even if there were, those were the forbidden paths for us. Hence, it is the responsibility of the parents to help the child make the right choice. When our children stare longingly at something in a shop for more than ten minutes we fall for their longing glances and swipe our credit card immediately. Our children have mastered the tactics of "emotional blackmailing." Most of the parents with a single child feel that the purpose of their life is solely to satisfy the needs of the child.

In this world of consumerism the children are the targets. Try to be in their shoes. It is so difficult to control the temptations. It is like taking them to a chocolate buffet. At the first sight they get tempted to eat everything on the table. We have to be with them to help them choose the right ones which will suit their appetite. It is not their fault when they come up with the never ending "needed list of things." . Their attitude is "let me throw a stone at the mangoes. If the mangoes fall fine, I am lucky. Otherwise also I am ok." As a parent we want our children to relish only the sweet ripe mangoes. I feel we should learn to say "NO" to our children before they start saying "no" to us. My dad always says that we should not blame the thief. The person who gives the thief the opportunity to steal is the one who should be blamed. It is high time we understand that we are "the spoiling brats" and that our children are not the "spoilt brats." The fact is that when we are ready to give them the opportunity they are ready to use it tactically.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Is this addiction?

After my constant lamenting about "life is boring" Ravi, my sweet husband told that he will create a blog for me so that I can start blogging. Though I was very much interested in doing it I was skeptical about my writing skills. To start with, he suggested me to write in Tamil. Me being a lazy goose to learn to type in tamil kept postponing(complaining is easier than finding a solution to it). One fine day he created a blog for me called "Open Book" in English. My children were the first one to get excited when they came to know about it. They were relieved that "at last mama will be doing something for herself other than NAGGING us all the time. Now that the first brick was laid I had to think what was I going to write about?

There are thousands of blogs in the internet with all kinds of information. Right from do-it-yourself projects to literature everything is available in the internet. If I have to write, it has to be something different. How is that "different" matter going to be? It should be interesting, informative, and entertaining also . But, am I capable of doing it? The doubt was mountain high. I was contemplating on different topics . Many of my friends suggested me to write on cooking. For this I am not a very good cook. Plus these days we do not have time to cook all the recipes we already know. Being bored of the day to day cooking I wanted to do something different. No matter where ever I go ,what ever I do I didn't want the kitchen to be my "place of worship". Again why jump into the same well? Internet is already like a "sea of recipes". So the topic of cooking was ruled out.

Then how about my nostalgic memories. That will be more like an autobiography(who will want to read my autobiography--me not having achieved even 5% of what Gandhi or Abdul kalam did--look at my level of comparison--too ambitious right?). I have heard my friend say that her sister has a blog where she writes about her childhood days--about the sweet nothings mostly. She shares it with her friends, who enjoy with her. If I have to do this then I need all my childhood friends to read my blog to enjoy with me, because only they can associate with my writings. Unfortunately none of my school friends (except for one )find the computer user-friendly?? So the second option also was ruled out. Being ambitious , I wanted to reach out to a wider world . My writings should be of some use and be meaningful to someone at least . I know I am not going to make a great difference through my writings in others' life but at least one or two might be impressed.

We all like to look back into our past . When we were in that past, we would not have cherished it but at present we want to associate the past with all sweetness in our life. Does this mean present is always loaded with worries? We value a thing once it is gone out of our hands. Just like distance helps us maintain any relationship. Even if I write about a small incident in the past it should be of some value when I share it with others I felt. At last I decided I would write about anything that could help to improve human relationships. Even before starting to write I decided how often I should write. I started imagining myself as an upcoming writer. The more I imagined the more I started gaining self-confidence and self -dignity I would say. Something different from being a 24/7 home-maker. Thank God the usage of housewife is outdated.

As a test post I wrote my first article and sent it as a mail to two of my close friends for perusal and approval. Wow! because I am their best friend they both gave me approval to publish it in facebook. I did not use any force--believe me, other than constantly nagging them to read my mail and send their comments. Still I do it. They both are my first readers(voluntarily or involuntarily-- no other go for them though) .Out of sheer love for me they do it(assuming so). This is the kind of liberty you can take with friends.

I started off with my postings in face book first. After posting my first post I was so restless . I was fishing for readers literally--- Waited for comments to be posted. Just like after posting some photos on FB you wait for your friends' comments. I made sure that whomever I knew was told about my blog(shameless propaganda I know--but no other go). I even forced a few of my close friends to read it so that in future when I happen to become famous(if at all I become one) then they can tell that I am their friend(ha ha ha--was the reaction from all though) .

My husband was very happy about my blogging because my nagging became less, at least by 50%. Whether he liked my postings or not he pretended to like them. He knew that if he stopped encouraging me then he will be my target .I did get a good response from few of my friends for my post. In my initial enthusiasm I thought that I would post something once in three days. But then when I thought about it I decided not to spoil my reputation by bothering my few friendly readers often. So I started posting once in a week. I chose Friday so that my readers can find time during the weekend to read.( no time cannot be the excuse--am I not well planned? After posting my article??? on Fridays , I started getting up early on Saturdays to check whether anyone has read and posted any comments. In my over excitement I even checked my mails once in an hour hoping that someone would have read it and commented on it.(it took me some time to realize and accept that other than me all others were busy ). Seeing me checking my mails often my son started checking his mails(he doesn't mind going through the same old mails). May be he wanted to compete with me. Initially when I did not get the expected response I was feeling kind of demotivated. But then later I started taking it sportively. I am happy when even one or two read and send in their comments.

When I think about my sportiveness it leads me to various probabilities. Why did I start blogging? Is it to write something productive or creative? Does it make any difference to anyone after reading my blogs? Am I writing just to satisfy myself? Is it because I am seeking for attention or recognition or acceptance??Is this just to call myself "TRENDY"?( I know my age will surely disapprove this even before my teenage daughter says anything).Is it to kill my time so that idle mind won't become a devil's workshop? Is it to keep me off from unwanted worries? Am I sharing my thoughts with others to gain acknowledgement ? All these questions crop in my head often. Though not like Shakespeare or Milton I feel I should write with some moral responsibility.(again over ambitious or over confidence --your choice).Sometimes I doubt whether even anyone reads them?

If we start talking we need listeners . We need at least two people to continue a conversation . If we talk all alone then we may get special names?? unless you talk on the cell phone with a blue tooth attached to your ears. Initially I have misunderstood it to be hearing aid. I used to think "Why does so many people use hearing aids these days?"(keep this as a secret).This is my world of knowledge about telecommunications though my husband works in that field. But when you write you always feel that someone will read it--theory of optimism speaks here.. Even otherwise, it is like a vent to all my piled up emotions or thoughts or whatever you may name it.

After posting one article I keep thinking what is going to be my next topic ? I am flooded with limitless thoughts but my poor readers wont have the time to read them if I try to put them all in words. I would like to spare them the torture. Like many of the current civilization who are addicted to cell phones may be I am starting to get addicted to blogging. I feel at one shot I am able to reach out to all my friends and share with them my thoughts and feelings.But in what way is it going to matter to them ? When I go to bed I keep thinking what to write and how to write. So many ideas line up. But in the morning when I wake up my mind is a clean slate--all wiped off or short term memory loss.

Writing is not as easy I thought it would be. To write a meaningful article it takes at least three hours. Putting the points together, and writing in order, editing, proof reading, spelling check(thanks to the computer which does this job perfectly) etc. It has to go through so many stages. In between, I have to put up with my children's tantrums and needs. So I chose to write in the night when everyone goes to sleep. You might think why not write during the day after the kids are gone to school but day time my mind is only tuned for household chores.

One positive aspect about writing is,since I started blogging there is less argument in my house (this is how our fights or to name it very decently --our difference of opinions are termed in front of our kids) because we are busy in our own ways. Less time to poke my nose into his routine. I feel I too can do something useful. Every Friday night I feel I have a commitment to accomplish (committed to my imaginary fan club).I gave up my Friday movie time for this . I started sharing whatever impressed me or affected me. I feel good when I post an article. Some self-respect for myself. This is how my path to blogging began. These days with so many psychological terms referring to cell phone addiction, computer addiction, sms syndrome, etc. hope I don't come into the category of addiction. The latest trend is when something is done as a routine there are new names to call it as some kind of disorder. My habit I guess is with a purpose--(a drunkard never accepts he is a drunkard). Don't you agree that I need not call this attempt as addiction?

Friday, April 9, 2010


April 7th 2010.Today I was travelling by bus to go to my children's school to meet the teachers. It was 2.30p.m. It was very hot . When I got into the bus I felt the coolness of the a.c touching every cell of me. I wanted purposefully to dose off because it was a 45 minutes bus journey. I wanted to utilize the time productively?? I love sleeping when travelling by bus or car. People with motion sickness will envy me --I truly understand. This time a scene in front of me grabbed my attention and made me not to sleep. There was an old man , must be 75 years old at least sitting with his 4 years old grand daughter. Looked like he had picked her up from school and was taking her back home. They both were talking for a few minutes . Mostly one-sided conversation. She was telling him what happened in school. He was listening to every word with so much attention and surprise. Inbetween he took a chance to say "is it, wow, ok". More than these expressions she would not let him speak more. She had lot of things to say.(only girls will have tons of stories to say at any age--they can register and replay. Boys can only register --no replaying)

After having spoken so much the girl became tired. Then the little girl fell asleep in her grandfather's lap. The old man, who himself needed to hold on something to support him was holding his grand-daughter tightly so that she might not slip off from his lap. He had her head rested on his lap. He was not happy about the little girl resting her head on his rough pants I guess. He put his palm under her head to make it feel like a soft pillow. With one hand under her head and the other hand holding on to the side of the seat he was sitting without moving so that his little angel will have a peaceful sleep. He was admiring her face with a smile when she was fast asleep. The girl was drooling in his palm. He didn't mind that. Now and then he took his other hand from the seat and patted softly on her back to ensure her that he was there to take care. She slept peacefully for 30 minutes. Even while writing this I am able to visualize the whole scene again.

Then he woke her up saying that they need to get down after a few stops. She was reluctant to wake up. She was sooo tired from school that she could not even open her eyes. He kept on telling her some sweet words.(he was speaking chinese--I interpreted it to be sweet words because he was saying it with a smile). Though she did not want to wake up still she tried to open her eyes. She rubbed her eyes to have a clear view. Her cheeks were pink because she had pressed it against his palm while sleeping. He removed his hand that was under her head and wiped off the saliva she had drooled, in his pants. He combed her hair that was falling on her forehead with his fingers. Seeing this I felt sleepy. But did not want to miss the lovely scene. Still she was lying on his lap. He told her there were only two more stops for them to get down.(this I understood because he told her in English). By this time she woke up and sat . He took her school bag and lunch bag in one hand. Then held her with the other hand and got ready to get down. The stop in which they had to get down approached. They both got down slowly and walked . I was doubtful whether the girl was holding the man for support or the grandfather was holding her little hand for support. They walked hand in hand. I could not remove my eyes from them till the bus started moving.

I continued my journey physically to the school but mentally I was travelling into my world of thoughts. The whole 30 minutes I got to see how a grandfather showered his love on his grand daughter was, shall I say adorable,or cherishable, or lovable or sweet nostalgic feeling? It is all the sweet feelings put together. I felt that the girl as well as the old man were lucky to have each other. It gave them both a sense of security and love. "I am there for you and you are there for me kind of feeling". I could see the sense of bonding between them. I was reminded of my grandparents who used to stay with us when I was small.

These days we all are living as nucleus families. Our children get to see their grand parents once a year or once in two years. The love they show each other is also in ration. The grandparents want to shower all their love on their grandchildren in those few days or months they get to spend with them .The grandchildren are not in a position to enjoy it because they are not able to bond with them closely --the reason being the time gap in which they get to see them and because of the generation gap( this is what they call it).

With much force( we cannot convince them only force works) we try to make our children do the monotonous conversation with our parents over the phone every week .The conversation goes like "How are you? I am fine. O.K. Let me give the phone to my mama or papa." We are trying to build a bond via phone calls. We are so used to virtual living that we think sending photos and videos will act as glue to bind our children and our parents closely. They both live in different environment . The grandparents mostly don't have anything in common to talk about other than their good old days which the millennium children do not have patience to listen to. Our children's lives revolve only around us-the parents. Grand parents are referred as "your dad", "your mom". They are not part of their life. Are we depriving our kids from getting the love of grandparents? Yes. We are depriving our aging parents from showering their love on the grandchildren too. In the little girl 's life her grandfather is part of her life. He seems to do so many things for her. The love, the confidence , the dependency she shows on him is because she feels her grandfather's presence in every walk of her life.

Our children are totally depended on us for everything. Whether it is love or anger our children see it only through our eyes. We get angry one minute and after some time we ourselves console them. They do not have any loving shoulder to lean on when they are unhappy. They are not sure when we will be happy and when we will be showing the other side of us. That is why they do not value our love or anger with due importance. We ourselves try to justify our anger by explaining to them the reason behind it. In the worst case an extra hour of tv or playing with the electronic gadgets makes them very happy .Voluntarily or involuntarily we also encourage this because we feel they need some solace through some source--be it living or non-living doesn't matter. There is no one else to explain to them or console them. Hence according to our children the exhibition of human love is something "mechanical". They cannot accept even our parents as part of their family because they are not in their everyday walk of life. Is the far away distance from our parents the reason for this short coming ? Or is it because we all are living a self-centered life? It is good to have space between relationships . But such a big space widens the relationship itself. It leaves a vacuum at the end of the day. What can substitute the love of grandparents?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Conscience------What is the price of it????

For the past two weeks "the talk of the town" (Tamil Nadu state in fact) has been about the labeling of the expired medicines with new expiry dates. When I read the news I felt like shooting those culprits right then. There has been a huge network involved in this dirty, filthy business .This has been going on for the past 20 years all around India. Many children, pregnant women, people with chronic diseases ,people of all ages have been affected because of this. We go to a doctor for a cure and take medicines to get cured of our ailments. In this case medicines have turned into the cause of ailments. Pregnant women who took medicines hoping to deliver a healthy baby have been put on stake. Not only does it involve their life but also the unborn future generation of our country.

People sometimes blame the doctors for prescribing wrong medicines which don't suit them. Some patients even have adverse effects because of the medicine. Now we can understand that part of the problem lies on the standard of the medicines supplied by the pharmacy. When expired medicines are sold how can a person be expected to be cured of his illness. People who take long term medicines for their illness don't even know that many of the side effects are due to the expired medicines. How can the public be educated on this? We buy medicines from the pharmacy looking at the expiry date(if we are aware of it). But when the expiry date itself is changed what can an educated or uneducated person do on this matter.

To avoid paying the doctors (most of the time they don't have money for consulting a doctor) sometimes uneducated poor people go to pharmacies to get medicines hoping that the pharmacists will give them the right medicine if they explain their problems to them. To make their profit out of the loss these pharmacies have been selling the expired medicines. When innocent people are cheated in this way it is like ripping off their heart when alive. Now the government is taking actions against such people . Everyday loads and loads of expired medicines and cosmetics are being disposed in open areas. This in turn also is polluting the environment . There is a specific way of disposing the chemicals. To avoid being caught, these heartless animals are throwing them away in lakes and ponds.

The government of Tamil Nadu has announced Rs.25 lakhs for any information regarding the misuse of expired medicines. If the government wants any kind of co-operation from the public on this matter then they should give enough security for the lives of the people who are ready to give information about the culprits. There should be severe punishments (capital punishment) for people who gamble with human lives. Like in Middle East they should be stoned to death in public places. How did they escape for twenty long years without being caught? Such is our Indian bureaucracy. The government has been blindfolded for twenty years. It is unbelievable!! With such existing conditions India is trying to promote Medical tourism. Ironical !!What gurantee can be given to people who come to India for treatment? When people from foreign land come to know about this malpractice do you think anyone will want to risk their life by opting to come to India for treatment just for cost-cutting? What kind of belief will anyone have in our medical system?

How dare these people label the expired medicines with new dates and sell it in the market? So many pharmaceutical companies have been selling the expired medicines to agents, who have been acting as a a bridge in this underground dealings. Crores and crores of money has been earned by many while millions of innocent lives have been used as gunea pigs. Is this because of the flaw in our legal system? What have the authorities been doing all these years? Are there so many stone hearted people who close their eyes to this malpractice? Money, Money, Money this is all they want. For their greed why should the innocent lives of people be staked? Do they have any conscience?

As it is in India we have no control over the quality and effects of the pesticides or the fertilizers used in the food products. Because of this there is a huge rise in cancer patients. India which has tones and tones of gold stored in bank lockers does not have clean water to drink. Right from wells,lakes , and rivers every water source is polluted. We already have a lot of sources to make us unhealthy. On top of this now we cannot even take medicines to cure our diseases. Is this because Indians are ignorant or they are ready to compromise on the health issues?

We proudly say that India is an young nation with lot of youngsters when compared to other countries, where the majority of the population is getting old. We all are of the hope that India by 2020 will be a great economic power. WE can probably boast to become a great nation in all other aspects in life other than human values. Value for human life is zero in India. Is this because of the unbeatable population we have ? We claim to be a land of religions, hospitality, love, affection, moral values??? what not?? We all are very emotional but it is short lived emotional display. We talk about a problem with so much of emotion for a few days then we all go into Alzheimer.

We all talk about the lack of proper infrastructure in India. First let the priority be given to the health of the people. If we have healthy people we can achieve anything in this world. Health is Wealth. Let the governments first take measures to provide people a healthy living. Awareness should be created at all levels among the population about healthy living. We all get educated mainly to raise our standard of living. Let us all first raise our standard of thoughts. Then everything will fall in place. Value for life should be taught right from young age.

For a few people to become millionaires we cannot let millions of lives to suffer . The central government should take the right action as this is being carried on as an All India business.(Indians are very good in expanding their business even in moon).They should not yield to any external or internal pressures on this issue. I feel that the whole ring involved in this should be busted. They should be dealt severely. The punishment given to them should become a lesson for others who even think about such frauds. No bails should be granted to them. The case should be done in a short time and the punishment meted out immediately. No appeals. Let our law makers prove that human life is precious than everything in this world. All the criminals involved in this should be punished--right from the clerical level to the top rung in the ladder. They are worse than the terrorist, who take the lives of the people at one shot. These people are like slow poison in our social system. Hope our democratic government proves "IT IS FOR THE PEOPLE."